For the ships of Chittim shall come against him - Chittim is well known to mean the Roman empire. Antiochus, being now in full march to besiege Alexandria, and within seven miles of that city, heard that ships were arrived there from Rome, with legates from the senate. He went to salute them. They delivered to him the letters of the senate, in which he was commanded, on pain of the displeasure of the Roman people, to put an end to the war against his nephews. Antiochus said he would go and consult his friends; on which Popilius, one of the legates, took his staff, and instantly drew a circle round Antiochus on the sand where he stood, and commanded him not to pass that circle till he had given a definitive answer. Antiochus, intimidated, said, he would do whatever the senate enjoined; and in a few days after began his march, and returned to Syria. This is confirmed by Polybius, Livy, Velleius, Paterculus, Valerius Maximus, and Justin.
Therefore he shall be grieved - "Grieving and groaning," says Polybius; both mortified, humbled, and disappointed.
Have indignation against the holy covenant - For he vented his rage against the Jews; and he sent his general, Apollonius, with twenty-two thousand men against Jerusalem, plundered and set fire to the city, pulled down the houses round about it, slew much of the people, and built a castle on an eminence that commanded the temple, and slew multitudes of the poor people who had come up to worship, polluted every place, so that the temple service was totally abandoned, and all the people fled from the city. And when he returned to Antioch he published a decree that all should conform to the Grecian worship; and the Jewish worship was totally abrogated, and the temple itself consecrated to Jupiter Olympius. How great must the wickedness of the people have been when God could tolerate this!
In the transacting of these matters he had intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant; with wicked Menelaus the high priest; and the apostate Jews united with him, who gave from time to time such information to Antiochus as excited him against Jerusalem the temple, and the people. See 1 Maccabees 1:41, 62; 2 Maccabees 6:1-9; confirmed by Josephus, War, book 1 chap. 1, s. 1. The concluding reflection of Bp. Newton here is excellent: -
"It may be proper to stand a little here, and reflect how particular and circumstantial this prophecy is, concerning Egypt and Syria, from the death of Alexander to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. There is not so concise, comprehensive, and regular an account of their kings and affairs to be found in any authors of those times. The prophecy is really more perfect than any history, and is so wonderfully exact, not only to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, but likewise equally so beyond that time, that we may conclude in the words of the inspired writer, 'No one could thus declare the times and seasons, but he who hath them in his own power.'"