For reasons that will soon become clear the book of Daniel is one of the most contested portions of the Old Testament, perhaps second only to the early chapters of Genesis. The book derives its name from its author and central character, whose experiences in the court of Babylon form the majority of the first six chapters and the his dreams and visions the last six. Regarding the interpretation of these visions there are almost as many views as there are commentators, so only the most plausible interpretations are referred to here.
The date of the book of Daniel is one of the most hotly contested themes in OT scholarship. Two main views prevail: a) That the book was written in the second Century BC in Judea in order to encourage the people of Israel undergoing persecution by the Seleucids under Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Writing after the event the writer cast his work as a prediction of the future and urged his fellow Jews to remain faithful to their God. b) That it was written in the 6th Century BC in Babylon by a Jewish exile named Daniel who served in the royal court and accurately predicted events that were not fulfilled until the Second Century.
2.1 Internal Evidence.
2.1.1 The Book’s Claim to a Predictive Prophecy. On numerous occasions Daniel claims to be predicting the future (Dan. 2:29; 4:24-25; 5:24-30; 7 – 12). Following the established custom among the Old Testament prophets Daniel was often instructed to seal up his visions, so that after the events had been fulfilled the people might have clear evidence that the prophet had foreseen (Dan. 8:26; 12:4, 9; cf. Isa. 8:16; 29:11; 30:8; Jer. 30:2; 32:14; 36:1-32; Hab. 2:2-3) (Wenham, 1977: 50). Since the time of the Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry (c.232 – c.305 AD) the presence of predictive prophecy in Scripture has been denied. Porphyry, an intelligent man, produced a detailed verse by verse study of the book of Daniel in support of his argument for a second century date in volume 12 of his 15 volume work Against the Christians which survives in part in Jerome’s 5th century Commentary on Daniel (Wilken, 1984: 139-143). During the Enlightenment many of Porphyry’s arguments were revived and these, together with the conviction that predictive prophecy is impossible, still form the basis of liberal views on the book of Daniel.
2.1.2 The Book’s Claim That the Author Lived in the Sixth Century BC. Several times Daniel refers to himself as the witness of the events he describes (7:2; 8:1, 15, 27; 9:22; 10:2, 7; 12:5) and claims that he was present in the royal court in Babylon from shortly after his exile from Judea in 605 to around 535 BC (Dan. 1:21; 10:1). The text contains many historical references that would have been unknown to a Second Century writer. These include the assertions that: a) Neo-Babylon was the creation of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:30); b) Belshazzar was the second ruler of the Empire and governed Babylon in his father Nabonidus’ place (implied by Belshazzar only being able to offer Daniel third position in the kingdom – 5:7, 16, 29) (Pffeifer, 1948: 757-759), and c) that Shushan was to be found in the province of Elam (8:2). In the Persian and Roman periods Shushan gave its name to the province in which it was located (Archer, 1985b: 408-409). In addition to the Daniel’s own statements concerning himself we also have the testimony of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel (Matt. 24:15). This establishes that he believed Daniel to be the book’s author.
Against this it is sometimes argued that the fact that Daniel makes no mention of either the destruction of Jerusalem or the return of the exile in 539 BC counts against his being contemporary with these events. Such an argument carries no real weight as the focus of the book is on events in Babylon, not in Judea. It is not necessary for any piece of literature to be comprehensive in its scope for it to be historically accurate.
2.1.3 Language. The most significant feature about the language of the book of Daniel is the encapsulation of an Aramaic core (2:4b – 7:28) inside a Hebrew shell (1:1 -2:4a; 8:1 – 12:13). It has been noted that Aramaic was the lingua franca of the Ancient world (cf. 2 Kings 18:26). It was therefore appropriate that messages concerning the Gentile nations contained within the central section of the book be recorded in this language. The beginning and end of the book, which relate specifically to the Jewish nation, are written in Hebrew (Archer, 1985a: 6). The use of different languages is no longer seen as evidence of disunity, but a R.K. Harrison points out:
The device of enclosing the main body of a composition within the linguistic form of a contrasting style so as to heighten the effect of the work was commonly employed in the construction of single, integrated writings in the corpus of Mesopotamian literature (Harrison, 1970: 1109-1110).
Another biblical example of this technique is to be found in the book of Job, that encloses a poetic core (3:1 – 42:6) within a narrative introduction and epilogue (1:1- 2:13; 42:6-17). Ezra is written for the most part in late Hebrew, but also contains Aramaic sections (4:8 – 6:18; 7:12-26).
The presence of Persian and Greek loan words in Daniel (3:5, 15) has long been considered a problem for those who would argue for an early date for the book (so Pfeiffer, 1948: 756-757). However, further study has shown that linguistic arguments alone are inadequate when it comes to dating the book one way or the other (Kitchen, 1970: 79). Our knowledge of the development of the vocabularies of Aramaic and Hebrew from the 6th to the 2nd century BC is too fragmentary to prove that the text of Daniel contains “late” words. However, there are certain factors that favour an early date, such as the mistranslation in the Septuagint (dating from the Second Century BC) of some of the Aramaic words used in Daniel. Such an occurrence is more explicable if the translators were dealing with words with which they were no longer familiar (i.e. if the text of Daniel was from the 6th century) than if they were working on a contemporary manuscript. Persian words found in Daniel are traceable to the Old Persian Period which ended about 300 BC (Kitchen, 1970: 42-44).
The presence of three Greek loan words is easily explained, as all three refer to the names of musical instruments (lyre/zither, harp/trigon and pipe/bagpipes – 3:5, 10, 15). We now know that the Greeks traded extensively throughout the Ancient Near East from at least the 8th Century BC, and Greek mercenaries were common from the 7th Century. These facts, together with Daniel’s position in the Royal Court (Dan. 2:49), the diplomatic centre of the Empire, adequately explain the few loan words that he uses (Kitchen, 1970: 44-50). All of these occurrences are completely consistent with a 6th Century date.
2.1.4 Apocalyptic Character. The second half of the book of Daniel is written belongs to a literary genre known as apocalyptic. The characteristics of this genre have been defined by examining documents of the same type and so not every apocalyptic writing necessarily contains all the distinctive features. These are: 1) Revelatory Nature. This is distinct from the nature of the revelations about the future given to the OT prophets which were intended to communicate the Word of the Lord with the aim of reminding the people of their covenant responsibilities. To this central message the foretelling of the future took second place. In apocalyptic, however, the events of future are themselves the centre of attention. 2) Artificial nature. In general the visions and dreams the are literary fictions rather than genuine subjective experiences. There is nothing in Daniel to suggest that his visions were artificial – he recorded what he saw. 3) Pseudonymity. The revelation is presented in the name of a long dead Old Testament character. It is probable that after the end of the prophetic era in order to be taken seriously writers felt it necessary to deceive their readership by ascribing their work to an author who had lived at a time when the Lord was indeed still speaking to his people. In addition it is important to note that outside of the book of Daniel the character of Daniel himself was unknown (see 9.1). In no way could a later writer have appealed to him to lend authority to his work. 4) Pseudo-Prophecy. Having selected an ancient figure the author often rewrote history down to his own day and so presented it as a fulfilled prophecy. Characteristically the details of the “prophecy” became more vague the nearer one comes to the time of the actual writer of the work, and this is used by modern scholars to establish its date. This principle is often applied to the book of Daniel and it is argued that whilst Daniel 11:21-39 accurately describes the career of Antiochus Epiphanes, verses 40-45 are much less accurate, so indicating the true date when the book was written. However, it is more likely that just as the prophecy in 11:2-3 jumps 130 years, the fulfilment of vv. 40-45 occurs long after the Maccabean Period. Many commentators argue that the fulfilment of these verses is still future (e.g. Archer, 1985a: 146-148). 5) Symbolism. The visions are cast in the form of complex symbols that often require interpretation (e.g. Zech. 6:1-8; Dan. 7:1, 15-28). 6) Dualism. A sharp distinction is drawn both between this age and the age to come and between the power of God and the powers of evil that dominate this present age. This dualism becomes more pronounced in later apocalypses. It is discernible in the book of Daniel when it refers to the four human kingdoms (this age) and the rock representing God’s kingdom that will bring the human kingdoms to an end (2:31-35, 44-45a). Daniel also contains references to evil forces that oppose the will of God and require additional effort to overcome them (Dan. 10:13, 20) (see 7.1.3). 7) Lack of Historical Perspective in Eschatology. Whereas the prophets saw a purpose in history leading eventually to a day of judgement and vindication of the upright, apocalyptic lacks the positive understanding that God is working out his purposes. 8) Pessimism. The apocalyptic writings are not pessimistic in the sense of losing their faith in God, but rather in their despair of this present evil age in which he does not seem to act. In contrast to this pessimism it is clear that one of the themes of Daniel is the conviction that the God of Israel is also the Lord of history (2:37-38, 44, 47; 4:28-35; 5:18-21; 6:26) (see 7.1.2). 9) Determinism. The plan of history is already written and cannot be altered and God himself is viewed as waiting for his plans to come to fruition rather than actively working them out. The writers of apocalypses usually assumed that they stand at the end of this history on the threshold of the new age. 10) Ethical Passivity. Unlike the writings of the prophets, reminding the people of their covenant obligations, apocalypses were directed to the righteous remnant and usually did not include moral exhortation because the remnant was believed to be those who did uphold the Law (Ladd, 1979: 151-156).
From this brief summary it is obvious that the book of Daniel contains only a few of the features found in the later apocalypses and so cannot be subject to the same generalisations that are applied to them. For example, many scholars who argue for a second century date point often argue that as Daniel contains apocalyptic it must therefore be pseudonymous. Such reasoning ignores the most likely explanation: that apocalyptic literature modelled itself, at least in part, on the book of Daniel not vice versa. The existence of other OT passages that contain elements of apocalyptic (e.g. Isa. 25-27; Zech. 9) that cannot be dated as late as the Second Century BC support this view of literary development (Wenham, 1977: 50).
2.1.5 The Characters of the Kings. Advocates of the second century date (beginning with Porphyry in the third century AD) argue that a Maccabean writer attempted to use his work to encourage the Jews to remain faithful during the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. According to this view the characters of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius were all styled on Antiochus IV. Although there are many similarities between the kings, the differences are more significant, particularly their motives in persecuting the Jews (see Table 1 below). It should also be noted that Antiochus desecrated rather than destroyed the Temple as Nebuchadnezzar had done. Nor was he ever likely to issue a decree protecting the Jews from religious persecution (cf. Dan. 3:28-29).
2.1.6 The Renaming of Daniel and his Friends. Daniel 1:7 describes how Daniel and his four friends received new names, some containing the names of Babylonian and Sumerian deities (see Table 2). It seems improbable that a Second Century writer would fabricate such a story or allow it to pass without comment in a situation where the preservation of the purity of the Jewish faith was considered so critical.
2.2 External Evidence
2.2.1 Daniel 1:1. The contents of the first verse in Daniel have been challenged on two counts. It is often claimed that the date given by Daniel for the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign contradicts that given by Jeremiah (so Pfeiffer, 1948: 756) (see Table 3). This objection is easily answered as the Babylonians used the Accession year system of dating (also known as post-dating) and the Judeans the non-Accession year system (or antedating). It is not surprising that Daniel follows the Babylonian system and therefore dates Jehoiakim’s reign as being one year less than that given by Jeremiah.
The second objection involves the circumstances of Daniel’s exile to Babylon. There is no extrabiblical evidence for a siege of Jerusalem in 605 BC, but we do know from the Babylonian Chronicle that Nebuchadnezzar was in the area, pursuing the remnants of the Egyptian army after his victory at Carchemish (see Exile 4.1). Although our only evidence for this event comes from Scripture there is no real reason, apart from critical presuppositions, why it could not be an accurate account (Wiseman, 1970: 16-18).
2.2.2 The Identity of Darius the Mede. Daniel provides us with a number of facts about Nabonidus’ successor to the throne of Babylon: i) His name was Darius; ii) He was the son of Xerxes; iii) he was a Mede (Dan. 9:1), and iv) he began to rule when he was 62 years old (6:1). Despite this no extrabiblical evidence that such a person existed. It is generally agreed that this remains the strongest evidence against a seventh century origin for the book of Daniel (Wiseman, 1970: 9). Two main solutions have been suggested by conservative scholars. Both argue that the name Darius was a honorific title just as “Caesar” and “Augustus” was in the Roman Empire (Hoerth, 1998: 384). a) The first of these explanations sees Darius is another name for Gorbryas (Gubaru), a man who played a significant part both in the capture of Babylon and later its new administration where he served as provincial governor. The use of double throne names is not without precedent (Tiglath-pileser of Assyria=Pul in 2 Kings 15:19-29; cf. 1 Chron. 5:26). Factors which make this identification doubtful are that facts that Gorbryas is never described elsewhere as the son of Xerxes, of 62 years of age or of Median descent. The use of a royal title by a governor of a city is also without precedent and there is no evidence than Gorbryas ever bore such a title at any time in his life. Most seriously of all this identification is contradicted by extant inscriptions which portray Gorbryas as a Persian (Wiseman, 1970: 10-12). b) A more likely theory is that of D.J. Wiseman that Darius was a “throne name” or honorific title for Cyrus. Cyrus was referred to by Nabonidas in 546 as “the king of the Medes”, only four years after Cyrus’ conquest of the Median Empire. There is also some evidence that Cyrus was descended from the Medes on his father’s side and was probably about 62 when he captured Babylon. The name Xerxes (Ahasuerus) may also be an ancient royal title, which would solve the remaining difficulty. While the theory is not without its weaknesses (e.g. Xerxes occurs in Ezra 4:6 and throughout the book of Esther as a real name) it remains the best explanation pending the discovery of further relevant archaeological evidence (Wiseman, 1970: 12-16).
