Outline of Introduction to Daniel


  1. Date and Authorship
    1. Traditional Conservative Viewpoint
      1. Written by Daniel toward end of sixth century B.C.
      2. Arguments for:
        1. Claim of the book itself
          1. 7:1 says that Daniel wrote down his dream
          2. Several first person references in chapters 7-12 (7:2,4, 6-9,11,13,15-16,19,21,28; 8:1-7,13,15-18,27; 9:2-4,20-22; 10:2-5,7-12,15-19; 12:5,[61,8)
          3. Chapters 11 and 12 claim to be a prophecy by the angel Gabriel given to Daniel (1-1:2; 12:4,9)
          4. Chapter 4 claims to be written in the first person by Nebuchadnezzar
        2. Evidence from the language
          1. Hebrew language closer to that of Ezekiel, Haggai, Ezra, and Chronicles than to that of Qumran (II/I centuries B.C.) and Ecclesiasticus (180 B.C) (LaSor, Harrison)
          2. Aramaic language closer to that of Ezra (4:7-6:18; 7:12-26) and the fifth-century papyri than to that of Qumran (LaSor, Harrison)
            1. The fifth century papyri are the Elephantine papyri (Vasholz)
            2. The Qumran Aramaic documents are 1-lQtgJob (Targum on Job, dated IT/I century B.C.) and lQapGen (Genesis Apocryphon, dated I century B.C) (Vasholz)
            3. In Biblical Aramaic the name Darius is spelled Drywš (דריוש), as in the earliest Aramaic papyri (494 B.C.) and the Meissner contract (515 B.C.), while in later Aramaic the name Darius is spelled Dryhwš (דריהוש) adding a He (Vasholz)
          3. All the Persian words in Daniel are from Old Perian (Vasholz)
        3. Evidence from history
          1. The order Medes and Persians indicates a time when the Medes had been more important; by the time of Xerxes the order was Persians and Medes (Strassmaier, Acts of the 8th Congress of Orientalists, contracts no. 19 and 20, quoted by Wilson, p. 154); see also 1 Maccabees 1:1
          2. Belshazzar's existence not known to Greek historians.
        4. Evidence from New Testament: Jesus said the abomination of desolation was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (Matt. 24:15)
      3. Arguments against:
        1. Internal evidence
          1. Daniel 1:1 dates capture of Jerusalem in 3rd year of Jehoiakim while Jer. 25:1 dates the 4th year of Jehoiakim as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar and Jer. 46:2 notes that he defeated Pharaoh Neco in the 4th year of Jehoiakim
          2. The word "Chaldean" used in both an ethnic sense and to refer to a group of wise men.
          3. No place in historical records of the madness of Nebuchadnezzar
          4. The illness of Nebuchadnezzar wrongly based on the "Prayer of Nabonidus" found in the fourth Qumran cave (Milik, Freedman)
          5. Nabonidus, the father of Belshazzar, was ruler 'of the Babylonian empire at the time of the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.
          6. History does not record the existance of Darius the Mede.
        2. External evidence
          1. Daniel found in the Writings rather in the Prophets
          2. Daniel not mentioned as among the heros of the faith in Ecclesiasticus 44:lff. (written about 180 B.C. by Ben Sira)
          3. Linguistic evidence demands a later date
            1. The Persian words in Daniel presuppose a period of composition after the Persian empire has been well established (Driver)
            2. The Greek words demanded, the Hebrew supported, and Aramaic permitted a date of composition after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. (Driver)
    2. modified Conservative Viewpoint
      1. Compiled by unknown inspired editor in fourth or fifth century B.C.
      2. Arguments for:
        1. Linguistic evidence, both Hebrew and Aramaic, suggests a date possibly in the fourth or even fifth century B.C. MaSar)
