Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
The Prophecies of Daniel
I. The Person of the Prophet
The name דּניּאל or דּנאל (Eze 14:14, Eze 14:20; Eze 28:3), Δανιήλ, i.e., "God is my Judge," or, if the י is the Yod compaginis, "God is judging," "God will judge," but not "Judge of God," is in the Old Testament borne by a son of David by Abigail (Ch1 3:1), a Levite in the time of Ezra (Ezr 8:2; Neh 10:7 6), and by the prophet whose life and prophecies form the contents of this book.
Of Daniel's life the following particulars are related: - From Dan 1:1-5 it appears that, along with other youths of the "king's seed," and of the most distinguished families of Israel, he was carried captive to Babylon, in the reign of Jehoiakim, by Nebuchadnezzar, when he first came up against Jerusalem and took it, and that there, under the Chaldee name of Belteshazzar, he spent three years in acquiring a knowledge of Chaldee science and learning, that he might be prepared for serving in the king's palace. Whether Daniel was of the "seed royal," or only belonged to one of the most distinguished families of Israel, is not decided, inasmuch as there is no certain information regarding his descent. The statement of Josephus (Ant. 10:10,1), that he was ἐκ τοῦ Σεδεκίου γένους, is probably an opinion deduced from Dan 1:3, and it is not much better established than the saying of Epiphanius (Adv. Haeres. 55.3) that his father was called Σαβαάν, and that of the Pseudo-Epiphanius (de vita proph. ch. 10) that he was born at Upper Bethhoron, not far from Jerusalem. During the period set apart for his education, Daniel and his like-minded friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who had received the Chaldee names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, abstained, with the consent of their overseer, from the meat and drink provided for them from the king's table, lest they should thereby be defiled through contact with idolatry, and partook only of pulse and water. This stedfast adherence to the faith of their fathers was so blessed of God, that they were not only in bodily appearance fairer than the other youths who ate of the king's meat, but they also made such progress in their education, that at the end of their years of training, on an examination of their attainments in the presence of the king, they far excelled all the Chaldean wise men throughout the whole kingdom (Dan 1:6-20).
After this, in the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar, being troubled in spirit by a remarkable dream which he had dreamt, called to him all the astrologers and Chaldeans of Babylon, that they might tell him the dream and interpret it. They confessed their inability to fulfil his desire. The king's dream and its interpretation were then revealed by God to Daniel, in answer to prayer, so that he could tell the matter to the king. On this account Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to the God of the Jews as the God of gods and the Revealer of hidden things, and raised Daniel to the rank of ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief president over all the wise men of Babylon. At the request of Daniel, he also appointed his three friends to be administrators over the province, so that Daniel remained in the king's palace (Daniel 2). He held this office during the whole of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, and interpreted, at a later period, a dream of great significance relative to a calamity which was about to fall upon the king (Daniel 4).
After Nebuchadnezzar's death he appears to have been deprived of his elevated rank, as the result of the change of government. But Belshazzar, having been alarmed during a riotous feast by the finger of a man's hand writing on the wall, called to him the Chaldeans and astrologers. None of them was able to read and to interpret the mysterious writing. The king's mother thereupon directed that Daniel should be called, and he read and interpreted the writing to the king. For this he was promoted by the king to be the third ruler of the kingdom, i.e., to be one of the three chief governors of the kingdom (Daniel 5). This office he continued to hold under the Median king Darius. The other princes of the empire and the royal satraps sought to deprive him of it, but God the Lord in a wonderful manner saved him (Daniel 6) by His angel from the mouth of the lions; and he remained in office under the government of the Persian Cyrus (Dan 6:28 ).
During this second half of his life Daniel was honoured by God with revelations regarding the development of the world-power in its different phases, the warfare between it and the kingdom of God, and the final victory of the latter over all hostile powers. These relations are contained in Daniel 7-12. The last of them was communicated to him in the third year of Cyrus the king (Dan 10:1), i.e., in the second year after Cyrus had issued his edict (Ezr 1:1.) permitting the Jews to return to their own land and to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Hence we learn that Daniel lived to see the beginning of the return of his people from their exile. He did not, however, return to his native land with the company that went up under Zerubbabel and Joshua, but remained in Babylon, and there ended his days, probably not long after the last of these revelations from God had been communicated to him, which concluded with the command to seal up the book of his prophecies till the time of the end, and with the charge, rich in its comfort, to go in peace to meet his death, and to await the resurrection from the dead at the end of the days (Dan 12:4, Dan 12:13). If Daniel was a youth (ילד, Dan 1:4, Dan 1:10) of from fifteen to eighteen years of age at the time of his being carried captive into Chaldea, and died in the faith of the divine promise soon after the last revelation made to him in the third year (Dan 10:1) of king Cyrus, then he must have reached the advanced age of at least ninety years.