2.2.3 Acceptance into the Jewish Canon. The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that Daniel shaped the theology of the Qumram Community. They referred to Daniel as “the Prophet” and accepted his writings as authoritative, indicating that they predated the founding of the community in the Second Century BC (Beckwith, 1985: 78). Writing in the First Century AD the former Pharisee Josephus also called Daniel a prophet (Antiquities, 10.249), as “…one of the greatest of the prophets…” (11.266) and his writings as being “among our ancient books” (10.218).
A number of other citations found in Intertestamental literature are significant (see Table 4 below). If the writer of 1 Enoch borrowed from Daniel then it would demonstrate that that book was considered authoritative prior to 150 BC (Harrison, 1970: 1107). In the same way the writer of 1 Maccabees refers to Daniel and his friends as famous ancestors – hardly the language one would expect if the stories of their deeds had only recently been composed.
Bible quotations taken from the NRSV.
The book claims to have been written by a man named Daniel, who was brought from Jerusalem in the year 605 BC (Dan. 1:1-2) and served the kings of Babylon and later Persia until 539 BC (1:21). The first six chapters of the book, written contain a narrative that describes several significant events that took place in Babylon in which Daniel and his three fellow exiles had a part. Wishing to harness the best minds of his subject peoples Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the most promising of the Judean exiles be selected for training for royal service (1:3-5). Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were selected and received new Babylonian names (see Table 2). Like Joseph before them they accepted their new names without protest (1:6-7; cf. Gen. 41:45), but when presented with food from the king’s table they refused to eat it. The text is clear that eating such food would have led to defilement for the Hebrews, but the reason for this defilement is less certain. It is most likely that food was rejected because of its source (the Kings table) rather because of its content (unclean or non-kosher meats). In the Ancient Near East accepting table fellowship was indicative of entering into a covenant relationship with your host (Gen. 31:54; Exod 24:9-11; Neh. 8:9-12; cf. Matt. 26:26-28). In order to remain free to serve the Lord, Daniel and his friends refused to be tempted by the choice food (cf. Gen 3:6) (Baldwin, 1978: 83). This interpretation is further supported by the fact that later in his career Daniel was partaking of choice food, meat and wine (10:3). Presumably only its source is different to that mentioned in Chapter 1. The guard who had been set over the four Hebrews was understandably reluctant to restrict their diet to vegetables as they requested, because he was responsible for their well-being. Daniel wisely suggested that they be allowed ten days to prove their case and, when the did indeed appear better nourished than the other young men, they won the right to not to eat the royal food. At the end of their period of training they were found to be ten times better than all of the magicians and enchanters in the realm of Babylon (1:11-20).
In the year 604 BC, the year after Daniel was taken to Babylon Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. It is unclear whether when he awoke he simply could not remember it or was perhaps seeking to test the powers of his advisors. In any event the court astrologers assured him that no one could interpret a dream unless the contents of the dream were first recounted to them. In a fit of rage Nebuchadnezzar ordered that all the wise men be put to death, including Daniel and his friends, who were not present in the court at that time. When Daniel learnt of the kings decision he went to the king and asked that he might be given time to interpret the dream. Returning to his friends the four joined together in prayer for God’s mercy and that night the dream was revealed to Daniel. Appearing before the king Daniel first made clear that God alone could do what Nebuchadnezzar asked (cf. Gen. 41:16). He then went on to recount the dream of a statue and interpret it as foretelling the four world empires that were to come (including that of Babylon), followed by the kingdom of God. After this Daniel was placed over all the wise men of Babylon and remained in the royal court while he friends took up senior administrative posts elsewhere in the Empire (2:1-49).
Nebuchadnezzar had cause to call upon Daniel’s services as an interpreter of dreams when once again his other advisors failed. The interpretation showed that unlike the earlier dream this one referred to Nebuchadnezzar personally rather than to his Empire. The king’s pride in his accomplishments was about to bring about a period of chastisement during which he would lose his mind and be driven from position of power. Daniel warned the king that the dream would be fulfilled unless Nebuchadnezzar repented of his wickedness (4:1-27). However, his advice was soon forgotten and the dream fulfilled. At the end of seven “times” Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the his life was in God’s hands, was restored and gave praise to God (4:28-37). No further events dating from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar are recorded.
In 553 BC Belshazzar was made regent of Babylon by his father Nabonidus. Later in that same year Daniel had a dream of four beasts followed by the establishment of God’s rule on earth. The vision deeply affected Daniel and left him drained and troubled (7:1-28). Two years later (in around 551) he had another vision, this time of a Ram and a He-goat. This vision was interpreted by the “man” Gabriel (8:16), who explained that it referred to the events to come in the last days. Again the experience had a dramatic effect upon Daniel, who was left exhausted and ill for days afterward (8:27). During the reign of Belshazzar it would seem that Daniel did not play a prominent role in the royal court. When Belshazzar was confronted with a disembodied hand writing a mysterious message on the palace wall it was left to the queen mother (Belshazzar’s mother) (Baldwin, 1978: 122) to remind the court of the deeds of Daniel during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (5:1-13). Daniel was duly called and interpreted the four words written on the wall as a warning that the Empire of Babylon was about to come to an end. As a reward Belshazzar made Daniel the third ruler in the kingdom, the highest honour he could grant, as he himself was only the second ruler. True to Daniel’s interpretation before that night was over Belshazzar was dead and Cyrus took the city (5:13-31).
Under the new Persian administration Daniel found himself appointed one of the three administrators in charge of the 120 satraps who ran the affairs of the kingdom. Such was his skill that he aroused the jealousy of his co-workers who devised a plot to use his devotion to the Lord against him, since there were no other grounds for accusing him. They approached the king and effectively outlawed the worship of any God but Cyrus. Daniel quietly disregarded the command and continued in his usual routine of praying toward Jerusalem three times a day. His enemies knew about this and soon brought his activity to the notice of the king, who reluctantly agreed to carry of the death sentence on Daniel, for the Persian monarchs were not above the law. Daniel was protected from the lions by an angel, but the next morning his enemies received the punishment that they had planned for Daniel (6:1-28). Later, in the first year of Cyrus’ reign Daniel, realising from his study of the prophet Jeremiah that the seventy years for Babylon had now been fulfilled (Jer. 25:11; 29:10) Daniel turned to the Lord in prayer to fulfil the rest of Jeremiah’s injunction which required repentance on behalf of the people of Israel (29:11-14) (see EXILE 6.1). Standing as Israel’s representative Daniel prayed a prayer of repentance recalling the covenant and the consequences of breaking it. Calling upon the Lord’s great compassion he pleaded that the Lord might turn from his wrath and restore both his people and his city Jerusalem (Dan. 9:1-19). The Lord’s answer was brought once more by Gabriel, who spoke of some of the events that were to take place in Jerusalem in the future (9:20-27).
Daniel’s last recorded vision took place two years later in about 536 BC, two years after his retirement from the royal court (1:21) by which time Daniel must have been an old man. Following a period of mourning and fasting Daniel was confronted with a vision of a man, whom he alone saw. The experience once again overwhelmed the ageing prophet, but the man touched him and gave him the strength he needed (10:1-20). The man spoke of events yet to come during the Persian Empire and the Greek Empire that followed, looking forward to the day when the dead would rise. Daniel never received the full explanation for what he saw, because what he saw referred to the end times (10:21-12:13). He was truly great among the heroes of old who “…administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions…” (Heb. 11:33).
Writing in 1909 in his book The Canon of the Old Testament H.E. Ryle put forward the theory of the three stage development of the Hebrew canon. He argued that first the Pentateuch, then the Prophets and finally the Writings were produced and accepted as canonical. Daniel was placed with the Writings by the Jews because it was not in existence when the other prophetic book were accepted as canonical (Beckwith, 1985: 4). Ryle’s theory became widely accepted, but there are now serious doubts about the validity of his arguments. There are other equally plausible reasons why Daniel was not included amongst the prophets. For example, Daniel may have been viewed as a being one of the books of wisdom, like Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, after all “…the words ‘wise’ and ‘wisdom’ occur in the book twenty-six times.” (Beckwith, 1985: 138). More significantly, we know from Josephus’ description of the Jewish canon, dating from the 1st Century AD, that the book of Daniel was indeed counted as one of the prophets (Josephus, Against Apion 1.38-39). As Josephus’ list predated that given by the Masoretes by at least six centuries, so arguments based on the latter’s division of the canon must carry little weight (Archer, 1985a: 7-8).
On the simplest level the book of Daniel might be divided by language (see 2.1.3), or by genre: Narrative (chapters 1-6) and apocalyptic (chapter 7-12) (see 2.1.4). Closer examination demonstrates a complex literary structure throughout the book (see Table 5). Such a structure constitutes strong evidence for the book’s unity.
Based on Gooding, 1981: 43-79.
Archaeological discoveries, particularly that of the Babylonian Chronicle mean that we now know a tremendous amount about the events of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. A summary of the major events in given in Table 6.
Table based on Jonsson, 1998: 254.
7.1 Major Themes
7.1.1 The Covenant-Keeping God. The opening verses of the book make clear that Nebuchadnezzar was able to conquer Jerusalem because the Lord allowed him to (Dan. 1:2), recalling the covenant curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. In his prayer of repentance (directed toward the site of the Temple – Dan. 6:10) Daniel specifically refers to Israel’s sin and failure to live up to her covenant obligations (9:4-11a). The EXILE, he acknowledges, was God’s judgement on the people which they fully deserved (9:11b-15; cf. Lev. 26:37-39: Deut. 4:27-28; 28:63). However, Daniel knew that that was not the end of the story, for after judgement the Lord promised both forgiveness and restoration (Dan. 9:15-16; cf. Lev. 26:40-45; Deut. 4:29-31; 2 Chron. 7:14).
7.1.2 Universal Rule of Yahweh. Although the narrative of the book centres around a group of Hebrews in Babylon the book’s perspective is not simply concerned either with their fate, or even that of their people; it is universal in scope. God is shown to be working at the very heart of a pagan empire and its rulers are forced to acknowledge that he is Lord is King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he who raises up and puts down rulers and it is he alone who directs the course of history (as the visions and dreams demonstrate). Although they might have taken the sacred objects from the temple with impunity when they are used in a sacrilegious manner Yahweh proves himself more than capable of defending his honour (5:1-30).
7.1.3 God’s Rule is Not Unopposed. God’s will is opposed both ion the heavens and on earth. When Daniel prayed and fasted for 21 days for insight God’s answer was given on the first day he prayed. However, we are told that the Prince of Persia opposed God’s messenger until another angel (Michael) was sent to help. Throughout that time Daniel continued to fast, unaware why he had not had an answer to his request (10:1, 12-14). On earth God’s will is opposed by kings and rulers, some of whom can be turned to repentance (4:34-35), some of whom cannot (5:1-4, 30; 11:36-38).
7.1.4 Suffering. Being a believer in Yahweh does not guarantee a life free from suffering. Israel suffered because of military conquest, but Daniel and his friends had to chose between their faith and an easy life (3:8-23; 6:3-12). Further defeats are foretold for Israel, but God will ultimately vindicate them (7:21-25; 8:23-25; 9:26; 11:36-45; 12:7b) and bring every deed to judgement (5:2-6, 22-30; 6:24; 7:9-10; 12:1-3).
7.1.5 God is in Control of Human History. Behind the scenes of history the Lord is working out his purposes (2:44). The kings of the earth rule by his will (2:37-38, 47; 4:28-35; 5:18-21; 6:26) and their end is already known (2:31-35, 44-45)
7.2 Is Daniel’s Theology Unique? The book of Daniel is sometimes seen as standing alone amongst the Old Testament writings. The following section examines five important themes to see if this is the case.
Table 7: A Comparison of the Important Elements of Daniel’s Theology with Other Old Testament Passages
7.2.1 Angels. The Old Testament contains numerous references to angelic activity. Angels at various times met, guided (24:7), ate (Gen. 18:2-8) and even wrestled with the Patriarchs (32:24-30); they pronounced and executed judgement (Judges 2:1-4; 1 Chron. 21:15), fought on behalf of Israel (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chron. 32:21), as well as guiding (2 Kings 1:3. 15) and sustaining the Lord’s servants (1 Kings 19:5-8; Psalm 34:7). We see many of the same angelic activities evidenced in Daniel. Angel protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fire (Dan. 3:28), shut the mouths of the lions (6:22), gave Daniel strength (10:18-19) and interpreted Daniel’s visions (7:16; 8:16-17; 9:22). However, there is at least one new element in Daniel’s understanding of angels, that of demographic responsibility. Chapter 10:13 refers to a “prince of the Persian kingdom” who resisted the angelic messenger sent to Daniel. The messenger was assisted by Michael, an angel who has special responsibility for protecting Israel (10:13, 21; 12:1). Also mentioned is the prince of Greece, who will succeed the prince of Persia in opposing the people of God (10:21). Although these passages are popularly understood as teaching that these spirits are geographically territorial rather than demographic, such a teaching can scarcely be supported from this passage. After all Michael, the prince of Israel, came to the aid of the messenger sent to Daniel in Babylon, well outside the geographic border of Israel at any point in that nations history (Page, 1995: 63-65; Payne, 1962: 289).
7.2.2 Resurrection. There are a number of passages in the Old Testament that deal with the resurrection of the dead. Hosea 13:14 & Ezekiel 37:11-14 refer to the raising of all Israel, while Isaiah 26:19 refers only to the righteous. Daniel 12:2 is the only reference in the Old Testament in which both righteous and unrighteous are resurrected.
