1. Called Belteshazzar by the Chaldeans, a prophet descended from the royal family of David, who was carried captive to Babylon, when very young, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim king of Judah, B. C. 606. He was chosen, with his three companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, to reside at Nebuchadnezzar's court, where he received a suitable education, and made great progress in all the sciences of the Chaldeans, but declined to pollute himself by eating provisions from the king's table, which would often be ceremonially unclean to a Jew, or defiled by some connection with idol-worship. At the end of their three years' education, Daniel and his companions excelled all others, and received honorable appointments in the royal service. Here Daniel soon displayed his prophetic gifts in interpreting a dream of Nebuchadnezzar, by whom he was made governor of Babylon, and head of the learned and priestly class. He seems to have been absent, perhaps on some foreign embassy, when his three companions were cast into the fiery furnace. At a later period he interpreted another dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and afterwards the celebrated vision of Belshazzar-one of whose last works was to promote Daniel to an office much higher than he had previously held during his reign, Da 5:29; 8:27.
After the capture of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, under Cyaxares and Cyrus, Daniel was continued in all his high employments, and enjoyed the favor of these princes until his death, except at one short interval, when the envy of the other officers prevailed on the king of the other officers prevailed on the king to cast him into the lion's den, an act which recoiled on his foes to their own destruction. During this period he earnestly labored, by fasting and prayer as well as by counsel, to secure the return of the Jews to their own land, the promised time having come, Da 9. He lived to see the decree issued, and many of his people restored; but it is not known that he ever revisited Jerusalem. In the third year of Cyrus, he had a series of visions disclosing the state of the Jews till the coming of the promised Redeemer; and at last we see him calmly awaiting the peaceful close of a well-spent life, and the gracious resurrection of the just. Daniel was one of the most spotless characters upon record. His youth and his age were alike devoted to God. He maintained his integrity in the most difficult circumstances, and amid the fascinations of an eastern court he was pure and upright. He confessed the name of God before idolatrous princes; and would have been a martyr, but for the miracle which rescued him from death. His history deserves the careful and prayerful study of the young, and the lessons that it inculcates are weighty and rich in instruction.
3. A descendant of Ithamar, the fourth son of Aaron. He was one of the chiefs who accompanied Ezra from Babylon to Judea, and afterwards took a prominent part in the reformation of the people, Ezr 8:2.
(2.) One of the four great prophets, although he is not once spoken of in the Old Testament as a prophet. His life and prophecies are recorded in the Book of Daniel. He was descended from one of the noble families of Judah (Da 1:3), and was probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, during the reign of Josiah. At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century before), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and other three noble youths were carried off to Babylon, along with part of the vessels of the temple. There he was obliged to enter into the service of the king of Babylon, and in accordance with the custom of the age received the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar, i.e., "prince of Bel," or "Bel protect the king!" His residence in Babylon was very probably in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, now identified with a mass of shapeless mounds called the Kasr, on the right bank of the river.
His training in the schools of the wise men in Babylon (Da 1:4) was to fit him for service to the empire. He was distinguished during this period for his piety and his stict observance of the Mosaic law (Da 1:8-16), and gained the confidence and esteem of those who were over him. His habit of attention gained during his education in Jerusalem enabled him soon to master the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans, and even to excel his compeers.
At the close of his three years of discipline and training in the royal schools, Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency in the "wisdom" of his day, and was brought out into public life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation of dreams (Da 1:17; 2:14), and rose to the rank of governor of the province of Babylon, and became "chief of the governors" (Chald. Rab-signin) over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream; and many years afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar's impious feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother (perhaps Nitocris, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) to interpret the mysterious handwriting on the wall. He was rewarded with a purple robe and elevation to the rank of "third ruler." The place of "second ruler" was held by Belshazzar as associated with his father, Nabonidus, on the throne (Da 5:16). Daniel interpreted the handwriting, and "in that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain."
After the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, who was now master of all Asia from India to the Dardanelles, placed Darius (q.v.), a Median prince, on the throne, during the two years of whose reign Daniel held the office of first of the "three presidents" of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs, no doubt interesting himself in the prospects of the captive Jews (Da 9), whom he had at last the happiness of seeing restored to their own land, although he did not return with them, but remained still in Babylon. His fidelity to God exposed him to persecution, and he was cast into a den of lions, but was miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree enjoining reverence for "the God of Daniel" (Da 6:26). He "prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian," whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of the decree which put an end to the Captivity (B.C. 536).
