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The Book of Daniel (דניאל) is
a book in
both the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)
and the Christian Old
Testament. Originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic,
it is set during the Babylonian
Captivity, a period when Jews were deported and exiled to Babylon following
of Jerusalem of 597
BC. The book revolves around the figure of Daniel,
an Israelite who becomes an adviser toNebuchadnezzar,
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 apocalypticvisions
(chapters seven to twelve). The narratives take the form of short stories
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 reception of dreams, visions
and angelic interpretations in the first
The dating and authorship of Daniel has become a matter of debate among
scholars. 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 that the book was written orredacted in
the mid-second century BC and that most of the predictions of the book refer
to events that had already occurred. A third viewpoint places the final
editorial work in the fourth century BC.
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.
- 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
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 Israel 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
Nebuchadnezzar dreams of an idol
made of four metals and a
mixture of iron and clay. The image is destroyed by a rock that then
dominates the world. The idol's composition of metals is interpreted as a series
of successive empires ending with a kingdom that will "endure forever".
- 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
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.
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.
- 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.
Susanna and the elders
(apocryphal to Jewish and Protestant canons)
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
Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children are
retained in the Septuagint and
in the Eastern
Orthodox, and Roman
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 successorsBelshazzar 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
Daniel appears as an interpreter of dreams and visions in these early court
events. He is depicted later in the book as a prophet with his early
experiences serving as the basis for his future ministry.
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 three visions and one lengthened prophetic communication focusing on the
destiny of Israel:
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 kingdom is represented by a beast with ten
horns representing ten kings, followed by a further wicked king who subdues
three of the ten (7:24), speaks against the Most High and the saints of the
Most High, and intends to change the times and the law (7:25); after 'a
time and times and half a time', this person is judged and his dominion is
taken away (7:26); finally, the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of
the kingdoms under the whole heaven are given to the people of the saints of
the Most High (7:27)
of sanctuary elements
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 seventy weeks
The vision in first year of Darius the
son of Ahasuerus (9:1)
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
A lengthy vision (10:1 - 12:13) in the third year of Cyrus king
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". Yet the saints
receive God's kingdom.
The prophetic and eschatological visions
of Daniel, with those of Ezekiel and Isaiah, are the scriptural 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.
William H. Shea Ph.D. (Archeology).
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.
themes have common label
Related sections have a common label. For instance those labeledA, 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 )
To emphasize the importance of the chiasmic 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.
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.
This chiasmic 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
been interpreted as extending to Roman times, chapter 8, for example, has
traditionally been applied to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Some modern historians of Babylonia or Achaemenid
not adduce the narratives of Daniel as
source materials, as they consider some statements in Daniel to be in conflict
with other historical accounts. However, a
major critic of Daniel, H.
H. Rowley considered chapter
11 as "a first-class historical
source for that period"
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.
The six objections given below represent, in order of significance, the major
items which are as anachronisms in Daniel.
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
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 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
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. 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
Iwas the father of a king called Xerxes.
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
|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." 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)
have thus attempted to identify 'Darius the Mede' with Cyaxares
II, who is mentioned as having the same relationships by Xenophon|
"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. 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 . 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.
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."
"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).
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 Yossipon,
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.
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,
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
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."  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
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. 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. 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. 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
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:
- Nebuchadnezzar's "affliction" was of the
mind whereas Nabonidus' was an "evil ulcer."
- 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.
- Nabonidus' condition was cured by an
unnamed Jewish exorcist whereas Nebuchadnezzar's recovery is not attributed
to a human agent.
- 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)
- 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.
It is possible that a reference to the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar is to be
found in a cuneiform text: BM 34113.
of Nebuchadnezzar's first siege of Jerusalem
The Book of Daniel begins by stating:
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
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.
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. 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.
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
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, thesipiru-official of the crown
prince", and "Hanunu - chief of the royal merchants,"  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.
In Daniel 11:2-4, the angel Gabriel informs the prophet that there will be
four Persian kings before the coming of Alexander the Great.
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:
The author of Daniel may have been misled 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).
However, Xerxes I, the fourth king from the time of history in the book of
Daniel, did in fact invade Greece and instigated the Greco-Persian wars, in
which he was ultimately defeated. If
a different king is referred to in verse 3, it can still refer to Alexander
the Great as initially thought.
Since it is normal in prophetic sections of the Hebrew Bible to have no
mention of large chronological gaps between historical events, the predictions
regarding the fourth king of Persia warring in Greece and that of Alexander
the Great are not necessarily to be understood as one immediately following
the other. The
successive sentences indicate a successive thematic relationship, i.e. the
struggle between Persia and Greece, rather than a chronological one.
While traditionally, the Book of Daniel was believed to have been written by
its namesake during and shortly after the Babylonian
captivityin the 6th century BC, modern biblical scholarship dates it to
the 2nd century BC.
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. Even
leading evangelical scholars have recently adopted this position, while in the
Roman Catholic community it has been the norm since World War II.
