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History Reflected in The Book of Daniel

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 16 (3893 words)
Categories: Christianity, History, Judaism, Religion
Downloads: 37
Views: 2

Many questions have risen out of the book of Daniel and the Bible as a whole. Due to numerous issues, many historians consider Daniel a narrative rather than a historical document. This is despite its placement in the canon by the founding fathers. Among the many problems are dating, names, and the usage of Greek and Persian in a book that is otherwise Hebrew and Aramaic. Despite the fact that Daniel is considered a book written after the occurrence, even a forgery, critical thinking and research are necessary for proper understanding, as well as its proper placement in history.

Rather than do extended research on the subject, it has been easier to give up and not search further for truth. This paper will aim to prove that not only was Daniel indeed a real man that wrote the book bearing his name but also that it is not a work of fiction; rather, a historical work completely inspired by God.

It will further correlate the book with Babylonian history to find its place in the history of the world. It is the prayer of this author that the research found will also shine the same authenticity on the entire Word of God; as the genuinness and historicity of the Bible is at stake as well.

For bible believers, there has to be an answer to this. Are people just to accept the book of Daniel without proof? Pure belief that the bible is true just is not enough to satisfy Daniel as fact. Finding the truth in Daniel is the master key in establishing the bible as truth. Known authenticating issues and anecdotes In deciding whether the book of Daniel is authentic, many scholars have approached some obstacles that have discouraged further study. Seemingly, there are those that do not want to claim Daniel historical because that would require validating the entire Bible, and ultimately, God.

Many historians find it easier to claim the book to be a story and anything found within to have happened as something it is not. They claim anything that relates to what the prophecy looks like it could be, but not what it really is. This paper will start with the most serious historical problem of Darius the Mede. Belshazzar and Darius This is the most difficult issue in substantiating the book. Firstly, there is no Belshazzar as king of the time. As amazing as it is that a hand should appear without a body and write on a wall, there is no record outside of Daniel of its occurrence.

Scholars have believed this a serious error that shifted the book away from being historical. Likewise, there is no Darius found in any document proving his existence. There are those that say, of course that he did not exist at all. To define who this is would be a major step in proving Daniel as truth. Daniel 5:30 and 31 tell us that Darius the Mede conquered Babylon. He killed Belshazzar who was king according to Daniel. The prophet goes on to say in the following chapter that Darius was king; however, neither is there mention of a Darius in the History books. Mid-20th century literature records these figures as myths. …the view that the chapter Dan 5 originated in the Maccabean period was thoroughly discreditable. ” The Nebonides Chronicle sheds a lot of light on these issues. According to Dr Gary Yates, the Nebonides Chronicle states that Nebonides went to Tema to rest and Belshazzar ruled in his stead while gone. In accordance with Daniel’s Darius, the Bible records in other places that the king of Persia had a double name. “The identification of Cyrus the Persian king with Darius the Mede accords well with the prophecies of Isaiah (13:17) and Jeremiah (51:11, 28), who saw in the Medes the conquerors of Babylon.

Famous people throughout the years have hidden or changed their names. People who sing, act and write books have had aliases for as far back as time can remember. Is it possible that the same thing occurs in the Bible? According to Wiseman, Kings and Queens have done the same. In fact, it was common practice; “… the analogy of double royal names or titles, could with equal validity apply to other identifications, and perhaps with greater probability where Darius is equated with a person, such as Cyrus, otherwise to have held royal office.

Further, the names given to Daniel (Belteshazzar) and Azariah (Abednego) are seemingly meaningless names that have given rise to the many questions of the book’s veracity; however, it also serves to betray the fictional nature that many scholars attribute to the book. This is a case of having the spellings changed because in Exodus the people were unable to utter the names of false gods. By changing those names, he was obeying the God of Israel not to give any honor to the gods of Babylon. Sometimes there are information gaps in history.