He had a series of prophetic visions vouch-safed to him which opened up the prospect of a glorious future for the people of God, and must have imparted peace and gladness to his spirit in his old age as he waited on at his post till the "end of the days." The time and circumstances of his death are not recorded. He probably died at Susa, about eighty-five years of age.
i.e. "God is my judge"; or as others, "the judge of God," as his Chaldee name Belteshazzar means "the prince of Bel." Probably from royal blood; compare Da 1:3 with 1Ch 3:1, from whence it appears he bore the same name as David's son by Abigail (who is called Chileab in 2Sa 3:3 "like his father".) Carried to Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar's first deportation of captives, in the fourth (Jer 25:1; 46:2) or third (Da 1:1 counting only complete years) year of Jehoiakim, the first of Nebuchadnezzar (acting under Nabopolassar in the last year of the latter's reign, but reigning alone not until the year after; as Da 2:1 proves, for after Daniel's three years' training the year is nevertheless called the "second" of Nebuchadnezzar, i.e. of his sole reign). Daniel was put in training with three others of the royal seed, still "children" (Da 1:4), according to eastern etiquette, to become courtiers; and to mark his new position he received a Babylonian name, Belteshazzar (compare 2Ki 23:34; 24:17; Ezr 5:14; Es 2:7).
He gave a noble proof of faithfulness combined with wisdom at this early age, by abstaining from the food of the king's table, as being defiled with the usual idolatry at pagan feasts (Da 1:8-16), living for ten days' trial on pulse and water, and at the end looking fairer and fatter than those fed on the king's dainties. Those who would excel in piety and wisdom must early subject the flesh to the spirit. Daniel experienced the truth of De 8:3. Ezekiel in the early part of his ministry refers to hint as a model of "righteousness" and "wisdom" (Eze 14:14,20; 28:3), for Daniel had not yet become a writer. Noah before and at the flood, Job in the postdiluvian patriarchal age, and Daniel toward the close of the legal theocracy are made types of "righteousness."
So Ezekiel's reference, in what it alleges and in what it omits, exactly tallies with what we should expect, presuming that Ezekiel and Daniel lived and wrote when and where they are represented. Daniel's high position while still a mere youth (Da 1:3-5,11-16; 2:1), at the court of the Jews' conqueror and king, gave them a vivid interest in their illustrious countryman's fame for righteousness and wisdom; for in his person they felt themselves raised from their present degradation. As at the beginning of the covenant people's history their kinsman Joseph, so toward its close Daniel, by the interpretation of dreams (Daniel 2; Daniel 4), was promoted to high place in the court of their pagan masters. Thus, they both represented Israel's destined calling to be a royal priesthood among the nations, and ultimately to be the bearers of Messiah's light to the whole Gentile world (Ro 11:12,15).
Daniel was made by Nebuchadnezzar, governor of Babylonia and president of the Babylonian "wise men," not to be confounded with the later Persian magi. Under Belshazzar Daniel was in a lower office, and was occasionally away from Babylon (Da 5:7-8,12) at Susa (Da 8:2,27). His interpretation of the mystical handwriting on the wall caused his promotion again, a promotion which continued under Darius and Cyrus. Under Darius he was first of the three presidents of the empire. Envy often follows high office which men so covet; so, by a law cunningly extorted by his enemies from the weak Darius, that none should offer petition to man or god except to the king for 30 days, as though it were a test of loyalty, on pain of being cast into a lions' den, Daniel was cast in and was delivered by God, who thus rewarded his pious faithfulness (Daniel 6).
It is an accordance with Medo-Persian ideas which flows from the truth of Scripture, that the mode of capital punishment under the Babylonian rule is represented as burning (Daniel 3), but under the Medes and Persians' exposure to wild beasts, for they would have regarded fire as polluted by contact with a corpse, while they approved the devouring of bodies by animals. Berosus calls the last Babylonian king Nabonidus, and says that he surrendered to Cyrus in Borsippa, and was assigned an honorable abode in Carmania. Rawlinson has shown that the Babylonian inscriptions at Ur (Umqueir) explain the seeming discrepancy. Belshazzar or Bel-shar-ezer (on the mother's side descended front Nebuchadnezzar, Da 5:11) was joint king with his father; having shut himself up in Babylon he fell there while his father at Borsippa survived. (See BELSHAZZAR.) Berosus as being a Chaldaean suppressed all concerning Belshazzar, since it was to the national dishonor.