The statements of this book regarding his righteousness and piety, as also regarding his wonderful endowment with wisdom to reveal hidden things, receive a powerful confirmation from the language of his contemporary Ezekiel (Eze 14:14, Eze 14:20), who mentions Daniel along with Noah and Job as a pattern of righteousness of life pleasing to God, and (Eze 28:3) speaks of his wisdom as above that of the princes of Tyre. If we consider that Ezekiel gave expression to the former of these statements fourteen years, and to the other eighteen years, after Daniel had been carried captive to Babylon, and also that the former statement was made eleven, and the latter fifteen years, after his elevation to the rank of president of the Chaldean wise men, then it will in no way appear surprising to us to find that the fame of his righteousness and his wonderful wisdom was so spread abroad among the Jewish exiles, that Ezekiel was able to point to him as a bright example of these virtues. When now God gave him, under Belshazzar, a new opportunity, by reading and interpreting the mysterious handwriting on the wall, of showing his supernatural prophetic gifts, on account of which he was raised by the king to one of the highest offices of state in the kingdom; when, moreover, under the Median king Darius the machinations of his enemies against his life were frustrated by his wonderful deliverance from the jaws of the lions, and he not only remained to hoary old age to hold that high office, but also received from God revelations regarding the development of the world-power and of the kingdom of God, which in precision excel all the predictions of the prophets, - then it could not fail but that a life so rich in the wonders of divine power and grace should not only attract the attention of his contemporaries, but also that after his death it should become a subject of wide-spread fame, as appears from the apocryphal addition to his book in the Alexandrine translation of it, and in the later Jewish Haggada, and be enlarged upon by the church fathers, and even by Mohammedan authors. Cf. Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient. s.v. Daniel, and Delitzsch, de Habacuci Proph. vita atque aetate, Lps. 1842, p. 24ff.
Regarding the end of Daniel's life and his burial nothing certain is known. The Jewish report of his return to his fatherland (cf. Carpzov, Introd. iii. p. 239f.) has as little historical value as that which relates that he died in Babylon, and was buried in the king's sepulchre (Pseud.-Epiph.), or that his grave was in Susa (Abulph. and Benjamin of Tudela).
In direct opposition to the wide-spread reports which bear testimony to the veneration with which the prophet was regarded, stands the modern naturalistic criticism, which, springing from antipathy to the miracles of the Bible, maintains that the prophet never existed at all, but that his life and labours, as they are recorded in this book, are the mere invention of a Jew of the time of the Maccabees, who attributed his fiction to Daniel, deriving the name from some unknown hero of mythic antiquity (Bleek, von Lengerke, Hitzig) or of the Assyrian exile (Ewald).
II. Daniel's Place in the History of the Kingdom of God
Though Daniel lived during the Babylonian exile, yet it was not, as in the case of Ezekiel, in the midst of his countrymen, who had been carried into captivity, but at the court of the ruler of the world and in the service of the state. To comprehend his work for the kingdom of God in this situation, we must first of all endeavour to make clear the significance of the Babylonian exile, not only for the people of Israel, but also for the heathen nations, with reference to the working out of the divine counsel for the salvation of the human race.
