Book of Daniel

Book of Daniel

Overview
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

. The book tells of how Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar
Belshazzar
Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of Babylon, the son of Nabonidus and the last king of Babylon according to the Book of Daniel . Like his father, it is believed by many scholars that he was an Assyrian. In Daniel Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of...

, and Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede is a biblical person in the Book of Daniel, Chapters 6-9, who rules over Babylon after King Belshazzar is deposed. The author of the book of Daniel indicated that Darius was about 62 years old when he was 'made king over Babylon.[5:31] He is best known for having been forced into...

. The book concludes with four Divine prophetic visions.

The introduction of the Book of Daniel is written in Hebrew, the body is written in Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic is the form of the Aramaic language that is used in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few other places in the Hebrew Bible and should not be confused with the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible known as targumim....

, then the Masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 concludes the book with a return to Hebrew.
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Encyclopedia
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

. The book tells of how Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar
Belshazzar
Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of Babylon, the son of Nabonidus and the last king of Babylon according to the Book of Daniel . Like his father, it is believed by many scholars that he was an Assyrian. In Daniel Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of...

, and Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede is a biblical person in the Book of Daniel, Chapters 6-9, who rules over Babylon after King Belshazzar is deposed. The author of the book of Daniel indicated that Darius was about 62 years old when he was 'made king over Babylon.[5:31] He is best known for having been forced into...

. The book concludes with four Divine prophetic visions.

The introduction of the Book of Daniel is written in Hebrew, the body is written in Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic is the form of the Aramaic language that is used in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few other places in the Hebrew Bible and should not be confused with the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible known as targumim....

, then the Masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 concludes the book with a return to Hebrew. The book consists of a series of six third-person narratives (chapters 1-6) followed by four apocalyptic
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

 visions in the first-person
First-person narrative
First-person point of view is a narrative mode where a story is narrated by one character at a time, speaking for and about themselves. First-person narrative may be singular, plural or multiple as well as being an authoritative, reliable or deceptive "voice" and represents point of view in the...

 (chapters 7-12).

The Jewish Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 places the Book of Daniel with the Ketuvim writings
Ketuvim
Ketuvim or Kəṯûḇîm in actual Biblical Hebrew is the third and final section of the Tanak , after Torah and Nevi'im . In English translations of the Hebrew Bible, this section is usually entitled "Writings" or "Hagiographa"...

, and Daniel in rabbinic literature
Daniel in rabbinic literature
Allusions in rabbinic literature to the Biblical story of Daniel contain various expansions, elaborations and inferences beyond the text presented in the book of the Bible.-Ancestry:...

 is not counted in the list of Prophets
Nevi'im
Nevi'im is the second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. It falls between the Torah and Ketuvim .Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:...

 of the Jewish canon. By contrast, Daniel is included amongst the major prophets in the Christian canon
Development of the Old Testament canon
The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian Biblical canon, which includes the books of the Hebrew Bible or protocanon and in some Christian denominations also includes several Deuterocanonical books or Biblical apocrypha...

 of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

.

The most widely accepted critical view posits that the author of the text was an anonymous writer living in the Maccabean period under Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ruled the Seleucid Empire from 175 BC until his death in 164 BC. He was a son of King Antiochus III the Great. His original name was Mithridates; he assumed the name Antiochus after he ascended the throne....

, during the 2nd century BCE, who compiled ancient legends with a pseudepigraph
Pseudepigraphy
Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded; a work, simply, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past." The word "pseudepigrapha" is the plural of "pseudepigraphon" ; the Anglicized forms...

 of "visions."
Other more conservative textual scholars, however, maintain with the historic Judeo-Christian tradition that Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

, the protagonist of the narrative set in the 6th century BCE, is likely also the historical author of the text.

Maccabean author


The traditional theory that Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

 was the original author of the Book of Daniel is dismissed by critics who reject the book's prophetic claims. Critics of Daniel
Criticism of the Bible
This article is about criticism of the Bible as a source of information or ethical guidance. It will vary slightly depending on whether the focus is on the Old Testament, the letters of New Testament or the Canonical gospels...

 view the Book of Daniel as a pseudepigraph
Pseudepigraphy
Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded; a work, simply, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past." The word "pseudepigrapha" is the plural of "pseudepigraphon" ; the Anglicized forms...

 dated around 165 BCE that concerns itself primarily with the Maccabean era and the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes. Those who share this view typically adhere to the Maccabean thesis when analyzing the Book of Daniel. The stories of chapters 1-6 are considered to be a literary genre
Literary genre
A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. Genre should not be confused with age category, by which literature may be classified as either adult, young-adult, or children's. They also must not be confused...

 of legends that are older than the visions of chapters 7-12. The visions in the latter half of Daniel are theorized to be written by an anonymous author in the Maccabean era, who assembled the legends with the visions as one book, in the 2nd century BCE. According to this view, it is not considered to be read as a prophecy of western political history or of an eschatological future. Rather, the critical focus is on the witness to the religiosity of the Maccabean time period.