        2. 1:1-3:30, 4:28-33, 5:1-7:2a, 10:1-2 in third person
      3. Arguments against:
        1. The prophet Daniel more likely to be inspired than some unknown editor
        2. The linguistic evidence cannot pinpoint Daniel to a particular century
    3. Traditional Liberal Viewpoint
      1. Written by unknown author about 164 B.C.
      2. Arguments for:
        1. Prophecy in chapter 11 closely fulfilled up until around 165 B.C. (See Key to Daniel 11:1-35)
        2. Linguistic evidence demands a date after Alexander the Great (Driver)
        3. Too many historical problem with traditional view
        4. Daniel not mentioned as among the heros of the faith in Ecclesiasticus 44:lff. (written about 180 B.C. by Ben Sira)
      3. Arguments against:
        1. Since prophecies are cast in the future, to make them "after the event" is to make them fradulent, and thus make the book deceptive (LaSor)
        2. Linguistic arguments:
          1. 90% of the Aramaic vocabulary in Daniel occurs in texts of the V century B.C. or earlier (Kitchen, Vasholz)
          2. There is "nothing to decide the date of composition of the Aramaic of Daniel on the grounds of the Aramaic anywhere between the late sixth and the second century B.C." (Kitchen)
          3. The Greek language was present in the Semitic milieu long before the sixth century B.C. (Yamauchi, Vasholz)
          4. The Greek is three Greek names of musical instruments in 3:5ff. (Harrison)
        3. Daniel vas greatly employed at Qumran, both in its Hebrew and Aramaic parts, without the Greek expansions (Vasholz)
        4. Historical problems all capable of solutions
        5. Others not mentioned by Ben Sira include Job, all the judges except Samuel, the good kings Asa and Jehoshaphat, Mordecai, and even Ezra (Harrison)
      4. This view also held by: (Harrison)
        1. Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry (III century A.D.)
        2. Jewish rationalist Uriel Acosta (1590-1647)
        3. English deist Anthony Collins (book in 1727)
    4. Modified Liberal Viewpoint
      1. Earlier chapters written by unknown author about
      2. Latter chapters written by unknown author about 164 B.C.
      3. Argurrents for:
        1. First part of book referred to by Mattathias in 166 B.C.
          1. Three friends of Daniel – I Maccabees 2:59
          2. Daniel in the lion's den – I Maccabees 2:60
        2. Second part of book contains prophecies closely fulfilled down to about 165 B.C.
      4. Arguments against: The book is a unity, as most scholars know
    5. Traditional Rabbinic Viewpoint
      1. Written by Daniel
      2. Edited by men of the Great Synagogue sometime between Ezra (ca. 450 B.C.) and Simeon the Just (270 B.C.) (Talmud, Baba. Bathra 15a)
  2. Unity
    1. Views
      1. All written at once
      2. Chapters 1-6 written separately than 7-12
      3. Chapters 1-7 written separately that 8-12
    2. Reasons
      1. Use in Maccabean struggle vs. exactness of prophecy in 11
        1. Exortation of Mattathias to sons when about to die
          1. 1 Maccabees 2:59-"Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame."
          2. 1 Maccabees 2:60-"Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions."
        2. Chapter 11 fulfilled closely from 530 to 165 B.C. down to verse 40
      2. Use of two languages
        1. sometimes used to show divided authorship
        2. literary pattern of the ancient Near East: to enclose the main body of a composition within the linguistic form of a contrasting style and thus heighten the effect of the work (Harrison)
      3. Chiastic structure-for unity
  3. Theology
    1. Prediction of Future--God in Control and will win
    2. Perserverance
    3. One God as ruler of all others
    4. God as ruler of kings
    5. Resurrection
    6. Angelogy
  4. Special Problem:
    1. Apocryphal Additions
      1. The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men
        1. Inserted between Dan. 3:23 and 3:24
        2. Second or First Century B.C. composition (Metzger)
      2. Susanna
        1. "one of the finest short stories in world literature" (Metzger)
        2. motif-triumph of virtue over villainy
        3. in LXX and Vulgate--Chap. 13 of Daniel
        4. in Theodotion's Greek, Old Latin, Coptic and Arabic--Chap. 1
      3. Bel and the Dragon
        1. in Greek-at close of chap. 12
        2. in Vulgate-as chap. 14 of Daniel
    2. Historical Problems:
      1. Invasion by Nebuchadnezzar in third year of Jehoiakim
        1. Jeremiah gives the defeat cf Pharaoh Neco by Nebuchadnezzar (46:2) and the first year cf Nebuchadnezzar (25:1) as the fourth year of Jiehoiakim (cf. I Kings 24:1)
        2. Daniel was using accession year dating, as was used in Babylon. Jeremiah was using non-accession year dating, as was used in Palestine.
