40. And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
40. Et im tempore finis configet cum eo rex austri, et tanquam turbo iruet rex aquilonis, cum curru et equitibus, et navibus multis: et veniet in terras, et exundabit, et transibit, pervadet
As to the time here mentioned, it is a certain or predetermined period' the kings of the south and the north we have already shewn to refer to Egypt and Syria, such being their position with respect to Judea. The word ngch neech, confliget, is literally he shall |push with the horns,| while the word translated, |he shall rush as a whirlwind,| is deduced from sr segner, |to be stormy.| The angel here predicts the numerous victories by means of which the Romans should extend their empire far and wide, although not without great difficulties and dangers. He states, The king of the south should carry on war with the Romans for a definite period I dare not fix the precise time intended by the angel. So great was the power of Egypt, that had the kings of that country relied upon their native resources, they might have summoned courage to make war upon the Romans. Gabinius the proconsul led his army there for the sake of restoring Ptolemy. He expelled Archelaus without much trouble, and then like a mercenary he risked his life and his fame there, as well as his army. Caesar was in danger there, after vanquishing Pompey; then Antony next made war upon Augustus, assisted by the forces of Cleopatra; then Egypt put forth all her strength, and at his failure was reduced herself to a province of Rome. The angel did not propose to mark a continued series of times, but only briefly to admonish the faithful to stand firm amidst those most grievous concussions which were then at hand. Whatever be the precise meaning, the angel doubtless signified the difficult nature of the struggle between the Romans and the Egyptians. I have already stated the witness of history to the fact, that the Egyptians never made war against the Romans in their own name; sometimes events were so confused that the Egyptians coalesced with the Syrians, and then we must read the words conjointly -- thus the king of the south, assisted by the king of the north, should carry on war with the Romans. The angel thus shews us how the king of Syria should furnish greater forces and supplies than the Egyptian monarch, and this really happened at the beginning of the triumvirate. He states next, The king of the south should come with chariots and horses and many ships. Nor is it necessary here to indicate the precise period, since the Romans carried on many wars in the east, during which they occupied Asia, while a part of Libya fell to them by the will of its king without arms or force of any kind.
With reference to these two kingdoms which have been so frequently mentioned, many chiefs ruled over Syria within a short period. First one of the natives was raised to the throne and then another, till the people grew tired of them, and transferred the sovereignty to strangers. Then Alexander rose gradually to power, and ultimately acquired very great fame: he was not of noble birth, for his father was of unknown origin. This man sprang from an obscure family, and at one period possessed neither authority nor resources. He was made king of Syria, because he pretended to be the son of Seleucus, and was slain immediately, while his immediate successor reigned for but a short period. Thus Syria passed over to the Romans on the death of this Seleucus. Tigranes the king of Armenia was then sent for, and he was made ruler over Syria till Lucullus conquered him, and Syria was reduced to a province. The vilest of men reigned over Egypt. Physcon, who was restrained by the Romans when attempting to wrest Syria from the power of its sovereign, was exceedingly depraved both in body and mind and hence he obtained this disgraceful appellation. For the word is a Greek one, equivalent to the French andouille; for physce means that thicker intestine into which the others are usually inserted. This deformity gave rise to his usual name, signifying |pot-bellied,| implying both bodily deformity and likeness to the brutes, while he was not endowed with either intellect or ingenuity. The last king who made the Romans his son's guardians, received the name of Auletes, and Cicero uses this epithet of |flute-player,| because he was immoderately fond of this musical instrument In each kingdom then there was horrible deformity, since those who exercised the royal authority were more like dogs or swine than mankind. Tigranes, it is well known, gave the Romans much trouble. On the other side, Mithridates occupied their attention for a very long period, and with various and opposite success. The Romans throughout all Asia were at one period put to the sword, and when a close engagement was fought, Mithridates was often superior, and he afterwards united his forces with those of Tigranes, his father-in-law. When Tigranes held Armenia, he was a king of other kings, and afterwards added to his dominions a portion of Syria. At length when the last Antiochus was set over the kingdom of Syria by Lucullus, he was removed from his command by the orders of Pompey, and then, as we have stated, Syria became a province of Rome. Pompey crossed the sea, and subdued the whole of Judea as well as Syria' he afterwards entered the Temple, and took away some part of its possessions, but spared the sacred treasures. Crassus succeeded him -- an insatiable whirlpool, who longed for this province for no other reason than his unbounded eagerness for wealth. He despoiled the Temple at Jerusalem; and lastly, after Cleopatra was conquered, Egypt lost its royal race, and passed into a Roman province. If the Romans, had conquered a hundred other provinces, the angel would not have mentioned them here; for I have previously noticed his special regard to the chosen people. Therefore he dwells only on those slaughters which had more or less relation to the wretched Jews. First of all he predicts the great contest which should arise between the kings of Egypt and Syria, who should come on like a whirlwind, while the Romans should rush upon the lands like a deluge, and pass over them. He compares the king of Syria to a whirlwind, for at first he should rush on impetuously, filling both land and sea with his forces. Thus he should possess a well-manned fleet, and thus excite fresh terrors, and yet vanish away rapidly like a whirlwind. But the Romans are compared to a deluge. The new king of whom he had spoken should come, says he, and overflow, burying all the forces of both Egypt and Syria; implying the whole foundations of both realms should be swept away when the Romans passed over them. He shall pass over, he says; meaning, wherever they come, the way shall be open for them and nothing closed against them. He will repeat this idea in another form. He does not speak now of one region only, but says, they should come over the lands, implying a wide-spread desolation, while no one should dare to oppose them by resisting their fury.