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The Book of Daniel (דניאל) is a book in the Hebrew Bible. Originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic, it is set during the Babylonian Captivity, a period when Jews were deported and exiled to Babylon following the Siege of Jerusalem of 597 BC. The book revolves around the figure of Daniel, a Judean who becomes Chief Magician (4:9) in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon from 605 to 562 BC.

The book has two distinct parts: a series of six narratives (chapters one to six) and four apocalyptic visions (chapters seven to twelve). The narratives take the form of court tales which focus on tests of religious fidelity involving Daniel and his friends (chapters one, three and six), and Daniel's interpretation of royal dreams and visions (chapters two, four and five). In the second part of the book, Daniel recounts his own reception of dreams, visions and angelic interpretations in the first person.

The dating and authorship of Daniel has become a matter of debate between mainstream scholars and traditionalists. The traditionalist view holds that the work was written by a prophet named Daniel who lived during the sixth century BC whereas most Biblical scholars maintain[1] that the book was written or redacted in the mid-second century BC and that most of the predictions of the book refer to events that had already occurred(ex eventu).

Contents

The Court Tales

The first six chapters comprise a series of court tales involving Daniel and his three companions. The first account is in Hebrew; then Aramaic is used from ch. 2:4, beginning with the speech of the "Chaldeans", through chapter seven. Hebrew is then used from chapter eight through chapter twelve. Three additional sections are preserved only in the Septuagint, and are considered apocryphal by Protestant Christians and Jews, and deuterocanonical by Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

  1. After being taken captive to Babylon, members of the Israelite nobility are taken into the king's service. Among these, Daniel and his three friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) refuse to eat and drink at the king's table because the food may be ritually unclean.[2] At the end of a short trial period they appear healthier than those who have accepted the royal rations and are allowed to continue with their abstemious diet of vegetables and water. Finally, after a three year induction, they enter the king's service and in matters of wisdom, literature, and learning are judged "ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in the kingdom". Daniel, moreover, has a unique talent for interpreting dreams and visions. Despite apparent defeat and the ransacking of the Jerusalem temple, Israel's God is surprisingly active in this chapter: "deliver[ing]" the King of Judah into Nebuchadnezzar's hands, causing the chief official to treat Daniel and his friends favorably, and giving the four exceptional knowledge and understanding. Many of the book's key themes are introduced in this chapter.
  2. The king has a disturbing dream and asks his wise men to interpret it, but refuses to divulge its content. When they protest he sentences all of them, including Daniel and his freinds, to death. Daniel intervenes and asks for a temporary stay of execution so that he can petition his God for a solution. He recevies an explanatory vision in the night, and then relays the content and meaning of the king's dream the following day. Nebuchadnezzar has dreamt of an enormous idol made of four metals, with feet of mixed iron and clay. The image is completely destroyed by a rock that turns into a huge mountain, filling the whole earth. The idol's composition of metals is interpreted as a series of successive kingdoms, starting with Nebuchadnezzar. Finally all of these dominions are crushed by a kingdom that will "endure forever".
  3. The account of the fiery furnace, in which Ananias (Hananiah/Shadrach), Azariah (Abednego), and Mishael (Meshach) refuse to bow to the emperor's golden statue and are thrown into a furnace. As seen by Nebuchadnezzar, a fourth figure appears in the furnace with the three and God is credited for preserving them from the flames.
  4. Nebuchadnezzar recounts a dream of a huge tree which is suddenly cut down at the command of a heavenly messenger. Daniel is summoned and interprets the dream as referring to Nebuchadnezzar, who for seven years will lose his power and mind and become like a wild animal. All of this comes to pass until, at the end of the seven years, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that "heaven rules" and his kingdom and sanity are restored. The recurring image of a tree representing a kingdom appears at least three times in the Bible.
  5. Belshazzar's Feast, where Belshazzar and his nobles blasphemously drink from sacred Jewish temple vessels, offering praise to inanimate gods, until a hand mysteriously appears to the king and writes upon the wall of the palace. The horrified king eventually summons Daniel who is able to read the writing and offer the following interpretation: Mene, Mene - God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel - You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Upharsin - Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. "That very night", we are informed, Belshazzar was slain and "Darius the Mede" took over the kingdom.
  6. Daniel is elevated to a preeminent position under Darius which elicits the jealousy of other officials. Knowing of Daniel's devotion to his God, these officials trick the king into issuing an edict forbidding worship of any other god or man for a 30 day period. Because Daniel continues to pray three times a day to God towards Jerusalem, he is accused and king Darius, forced by his own decree, throws Daniel into the lions' den. God shuts up the mouths of the lions and the next morning king Darius finds Daniel unharmed and casts his accusers and their families into the lions' pit where they are instantly devoured.
  1. Susanna and the elders (apocryphal to Jewish and Protestant canons)
  2. Bel and the Dragon (apocryphal to Jewish and Protestant canons) - Bel and the Dragon contains three interconnected court tales set in the reign of an unidentified "King of Babylon". In the first Daniel uncovers a trick by the Priests of Bel designed to promote a belief that the cult idol magically consumes food and drink offerings set before it each night. Daniel secretly scatters ashes on the floor of the god's locked chamber before it is sealed by the king and, in the morning, the incriminating footprints of the priests result in their slaughter and the destruction of the idol. In a second, Daniel feeds cakes made of pitch, fat and hair to a sacred serpent revered as a god which causes it to explode. Finally, the anger of the Babylonians at the destruction of their gods is directed towards Daniel with the result that he is thrown into a den of lions. During this time he is fed by the prophet Habakkuk who has been miraculously transported to Babylon for that very purpose. Finally the king rescues Daniel and has him replaced by his accusers who, as in the similar story of chapter six, are killed instantly.

Protestant and Jewish editions omit the sections that do not exist in the Masoretic text: in addition to the two chapters containing accounts of Daniel and Susanna and of Bel and the Dragon, a lengthy passage inserted into the middle of Daniel 3; this addition contains the prayer of Azariah while the three youths were in the fiery furnace, a brief account of the angel who met them in the furnace, and the hymn of praise they sang when they realized they were delivered. The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children are retained in the Septuagint and in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic canons; the "Song of the Three Holy Youths" is part of the Matins service in Orthodoxy, and of Lauds on Sundays and feast days in Catholicism.

The narratives are set in the period of the Babylonian captivity, first at the court of Nebuchadnezzar and later at the court of his successors Belshazzar and a 'King Darius' of unclear identity (see 'Historical Accuracy' and 'Date' below). Daniel is praised in Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897, as "the historian of the Captivity, the writer who alone furnishes any series of events for that dark and dismal period during which the harp of Israel hung on the trees that grew by the Euphrates. His narrative may be said in general to intervene between Kings and Chronicles on the one hand and Ezra on the other, or (more strictly) to fill out the sketch which the author of the Chronicles gives in a single verse in his last chapter: 'And them that had escaped from the sword carried he (i.e., Nebuchadnezzar) away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia' (2 Chr. 36:20)." However, see the section on Dating and Content (below) for other views on the dating and historical accuracy of the court tales.

Apocalyptic visions in Daniel

The four visions of chapters seven to twelve are an early example of apocalyptic literature and, in contrast to the earlier chapters, are introduced in the first person. One feature of this section is Daniel's reliance on heavenly figures to interpret and explain his visions. The historical setting of the first chapters does not appear, except in the form of regnal dates. Chapter seven is written in Aramaic while chapters eight to twelve are in Hebrew. The "apocalyptic" sections of Daniel consist of four visions focusing on a fearsome future king who attacks the "saints", and the city and temple of Jerusalem:

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Vision of the great beasts

The vision in the first year of Belshazzar the king of Babylon (7:1) concerning four great beasts (7:3) representing four future kings (7:17) or kingdoms (7:23), the fourth of which devours the whole earth, treading it down and crushing it (7:23). This fourth beast has ten horns representing ten kings. They are followed by a further wicked king, or "little horn", who subdues three of the ten (7:24), speaks against the Most High, wages war against the saints, and attempts to change the set times and laws (7:25); after 'a time and times and half a time', this king is judged and stripped of his kingdom by an "Ancient of Days" and his heavenly court (7:26); next, "one like a son of man" approaches the Ancient of Days and is invested with worldwide dominion; moreover, his everlasting reign over all kings and kingdoms is shared with "the people of the Most High" (7:27)

Vision of the ram and goat

The vision in the third year of Belshazzar concerning a ram and a male goat (8:1-27) which, we are informed, represent Media, Persia (the ram's two horns), and Greece (the goat). The goat with a mighty horn becomes very powerful until the horn breaks off to be replaced by four "lesser' horns. The vision focuses on a wicked king who arises to challenge the "army of the Lord" by removing the daily temple sacrifice and desecrating the sanctuary for a period of "twenty three hundred evening/mornings". Rams, goats and horns were used in the service of the sanctuary.

Prophecy of the seventy "weeks"

The vision in first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus (9:1) concerning seventy weeks, or seventy "sevens", apportioned for the history of the Israelites and of Jerusalem (9:24) This consists of a meditation on the prediction in Jeremiah that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years, a lengthy prayer by Daniel in which he pleads for God to restore Jerusalem and its temple, and an angelic explanation which focuses on a longer time period - "seventy sevens" - and a future restoration and destruction of city and temple by a coming ruler.

Vision of the kings of north and south

Daniel has a lengthy vision (10:1 - 12:13) in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, regarding conflicts between the "King of the North" and the "King of the South" (= Egypt, 11:8). Starting with references to Persia and Greece it, again, culminates in the description of an arrogant king who desecrates the temple, sets up a "desolating abomination", removes the daily sacrifice, and persecutes those who remain true to the "holy covenant".

The visions of Daniel, with those of 1 Enoch, Isaiah, Jubilees, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, are the inspiration for much of the apocalyptic ideology and symbolism of the Qumran community's Dead Sea scrolls and the early literature of Christianity. "Daniel's clear association with the Maccabean Uprising and those against Rome are a possible factor in the eventual downgrading of it, to include a redefinition of the role of prophet, keeping in mind that at roughly this time the Hebrew canon was being evaluated and adopted. (Eisenman 1997, p 19f).

In Daniel are the first references to a "kingdom of God", and the most overt reference to the resurrection of the dead in the Tanakh.

Literary structure

Daniel double chiasm.jpg

William H. Shea Ph.D. (Archeology)[3]. suggests that the book of Daniel was composed as a double chiasm. Chiastic or concentric structure is a common feature of ancient Hebrew poetry and literature. A qualification, however, is appropriate: while the chiastic structure of chapters 2 - 7, originally identified by A. Lenglet in 1972, is widely accepted by scholars, Shea's proposal for a similar structure in chapters 8 - 12 is not.[citation needed]

Related themes have common label

Related sections have a common label. For instance those labeled A, A', A" and A"' are placed in parallel because they all have a similar theme: prophecies about successive kingdoms. God's people suffer trials in the parts labeled B, B', B" and B"', although the suggested parallels in chapters 9 and 10 seem to have little in common with 3 and 6. The decision of kings to choose Daniel's God or not are the themes in C, C', C" and C"', provided we can agree with Shea that two individual verses in chapter 9 are the structural counterparts of chapters 4 and 5. The trial faced by the Messiah is portrayed in the focal point of the book ( D ) by Shea.

