Previously we have seen how Ptolemy Philometor king of the Egyptian south plotted to destroy his foe in the north, Demetrius Soter, by supporting a pretender to the northern crown, [Alexander Balas] with his army. In the war which was approved by Rome, Pergamum, Cappadocia and the Maccabees, Philometor/Balas defeated Demetrius 150 BC, and Balas was given the daughter of Philometor to allow him access to the northern kingdom just as Scripture prophesied 386 years before.
DANIEL 11:17 He [Ptolemy holding up Balas] shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones [Maccabees] with him; thus shall he do: and he [Ptolemy holding up Balas ] shall give him [Balas -New king of the north] the daughter of women, corrupting her...”
Indeed Philometor was willing to corrupt his own daughter by dragging her into wicked plans. The verse goes on to say: daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him. " DANIEL 11:17 b
Although she was given to Balas as a supposed loyal wife, she was actually meant to keep him in check, not standing for him, but standing for the interests of her father. Philometor moved quickly to stamp down his influence:
“ It is impossible to gauge the extent or form of the Ptolemaic ascendancy. It seems to be implied that the seat of the Seleucid court was now usually at Ptolemais, where it would be in closer touch with Alexandria. The silver money minted in the King's name in the Phoenician cities was assimilated to the standard of Egypt instead of to the Attic, which was the ordinary standard for Seleucid money, and it bore for emblem the Ptolemaic eagle.” [From -The house of Seleucids –Edwin Robert Bevan]
When a man receives a wife as part of a business deal, trouble in that marriage is most probably much more likely, and Balas soon stood accused of being unfaithful. Instead of what Philometor hoped, Balas went contrary:
“ As a ruler Alexander proved himself utterly worthless. He fell under the dominion of mistresses and favorites, while the government was abandoned to the prime minister Ammonius, who made himself detested by his crimes. The minister’s jealousy raged like fire in the court. All possible rivals among the Friends were removed by a series of murders.” [The house of Seleucids –Edwin Robert Bevan]
But trouble for Balas was also not far off. Demetrius Soter had two sons, Demetrius Nicator, and Antiochus Sidetes which he had sent into exile when the war with Ptolemy and Balas began. In 147 BC, a mere 3 years after the Ptolemy/Balas take over, Demetrius II Nicator landed in Syria with a small Cretan rebel mercenary force to try to regain his father’s throne. This brought to pass the next verse of Daniel 11:18.
" DANIEL 11:18a After this shall he [Ptolemy Philometor] turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: …”
Ptolemy now did what was prophesied above: “ Ptolemy Philometor could not look on while his nominee was thrust aside. He was soon upon the scene in commanding force. The government of Alexander Balas had convinced him that the veiled and informal ascendancy he had designed to keep over Syria was not enough.
An enterprising and independent Seleucid king menaced Egypt, a weak and dependent one was unable to hold the country in the Ptolemaic interest. Philometor therefore now determined to assure his supremacy in a more direct and open way. He crossed into Palestine with an imposing army, while his fleet moved up along the coast. In each of the principal cities of the sea-board, as he went north, he dropped a garrison of his own (perhaps in 147).” [The house of Seleucids –Edwin Robert Bevan]
With the coastal towns and islands secured, we see the first part of the prophecy fulfilled, but it said further:: “...but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him." Daniel 11:18b
During this time of war, Philometor had also decided Balas must go. But he found himself in a difficult situation again. If he takes over the north directly, the Romans who preferred the Greeks weak, will definitely order him out of the north as they did 21 years ago when Epiphanes tried to take his kingdom 168 BC. [You can read my previous article:“Circle in the sand”-to get those details] So now what?
The north was ripe for the taking, and even the people of the north longed for a strong Seleucid leader and wanted Philometor to make the northern kingdom part of his own Egyptian kingdom. They even reminded him that he himself was a Seleucid from his mother’s side, who was the sister of Epiphanes. But Rome was the thorn in the flesh. To once again outwit Rome he now did what the verse said would happen to him. For the fear of Rome he now switched alliance from Balas to Demetrius II Nicator, and took his daughter Cleopatra Thea, the wife of Balas, and gave her to Demetrius.
“ When all the coast cities as far as Seleucia were occupied by Ptolemy’s garrisons, the alliance between Ptolemy and Alexander was severed by an open quarrel. Ptolemy asserted that whilst he had been at Ptolemais he had detected an attempt upon his life on the part of Ammonius, Alexander's prime minister. Ammonius had fled to Alexander at Antioch, and Ptolemy demanded that he should be given up for execution. Alexander evaded the demand, and Ptolemy renounced his alliance.
But he did not intend even now to take formal possession of the Seleucid kingdom. To leave the kingship and government to a king of his own making, married to his daughter, was more convenient, and now that he held the coast cities in his own hands, seemed safe. He therefore proffered his support and the hand of Cleopatra to Demetrius.
Demetrius, or rather the people who directed his action, naturally accepted the offer. Cleopatra was to take as her second husband a boy of fourteen or less. Alexander's position was hopeless.” [The house of Seleucids –Edwin Robert Bevan ]
When Philometor schemed to have Demetrius I Soter replaced by his clever ploy of using the pretender Balas, he brought a terrible reproach or shame upon the rulers of the north. He replaced a royal with an imposter. Here comes the son of Demetrius along as a true prince and heir to the throne and that shame or reproach he caused now begins to fall back onto him as he now fought a war for the very son of the man he ousted! Angered at Balas not exactly working for him the way he thought it would, he now replaced his imposter with the legitimate Seleucid heir.
When the citizens of Antioch capital of the north pleaded with Philometor to become ruler himself, he now pleaded with them to receive Demetrius II Nicator. History says: “He urged the Antiochenes to receive Demetrius, and gave his word for it that there should be no reprisals for their infidelity to Demetrius I.” [The house of Seleucids –Edwin Robert Bevan]
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