Anonymous writer
Norman W. Porteous was one of the first to postulate that an anonymous writer wrote the book during the persecution under Antiochus. According to this theory, the anonymous author attributed these events to Daniel, as prophecies that were witnessed by this writer in the 2nd century BCE. Paul Roche
Paul Roche
Donald Robert Paul Roche was a British poet, novelist, and professor of English, a critically acclaimed translator of Greek and Latin classics, notably the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Sappho, and Plautus...

 observes that the author abounded in mistakes and anachronism
Anachronism
An anachronism—from the Greek ανά and χρόνος — is an inconsistency in some chronological arrangement, especially a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other...

s, using Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

 as a symbol for the faithful Jew serving Yahweh
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

, and the use of various pagan kings as symbols of heathenism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

. Critics do, however, acknowledge that the author of Daniel was familiar with the history of Near Eastern imperial power from the sixth to the second centuries. But, because the writer had an incomplete and erroneous view of historical details in the second half of the sixth century, Daniel’s era, such imbalances support the theory of a late date of writing.

Encouragement under oppression
Porteous and Roche agree that the Book of Daniel is composed of folktales that were used to fortify the Jewish faith during a time of great persecution and oppression by the Hellenized Seleucids
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

 some four centuries after Babylonian captivity
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

. James VanderKam and Peter W. Flint further explain that the stories of Daniel and his friends, set in Babylon during the Exile, encouraged readers to remain faithful to God and to refuse compromise in the face of their oppressors, and offered the prospect of triumph over wickedness and idolatry. These themes may have brought encouragement to the Qumran
Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

 covenanters who were persecuted by other Jews and also threatened by Hellenism
Hellenization
Hellenization is a term used to describe the spread of ancient Greek culture, and, to a lesser extent, language. It is mainly used to describe the spread of Hellenistic civilization during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great of Macedon...

. However, from a conservative approach, Joyce G. Baldwin argued that "old, authentic stories would have provided comfort to sufferers of later generations far more convincingly than a book of new parables."

Dating to Hellenistic period
The presence of three Greek loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

s that only occur in Daniel chapter 3, have supporters of a late date say that Daniel had to have been written after Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Orient
Orient
The Orient means "the East." It is a traditional designation for anything that belongs to the Eastern world or the Far East, in relation to Europe. In English it is a metonym that means various parts of Asia.- Derivation :...

, from 330 BCE. They claim that it would be impossible for Greek loanwords to appear two centuries before then. These loanwords are three Greek musical terms. Frank Gaebelein argues that the non-existence of other Greek words does not support the theory of Daniel being written in the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

. Gaebelein states that "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
John Goldingay
John E. Goldingay is the David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament in the School of Theology of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California....

, a proponent of the late date, concedes, "the Greek words hardly necessitate a very late date." The earliest known use of the Greek word symphonia, dates back to Pythagoras
Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him...

, born in the 6th century BCE, who has used the term. The adjectival use of symphonia meaning, "in unison", is found in the Hymni Homerica, ad Mercurium 51; both instances date from the 6th century BCE.

Qumran 4QDanc
Use of the Aramaic language was also popular in the 2nd Century BCE and was widely spoken amongst Jews in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. With the discovery of the Dead Sea scroll, 4QDanc at Qumran
Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

, dating 125 BCE, it does not reassure critics that Daniel was written in the 2nd century BCE. Even the critic G. R. Driver recognized that "the presence and popularity of the Daniel manuscripts at Qumran" conflicted "with the modern view which advocates the late dating of the composition of Daniel". [Wegner, 116] This scroll contains the oldest reference to Daniel, only as an abbreviated text: a prayer of Daniel at (9:4b-19). 4QDanc does not strictly qualify as a copy of the book itself.

Support for earlier authorship


Kenneth Kitchen
Kenneth Kitchen
Kenneth Anderson Kitchen is Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, England...

, Louis F. Hartman and Alexander Di Lella, for example, date the Aramaic portion more broadly within the Persian period (i.e., before the 330s BC), as based on Persian loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

s.
There are about 19 Persian loanwords that occur in the Aramaic portions of the Book of Daniel.

Texual sources



There are three main versions of the Book of Daniel: the twelve-chapter version preserved in the Masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 and two longer Greek versions (the original Septuagint version, c. 100 BCE, and the later Theodotion
Theodotion
Theodotion was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar,, perhaps working in Ephesus who in ca. AD 150 translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Whether he was revising the Septuagint, or was working from Hebrew manuscripts that represented a parallel tradition that has not survived, is debated...

 version, c. 2nd century CE). Both the Greek versions contain apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l chapters that are not found in the Masoretic text.