7.2.3 Messiah. Daniel continues the developing revelation of the person of the Messiah, who is referred to explicitly in 9:26. While there is no direct connection made with the “son of man” of 7:13 in the book the two figures were equated in the Intertestamental Period (1 Enoch 48:2, 10) and by Jesus (Matt. 23:63; cf. Mark 14:62). The book of Daniel portrays the Messiah as a suffering (“cut off” – 9:26), a common theme in other Messianic passages (Isa. 52:13-53:12). As the “son of man” he is portrayed as having full access to the presence of the Ancient of Days and exercises the prerogatives of deity (7:13-14).
7.2.4 Last Judgement. Chapter 7:9-10 provides a vivid illustration of God’s judgement metered out against his enemies. We learn from 12:1-2 that this judgement is to take place following the resurrection of the dead (see 7.2.3). Once again, Daniel’s revelation adds to and compliments the revelation of the other prophets (see Table 7).
The scene changes from the terrestrial to the celestial, from earth to heaven. This vision contains the most descriptive picture of the First Person of the Trinity in the Bible. To distinguish Him from the Son, God the Father is identified as “the Ancient of Days.” He is the eternal, self-existent One, the Creator of all things (Isaiah 43:10), and He has been viewing the activities of men and demons from His throne in Heaven.
His clothing as white as snow symbolizes His righteousness, justice, purity and holiness. Hair white as snow stands for wisdom. Fire symbolizes holiness, wrath and judgment (Psalm 50:3; 97:3-5) as well as God’s presence (Exodus 13:21).
There is no escape from His judgment—a river of fire comes flowing out from before Him. He is the Lord of Hosts as thousands upon thousands (an infinite number of celestial beings, possibly included are the raptured saints) await His command to execute judgment.
His throne is flaming fire and its wheels are all ablaze. The wheels, on which the throne rests, are moving about and they are ringed with fire. Such symbolism describes God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience in Ezekiel 1:12-18.
God is enthroned as the Great King and He sits in judgment of the kingdoms of the world. The first two to be judged in God’s court will be the boastful little horn—the Antichrist and the False Prophet. Their eternal destiny is blazing fire, the Lake of Fire, in which they are thrown alive, bypassing Sheol/Hades (Revelation 19:20).
Daniel records that “the other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.” This period falls between Armageddon and the Great White Throne Judgment. Then Satan, his demons and all his subjects will be judged (Revelation 20:1-15), when the books are opened. What books? The Lamb’s Book of Life, the books of the deeds of men, and the Scriptures, especially the Law. If one’s name is not recorded in the first, the other books become the basis of God’s judgment as seen in Revelation 20:11-15. It appears that Daniel and John beheld the same scene.
There is no judgment for the animal kingdom, but for unsaved man “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). The rebellion of angels and men will be judged. This scene is also similar to the one in chapters 4-6 of Revelation, where the slain Lamb comes and takes the scroll (the title deed to the earth) from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. After taking the scroll, He proceeds to break its seven seals, which commences God’s judgment on the kingdom of the fourth beast.
Part Two by Everette Hatcher III
2001 / March-April
5 Did the Book of Daniel err when it presented Belshazzar as the King of Babylon (Dan. 5)?
William Sierichs, Jr., asserted that Belshazzar “was never the king” (TSR, Vol. 9.6, p.2), and Dave Matson made this same point twice (TSR, Vol. 9.6, p. 12, Vol. 10.1, p. 15). Moreover, Sierichs and Matson are not the only ones who hold this view (E.W. Heaton, The Book of Daniel, Torch Bible Commentaries, London: SCM, 1956, p. 63; Brodrick D. Shepherd, Beasts, Horns, and the Anti-Christ, Grassy Creek, NC: Cliffside Publishing House, 1994, p. 23; Russell, p. 83). Earlier I quoted the critic Philip Davies concerning this. Davies noted, “This is still sometimes repeated as a charge against the historicity of Daniel, and resisted by conservative scholars. But it has been clear since 1924 (J. A. Montgomery, Daniel, International Critical Commentary, Edinburgh: T and T Clark, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1927, pp. 66-67) that although Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, Belshazzar was effectively ruling Babylon. In this respect, then, Daniel is correct” (Davies, pp. 30-31; TSR, Vol. 9.2, p. 4). Evidently, that didn’t convince Dave Matson and William Sierichs, Jr. Therefore, let us look at the two points of evidence that convinced the critic James A. Montgomery. First, a cuneiform inscription revealed that royal dignity was conferred on Belshazzar (Montgomery, pp. 66-67). The text records: “He entrusted a camp to his eldest, his firstborn son; the troops of the land he sent with him. He freed his hand; he entrusted the kingship (sarrutam) to him” (Sidney Smith, Babylonian Historical Texts, , p. 84ff). Second, Belshazzar’s name was coupled with his father’s in prayers and also in an oath. The late R .P. Dougherty of Yale commented, “There is no other instance in available documents of an oath being sworn in the name of the son of the king…. It appears that he was invested with a degree of royal authority, not only at the close of the reign of his father, but throughout a large part, if not the whole, of the reign of Nabonidus” (Montgomery, p. 67; Pinches, Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology , pp. 167ff; Dougherty, Records from Erech, Time of Nabonidus [Yale Or. Series], 1920, No. 134; Clay, Miscellaneous Inscriptions in the Yale Babylonian Collection, 1915, No. 39). Daniel recognized Belshazzar as king, and I have a hard time understanding why some critics still have a problem with that. Obviously, the evidence from archaeology seems to confirm the view that Belshazzar was functioning as king.
6. Did the writer of Daniel err when he called the Babylonian king “Nebuchadnezzar” instead of Nebuchadrezzar?
William Sierichs, Jr., said that Daniel used the “biblical, not scholars spelling” (TSR, Vol. 9.6, p. 2, Column 2), and Stephen Van Eck called the “Nebuchadnezzar” spelling “erroneous” (TSR, Vol. 9.6, p. 11). Many critical scholars would agree with these observations (John J. Collins, Daniel, Hermeneia, Minneapolis, Fortress, 1994, p. 133; Samuel Driver, The Book of Daniel: Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges: University Press, 1900, p. 3; Heaton, p. 122; Jeffery, p. 362; Montgomery, p. 118; Owens, p. 381). The conservative scholar Dr. Stephen Miller of Mid-America Seminary has noted that “Nebuchadrezzar” is closer to the Babylonian “Nabu-kndurri-usur” (“O Nabu [the god], protect my offspring/boundary”). However, the change of r in Akkadian and Aramaic to n in Hebrew was not erroneous but an accepted philological practice (Daniel, The New American Commentary, Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1994, p. 45 n. 2; Gleason Archer, Jr., Daniel, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 32; D. J. Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon [Oxford: University Press, 1985], pp. 2-3). I don’t know why the critics have chosen this argument in their attempt to late date Daniel, because some other Old Testament books also use “Nebuchadnezzar” (2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther). This argument is weak indeed.
7. Did King Nebuchadnezzar make a solid gold image 60 cubits tall and six cubits broad?
Till correctly noted that an image that size would have contained 270 cubic yards of gold and it would have surely impoverished the supply of gold in the royal treasury (TSR, Vol. 9.6, p. 1, Column 1). However, critical scholars agree that the Bible suggests the statute was gold-plated only (Montgomery, pp. 195-197; Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. DiLella, The Book of Daniel, Anchor Bible, Garden City: Doubleday, 1978, pp. 160-161; Jeffery, p. 395). J. J. Collins asserts, “Compare Isaiah 40:19 (‘The idol, a workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold’); Jeremiah 10:3-4 and Epistle of Jeremiah 8, 55, 57, which refer to gods of wood, overlaid with silver or gold; Bel and the Serpent 7 (‘This is but clay inside and brass outside’). Compare also the altar overlaid with gold in Exodus 30:3, which can still be referred to as ‘the golden altar’(Driver, p. 35; cf. Also Herodotus 2.129; 182)” (Collins, p. 181). Therefore, Till’s criticism is so weak that it is not shared by any other critical scholar that I have come across, and the biblical evidence clearly contradicts his assertion.
8. If Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon (Daniel 2:49), then why haven’t their names been found in the Babylonian archives?
Till asks this question (TSR, Vol. 9.6, p.1, Column 2), and the answer can be found on a 5-sided clay prism found in Babylon, now on display at the Istanbul Museum. Dr. William Shea has identified these three Jews in this list of more than fifty government officials (W.H. Shea, “Daniel 3: Extra-Biblical Texts and the Convocation on the Plain of Dura,” Andrews University Seminary Studies, Vol. 20 : pp. 37-50; A. L. Oppenheim’s English Translation of the Babylonian text may be found in Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. B. Pritchard, ed, pp. 307-308). Hananiah is Hanunu (“chief of the royal merchants”); Abednego is Aridi-Nabu (“secretary of the crown prince [i.e., Amel- Marduk]”); and Mishael is Mushallim-Marduk (one of the “overseers of the slave girls”). Two other government officials mentioned both in this list and the Bible are Nabuzeriddinam=Nabuzaradan (2 Kings 25:8, 11; Jer. 39:9-11, 13; 40:01, etc.) and Nergalsharusur (Neriglissar)=Nergal-Sharezer (Jer. 39:3, 13). In Daniel 1:3, we are introduced to Ashpenaz who was an important official in the court of Nebuchadnezzar around 600 B.C. Did this person actually exist in history? The critic Arthur Jeffery asserted: “No satisfactory explanation of the name has been suggested” (p. 364). However, Peter Coxon has noted, “Almost the same consonants (spnz) are found in an Aram incantation bowl from Nippur dated ca. 600 B.C.” (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 1992, Vol. 1, pp. 491). Till scoffs at the view “that absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence” (TSR, Vol. 11.2, p. 2), but as time goes by, the archaeologist continues to unearth evidence that supports the accuracy of the Bible. Nevertheless, when it comes to the Book of Daniel, Till finds the argument from silence very attractive. He states: “If Darius the Mede was a real person, then why didn’t the records of that period mention a ruler of such prominence? We don’t have to wonder if Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Cyrus, Evil-Merodach, Artaxerxes, Sennacherib, Tiglath-Pileser, and other gentile kings mentioned in the Bible were actual historical persons, because extrabiblical records confirm that they were real, but we are supposed to believe that a king who conquered Babylon, issued edicts, and made extensive administrative reforms during his reign (Dan. 6) went completely unmentioned in the contemporary records of both Babylon and Persia” (TSR, Vol. 11.1, p. 5).
Dr. Wayne A. Brindle of Liberty University e-mailed me on January 14, 2000, concerning these comments of Till. Brindle noted: “Till is arguing out of both sides of his critical mouth. Two hundred years ago, critics commonly said that since most such names in the Bible weren’t found in secular literature/inscriptions, those people never existed. Then when they began to be found one at a time by slow, deliberate archaeological searching, critics were surprised, and some, like Albright, saw the discoveries almost as providing proof of Biblical accuracy and eyewitness testimony. Now Till says that since so many have already been found, the ones that haven’t yet been found never existed. He obviously hasn’t learned much from the past 200 years.”
In addition, not “all” of the Gentile kings have been found in secular histories/inscriptions. The farther back you go, and the farther from Greek and Roman culture you go, the fewer have been found. For example, as far as I know, none of the kings mentioned in Genesis 14 have been positively identified. The finding of the Gallio inscription (Acts 18) in Delphi was a fluke. A number of the kings of Syria and Philistia mentioned in Samuel/Kings/Chronicles have no secular parallel identifications. The reasons for this lack of information are simply that the sources are scarce and archaeologists have barely touched the surface of what might be available throughout the Near East. Many sites, even in Palestine, have not even been touched. In other words, we are not looking for a missing person, but just a missing nickname. However Till’s argument from silence concerning the names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego has been completely put to flight, and that is why I ranked it as the weakest of the eight arguments presented by critics in The Skeptical Review, (Vol. 9.2 through Vol. 11.3).
II. Six Pieces of Archaeological Evidence that Support the 6th Century View: Since Daniel was an eyewitness to 6th-century events, he could accurately record historical details. The conservative scholar Dr. Stephen R. Miller notes: “In fact, the author of Daniel exhibited a more extensive knowledge of Sixth Century events than would seem possible for a second-century writer.” R. H. Pfeiffer (who argued that the work contains errors) acknowledged that Daniel reports some amazing historical details: “We shall presumably never know how our author learned that the new Babylon was the creation of Nebuchadnezzar (4:30 [Heb. 4:27]), as the excavations have proved… and that Belshazzar, mentioned only in Babylonian records, in Daniel and Bar. 1:11, which is based on Daniel, was functioning as king when Cyrus took Babylon in 538 [Chap. 5]” (Pfeiffer, “Introduction,” pp. 758-759). Harrison comments that the author “was quite accurate in recording the change from punishment by fire under the Babylonians (Dan. 3:11) to punishment by being thrown to lions under the Persian regime (Dan. 6:7), since fire was sacred to the Zoroastrians of Persia” [R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979, pp. 1120- 1121; cf. A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago: University of Chicago press, 1948, pp. 473-474] (Miller, p. 26).
It is true that there are “some amazing historical details” to be found in Daniel, but also there are some small details throughout the book that support the view that its author lived early in the Persian period. For instance, concerning Daniel 6:8, 12, 15, the conservative Dr. John Whitcomb notes, “the mention of Medes before Persians in the phrase, ‘the law of the Medes and Persians,’ is an evidence of the early date of the book; for in later years, the Persians were usually mentioned before the Medes [Esther 1:3, 14, 18, 19, though not 10:2; cf. I Macc. 6:56] (characteristically, the critics find an anachronism in the fact that Darius the Mede is under the law of the Medes and Persians. Cf. Arthur Jeffery, p. 442)” (John Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1959], p. 55).
