Chapter Eleven continues where chapter 10 left off, the angel is still speaking with Daniel by the Tigress River. Daniel is now ready to receive this message.
Chapter 11 has two parts, the first part is Daniel 11:1-35 covers the time from Darius the Mede (chapter 6) until Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.). The second part, Daniel 11:36 to 12:2 covers the last Gentile ruler, who is in power at the return of Messiah.
The period of time between the Antiochus IV and the rise of the last ruler is glossed over in Daniel 11:33-35. Daniel 11:36 emerges with the last Gentile King to the coming of the Messiah, who is the stone which crushes the feet of the composite man in Daniel 2.
Daniel chapter 11 gives a detailed history of the transitions of kingdoms from time of Darius until the time of Antiochus IV. This detailed history has caused skeptics of the Bible to dismiss the accuracy as written after the fact. Porphyry a third century pagan attacked the book of Daniel as a Maccabean forgery. Jerome responded with his own commentary on the book of Daniel, defending its 5th century B.C. authorship. The detailed history forces the reader to come to one of two conclusions, either the book of Daniel was supernaturally inspired by God, who revealed to Daniel the history of nations before the event, or Daniel was written by a lying imposter who claimed to be a 5th century B.C. prophet.
Along these two lines has war waged around the book of Daniel, as skeptics of the Bible and the supernatural refuse to accept the possibility of events being revealed before their occurrence.
Four Important Kings of Persia
DA 11:1 “Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.)
DA 11:2 “And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.
The first year: The angel continues his message to Daniel, the spiritual dimension to the sixth chapter is revealed. The angel informs Daniel, that he strengthened Darius the Mede in the first year. Daniel is now in the third year of Cyrus, 536 B.C., Daniel 6 took place in 539 B.C. The other presidents and satraps tried to have Daniel killed by challenging his loyalty to the king through law established to destroy Daniel. In Daniel 6, an angel appears which shuts the lions mouths.
22 “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”
Though its specualation, it seems likely the angel who shut the mouths of the lions is this very angel talking to Daniel. He along with Michael stand watch over the children of Israel. The enemies of God tried to destroy Daniel by turning Darius the Mede against him.
Daniel’s faithful life gave God the opportunity to demonstrate Himself to the whole Persian kingdom and Darius the Mede rule was strengthed.
Three more kings: Daniel is now in the third year of Cyrus, 536 B.C., the angel tells Daniel three more kings are to rise in the Persian Kingdom. Since Daniel is already in the reign of Cyrus, the following three kings are; Cambyses 529-522 B.C., Pseudo-Smerdis 522-521 B.C., Darius I Hystaspes (521-486 B.C. Ezra 5,6)
The fourth: The greatest of the Persian kings was Xerxes I (486-465 B.C. Ezra 4:6). Xerxes is the King identified in the book of Ester. Xerxes led a major expedition against Greece which had disastoreus results. According to Daniel, Xerxes was the climax of Persian rulers, from him it was a downward spiral from which Persia never recovered. Xerxes spent four years preparing for his attack onGreece, gathering hundreds of thousands of soldiers and vast riches. Encyclopedia Britannica delineates the chronology of events,
Xerxes then turned his attention westward to Greece. He wintered in Sardis in 481–480 BC and thence led a combined land and sea invasion of Greece. Northern Greece fell to the invaders in the summer of 480, the Greek stand at Thermopylae in August of 480 came to nought, and the Persian land forces marched on Athens, taking and burning the Acropolis. But the Persian fleet lost the Battle of Salamis, and the impetus of the invasion was blunted. Xerxes, who had by then been away from Asia rather long for a king with such widespread responsibilities, returned home and left Mardonius in charge of further operations. The real end of the invasion came with the Battle of Plataea, the fall of Thebes (a stronghold of pro-Persian forces), and the Persian naval loss at Mycale in 479 BC. Of the three, the Persian loss atPlataea was perhaps the most decisive. Up until Mardonius was killed, the issue of thebattle was probably still in doubt, but, once leaderless, the less organized and less disciplined Persian forces collapsed. Time and again in later years this was to be the pattern in such encounters, for the Persians never solved the military problem posed by the disciplined Greek hoplites…….Harem intrigues, which were steadily to sap the strength and vitality of the Achaemenid Empire, led to the assassination of the Great King in 465 BC.