There are omissions in the ancestry of kings and governors of Babylon and Persia. Wiseman tells us that, Xerxes (Esther) is one of the missing links in the record. Unlike the previous, Esther and Mordecai are not victims, but fall in this category because of the gap in the king’s record. Dates Just as people use multiple names, there are multiple ways of dating something. There is more than one way to tell time. Comparatively, there are different calendars for different cultures. Just like the Chinese, Muslims and Christians, the Jews have a calendar; in fact, in the 6th century BC. the Babylonians had a calendar. Actually over twenty such calendars today are oriented to either a culture or a religion. Considering the truth of multiple calendars and the advanced knowledge of the Babylonians, it is perhaps possible that Daniel adapted to the Babylonian calendar. It is apparent he did not forget the Ancient One, however, as a great statesman for the country appointed by Nebuchadnezzar and carried throughout his lifetime by every king that ruled the area, Daniel would also be quite knowledgeable himself.

As part of his great knowledge, and position in the kingdom, it is quite understandable that he would use the same calendar as the king of the day. Not only were there multiple calendars, but the way that kingship years were calculated differed between cultures. One post-dated and the other ante-dated. In Babylon, they post-dated; meaning that the year a king ascends does not count toward their years; they reign. On the other hand, in Judaism, the year a king ascends counts as also his first year of reign.

As an example, in post-dating, a king that served less than one year simply did not exist. Daniel is here using the Babylonian system of dating (postdating, allowing for separate ‘accession’ year) while Jeremiah (25:49; 46:2) follows the usual Palestinian-Jewish antedating (which ignores ‘accession-years’),54 there is no discrepancy. Onthe other hand, it has been argued that in Jeremiah 25:1 ‘the first year’ (has†s†a„na‚ ha„ro„sOEit°) may be interpreted as ‘the beginning year’ (i. e. accession) of Nebuchadrezzar and therefore in agreement with Jeremiah 46:2.

Scholars have reconciled the dating of the book with known extrabiblical history. Understandably so, applying a date to a document written in exile would change based on the acquired calendar of the conquerors. Shea states, “Daniel 1:1 can be reconciled with this date by interpreting it according to the standard Judahite practices of accession year reckoning and their fall to fall calendar. ” Others may not exist due to missing tablets or being stricken from the record. This would account for the differing entries between Jeremiah, Daniel, and other books of the bible.

These are not errors, just differing opinions. There are scholars that have even gone as far as to try to place Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks with Nehemiah leaving other works like the Revelation of John to stand out in the cold. Some of these same scholars believe Antiochus is the one spoken of in Chapter 11; correlating it with the books of the Maccabees. LaSor et. al. confirms this “…’the abomination that makes desolate’ is assumed to be the desecration of the temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168 in v. 31”


Some scholars feel the need to set the book in the 2nd century rather than the 6th century. This is due to the use of Greek and Persian “loan words” that should not have been known to a writer of an early date. The knowledge of the average 6th century writer would not include such words. “Driver argues that the number of Persian words in the book indicates a late date. ” Contained in the Aramaic portion of the book, there are a few Greek words. The Greek words reference musical instruments. These too, cite a late date.

There is no proper place given to the evidence of languages other than Aramaic and Hebrew in the 6th century. This all corroborates to the application of a later date. When based on the information as it stands, there is not enough to support an early date of 6 B. C. There is a need for more evidence to support any works earlier than 4 B. C. There is insufficient data as it stands. Babylon, known for great advancements, could have known numerous languages. When choosing nobles to pass down their knowledge, they chose the handsomest and most intelligent.

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. K. A. Kitchen informs that the Greek words used were of musical instruments and known in the 8th century. This means that the Babylonians were familiar with Greek and Daniel’s knowledge enforces that he learned the language.