Greek versions


Theodotion's translation is much closer to the Masoretic text and became so popular that it replaced the original Septuagint version of Daniel, in all but two manuscripts of the Septuagint itself. The Septuagint version appears to agree more with the Qumran fragments rather than the Hebrew/Aramaic Masoretic text reflected in modern translations.

Three additional narratives are preserved in the Septuagint and the Theodotion
Theodotion
Theodotion was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar,, perhaps working in Ephesus who in ca. AD 150 translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Whether he was revising the Septuagint, or was working from Hebrew manuscripts that represented a parallel tradition that has not survived, is debated...

 versions, and are considered apocrypha
Biblical apocrypha
The word "apocrypha" is today often used to refer to the collection of ancient books printed in some editions of the Bible in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments...

l by Protestant Christians and Jews, and deuterocanonical
Deuterocanonical books
Deuterocanonical books is a term used since the sixteenth century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. The term is used in contrast to the protocanonical books, which are...

 by Catholic and Orthodox Christians. These additions to Daniel
Additions to Daniel
The Additions to Daniel comprise three chapters not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel. The text of these chapters is found in the Greek Septuagint and in the earlier Old Greek translation. They are accepted as canonical and translated as such in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and...

 are:
  1. The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children
    The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children
    The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Holy Children is a lengthy passage that appears after Daniel 3:23 in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, as well as in the ancient Greek Septuagint translation. It is listed as non-canonical in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the...

  2. The stories of Susannah and the Elders
    Susanna (Book of Daniel)
    Susanna or Shoshana included in the Book of Daniel by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. It is listed in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England among the books which are included...

  3. Bel and the Dragon
    Bel and the Dragon
    The narrative of Bel and the Dragon incorporated as chapter 14 of the extended Book of Daniel exists only in Greek in the Septuagint. This chapter, along with chapter 13, is referred to as deuterocanonical, in that it is not universally accepted among Christians as belonging to the canonical works...


Dead sea scrolls


A total of eight copies of the Book of Daniel have been found at Qumran
Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

: two in Cave 1
Qumran Caves
The Qumran Caves are a series of caves, some natural, some artificial, to be found around the archaeological site of Qumran. It is in a number of these caves that the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found...

, five in Cave 4, and one in Cave 6. None are complete due to degradation, but between them, they preserve text from eleven of Daniel’s twelve chapters. The twelfth chapter is found in the Florilegium
Florilegium
In medieval Latin a florilegium was a compilation of excerpts from other writings. The word is formed the Latin flos and legere : literally a gathering of flowers, or collection of fine extracts from the body of a larger work. It was adapted from the Greek anthologia "anthology", with the same...

 4Q174. All eight manuscripts were copied within 175 years, ranging from 125 BCE (4QDanc) to about 50 CE (4QDanb).

Seven of the eight scrolls originally contained the entire book of Daniel in the short form as it is in the Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

, however none have the long form as preserved in the Septuagint. All eight scrolls do not reveal any major disagreements against the Masoretic Text, although James C. VanderKam observes that 1QDana is closest to the traditional text.

The four scrolls that preserve the relevant sections (1QDana, 4QDana, 4QDanb, and 4QDand) all follow the same bilingual nature of Daniel where the book opens in Hebrew, switches to Aramaic at 2:4b, then reverts back to Hebrew at 8:1.

Linguistic criticism


Daniel’s twelve chapters may be divided into three notable sections as based on its linguistic structure:
  1. Part I: Chapter 1-2:3 introduces Daniel and his companions and the circumstances they were in. (Hebrew).
  2. Part II: Chapter 2:4-7 are the Court tales of Daniel and his companions living amongst the Babylonians. (Aramaic).
  3. Part III: Chapters 8-12 are Daniel’s prophetic visions of Israel’s future (Hebrew).

Aramaic portion


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 - many Aramaisms in the Hebrew text find proposed explanation by the hypothesis of an inexact initial translation into Hebrew.

According to John J. Collins
John J. Collins
John J. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism & Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. He is noted for his research in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the apocryphal works of the Second Temple period including the sectarian works found in Dead Sea Scrolls and their relation to...

 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
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

, 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
Zondervan
Zondervan is an international Christian media and publishing company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan is a founding member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association .- History :...

, 1990) says 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.

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.

Greek loanwords


Three Greek musical terms occur in Daniel chapter 3. All three loanwords are the musical instruments: κιθαρις (cithara), ψαλτηριον (psaltery
Psaltery
A psaltery is a stringed musical instrument of the harp or the zither family. The psaltery of Ancient Greece dates from at least 2800 BC, when it was a harp-like instrument...