Let us first fix our attention on the significance of the exile for Israel, the people of God under the Old Covenant. The destruction of the kingdom of Judah and the deportation of the Jews into Babylonish captivity, not only put an end to the independence of the covenant people, but also to the continuance of that constitution of the kingdom of God which was founded at Sinai; and that not only temporarily, but for ever, for in its integrity it was never restored. God the Lord had indeed, in the foundation of the Old Covenant, through the institution of circumcision as a sign of the covenant for the chosen people, given to the patriarch Abraham the promise that He would establish His covenant with him and his seed as an everlasting covenant, that He would be a God to them, and would give them the land of Canaan as a perpetual possession (Gen 17:18-19). Accordingly, at the establishment of this covenant with the people of Israel by Moses, the fundamental arrangements of the covenant constitution were designated as everlasting institutions (עולם חקּת or חק); as, for example, the arrangements connected with the feast of the passover (Exo 12:14, Exo 12:17, Exo 12:24), the day of atonement (Lev 16:29, Lev 16:31, Lev 16:34), and the other feasts (Lev 23:14, Lev 23:21, Lev 23:31, Lev 23:41), the most important of the arrangements concerning the offering of sacrifice (Lev 3:17; Lev 7:34, Lev 7:36; Lev 10:15; Num 15:15; Num 18:8, Num 18:11, Num 18:19), and concerning the duties and rights of the priests (Exo 27:21; Exo 28:43; Exo 29:28; Exo 30:21), etc. God fulfilled His promise. He not only delivered the tribes of Israel from their bondage in Egypt by the wonders of His almighty power, and put them in possession of the land of Canaan, but He also protected them there against their enemies, and gave to them afterwards in David a king who ruled over them according to His will, overcame all their enemies, and made Israel powerful and prosperous. Moreover He gave to this king, His servant David, who, after he had vanquished all his enemies round about, wished to build a house for the Lord that His name might dwell there, the Great Promise: "When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his Father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but my mercy shall not depart away from him ... . And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever" (Sa2 7:12-16). Wherefore after David's death, when his son Solomon built the temple, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "If thou wilt walk in my statutes, ... then will I perform my word unto thee which I spake unto David thy father, and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel" (Kg1 6:12-13). After the completion of the building of the temple the glory of the Lord filled the house, and God appeared to Solomon the second time, renewing the assurance, "If thou wilt walk before me as David thy father walked, ... then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father" (Kg1 9:2-5). The Lord was faithful to this His word to the people of Israel, and to the seed of David. When Solomon in his old age, through the influence of his foreign wives, was induced to sanction the worship of idols, God visited the king's house with chastisement, by the revolt of the ten tribes, which took place after Solomon's death; but He gave to his son Rehoboam the kingdom of Judah and Benjamin, with the metropolis Jerusalem and the temple, and He preserved this kingdom, notwithstanding the constantly repeated declension of the king and the people into idolatry, even after the Assyrians had destroyed the kingdom of the ten tribes, whom they carried into captivity. But at length Judah also, through the wickedness of Manasseh, filled up the measure of its iniquity, and brought upon itself the judgment of the dissolution of the kingdom, and the carrying away of the inhabitants into captivity into Babylon.
In his last address and warning to the people against their continued apostasy from the Lord their God, Moses had, among other severe chastisements that would fall upon them, threatened this as the last of the punishments with which God would visit them. This threatening was repeated by all the prophets; but at the same time, following the example of Moses, they further announced that the Lord would again receive into His favour His people driven into exile, if, humbled under their sufferings, they would turn again unto Him; that He would gather them together from the heathen lands, and bring them back to their own land, and renew them by His Spirit, and would then erect anew in all its glory the kingdom of David under the Messiah. Thus Micah not only prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple, and the leading away into captivity of the daughters of Zion (Mic 3:12; Mic 4:10), but also the return from Babylon and the restoration of the former dominion of the daughters of Jerusalem, their victory over all their enemies under the sceptre of the Ruler who would go forth from Bethlehem, and the exaltation of the mountain of the house of the Lord above all mountains and hills in the last days (Mic 5:1., Mic 4:1.). Isaiah also announced (Isa 40-66) the deliverance of Israel out of Babylon, the building up of the ruins of Jerusalem and Judah, and the final glory of Zion through the creation of new heavens and a new earth. Jeremiah, in like manner, at the beginning of the Chaldean catastrophe, not only proclaimed to the people who had become ripe for the judgment, the carrying away into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, and the continuance of the exile for the space of seventy years, but he also prophesied the destruction of Babylon after the end of the seventy years, and the return of the people of Judah and Israel who might survive to the land of their fathers, the rebuilding of the desolated city, and the manifestation of God's grace toward them, by His entering into a new covenant with them, and writing His law upon their hearts and forgiving their sins (Jer 25:9-12; 31:8-34).
Hence it evidently appears that the abolition of the Israelitish theocracy, through the destruction of the kingdom of Judah and the carrying away of the people into exile by the Chaldeans, in consequence of their continued unfaithfulness and the transgression of the laws of the covenant on the part of Israel, was foreseen in the gracious counsels of God; and that the perpetual duration of the covenant of grace, as such, was not dissolved, but only the then existing condition of the kingdom of God was changed, in order to winnow that perverse people, who, notwithstanding all the chastisements that had hitherto fallen upon them, had not in earnest turned away from their idolatry, by that the severest of all the judgments that had been threatened them; to exterminate by the sword, by famine, by the plague, and by other calamities, the incorrigible mass of the people; and to prepare the better portion of them, the remnant who might repent, as a holy seed to whom God might fulfil His covenant promises.