Nevertheless, the critic John Joseph Owens still claims this is a sign of later authorship. Owens asserts, “Esther 1:19 gives the proper evolution of the rank in ‘Persians and Medes’ instead of the later view as in Daniel” (p. 415). Conservative scholars point out that the evidence contradicts this assertion (Miller, p. 181, n.54; E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949], p. 127).
Daniel 6:8, 12, 15 also states that the laws made by the king could not be altered. The critic Carey Moore disputed this in his commentary on Esther (Anchor Bible, Garden city: Doubleday, 1971, pp. 10-11), but many critics will concede that Daniel was correct about this too (Hartman, p. 199; Driver, p. 7; Collins, pp. 267-268). The critic Lacocque observes: “Diodorus of Sicily (XVII, 30) in fact, reports the case of a man put to death under Darius III (336-330) even though he was known to be perfectly innocent. (Darius III) immediately repented and blamed himself for having committed such a great error, but it was impossible to have undone what had been done by royal authority” (Andre Lacocque, The Book of Daniel, Atlanta: John Knox, 1979, p. 113).
Again, Daniel was correct when he placed Susa in the province of Elam (Dan. 8:2). Dr. Gleason Archer, Jr., notes: “From the Greek and Roman historians, we learn that from Persian times Susa, or Sushan, was the capital of the province of Susiana; and Elam was restricted to the territory east of the Eulaeus River. Nevertheless, we know from cuneiform records that Sushan was part of the territory of Elam back in Chaldean times and before. It is very striking that Daniel 8:2 refers to ‘Susa in the province of Elam’ an item of information scarcely accessible to a second-century B.C. author” (Archer, p. 19).
Daniel 4:30 quotes Nebuchadnezzar: “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Did Nebuchadnezzar actually say these words? Archaeology seems to indicate that he did make a very similar statement: “The fortifications of Esagila and Babylon I strengthened and established the name of my reign forever” (George A. Barton, Archaeology and the Bible, Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1916, p. 479). Nebuchadnezzar evidently did have a habit of boasting, which indicated that he was very prideful.
How would a Maccabean author know these details?  Belshazzar was ruling during the last few years of the Babylonian Empire.  The Babylonians executed individuals by casting them into fire, but the Persians threw the condemned to the lions.  The practice in the 6th Century was to mention first the Medes, then the Persians.  Laws made by Persian kings could not be revoked.  In the sixth century B.C., Susa was in the province of Elam (Dan. 8:2).  Nebuchadnezzar had a pride problem (Dan. 4:30) and often boasted about his great building projects.
William Sierichs, Jr., dismisses this kind of evidence, and he boldly asserts that archeology has “trashed all claims to historical accuracy for Daniel” (TSR, Vol. 9.6, p. 2, Column 1). In fact, Sierichs claims that the Persian Verse Account is destructive to the biblical view, even though it was this particular piece of evidence that told us Nabonidus entrusted “kingship” to Belshazzar. Earlier critics considered Belshazzar “a figment of the Jewish writer’s imagination” (Ferdinard Hitzig, Das Buch Daniel, Leipzig: Weidman, 1850, p. 75), but archaeology has forced the critics to abandon that position (Alan Millard, “Daniel and Belshazzar in History,” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1985, pp. 74-75). Even a staunch critic like J. J. Collins has admitted: “The fact that Daniel 5 preserved the name of Belshazzar suggests that the underlying tradition had its origin close to the end of the Babylonian era” (p. 33). Nevertheless, Till believes all of Daniel originated during the Maccabean period (TSR, Vol. 9.5, p. 1). However, the evidence from archaeology supports the view that the author came from early in the Persian period.
(Everette Hatcher III, P. O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221; )
Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject:
This clay tablet is a Babylonian chronicle recording events from 605-594BC. It was first translated in 1956 and is now in the British Museum. The cuneiform text on this clay tablet tells, among other things, 3 main events: 1. The Battle of Carchemish (famous battle for world supremacy where Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharoah Necho of Egypt, 605 BC.), 2. The accession to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean, and 3. The capture of Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC.
King Hezekiah of Judah ruled from 721 to 686 BC. Fearing a siege by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, Hezekiah preserved Jerusalem’s water supply by cutting a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls (2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32). At the Siloam end of the tunnel, an inscription, presently in the archaeological museum at Istanbul, Turkey, celebrates this remarkable accomplishment.
It contains the victories of Sennacherib himself, the Assyrian king who had besieged Jerusalem in 701 BC during the reign of king Hezekiah, it never mentions any defeats. On the prism Sennacherib boasts that he shut up “Hezekiah the Judahite” within Jerusalem his own royal city “like a caged bird.” This prism is among the three accounts discovered so far which have been left by the Assyrian king Sennacherib of his campaign against Israel and Judah.
In addition to Jericho, places such as Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other urban sites have been excavated, quite apart from such larger and obvious locations as Jerusalem or Babylon. Such geographical markers are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives;
Most doubting scholars back then said that the Hittites were just a “mythical people that are only mentioned in the Bible.” Some skeptics pointed to the fact that the Bible pictures the Hittites as a very big nation that was worthy of being coalition partners with Egypt (II Kings 7:6), and these bible critics would assert that surely we would have found records of this great nation of Hittites. The ironic thing is that when the Hittite nation was discovered, a vast amount of Hittite documents were found. Among those documents was the treaty between Ramesses II and the Hittite King.
The Bible mentions that Shishak marched his troops into the land of Judah and plundered a host of cities including Jerusalem, this has been confirmed by archaeologists. Shishak’s own record of his campaign is inscribed on the south wall of the Great Temple of Amon at Karnak in Egypt. In his campaign he presents 156 cities of Judea to his god Amon.
The Moabite Stone also known as the Mesha Stele is an interesting story. The Bible says in 2 Kings 3:5 that Mesha the king of Moab stopped paying tribute to Israel and rebelled and fought against Israel and later he recorded this event. This record from Mesha has been discovered.
The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri, silver, gold, bowls of gold, chalices of gold, cups of gold, vases of gold, lead, a sceptre for the king, and spear-shafts, I have received.”
View from the dome of the Capitol!9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts.
Sir William Ramsay, famed archaeologist, began a study of Asia Minor with little regard for the book of Acts. He later wrote:
I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.
9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets. When I think of discoveries like the Ebla Tablets that verify names like Adam, Eve, Ishmael, David and Saul were in common usage when the Bible said they were, it makes me think of what amazing confirmation that is of the historical accuracy of the Bible.
There is a well preserved cylinder seal in the Yale University Library from Cyrus which contains his commands to resettle the captive nations.
This cube is inscribed with the name and titles of Yahali and a prayer: “In his year assigned to him by lot (puru) may the harvest of the land of Assyria prosper and thrive, in front of the gods Assur and Adad may his lot (puru) fall.” It provides a prototype (the only one ever recovered) for the lots (purim) cast by Haman to fix a date for the destruction of the Jews of the Persian Empire, ostensibly in the fifth century B.C.E. (Esther 3:7; cf. 9:26).
The Bible mentions Uzziah or Azariah as the king of the southern kingdom of Judah in 2 Kings 15. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription is a stone tablet (35 cm high x 34 cm wide x 6 cm deep) with letters inscribed in ancient Hebrew text with an Aramaic style of writing, which dates to around 30-70 AD. The text reveals the burial site of Uzziah of Judah, who died in 747 BC.
The Pilate Inscription is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to the Caesarea theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. There have been a few bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate
This beautifully decorated ossuary found in the ruins of Jerusalem, contained the bones of Caiaphas, the first century AD. high priest during the time of Jesus.
In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.”
Despite their liberal training, it was archaeological research that bolstered their confidence in the biblical text:Albright said of himself, “I must admit that I tried to be rational and empirical in my approach [but] we all have presuppositions of a philosophical order.” The same statement could be applied as easily to Gleuck and Wright, for all three were deeply imbued with the theological perceptions which infused their work.
Taken from: http://biblehub.com/nasb/daniel/5-2.htm
That the king and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein – Nothing is too sacred to be profaned when men are under the influence of wine. They do not hesitate to desecrate the holiest things, and vessels taken from the altar of God are regarded with as little reverence as any other. It would seem that Nebuchadnezzar had some respect for these vessels, as having been employed in the purposes of religion; at least so much respect as to lay them up as trophies of victory, and that this respect had been shown for them under the reign of his successors, until the exciting scenes of this “impious feast” occurred, when all veneration for them vanished. It was not very common for females in the East to be present at such festivals as this, but it would seem that all the usual restraints of propriety and decency came to be disregarded as the feast advanced. The “wives and concubines” were probably not present when the feast began, for it was made for “his lords” Daniel 5:1; but when the scenes of revelry had advanced so far that it was proposed to introduce the sacred vessels of the temple, it would not be unnatural to propose also to introduce the females of the court.
A similar instance is related in the book of Esther. In the feast which Ahasuerus gave, it is said that “on the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, etc., the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her beauty,” etc. Esther 1:10-11. Compare Joseph. “Ant.” b. xi. ch. 6: Section 1. The females that were thus introduced to the banquet were those of the harem, yet it would seem that she who was usually called “the queen” by way of eminence, or the queen-mother (compare the note at Esther 5:10), was not among them at this time. The females in the court of an Oriental monarch were divided into two classes; those who were properly concubines, and who had none of the privileges of a wife; and those of a higher class, and who were spoken of as wives, and to whom pertained the privileges of that relation. Among the latter, also, in the court of a king, it would seem that there was one to whom properly belonged the appellation of “queen;” that is, probably, a favorite wife whose children were heirs to the crown. See Bertholdt, in loc. Compare 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Kings 11:3; Sol 6:8.
by Gretchen S.
The books of Daniel and Esther have much in common. These commonalities include the overall genre of the successful courtier, the slander of a Jew (or all Jews), the triumph of the main character, and other parallels between the texts. This is not to say that the stories are wholly the same, only that they share much in common. The common themes in Daniel and Esther can tell a great deal about the Jewish people of the time. The timelessness of the two books indicates that the themes continue to have relevance for the Jewish people.The stories start similarly for the two main characters. Daniel was taken into the court of the Babylonian king, with a number of other Judean youths. “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief officer, to bring some Israelites of royal descent and of the nobility–youths without blemish, handsome, proficient in all wisdom, knowledgeable and intelligent, and capable of serving in the royal palace” (Daniel 1:3-4).1 They were to be groomed to be advisors to the king. A similar thing happened to the Jewess, Hadassah, who was taken into the palace of King Ahasuerus along with other virgins of his kingdom as a candidate to be his new wife (Esther 2). Both were renamed with non-Jewish names. Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar, and his 3 friends were also given Babylonian names. Hadassah was given the name Esther, a name by which most people remember her, and by which her book is known.Having both been taken into the palace of the king, they were supplied with what they will need to fulfill their role in the palace. For Daniel and his three friends, this meant food, training in Aramaic, and writing. “Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or the wine he drank, so he sought permission of the chief officer not to defile himself, and God disposed the chief officer to be kind and compassionate toward Daniel.” (Daniel 1:8-9). Esther, though she did not ask for anything, was given the perfume, make-up, and beauty treatments needed for her role by the eunuch in charge (Esther 2:8-9 and 2:15). Daniel’s resistance was an active one, while Esther’s was one of passivity. She did not ask for anything with which to beautify herself; it had to be given to her by the chief eunuch. Even though they resisted in their own ways, they both found favor in the eyes of those who are charged to making them ready (Daniel 1:9 and Esther 2:8).Having been well prepared, both Daniel and his three companions, and Esther, were taken into the presence of their respective kings. “Whenever the king put a question to them requiring wisdom and understanding, he found them to be ten times better than all the magicians and exorcists throughout his realm.” (Daniel 1:20). “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she won his grace and favor more than all the virgins. So he set a royal diadem on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” (Esther 2:17). All of them found favor in the eyes of the kings involved. They, like Joseph before them, became successful courtiers.Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, became involved in the politics of the court just as Daniel did, when he saved the king from a plot against his life by Bigthan and Teresh (Esther 2:21-23). Daniel was called in to interpret a dream, and in doing so not only helped the king, he also saved the lives of his three companions and himself as chapter 2 of Daniel discusses. Daniel was well rewarded for his dream interpretation: “The king then elevated Daniel and gave him very many gifts, and made him governor of the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect of all the wise men of Babylon.” (Daniel 2:48). While Mordecai was not rewarded immediately, the king did eventually reward him. Haman (boo), in Esther 6:7-9, advised the king: “For the man whom the king desires to honor, let royal garb which the king has worn be brought, and a horse on which the king has ridden and on whose head a royal diadem has been set; and let the attire and the horse be put in the charge of one of the king’s noble courtiers. And let the man whom the king desires to honor be attired and paraded on the horse through the city square, while they proclaim before him: This is what is done for the man whom the king desires to honor!” Haman himself, who had planned on having Mordecai impaled, instead had to lead Mordecai around on the king’s horse dressed in royal clothing. Similarly, Daniel was arrayed in clothing of the royal purple in Daniel 5:22. “Then, at Belshazzar’s command, they clothed Daniel in purple, placed a golden chain on his neck, and proclaimed that he should rule as one of three in the kingdom.”The Book of Daniel describes an episode of slander against the Jews in general, and later, Daniel in particular. Chapter three of Daniel tells about the statue of Nebuchadnezzar and the law that was made requiring all the people of Babylon to bow down and worship the statue. Those who did not do so, were to be thrown in a fiery furnace. “Seizing the occasion, certain Chaldeans came forward to slander the Jews” (Daniel 3:8). Though their goal was to take power away from Daniel’s three companions, as verse 3:12 makes clear, they had slandered all of the Jews. Later, in Daniel 6:6-18, other men sought to slander and entrap Daniel himself. A law–made this time by Darius at the instigation of the men–made it illegal to bow down to anyone but Darius for thirty days. The men asked for this law to be made to entrap Daniel, who they knew prayed to G-d three times a day, bowing down to Him. They also knew that a law, once written by Darius, could not be revoked. Similarly, “When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel or bow low to him, Haman was filled with rage. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone; having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to do away with all the Jews, Mordecai’s people, throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus.” (Esther 3:5-6). This is similar to the two cases in Daniel, where both Daniel and his three companions refused to bow down to kings or statues of kings and worship them. Granted, Haman (hiss) was not asking to be worshiped, but he was asking Mordecai to bow down to him. Haman approached the king, saying (Esther 3:8) “There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other peoples in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of any other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; and it is not in Your Majesty’s interest to tolerate them.” Haman thus convinced Ahasuerus to write a law that will allow for the massacre of all Jews in the kingdom on a day selected by lots; again, this law cannot be revoked by the king.Those people who are threatened were saved miraculously in all three cases. An angel rescued Hannaniah, Mishial, and Azuria from the fiery furnace. Another angel closed up the lions’ mouths, saving Daniel. Both of these stories in Daniel end with the instigators, those trying to kill the heroes, themselves being killed or executed. The heros are elevated. Esther’s story has the instigator, Haman (boo) executed, on the very same stakes on which he had planned to impale Mordecai.. The survival of the Jews of Persia in the story of Esther was a bit more complex, but nonetheless, it had a miraculous element about it. Esther put her own life in jeopardy to save the lives of her people. She found favor in the eyes of her king who, though unable to rescind the law, wrote another law allowing the Jews to defend themselves. Miraculously, no Jewish lives were lost, while those who wanted to annihilate them were all killed.After the incident with Daniel’s three friends, Nebuchadnezzer made a proclamation: “King Nebuchadnezzar to all people and nations of every language that inhabit the whole earth: May your well-being abound! The signs and wonders that the Most High G-d has worked for me I am pleased to relate. How great are His signs; how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endures throughout the generations.” (Daniel 3:31-33) Similarly, a proclamation was made in the book of Esther. This proclamation, like the whole book of Esther, made no mention of G-d. Esther 8:9 says, “So the king’s scribes were summoned at that time, on the twenty-third day of the third month, that is, the month of Sivan; and letters were written, at Mordecai’s dictation, to the Jews and to the satraps, the governors and the officials of the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia: to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language…” This proclamation gave all of the Jews permission to defend themselves. Both the proclamation in Daniel and the one in Esther went out to all nations and all tongues under the rule of the respective kings.Chapter five of Daniel talks about a party that Belshazzar hosted. During this party, under the influence of wine, “Belshazzar ordered the gold and silver vessels that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple at Jerusalem to be brought so that the king and his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines could drink from them.” (Daniel 5:2). This is similar to very first chapter of Esther, where it says in verse 7: “Royal wine was served in abundance, as befits a king, in golden beakers, beakers of varied design.” Though the verse does not say that the beakers are the same ones Belshazzar uses, it certainly seems likely.The fortress of Shushan, the main setting for the book of Esther, is also mentioned in the book of Daniel in chapter eight, verse two. “I saw in the vision–at the time I saw it I was in the fortress of Shushan, in the province of Elam–I saw in the vision that I was beside the Ulai River.” The king in Megillat Esther is King Ahasuerus. After Belshazzar’s death, Darius the Mede, became king.