Language emphasizes structure

To emphasize the importance of the chiastic structure, the first chiasm was written in Aramaic and the second in Hebrew. The literary structure explains why Aramaic continues to be used in chapter 7 rather than ending in chapter 6 at, seemingly, the end of the first half of the book.

Structure has precedence over chronology

The literary structure of the book takes precedence over chronology. The first 6 narrative chapters are fit into the structure rather than defining it. For instance, chapter 6 ( B' ), which ought to follow chapter 7 ( A' ) chronologically, is put in parallel with chapter 3 ( B ) because they both deal with the persecution of Daniel and his friends. And chapter 5 ( C' ) should follow chapters 7 and 8 ( A" ). Instead, it is put in parallel with chapter 4 ( C ). In both divine judgements are pronounced against arrogant Babylonian kings.

Grouping Emphasizes Prophecies

This chiastic grouping of chapters having the same theme has important implications when it comes to the chapters containing prophecies ( A, A', A", A'" ). Not only are they parallel because they contain prophecies, but the prophecies themselves are parallel to each other. This parallelism between the prophecies has been recognized for millennia. This does not mean, however, that Christian commentators have identified the same kingdoms in each chapter. While chapters 2 and 7 have generally - though not exclusively[4] - been interpreted as extending to Roman times, chapter 8, for example, has traditionally been applied to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes[5].

Historical accuracy

Some modern historians of Babylonia or Achaemenid Persia do not adduce the narratives of Daniel as source materials, as they consider some statements in Daniel to be in conflict with other historical accounts.[citation needed] However, a major critic of Daniel, H. H. Rowley considered chapter 11 as "a first-class historical source for that period"[6]

A scholar ranks the fifth chapter of Daniel just below the cuneiform literature, for accuracy as far as outstanding events are concerned, for non-Babylonian records on the close of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.[7]

The six objections given below represent, in order of significance, the major items which are seen as anachronisms in Daniel.

Was there a "Darius the Mede"?

Some historians criticize the notion of a separate Mede rule by pointing out that the Persians at that point in history had control over the Medes, and that the contemporary cuneiform documents, such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Babylonian Chronicle, leave no room for any Mede occupation of Babylon before the Persians under Cyrus conquered it. It has been suggested[8] that the author's apparent confusion on this issue could be due to his reliance on Jeremiah (see Dan. 9:2): and Jeremiah prophesied (in Jeremiah 51:11), at the height of the Median empire's power, that Babylon would fall to the Medes. An author writing centuries later, and under the impression that Jeremiah was a true prophet, might simply assume that a Mede must have taken Babylon.

The personage whom Daniel describes as taking control of Babylon after Belshazzar is deposed is named as Darius the Mede, who rules over Babylon in chapters 6 and 9. Daniel reports that Darius was 'about 62 years old' when he was 'made king over Babylon.' Darius the Mede, while mentioned in the book of Daniel, the works of Flavius Josephus, and Jewish Midrash material, is not known from any primary historical sources. Neither the Babylonian nor the Persian histories record such a person. Herodotus, who wrote his history about 440 BC, records that Babylon fell to the Persian army, under the control of King Cyrus, who had conquered the Median Empire as early as 550 BC.

As Darius the Mede is unknown to any other source, many historians view his presence in Daniel as simply a mistake of a much later author, who has perhaps inadvertently placed the Persian King Darius I at an earlier date than he actually reigned.[9] Three key pieces of information seem to support this. Firstly, Darius I, like Cyrus, also conquered Babylon and personally commanded the Persian army that took the city in 522 BC to put down a rebellion. Secondly, Daniel's reference to Darius organising the empire by appointing satraps and administrators fits Darius I perfectly: he is known to history as the Persian king par excellence who professionalised the empire's bureaucracy and organised it into satrapies and tax districts. Thirdly, Darius I was an important figure in Jewish history, remembered as a king associated with Cyrus who permitted the returned exiles to rebuild the temple (see Ezra chs 1-6).

In Daniel 9:1, Darius is said to be the son of Ahasuerus, commonly acknowledged to be a variant spelling of Xerxes (Esther 1:1). Darius I was the father of a king called Xerxes.[10]

Responses to the problem of Darius the Mede

Against the argument that no ruler of this name is recorded elsewhere, some writers have attempted to identify him with other figures of the period.

Among writers maintaining an early date for the Book of Daniel, there are several interpretations of the identity of Darius the Mede.

  • On the difficulty of ascertaining the correct view, H.H. Rowley states: "[T]he references to Darius the Mede in the book of Daniel have long been recognized as providing the most serious historical problems in the book."[11] His view concludes that Darius is just another name for Cyrus the Great, who captured Babylon on October 15, 539 BC.
  • Another view, promoted by John Whitcomb (though first proposed by E. Babelon in 1883) in his 1959 book, Darius the Mede says that Darius is another name for the historical figure of Gubaru (sometimes spelled as Ugbaru).
  • The third view (also that of Syncellus) sees Darius as another name for Astyages, the last Mede king who was ultimately deposed by Cyrus. Josephus makes Darius the son of Astyages, and uncle of Cyrus.
  • Several scholars in the past (including Calvin, Ussher and John Gill) as well as in more recent times (e.g. Keil and Delitzsch[12]) have thus attempted to identify 'Darius the Mede' with Cyaxares II, who is mentioned as having the same relationships by Xenophon[13]

"Darius the Mede" as Cyrus the Great: Unlike Gubaru or Astyages, Cyrus the Great of Persia was the king who took over the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus was also married to a Mede, and had a Median mother.[14] Indeed, his maternal grandfather Astyages, to whom he owed fealty, was the so-called "Last King of the Median Empire." An analysis of variant early texts, particularly the Septuagint, reveals that the names "Darius" (דריוש DRYWS in Hebrew) and "Cyrus" (כורש KWRS) are reversed in 11:1, and may have been miscopied elsewhere[citation needed]. The appellation "Mede" (Heb. מדי MDY) may have been used as an ethnic term to apply to Persians as well, who were of the same race[15]. In addition, Dan. 6:28, "So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian", could also be translated, "So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus the Persian." Furthermore, kings commonly took dual titles and Nabonidus, Cyrus' cousin, referred to Cyrus as "the king of the Medes."[14]

"Darius the Mede" as Gubaru/Ugbaru: Gubaru was the governor of Gutium, who actually led Cyrus's army that captured Babylon in the month of Tashritu in the 17th year (see Pierre Briant below)[16]. Two weeks later Cyrus made his triumphal entry into Babylon and a week after that Gubaru died. It is possible that Cyrus would have rewarded Gubaru with a regional governorship for capturing the capital of the Babylonian Empire and virtually ending the war. Furthermore, under the first translation of Dan. 6:28, Darius ruled during the reign of Cyrus, and Dan. 5:31 states that Darius the Mede "received the kingdom" of the Chaldeans. Complicating this view is the question of whether or not Gubaru and Ugbaru are two different people, or simply variant spellings of the same name.

Also, verse 1 of "Bel and the Dragon" (chapter 14 in Greek Daniel) references Astyages the Mede, who was indeed the last king before Cyrus; but nearly the same verse is added in the Greek LXX after the end of chapter 6, only reading "Darius" in place of "Astyages". ( LXX Dan. 14:1 and Dan 6:29)

"Darius the Mede" as king of the Medes: Talmudic and midrashic sources describe Darius the Mede as the uncle and father-in-law of Cyrus the Great, to whom Cyrus owed fealty. After Darius's death, Cyrus took the throne. According to Josippon, the Ahasuerus in the book of Esther was the son of Darius the Mede. The Midrash Tanchuma describes the fall of Babylon as described in Daniel and adds to the narrative Darius taking Vashti, the daughter of Belshazzar, as a wife for his son Ahasuerus.

Belshazzar

For many years Belshazzar (Akk. bêl-šar-usur), was an enigma for historians. The book of Daniel states that he was "king" (Ar. מֶלֶך) the night that Babylon fell (chap. 5) and says that his "father" (Ar. אַב) was Nebuchadnezzar (5:2, 11, 13, 18). Prior to 1854, archeologists and historians knew nothing of Belshazzar outside the book of Daniel. Indeed, while the deuterocanonical Book of Baruch (Baruch 1:11, 12) and the writings of Josephus (Antiquities 10.11.2-4 §231-247) do mention Belshazzar, the references to Belshazzar in these works are ultimately dependent on the book of Daniel (Collins, p. 32). Both Xenophon (Cyropaedia, 7.5.28-30[17]) and Herodotus (The Histories, 1.191) recount the fall of Babylon to Cyrus the Great, yet neither of these writers give the name of the king of Babylon. Additionally, both Berossus’ and Ptolemy's king lists have Nabonidus (Akk. Nabû-nā'id) as the last king of Babylon with no mention of Belshazzar.

From that time new evidence from Babylon has verified the existence of Belshazzar as well as his co-regency during the absence of his father, Nabonidus, in Temâ. For example, In the Nabonidus Cylinder, Nabonidus petitions the god Sin as follows: "And as for Belshazzar my firstborn son, my own child, let the fear of your great divinity be in his heart, and may he commit no sin; may he enjoy happiness in life". In addition, The Verse Account of Nabonidus (British Museum tablet 38299) states, "[Nabonidus] entrusted the army (?) to his oldest son, his first born, the troops in the country he ordered under his command. He let everything go, entrusted the kingship (Akk. šarrûtu) to him, and, himself, he started out for a long journey. The military forces of Akkad marching with him, he turned to Temâ deep in the west" (Col. II, lines 18 - 29. 18). In line with the statement that Nabonidus "entrusted the kingship" to Belshazzar in his absence, there is evidence that Belshazzar's name was used with his father's in oath formulas, that he was able to pass edicts, lease farmlands, and receive the "royal privilege" to eat the food offered to the gods.

The available information concerning Belshazzar's regency goes silent after Nabonidus' fourteenth year. According to the Nabonidus Chronicle, Nabonidus was back from Temâ by his seventeenth year and celebrated the New Year's Festival (Akk. Akitu). Whether or not Belshazzar continued his regency under his father's authority after his return cannot be demonstrated from the available documents. Some scholars have argued that the non-observance of the Akitu during Nabonidus' absence demonstrates that Belshazzar was not the "king" since it shows that he could not officiate over the festival. However, The Verse Account of Nabonidus says, "Nabonidus said: 'I shall build a temple for him (the Moon god Sin)...till I have achieved this, till I have obtained what is my desire, I shall omit all festivals, I shall order even the New Year's festival to cease!'" Thus, the halting of the Akitu may have been done by the king's command rather an inability on the part of Belshazzar. This stated, the fact that Belshazzar did not disobey his father's command is evidence that Nabonidus remained the official (and actual) king of Babylon.

There is no evidence that Belshazzar ever officially held the title of "king" as he is never called such in the Nabonidus Cylinder. Furthermore, the Aramaic term מלך (mlk, king) applied in Daniel could be used to translate titles of various levels of high ranking officials. (This can be seen in the case of a 9th century BC Akkadian/Aramaic bilingual inscription found at Tel Fekheriyeh in 1979 which reads "king" for the Akkadian "governor".) A contract tablet dating to the third year of his regency (550 BC) includes the designation "son of the king." [18] This, of course, is not proof that he possessed any status as the official king of Babylon. The bottom line is that Nabonidus was still alive when Cyrus conquered Babylon, and had not been replaced as the official king of Babylon by Belshazzar.