Accordingly the exile forms a great turning-point in the development of the kingdom of God which He had founded in Israel. With that event the form of the theocracy established at Sinai comes to an end, and then begins the period of the transition to a new form, which was to be established by Christ, and has been actually established by Him. The form according to which the people of God constituted an earthly kingdom, taking its place beside the other kingdoms of the nations, was not again restored after the termination of the seventy years of the desolations of Jerusalem and Judah, which had been prophesied by Jeremiah, because the Old Testament theocracy had served its end. God the Lord had, during its continuance, showed daily not only that He was Israel's God, a merciful and gracious God, who was faithful to His covenant towards those who feared Him and walked in His commandments and laws, and who could make His people great and glorious, and had power to protect them against all their enemies; but also that He was a mighty and a jealous God, who visits the blasphemers of His holy name according to their iniquity, and is able to fulfil His threatenings no less than His promises. It was necessary that the people of Israel should know by experience that a transgressing of the covenant and a turning away from the service of God does not lead to safety, but hastens onward to ruin; that deliverance from sin, and salvation life and happiness, can be found only with the Lord who is rich in grace and in faithfulness, and can only be reached by a humble walking according to His commandments.
The restoration of the Jewish state after the exile was not a re-establishment of the Old Testament kingdom of God. When Cyrus granted liberty to the Jews to return to their own land, and commanded them to rebuild the temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem, only a very small band of captives returned; the greater part remained scattered among the heathen. Even those who went home from Babylon to Canaan were not set free from subjection to the heathen world-power, but remained, in the land which the Lord had given to their fathers, servants to it. Though now again the ruined walls of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah were restored, and the temple also was rebuilt, and the offering up of sacrifice renewed, yet the glory of the Lord did not again enter into the new temple, which was also without the ark of the covenant and the mercy-seat, so as to hallow it as the place of His gracious presence among His people. The temple worship among the Jews after the captivity was without its soul, the real presence of the Lord in the sanctuary; the high priest could no longer go before God's throne of grace in the holy of holies to sprinkle the atoning blood of the sacrifice toward the ark of the covenant, and to accomplish the reconciliation of the congregation with their God, and could no longer find out, by means of the Urim and Thummim, the will of the Lord. When Nehemiah had finished the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem, prophecy ceased, the revelations of the Old Covenant came to a final end, and the period of expectation (during which no prophecy as given) of the promised Deliverer, of the seed of David, began. When this Deliverer appeared in Jesus Christ, and the Jews did not recognise Him as their Saviour, but rejected Him and put Him to death, they were at length, on the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans, scattered throughout the whole world, and to this day they live in a state of banishment from the presence of the Lord, till they return to Christ, and through faith in Him again enter into the kingdom of God and be blessed.
The space of 500 years, from the end of the Babylonish captivity to the appearance of Christ, can be considered as the last period of the Old Covenant only in so far as in point of time it precedes the foundation of the New Covenant; but it was in reality, for that portion of the Jewish people who had returned to Judea, no deliverance from subjection to the power of the heathen, no re-introduction into the kingdom of God, but only a period of transition from the Old to the New Covenant, during which Israel were prepared for the reception of the Deliverer coming out of Zion. This respect this period may be compared with the forty, or more accurately, the thirty-eight years of the wanderings of Israel in the Arabian desert. As God did not withdraw all the tokens of His gracious covenant from the race that was doomed to die in the wilderness, but guided them by His pillar of cloud and fire, and gave them manna to eat, so He gave grace to those who had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem to build again the temple and to restore the sacrificial service, whereby they prepared themselves for the appearance of Him who should build the true temple, and make an everlasting atonement by the offering up of His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
If the prophets before the captivity, therefore, connect the deliverance of Israel from Babylon and their return to Canaan immediately with the setting up of the kingdom of God in its glory, without giving any indication that between the end of the Babylonish exile and the appearance of the Messiah a long period would intervene, this uniting together of the two events is not to be explained only from the perspective and apotelesmatic character of the prophecy, but has its foundation in the very nature of the thing itself. The prophetic perspective, by virtue of which the inward eye of the seer beholds only the elevated summits of historical events as they unfold themselves, and not the valleys of the common incidents of history which lie between these heights, is indeed peculiar to prophecy in general, and accounts for the circumstance that the prophecies as a rule give no fixed dates, and apotelesmatically bind together the points of history which open the way to the end, with the end itself. But this formal peculiarity of prophetic contemplation we must not extend to the prejudice of the actual truth of the prophecies. The fact of the uniting together of the future glory of the kingdom of God under the Messiah with the deliverance of Israel from exile, has perfect historical veracity. The banishment of the covenant people from the land of the Lord and their subjection to the heathen, was not only the last of those judgments which God had threatened against His degenerate people, but it also continues till the perverse rebels are exterminated, and the penitents are turned with sincere hearts to God the Lord and are saved through Christ. Consequently the exile was for Israel the last space for repentance which God in His faithfulness to His covenant granted to them. Whoever is not brought by this severe chastisement to repentance and reformation, but continues opposed to the gracious will of God, on him falls the judgment of death; and only they who turn themselves to the Lord, their God and Saviour, will be saved, gathered from among the heathen, brought in within the bonds of the covenant of grace through Christ, and become partakers of the promised riches of grace in His kingdom.