1 All quotes from the Tanakh are taken from Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures. Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985.2 This is based on the table of kings in: Louis F. Harman, C.SS.R., The Anchor Bible: The Book of Daniel, Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1998, p 30.
Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures. Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985.Louis F. Harman, C.SS.R., The Anchor Bible: The Book of Daniel, Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1998, p 30.
The account of Jesus being wrong about his prophecies was actually misinterpreted to mean what it literally meant but he actually meant the Destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. By the Romans.
In the Bible Jesus says:
Many believed Jesus to be wrong in saying that and because of that they thought that Jesus in the words of Albert Schweitzer “A false Apocalyptic prophet”. Also C.S. Lewis believed it to be “the most embarrassing verse in the Bible”. They believed this because of the way David describe a false prophet (see Deut 18:19-22)
Earlier Jesus says to the disciples after they point out the temple,
“You see all these, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone uponanother, that will not be thrown down.” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying,“Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24:1-3) The account of Jesus being wrong about his prophecies was actually misinterpreted to mean what it literally meant but he actually meant the Destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. By the Romans.
DANIEL AND REVELATION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Our Lord loved and read and studied and knew the Book of Daniel. I picked out six times where the Lord referred to the Book of Daniel. And, by name in the apocalyptic chapter, Matthew 24, where He refers to the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, the prophet; speaking of him by name. When the apostle Paul was in his last incarceration, just before he died, in the fourth chapter of 2 Timothy, he referred to being delivered out of the mouth of the lion, such as was Daniel. In the list of heroes, the heroes of the faith in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, Daniel is mentioned: “Who by faith stopped the mouths of lions.” But upon all of those who followed after Daniel was the influence of the prophet not greater than upon John the seer, to whom God gave the vision of the Revelation. You will find so much of Daniel in the Revelation. And without an understanding of Daniel, you cannot understand the Revelation.
Now the Revelation, the Apocalypse, was an unveiling that God gave to Jesus, and through Him and the angel to the apostle John, to us here in the Bible. But from the heavenly point of view, the same One that revealed the vision to Daniel revealed the vision to John. And, of course, much of the nomenclature, the language, the thought, the truth, the revelation would be the same because the same Author did it. But from the earthly point of view, the Book of Daniel is so much in Revelation. And as you read Daniel, you will find it in the Revelation, and that’s why the comparison of the two books in the introductory message this morning.
First, we shall compare the two men. They were favored of heaven. They were loved of God, of men and of angels. Three times Daniel is referred to as “O man, greatly beloved.” And five times in the Gospel of John is John referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Favored of God, both men were given the privilege of seeing the sweep of history until the consummation of the age. Again, both men wrote apocalyptically. Daniel is unique among the authors of the Old Testament. John is unique among the authors of the New Testament, for both men wrote apocalyptically. Daniel is the apocalypse of the Old Testament; and the Revelation is the apocalypse of the New Testament. Apocalyptic writing is a vehicle by which the message of God unfolding the future is presented in visions and in signs and in symbols. And the things we read in the Book have a great meaning beyond themselves. We shall illustrate that in a moment.
Now, a third thing about the men: they both wrote and saw their visions in exile. Daniel was an exile in Babylon. And John was an exile on the lonely Isle of Patmos. And, while both men were exiled away from home, God showed them those marvelous visions of what the Lord purposes for His people in the future. The saints shall inherit the earth: so Daniel; so says John.
All right, a fourth thing; the books the men wrote are books of prophecy, and that is all-important in our study and in our remembrance. They are books of prophecy. For example, five times in the Revelation is the book referred to as a book of prophecy. Look at this, in the third verse you just read: “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy” [Revelation 1:3]. That is, the things in them have a meaning beyond themselves. The books are books of prophecy. And when I study the book, when I read it, I am to remember that God has a message in it beyond what is in the syllable or sentence itself. In the Revelation, for example, the Lord sends messages to the seven churches of Asia. Were there just seven churches in Asia? Why, no. There are far, far more churches than seven in Asia, the Roman province of Asia. Right across the Lycus River from Laodicea was one of the famous churches of all time, the church at Hierapolis. The pastor of it was Papias, a disciple of John and a friend of Polycarp, who was the pastor at Smyrna. But Hierapolis is not named, nor dozens of others.
Well, why those seven? Because they are vehicles of a great revelation from God; they are prophetic. They are prophetic churches. They are used and they stand for something meaningful and significant far beyond their own day and hour. And in the case of the seven churches of Asia, they represent this prophetic unfoldings of the future. There is an Ephesian period in the history of the church. There is a Smyrnan period. There is a Pergamean period. There is a Thyatiran period. There is a Sardinian period. There is a Philadelphian period. There is a Laodicean period of the church. And, beyond what you read, is a great meaning and message from God. John was so given to that.
In the Gospel of John, for example, John never uses the word “miracle”—para dunamis—never. Always it was the semeion, “signs.” That is, what he saw Jesus do represented something far beyond the thing itself. When He turned the water into wine, there were foot tubs there made out of stone, and they were filled according to the law. They were filled, then they drew out and took to the governor of the feast. That is, Jesus fulfilled the old Law, all of it, and now, in liberty, in grace, “for the Law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” [John 1:17]. This is a new love. It’s a new freedom. It’s a new dedication. It’s a new revelation. This is the Christian faith. It is not legal, that was filled. Ah, we have a new religion and a new life in Christ. John saw that in the miracle, and he calls it a semeion: a sign. Opening the eyes of the blind: a gracious deed; but all beyond, Jesus is the light of the world. Or the raising of Lazarus from the dead: a man resuscitated, yes, but that’s incidental. The great thing is the semeion, the sign. He is the resurrection and the life. Now, when I read then the book of prophecy, I am to understand that beyond the page, beyond the actual thing itself, there is a great revelation of God, a prophetic overtone. Now, when I turn to the Book of Daniel, beyond what I read, I am to see, I am to understand, I am to sense the great profound meaning that God is speaking to our hearts and revealing to us.
Now, the Book of Daniel is divided in two. The first six chapters are historical. The last six chapters are prophecies as such. But remember, all of it is a book of prophecy. Like the Revelation, the first part of it to the churches of Asia, but that is a prophecy; the second part, the tribulation period, but that a prophecy. So it is in the Book of Daniel. The first six chapters: historical. They are prophetic as well as the last six chapters. So, when I look at the Book of Daniel and turn to the first chapter, here is the captivity of Daniel and his friends. It is a picture of the diaspora, the captivity, the scattering abroad of God’s people.
Deja Vu all over again
Did you hear ’em talkin’ ’bout it on the radio Did you try to read the writing on the wall Did that voice inside you say I’ve heard it all before It’s like Deja Vu all over againDay by day I hear the voices rising Started with a whisper like it did before Day by day we count the dead and dying Ship the bodies back home while the networks all keep scoreDid you hear ’em talin’ ’bout it on the radio Could you’re eyes belive the writing on the wall Did that voice inside you say I’ve heard it all before It’s like Deja Vu all over again
One by one I see the old ghosts rising Stumblin’ ‘cross Big Muddy Where the light gets dim Day after day another Mamma’s crying She’s lost her precious Child To a war that has no end
Did you hear ’em talin’ ’bout it on the radio Did you stop to read the writing at the wall Did that voice inside you say I’ve seen this all before It’s like Deja Vu all over again It’s like Deja Vu all over again
New International Version (NIV)
The Writing on the Wall
1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. 5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.
7 The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers[b]and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.
10 The queen,[c] hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”
13 So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. 16Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.
22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[d] have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
25“This is the inscription that was written:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN
26“Here is what these words mean:
Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres[g]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
29Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
- Daniel 5:2 Or ancestor; or predecessor; also in verses 11, 13 and 18
- Daniel 5:7 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 11
- Daniel 5:10 Or queen mother
- Daniel 5:22 Or descendant; or successor
- Daniel 5:26 Mene can mean numbered or mina (a unit of money).
- Daniel 5:27 Tekel can mean weighed or shekel.
- Daniel 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin) can mean divided or Persia or a half mina or a half shekel.
- Daniel 5:30 Or Chaldeans
- Daniel 5:31 In Aramaic texts this verse (5:31) is numbered 6:1.
There was three children from the land of Israel . . Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego Took a trip to the land of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon He took a lot of gold and made an idol And he told everybody when you hear the music of the cornet And he told everybody when you hear the music of the flute And he told everybody when you hear the music of the horn You must fall down and worship the idol But the children of Israel would not bow down Wouldn’t fool em with a golden idol I said you couldn’t fool em with a golden idol
So the king put the children in a fiery furnace He thrown coal and red-hot brimestone Seven times hotter hotter than it oughta be Burned up the soldiers that the king had put there But the Lord sent an angel with the snowy white wings Down in the middle of the furnace Talking to the children about the power of the gospel Well they couldn’t even burn a hair on the head of Shadrach Laughing and talking while the fire is jumping around Old Nebuchadnezzar called “Hey there!” when he saw the power of the Lord And they had a big time in the house of Babylon.
Because the enumeration of the RSV does not conform to Catholic usage the text provided is from the NAB.