No known extrabiblical text indicates a blood relation between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Historians have objected to this aspect of the record in Daniel. There were several rulers over Babylon between the death of Nebuchadnezzar and the rulership of Nabonidus and Belshazzar. Many scholars have attributed the lack of mention of these rulers as indicating the author mistakenly thought that the two rulerships were consecutive. The Jewish Encyclopedia, holding to a later date of the book (see 'Date'), supposed that "during the long period of oral tradition the unimportant kings of Babylon might easily have been forgotten, and the last king, who was vanquished by Cyrus, would have been taken as the successor of the well-known Nebuchadnezzar." Based on this reasoning, historians have considered the reference to Belshazzar's relationship to Nebuchadnezzar simply an error based on the above misconception.

However, there is another explanation. Belshazzar is never called an independent king in the book of Daniel.[19] In fact, in Daniel 5:7, 16, 29 Belshazzar implies that he is the second ruler in the kingdom, not the sole ruler; and yet, he has sufficient power to make someone the third ruler in the kingdom. Secondly, co-regencies were not that uncommon in the Ancient Near East.[20] Third, Wilson, in the previous reference, showed that the very word "king" was used in a variety of ways other than that which we use today. The same also applies to the use of the word "son"--it doesn't necessarily mean a biological relationship and can carry the meaning "successor." For example, the 9th Century Assyrian Black Obelisk lists Jehu as the "son of Omri" even though Jehu was from a different lineage and did not take the crown directly after Omri.[21] Finally, Daniel is not writing an official state document for Babylon such as one would expect from the court scribes, although the lack of accurate specificity in the references also tends to be inconsistent with the claim of an early date for Daniel.[22]

Madness of Nebuchadnezzar

A third significant objection by historians is the account of the insanity suffered by Nebuchadnezzar found in the fourth chapter of Daniel. In the Dead Sea Scrolls a fragment known as The Prayer of Nabonidus (4QPrNab, sometimes given as 4QOrNab) discusses a disease suffered by Nabonidus, and there are obvious parallels between the two accounts (1).

There are a number of superficial differences between The Prayer of Nabonidus and the account of Nebuchanezzar's madness:

  1. Nebuchadnezzar's "affliction" was of the mind whereas Nabonidus' was an "evil ulcer."
  2. In the case of Nabonidus the "exorcist pardoned my sin" whereas in the case of Nebuchadnezzar he "lifted up [his] eyes unto heaven and [his] understanding returned unto [him]." (KJV)- i.e., when he recognized (accepted) the sovereignty of Daniel's god.
  3. Nebuchadnezzar's illness came while he was in Babylon; while that of Nabonidus was in Tema, although it does state in Daniel 4:33 that Nebuchadnezzar was "driven away from mankind." (NASB)
  4. Finally, some of the words and phrases of the prayer have to be inferred from the context because they are missing in the original fragment. [Archer, Gleason L. "Daniel", Expositor's. Vol. 7 (Zondervan, 1985): 15; he cites Harrison, R. K. Introduction to the Old Testament. (Tyndale, 1969): 1118-9]

In fact, the Prayer of Nabonidus shows signs of dependence upon the whole book of Daniel. As a later text, it is better understood as an attempt to emulate the style of the book of Daniel rather than a source for it.[23]

It is possible that a reference to the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar is to be found in a cuneiform text: BM 34113.[24]

Date of Nebuchadnezzar's first siege of Jerusalem

The Book of Daniel begins by stating:

In the third year of the reign of Jehoi'akim king of Judah came Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoi'akim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. (King James Version)

This appears to be a description of the first siege of Jerusalem in 597 BC, which occurred in the twelfth year of Jehoiakim and into the reign of his son Jehoiachin. (see (2Kings 24), (Daniel 5:1-5), and (2Chronicles 36)). The third year of Jehoiakim (606 BC), saw Nebuchadnezzar not yet King of Babylon, and the Egyptians still dominant in the region. In Jeremiah 36:9, we find Jehoiakim in Jerusalem in his fifth year, two years after the time that Daniel claims he was carried away to Babylon.

The Babylonian Chronicle records that Nebuchadnezzar first defeated the Egyptians under Pharaoh Necho in Battle of Carchemish. He then conquered the whole of Hatti-land, a region that includes the kingdom of Judah. This would coincide with the coming of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Dan 1:1. The historian Berossus records that Nebuchadnezzar took Jewish captives back to Babylon after the Battle of Carchemish.[25] Judah continued as Babylon's subordinate while Nebuchadnezzar attacked Egypt itself. In 601 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar returned home, and Jehoiakim changed his allegiance to Egypt, resulting in the second (and bigger) exile in 598 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar sent an army to conquer Judah once and for all.

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah

Dan. 1:6-7 records that Daniel was accompanied in the courts by three other Jews: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The chief officials gave them new Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, respectively. In Dan. 3:8-23, these same three persons refuse to perform an act of worship before an image of Nebuchadnezzar, which results in their subjection to the death penalty by burning. However, according to Dan. 3:24-30, God delivers them from the fiery furnace.

Professor William Shea (1982) refers to a clay prism that was found in Babylon with five columns of text listing various officials of the government. Three of the officials are listed as "Mushallim-Marduk, [one of] the overseers (lit.:heads) of the slave-girls", "Ardi-Nabu, the sipiru-official of the crown prince", and "Hanunu - chief of the royal merchants",[26] and Dan. 2:49 states, "Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court." Some conservative Christian writers have therefore connected Hanunu with Hananiah, Mushallim-Marduk with Meshach, and Ardi-Nabu with Abednego; however, it is unclear why Hananiah would be referenced by his Hebrew name (Oppenheim (see citation) posits that "Hanunu" is "Phoenician" rather than Hebrew) and not his Babylonian one, Shadrach. There is no other evidence to connect these figures with the ones mentioned in the Book of Daniel.

Four Persian Kings

In Daniel 11:2-4, the angel Gabriel informs the prophet of only four Persian kings before the coming of Alexander the Great.

And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven.

Since the author of Daniel wrote during the reign of Cyrus (Daniel 10:1), this would then make him the first Persian king of Daniel 11:2. Cyrus defeated Babylon in 536 BC. Alexander took the kingdom from the last Persian king in 333 BC. This gives us 203 years for the Persian reign. Split among four kings, we get an average of about 51 years each, which is somewhat excessive.

There were nine Persian kings from Cyrus to Alexander. They are:

It has been suggested by some that the author of Daniel may have been influenced by the fact that the Old Testament only mentions four of the nine Persian kings - Cyrus (Ezra 1:1), Darius I (Ezra 4:5), Xerxes I (Ahasuerus - Ezra 4:6) and Artaxerxes I (Ezra 4:7).[10]

Dating and content

Scholarly view

While traditionally, the Book of Daniel is believed to have been written by its namesake during and shortly after the Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BC, modern critical biblical scholarship dates it to the 2nd century BC(ca.165).[1] There is general agreement among scholars that Daniel's revelations are actually vaticinia ex eventu or prophecies after the event.[27]

Although the traditionalist view continues to be held by conservative Christians and conservative Jews, it has been rejected by most of the scholarly community since the end of the nineteenth century.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34] Even leading evangelical scholars have recently adopted this position, while in the Roman Catholic community it has been the norm since World War II.[28] Evangelical Old Testament scholar John Goldingay argues that many of the prophecies in Daniel, in particular the prophecies of Daniel 11, were written after the fact (ex eventu). But, says Goldingay, this was not a deceptive ploy, or a "pious fraud" (Porphyry of Tyros). Rather, the author/redactor of Daniel was employing a then common literary genre, which Goldingay describes as "quasi-prophecy", and so the author's original readers would have recognized this genre and therefore not been led to believe that the quasi-prophecies were actual prophecies (one might add that the readers would have doubtless known that the piece of literature being read to them had just been written, i.e. had been written in the 2nd century; or put differently, they would have realized that the piece of literature had not been written in the 6th century).[35]

Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated and looted the Jerusalem Temple around 167 BC, outlawed the Jewish religion, massacred observant Jews and precipitated a national crisis that is commemorated to this day in the Feast of Hanukkah (which recalls the rededication of the temple). The Book of Daniel (in its final form) is written, according to the mainstream view, in response to that crisis. Even when the fourth kingdom of chapters two and seven began to be reapplied to Rome in pre-Christian and early Christian times the memory of Antiochus was still vivid. This is evidenced by the fact that leading Jewish and patristic commentators such as Josephus, Hippolytus, and Jerome continued to apply sections of Daniel (especially chapter 8) to the activities of Antiochus.

Traditionalists, making a case for an earlier date for the Book of Daniel, make reference to Josephus, who states that upon Alexander the Great's approach, a small party met him outside of Jerusalem with a copy of the book of Daniel, telling him that his presence was ordained by scripture. However, most scholars agree that this story is not true.[36][37][38] Harvard scholar Shaye J. D. Cohen denies the historicity of Alexander's visit to Jerusalem and suggests that the Alexander story is a combination of several sources.[39] Additionally, some point to the Dead Sea scrolls found at Qumran dating from the mid-2nd century BC to 70 AD. These scrolls include eight manuscripts of Daniel dating from about 125 BC(4QDanc) to about 50 AD(4QDanb).[1] The premise is that there must have been much time between the original writing and the copying of the manuscripts found at Qumran, since it would have taken time for the book to have gained acceptance and be made available for copying.[40] However, the number of copies at Qumran can be explained as due to the current (at the time) popularity of this recently "published" book. Of considerable significance, is the fact that the Book of Daniel was never grouped with the Hebrew Nevi'im (the Prophets) but has always belonged to the Ketuvim (the writings). If the author had been accepted to be a sixth century Jew of the Exile his work would have pre-dated Ezra and Nehemiah and would certainly have been considered authoritative enough to group it with the other prophets. [41]

In addition, the canon of the Prophets (Nevi'im) was closed by about 200 BC with the composition of Malachi[42]. The apocryphal book of Sirach, written about 180 BC, contains a long section (chapters 44-50) in praise of "famous men" from Jewish history that does not include Daniel. However I Maccabees, composed about 100 BC, repeats much of that list with the addition of Daniel and the three youths in the fiery furnace, leading to the conclusion that these stories were likely added to Hebrew literature sometime after 180 BC.[43]

The traditionalist view holds that the work was written by a prophet named Daniel who lived during the sixth century BC since Ezekiel who lived at that time mentions Daniel three times (Ezekiel 14:14, 20; 28:3). The Hebrew spelling in Ezekiel however suggests "Danel" is more correct.[44][45] Though in the words of Albright, the 'name Danilu, Danel is well attested (in different writings and perhaps with different meanings attributed to it) in Old Assyrian, Old Babylonian, Northwest Semitic . . .' and that 'Danil is the Babylonian pronunciation of non-Accadkian Semitic Dan'il, "Daniel" . . .'[46] (see also Danel and the Danel of Ezekiel). According to some Christians, the Septuagint or LXX (Hebrew to Greek translations of the Old Testament) was completed around 285 BC[47][48] and includes the Book of Daniel, therefore Daniel could not have been written in the 2nd century but before.[49] Modern scholarship however, does not support this claim. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica article on the Septuagint: "Analysis of the language has established that the Torah, or Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), was translated near the middle of the 3rd century bc and that the rest of the Old Testament was translated in the 2nd century bc."[50]

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Coin of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The reverse shows Zeus(King of the Gods) enthroned carrying the Goddess Nike(Victory). The legend reads: "King Antiochus. God Manifest, Bearing Victory."