But with the Babylonish exile of Israel there also arises for the heathen nations a turning-point of marked importance for their future history. So long as Israel formed within the borders of their own separated land a peculiar people, under immediate divine guidance, the heathen nations dwelling around came into manifold hostile conflicts with them, while God used them as a rod of correction for His rebellious people. Though they were often at war among themselves, yet, in general separated from each other, each nation developed itself according to its own proclivities. Besides, from ancient times the greater kingdoms on the Nile and the Euphrates had for centuries striven to raise their power, enlarging themselves into world-powers; while the Phoenicians on the Mediterranean sea-coast gave themselves to commerce, and sought to enrich themselves with the treasures of the earth. In this development the smaller as well as the larger nations gradually acquired strength. God had permitted each of them to follow its own way, and had conferred on them much good, that they might seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him; but the principle of sin dwelling within them had poisoned their natural development, so that they went farther and farther away from the living God and from everlasting good, sunk deeper and deeper into idolatry and immorality of every kind, and went down with rapid steps toward destruction. Then God began to winnow the nations of the world by His great judgments. The Chaldeans raised themselves, under energetic leaders, to be a world-power, which not only overthrew the Assyrian kingdom and subjugated all the lesser nations of Hither Asia, but also broke the power of the Phoenicians and Egyptians, and brought under its dominion all the civilised peoples of the East. With the monarchy founded by Nebuchadnezzar it raised itself in the rank of world-powers, which within not long intervals followed each other in quick succession, until the Roman world-monarchy arose, by which all the civilised nations of antiquity were subdued, and under which the ancient world came to a close, at the appearance of Christ. These world-kingdoms, which destroyed one another, each giving place, after a short existence, to its successor, which in its turn also was overthrown by another that followed, led the nations, on the one side, to the knowledge of the helplessness and the vanity of their idols, and taught them the fleeting nature and the nothingness of all earthly greatness and glory, and, on the other side, placed limits to the egoistical establishment of the difference nations in their separate interests, and the deification of their peculiarities in education, culture, art, and science, and thereby prepared the way, by means of the spreading abroad of the language and customs of the physically or intellectually dominant people among all the different nationalities united under one empire, for the removal of the particularistic isolation of the tribes separated from them by language and customs, and for the re-uniting together into one universal family of the scattered tribes of the human race. Thus they opened the way for the revelation of the divine plan of salvation to all peoples, whilst they shook the faith of the heathen in their gods, destroyed the frail supports of heathen religion, and awakened the longing for the Saviour from sin, death, and destruction.
But God, the Lord of heaven and earth, revealed to the heathen His eternal Godhead and His invisible essence, not only by His almighty government in the disposal of the affairs of their history, but He also, in every great event in the historical development of humanity, announced His will through that people whom He had chosen as the depositaries of His salvation. Already the patriarchs had, by their lives and by their fear of God, taught the Canaanites the name of the Lord so distinctly, that they were known amongst them as "princes of God" (Gen 23:6), and in their God they acknowledged the most high God, the Creator of heaven and earth (Gen 14:19, Gen 14:22). Thus, when Moses was sent to Pharaoh to announce to him the will of God regarding the departure of the people of Israel, and when Pharaoh refused to listen to the will of God, his land and his people were so struck by the wonders of the divine omnipotence, that not only the Egyptians learned to fear the God of Israel, but the fear and dread of Him also fell on the princes of Edom and Moab, and on all the inhabitants of Canaan (Exo 15:14.). Afterwards, when Israel came to the borders of Canaan, and the king of Moab, in conjunction with the princes of Midian, brought the famed soothsayer Balaam out of Mesopotamia that he might destroy the people of God with his curse, Balaam was constrained to predict, according to the will of God, to the king and his counsellors the victorious power of Israel over all their enemies, and the subjection of all the heathen nations (Num 22-24). In the age succeeding, God the Lord showed Himself to the nations, as often as they assailed Israel contrary to His will, as an almighty God who can destroy all His enemies; and even the Israelitish prisoners of war were the means of making known to the heathen the great name of the God of Israel, as the history of the cure of Naaman the Syrian by means of Elisha shows (2 Kings 5). This knowledge of the living, all-powerful God could not but be yet more spread abroad among the heathen by the leading away captive of the tribes of Israel and of Judah into Assyria and Chaldea.