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
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. Harvard
J. D. Cohen denies the
historicity of Alexander's visit to Jerusalem and suggests that the Alexander
story is a combination of several sources. Additionally,
some point to the Dead
Sea scrolls found at Qumran dating
from the 2nd century BC. These scrolls include several manuscript fragments
and three substantial manuscripts of Daniel dating from the late 2nd-cent BC to
the first century AD. 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. However,
the relatively large 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. 
In addition, the canon of the Prophets (Nevi'im) was closed by about 200 BC
with the composition of Malachi.
The apocryphal book ofSirach,
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.
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 Epiphaneswho 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
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 נבוכדנאצרor 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".
This conclusion regarding the date of composition was first drawn by the
of Tyros, a third century pagan andNeoplatonist,
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 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). 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
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. Scholars
are virtually unanimous in regarding the Book of Daniel as a message of
encouragement to those people(hasidim) suffering
for their faith under the oppression of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
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). There
is a literary tradition through various cultures which saw history pass
through four kingdoms. These four kingdoms were Assyria, Media, Persia and
Daniel was set after the time of the Assyrians, Babylon was more relevant to
the literary structure.
Parallel sequence of events and its interpretation as understood by
identified as Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom in v. 36-39 i.e.
Silver Breast and arms
kingdom of Media
Bronze Belly and thighs
kingdom of Persia
kingdom of Greece
Feet and toes partly of iron and partly of baked clay
Syria (Seleucids) and Egypt (Ptolemies)
Kingdom of God
4 headed leopard
Terrible beast with iron teeth
10 kings of the Seleucid Dynasty
Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Kingdom of God handed over to the people (Jews) of the Most High
identified as the kings of Media and Persia in v.20
identified as the king of Greece in v.21
large horn is Alexander the Great
Macedonia, Pergamon, Egypt (Ptolemies) and Syria (Seleucid
Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes
4 kings of Persia
kings of the north andsouth
king of the north is Syria (Seleucid Dynasty), king of the south
is Egypt (Ptolemies)
Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Deliverance of Jews
To a modern reader the relationship between the Medes and the Persians is not
transparent in Daniel.
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
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. As
noted previously, however, a late author's apparent reliance on Jeremiah may
explain this (Dan.
|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
10:13). Daniel is told that after the prince of Persia, the prince of
Greece will come(Dan.
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
I show Media as a subordinate
kingdom which paid tribute to Persia.
- Other views
Some Historicist Christians (e.g. Young, Smith, Anderson, etc.) believe that
the first fours 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 sequence of prophetic elements as understood by conservatives
We are here
Chest & 2 arms
Belly and thighs
2 Feet with toes
Clay & Iron
(Kingdom of God)
Never to be destroyed
4 Headed/4 Winged
Iron toothed beast
Son of Man
Coming in clouds
Uni- / 4-horned Goat
4 Winds (Greece)
A Master of Intrigue
Cleansing of Sanctuary
(Kingdom of God)
North & South Kings
4 Winds (Greece)
North & South Kings
Person of Intrigue
Pagan & Papal Rome
North & South Kings
Michael stands up
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.
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
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
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.
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
E.C. Lucas is more cautious in his assessment of linguistic arguments as well.
Evaluating Collin’s 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.
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 .
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" Even
John Goldingay, a proponent of the late date, admits “the Greek words hardly
necessitate a very late date.” 
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.
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 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. (Compare the
Several fragmented copies of the book of Daniel have been found amongst the
Dead Sea Scrolls. The oldest of these has been paleographically dated to
around 125 BC. (None of the Daniel fragments has yet been carbon dated). This
copy is not the autograph (i.e. the original), nor was the original authored
at Qumran. By the first century BC, the book of Daniel already had a rich
textual history. There were at least three versions extant: i) the Hebrew/Aramiac
version on which the MT and the DSS copies are based; ii) Th-Dan (the
so-called Theodotion version); iii) OG-Dan (the so-called Septuagint version).
OG-Dan itself was based upon another Hebrew/Aramaic version, which differs
from the MT. In addition to these textual variants, there were also extant
many para-Danielic stories, such as those found as Qumran and the apocryphal
additions to the Greek versions.
Whereas many scholars conclude a second
century dating of the book in its final form, 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 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.
uses of Daniel
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 "Son
of Man" (Dan. 7:13). According to the gospels, Jesus used
this title as his preferred name for himself. The connection with Daniel's
vision (as opposed to the usage in the Book
of Ezekiel) is made explicit in the Gospels ofMatthew and Mark (Matt.
26:64; Mark 14:62). Christians see this as a direct claim by Jesus that he is
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
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 .
This would involve the levelling 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 modern-day scholars, Dan. 12:2 is the earliest clear
reference in the Old Testament to the resurrection
of the dead(Hartman and Di Lella, 1990, p. 419), with many of "your
countrymen" awakening from death, some to eternal life and some to eternal
disgrace. The notion of resurrection was
to be elaborated in the New Testament and Christian doctrine.