) and συμφωνια (symphonia
Symphonia
Symphonia is a much-discussed word, applied at different times to the bagpipe, the drum, the hurdy-gurdy, and finally a kind of clavichord...

). Frank Gaebelein observes that "Greek mercenaries and slaves served in the Babylonian and Assyrian periods, some of whom were undoubtedly versed in Greek music and musical instruments." The earliest known use of the Greek word symphonia, dates back to Pythagoras
Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him...

, born in the 6th century BCE, who has used the term. The adjectival use of symphonia meaning, "in unison", is found in the Hymni Homerica, ad Mercurium 51; both instances date from the 6th century BCE.

Persian loanwords


There are about 19 Persian loanwords that occur in the Aramaic portions of the Book of Daniel. The Persians used Aramaic in their administrative control of the empire. Accordingly, their own Persian language
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 influenced Aramaic. Such influence has caused Aramaic to have many Persian loanwords that can be seen in later historical texts. Since Daniel was a statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

 during the Persian conquests, the Book of Daniel could have been written in a period when the Persians had their greatest influence on Aramaic, believed to be in the mid 6th century BC.

Use of Chaldean


The book of Daniel uses the term "Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

n" 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
Anachronism
An anachronism—from the Greek ανά and χρόνος — is an inconsistency in some chronological arrangement, especially a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other...

, as during the Neo-Babylonian and early Persian periods (when Daniel is said to have lived), it referred only to an ethnicity. (Compare the later Chaldean Oracles
Chaldean Oracles
The Chaldean Oracles have survived as fragmentary texts from the 2nd century AD, and consist mainly of Hellenistic commentary on a single mystery-poem that was believed to have originated in Chaldea...

).

Chiastic structures


Chiastic structure
Chiastic structure
Chiastic structure is a literary device for chiasmus applied to narrative motifs, turns of phrase, or whole passages. Various structures of chiasmus are commonly seen in ancient literature to emphasize, parallel, or contrast concepts or ideas...

 or concentric structure is a common feature of ancient Hebrew poetry and literature. Attempts have been made to organize the entire book of Daniel with a chiastic structure despite the major break between Daniel 6 and 7, even though there are parallel themes across that break. The central theme of Daniel 1-6 is God demonstrating that he is more powerful than the monarchs of Babylon and Persia. Daniel 7-12 focuses on God’s plan for the future in regard to the fate of world kingdoms being replaced by His kingdom. Across the entire book, each chapter forms a coherent unit, with a concluding unit of three final chapters (10-12).

Aramaic chiastic form


In 1978, Joyce G. Baldwin, former principal of Trinity College, Bristol
Trinity College, Bristol
Trinity College Bristol is a Christian college affiliated to the Church of England, though students come from different denominations. It is located in Stoke Bishop in Bristol, England, next to the University of Bristol's residential halls...

, proposed her view of the chiastic language structure for the Aramaic portion of Daniel chapters 2-7.
A. Four empires and God's coming kingdom.(ch.2)
B. Trial by fire and God's deliverance.(ch.3)
C. A king warned, chastised and delivered.(ch.4)
C'. A king warned, defiant and deposed.(ch.5)
B'. Trial in the lions' den and God's deliverance.(ch.6)
A'. Four empires and God's everlasting kingdom.(ch.7)

Double-chiasm theory


A. Lenglet also proposed a chiastic language structure for the Aramaic portion of chapters 2 through 7 in 1972. Then in 1986, William H. Shea, Ph.D. in Archeology, expanded on Lenglet's foundation to include the entire book of Daniel. Shea proposed that Daniel is composed of a double chiasm
Chiastic structure
Chiastic structure is a literary device for chiasmus applied to narrative motifs, turns of phrase, or whole passages. Various structures of chiasmus are commonly seen in ancient literature to emphasize, parallel, or contrast concepts or ideas...

. He supports that the chiastic structure is emphasized by the languages in which the book is written. The first chiasm is written in Aramaic and the second in Hebrew which explains why Aramaic continues to be used in chapter 7 rather than ending in chapter 6. Those who follow the chiastic language structure, view chapter 7 as the end of the first half of the book.

Parallel themes share common label
The sections 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 all 4 parts labelled B, B', B" and B"'. Sections C, C', C" and C"' deal with prophecies about the actions of different kings. Finally the structure portrays the trial faced by the Anointed One as the focal point of the book (D ).

Structure has precedence over chronology
The first 6 narrative chapters are fit into the structure rather than defining the structure. 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 i.e. "God's people." And chapter 5 (C') should follow chapters 7 and 8 (A"). Instead, it is put in parallel with chapter 4 (C) where divine judgements are pronounced against the Babylonian kings.