But fully to prepare, by the exile, the people of Israel as well as the heathen world for the appearance of the Saviour of all nations and for the reception of the gospel, the Lord raised up prophets, who not only preached His law and His justice among the covenant people scattered among the heathen, and made more widely known the counsel of His grace, but also bore witness by word and deed, in the presence of the heathen rulers of the world, of the omnipotence and glory of God, the Lord of heaven and earth. This mission was discharged by Ezekiel and Daniel. God placed the prophet Ezekiel among his exiled fellow-countrymen as a watchman over the house of Israel, that he might warn the godless, proclaim to them continually the judgment which would fall upon them and destroy their vain hopes of a speedy liberation from bondage and a return to their fatherland; but to the God-fearing, who were bowed down under the burden of their sorrows and were led to doubt the covenant faithfulness of God, he was commissioned to testify the certain fulfilment of the predictions of the earlier prophets as to the restoration and bringing to its completion of the kingdom of God. A different situation was appointed by God to Daniel. His duty was to proclaim before the throne of the rulers of this world the glory of the God of Israel as the God of heaven and earth, in opposition to false gods; to announce to those invested with worldly might and dominion the subjugation of all the kingdoms of this world by the everlasting kingdom of God; and to his own people the continuance of their afflictions under the oppression of the world-power, as well as the fulfilment of the gracious counsels of God through the blotting out of all sin, the establishment of an everlasting righteousness, the fulfilling of all the prophecies, and the setting up of a true holy of holies.
III. The Contents and Arrangement of the Book of Daniel
The book begins (Daniel 1) with the account of Daniel's being carried away to Babylon, his appointment and education for the service of the court of the Chaldean king by a three years' course of instruction in the literature and wisdom of the Chaldeans, and his entrance on service in the king's palace. This narrative, by its closing (Dan 1:21) statement that Daniel continued in this office till the first year of king Cyrus, and still more by making manifest his firm fidelity to the law of the true God and his higher enlightenment in the meaning of dreams and visions granted to him on account of this fidelity, as well as by the special mention of his three like-minded friends, is to be regarded as a historico-biographical introduction to the book, showing how Daniel, under the divine guidance, was prepared, along with his friends, for that calling in which, as prophet at the court of the rulers of the world, he might bear testimony to the omnipotence and the infallible wisdom of the God of Israel. This testimony is given in the following book. Daniel 2 contains a remarkable dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which none of the Chaldean wise men could tell to the king or interpret. But God made it known to Daniel in answer to prayer, so that he could declare and explain to the king the visions he saw in his dream, representing the four great world-powers, and their destruction by the everlasting kingdom of God. Daniel 3 describes the wonderful deliverance of Daniel's three friends from the burning fiery furnace into which they were thrown, because they would not bow down to the golden image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Daniel 4 (in Heb. text 3:31-4:34) contains an edict promulgated by Nebuchadnezzar to all the peoples and nations of his kingdom, in which he made known to them a remarkable dream which had been interpreted to him by Daniel, and its fulfilment to him in his temporary derangement, - a beast's heart having been given unto him as a punishment for his haughty self-deification, - and his recovery from that state in consequence of his humbling himself under the hand of the almighty God. Daniel 4 makes mention of a wonderful handwriting which appeared on the wall during a riotous feast, and which king Belshazzar saw, and the interpretation of it by Daniel. Daniel 6 narrates Daniel's miraculous deliverance from the den of lions into which the Median king Darius had thrown him, because he had, despite of the king's command to the contrary, continued to pray to his God.