If Daniel's book had been a late one, he would have copied Berosus; if it had been at variance with that prevalent in Babylonia, the Jews there would have rejected it. His mention of Darius the Mede's reign, which profane history ignores (probably because it was eclipsed by Cyrus' glory), shows that he wrote as a contemporary historian of events which He knew, and did not borrow from others. He must have been about 84 years old when he saw the visions (Daniel 10-12) concerning his people, extending down to the resurrection and the last days. Though advanced years forbade his return to the Holy Land, yet his people's interests were always nearest his heart (Daniel 9; Da 10:12).
His last recorded vision was in the third year of Cyrus (534 B.C.), on the banks of the Tigris (Hiddekel) Da 10:1-4. In Da 3:2, Hebrew for "princes," Nebuchadnezzar summons his satraps ('achashdarpni, Persian khshtrapa). Some allege that Daniel erroneously attributes to the Babylonians the satrapial form of government. But Gedaliah was virtually a satrap under Nebuchadnezzar in Judaea, i.e. a governor over a province, instead of its being left under the native kings (2Ki 25:23). Berosus speaks of Nabopolassar's "satrap of Egypt, Coelosyria, and Phoenicia." Daniel writing for Jews under Persia at the time uses naturally the familiar Persian term "satrap" instead of the corresponding Babylonian term. (On Daniel's representation of the relation of the Medes to the Persians and Darius the Mede (possibly equating to Astyages, or his son, the former of whom Cyrus deposed and treated kindly) to Cyrus. (See CYRUS .)
The objection to Daniel on the ground that Susa, or at least its palace, was not built when Daniel saw the vision there, rests on Pliny alone, who alleges it to have been built by Darius Hystaspis. But the Assyrian inscriptions prove it was one of the most ancient Mesopotamian cities, and its palace (the Memnonium is the name the Greeks give it) famous centuries before Daniel. Darius Hystaspes was only the first to build at Susa a palace in Persian fashion. Daniel, like Moses, was trained in all the learning of the world; his political experience moreover, as a minister of state under successive dynasties of the great world powers, gave the natural qualifications to which God added supernatural spiritual insight, enabling him to characterize to the life the several world monarchies which bore or were to bear sway until Messiah's kingdom shall come with power.
Personal purity and selfrestraint amidst the world's corrupting luxuries (Da 1:8-16; compare Moses, Heb 11:25; Joseph, Ge 39:9); faithfulness to God at all costs, and fearless witnessing for God before great men (Da 5:17-23), unbribed by lucre and unawed by threats (Da 6:10-11); the holiest and most single-minded patriotism which with burning prayers interceded for his chastened countrymen (Daniel 9); intimate communion with God, so that, like the beloved disciple and apocalyptic seer of the New Testament, John, Daniel also is called" a man greatly beloved," and this twice, by the angel of the Lord (Da 9:23; 10:11), and received the exact disclosure of the date of Messiah's advent, the 70 weeks of years, and the successive events down to the Lord's final advent for the deliverance of His people: these are all prominent characteristics of this man of God.
It is not stated in Daniel 3 why Daniel was not among the rulers summoned to worship Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. Perhaps he was on state business in some distant part of the empire where the summons had not time to reach him. The Jews' enemies found it more political to attack first the three nearer at hand before proceeding to attack Daniel, the most influential. T
1. Two passages in the Book of Ezekiel (Eze 14:14-20; 28:3), written respectively about b.c. 592 and 587, mention a certain Daniel as an extraordinarily righteous and wise man, belonging to the same class as Noah and Job, whose piety availed with God on behalf of their unworthy contemporaries. All three evidently belonged to the far-distant past: Ezekiel's readers were familiar with their history and character. Daniel, occupying the middle place, cannot be conceived of as the latest of them. He certainly was not a younger man than the prophet who refers to him, as the hero of the Book of Daniel would have been. For Da 1:1-3 makes the latter to have been carried into captivity in b.c. 606, a mere decade prior to Eze 14:2. See Abigail. 3. A priest who accompanied Ezra from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezr 8:2; Ne 10:6). He was head of his father's house, and traced his descent from Ithamar. At 1Es 8:29 the name is spelled Gamelus or Gamael, which probably rests on a corrupt Heb. text. Driver (Daniel, p. xviii.) notes that amongst his contemporaries were 'a Hananiah (Ne 10:23), a Mishael (Ne 8:4), and an Azariah (Ne 10:2); but the coincidence is probably accidental.' It is, however, quite as likely that the author of Dn. borrowed the three names from Nehemiah.