Grouping emphasizes prophecies
This chiastic grouping of chapters having the same theme has 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, which has been recognized for millennia. Christian commentators have not always identified the same kingdoms in each chapter though. Chapters 2 and 7 have generally - though not exclusively - been interpreted as extending to Roman times. Chapters 8 and 11 have been applied to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Historicists interpret all four prophecies as extending from Daniel's time, past the present to a future Kingdom of God.

Others like Walton have advocated a combination of both schemes, but in different parts of Daniel.

Introduction


The first chapter, written in Hebrew Masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

, introduces Daniel and his three companions: Hananiah
Hananiah
Hananiah may refer to:*Hananiah, son of Zerubbabel, exilarch*Hananiah of the Book of Daniel*Hananiah , 4th century BC, governor of Samaria under the Achaemenid Empire...

, Mishael
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are characters in the biblical Hebrew book of Daniel Chapters 1 – 3, known for their exclusive devotion to God. In particular, they are known for being saved by divine intervention from the Babylonian execution of being burned alive in a fiery furnace...

, and Azariah. These four young Hebrew men were taken captive in one of the Babylonian raids against Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 in 605 BC. They were placed in special training as court servants to King Nebuchadnezzar. Their names and diets were changed to reflect Babylonian culture in an attempt to take away their Jewish identities. However, Daniel was able to convince the King to allow for a vegetarian diet.

The Great Image


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 friends, to death. Daniel intervenes and asks for a temporary stay of execution so that he can petition his God for a solution. He receives an explanatory vision in the night, and then relays the content and meaning of the king's dream the following day. Nebuchadnezzar has dreamed 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
Nebuchadnezzar's statue vision in Daniel 2
Daniel 2 is the second chapter of the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible. The chapter's source text is predominantly written in Aramaic. According to the text, Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon who is troubled by his dreams. He demands an interpretation for his dreams or will have his mystic...

, starting with Nebuchadnezzar. Finally all of these dominions are crushed by God's kingdom, a kingdom that will "endure forever".

The fiery furnace



Daniel's companions 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.

Madness of Nebuchadnezzar


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



Belshazzar
Belshazzar
Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of Babylon, the son of Nabonidus and the last king of Babylon according to the Book of Daniel . Like his father, it is believed by many scholars that he was an Assyrian. In Daniel Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of...

 and his nobles blasphemously drink from sacred Jewish temple vessels, offering praise to inanimate gods, until a hand mysteriously appears before the crowd and writes upon the wall
The writing on the wall
"The writing on the wall" , an idiom, is a portent of doom or misfortune. It originates in the Biblical book of Daniel—where supernatural writing foretells the demise of the Babylonian Empire...

 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
Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede is a biblical person in the Book of Daniel, Chapters 6-9, who rules over Babylon after King Belshazzar is deposed. The author of the book of Daniel indicated that Darius was about 62 years old when he was 'made king over Babylon.[5:31] He is best known for having been forced into...

" took over the kingdom.

Daniel in the lions' den


Daniel is elevated to a pre-eminent 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.

Daniel's visions


Chapters 7-12 contain four visions of Daniel that parallel Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2 where the fate of four great empires meet their downfall and are replaced by God’s kingdom. The first three chapters have three apocalyptic visions while the last three chapters give one extended apocalypse, in full detail, pertaining to events that surround the Maccabean revolt. For each of his dreams, Daniel is in need of an angelic interpreter and the force of each revelation impacts him severely.

Vision of the great beasts


The vision in the first year of Belshazzar
Belshazzar
Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of Babylon, the son of Nabonidus and the last king of Babylon according to the Book of Daniel . Like his father, it is believed by many scholars that he was an Assyrian. In Daniel Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of...

 the king of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 (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
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

 and a male goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

 (8:1-27) which, we are informed, represent Medea, 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".

Prophecy of the Seventy Septets



The vision in first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus
Xerxes I of Persia
Xerxes I of Persia , Ḫšayāršā, ), also known as Xerxes the Great, was the fifth king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire.-Youth and rise to power:...

 (9:1) concerning seventy weeks
Prophecy of Seventy Weeks
The Prophecy of Seventy Septets appears in the angel Gabriel's reply to Daniel, beginning with verse 22 and ending with verse 27 in the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, a work included in both the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Bible; as well as the Septuagint...

, or seventy "sevens", apportioned for the history of the Israelites
History of ancient Israel and Judah
Israel and Judah were related Iron Age kingdoms of ancient Palestine. The earliest known reference to the name Israel in archaeological records is in the Merneptah stele, an Egyptian record of c. 1209 BCE. By the 9th century BCE the Kingdom of Israel had emerged as an important local power before...