The remaining chapters contain visions and divine revelations regarding the development of the world-powers and of the kingdom of God vouchsafed to Daniel. The seventh sets forth a vision, in which, under the image of four ravenous beasts rising up out of the troubled sea, are represented the four world-powers following one another. The judgment which would fall upon them is also revealed. The eighth contains a vision of the Medo-Persian and Greek world-powers under the image of a ram and a he-goat respectively, and of the enemy and desolater of the sanctuary and of the people of God arising out of the last named kingdom; the ninth, the revelation of the seventy weeks appointed for the development and the completion of the kingdom of God, which Daniel received in answer to earnest prayer for the pardon of his people and the restoration of Jerusalem; and, finally, Daniel 10-12 contain a vision, granted in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, with further disclosures regarding the Persian and the Grecian world-powers, and the wars of the kingdoms of the north and the south, springing out of the latter of these powers, for the supreme authority and the dominion over the Holy Land; the oppression that would fall on the saints of the Most High at the time of the end; the destruction of the last enemy under the stroke of divine judgment; and the completion of the kingdom of God, by the rising again from the dead of some to everlasting life, and of some to shame and everlasting contempt.
The book has commonly been divided into two parts, consisting of six chapters each (e.g., by Ros., Maur., Hvern., Hitz., Zndel, etc.). The first six are regarded as historical, and the remaining six as prophetical; or the first part is called the "book of history," the second, the "book of visions." But this division corresponds neither with the contents nor with the formal design of the book. If we consider the first chapter and its relation to the whole already stated, we cannot discern a substantial reason for regarding Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the image representing the monarchies (Daniel 2), which with its interpretation was revealed to Daniel in a night vision (Dan 2:19), as an historical narration, and Daniel's dream-vision of the four world-powers symbolized by ravenous beasts, which an angel interpreted to him, as a prophetic vision, since the contents of both chapters are essentially alike. The circumstance that in Daniel 2 it is particularly related how the Chaldean wise men, who were summoned by Nebuchadnezzar, could neither relate nor interpret the dream, and on that account were threatened with death, and were partly visited with punishment, does not entitle us to refuse to the dream and its contents, which were revealed to Daniel in a night vision, the character of a prophecy. In addition to this, Daniel 7, inasmuch as it is written in the Chaldee language and that Daniel speaks in it in the third person (Dan 7:1-2), naturally connects itself with the chapters preceding (Daniel 2-6), and separates itself from those which follow, in which Daniel speaks in the first person and uses the Hebrew language. On these grounds, we must, with Aub., Klief., and Kran., regard Daniel 2, which is written in Chaldee, as belonging to the first part of the book, viz., Daniel 2-7, and Daniel 8-12, which are written in Hebrew, as constituting the second part; and the propriety of this division we must seek to vindicate by an examination of the contents of both of the parts.
Kranichfeld (das Buch Daniel erklrt) thus explains the distinction between the two parts: - The first presents the successive development of the whole heathen world power, and its relation to Israel, till the time of the Messianic kingdom (Daniel 2 and 7), but lingers particularly in the period lying at the beginning of this development, i.e., in the heathen kingdoms standing nearest the exiles, namely, the Chaldean kingdom and that of the Medes which subdued it (Daniel 6). The second part (Daniel 8-12), on the contrary, passing from the Chaldean kingdom, lingers on the development of the heathen world-power towards the time of its end, in the Javanic form of power, and on the Median and Persian kingdom only in so far as it immediately precedes the unfolding of the power of Javan. But, setting aside this explanation of the world-kingdoms, with which we do not agree, the contents of Daniel 9 are altogether overlooked in this view of the relations between the two parts, inasmuch as this chapter does not treat of the development of the heathen world-power, but of the kingdom of God and of the time of its consummation determined by God. If we inspect more narrowly the contents of the first part, we find an interruption of the chronological order pervading the book, inasmuch as events (Daniel 6) belonging to the time of the Median king Darius are recorded before the visions (Daniel 7 and 8) in the first and third year of the Chaldean king Belshazzar. The placing of these events before that vision can have no other ground than to allow historical incidents of a like kind to be recorded together, and then the visions granted to Daniel, without any interruption. Hence has arisen the appearance of the book's being divided into two parts, an historical and a prophetical.