Critical scholars have asserted that the prophecies in the Book of Daniel reflect the persecutions of the Jews by the Greek Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled the Jews from 175–164 BC, and his desecration of the altar in the temple at Jerusalem, and consequently they date its composition to that period. In particular, the vision in Chapter 11, which focuses on a series of wars between the "King of the North" and the "King of the South", is generally interpreted as a record of Levantine history from the time of Alexander the Great down to the era of Antiochus IV, with the "Kings of the North" being the Seleucid kings of Syria and the "Kings of the South" being the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt.

Scottish theologian John Drane notes that other details of the stories in the early chapters of Daniel are also similar to the prevailing conditions in the era of Antiochus. "Belshazzar for example, falls from power because he defiled the sacred objects taken from the Temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 5:1-4), in much the same way as Antiochus repeatedly robbed the Temple in Jerusalem. The worship of the great statue set up by Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3:1-18) and the story of the Bel found in the Septuagint highlighted the same issues as Antiochus' action in setting up an image of Zeus in the Temple at Jerusalem. Indeed it may be implied that the images were actual statues of the kings themselves. Even the story of Nebuchadnezzar's madness (Dan. 4:19-33) may have been intended to be reminiscent of the commonly held belief that Antiochus was mad ("epimanes"). The people of a later age would also recognize those apostate Jews who collaborated with the unbelieving Seleucids in the duplicitous figures of the spies and informers who plotted against Daniel and ensured that he was shut up in the den of lions (Dan. 6:1-14). The issue of food, which features so largely in the opening story of Daniel (Dan. 1:3-16), was one of the whole crucial points in the whole argument about Hellenism. Much of the opposition that sparked the Maccabean revolt was concerned with the unwillingness of faithful Jews to eat pork and other unclean foods".[51] Even the name Nebuchadnezzar contains a veiled reference to Antiochus Epiphanes to those acquainted with Hebrew numerology. In Hebrew, as in many other ancient languages, names and words often have numerical value (see Gematria). Nebuchadnezzar's name in cuneiform is Nabû-kudurri-uṣur which should be transliterated into Hebrew as נבוכדנאצר or Nebuwkadne'tstsar (as it is in Jer. 46:2, 39:11). It is unlikely to be a coincidence that when the numbers represented by "Nebuwkadne'tstsar" are added up, they come exactly the same figure (423) as the numbers of the name "Antiochus Epiphanes".[41][52]

This conclusion regarding the date of composition was first drawn by the philosopher Porphyry of Tyros, a third century pagan and Neoplatonist, whose fifteen-volume work Against the Christians is only known to us through Jerome's reply. The identification of Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel, however, is a much older[53] interpretation which seems to be reflected, for example, in 1 Maccabees 1:54 (c100 BC), where an idol of Zeus set up upon the altar of burnt offering under Antiochus is referred to as an "abomination of desolation" (cf. Dan. 9:27, 11:31).[54] This identification is made explicit in Josephus' exposition of Daniel chapter eight (Antiquities 10:11, c94 AD) where he almost certainly cites a common Jewish interpretative tradition by identifying the "little horn" as Antiochus. According to British historian Bryan Rennie, the conclusion that the Book of Daniel was written at the time of the profanation of the Temple by Antiochus IV would explain why the author is not very precise about sixth century events, why he is so precise about the time of Antiochus, and why he was never counted among the prophets.[41] Scholars are virtually unanimous in regarding the Book of Daniel as a message of encouragement to those people(hasidim)[55] suffering for their faith under the oppression of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Four Kingdoms

Most biblical scholars have concluded that the four kingdoms beginning with Nebuchadnezzar, mentioned in the "statue vision" of chapter 2, are identical to the four "end-time" kingdoms of the vision in chapter 7, and consider them to represent (1) Babylonia, (2) Media, (3) Persia, and (4) Greece (i.e. Macedonia).[56][57][58] There is a literary tradition through various cultures which saw history pass through four kingdoms. These four kingdoms were Assyria, Media, Persia and Macedonia.[59] As Daniel was set after the time of the Assyrians, Babylon was more relevant to the literary structure.

Chapter Parallel sequence of events and its interpretation as understood by scholars
Daniel 2 Gold Head

identified as Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom in v. 36-39 i.e. Babylon
Silver Breast and arms
kingdom of Media
Bronze Belly and thighs
kingdom of Persia
Iron Legs
kingdom of Greece
Feet and toes partly of iron and partly of baked clay
Syria (Seleucids) and Egypt (Ptolemies)
Kingdom of God End
Daniel 7 Winged Lion
Babylon
Bear
Media
4 headed leopard
Persia
Terrible beast with iron teeth
Greece
10 horns
10 kings of the Seleucid Dynasty
Little horn
Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Kingdom of God handed over to the people (Jews) of the Most High End
Daniel 8 Two-horned Ram
identified as the kings of Media and Persia in v.20
Unihorn Goat
identified as the king of Greece in v.21
large horn is Alexander the Great
4 horns
Macedonia, Pergamon, Egypt (Ptolemies) and Syria (Seleucid Dynasty)
Little horn
Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes
End
Daniel 11 Media 4 kings of Persia Greece kings of the north and south
king of the north is Syria (Seleucid Dynasty), king of the south is Egypt (Ptolemies)
Contemptible Person
Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Deliverance of Jews End

To a modern reader the relationship between the Medes and the Persians is not transparent in Daniel.

  • In Dan. 5:28, we are told that Babylon would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians, apparently indicating that the two kingdoms existed separately at the same time, though historically when the kingdom of the Medes was in power, the Persians were vassals until they reversed the situation.
  • Three times we read about "the law of the Medes and the Persians", (Dan. 6:8, 12, and 15). Though the Medes and the Persians were Iranian peoples and so shared a cultural heritage, one reading of "the law of the Medes and the Persians" suggests that the phrase indicates the two groups must have merged.
  • Dan. 8:3 features a ram with two horns, with the Medes being represented by the first horn to arrive and the Persians by the longer second horn. These two horns are the kings of the Media and Persia(Dan. 8:20). When the Babylonian kingdom falls (Dan. 5:30-31), the new ruler is called Darius the Mede(Dan. 9:1). He is followed by Cyrus, king of Persia(Dan. 10:1). Darius the Mede is unknown in secular history. The Median kingdom had already been conquered by Cyrus the Persian, and it was Cyrus who captured Babylon.[60][61] As noted previously, however, a late author's apparent reliance on Jeremiah may explain this (Dan. 9:2, Jer. 51:11, 51:28-30).
  • Finally Daniel 10 talks solely about Persia. Cyrus is the king of Persia (Dan. 10:1). The prince (=angel) of the kingdom of Persia struggles with Michael (Dan. 10:13). Daniel is told that after the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece will come(Dan. 10:20).

Although Daniel shows no interest in the ancestry of Cyrus, it has been pointed out that Cyrus was married to a Mede and himself had Median blood. This some have thought would make the Medes and Persians merged kingdoms by marriage at the time of the conquest of Babylon. However, Persian inscriptions from the time of Darius I show Media as a subordinate kingdom which paid tribute to Persia.

Protestant historicist interpretation

Some Historicist Christians (e.g. Young, Smith, Anderson, etc.) believe that the first four should be identified as (1) the Neo-Babylonian empire, (2) the Medo-Persian empire (3) the Macedonian empire of Alexander and his successors, and (4) the Roman empire. Parallel elements of each prophecy are the same color.

Chapter Parallel sequence of prophetic elements as understood by Historicists[62][63]
The Past We are here The Future
Daniel 2 Head
Gold
(Babylon)
Chest & 2 arms
Silver
Belly and thighs
Bronze
2 Legs
Iron
2 Feet with toes
Clay & Iron
Rock
God's unending kingdom
left to no other people
Daniel 7 Winged Lion Lopsided Bear 4 Headed/4 Winged
Leopard
Iron toothed beast
w/Little Horn
Judgment scene
Beast slain
One like a son of man
comes in the clouds
Given everlasting dominion
He gives it to the saints.[64]
Daniel 8 2-horned Ram
(Media-Persia)
Uni- / 4-horned Goat
4 Winds (Greece)
Little Horn
A Master of Intrigue
Cleansing of Sanctuary
Leads to: - - - - - - - - - ->
(Kingdom of God)
Daniel 11-12 Kings
(Persia)
North & South Kings
4 Winds (Greece)
North & South Kings
A Contemptible
Person of Intrigue
Pagan & Papal Rome
North & South Kings
End Times
Global religio-political
Government
Michael stands up
Many dead awake
To everlasting life

(Nations in parentheses are interpretation of symbols as given in the text. Nations in small italics are Historicist interpretation. "One like a son of man" and "Michael" are understood to be the same being.)

Other views

Others (e.g. Stuart, Lagrange) have advocated the following schema: (1) the Neo-Babylonian, (2) the Medo-Persian, (3) the short-lived rule of Alexander, and (4) the rival Diadochi, viz. Egypt and Syria.[65]

Language

Scholars have speculated about the bilingual literary structure of Daniel - Chapters 2 through 7 in Aramaic, the rest in Hebrew. One of the most frequent speculations is that the entire book (excepting 9:4-20) was originally written in Aramaic, with portions translated into Hebrew, possibly to increase acceptance[66] - many Aramaisms in the Hebrew text find proposed explanation by the hypothesis of an inexact initial translation into Hebrew.

According to John Collins in his 1993 commentary, Daniel, Hermeneia Commentary, the Aramaic in Daniel is of a later form than that used in the Samaria correspondence, but slightly earlier than the form used in the Dead Sea Scrolls, meaning that the Aramaic chapters 2-6 may have been written earlier in the Hellenistic period than the rest of the book, with the vision in chapter 7 being the only Aramaic portion dating to the time of Antiochus. The Hebrew portion is, for all intents and purposes, identical to that found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, meaning chapters 1 and 8-12 were in existence before the late 2nd century BC.[67][68]

Contrary to the above, the Expositor's Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 1990) claims that the language of Daniel, in comparison with the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the Hellenistic period, "prove quite conclusively to any scholar that the second-century date and Palestinian provenance of the Book of Daniel cannot be upheld any longer without violence being done to the science of linguistics." It adds that the serious mistakes of the Septuagint to render many Persian and Accadian terms, as the offices mentioned in Dan. 3:3, proves ignorance of words of the old past, already forgotten in the Hellenistic period, indicating that the Book of Daniel was written in the late 6th century BC.[69]

E.C. Lucas is more cautious in his assessment of linguistic arguments as well. Evaluating Collins' approach, he considers "the wide geographical spread from which the material comes and the implicit assumption that linguistic developments would have occurred uniformly throughout this area" a weakness and concludes, "The character of the Hebrew and Aramaic could support a date in the fifth or fourth century for the extant written form of the book, but does not demand a second-century date." He agrees with Collins that there are "clear differences" between Qumran Hebrew and the Hebrew of Daniel.[70]

Loan words

Three Greek words used within the text have long been considered evidence for a late dating of Daniel. All three are terms for musical instruments, κιθαρις (cithara), ψαλτηριον (psaltery) and συμφωνια (symphonia). The existence of the Greek word symphonia was cited by Rowlings as having its earliest known use in second century BC, but it has subsequently been shown that Pythagoras born in the sixth century BC used the term [71][72]. while its adjectival use meaning "in unison" is found in the 'Hymni Homerica, ad Mercurium 51'; both instances date from the sixth century BC, the supposed setting of Daniel.