 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
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 king of Persia, around 536 BCE, regarding conflicts between the "King of the North" and the "King of the South" (= Egypt, 11:8). An angel appears to Daniel and explains that the demonic "prince of Persia" is in opposition, but that Michael
Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

 "the great prince of Israel" will save them, as the only one who will "stand up."(10:21; 12:1) The vision is for "the final part of the days."(10:13,14) 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
Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

 community's Dead Sea scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 and the early literature of Christianity.

Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)


Daniel 1:1 - "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it." (King James Version)

According to the Babylonian Chronicles
Babylonian Chronicles
The Babylonian Chronicles are many series of tablets recording major events in Babylonian history. They are thus one of the first steps in the development of ancient historiography...

, published by Donald Wiseman
Donald Wiseman
Donald John Wiseman OBE, FBA was a Biblical scholar, archaeologist and Assyriologist. He was Professor of Assyriology at the University of London from 1961 to 1982.-Early life and beliefs:...

 in 1956, it was established that Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem the first time on 2 Adar (16 March) 597 BC. Before Wiseman's publication, Thiele had determined from the biblical texts that Nebuchadnezzar's initial capture of Jerusalem occurred in the spring of 597 BC, while other scholars, including Albright
William F. Albright
William Foxwell Albright was an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist and expert on ceramics. From the early twentieth century until his death, he was the dean of biblical archaeologists and the universally acknowledged founder of the Biblical archaeology movement...

, more frequently dated the event to 598 BC.

Nebuchadnezzar or Nabonidus



Three Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 fragments known as The Prayer of Nabonidus (4QPrNab, sometimes given as 4QOrNab) seem to parallel the insanity
Insanity
Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including becoming a danger to themselves and others, though not all such acts are considered insanity...

 suffered by Nebuchadnezzar as described in Daniel Chapter 4.

The fragments describe a Babylonian king (spelled N-b-n-y) who is afflicted by God with an "evil disease" for a period of seven years; he is cured and his sins forgiven after the intervention of a Jewish exile who is described as a "diviner"; he issues a written proclamation in praise of the Most High God, and speaks in the first person.

These tiny fragments turned up in a collection of Dead Sea Scrolls possessed by the Jordanian Government, and were first published by Milik in 1956. Long before this, scholars had speculated that Nabonidus' exile in Teima lay behind the story of Nebuchadnezzar's banishment and madness in Daniel chapter four.

There are also a number of differences between The Prayer of Nabonidus and the account of Nebuchadnezzar's madness:
  • Different kings are involved in the two accounts
  • Nebuchadnezzar's "affliction" was of the mind whereas Nabonidus' seems to have been a skin disease.
  • According to one possible translation, the exorcist or diviner heals Nabonidus and pardons his sins, whereas in Daniel Nebuchadnezzar is cured when he "[lifts] up [his] eyes to heaven" and "[acknowledges] that the Most High is sovereign". (An alternative reading with sound support, however, attributes the healing and forgiveness of Nabonidus' sins to God )
  • Nebuchadnezzar's illness occurs in Babylon; Nabonidus is stricken in Tema. (The end result, though, is that both kings are absent from Babylon for the duration of their illnesses, since Nebuchadnezzar is "driven away from mankind." (4:33, NASB))
  • Some of the words and phrases of the prayer have to be inferred from the context because the text is fragmentary. [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]


The "general consensus" of scholars is that Daniel four ultimately draws upon the traditions and legends of Nabonidus. While others feel that the Prayer of Nabonidus shows signs of dependence on the book of Daniel. Matthias Henze even suggests that the narrative of Nebuchadnezzar's madness draws on the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the protagonist of the story, Gilgamesh king of Uruk, which were fashioned into a longer Akkadian epic much...

. He argues that the author of Daniel uses elements from the description of the wild man Enkidu
Enkidu
Enkidu is a central figure in the Ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh. Enkidu was first created by Anu, the sky god, to rid Gilgamesh of his arrogance. In the story he is a wild-man raised by animals and ignorant of human society until he is bedded by Shamhat...

, who roams the steppe with the animals.

It is also possible that a reference to the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar is to be found in the cuneiform
Cuneiform
Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

 text: BM 34113.

Historicity of Belshazzar


New evidence from Babylon has verified the existence of Belshazzar, the name first given in Daniel 5:1, as well as his co-regency during the absence of his father, Nabonidus
Nabonidus
Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556-539 BCE.-Historiography on Nabonidus:...

, in Temâ. However, there is no evidence that Belshazzar ever officially held the title of "king" as he is never called such on the Nabonidus Cylinder
Cylinder of Nabonidus
The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which king Nabonidus of Babylonia describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar...