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
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, Danielwas
never grouped with the prophets, the Nevi'im,
in the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh),
but has always belonged to the section known as theKetuvim (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.
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
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, Gabrieland Michael (Dan
9:21; 12:1). The only other angel given a name is Raphael,
mentioned in the deuterocanonical Book
tomb sites of Daniel
Main article: Daniel's
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.
^ Notes to The New
American Bible, p. 1021, Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992. ISBN
^ 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
^ 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.
^ 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".
^ H. H. Rowley, The
Growth of the Old Testament, Harper: 1950, p. 158)).
^ Nabonidus and
Belshazzar, Yale: 1929, p. 199
^ John J. Collins,
“Book of Daniel,” Anchor
Bible Dictionary 2 (1992),
- ^ a b Revealing
H.H. (1959). Darius the Mede
and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel. University of Wales
^ Vol. 6, p. 546-548
^ 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.
^ a b Stephen
R. Miller, Daniel (New
American Commentary, 18; Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994), p.
^ e.g., as stated in Hippolytus' Diamerismos,
§204, among other places.
to the Chronicle of Nabonidus
^ Hasel, "The First and
Third Years of Belshazzar (Dan 7:1; 8:1)," AUSS 15(1977):
168, note 91.
^ 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.
^ Stephen R. Miller,
Daniel (New American Commentary, 18; Nashville: Broadman and Holman,
1994), p. 149.
^ Millard, Alan R.
"Daniel 1-6 and History," Evangelical
Quarterly 49:2 (Apr-June
1977): 71; Young, A Commentary on Daniel. (1949): 115ff.
^ 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.
^ S. H. Horn, ‘New
Light on Nebuchadnezzar’s Madness’, Ministry (April 1978) 38-40; T. E.
^ T. E. Gaston, 19-34
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.
^ See Greco-Persian
Wars or Xerxes_I_of_Persia#Invasion_of_the_Greek_Mainland.
^ 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
Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture by
Hebrew Bible,Dan Cohn-Sherbok
Collegeville Bible commentary: based on the New American Bible, Dianne
Bergant, Robert J. Karris
before Jesus: the ideas and events that shaped the New Testament world,
Anthony J. Tomasino
is Babylon: the Revelation to John, Frederick James Murphy
biblical world, Volume 2, John Barton
in the Jewish background of Christianity, Daniel R. Schwartz
Oxford handbook of biblical studies, John William Rogerson, Judith Lieu
^ 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",
^ Approximately fifty
years after Daniel was written according to Frank Moore Cross, "The
Ancient Library of Qumran" (Doubleday, 1961) p43.
^ Christian Thinktank; http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qwhendan3a.html; Was
Daniel Written After the Events he Foretold?; December 2000
- ^ a b c The
Dating of the Book of Daniel, Bryan
and its Shape
the Testaments, David Syme Russell
^ Introducing the
Old Testament By John
William Drane, John Drane, pp. 221-222
^ Introduction to the
Bible By John Haralson Hayes, pp 285-286
^ Casey P.M, Porphyry
and the origin of the Book of Daniel, Journal
of Theological Studies, 1976, pp. 15-33
^ 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
^ Interpreting the
Bible: a handbook of terms and methods, W. Randolph Tate, 
Peshiṭta of Daniel, Richard A. Taylor, pp. 200-201
short introduction to the Hebrew Bible, John J. Collins, p. 282
American Bible, Daniel 7
^ 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.
American Bible, Daniel 6
^ Smith, U., 1944, Daniel
and Revelation, Southern Publishing Association, Nashvill, TN
^ Anderson, A., 1975,
Pacific PRess Pub. Assoc., Unfolding
Daniel's Prophecies, Mountain
Four Kingdoms Of Daniel" by
John H. Walton, Journal of
the Evangelical Theological Society 29.1
^ Hartman and Di Lella,
^ Daniel, Hermeneia
The Skeptical Review Online".
^ "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."
^ E.C. Lucas, Daniel (Apollos
OT Commentary; Apollos, 2002) p. 307.
Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library".
Face of Immortality: Physiognomy and Criticism".
^ Frank E. Gaebelein, The
Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, Zondervan, 1985, p. 21.
^ John E. Goldingay,
Daniel, (Word Biblical Commentary, 30; Dallas: Word Books, 1989), p. xxv.
Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels, Apollos 1997, pp.322-326
T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, Fortress 1996, p. 348ff.
|Ernest C. Lucas, Daniel,
|John J. Collins, Daniel:
A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, 1993. ISBN
|T. E. Gaston, Historical
Issues in the Book of Daniel, 2009. ISBN
|E. J. Bickerman, Four
Strange Books of the Bible, 1967. ISBN
Robert Eisenman, James the
Brother of Jesus, 1997. ISBN
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
|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
|Easton's Bible dictionary|