It is known that "Greek mercenaries and slaves served in the Babylonian and Assyrian periods, some of whom were undoubtedly versed in Greek music and musical instruments." It has been speculated that this would explain the existence of the three Greek musical terms in Daniel's book. On the other hand, it has been claimed that the non-existence of other Greek words is a strong witness against the theory of the writing of the book in the Hellenistic period, since "it is inconceivable that Greek terms for government and administration would not have been adopted into Aramaic by the second century BC"[73] Even John Goldingay, a proponent of the late date, admits "the Greek words hardly necessitate a very late date." [74]

There are also nineteen Persian loan-words in the book, most of them having to do with governmental positions. Judea was under Persian administration for two centuries until the arrival of Alexander the Great.

Use of the word 'Chaldeans'

The book of Daniel uses the term "Chaldean" to refer both to an ethnic group, and to astrologers in general. According to Montgomery and Hammer[citation needed] Daniel's use of the word 'Chaldean' to refer to astrologers in general is an anachronism, as during the Neo-Babylonian and early Persian periods (when Daniel is said to have lived), it referred only to an ethnicity.[citation needed] (Compare the later Chaldean Oracles).

Textual Witness

A total of eight copies of the book of Daniel have been found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls.[75] All eight manuscripts were copied in the space of 175 years ranging from about 125 BC(4QDanc) to about 50 AD(4QDanb).[1] There were at least three versions extant: the twelve-chapter version preserved in the Masoretic text and the two longer Greek versions, the Theodotion version(ca. 2nd cent. AD) and the original Septuagint version(ca. 100 BC).[76] Both Greek versions contain the apocryphal additions(ca. 100 BC) not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel. The Theodotion is much closer to the Hebrew/Aramaic Daniel of the Hebrew Bible and became so popular that it replaced the original Septuagint version of Daniel in all but two manuscripts of the Septuagint itself.[77][78][79]

Unity of Daniel

Whereas many scholars conclude a second century dating of the book in its final form,[80] scholarship varies greatly regarding the unity of Daniel. Many scholars, finding portions of the book dealing with themes they do not believe fit with the time of Antiochus, conclude separate authors for different portions of the book. Included in this group are Barton, L. Berthold, Collins, and H. L. Ginsberg. Some historians who support that the book was a unified whole include J.A. Montgomery, S.R. Driver, R. H. Pfeiffer, and H.H. Rowley in the latter's aptly titled essay "The Unity of the Book of Daniel" (1952). Those who hold to a unified Daniel claim that their opponents fail to find any consensus in their various theories of where divisions exist. Montgomery[citation needed] is particularly harsh to his colleagues, stating that the proliferation of theories without agreement showed a "bankruptcy of criticism." They also charge that composite theories fail to account for the consistent thematic portrayal of Daniel's life throughout the book of Daniel.

Christian uses of Daniel

Christian Eschatology
Eschatology differences
Christianity portal

As mentioned above, the prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Children from the deuterocanonical parts of Daniel are widely used in Orthodox and Catholic prayer.

The various episodes in the first half of the book are used by Christians as moral stories, and are often believed to foreshadow events in the gospels.

The apocalyptic section is important to Christians for the image of the "one like a son of Man"(Dan. 7:13),[81] and Jesus is presented using the same wording in the book of Revelation in 1:13-15.[82] The connection with Daniel's vision (as opposed to the usage in the Book of Ezekiel) is made explicit in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62).[83] According to the gospels, Jesus used the title "Son of Man" as his preferred name for himself (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62). Christians sometimes see this as a claim by Jesus that he is the Messiah. According to the New American Bible and some Christian theologians, "one like a son of man" represents "the saints of the Most High" as interpreted in the vision later(Dan 7:16-18, 21-22, 25-27) and Jesus made the title "Son of Man" a distinguishing self reference.[84][85][86] Later Jewish interpreters interpreted this figure as the Jewish Messiah. Such interpretation appears in the Similitudes of Enoch and 4 Ezra.[87][88]

Traditional Christians have embraced the prophecies of Daniel, as they believe they were clearly advised by their Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to be watchful for their fulfillment in the "End Times" of this world. In the Olivet discourse (Mark 13:14, Matt. 24:15) Jesus himself is quoted as applying Daniel's prophecy of a desolating sacrilege set up in the temple (Dan. 9:27, 11:31) to a future event — the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem.[89][90] This would involve the leveling of the temple, flight from Judea, and would happen in Jesus' own generation (Mark 13: 2-4, 14, 30). Many Christians today re-apply this prediction to a final tribulation immediately preceding Judgement Day. Some consider the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks to be particularly compelling due to what they interpret to be prophetic accuracy.

According to some scholars, Dan. 12:2 is the earliest clear reference in the Old Testament to the resurrection of the dead,[91] with many of "your countrymen" awakening from death, some to eternal life and some to eternal disgrace. This belief is also expressed in 2 Maccabees and as in Daniel, is linked with the idea of divine retribution.[92] 2 Macc. 7:14 : And when he was now ready to die, he spoke thus: It is better, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God, to be raised up again by him; for, as to thee(Antiochus Epiphanes), thou shalt have no resurrection unto life. The notion of resurrection was to be elaborated in the New Testament and Christian doctrine.

The importance of Daniel's visions

Daniel's alleged presence in the royal court would have exposed him to the running of an empire. His knowledge, as in the case of other prophets, served as the basis for his revelations. Daniel's importance is that of introducing the age of the Gentiles, the framework for events from then to the last days.

Due to its apocalyptic character and its place in both the Jewish and Christian canons, the book of Daniel has had great influence in Jewish and Christian history.

Daniel was considered a prophet at Qumran (4Q174 [4QFlorilegium]) and later by Josephus (Antiquity of the Jews 10.11.7 §266) and the author (the "Pseudo-Philo") of Liber antiquitatum biblicarum (L.A.B. ["Book of Biblical antiquities"] 4.6, 8), and was grouped among the prophets in the Septuagint, the Jewish Greek Old Testament, and by Christians, who place the book among the prophets. However, Daniel was never grouped with the prophets, the Nevi'im, in the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh), but has always belonged to the section known as the Ketuvim (Hagiographa, or the "Writings").

The Jewish exegete Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, sometimes called simply RaMBaM and later called Maimonides, was so concerned that the "untutored populace would be led astray" if they attempted to calculate the timing of the Messiah that it was decreed that "Cursed be those who predict the end times." This curse can be both found in his letter Igeret Teiman and in his booklet The Statutes and Wars of the Messiah-King.

Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel lamented that the times for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel "were over long ago" (Sanhedrin 98b, 97a).

Many Orthodox Jews believe that the prophecy refers to the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. Secular scholars and some Evangelical scholars however, believe that the prophecy better fits the reign of Antiochus, and that it is an example of vaticinium ex eventu (prophecy after the fact).

Medieval study of angels was also affected by this book, as it is the only Old Testament source for the names of any of the angels, Gabriel and Michael (Dan 9:21; 12:1). The only other angel given a name is Raphael, mentioned in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit.