. On that cylinder, Nabonidus petitions the god Sin
Sin (mythology)
Sin or Nanna was the god of the moon in Mesopotamian mythology. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.- Name :The original meaning of...

 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.

Historicity of Darius the Mede


The conqueror of Babylon was Gobryas, governor of Gutium
Gutium
The Gutians were a tribe that overran southern Mesopotamia when the Akkadian empire collapsed in approximately 2154 BC....

, a general of Cyrus
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

, king of Persia. No such person as Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede is a biblical person in the Book of Daniel, Chapters 6-9, who rules over Babylon after King Belshazzar is deposed. The author of the book of Daniel indicated that Darius was about 62 years old when he was 'made king over Babylon.[5:31] He is best known for having been forced into...

[5:31] is known in history. The successor of Cyrus as king of Persia was named Darius. The author of Daniel inherited a schema of four kingdoms in which Media preceded Persia. John J. Collins
John J. Collins
John J. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism & Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. He is noted for his research in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the apocryphal works of the Second Temple period including the sectarian works found in Dead Sea Scrolls and their relation to...

 suggests that it is highly probable that Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

 created the figure of Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede
Darius the Mede is a biblical person in the Book of Daniel, Chapters 6-9, who rules over Babylon after King Belshazzar is deposed. The author of the book of Daniel indicated that Darius was about 62 years old when he was 'made king over Babylon.[5:31] He is best known for having been forced into...

 to fit this schema.

George R. Law, Ph.D., provides this list of candidates, who may identify with Darius the Mede:
  1. Astyages
    Astyages
    Astyages Astyages Astyages (spelled by Herodotus as Ἀστυάγης - Astyages; by Ctesias as Astyigas; by Diodorus as Aspadas; Akkadian: Ištumegu, was the last king of the Median Empire, r...

  2. Cambyses II
  3. Cyaxares II
    Cyaxares II
    Cyaxares II was said to be a king of the Medes whose reign is described by the Greek historian Xenophon. Some theories have equated this figure with the "Darius the Mede" named in the Book of Daniel...

  4. Cyrus the Great
    Cyrus the Great
    Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

  5. Darius the Great
  6. Gubaru
    Gubaru
    Gobryas was a common name of several Persian noblemen. The English form Gobryas is derived from the Greek rendering of this name.- Gobryas :...


Daniel the prophet



Similar to the traditional view in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, conservative Christians view the Book of Daniel as written by the statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

 of the same name, Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

. Among conservatives, they claim that Daniel wrote the book around 536 BC after having been in captivity for about 70 years.
Unlike many Judaists, conservative Christians consider Daniel’s visions as prophetic. Conservative interpretations hold that Daniel predicted the empires of Babylonia and Persia to be succeeded by the Greeks under Alexander the Great. Daniel also foresees the Greek Empire being divided among the four generals upon the death of Alexander. Daniel then predicts that the Jewish people would suffer great persecution under an official who would come to power after Alexander’s death. Many interpreters identify this ruler as Antiochus Epiphanes, the Greek ruler of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. In history, Antiochus persecuted the Jews unmercifully from 176-164 BC, which led to the Maccabean revolt of 167 BC.

In the Book of Matthew 24:15, of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 gives attestation to Daniel, "When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)". In the Hebrew portion of Daniel chapters 8-12, Daniel speaks of this abomination of desolation
Abomination of Desolation
The abomination of desolation is a term found in the Hebrew Bible, in the book of Daniel. It also occurs in the book of 1 Maccabees and in the New Testament gospels....

 in the last two chapters. However, this does not clarify who wrote the Aramaic portions of chapters 2-7.

Christian eschatology of Daniel


The "Song of the Three Holy Youths" is part of the Matins
Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

 service in Eastern Orthodoxy, and of Lauds
Lauds
Lauds is a divine office that takes place in the early morning hours and is one of the two major hours in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, it forms part of the Office of Matins...

 on Sundays and feast days in Catholicism.

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 gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s.

The apocalyptic section is important to Christians for the image of the "one like a son of Man
Son of man
The phrase son of man is a primarily Semitic idiom that originated in Ancient Mesopotamia, used to denote humanity or self. The phrase is also used in Judaism and Christianity. The phrase used in the Greek, translated as Son of man is ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου...

" (Dan. 7:13), and Jesus is presented using the same wording in the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

 in 1:13-15. The connection with Daniel's vision (as opposed to the usage in the Book of Ezekiel
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

) is made explicit in the Gospels of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 and Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62). According to the gospels, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 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
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

. According to the New American Bible
New American Bible
The New American Bible is a Catholic Bible translation first published in 1970. It had its beginnings in the Confraternity Bible, which began to be translated from the original languages in 1948....

