Unveiling Daniel 11, Part 1
Daniel 11 presents the fourth vision given to the prophet Daniel. Much of the chapter pertains to events that unfolded during the intertestamental period, also known as the Hellenistic age. The vision was given in year 3 of Cyrus (Dan 10:1). Daniel 11:1 should be appended to the end of chapter 10, as it relates to the help that the heavenly messenger was given by Gabriel.
Daniel 11:2 specifies “three more kings” who were to arise. These were Cambyses, Gaumata, and Darius I. Cambyses was the first Persian king to successfully take Egypt. Gaumata (also known as Bardiya or Smerdis) was an imposter who ruled for only a few months. He is pictured on his back on the Behistun Inscription. Darius I, also known as Darius the Great, was the son of a satrap. He, along with his son Xerxes, ruled the Persian Empire at its apex. He was the first king to invade mainland Greece, but was repulsed at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.
Daniel 11:2 also describes a fourth king who will be very wealthy and focus his attention on the conquest of Greece. This was Xerxes, known in the book of Esther as Ahasuerus. He oversaw the building of the Gate of All Nations and the Hall of a Hundred Columns at Persepolis, which are the largest and most imposing structures of the palace. He oversaw the completion of the Apadana, the Tachara (Palace of Darius) and the Treasury, all started by Darius, as well as having his own palace built, which was twice the size of his father’s. His taste in architecture was similar to that of Darius, though on an even more gigantic scale. He had colorful enameled brick laid on the exterior face of the Apadana. He also maintained the Royal Road built by his father and completed the Susa Gate and built a palace in Susa. Xerxes also undertook what is known as the “Second Persian Invasion of Greece,” although it was ultimately unsuccessful.
Daniel 11:3 begins with “And then,” a single letter in Hebrew. This conceals a period that passes over the last six kings of the Persian kingdom. This amounts to more than 130 years (465 to 331 BC).
Daniel 11:3-4 goes on to describe the rise and rule of Alexander the Great. The description of his meteoric rise and unexpected downfall fit what happened perfectly, as does the note that his kingdom would be broken up, even fragmented, and that it would not go to his own descendants.