He goes on to say that a lack of historicity in conjunction with these words is ignorant. “There seems to be little or nothing original about the broad types of musical instrument indicated by the three words (lyre, double pipe, etc. ); similar instruments in these categories were already long known in the Ancient Near East, Mesopotamia included. ” The extensive knowledge of the Babylonians supports the knowledge of Greek in Daniel 3 as do Mitchell and Joyce. In verses 5, 7, 10 and 15, Daniel discusses instruments using Greek words. It is apparent that with the change of a letter, a word in the Greek may have completely different meanings.

Such being the case, it shows that a “loan word” may have started out long before another word. Using the example of sumponeya and symphonia this could certainly be the case. “… hinted at by the textual confusion … The adjective symphonous occurs in Hymni Homerici, ad Mercuriurn 51 (probably early sixth century BC) in a musical context, and it is not impossible that it is so used in Daniel to qualify the whole clause, signifying ‘in unison’. Babylon, due to its great intelligence, demonstrated such ability by gaining understanding of the language spoken by their captives.

In consideration, some words would naturally carry over with no Babylonian equivalent. Validation of Canonicity In respect to whether it belongs as part of the canon has bearing on its historical value. It is necessary to decide if Daniel is a book of true history, inspired by God, proving internally true. The ability to cross-reference with other Godly inspired books give a ring of truth to the book making it acceptable to the final printed documents compiled. The knowledge which is displayed by the author of Babylonian culture, is ignored by its many critics.

The book of Daniel was held in such high regard that even the Sanhedrin used it in the trial of Jesus because He applied the prophecy set forth in Daniel to himself. This confirms that the book of Daniel was widely accepted as genuine in that time. If the book was written by Judah Maccabaeus there were still those elders alive at the time of Christ, who actually knew Judas Maccabaeus, and therefore would have been aware of the forgery. Blasius tells us, “… for many scholars it still remained questionable if or to which extent the numbers [in Daniel’s visions] characterize real historical facts or have to be taken symbolically. He goes on to say that for scholars to make an accurate division of truth from fiction is a predicament. There is a need to decide if the visions in Daniel are ex-eventu or not. The decision as to whether the events were recorded prior or after has great importance. Real future prophecies by the author like the death of Antiochus IV in Dan 7 and his third Egyptian expedition and death in Dan 11:40ff. (are of course beyond any historical criticism. ) The claim that Daniel came from the time of Antiochus Epiphanes would have put the writing in the middle of one of the most violent times of persecution of the Jews.

It would have been difficult for anyone of Jewish faith to achieve any level of importance in his government. Antiochus did not hold the Jews in high regard like Nebu, who elevated many of the Jewish captives to high positions in his government. Although the beginning of chapter 11 possibly correlates to Antiochus IV Ephiphanes, the latter half of 11 totally refers to the antichrist. That said, the belief of conservative scholars is also true in that “They also believe that the prophecy of “seventy weeks” in Daniel 9 can be shown to have predicted the precise date of Christ’s ministry. Ezekiel 14:14;Mt. 24:15; Lk. 21; The LXX placed Daniel after Ezekiel Last historical time post in Daniel, 10:1 he was more of a statesman than holder of prophetic office. The LXX, probably by the early II b. c. , included Daniel among the prophets Josephus’ pre-Massoretic canon implies that the LXX accurately preserved Jewish tradition by placing Daniel within the prophetic canon. Discoveries are recent; many tablets have yet to be translated. Babylonian bias the Hebrew of Daniel is like that of the post-exilic prophets, Greek (! cognates in Daniel prove that the book came out of the Hellenistic era, likely after Antiochus IV. Jeremiah could be following the religious calendar while Daniel would be on the civil calendar. “Darius” was not a proper name, but a title much like “Caesar. ” crown prince, Belshazzar

Chapter 1

Cooper No post-Persian, Greek -speaking Maccabean forger of Daniel would have used the ancient Hebrew name for the river Tigris in Daniel 10:4. At the time of Cyrus was the last person to record the river as Hiddekel. The writer of Genesis (2:14) is the only other to use that name.