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came and laid siege to Jerusalem. 2 The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and some of the vessels of the temple of God, which he carried off to the land of Shinar, * and placed in the temple treasury of his god. 3 The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain, to bring in some of the Israelites of royal blood and of the nobility, 4 young men without any defect, handsome, intelligent and wise, quick to learn, and prudent in judgment, such as could take their place in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans; 5 after three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service. The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine from the royal table. 6 Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The chief chamberlain changed their names: Daniel to Belteshazzar, Hananiah to Shadrach, Mishael to Meshach, and Azariah to Abednego. 8 But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine; so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement. 9 Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy of the chief chamberlain, 10 he nevertheless said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; it is he who allotted your food and drink. If he sees that you look wretched by comparison with the other young men of your age, you will endanger my life with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men who eat from the royal table, and treat your servants according to what you see.” 14 He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days; 15 after ten days they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table. 16 So the steward continued to take away the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables. 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and science, and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation, the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 When the king had spoken with all of them, none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and so they entered the king’s service. 20 In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom. 21 Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
1 In the second year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which left his spirit no rest and robbed him of his sleep. 2 So he ordered that the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and Chaldeans be summoned to interpret the dream for him. When they came and presented themselves to the king, 3 he said to them, “I had a dream which will allow my spirit no rest until I know what it means.” 4 * The Chaldeans answered the king (Aramaic): “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream and we will give its meaning.” 5 The king answered the Chaldeans, “This is what I have decided: unless you tell me the dream and its meaning, you shall be cut to pieces and your houses destroyed. 6 But if you tell me the dream and its meaning, you shall receive from me gifts and presents and great honors. Now tell me the dream and its meaning.” 7 Again they answered, “Let the king tell his servants the dream and we will give its meaning.” 8 But the king replied: “I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, since you know what I have decided. 9 If you do not tell me the dream, there can be but one decree for you. You have framed a false and deceitful interpretation to present me with till the crisis is past. Tell me the dream, therefore, that I may be sure that you can also give its correct interpretation.” 10 The Chaldeans answered the king: “There is not a man on earth who can do what you ask, O king; never has any king, however great and mighty, asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or Chaldean. 11 What you demand, O king, is too difficult; there is no one who can tell it to the king except the gods who do not dwell among men.” 12 At this the king became violently angry and ordered all the wise men of Babylon to be put to death. 13 When the decree was issued that the wise men should be slain, Daniel and his companions were also sought out. 14 Then Daniel prudently took counsel with Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had set out to kill the wise men of Babylon: 15 “O officer of the king,” he asked, “what is the reason for this harsh order from the king?” When Arioch told him, 16 Daniel went and asked for time from the king, that he might give him the interpretation. 17 Daniel went home and informed his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 18 that they might implore the mercy of the God of heaven in regard to this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision, and he blessed the God of heaven: 20 “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power are his. 21 He causes the changes of the times and seasons, makes kings and unmakes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who understand. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things and knows what is in the darkness, for the light dwells with him. 23 To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, because you have given me wisdom and power. Now you have shown me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the king’s dream.” 24 So Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not put the wise men of Babylon to death. Bring me before the king, and I will tell him the interpretation of the dream.” Arioch quickly brought Daniel to the king and said, 25 “I have found a man among the Judean captives who can give the interpretation to the king.” 26 The king asked Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Can you tell me the dream that I had, and its meaning?” 27 In the king’s presence Daniel made this reply: “The mystery about which the king has inquired, the wise men, enchanters, magicians, and astrologers could not explain to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what is to happen in days to come; this was the dream you saw as you lay in bed. 29 To you in your bed there came thoughts about what should happen in the future, and he who reveals mysteries showed you what is to be. 30 To me also this mystery has been revealed; not that I am wiser than any other living person, but in order that its meaning may be made known to the king, that you may understand the thoughts in your own mind. 31 “In your vision, O king, you saw a statue, very large and exceedingly bright, terrifying in appearance as it stood before you. 32 The head of the statue was pure gold, its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs bronze, 33 * the legs iron, its feet partly iron and partly tile. 34 While you looked at the statue, a stone which was hewn from a mountain without a hand being put to it, struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces. 35 The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once, fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer, and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 “This was the dream; the interpretation we shall also give in the king’s presence. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings; to you the God of heaven has given dominion and strength, power and glory; 38 men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell, he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all; you are the head of gold. 39 Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours, then a third kingdom, of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. 40 There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others, just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else. 41 The feet and toes you saw, partly of potter’s tile and partly of iron, mean that it shall be a divided kingdom, but yet have some of the hardness of iron. As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile, 42 and the toes partly iron and partly tile, the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 The iron mixed with clay tile means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage, but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay. 44 In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever. 45 That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain without a hand being put to it, which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold. The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future; this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.” 46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and ordered sacrifice and incense offered to him. 47 To Daniel the king said, “Truly your God is the God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries; that is why you were able to reveal this mystery.” 48 He advanced Daniel to a high post, gave him many generous presents, made him ruler of the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 At Daniel’s request the king made Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego administrators of the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the king’s court.
1 King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, which he set up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then ordered the satraps, prefects, and governors, the counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the officials of the provinces to be summoned to the dedication of the statue which he had set up. 3 The satraps, prefects, and governors, the counselors, treasurers, judges, and magistrates and all the officials of the provinces, all these came together for the dedication and stood before the statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 A herald cried out: “Nations and peoples of every language, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments, 5 you are ordered to fall down and worship the golden statue which King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be instantly cast into a white-hot furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments, the nations and peoples of every language all fell down and worshiped the golden statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 At that point, some of the Chaldeans came and accused the Jews 9 to King Nebuchadnezzar: “O king, live forever! 10 O king, you issued a decree that everyone who heard the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments should fall down and worship the golden statue; 11 whoever did not was to be cast into a white-hot furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have made administrators of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego; these men, O king, have paid no attention to you; they will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.” 13 Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and sent for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were promptly brought before the king. 14 King Nebuchadnezzar questioned them: “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up? 15 Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made, whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments; otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace; and who is the God that can deliver you out of my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 * If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! 18 But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.” 19 Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual 20 and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace. 21 They were bound and cast into the white-hot furnace with their coats, hats, shoes and other garments, 22 for the king’s order was urgent. So huge a fire was kindled in the furnace that the flames devoured the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into it. 23 But these three fell, bound, into the midst of the white-hot furnace. 24 They walked about in the flames, singing to God and blessing the Lord. 25 In the fire Azariah stood up and prayed aloud:
26 “Blessed are you, and praiseworthy, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and glorious forever is your name. 27 For you are just in all you have done; all your deeds are faultless, all your ways right, and all your judgments proper. 28 You have executed proper judgments in all that you have brought upon us and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of our fathers. By a proper judgment you have done all this because of our sins; 29 For we have sinned and transgressed by departing from you, and we have done every kind of evil. 30 Your commandments we have not heeded or observed, nor have we done as you ordered us for our good. 31 Therefore all you have brought upon us, all you have done to us, you have done by a proper judgment. 32 You have handed us over to our enemies, lawless and hateful rebels; to an unjust king, the worst in all the world. 33 Now we cannot open our mouths; we, your servants, who revere you, have become a shame and a reproach. 34 For your name’s sake, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. 35 Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, 36 To whom you promised to multiply their offspring like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea. 37 For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. 38 We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no holocaust, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. 39 But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; 40 As though it were holocausts of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. 41 And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you. 42 Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. 43 Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord: 44 Let all those be routed who inflict evils on your servants; Let them be shamed and powerless, and their strength broken; 45 Let them know that you alone are the Lord God, glorious over the whole world.”
46 Now the king’s men who had thrown them in continued to stoke the furnace with brimstone, pitch, tow, and faggots. 47 The flames rose forty-nine cubits above the furnace, 48 and spread out, burning the Chaldeans nearby. 49 But the angel of the Lord went down into the furnace with Azariah and his companions, drove the fiery flames out of the furnace, 50 and made the inside of the furnace as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it. The fire in no way touched them or caused them pain or harm. 51 Then these three in the furnace with one voice sang, glorifying and blessing God:
52 “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; And blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages. 53 Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever. 54 Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. 55 Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. 56 Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praiseworthy and glorious forever. 57 Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever. 58 Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever. 59 You heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever. 60 All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever. 61 All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 62 Sun and moon, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 63 Stars of heaven, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 64 Every shower and dew, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 65 All you winds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 66 Fire and heat, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 67 [Cold and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 68 Dew and rain, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.] 69 Frost and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 70 Ice and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 71 Nights and days, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 72 Light and darkness, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 73 Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 74 Let the earth bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever. 75 Mountains and hills, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 76 Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 77 You springs, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 78 Seas and rivers, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 79 You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 80 All you birds of the air, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 81 All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 82 You sons of men, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 83 O Israel, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 84 Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 85 Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 86 Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 87 Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 88 Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. For he has delivered us from the nether world, and saved us from the power of death; He has freed us from the raging flame and delivered us from the fire. 89 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 90 Bless the God of gods, all you who fear the Lord; praise him and give him thanks, because his mercy endures forever.”
Hearing them sing, and astonished at seeing them alive, 91 King Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Assuredly, O king,” they answered. 92 “But,” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” 93 Then Nebuchadnezzar came to the opening of the white-hot furnace and called to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: “Servants of the most high God, come out.” Thereupon Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 94 When the satraps, prefects, governors, and nobles of the king came together, they saw that the fire had had no power over the bodies of these men; not a hair of their heads had been singed, nor were their garments altered; there was not even a smell of fire about them. 95 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 96 Therefore I decree for nations and peoples of every language that whoever blasphemes the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut to pieces and his house destroyed. For there is no other God who can rescue like this.” 97 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. 98 King Nebuchadnezzar to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on earth: abundant peace! 99 It has seemed good to me to publish the signs and wonders which the most high God has accomplished in my regard. 100 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures through all generations.
1 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, content and prosperous. 2 I had a terrifying dream as I lay in bed, and the images and the visions of my mind frightened me. 3 So I issued a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me to give the interpretation of the dream. 4 When the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers had come in, I related the dream before them; but none of them could tell me its meaning. 5 * Finally there came before me Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy God. I repeated the dream to him: 6 “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy God is in you and no mystery is too difficult for you; tell me the meaning of the visions that I saw in my dream. 7 “These were the visions I saw while in bed: I saw a tree of great height at the center of the world. 8 It was large and strong, with its top touching the heavens, and it could be seen to the ends of the earth. 9 Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, providing food for all. Under it the wild beasts found shade, in its branches the birds of the air nested; all men ate of it. 10 In the vision I saw while in bed, a holy sentinel came down from heaven, 11 and cried out: ” ‘Cut down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit; let the beasts flee its shade, and the birds its branches. 12 But leave in the earth its stump and roots, fettered with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field. Let him be bathed with the dew of heaven; his lot be to eat, among beasts, the grass of the earth. 13 Let his mind be changed from the human; let him be given the sense of a beast, till seven years pass over him. 14 By decree of the sentinels is this decided, by order of the holy ones, this sentence; That all who live may know that the Most High rules over the kingdom of men: He can give it to whom he will, or set over it the lowliest of men.’ 15 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me its meaning. Although none of the wise men in my kingdom can tell me the meaning, you can, because the spirit of the holy God is in you.” 16 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while, terrified by his thoughts. “Belteshazzar,” the king said to him, “let not the dream or its meaning terrify you.” 17 * “My lord,” Belteshazzar replied, “this dream should be for your enemies, and its meaning for your foes. The large, strong tree that you saw, with its top touching the heavens, that could be seen by the whole earth, 18 which had beautiful foliage and abundant fruit, providing food for all, under which the wild beasts lived, and in whose branches the birds of the air dwelt– 19 you are that tree, O king, large and strong! Your majesty has become so great as to touch the heavens, and your rule extends over the whole earth. 20 As for the king’s vision of a holy sentinel that came down from heaven and proclaimed: ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave in the earth its stump and roots, fettered with iron and bronze in the grass of the field; let him be bathed with the dew of heaven, and let his lot be among wild beasts till seven years pass over him’– 21 this is its meaning, O king; this is the sentence which the Most High has passed upon my lord king: 22 You shall be cast out from among men and dwell with wild beasts; you shall be given grass to eat like an ox and be bathed with the dew of heaven; seven years shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules over the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. 23 The command that the stump and roots of the tree are to be left means that your kingdom shall be preserved for you, once you have learned it is heaven that rules. 24 Therefore, O king, take my advice; atone for your sins by good deeds, and for your misdeeds by kindness to the poor; then your prosperity will be long.” 25 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 26 Twelve months later, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon, 27 the king said, “Babylon the great! Was it not I, with my great strength, who built it as a royal residence for my splendor and majesty?” 28 While these words were still on the king’s lips, a voice spoke from heaven, “It has been decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar, that your kingdom is taken from you! 29 You shall be cast out from among men, and shall dwell with wild beasts; you shall be given grass to eat like an ox, and seven years shall pass over you, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 30 * At once this was fulfilled. Nebuchadnezzar was cast out from among men, he ate grass like an ox, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle, and his nails like the claws of a bird. 31 When this period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes to heaven; my reason was restored to me, and I blessed the Most High, I praised and glorified him who lives forever: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures through all generations. 32 All who live on the earth are counted as nothing; he does as he pleases with the powers of heaven as well as with those who live on the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” 33 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and my splendor returned to me. My nobles and lords sought me out; I was restored to my kingdom, and became much greater than before. 34 Therefore, I, Nebuchadnezzar, now praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because all his works are right and his ways just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his lords, with whom he drank. 2 Under the influence of the wine, he ordered the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar, his father, had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in so that the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers might drink from them. 3 When the gold and silver vessels taken from the house of God in Jerusalem had been brought in, and while the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers were drinking 4 wine from them, they praised their gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. 5 Suddenly, opposite the lampstand, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace. When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, 6 his face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked. 7 The king shouted for the enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers to be brought in. “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means,” he said to the wise men of Babylon, “shall be clothed in purple, wear a golden collar about his neck, and be third in the government of the kingdom.” 8 But though all the king’s wise men came in, none of them could either read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly terrified; his face went ashen, and his lords were thrown into confusion. 10 When the queen heard of the discussion between the king and his lords, she entered the banquet hall and said, “O king, live forever! Be not troubled in mind, nor look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy God; during the lifetime of your father he was seen to have brilliant knowledge and god-like wisdom. In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 because of the extraordinary mind possessed by this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. He knew and understood how to interpret dreams, explain enigmas, and solve difficulties. Now therefore, summon Daniel to tell you what this means.” 13 Then Daniel was brought into the presence of the king. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel, the Jewish exile, whom my father, the king, brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of God is in you, that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom. 15 Now, the wise men and enchanters were brought in to me to read this writing and tell me its meaning, but they could not say what the words meant. 16 But I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties; if you are able to read the writing and tell me what it means, you shall be clothed in purple, wear a gold collar about your neck, and be third in the government of the kingdom.” 17 Daniel answered the king: “You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for you, O king, and tell you what it means. 18 The Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar a great kingdom and glorious majesty. 19 Because he made him so great, the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Whomever he wished, he killed or let live; whomever he wished, he exalted or humbled. 20 But when his heart became proud and his spirit hardened by insolence, he was put down from his royal throne and deprived of his glory; 21 he was cast out from among men and was made insensate as a beast; he lived with wild asses, and ate grass like an ox; his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdom of men and appoints over it whom he will. 22 You, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this; 23 you have rebelled against the Lord of heaven. You had the vessels of his temple brought before you, so that you and your nobles, your wives and your entertainers, might drink wine from them; and you praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence. But the God in whose hand is your life breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify. 24 By him were the wrist and hand sent, and the writing set down. 25 “This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, TEKEL, and PERES. These words mean: 26 MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; 27 TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; 28 PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then by order of Belshazzar they clothed Daniel in purple, with a gold collar about his neck, and proclaimed him third in the government of the kingdom. 30 The same night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was slain:
1 And Darius the Mede succeeded to the kingdom at the age of sixty-two. 2 Darius decided to appoint over his entire kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to safeguard his interests; 3 these were accountable to three supervisors, one of whom was Daniel. 4 Daniel outshone all the supervisors and satraps because an extraordinary spirit was in him, and the king thought of giving him authority over the entire kingdom. 5 Therefore the supervisors and satraps tried to find grounds for accusation against Daniel as regards the administration. But they could accuse him of no wrongdoing; because he was trustworthy, no fault of neglect or misconduct was to be found in him. 6 Then these men said to themselves, “We shall find no grounds for accusation against this Daniel unless by way of the law of his God.” 7 So these supervisors and satraps went thronging to the king and said to him, “King Darius, live forever! 8 All the supervisors of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, nobles, and governors are agreed that the following prohibition ought to be put in force by royal decree: no one is to address any petition to god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king; otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions. 9 Now, O king, issue the prohibition over your signature, immutable and irrevocable under Mede and Persian law.” 10 So King Darius signed the prohibition and made it law. 11 Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem. 12 So these men rushed in and found Daniel praying and pleading before his God. 13 Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition: “Did you not decree, O king, that no one is to address a petition to god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king; otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions?” The king answered them, “The decree is absolute, irrevocable under the Mede and Persian law.” 14 To this they replied, “Daniel, the Jewish exile, has paid no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you issued; three times a day he offers his prayer.” 15 The king was deeply grieved at this news and he made up his mind to save Daniel; he worked till sunset to rescue him. 16 But these men insisted. “Keep in mind, O king,” they said, “that under the Mede and Persian law every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable.” 17 * So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den. To Daniel he said, “May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.” 18 To forestall any tampering, the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den. 19 Then the king returned to his palace for the night; he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers. Since sleep was impossible for him, 20 the king rose very early the next morning and hastened to the lions’ den. 21 As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has the God whom you serve so constantly been able to save you from the lions?” 22 Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever! 23 My God has sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither to you have I done any harm, O king!” 24 This gave the king great joy. At his order Daniel was removed from the den, unhurt because he trusted in his God. 25 The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel, along with their children and their wives, to be cast into the lions’ den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. 26 Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth: “All peace to you! 27 I decree that throughout my royal domain the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared: “For he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be without end. 28 He is a deliverer and savior, working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, and he delivered Daniel from the lions’ power.” 29 So Daniel fared well during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
1 In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream as he lay in bed, and was terrified by the visions of his mind. Then he wrote down the dream; the account began: 2 In the vision I saw during the night, suddenly the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea, 3 from which emerged four immense beasts, each different from the others.