      2. Madness of Nebuchadnezzar
        1. Illness of Nebuchadnezzar not mentioned elsewhere
        2. No place in chronology for seven year illness
        3. If he had been off throne seven years, there would have been a replacement
        4. His illness is rare, but known: it is a rental illness, a rare form cf monomania known as boanthrcpy in which the patient imagines himelf to be a cow or bull; Harrison observed such a case in a British rental institution in 1946
        5. length of illness
          1. seven years (LXX and Josephus, Antiquities, X, x, 6 [§216], Jerome)
          2. seven periods cf indeterminate tire (Young)
          3. seven seasons (i.e., 21 months) (Hippolytus)
          4. six months (Theodoret) (apparently inclusive counting)
      3. Belshazzar
        1. Not mentioned by ancient historians: Herodotus, Xenophon, Ctesias, Berosus (Wilson)
        2. Known from monuments and tablets to have been the firstborn son of Nabonidus
          1. There never called "king"; only "son of the king"
          2. Tablet exists showing oath by his name; oaths were never sworn by the name of any men except those of royal rank
          3. Apparently co-regent; this explains why he offered to make someone "third ruler" in the kingdom
          4. A document called A Persian Verse Account of Nabonidus says that he "entrusted the kingship" to Belshazzar
        3. Josephus thought Belshazzar was another name for Nabonidus (Antiquities, X, xi, 2 [§231])
        4. Nebuchadnezzar called his father (5:2,11,13)
          1. This my only man a successor to Nebuchadnezzar; Jehu was called the son of Oiwi in Assyrian records
          2. His nother nay have been the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar (Dougherty)
      4. Darius the Mede
        1. Biblical evidence
          1. a Mede by birth (5:31; 9:1)
          2. 62 years old when received the kingdom of Babylon (5:31)
          3. son of Ahasuerus (9:1)
          4. became king over realm of the Chaldeans (9:1)
          5. only one year of reign mentioned (9:1)
          6. appointed 120 satraps and 3 presidents
          7. made an interdict according to law of Medes and Persians (6:8)
          8. associated with Cyrus the Persian (6:28)
        2. historical identity
          1. imaginary; fictitious creation (Rowley, Montgomery)
          2. same as Cyrus (Wiseman)
          3. same as Gubaru (or, Gobryas), governor of Babylon and the Region beyond the River under Cyrus (Wilson, Whitcomb, Harrison, Albright)
            1. most favored conservative identification
              1. He was of advanced age (cf. 5:31)
              2. He appointed governors in Babylon (Nabonidus Chronicle; cf. 6:1)
              3. He conquered Babylon and became governor (cf. 5:31 "received the kingdom")
            2. Hamrel thinks Darius or Drywš (דריוש) is an early scribal corruption cf Gobryas or Gbrwš or Gwrwš (גורוש)
            3. There is some question as to whether there were two men of the same or similar name
              1. one of the tablets discovered in bad condition says either that Gubaru (or, Ugbaru) [led an assault) and the king's [son] died or that Gubaru [died] and [later] the king's [wife] died (See Suppliment below)
              2. The name Gubaru is found on tablets dated the 4th year of Cyrus; the during the reign of Cambyses; and during the reign of Darius Hystaspis
            4. Wilson thinks he nay have assumed Darius as a regnal name
              1. Cyrus called Agradetes before he became king
              2. Artaxerxes called Cyrus before he became king
              3. Darius Nothus called Ochus before he became king
              4. Artaxerxes III called Ochus before he became king
              5. last Darius called Codomannus before he became king
            5. Rowley makes the following objections
              1. There is no evidence that Gobryas was called Darius
              2. There is no evidence that Gobryas was the son of Ahasuerus
                1. The Gobryas mentioned on the Behistun inscription was the son of Mardonia, a Persian
                2. This Gobryas dates to the time of Darius Hystaspis
              3. There is no evidence that Gobryas was a Mede
                1. Xenophon says that Gobryas was an Assyrian
                2. Herdotus says that Gobryas was a Persian
              4. There is no evidence that Gobryas bore the title of king
          4. same as Ugbaru, governor of Gutium (which includes Media)
            1. existance on view that there were two Gubarus; this would be the older
            2. associated with Gubaru in capture of Babylon
            3. died shortly thereafter
          5. Josephus said known to Greeks by different nane than Darius, but doesn't give it (Antiquities, X, xi, 4 [§248]); also that he was a son of Astyages (ibid) and king of Media (X, xi, 2 [§232]).