Traditional tomb sites of Daniel

There are six different locations all claimed to be the site of the tomb: Babylon, Kirkuk and Muqdadiyah in Iraq, Susa and Malamir in Iran, and Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d The meaning of the Dead Sea scrolls: their significance for understanding, James C. VanderKam, Peter Flint
  2. ^ Notes to The New American Bible, p. 1021, Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992. ISBN 9780899425108
  3. ^ William H. Shea, "The Prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27", in Holbrook, Frank. ed., The Seventy Weeks, Leviticus, and the Nature of Prophecy, 1986, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series, Vol. 3, Review and Herald Publishing Association
  4. ^ See, for example, Maurice Casey, "Son of Man" (SPCK, 1979) who lists ten commentators of the 'Syrian Tradition' who identify the fourth beast of chapter 7 as Greece, the little horn as Antiochus, and - in the majority of instances - the "saints of the Most High" as Maccabean Jews.
  5. ^ D Ford in "Daniel" (Southern Publishing Association, 1978) speaks of 'the almost universal application of [the little horn symbol of chapter 8] to Antiochus Epiphanes'. He also quotes the pre-critical view of the Anglican Bishop Thomas Newton in his "Dissertation on the Prophecies..." originally published in the mid 1700s (JF Dove,1838, p247): 'This little horn [of Daniel 8] is by the generality of interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, ancient and modern, supposed to mean Antiochus Epiphanes.' Newton adds that 'most of the ancient fathers and modern divines and commentators' agree with Jerome in identifying Antiochus in chapter 8, while also allowing that "Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of Antichrist".
  6. ^ H. H. Rowley, The Growth of the Old Testament, Harper: 1950, p. 158)).
  7. ^ Nabonidus and Belshazzar, Yale: 1929, p. 199
  8. ^ Revealing Daniel
  9. ^ John J. Collins, "Book of Daniel," Anchor Bible Dictionary 2 (1992), p. 30.
  10. ^ a b Revealing Daniel
  11. ^ Rowley, H.H. (1959). Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel. University of Wales Press. 
  12. ^ Vol. 6, p. 546-548
  13. ^ Much of this Cyaxares II is related in Xenophon's Cyropaedia 1.4,7, iii.3, 20, viii.5, 19, causing many other scholars to suppose he is the Darius described by Josephus; however this king's omission by Herodotus and Ctesias has caused other scholars (eg. Blum, Fred P. Miller) to question his existence.
  14. ^ a b Stephen R. Miller, Daniel (New American Commentary, 18; Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994), p. 149.
  15. ^ e.g., as stated in Hippolytus' Diamerismos, §204, among other places.
  16. ^ according to the Chronicle of Nabonidus
  17. ^ Xenophon, Cyropaedia
  18. ^ http://www.historyofthedaughters.com/34.pdf
  19. ^ Hasel, "The First and Third Years of Belshazzar (Dan 7:1; 8:1)", AUSS 15(1977): 168, note 91.
  20. ^ Wilson, R. D. Studies in the Book of Daniel. (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1917): pages 107-111; Shea, William H. "Nabonidus, Belshazzar, and the Book of Daniel: An Update", AUSS 20:2 (Summer 1982): 148-9.
  21. ^ Stephen R. Miller, Daniel (New American Commentary, 18; Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994), p. 149.
  22. ^ Millard, Alan R. "Daniel 1-6 and History", Evangelical Quarterly 49:2 (Apr-June 1977): 71; Young, A Commentary on Daniel. (1949): 115ff.
  23. ^ A. Steinmann, ‘The Chicken and the Egg: A New Proposal for the Relationship between the "Prayer of Nabonidus" and the "Book of Daniel"’, Revue de Qumran 20:4 (December 2002) 557-570; T. E. Gaston, Historical Issues in the Book of Daniel, (2009), 47-52.
  24. ^ S. H. Horn, ‘New Light on Nebuchadnezzar's Madness’, Ministry (April 1978) 38-40; T. E. Gaston, 58-61.
  25. ^ T. E. Gaston, 19-34
  26. ^ Oppenheim, A. Leo (1966). "Babylonian and Assyrian Historical Texts". in James B. Pritchard. Ancient Near Eastern Texts (2nd ed.; 3rd print ed.). Princeton University Press. pp. 308. 
  27. ^ Vision and persuasion: rhetorical dimensions of apocalyptic discourse By L. Gregory Bloomquist, Greg Carey
  28. ^ a b J.J.Collins "Daniel" (Fortress Press, 1993), pp122-123. "for mainline scholarship... these issues were decided at least a century ago" J.J.Collins "Daniel" (Fortress Press, 1993), pp122-123
  29. ^ When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture by Paul Boyer
  30. ^ The Hebrew Bible,Dan Cohn-Sherbok
  31. ^ The Collegeville Bible commentary: based on the New American Bible, Dianne Bergant, Robert J. Karris
  32. ^ Judaism before Jesus: the ideas and events that shaped the New Testament world, Anthony J. Tomasino
  33. ^ Fallen is Babylon: the Revelation to John, Frederick James Murphy
  34. ^ The biblical world, Volume 2, John Barton
  35. ^ [The Theology of the Book of Daniel at http://documents.fuller.edu/sot/faculty/goldingay/cp_content/homepage/homepage.htm; cf. Goldingay, Daniel (Word Biblical Commentary; Dallas: Word, 1989)]
  36. ^ Alexander visits Jerusalem
  37. ^ Studies in the Jewish background of Christianity, Daniel R. Schwartz
  38. ^ The Oxford handbook of biblical studies, John William Rogerson, Judith Lieu
  39. ^ Shaye Cohen, "Alexander the Great and Jaddus the High Priest according to Josephus", 41-68; see also Adolf Büchler,"La relation de Josephe concernant Alexandre le Grand", 1-26
  40. ^ Christian Thinktank; http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qwhendan3a.html; Was Daniel Written After the Events he Foretold?; December 2000
  41. ^ a b c The Dating of the Book of Daniel, Bryan Rennie
  42. ^ Tanakh and its Shape
  43. ^ Between the Testaments, David Syme Russell
  44. ^ Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible By David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, Astrid B. Beck, p. 311
  45. ^ NIV footnote on Ezekiel 14:14
  46. ^ http://bible.org/article/who-ezekiels-daniel
  47. ^ http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/
  48. ^ http://www.septuagint.net/
  49. ^ Beware of Bible Fundamentalists "Quoting" Sources, Skeptical Review Online, Farrell Till
  50. ^ "Septuagint" Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  51. ^ Introducing the Old Testament By John William Drane, John Drane, pp. 221-222
  52. ^ Introduction to the Bible By John Haralson Hayes, pp 285-286
  53. ^ Casey P.M, Porphyry and the origin of the Book of Daniel, Journal of Theological Studies, 1976, pp. 15-33
  54. ^ Horrible abomination: šiqqǔṣ šômēm in the original Hebrew, a contemptuous pun on the title 'baal hashshamayim' (Lord of heaven), title of the Semitic storm god Hadad with whom Zeus Olympius had been identified. cf. e.g., J.A. Montgomery, Daniel, p. 388
  55. ^ Interpreting the Bible: a handbook of terms and methods, W. Randolph Tate, [1]
  56. ^ The Peshiṭta of Daniel, Richard A. Taylor, pp. 200-201
  57. ^ A short introduction to the Hebrew Bible, John J. Collins, p. 282
  58. ^ New American Bible, Daniel 7
  59. ^ Sibylline Oracles 4, 49-101; Polybius, 38.22; Velleius Paterculus 1.6.6; Tacitus, Histories, 5.8.4, Diodorus 32.24 and Appian, Lybica 132.
  60. ^ New American Bible, Daniel 6
  61. ^ Livius.org
  62. ^ Smith, U., 1944, Daniel and Revelation, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee
  63. ^ Anderson, A., 1975, Pacific PRess Pub. Assoc., Unfolding Daniel's Prophecies, Mountain View, California
  64. ^ Daniel 7:13-27 see verses 13, 14, 22, 27
  65. ^ "The Four Kingdoms Of Daniel" by John H. Walton, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 29.1 (1986): 25-36.
  66. ^ Hartman and Di Lella, (1990), 408.
  67. ^ Daniel, Hermeneia Commentary
  68. ^ 2 "The Skeptical Review Online". http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/2001/3/013mail.html 2. 
  69. ^ "There is no possibility that the text of Daniel could have been composed as late as the Maccabean uprising, and that there is every likelihood that the Aramaic comes from the same period, if not a century earlier, than the Aramaic of the Elephantine Papyri and of Ezra, which are admittedly fifth-century productions. It goes without saying that if the predictions concerning the period of Antiochus III and Antiochus IV (222-164 BC) are composed in language antedating the second-century and third-century B.C., then the whole effort to explain Daniel as a vaticinium ex eventu must be abandoned."
  70. ^ E.C. Lucas, Daniel (Apollos OT Commentary; Apollos, 2002) p. 307.
  71. ^ The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library. http://books.google.com/books?id=EigQoSZCUAwC&pg=PA334&lpg=PA334&dq=symphonia+GREEK+PYTHAGORAS&source=bl&ots=FBSl_CirJH&sig=zkY-3IfUuExRKQQI5vNis8jcCBY&hl=en&ei=H8RpSpeKO5HUMvT_8c8M&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7. 
  72. ^ The Face of Immortality: Physiognomy and Criticism. http://books.google.com/books?id=dyC1LXCx73QC&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=symphonia+GREEK+PYTHAGORAS&source=bl&ots=_BARIbIlwX&sig=O-e3SfgrpxY71rW6geOnRPZTtZM&hl=en&ei=H8RpSpeKO5HUMvT_8c8M&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1. 
  73. ^ Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, Zondervan, 1985, p. 21.
  74. ^ John E. Goldingay, Daniel, (Word Biblical Commentary, 30; Dallas: Word Books, 1989), p. xxv.
  75. ^ Evans, Craig A.; Flint, Peter W. (1997). Eschatology, messianism, and the Dead Sea scrolls. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4230-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=DDUw9mvbq4AC&pg=PA44&. 
  76. ^ Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible By David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, Astrid B. Beck
  77. ^ Invitation to the Apocrypha By Daniel J. Harrington
  78. ^ Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha By Watson E. Mills, Richard F. Wilson
  79. ^ Eerdmans commentary on the Bible By James D. G. Dunn, John William Rogerson
  80. ^ Sanford LA Sor, William; Sor, William Sanford, La; Hubbard, David Allan; Bush, Frederic William; Allen, Leslie C.; Sanford Lasor, William (1996). Old Testament survey: the message, form, and background of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans. pp. 574. ISBN 978-0-8028-3788-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=6wSWpZmmlAoC&pg=PA574&. 
  81. ^ Parallel translations of Daniel 7:13
  82. ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1995), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: K-P Volume 3 of The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 800, ISBN 9780802837837, http://books.google.com/books?id=r7QTYwYvvx0C&pg=PA800 
  83. ^ Collins, John Joseph; Flint, Peter W.; VanEpps, Cameron. (2001). The book of Daniel : composition and receptio. Leiden ; Boston: Brill. pp. 543. ISBN 978-90-04-12202-4. 
  84. ^ New American Bible
  85. ^ Introducing the New Testament: its literature and theology, Paul J. Achtemeier, Joel B. Green, Marianne Meye Thompson
  86. ^ An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity, Delbert Royce Burkett
  87. ^ Reynolds, Benjamin E. (2008). The apocalyptic son of man in the gospel of John. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 43. ISBN 978-3-16-149726-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=S_lMRtGEuAsC&pg=PA43&. 
  88. ^ Wright, N. T. (1992). Christian origins and the question of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. pp. 316. ISBN 978-0-8006-2681-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=PuTxOT4syCkC&pg=PA316&. 
  89. ^ Craig Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels, Apollos 1997, pp.322-326
  90. ^ Wright, N. T. (1992). Christian origins and the question of God. Volume 2, Jesus and the victory of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. pp. 352. ISBN 0-8006-2682-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=ms-xtRQoLUIC&pg=PA352&. 
  91. ^ Hartman and Di Lella, 1990, p. 419
  92. ^ Encyclopedia of theology: the concise Sacramentum mundi, Karl Rahner

References

  • Ernest C. Lucas, Daniel, 2002. ISBN 0-85111-780-5.
  • John J. Collins, Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, 1993. ISBN 0-8006-6040-4.
  • T. E. Gaston, Historical Issues in the Book of Daniel, 2009. ISBN 978-0-9561540-0-2.
  • E. J. Bickerman, Four Strange Books of the Bible, 1967. ISBN 0-8052-0774-0.
  • Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus, 1997. ISBN 0-14-025773-X.
  • Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander. Librairie Artheme Fayard (Paris), 1996. (Translation by Peter Daniels, 2002) p. 42.
  • Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. Di Lella, "Daniel", in Raymond E. Brown et al., ed., The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1990, pp. 406–20.
  • W. Sibley Towner, "Daniel", in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, 1993, pp. 149–52.
  • John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, 1989. ISBN 0-8024-1753-1.
  • D.J. Wiseman, T.C. Mitchell & R. Joyce, W.J. Martin & K.A. Kitchen, Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel. London: The Tyndale Press, 1965.
  • Aaron Hebbard, "Reading Daniel as a Text in Theological Hermeneutics." Eugene: Pickwick, 2009. ISBN 1-55635-991-8.
  • Easton's Bible dictionary

Further reading

  • Collins, John J.; Flint, Peter W., eds (2001). The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 83, pt 1-2. Leiden: Brill. 
  • DiTommaso, Lorenzo (2005). The Book of Daniel and the Apocryphal Daniel Literature. Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha 20. Leiden: Brill. 
  • Niskanen, Paul (2004). The Human and the Devine in History: Herodotus and the Book of Daniel. Journal for the study of the Old Testament. Supplementary series. London, et al.. ISBN 03090787. 
  • Woude, A.S. van der, ed (1993). The Book of Daniel in the Light of New Findings. Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum Lovaniensium 106. Louvain. 

External links

Jewish translations

Christian translations

Related articles

Preceded by
Esther
Hebrew Bible Followed by
Ezra-Nehemiah
Preceded by
Ezekiel
Christian Old Testament Followed by
Hosea

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DANIEL, BOOK OF. - The Book of Daniel stands between Ezra and Esther in the third great division of the Hebrew Bible known as the Hagiographa, in which are classed all works which were not regarded as being part of the Law or the Prophets. The book presents the unusual peculiarity of being written in two languages, i.-ii. 4 and viii.-xii. being in Hebrew, while the text of ii. 4-vii. is the Palestinian dialect of Aramaic.' The subject matter, however, falls naturally into two divisions which are not coterminous with the linguistic sections; viz. i.-vi. and vii.-xii. The first of these sense-divisions deals only with narratives regarding the reign of Nebuchadrezzar and his supposed son Belshazzar, while the second section consists exclusively of apocalyptic prophecies. There can be no doubt that a definite plan was followed in the arrangement of the work. The author's object was clearly to demonstrate to his readers the necessity of faith in Israel's God, who shall not for ever allow his chosen ones to be ground under the heel of a ruthless heathen oppressor. To illustrate this, he makes use on the one hand (i.-vi.) of carefully chosen narratives, somewhat loosely connected it is true, but all treating substantially the same subject, - the physical triumph of God's servant over his unbelieving enemies; and on the other hand (vii.-xii.), he introduces certain prophetic visions illustrative of God's favour towards the same servant, Daniel. So carefully is this record of the visions arranged that the first two chapters of the second part of the book (vii.-viii.) were no doubt purposely made to appear in a symbolic form, in order that in the last two revelations (xi.-xii.), which were couched in such direct language as to be intelligible even to the modern student of history, the author might obtain the effect of a climax. The book is probably not therefore a number of parts of different origin thrown loosely together by a careless editor, who does not deserve the title of author. 2 The more or less disconnected sections of the first part of the work were probably so arranged purposely, in order to facilitate its diffusion at a time when books were known to the people at large chiefly by being read aloud in public.