4 * The first was like a lion, but with eagle’s wings. While I watched, the wings were plucked; it was raised from the ground to stand on two feet like a man, and given a human mind. 5 The second was like a bear; it was raised up on one side, and among the teeth in its mouth were three tusks. It was given the order, “Up, devour much flesh.” 6 After this I looked and saw another beast, like a leopard; on its back were four wings like those of a bird, and it had four heads. To this beast dominion was given. 7 After this, in the visions of the night I saw the fourth beast, different from all the others, terrifying, horrible, and of extraordinary strength; it had great iron teeth with which it devoured and crushed, and what was left it trampled with its feet. 8 I was considering the ten horns it had, when suddenly another, a little horn, sprang out of their midst, and three of the previous horns were torn away to make room for it. This horn had eyes like a man, and a mouth that spoke arrogantly. 9 As I watched, Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne. His clothing was snow bright, and the hair on his head as white as wool; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. 10 A surging stream of fire flowed out from where he sat; Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended him. The court was convened, and the books were opened. 11 I watched, then, from the first of the arrogant words which the horn spoke, until the beast was slain and its body thrown into the fire to be burnt up. 12 The other beasts, which also lost their dominion, were granted a prolongation of life for a time and a season. 13 * As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, 14 He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed. 15 I, Daniel, found my spirit anguished within its sheath of flesh, and I was terrified by the visions of my mind. 16 I approached one of those present and asked him what all this meant in truth; in answer, he made known to me the meaning of the things: 17 “These four great beasts stand for four kingdoms which shall arise on the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingship, to possess it forever and ever.” 19 But I wished to make certain about the fourth beast, so very terrible and different from the others, devouring and crushing with its iron teeth and bronze claws, and trampling with its feet what was left; 20 about the ten horns on its head, and the other one that sprang up, before which three horns fell; about the horn with the eyes and the mouth that spoke arrogantly, which appeared greater than its fellows. 21 For, as I watched, that horn made war against the holy ones and was victorious 22 until the Ancient One arrived; judgment was pronounced in favor of the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came when the holy ones possessed the kingdom. 23 He answered me thus: “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the others; It shall devour the whole earth, beat it down, and crush it. 24 The ten horns shall be ten kings rising out of that kingdom; another shall rise up after them, Different from those before him, who shall lay low three kings. 25 He shall speak against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High, thinking to change the feast days and the law. They shall be handed over to him for a year, two years, and a half-year. 26 But when the court is convened, and his power is taken away by final and absolute destruction, 27 Then the kingship and dominion and majesty of all the kingdoms under the heavens shall be given to the holy people of the Most High, Whose kingdom shall be everlasting: all dominions shall serve and obey him.” 28 The report concluded: I, Daniel, was greatly terrified by my thoughts, and my face blanched, but I kept the matter to myself.
1 After this first vision, I, Daniel, had another, in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar. 2 In my vision I saw myself in the fortress of Susa in the province of Elam; I was beside the river Ulai. 3 I looked up and saw standing by the river a ram with two great horns, the one larger and newer than the other. 4 I saw the ram butting toward the west, north, and south. No beast could withstand it or be rescued from its power; it did what it pleased and became very powerful. 5 As I was reflecting, a he-goat with a prominent horn on its forehead suddenly came from the west across the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 It approached the two-horned ram I had seen standing by the river, and rushed toward it with savage force. 7 I saw it attack the ram with furious blows when they met, and break both its horns. It threw the ram, which had not the force to withstand it, to the ground, and trampled upon it; and no one could rescue it from its power. 8 The he-goat became very powerful, but at the height of its power the great horn was shattered, and in its place came up four others, facing the four winds of heaven. 9 Out of one of them came a little horn which kept growing toward the south, the east, and the glorious country. 10 Its power extended to the host of heaven, so that it cast down to earth some of the host and some of the stars and trampled on them. 11 It boasted even against the prince of the host, from whom it removed the daily sacrifice, and whose sanctuary it cast down, 12 as well as the host, while sin replaced the daily sacrifice. It cast truth to the ground, and was succeeding in its undertaking. 13 * I heard a holy one speaking, and another said to whichever one it was that spoke, “How long shall the events of this vision last concerning the daily sacrifice, the desolating sin which is placed there, the sanctuary, and the trampled host?” 14 He answered him, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be purified.” 15 While I, Daniel, sought the meaning of the vision I had seen, a manlike figure stood before me, 16 * and on the Ulai I heard a human voice that cried out, “Gabriel, explain the vision to this man.” 17 * When he came near where I was standing, I fell prostrate in terror. But he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the end time.” 18 As he spoke to me, I fell forward in a faint; he touched me and made me stand up. 19 “I will show you,” he said, “what is to happen later in the period of wrath; for at the appointed time, there will be an end. 20 “The two-horned ram you saw represents the kings of the Medes and Persians. 21 The he-goat is the king of the Greeks, and the great horn on its forehead is the first king. 22 The four that rose in its place when it was broken are four kingdoms that will issue from his nation, but without his strength. 23 “After their reign, when sinners have reached their measure, There shall arise a king, impudent and skilled in intrigue. 24 He shall be strong and powerful, bring about fearful ruin, and succeed in his undertaking. He shall destroy powerful peoples; 25 his cunning shall be against the holy ones, his treacherous conduct shall succeed. He shall be proud of heart and destroy many by stealth. But when he rises against the prince of princes, he shall be broken without a hand being raised. 26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings is true, as spoken; Do you, however, keep this vision undisclosed, because the days are to be many.” 27 I, Daniel, was weak and ill for some days; then I arose and took care of the king’s affairs. But I was appalled at the vision, which I could not understand.
1 It was the first year that Darius, son of Ahasuerus, of the race of the Medes, reigned over the kingdom of the Chaldeans; 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, tried to understand in the Scriptures the counting of the years of which the LORD spoke to the prophet Jeremiah: that for the ruins of Jerusalem seventy years must be fulfilled. 3 I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD, my God, and confessed, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and observe your commandments! 5 We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws. 6 We have not obeyed your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land. 7 Justice, O Lord, is on your side; we are shamefaced even to this day: the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near and far, in all the countries to which you have scattered them because of their treachery toward you. 8 O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers, for having sinned against you. 9 But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you 10 and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets. 11 Because all Israel transgressed your law and went astray, not heeding your voice, the sworn malediction, recorded in the law of Moses, the servant of God, was poured out over us for our sins. 12 You carried out the threats you spoke against us and against those who governed us, by bringing upon us in Jerusalem the greatest calamity that has ever occurred under heaven. 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, this calamity came full upon us. As we did not appease the LORD, our God, by turning back from our wickedness and recognizing his constancy, 14 so the LORD kept watch over the calamity and brought it upon us. You, O LORD, our God, are just in all that you have done, for we did not listen to your voice. 15 “Now, O Lord, our God, who led your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and made a name for yourself even to this day, we have sinned, we are guilty. 16 O Lord, in keeping with all your just deeds, let your anger and your wrath be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. On account of our sins and the crimes of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become the reproach of all our neighbors. 17 Hear, therefore, O God, the prayer and petition of your servant; and for your own sake, O Lord, let your face shine upon your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O my God, and listen; open your eyes and see our ruins and the city which bears your name. When we present our petition before you, we rely not on our just deeds, but on your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, pardon! O Lord, be attentive and act without delay, for your own sake, O my God, because this city and your people bear your name!” 20 I was still occupied with my prayer, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, presenting my petition to the LORD, my God, on behalf of his holy mountain– 21 I was still occupied with this prayer, when Gabriel, the one whom I had seen before in vision, came to me in rapid flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me in these words: “Daniel, I have now come to give you understanding. 23 When you began your petition, an answer was given which I have come to announce, because you are beloved. Therefore, mark the answer and understand the vision. 24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and for your holy city: Then transgression will stop and sin will end, guilt will be expiated, Everlasting justice will be introduced, vision and prophecy ratified, and a most holy will be anointed. 25 Know and understand this: From the utterance of the word that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt Until one who is anointed and a leader, there shall be seven weeks. During sixty-two weeks it shall be rebuilt, With streets and trenches, in time of affliction. 26 After the sixty-two weeks an anointed shall be cut down when he does not possess the city; And the people of a leader who will come shall destroy the sanctuary. Then the end shall come like a torrent; until the end there shall be war, the desolation that is decreed. 27 For one week he shall make a firm compact with the many; Half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and oblation; On the temple wing shall be the horrible abomination until the ruin that is decreed is poured out upon the horror.”