          6. same as Artaxerxes (LXX; Dan. 5:31)
          7. same as Cambyses II
          8. same as Cyaxares, uncle of Cyrus
          9. same as Astyages
          10. father-in-law of Cyrus (medieval Jewish commentators)
          11. Cyrus' uncle and king of the Medes (Jerome)
        3. Note that Cyrus did not date his first year as King of Lands until the year after Babylon was taken; that same year was also called the first year of his son Cambyses as King of Babylon
      5. Use of “Chaldeans”
        1. Used in ethnic sense in most of Old Testament and ancient documents
        2. First secular use of “Chaldeans” to nean special priestly caste is in Herodotus
      6. Prayer of Nabonidus
        1. deals with prayer by Nabonidus, king of Babylon, when became ill with an inflammation and a Jewish priest was sent to him
        2. not much similarity between this and Daniel 4 (Harrison)
        3. same type of literature as the Song of Three Young Men and Prayer of Azariah and the Prayer of Manasseh
    3. Translational Problems (Hulst)
      1. 3:17-"if it be so" (RSV, NIV) vs. "if" vs. "behold"
      2. 4:8-"holy gods" (RSV, NIV) vs. "holy God" (Montgomery)
      3. 6:6-"came by agreement" (RSV, NIV) vs. "came by thronging"
      4. 9:22-"and he made [me] understand" (MT, NIV vs. "and he came" (LXX, RSV)
      5. 9:24-"most holy place" (RSV) vs. "most holy One" vs. "most holy thing" (NIV)
      6. 9:25--"there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It shall be" (NIV) vs. "there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be" (RSV)
      7. 9:26-"and shall have nothing" (RSV, NIV vs. "but not for himself "
      8. 10:13-"I was left there" (NIV) vs. "I left him there" (LXX, RSV)
      9. 11:6-"he that begat her" (MT, NIV) vs. "her child" (RSV)
      10. 11:17-"upright one" (MT) vs. "peace" (RSV)
      11. 11:18-"indeed he shall turn his insolence back" (RSV) vs. "without his being able to turn his insolence back"
    4. Exegetical Problems
      1. Identity of 4 kingdoms in chaps. 2 and 7
        1. figures represent four kingdoms (2:37-43; 7:17,23-24)
          1. first by head of gold and by lion with eagle's wings
          2. second by breast and arms of silver and by bear
          3. third by belly and thighs of bronze and by leopard (or panther) with 4 wings and 4 heads
          4. fourth by legs of iron with feet of iron and clay and by terrible beast with iron teeth and ten horns.
        2. traditional interpretation
          1. first kingdom is Babylonian empire
          2. second kingdom is Medo-Persian empire (Iranian)
          3. third kingdom is Greek empire
          4. fourth kingdom is Roman empire
        3. liberal interpretation
          1. first kingdom is Babylonian empire
          2. second kingdom is Median kingdom
          3. third empire is Persian empire
          4. fourth empire is Greek empire
        4. alternate liberal interpretation
          1. first kingdom is Babylonian empire
          2. second kingdom is Medo-Persian empire
          3. third kingdom is that of Alexander the Great
          4. fourth kingdom is that of Alexander's successors
        5. the four beasts of Daniel 7 are picked up in Revelation 13 with a beast that looks like a leopard with a bear's feet and a lion's mouth and seven heads and ten horns.
        6. the son of man coming imagery is picked up by Jesus to refer to:
          1. His first coming (Mt. 11:19; Lk. 19:10)
          2. the coming of the kingdom on the day of Pentecost (Mt. cf. Mk. 9:1; Lk. 9:27)
          3. His second coming (Mt. 16:27; 24:30,44; 25:31; 26:64; Mk. 8:38; 13:26; 14:62; Lk. 9:26; 12:40; 21:27)
        7. Is the Son cf man receiving the kingdom in 7:13-14 to be understood to be the same thing as the saints receiving the kingdom in 7:18,22,27 after a period of persecution in 7:21,25?
        8. ancient interpretations
          1. fourth kingdom=Greeks (Sibylline Oracles, book 3, line 397-ca. 140 B.C.)
          2. fourth kingdom--Romans (2 Esdras 12:10:12-ca. A.D. 100)
      2. Meaning of the 2300 evenings and mornings (8:14)
        1. refers to a period of 2300 days
          1. more natural interpretation of evenings and mornings
          2. does not fit any known historical period
        2. refers to 2300 evening and morning sacrifices
          1. thus equals 1150 days
          2. said to be about continual burnt offering, the abomination that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled under foot (8:13)
          3. during the time of the little horn (Antiochus IV Epiphanes) the temple sacrifices were stopped from 15th of Chislev in the year 145 Seleucid Era (167 B.C.--cf. I Macc. 1:54) to 25th of Chislev in 148 S.E. (164 B.C.--cf. I Macc. 4:52). A period of three years and ten days in the Hebrew calendar would be a little more than either 37 or 38 months, depending upon the position of the moon at the time. If 37 months, then it involves 1103 days; if 38 months, it involves 1132 days. This means that either approximately 2206 or 2264 sacrifices were missed during this period. The most reasonable solution is to assume that this was rounded up to the next even hundred.
      3. Meaning of 70 weeks prophecy
      4. Interpretation of the "abomination of desolation" (9:27; 11:31; 12:11)
        1. in 11:31 seems to be at time of Antiochus Epiphanes
        2. this interpretation taken in I Macc. 1:54
        3. Jesus identifies it with destruction cf Jerusalem (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14; cf. Lk. 21:20)
        4. Josephus summarizes last of book by saying it tells of destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans (Antiquities, X, xi, 7 [§276])
        5. Jesus' reference probably to 9:27; perhaps to 12:11
      5. A reference to the Antichrist in chapters 7 and 11?
    5. Supernatural Problems
      1. Predictive Prophecy
      2. Three young men in the fire
      3. Handwriting on the wall
      4. Daniel in the lions' den

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