IN Daniel 5:2: “Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebu had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, that the king and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. ” –Women were allowed to partake of the royal feasts under the Babylonians but never allowed under the Persians. Women were banished. Esther records: “none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure. Vashti made a feast for the women. (Esther 1:8-9) “….Documented by the Babylonians themselves. Persian wording is proof that Daniel is of the 6th century. In Daniel 3:1, sexagesimally (mathematically), the image of nebu is described on the plain of Dura. Had Daniel written at the time Daniel 8:2, we are told, “… I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam… ” Shushan belonged to Elam in Babylonian times and even earlier, but not in the 2nd century bc, nor in the preceeding three centuries. after the 6th century was the capital of Susiana. His knowledge of Babylonian culture and affairs. Entirely ignored by critics or are passed over without comment.

Held by the Pharisees who set up our Lord’s trial before the Sanhedrin. They believed it to be genuine bc they charged Jesus with blasphemy bc he applied Daniel’s prophecy to himself. (Matt 24:15) Matt 27:64 quotes Dan. 7:13 “How far the Pharisees of our Lord’s day were removed in time from the Maccabees who had allegedly forged the Book of Daniel. Simeon, who held in his arms the infant Christ at His dedication in the Temple, was old enough to have spoken to the elders who had actually known Judas Maccabaeus! ” In retrospect, the government at the time of Jesus was well aware of Daniel and recognized him and his writings as truth.

Accepted by the Septuagint Old Testament created around 280 BC proves that Daniel had no clue who Antiochus IV was. This fact is ignored by critics who stand against Daniel calling it a forgery written by Judah Maccabee. “Daniel written in both Hebrew and Aramaic, as was the Book of Ezra (in Aramaic from 4:8-6:18 & 7:12-26) and a solitary Aramaic verse in Jeremiah (10:11). 10(Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible in Cooper) 6th century BC was the only period in time that both Hebrew and Aramaic were used.

Chapter 2

Daniel in the Cuneiform Record Scholars try to solve a problem that does not exist. He did so obeying the God of Israel and not to give any honor to the gods of Babylon. Belshazzar means Bel save the King in Babylonian. Belteshazzar would be gobbledygook. So, Daniel’s actual given name would match the co-regent at the time Persia conquered Babylon. The co-regent was not even a twinkle in anyone’s eye when Daniel began as a statesman. YBC3765 and 135 refer to Daniel. One is at Yale Babylonian collection and the second is in the Archaeological Museum of Florence. He is mentioned as Belshazzar, chief officer of the king… Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach), 560 BC son of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel does not eappear until tablet 322 when Belshazzar comes on the scene as co-regent of Nebonides (Nebu-naidu). The king is referred to as Bel-sar-usur mar sharri (the crown prince) Conclusion The book of Daniel is indeed a historical book. In it is contained information pertaining to the Babylonian exile as well as their return from exile and future prophecies both far and near. 55It is quite clear that liberal commentators, though they may cite works by Wiseman and Kitchen, are not dissuaded from their unshakeable conviction that Daniel is a second-century-B. C. pseudonymous Vaticinium Ex-Eventu (recording after the fact).

Many of the critics are convinced that Daniel indeed was a true prophet with a message both for his generation and for us today. The reason for this seemingly unshakeable belief in an idea that is unsupportable is quite simple. These critics to the veracity of the book of Daniel would rather have faith in the idea that Daniel is simply untrue, rather than to accept the possibility of a supernatural prediction being true. At the same time, conservative scholars are equally unmoved from their position by the historical problems, which they do not regard as insuperable.