1 In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel, who had been named Belteshazzar. The revelation was certain: a great war; he understood it from the vision. 2 In those days, I, Daniel, mourned three full weeks. 3 I ate no savory food, I took no meat or wine, and I did not anoint myself at all until the end of the three weeks.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month I was on the bank of the great river, the Tigris. 5 As I looked up, I saw a man dressed in linen with a belt of fine gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face shown like lightning, his eyes were like fiery torches, his arms and feet looked like burnished bronze, and his voice sounded like the roar of a multitude. 7 I alone, Daniel, saw the vision; but great fear seized the men who were with me; they fled and hid themselves, although they did not see the vision. 8 So I was left alone, seeing this great vision. No strength remained in me; I turned the color of death and was powerless. 9 When I heard the sound of his voice, I fell face forward in a faint. 10 But then a hand touched me, raising me to my hands and knees. 11 “Daniel, beloved,” he said to me, “understand the words which I am speaking to you; stand up, for my mission now is to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 “Fear not, Daniel,” he continued; “from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. Because of it I started out, 13 but the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the days to come; for there is yet a vision concerning those days.” 15 While he was speaking thus to me, I fell forward and kept silent. 16 Then something like a man’s hand touched my lips; I opened my mouth and said to the one facing me, “My lord, I was seized with pangs at the vision and I was powerless. 17 How can my lord’s servant speak with you, my lord? For now no strength or even breath is left in me.” 18 The one who looked like a man touched me again and strengthened me, saying, 19 “Fear not, beloved, you are safe; take courage and be strong.” 20 When he spoke to me, I grew strong and said, “Speak, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” “Do you know,” he asked, “why I have come to you? Soon I must fight the prince of Persia again. When I leave, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but I shall tell you what is written in the truthful book. No one supports me against all these except Michael, your prince,
1 standing as a reinforcement and a bulwark for me. 2 Now I shall tell you the truth. “Three kings of Persia are yet to come; and a fourth shall acquire the greatest riches of all. Strengthened by his riches, he shall rouse all the kingdom of Greece. 3 But a powerful king shall appear and rule with great might, doing as he pleases. 4 No sooner shall he appear than his kingdom shall be broken and divided in four directions under heaven; but not among his descendants or in keeping with his mighty rule, for his kingdom shall be torn to pieces and belong to others than they. 5 “The king of the south shall grow strong, but one of his princes shall grow stronger still and govern a domain greater than his. 6 After some years they shall become allies: the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north in the interest of peace. But her bid for power shall fail: and her line shall not be recognized, and she shall be given up, together with those who brought her, her son and her husband. But later 7 a descendant of her line shall succeed to his rank, and shall come against the rampart and enter the stronghold of the king of the north, and conquer them. 8 Even their gods, with their molten images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, he shall carry away as booty into Egypt. For years he shall have nothing to do with the king of the north. 9 Then the latter shall invade the land of the king of the south, and return to his own country. 10 “But his sons shall prepare and assemble a great armed host, which shall advance like a flood, then withdraw. When it returns and surges around the stronghold, 11 the king of the south, provoked, shall go out to fight against the king of the north, whose great host shall make a stand but shall be given into his hand 12 and be carried off. In the pride of his heart, he shall lay low tens of thousands, but he shall not triumph. 13 For the king of the north shall raise another army, greater than before; after some years he shall attack with this large army and great resources. 14 In those times many shall resist the king of the south, and outlaws of your people shall rise up in fulfillment of vision, but they shall fail. 15 When the king of the north comes, he shall set up siegeworks and take the fortified city by storm. The power of the south shall not withstand him, and not even his picked troops shall have the strength to resist. 16 He shall attack him and do as he pleases, with no one to withstand him. He shall stop in the glorious land, dealing destruction. 17 He shall set himself to penetrate the entire strength of his kingdom. He shall conclude an agreement with him and give him a daughter in marriage in order to destroy the kingdom, but this shall not succeed in his favor. 18 He shall turn to the coastland and take many, but a leader shall put an end to his shameful conduct, so that he cannot renew it against him. 19 He shall turn to the strongholds of his own land, but shall stumble and fall, to be found no more. 20 In his stead one shall arise who will send a tax collector through the glorious kingdom, but he shall soon be destroyed, though not in conflict or in battle. 21 “There shall rise in his place a despicable person, to whom the royal insignia shall not be given. By stealth and fraud he shall seize the kingdom. 22 Armed might shall be completely overwhelmed by him and crushed, and even the prince of the covenant. 23 After allying with him, he shall treacherously rise to power with a small party. 24 By stealth he shall enter prosperous provinces and do that which his fathers or grandfathers never did; he shall distribute spoil, booty, and riches among them and devise plots against their strongholds; but only for a time. 25 He shall call on his strength and cleverness to meet the king of the south with a great army; the king of the south shall prepare for battle with a very large and strong army, but he shall not succeed because of the plots devised against him. 26 Even his table companions shall seek to destroy him, his army shall be overwhelmed, and many shall fall slain. 27 The two kings, resolved on evil, shall sit at table together and exchange lies, but they shall have no success, because the appointed end is not yet. 28 “He shall turn back toward his land with great riches, his mind set against the holy covenant; he shall arrange matters and return to his land. 29 At the time appointed he shall come again to the south, but this time it shall not be as before. 30 When ships of the Kittim confront him, he shall lose heart and retreat. Then he shall direct his rage and energy against the holy covenant; those who forsake it he shall once more single out. 31 Armed forces shall move at his command and defile the sanctuary stronghold, abolishing the daily sacrifice and setting up the horrible abomination. 32 By his deceit he shall make some who were disloyal to the covenant apostatize; but those who remain loyal to their God shall take strong action. 33 The nation’s wise men shall instruct the many; though for a time they will become victims of the sword, of flames, exile, and plunder. 34 When they fall, few people shall help them, but many shall join them out of treachery. 35 Of the wise men, some shall fall, so that the rest may be tested, refined, and purified, until the end time which is still appointed to come. 36 “The king shall do as he pleases, exalting himself and making himself greater than any god; he shall utter dreadful blasphemies against the God of gods. He shall prosper only till divine wrath is ready, for what is determined must take place. 37 He shall have no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one in whom women delight; for no god shall he have regard, because he shall make himself greater than all. 38 Instead, he shall give glory to the god of strongholds; a god unknown to his fathers he shall glorify with gold, silver, precious stones, and other treasures. 39 To defend the strongholds he shall station a people of a foreign god. Whoever acknowledges him he shall provide with abundant honor; he shall make them rule over the many and distribute the land as a reward. 40 “At the appointed time the king of the south shall come to grips with him, but the king of the north shall overwhelm him with chariots and horsemen and a great fleet, passing through the countries like a flood. 41 He shall enter the glorious land and many shall fall, except Edom, Moab, and the chief part of Ammon, which shall escape from his power. 42 He shall extend his power over the countries, and not even the land of Egypt shall escape. 43 He shall control the riches of gold and silver and all the treasures of Egypt; Libya and Ethiopia shall be in his train. 44 When news from the east and the north terrifies him, he shall set out with great fury to slay and to doom many. 45 He shall pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the sea and the glorious holy mountain, but he shall come to his end with none to help him.
1 * “At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace. 3 But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, And those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever. 4 “As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall fall away and evil shall increase.” 5 I, Daniel, looked and saw two others, one standing on either bank of the river. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be to the end of these appalling things?” 7 The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, lifted his right and left hands to heaven; and I heard him swear by him who lives forever that it should be for a year, two years, a half-year; and that, when the power of the destroyer of the holy people was brought to an end, all these things should end. 8 I heard, but I did not understand; so I asked, “My lord, what follows this?” 9 “Go, Daniel,” he said, “because the words are to be kept secret and sealed until the end time. 10 Many shall be refined, purified, and tested, but the wicked shall prove wicked; none of them shall have understanding, but the wise shall have it. 11 From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the horrible abomination is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is the man who has patience and perseveres until the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. 13 Go, take your rest, you shall rise for your reward at the end of days.”
1 In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 her pious parents had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. 4 Joakim was very rich; he had a garden near his house, and the Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all. 5 That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, of whom the Lord said, “Wickedness has come out of Babylon: from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.” 6 These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. 7 When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk. 8 When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. 9 They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. 10 Though both were enamored of her, they did not tell each other their trouble, 11 for they were ashamed to reveal their lustful desire to have her. 12 Day by day they watched eagerly for her. 13 One day they said to each other, “Let us be off for home, it is time for lunch.” So they went out and parted; 14 but both turned back, and when they met again, they asked each other the reason. They admitted their lust, and then they agreed to look for an occasion when they could meet her alone. 15 One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only. She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm. 16 Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17 “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids, “and shut the garden doors while I bathe.” 18 They did as she said; they shut the garden doors and left by the side gate to fetch what she had ordered, unaware that the elders were hidden inside. 19 As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and hurried to her. 20 “Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us; give in to our desire, and lie with us. 21 If you refuse, we will testify against you that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.” 22 “I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power. 23 Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord.” 24 Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her, 25 as one of them ran to open the garden doors. 26 When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. 27 At the accusations by the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna. 28 When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked elders also came, fully determined to put Susanna to death. Before all the people they ordered: 29 “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for, 30 she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. 31 Susanna, very delicate and beautiful, 32 was veiled; but those wicked men ordered her to uncover her face so as to sate themselves with her beauty. 33 All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping. 34 In the midst of the people the two elders rose up and laid their hands on her head. 35 Through her tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. 36 The elders made this accusation: “As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two girls and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls. 37 A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. 38 When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime, we ran toward them. 39 We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the doors and ran off. 40 Then we seized this one and asked who the young man was, 41 but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.” The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. 42 But Susanna cried aloud: “O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: 43 you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.” 44 The Lord heard her prayer. 45 As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, 46 and he cried aloud: “I will have no part in the death of this woman.” 47 All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?” 48 He stood in their midst and continued, “Are you such fools, O Israelites! To condemn a woman of Israel without examination and without clear evidence? 49 Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.” 50 Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, “Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.” 51 But he replied, “Separate these two far from one another that I may examine them.” 52 After they were separated one from the other, he called one of them and said: “How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: 53 passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, “The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 54 Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together.” 55 “Under a mastic tree,” he answered. “Your fine lie has cost you your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him and split you in two.” 56 Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,” Daniel said to him, “beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience. 57 This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness. 58 Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.” 59 “Under an oak,” he said. “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to make an end of you both.” 60 The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those that hope in him. 61 They rose up against the two elders, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury. According to the law of Moses, they inflicted on them the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor: 62 they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day. 63 Hilkiah and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, as did Joakim her husband and all her relatives, because she was found innocent of any shameful deed. 64 And from that day onward Daniel was greatly esteemed by the people.
1 After King Astyages was laid with his fathers, Cyrus the Persian succeeded to his kingdom. 2 Daniel was the king’s favorite and was held in higher esteem than any of the friends of the king. 3 The Babylonians had an idol called Bel, and every day they provided for it six barrels of fine flour, forty sheep, and six measures of wine. 4 The king worshiped it and went every day to adore it; but Daniel adored only his God. 5 When the king asked him, “Why do you not adore Bel?” Daniel replied, “Because I worship not idols made with hands, but only the living God who made heaven and earth and has dominion over all mankind.” 6 Then the king continued, “You do not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?” 7 Daniel began to laugh. “Do not be deceived, O king,” he said; “it is only clay inside and bronze outside; it has never taken any food or drink.” 8 Enraged, the king called his priests and said to them, “Unless you tell me who it is that consumes these provisions, you shall die. 9 But if you can show that Bel consumes them, Daniel shall die for blaspheming Bel.” Daniel said to the king, “Let it be as you say!” 10 There were seventy priests of Bel, besides their wives and children. When the king went with Daniel into the temple of Bel, 11 the priests of Bel said, “See, we are going to leave. Do you, O king, set out the food and prepare the wine; then shut the door and seal it with your ring. 12 If you do not find that Bel has eaten it all when you return in the morning, we are to die; otherwise Daniel shall die for his lies against us.” 13 They were not perturbed, because under the table they had made a secret entrance through which they always came in to consume the food. 14 After they departed the king set the food before Bel, while Daniel ordered his servants to bring some ashes, which they scattered through the whole temple; the king alone was present. Then they went outside, sealed the closed door with the king’s ring, and departed. 15 The priests entered that night as usual, with their wives and children, and they ate and drank everything. 16 Early the next morning, the king came with Daniel. 17 “Are the seals unbroken, Daniel?” he asked. And Daniel answered, “They are unbroken, O king.” 18 As soon as he had opened the door, the king looked at the table and cried aloud, “Great you are, O Bel; there is no trickery in you.” 19 But Daniel laughed and kept the king from entering. “Look at the floor,” he said; “whose footprints are these?” 20 “I see the footprints of men, women, and children!” said the king. 21 The angry king arrested the priests, their wives, and their children. They showed him the secret door by which they used to enter to consume what was on the table. 22 He put them to death, and handed Bel over to Daniel, who destroyed it and its temple. 23 There was a great dragon which the Babylonians worshiped. 24 “Look!” said the king to Daniel, “you cannot deny that this is a living god, so adore it.” 25 But Daniel answered, “I adore the Lord, my God, for he is the living God. 26 Give me permission, O king, and I will kill this dragon without sword or club.” “I give you permission,” the king said. 27 Then Daniel took some pitch, fat, and hair; these he boiled together and made into cakes. He put them into the mouth of the dragon, and when the dragon ate them, he burst asunder. “This,” he said, “is what you worshiped.” 28 When the Babylonians heard this, they were angry and turned against the king. “The king has become a Jew,” they said; “he has destroyed Bel, killed the dragon, and put the priests to death.” 29 They went to the king and demanded: “Hand Daniel over to us, or we will kill you and your family.” 30 When he saw himself threatened with violence, the king was forced to hand Daniel over to them. 31 They threw Daniel into a lions’ den, where he remained six days. 32 In the den were seven lions, and two carcasses and two sheep had been given to them daily. But now they were given nothing, so that they would devour Daniel. 33 In Judea there was a prophet, Habakkuk; he mixed some bread in a bowl with the stew he had boiled, and was going to bring it to the reapers in the field, 34 when an angel of the Lord told him, “Take the lunch you have to Daniel in the lions’ den at Babylon.” 35 But Habakkuk answered, “Babylon, sir, I have never seen, and I do not know the den!” 36 The angel of the Lord seized him by the crown of his head and carried him by the hair; with the speed of the wind, he set him down in Babylon above the den. 37 “Daniel, Daniel,” cried Habakkuk, “take the lunch God has sent you.” 38 “You have remembered me, O God,” said Daniel; “you have not forsaken those who love you.” 39 While Daniel began to eat, the angel of the Lord at once brought Habakkuk back to his own place. 40 On the seventh day the king came to mourn for Daniel. As he came to the den and looked in, there was Daniel, sitting there! 41 The king cried aloud, “You are great, O Lord, the God of Daniel, and there is no other besides you!” 42 Daniel he took out, but those who had tried to destroy him he threw into the den, and they were devoured in a moment before his eyes.
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine © 1970