23. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
23. Et a conjunctione cum eo faciet dolum, et ascendet, et praevalebit cum exigua gente, vel, manu.
The angel points out some interruption of the wars, because Antiochus would be content for a time with Syria, and would not make an attempt of Egypt. It was a great point to repel the attempts of all those who wished to recover the rights of his nephew. There is no doubt that the whole country was impoverished and exhausted with the continual expense of these wars; for whenever fresh commotion's arose, it was necessary to draw new levies from these provinces, and This occasioned very great expense. It is not surprising, then, if Antiochus, who was of a cunning disposition, negotiated a temporary peace with his nephew Ptolemy Philometor the king of Egypt. His sister Cleopatra still survived, and this was an honorable excuse. The angel, then, states first, the proposal of a truce leading to settled peace between the two sovereigns. He adds, however, the perfidious conduct of Antiochus in his friendships. During, or after these agreements, he shall deal treacherously with him Although, therefore, he pretended to be the friend and ally of his nephew, yet he conducted himself deceitfully towards him. And he shall ascend, and shall prevail by a small band; meaning, he shall attack the boy suddenly. For when Ptolemy anticipated a lasting friendship with his uncle, Antiochus took the opportunity of fraudulently attacking some cities with a small force: He thus deceived his enemy, who thought all things would be tranquil with him; and so when Ptolemy had no fear of his uncle, he suddenly lost some of his cities. The angel means this; he shall rise by deceit, and shall prevail without large forces, because there shall be no suspicion of warfare. It is easy enough to oppress an enemy in a state of tranquillity, and in the absence of all fear. It is afterwards added, --