(judgment of God).
1. The second son of David, by Abigail the Carmelitess.
he is called Chileab. (B.C. about 1051.)
2. The fourth of 'the greater prophets." Nothing is known of his parentage or family. He appears, however, to have been of royal or noble descent,
and to have possessed considerable personal endowments.
He was taken to Babylon in "the third year of Jehoiakim" (B.C. 604), and trained for the king's service. He was divinely supported in his resolve to abstain from the "king's meat" for fear of defilement.
At the close of his three years discipline,
Daniel had an opportunity of exercising his peculiar gift,
of interpreting dreams, on the occasion of Nebuchadnezzar's decree against the Magi.
ff. In consequence of his success he was made "ruler of the whole province of Babylon."
He afterwards interpreted the second dream of Nebuchadnezzar,
and the handwriting on the wall which disturbed the feast of Belshazzar.
At the accession of Darius he was made first of the "three presidents" of the empire,
and was delivered from the lion's den, into which he had been cast for his faithfulness to the rites of his faith.
cf. Bel and Dr. 29-42. At the accession of Cyrus he still retained his prosperity,
cf. Dani 1:21 though he does not appear to have remained at Babylon, cf.
and in "the third year of Cyrus" (B.C. 534) he saw his last recorded vision, on the banks of the Tigris.
In the prophecies of Ezekiel mention is made of Daniel as a pattern of righteousness,
The narrative in
implies that Daniel was conspicuously distinguished for purity and knowledge at a very early age.
3. A descendant of Ithamar, who returned with Ezra.
4. A priest who sealed the covenant drawn up by Nehemiah, B.C. 445.
He is perhaps the same as No. 3.
DANIEL was a descendant of the kings of Judah, and is said to have been born at Upper Bethoron, in the territory of Ephraim. He was carried away captive to Babylon when he was about eighteen or twenty years of age, in the year 606 before the Christian aera. He was placed in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and was afterward raised to situations of great rank and power, both in the empire of Babylon and of Persia. He lived to the end of the captivity, but being then nearly ninety years old, it is most probable that he did not return to Judea. It is generally believed that he died at Susa, soon after his last vision, which is dated in the third year of the reign of Cyrus. Daniel seems to have been the only prophet who enjoyed a great share of worldly prosperity; but amidst the corruptions of a licentious court he preserved his virtue and integrity inviolate, and no danger or temptation could divert him from the worship of the true God. The book of Daniel is a mixture of history and prophecy: in the first six chapters is recorded a variety of events which occurred in the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius; and, in particular, the second chapter contains Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dream concerning the four great successive monarchies, and the everlasting kingdom of the Messiah, which dream God enabled Daniel to interpret. In the last six chapters we have a series of prophecies, revealed at different times, extending from the days of Daniel to the general resurrection. The Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman empires, are all particularly described under appropriate characters; and it is expressly declared that the last of them was to be divided into ten lesser kingdoms; the time at which Christ was to appear is precisely fixed; the rise and fall of antichrist, and the duration of his power, are exactly determined; and the future restoration of the Jews, the victory of Christ over all his enemies, and the universal prevalence of true religion, are distinctly foretold, as being to precede the consummation of that stupendous plan of God, which "was laid before the foundation of the world," and reaches to its dissolution. Part of this book is written in the Chaldaic language, namely, from the fourth verse of the second chapter to the end of the seventh chapter; these chapters relate chiefly to the affairs of Babylon, and it is probable that some passages were taken from the public registers. This book abounds with the most exalted sentiments of piety and devout gratitude; its style is clear, simple, and concise; and many of its prophecies are delivered in terms so plain and circumstantial, that some unbelievers have asserted, in opposition to the strongest evidence, that they were written after the events which they describe had taken place. With respect to the genuineness and authenticity of the book of Daniel, there is abundance both of external and internal evidence; indeed all that can well be had or desired in a case of this nature: not only the testimony of the whole Jewish church and nation, who have constantly received this book as canonical, but of Josephus particularly, who recommends him as the greatest of the prophets; of the Jewish Targums and Talmuds, which frequently cite and appeal to his authority; of St. Paul and St. John, who have copied many of his prophecies; and of our Saviour himself, who cites his words, and styles him "Daniel the prophet." Nor is the internal less powerful and convincing than the external evidence; for the language, the style, the manner of writing, and all other internal marks and characters, are perfectly agreeable to that age; and finally, he appears plainly and undeniably to have been a prophet by the exact accomplishment of his prophecies.