Various attempts have been made to explain the sudden change from Hebrew to Aramaic in ii. 4. It was long thought, for example, that Aramaic was the vernacular of Babylonia and was consequently employed as the language of the parts relating to that country. But this was not the case, because the Babylonian language survived until a later date than that of the events portrayed in Daniel.' Nor is it possible to follow the theory of Merx, that Aramaic, which was the popular tongue of the day when the Book of Daniel was written, was therefore used for the simpler narrative style, while the more learned Hebrew was made the idiom of the philosophical portions. 4 The first chapter, which is just as much in the narrative style as are the following Aramaic sections, is in Hebrew, while the distinctly apocalyptic chapter vii. is in Aramaic. A third view, that the bilingual character of the work points to a time when both languages were used indifferently, is equally unsatisfactory,' because it is highly questionable whether two idioms can ever be used quite indifferently. In fact, a hybrid work in two languages would be a literary monstrosity. In view of the apparent unity of the entire work, the only possible explanation seems to be that the book was written at first all in Hebrew, but for the convenience of the general reader whose vernacular was Aramaic, a translation, possibly from the same pen as the original, was made into king to great political prominence, owing to his extraordinary God given ability to interpret dreams. In both.versions, the heathen astrologers make the first attempt to solve the difficulty, which results in failure, whereupon the pious Israelite, being summoned to the royal presence, in both cases through the friendly intervention of a court official, triumphantly explains the mystery to the king's satisfaction (cf. Prince, Dan. p. 29).

1 See Bevan, Dan. 28-40, on the Hebrew and Aramaic of Daniel.

2 According to Lagarde, Mitteilungen, iv. 351 (1891); also Gat, Gelehrte Anzeigen (1891), 497-520.

The latest connected Babylonian inscription is that of Antiochus Soter (280-260 B.C.), but the language was probably spoken until Hellenic times; cf. Gutbrod, Zeitschr. fiir Assyriol. Vi. 27.

Prince, Dan. 12.

Bertholdt, Dan. 15; Franz Delitzsch, in Herzog, Realencyklopddie, 2nd ed., iii. 470.

Aramaic. It must be supposed then that, certain parts of the original Hebrew manuscript being lost, the missing places were supplied from the current Aramaic translation.' It cannot be denied in the light of modern historical research that if the Book of Daniel be regarded as pretending to full historical authority, the biblical record is open to all manner of attack. It is now the general opinion of most modern scholars who study the Old Testament from a critical point of view that this work cannot possibly have originated, according to the traditional theory, at any time during the Babylonian monarchy, when the events recorded are supposed to have taken place.

The chief reasons for such a conclusion are as follows.' 1. The position of the book among the Hagiographa, instead of among the Prophetical works, seems to show that it was introduced after the closing of the Prophetical Canon. Some commentators have believed that Daniel was not an actual prophet in the proper sense, but only a seer, or else that he had no official standing as a prophet and that therefore the book was not entitled to a place among official prophetical books. But if the work had really been in existence at the time of the completion of the second part of the canon, the collectors of the prophetical writings, who in their care did not neglect even the parable of Jonah, would hardly have ignored the record of so great a prophet as Daniel is represented to have been.

2. Jesus ben Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), who wrote about 200180 B.C., in his otherwise complete list of Israel's leading spirits (xlix.), makes no mention of Daniel. Hengstenberg's plea that Ezra and Mordecai were also left unmentioned has little force, because Ezra appears in the book bearing his name as nothing more than a prominent priest and scholar, while Daniel is represented as a great prophet.

3. Had the Book of Daniel been extant and generally known) after the time of Cyrus (537-529 B.C.), it would be natural to look for some traces of its power among the writings of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, whose works, however, show no evidence that either the name or the history of Daniel was known to these authors. Furthermore, the manner in which the prophets are looked back upon in ix. 6-10 cannot fail to suggest an extremely late origin for the book. Besides this, a careful study of ix. 2 seems to indicate that the Prophetical Canon was definitely completed at the time when the author of Daniel wrote. It is also highly probable that much of the material in the second part of the book was suggested by the works of the later prophets, especially by Ezekiel and Zechariah.

4. Some of the beliefs set forth in the second part of the book also practically preclude the possibility of the author having lived at the courts of Nebuchadrezzar and his successors. Most noticeable among these doctrines is the complete system of angelology consistently followed out in the Book of Daniel, according to which the management of human affairs is entrusted to a regular hierarchy of commanding angels, two of whom, Gabriel and Michael, are even mentioned by name. Such an idea was distinctly foreign to the primitive Israelitish conception of the indivisibility of Yahweh's power, and must consequently have been a borrowed one. It could certainly not have come from the Babylonians, however, whose system of attendant spirits was far from being so complete as that which is set forth in the Book of Daniel, but rather from Persian sources where a more complicated angelology had been developed. As many commentators have brought out, there can be little doubt that the doctrine of angels in Daniel is an indication of prolonged Persian influence. Furthermore, it is now very generally admitted that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is advanced for the first time in the Old Testament in Daniel, also originated among the Persians, 8 and could only have been engrafted on the Jewish mind after a long period of intercourse with the Zoroastrian religion, which came into contact with the Jewish thinkers considerably after the time of Nebuchadrezzar.

' Bevan, Dan. 27 ff.; Prince, Dan. 13.

For this whole discussion, see Prince, Dan. 15 ff.

The investigations of Haug, Spiegel and Windischmann show that this was a real Zoroastrian doctrine.

5. All the above evidences are merely internal, but we are now able to draw upon the Babylonian historical sources to prove that Daniel could not have originated at the time of Nebuchadrezzar. There can be no doubt that the author of Daniel thought that Belshazzar (q.v.), who has now been identified beyond all question with Belg ar-uzur, the son of Nabonidus, the last Semitic king of Babylon, was the son of Nebuchadrezzar, and that Belshazzar attained the rank of king.' This prince did not even come from the family of Nebuchadrezzar. Nabonidus, the father of Belshazzar, was the son of a nobleman Nabu-baladsu-igbi, who was in all probability not related to any of the preceding kings of Babylon. Had Nabonidus been descended from Nebuchadrezzar he could hardly have failed in his records, which we possess, to have boasted of such a connexion with the greatest Babylonian monarch; yet in none of his inscriptions does he trace his descent beyond his father. Certain expositors have tried to obviate the difficulty, first by supposing that the expression "son of Nebuchadrezzar" in Daniel means "descendant" or "son," a view which is rendered untenable by the facts just cited. This school has also endeavoured to prove that the author of Daniel did not mean to imply Belshazzar's kingship of Babylon at all by his use of the word "king," but they suggest that the writer of Daniel believed Belshazzar to have been co-regent. If Belshazzar had ever held such a position, which is extremely unlikely in the absence of any evidence from the cuneiform documents, he would hardly have been given the unqualified title "king of Babylon" as occurs in Daniel. 2 For example, Cambyses, son of Cyrus, was undoubtedly co-regent and bore the title "king of Babylon" during his father's lifetime, but, in a contract which dates from the first year of Cambyses, it is expressly stated that Cyrus was still "king of the lands." This should be contrasted with Dan. viii. 1, where reference is made to the "third year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon" without any allusion to another over-ruler. Such attempts are at best subterfuges to support an impossible theory regarding the origin of the Book of Daniel, whose author clearly believed in the kingship of Belshazzar and in that prince's descent from Nebuchadrezzar.

Furthermore, the writer of Daniel asserts (v. 1) that a monarch "Darius the Mede" received the kingdom of Babylon after the fall of the native Babylonian house, although it is evident, from i. 21, x. 1, that the biblical author was perfectly aware of the existence of Cyrus.' The fact that in no other scriptural passage is mention made of any Median ruler between the last Semitic king of Babylon and Cyrus, and the absolute silence of the authoritative ancient authors regarding such a king, make it apparent that the late author of Daniel is again in error in this particular. It is known that Cyrus became master of Media by conquering Astyages, and that the troops of the king of Persia capturing Babylon took Nabonidus prisoner with but little difficulty. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to identify this mythical Darius with the Cyaxares, son of Astyages, of Xenophon's Cyropaedia, and also with the Darius of Eusebius, who was in all probability Darius Hystaspis. There is not only no room in history for this Median king of the Book of Daniel, but it is also highly likely that the interpolation of "Darius the Mede" was caused by a confusion of history, due both to the destruction of the Assyrian capital Nineveh by the Medes, sixty-eight years before the capture of Babylon by Cyrus, and also to the fame of the later king, Darius Hystaspis, a view which was advanced as early in the history of biblical criticism as the days of the Benedictine monk, Marianus Scotus. It is important to note in this connexion that Darius the Mede is represented as the son of Xerxes (Ahasuerus) and it is stated that he established 120 satrapies. Darius Hystapis was the father of Xerxes, and according to Herodotus (iii. 89) established twenty satrapies. Darius the Mede entered into possession of Babylon after the death of Belshazzar; Darius Hystaspis conquered Babylon 1 Prince, Dan. 35-42.

2 Certain tablets published by Strassmaier, bearing date continuously from Nabonidus to Cyrus, show that neither Belshazzar nor "Darius the Mede" could have had the title "king of Babylon." See Driver, Introduction, 3 xxii.

Prince, Dan. 44-56.

from the hands of certain rebels (Her. iii. 153-160). In fine, the interpolation of a Median Darius must be regarded as the most glaring historical inaccuracy of the author of Daniel. In fact, this error of the author alone is proof positive that he must have lived at a very late period, when the record of most of the earlier historical events had become hopelessly confused and perverted.

With these chief reasons why the Book of Daniel cannot have originated in the Babylonian period, if the reader will turn more especially to the apocalyptic sections (vii. - xii.), it will be quite evident that the author is here giving a detailed account of historical events which may easily be recognized through the thin veil of prophetic mystery thrown lightly around them. It is indeed highly suggestive that just those occurrences which are the most remote from the assumed standpoint of the writer are the most correctly stated, while the nearer we approach the author's supposed time, the more inaccurate does he become. It is quite apparent that the predictions in the Book of Daniel centre on the period of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.), when that Syrian prince was endeavouring to suppress the worship of Yarweh and substitute for it the Greek religion. 4 There can be no doubt, for example, that in the "Little Horn" of vii. 8, viii. 9, and the "wicked prince" described in ix. - x., who is to work such evil among the saints, we have clearly one and the same person. It is now generally recognized that the king symbolized by the Little Horn, of whom it is said that he shall come of one of four kingdoms which shall be formed from the Greek empire after the death of its first king (Alexander), can be none other than Antiochus Epiphanes, and in like manner the references in ix. must allude to the same prince. It seems quite clear that xi. 21-45 refers to the evil deeds of Antiochus IV. and his attempts against the Jewish people and the worship of Yahweh. In xii. follows the promise of salvation from the same tyrant, and, strikingly enough, the predictions in this last section, x. - xii., relating to future events, become inaccurate as soon as the author finishes the section describing the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. The general style of all these prophecies differs materially from that of all other prophetic writings in the Old Testament. Other prophets confine themselves to vague and general predictions, but the author of Daniel is strikingly particular as to detail in everything relating to the period in which he lived, i.e. the reign of Antiochus IV. Had the work been composed during the Babylonian era, it would be more natural to expect prophecies of the return of the exiled Jews to Palestine, as in Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah, rather than the acclamation of an ideal Messianic kingdom such as is emphasized in the second part of Daniel.