 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. Later Jewish interpreters interpreted this figure as the Jewish Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

. Such interpretation appears in the Similitudes of Enoch
Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work, traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel...

 and 4 Ezra.

In the Olivet discourse
Olivet discourse
The Olivet discourse or Olivet prophecy is a biblical passage found in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark 13, Matthew 24, Luke 21. It is known as the "Little Apocalypse" because it includes Jesus' descriptions of the end times, the use of apocalyptic language, and Jesus' warning to his followers that...

  Jesus applies Daniel's prophecy of a desolating sacrilege set up in the temple (Dan. 9:27, 11:31) to a future event—the CE 70 destruction of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

. According to Jesus' words, this event 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
Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

. Some consider the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks
Prophecy of Seventy Weeks
The Prophecy of Seventy Septets appears in the angel Gabriel's reply to Daniel, beginning with verse 22 and ending with verse 27 in the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, a work included in both the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Bible; as well as the Septuagint...

 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 Hebrew Scriptures to the resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

, with many "countrymen" awakening from death, some to eternal life and some to eternal disgrace. This belief is also expressed in 2 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible, which focuses on the Jews' revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Syrian general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the work....

 and is linked, as in Daniel, with the idea of divine retribution.

Traditional tomb sites



There are six different locations all claimed to be the site of Daniel's Tomb: Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, Kirkuk
Kirkuk
Kirkuk is a city in Iraq and the capital of Kirkuk Governorate.It is located in the Iraqi governorate of Kirkuk, north of the capital, Baghdad...

 and Muqdadiyah
Muqdadiyah
Muqdadiyah is a city in the Diyala Governorate of Iraq. The city is located at , about 80 km northeast of Baghdad and 30 km northeast of Baquba, the capital of Diyala...

 in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Susa
Susa
Susa was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires of Iran. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers....

 and Malamir in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

.

See also

  • Additions to Daniel
    Additions to Daniel
    The Additions to Daniel comprise three chapters not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel. The text of these chapters is found in the Greek Septuagint and in the earlier Old Greek translation. They are accepted as canonical and translated as such in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and...

  • Bel and the Dragon
    Bel and the Dragon
    The narrative of Bel and the Dragon incorporated as chapter 14 of the extended Book of Daniel exists only in Greek in the Septuagint. This chapter, along with chapter 13, is referred to as deuterocanonical, in that it is not universally accepted among Christians as belonging to the canonical works...

  • Susanna (Book of Daniel)
    Susanna (Book of Daniel)
    Susanna or Shoshana included in the Book of Daniel by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. It is listed in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England among the books which are included...

  • Antiochus Epiphanes
  • Christian eschatology
    Christian eschatology
    Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology. Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning last and study , is the study of the end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world...

  • List of apocalyptic literature
    Apocalyptic literature
    Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians....

  • Book of Revelation
    Book of Revelation
    The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

  • Danel
    Danel
    Danel was a culture hero who appears in an incomplete Ugaritic text of the fourteenth century BCE at Ugarit , Syria, where the name is rendered DN'IL, "El is judge".- Danel :...

     - Ugaritic hero identified with Daniel
    Daniel
    Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

     in Ezekiel
    Book of Ezekiel
    The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

     
  • Old English poem Daniel
  • Siege of Jerusalem (70)
    Siege of Jerusalem (70)
    The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

  • Theodotion
    Theodotion
    Theodotion was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar,, perhaps working in Ephesus who in ca. AD 150 translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Whether he was revising the Septuagint, or was working from Hebrew manuscripts that represented a parallel tradition that has not survived, is debated...

  • Greek Apocalypse of Daniel
    Greek Apocalypse of Daniel
    The Greek Apocalypse of Daniel is an Christian pseudepigraphic text attributed to the Biblical Daniel and so associated with the Old Testament, but not regarded as scripture by Jews or any Christian group. The canonical Book of Daniel has much apocalyptic imagery, and this apocalyptic-style text...


Further reading


Academic

Catholic

Presbyterian
Evangelical dispensationalism
  • John Nelson Darby
    John Nelson Darby
    John Nelson Darby was an Anglo-Irish evangelist, and an influential figure among the original Plymouth Brethren. He is considered to be the father of modern Dispensationalism. He produced a translation of the Bible based on the Hebrew and Greek texts called The Holy Scriptures: A New Translation...

    , Studies on the book of Daniel: a course of lectures, ed. III, Publisher J.B. Bateman, 1864
  • John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, 1989. ISBN 0-8024-1753-1.


Seventh-Day Adventist

Other books

External links


Jewish translations
  • Daniel (Judaica Press) * translation [with Rashi
    Rashi
    Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

    's commentary] at Chabad.org


Christian translations

Related articles

Commentaries