Authorship of Daniel
Even though the book of Daniel is filled with history, the book is primarily a book of prophecy. It accurately foretells many important events relative to the four great empires of the world, the coming and death of the Messiah, the restoration of the Jews, and the conversion of the Gentiles. Daniel, like Revelation in the New Testament, is called an apocalypse. The term "Apocalypse" means an unveiling or a revealing of something which had been previously hidden. Apocalyptic writing uses many figures and symbols. God used this literary form to convey His truth to His people.

Daniel was a contemporary of Jeremiah and his fellow exile Ezekiel. Ezekiel even refers to Daniel (Ezek 14:14, 20; 28:3). Some identify the "Daniel" of Ezekiel with a different "Danel" of ancient Ugaritic literature. However, most scholars refer to Daniel as the person in the book of Daniel.

Daniel is considered a Hebrew statesman by most scholars. His name, Daniyyel, means "God is Judge" or "God is my Judge". There is not very much known about Daniel. In addition to the words in scripture, inferences and traditions must be brought into discussion to set up Daniel's life characteristics..

It appears from Dan 1:3 Daniel was of some royal lineage. He was taken to Babylonia early in his life, probably in the range of 15 to 20 years old. There is some evidence that he and three of his special friends were made eunuchs at the time of his deportation ( 2 King. 20:18). He lived his entire life based on the training of a eunuch. In addition, there is no mention of family or offspring. As far as we know, he lived there almost all of the rest of his life. Exactly when or how Daniel died is not known. He probably died shortly after his final prophecies (Dan 10-12). They are written about the third year of the reign of Cyrus. This places his death at approximately 536 B.C. If he were taken there approximately 605-606 B.C. and he died in 536, he was in Babylonia about 70 years and he lived to about 85 to 90 years old..

As the study proceeds, there will be no doubt Daniel was a man of God. He was faithful without question and had more courage than could be expected of any man. He was so honest and had so much integrity even the Gentile (any non-Jew) kings and other leadership could trust him and listen to what he had to say. This is evidenced by his being appointed into a high government positions, even though he was a Jew..

One of the controversies about Daniel is his being left out of ancient literature except the Bible. Did he really live at all? Generally, this is not a very good argument for anyone in ancient times. There were thousands of good and bad leaders and other persons which affected history who were not written in the history books. Edward Young in The Prophecy of Daniel, responds by discussing the book of Daniel being written by Daniel..

  1. Daniel refers to himself in the first person in the latter half of the book. He was ordered directly to preserve the book in which the words were written.
  2. As the study proceeds, the student will see the parts of the book flow together in a similar flow as if written by a single person. The character of Daniel never changes.
  3. Jesus validates the authorship of Daniel.

    (Mat 24:15) "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION [AOD] which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) [Note to the reader: You know what is meant!],". This will be discussed in greater detail later. Paul (2 Thess 2:4) and various portions of Revelation discuss the AOD. (Mark 13:14) "But when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea [--reader, pay attention!--] flee to the mountains.

    • ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION refers to that which is detestable to God and is particularly related to idolatry.
    • Used in Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 16:15; Rev 17:4,5; 21:27.
    • The Daniel passages give evidence of an idol or altar. "Abomination" (Hebrew shiqquts) is used to describe an idol which desecrates the holy Temple and/or altar in Jerusalem.
    • The term "desolation" (Hebrew shomem) is used throughout the book of Daniel (Dan 8:13; 9:2,17-18,26-27; 11:31; and 12:11). The two root meanings are "to be desolated, ravaged" and "to be appalled, astounded." In these verses.
    • There are four occasions (NASB) where the two words "abomination" and "desolation" are used together. Interpreters have a time trying to understand the term. Much depends on the context. These occasions will be detailed during the study.

    Other readings: Dan 11:31; 12:11
    Mat 10:23; 16:27; 19:28; 24:30; 25:31; 26:64


  4. It should be known the Jews and Greeks did not stop writing between the Old Testament and the New Testament (approximately 175-200 years). The Apocrypha (a group of 15 books not canonized into the Bible) and the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) have several references to Daniel and his situations. The Song of the Three Young Men, one of three additions to the book of Daniel, follows Daniel 3:23 in the Septuagint. It speaks of what went on in the furnace into which the three men were thrown. The final section is a hymn of praise to God. It emphasizes that God responses to prayer. .

    The story of Susanna is added at the close of the Book of Daniel in the Septuagint. It tells of two judges who were overpowered by the beauty of Susanna and sought to become intimate with her. When she refused, they claimed they had seen her being intimate with a young man. Authorities believed their charges and condemned the young lady to death. Daniel then stated that the judges were lying, and he would prove it. He asked them, separately, under what tree they saw Susanna and the young man. When they identified different kinds of trees, their perjury became apparent. They were condemned to death, and Susanna was vindicated. .

    The third addition to Daniel is Bel and the Dragon, placed before Susanna in the Septuagint. Bel was an idol worshipped in Babylon. Large quantities of food were placed in Bel's temple each night and consumed before the next morning. King Cyrus asked Daniel why he did not worship Bel, and Daniel replied that Bel was only a man-made image. He would prove to the king that Bel was not alive. Daniel had ashes sprinkled on the floor of the temple and food placed on Bel's altar before sealing the temple door. The next morning the seals on the doors were intact, but when the doors were opened the food was gone. However, the ashes sprinkled on the floor revealed footprints of the priests and their families. They had a secret entrance and came at night and ate the food brought to the idol. The second part of the story of Bel and the Dragon concerned a dragon worshipped in Babylon. Daniel killed the dragon by feeding it cakes of pitch, fat, and hair. The people were outraged, and Daniel was thrown into the lions' den for seven days. However, the lions did not harm him. These stories ridicule paganism and the worship of idols..

  5. The book is filled with Babylonian information on activities, culture, feelings, etc. that could realistically only be known by someone actually living with the Babylonians of the time. Even Daniel himself claimed to have written this book (Dan 12:4). Since the Jews did not consider him one of the prophets, the book is found in the third division of the Hebrew Bible, called the Hagiographa, the "Writings," rather than in the second, called the "Prophets". The first division was the "Law". This is probably because Daniel's prophecies all direct to the coming of the Messiah who Daniel terminates at Jesus.
Return to Daniel Home Top of Page Email to Bill
Return to BJM Master Home Page