As a specimen of the apocalyptic method followed in Daniel, the celebrated prophecy of the seventy weeks (ix. 24-27) may be cited, a full discussion of which will be found in Prince, Daniel, 157-161. According to Jer. xxv. 11-12, the period of Israel's probation and trial was to last seventy years. In the angelic explanation in Daniel of Jeremiah's prophecy, these years were in reality year-weeks, which indicated a period of 490 years. This is the true apocalyptic system. The author takes a genuine prophecy, undoubtedly intended by Jeremiah to refer simply to the duration of the Babylonian captivity, and, by means of a purely arbitrary and mystical interpretation, makes it denote the entire period of Israel's degradation down to his own time. This prophecy is really nothing more than an extension of the vision of the 2300 evening-mornings of viii. 14, and of the "time, times and a half a time" of vii. 25. The real problem is as to the beginning and end of this epoch, which is divided into three periods of uneven length; viz. one of seven weeks; one of sixtytwo weeks; and the last of one week. It seems probable that the author of Daniel, like the Chronicler, began his period with the fall of Jerusalem in 586. His first seven weeks, therefore, ending with the rule of "Messiah the Prince," 5 probably Joshua ben Jozadak, the first high-priest after the exile (Ezra iii. 2), seem to coincide exactly with the duration of the Babylon exile, i.e. forty-nine years.

4 Prince, Dan. 19-20, 140, 1 55, 1 79 ff.

That "Messiah" or "Anointed One" was used of the HighPriest is seen from Lev. x, 3, v. 16.

The second period of the epoch, during which Jerusalem is to be peopled and built, and at the end of which the Messiah is to be cut off, is much more difficult to determine. The key to the problem lies undoubtedly in the last statement regarding the overthrow of the Messiah or Anointed One. Such a reference coming from a Maccabean author can only allude to the deposition by Antiochus IV. of the high-priest Onias III., which took place about 174 B.C., and the Syrian king's subsequent murder of the same person not later than 171 (2 Macc. iv. 33-36). The difficulty now arises that between 537 and 171 there are only 366 years instead of the required number 434. It was evidently not the author's intention to begin the second period of sixty weeks simultaneously with the first period, as some expositors have thought, because the whole passage shows conclusively that he meant seventy independent weeks. Besides, nothing is gained by such a device, which would bring the year of the end of the second period down to the meaningless date 152, too late to refer to Onias. Cornill therefore adopted the only tenable theory regarding the problem; viz. that the author of Daniel did not know the chronology between 537 and 312, the establishment of the Seleucid era, and consequently made the period too long. A parallel case is the much quoted example of Demetrius, who placed the fall of Samaria (722 B.C.) 573 years before the succession of Ptolemy IV. (222), thus making an error of seventy-three years. Josephus, who places the reign of Cyrus forty to fifty years too early, makes a similar error.

The last week is divided into two sections (26-27), in the first of which the city and sanctuary shall be destroyed and in the second the daily offering is to be suspended. All critical scholars recognize the identity of this second half-week with the "time, times and a half a time" of vii. 25. This last week must, therefore, end with the restoration of the temple worship in 164 B.C.

This whole prophecy, which is perhaps the most interesting in the Book of Daniel, presents problems which can never be thoroughly understood, first because the author must have been ignorant of both history and chronology, and secondly, because, in his effort to be as mystical as possible, he purposely made use of indefinite and vague expressions which render the criticism of the passage a most unsatisfactory task.

The Book of Daniel loses none of its beauty and force because we are bound, in the light of modern criticism, to consider it as a production of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, nor should conservative Bible-readers lament because the historical accuracy of the work is thus destroyed. The influence of the work was very great on the subsequent development of Christianity, but it was not the influence of the history contained in it which made itself felt, but rather of that sublime hope for a future deliverance of which the author of Daniel never lost sight. The allusion to the book by Jesus (Matt. xxiv. 15) shows merely that our Lord was referring to the work by its commonly accepted title, and implies no authoritative utterance with regard to its date or authorship. Our Lord simply made use of an apt quotation from a well-known work in order to illustrate and give additional force to his own prediction. If the book be properly understood, it must not only be admitted that the author made no pretence at accuracy of detail, but also that his prophecies were clearly intended to be merely an historical resume, clothed for the sake of greater literary vividness in a prophetic garb. The work, which is certainly not a forgery, but only a consolatory political pamphlet, is just as powerful, viewed according to the author's evident intention, as a consolation to God's people in their dire distress at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, as if it were, what an ancient but mistaken tradition had made it, really an accurate account of events which took place at the close of the Babylonian period.' Literature. - See bibliography in Bevan, Daniel 9, and add Kamphausen, Dan., in Haupt's Sacred Books of the Old Testament; Behrmann, Dan. (1894); J. D. Prince, Dan. (1899); G. A. Barton, "The Compilation of the Book of Daniel," in Journ. Bibl. Lit. (1898), 62-86, against the unity of the book, &c., &c.; J. D. Davis, "Persian Words and the Date of O.T. Documents," in Old Testament and Semitic Studies: in Memory of W. R. Harper (Chicago, 1908). (J. D. PR.) 1 Prince, Dan. 22-24.

Additions To Daniel. - The "additions to Daniel" are three in number: Susannah and the Elders, Bel and the Dragon, and The Song of the Three Children. Of these the two former have no organic connexion with the text. The case is otherwise with regard to the last. In some respects it helps to fill up a gap in the canonical text between verses 23 and 24 of chapter iii. And yet we find Polychronius, early in the 5th century, stating that this song was not found in the Syriac version.

Susannah

This addition was placed by Theodotion before chap. i., and Bel and the Dragon at its close, whereas by the Septuagint and the Vulgate it was reckoned as chap. xiii. after the twelve canonical chapters, Bel and the Dragon as xiv. Theodotion's version is the source of the Peshitto and the Vulgate, for all three additions, and the Septuagint is the source of the Syro-Hexaplaric which has been published by Ceriani (Mon. Sacr. vii.). The legend recounts how that in the early days of the Captivity Susannah, the beautiful and pious wife of the rich Joakim, was walking in her garden and was there seen by two elders who were also judges. Inflamed with lust, they made infamous proposals to her, and when repulsed they brought against her a false charge of adultery. When brought before the tribunal she was condemned to death and was on the way to execution, when Daniel interposed and, by cross-questioning the accusers apart, convinced the people of the falsity of the charge.

The source of the story may, according to Ewald (Gesch.3 iv. 636), have been suggested by the Babylonian legend of the seduction of two old men by the goddess of love (see also Koran, Sur. ii. 96). Another and much more probable origin of the work is that given by Briill (Das apocr. Susanna-Buch, 1877) and Ball (Speaker's Apocr. ii. 323-33 1). The first half of the story is based on a tradition - originating possibly in Jer. xxix. 21-32 and found in the Talmud and Midrash - of two elders Ahab and Zedekiah, who in the Captivity led certain women astray under the delusion that they should thereby become the mother of the Messiah. But the most interesting part of the investigation is concerned with the latter half of the story, which deals with the trial. The characteristics of this section point to its composition about ro090 B.C., when Simon ben Shetah was president of the Sanhedrin. Its object was to support the attempts of the Pharisees to bring about a reform in the administration of the law courts. According to Sadducean principles the man who was convicted of falsely accusing another of a capital offence was not put to death unless his victim was already executed. The Pharisees held that the intention of the accusers was equivalent to murder. Our apocryph upholds the Pharisaic contention. As Simon ben Shetah insisted on a rigorous examination of the witnesses, so does our writer: as he and his party required that the perjurer should suffer the same penalty he sought to inflict on another, so our writer represents the death penalty as inflicted on the perjured elders.

The language was in all probability Semitic-Hebrew or Aramaic. The paronomasiae in the Greek in verses 54-55 (inrb cX%vov ... aXio EC) and 58-59 (UT-6 rpIvov ... 7rpiaEC) present no cogent difficulty against this view; for they may be accidental and have arisen for the first time in the translation. But as Briill and Ball have shown (see Speaker's Apocr. ii. 324), the same paronomasiae are possible either in Hebrew or Aramaic.

Literature. - Ball in the Speaker's Apocr. ii. 233 sqq.; Schiirer, Gesch. 3 iii. 333; Rothstein in Kautzsch's Apocr. u. Pseud. i. 176 sqq.; Kamphausen in Ency. Bib.; Marshall in Hastings' Bible Diet.; Toy in the Jewish Encyc. Bel and the Dragon. - We have here two independent narratives, in both of which Daniel appears as the destroyer of heathenism. The latter had a much wider circulation than the former, and is most probably a Judaized form of the old Semitic myth of the destruction of the old dragon, which represents primeval chaos (see Ball, Speaker's Apocr. ii. 346-348; Gunkel, Schopfung and Chaos, 320-323). Marduk destroys Tiamat in a similar manner to that in which Daniel destroys the dragon (Delitzsch, Das babylonische Weltschopfung Epos), by driving a storm-wind into the dragon which rends it asunder. Marshall (Hastings' Bib. Diet. i. 267) suggests that the "pitch" of the Greek (Aramaic Nv7) arose from the original term for storm-wind (s n).

The Greek exists in two recensions, those of the Septuagint and Theodotion. Most scholars maintain a Greek original, but this is by no means certain. Marshall (Hastings' Bib Dict. i. 268) argues for an Aramaic, and regards Gasters's Aramaic text [Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology (1894), pp. 280-290, 312-317; (1895) 75-94] as of primary value in this respect, but this is doubtful.

Literature. - Fritzsche's Handbuch zu den Apoc.; Ball in the Speaker's Apocr. ii. 344 sqq.; Schiirer, 3 Gesch. iii. 332 sqq.; and the articles in the Ency. Bibl., Bible Dict., and Jewish Encyc. The Greek text is best given in Swete iii., and the Syriac will be found in Walton's Polyglot, Lagarde and Neubauer's Tobit. Song of the Three Children. - This section is composed of the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of Azariah, Ananias and Misael, and was inserted after iii. 23 of the canonical text of Daniel. According ro Fritzsche, Kdnig, Schiirer, &c., it was composed in Greek and added to the Greek translation. On the other hand, Delitzsch, Bissell, Ball, &c., maintain a Hebrew original. The latter view has been recently supported by Rothstein, A pocr. and Pseud. i. 173-176, who holds that these additions were made to the text before its translation into Greek. These additions still preserve, according to Rothstein, a fragment of the original text, i.e. verses 23-28, which came between verses 23 and 24 of chapter iii. of the canonical text. They certainly fill up excellently a manifest gap in this text. "The Song of the Three Children" was first added after the verses just referred to, and subsequently the Prayer of Azariah was inserted before these verses.

LITERATURE. - Ball in the Speaker's Apocr. ii. 305 sqq.; Rothstein in Kautzsch's Apocr. and Pseud. i. 173 sqq.; Schiirer, 3 Gesch. iii. 33 2 sqq. (R. H. C.)


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