They welcome the increasing mass of linguistic and archaeological data that help to support an early date. 55 Yamauchi, 21


  1. Blasius, Andreas. “Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Ptolemaic Triad: The Three Uprooted Horns in Dan 7:8, 20 and 24 Reconsidered.
  2. ” Journal For The Study Of Judaism: In The Persian Hellenistic & Roman Period 37, no. 4 (November 2006): 521-547.
  3. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 8, 2012).
  4. Cooper, Dr. William R. The Authenticity of the Book of Daniel. Kindle, 2012. Kitchen, K A. “The Aramaic of Daniel. ” In Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, edited by D J. Wiseman, 31-79. Carol Stream: The Tyndale Press, 1965.
  5. LaSor, William Sanford, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush. Old Testament Survey: the Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996.
  6. Miller, Stephen R. Daniel. Nashville, Tenn. : Broadman & Holman Reference, 1994.
  7. Mitchell, T C. , and R Joyce. “The Musical Instruments in Nebuchadnezzar’s Orchestra. ” In Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, edited by D J. Wiseman, 19-27. Carol Stream: The Tyndale Press, 1965.
  8. Shea, William H. “History and Eschatology in the Book of Daniel.  Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 8, no. 2 (1997): 195-205. Waltke, Bruce K. “Date of the Book of Daniel. ” Bibliotheca Sacra 133, no. 532 (October 1, 1976): 319-329. ATLASerials, Religion Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 8, 2012).
  9. Wiseman, D. J. , ed. Notes On Some Problems in the Book of Daniel. Edited by D. J. Wiseman. Carol Stream: Tyndale Press, 1965.
  10. Yamauchi, Edwin M. “Hermeneutical issues in the book of Daniel. ” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 23, no. 1 (March 1, 1980): 13-21. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 11, 2012).
  11. Yates, Dr. Gary. The Historicity of Daniel. ” Lecture, Module 3, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, n. d.


  1. Waltke, Bruce K. 1976. “Date of the Book of Daniel. ” Bibliotheca Sacra 133, no. 532: 319-329. ATLASerials, Religion Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 8, 2012).
  2. Dr. Gary Yates, “The Historicity of Daniel” (lecture, Module 3, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, n. d. ).
  3. D. J. Wiseman, ed. , Notes On Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, ed. D. J. Wiseman (Carol Stream: Tyndale Press, 1965), 14.
  4. D. J. Wiseman, ed. , Notes On Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, ed. D. J. Wiseman (Carol Stream: Tyndale Press, 1965), 10.
  5. D. J. Wiseman, ed. , Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, ed. D. J. Wiseman (Carol Stream: Tyndale Press, 1965), 10.
  6. J. Finegan in D. J. Wiseman, ed. , Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, 1965, p 18
  7. William H. Shea, “History and Eschatology in the Book of Daniel,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 8, no. 2 (1997): 195-205.
  8. William Sanford LaSor, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush, Old Testament Survey: the Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 574.
  9. Stephen R. Miller, Daniel (Nashville, Tenn. : Broadman & Holman Reference, 1994), 28.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Daniel 1:3-4
  12. K A. Kitchen, “The Aramaic of Daniel. ” In Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, edited by D J. Wiseman (Carol Stream: Tyndale Press, 1965), 48-49
  13. Ibid. , 49
  14. T. C. Mitchell and R. Joyce, “The Musical Instruments in Nebuchadnezzar’s Orchestra,” In Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, edited by D J. Wiseman (Carol Stream: Tyndale Press, 1965) 26-27.
  15. Blasius, Andreas. 2006. “Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Ptolemaic Triad: The Three Uprooted Horns in Dan 7:8, 20 and 24 Reconsidered. ” Journal For The Study Of Judaism: In The Persian Hellenistic & Roman Period 37, no. 4: 521-547. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 8, 2012).
  16. H. H. Hoehner in Edwin M. Yamauchi, 1980. “Hermeneutical issues in the book of Daniel. ” Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society 23, no. 1: 13-21. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 11, 2012).

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History Reflected in The Book of Daniel. (2018, Aug 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/history-reflected-in-the-book-of-daniel-essay

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