“He will show no regard … for the desire of women, …”
And although the correct interpretation of this characteristic is only one “piece” in the prophetic puzzle, it is an important piece. The entire 11th chapter of Daniel is important, particularly because this chapter is one of the key chapters that provides several of the characteristics of the Antichrist. The person in history that most scholars point to as the “antichrist-type” is Antiochus IV Epiphanies, the Syrian Greek ruler (175 B.C. – 164 B.C.) who was one of four generals to succeed Alexander the Great.1 Most of the first 35 verses of Daniel 11 detail the prophecy of events historically fulfilled from the reign of Cyrus of Persia (576B.C. – 530 B.C.) through Antiochus IV.2 However, verses 36-41 refer, not to events already fulfilled, but to events yet to be fulfilled, i.e., the end-time (Daniel 11:40 states its application, “At the time of the end …”). How might this revealing prophetic characteristic be relevant to the modern day? If we can identify this characteristic in the modern day, we will have found one of the bible’s “identifiers” of the empire through which the Antichrist will build his end-time kingdom; sort of like knowing the “profile” that helps us to find the guilty.
In a recent article, Raymond Ibrahim described the actions of the “Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al Sheikh, who recently called for replacing the personal photos of female university students that appear on their ID cards with their fingerprints, as that “would be best.”3
Why would it “be best”? To quote from an earlier report by Ibrahim on this topic:
Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has confirmed that it will begin “interfering with” and “ordering” women to cover their eyes, “if they provoke fitna [temptation, sedition, etc].” The spokesman added, “Our men have every right to do so.”4
Why do the men have “every right” to order Saudi Muslim women to cover every part of their anatomy, even their eyes? Under Sharia law, a woman’s right to “uncover” was limited to a very small area of her anatomy. The Qur’an 24:31 (Haleem translation) states:
And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal … they should not let their head-scarves fail to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men as attend them who have no sexual desire, or children who are not yet aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to God so that you may prosper.
Of course, the recent fatwa given to university women by the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al Sheikh was that they replace their ID photos with their fingerprints. Apparently, the Grand Mufti felt this was “in the spirit” of the Qur’an 24:31 (although not in the literal rendering of the Surah), and that the ID photos of the women revealed to much of their female anatomy. The Grand Mufti was simply changing the modern-day “normative” to comply with the Qur’an. Any woman who refused to comply was, of course, subject to whatever “behavior modification” techniques of the Saudi religious police.
What do the Saudi religious police have to do with Daniel 11:37 (NASB) and our “revealing phrase”?
According to biblical scholar Stephen Miller in his commentary on Daniel, the phrase has never had consensus in its interpretation even as early as Montgomery in his 2nd century commentary on Daniel.5 Miller states that the phrase could be interpreted in either of four ways:
- “the one desired by women”
- “the desire of women”
- “that desired by women”
- “the desire for women”6
If we consult a Hebrew lexicon, the word that is translated “desire” in 11:37 is “hemdah” (transliterated). Of course, as with many words in Hebrew, the interpretation is made difficult because the same Hebrew word can have varied meanings, and often context is the primary determining factor for the translator. In none of its varied meanings, however, does “hemdah” refer to sexual desire. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words states:
hemdah is a noun found twenty-five times, with the primary sense of “that which is pleasant, or valuable.”7
The Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon states the following about the word (in part):
desire of Israel – 1 Sam 9:20 (NASB) — and for whom is all that is desirable on in Israel; … Haggai 2:7 (NIV) — … what is desired by all the nations; Dn 11:37 (NASB), apparently reference to some object of idolatrous worship, perhaps Adonis=Tammuz.8
Another Hebrew lexicon, states,
hemed, hemdâ. Desirable, pleasant (marg., things of desire). More frequently feminine ḥemdâ (seventeen as opposed to five occurrences of ḥemed) “desire”; also adjective, “pleasant,” “precious.”9
If we apply the different translation alternatives offered by Miller, combined with the lexicons above, and then, if we include what we know about Islam and its treatment of women, here is what this writer concludes Daniel 11:37 (NASB) is saying:
1) The “king” will show no regard … for “all the things which women desire” (based on the use of the word in 1 Samuel 9:20 (NASB), “… And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?”).
2) The “king” will show no regard … for the “all the things which are desired” by women (based on the use of the word in Haggai 2:7 (NIV), “I will shake all nations, and the desired of all the nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty.”)
You might be wondering why I have included the teachings of Islam as a factor in translating the meaning of Daniel 11:37 (NASB)? Think about it: the context of the original writer of the text is always critical to a proper interpretation of Hebrew (as well as scripture in general). If context is important when prophecy is written why would future context (when a prophecy is fulfilled) not be just as important? In other words, to correctly interpret prophecy we must consider the context not only in the time the text was written, but also the context in the time the text will be fulfilled (and interpreted), i.e., the context of the interpreter of the prophecy.
Did you notice the picture of the Muslim woman in the blue burqa in the beginning of this post? Her eyes, her face, her entire body was covered with fabric. What was your first impression? What do you think would be the first impression of a non-Muslim woman upon viewing the picture and considering whether or not she might choose such attire at her next visit to Nordstrom’s? Oh, if you are wondering why I chose a non-Muslim woman rather than a Muslim woman, the answer is rather logical. For many Muslim women, “beauty, desire, pleasantness, and preciousness,” have been redefined by Muslim men through “behavior modification” techniques over the last 1400 years! In fact, that is what Saudi Arabia’s “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” is all about. They are the “religious police” of Islam, the behavior modification group (by whatever title you want to call them) that has taught Muslim women how they will define “beauty” ever since the time of Muhammad. Amazing thing is that apparently Muslim women have not always gone with the program. Why do I say that? There are several hadiths that quote Mohammed as saying,
I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers are women.10
Somehow the women must have revealed too much of their “eyes.” Otherwise, why would the majority of Hell dwellers by women?
One more thought. God is the creator of the universe, and biblically, man and woman are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). It was God that created woman as beauty. When God brought Eve to Adam that very first morning (Genesis 2:22), I can only imagine Adam’s delight when he first viewed his beauty. It was sin that both opened their eyes to their nakedness and hid them from the God that created them (Genesis 3:10). Yet, when sin cast them out of the Garden, God covered them with “garments,” not burqas (Genesis 3:21). If it was God’s intent to so hide the beauty of woman, He would have given Eve her “eye covering” burqa on her way out the door. It seems that Islam has found a way to veil what God never intended to cover.
Islam fits the profile. It has no regard for the desires, the precious things, of woman.
- Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, The New American Commentary, p. 298-304. [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- http://www.raymondibrahim.com/2012/10/saudi-grand-mufti-replace-female-id-pictures-with [↩]
- http://www.raymondibrahim.com/2011/11/saudi-arabia-women-must-cover-provocative-eyes [↩]
- Ibid., p. 307, and footnote 91 [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- Renn, Stephen D. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the Hebrew and Greek Texts Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Pub., 2005. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. [↩]
- Francis Brown. The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon, Henrickson Publishers, 1979, p. 326 [↩]
- Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. [↩]
- Sahih Bukhari: Vol. 1:28, 301; Vol. 2:161; Vol. 7:124-126. [↩]