In order to discover a right division, we must first endeavour to make clear the meaning of the historical incidents recorded in Daniel 3-6, that we may determine their relations to the visions in Daniel 2 and 7. The two intervening chapters 4 and 5 are like the second chapter in this, that they speak of revelations which the possessors of the world-power received, and that, too, revelations of the judgment which they drew upon themselves by their boastful pride and violence against the sanctuaries of the living God. To Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the world-power, when he boasted (Daniel 4) of the building of great Babylon as a royal residence by his great might, it was revealed in a dream that he should be cast down from his height and debased among the beasts of the field, till he should learn that the Most High rules over the kingdom of men. To king Belshazzar (Daniel 5), in the midst of his riotous banquet, at which he desecrated the vessels of the holy temple at Jerusalem, was revealed, by means of a handwriting on the wall, his death and the destruction of his kingdom. To both of these kings Daniel had to explain the divine revelation, which soon after was fulfilled. The other two chapters (Daniel 3 and 6) make known the attempts of the rulers of the world to compel the servants of the Lord to offer supplication to them and to their images, and the wonderful deliverance from death which the Lord vouchsafed to the faithful confessors of His name. These four events have, besides their historical value, a prophetical import: they show how the world-rulers, when they misuse their power for self-idolatry and in opposition to the Lord and His servants, will be humbled and cast down by God, while, on the contrary the true confessors of His name will be wonderfully protected and upheld. For the sake of presenting this prophetic meaning, Daniel has recorded these events and incidents in his prophetical book; and, on chronological and essential grounds, has introduced Daniel 2 and 7 between the visions, so as to define more clearly the position of the world-power in relation to the kingdom of God. Thus the whole of the first part (Daniel 2-7) treats of the world-power and its development in relation to the kingdom of God; and we can say with Kliefoth,
(Note: Das Buch Daniels bers. u. erkl.)
that "chapter second gives a survey of the whole historical evolution of the world-power, which survey Daniel 7, at the close of this part, further extends, while the intermediate chapters 3-6 show in concrete outlines the nature and kind of the world-power, and its conduct in opposition to the people of God."
If we now fix our attention on the second part, Daniel 8-12, it will appear that in the visions, Daniel 8 and 10-12, are prophesied oppressions of the people of God by a powerful enemy of God and His saints, who would arise out of the third world-kingdom; which gave occasion to Auberlen
(Note: Der Proph. Daniel u. die Offenb. Johannis, p. 38, der 2 Auf. (The Prophecies of Daniel, and the Revelations of Job. Published by Messrs. T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh.))
to say that the first part unfolds and presents to view the whole development of the world-powers from a universal historical point of view, and shows how the kingdom of God would in the end triumph over them; that the second part, on the contrary, places before our eyes the unfolding of the world-powers in their relation to Israel in the nearer future before the predicted (Daniel 9) appearance of Christ in the flesh. This designation of the distinction between the two parts accords with that already acknowledged by me, yet on renewed reflection it does not accord with the recognised reference of Dan 9:24-27 to the first appearance of Christ in the flesh, nor with Daniel 11:36-12:7, which prophesies of Antichrist. Rather, as Klief. has also justly remarked, the second part treats of the kingdom of God, and its development in relation to the world-power. "As the second chapter forms the central-point of the first part, so does the ninth chapter of the second part, gathering all the rest around it. And as the second chapter presents the whole historical evolution of the world-power from the days of Daniel to the end, so, on the other hand, the ninth chapter presents the whole historical evolution of the kingdom of God from the days of Daniel to the end." But the preceding vision recorded in Daniel 8, and that which follows in Daniel 10-12, predict a violent incursion of an insolent enemy rising out of the Javanic world-kingdom against the kingdom of God, which will terminate in his own destruction at the time appointed by God, and, as a comparison of Daniel 8 and 7 and of Dan 11:21-35 with Dan 11:36-44 and Dan 12:1-3 shows, will be a type of the assault of the last enemy, in whom the might of the fourth world-power reaches its highest point of hostility against the kingdom of God, but who in the final judgment will also be destroyed. These two visions, the second of which is but a further unfolding of the first, could not but show to the people of God what wars and oppressions they would have to encounter in the near and the remote future for their sanctification, and for the confirmation of their faith, till the final perfecting of the kingdom of God by the resurrection of the dead and the judgment of the world, and at the same time strengthen the true servants of God with the assurance of final victory in these severe conflicts.
With this view of the contents of the book the form in which the prophecies are given stands also in harmony. In the first part, which treats of the world-power, Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the world-power, is the receiver of the revelation. To him was communicated not only the prophecy (Daniel 4) relating to himself personally, but also that which comprehended the whole development of the world-power (Daniel 2); while Daniel received only the revelation (Daniel 7) specially bearing on the relation of the world-power in its development to the kingdom of God, in a certain measure for the confirmation of the revelation communicated to Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar also, as the bearer of the world-power, received (Daniel 5) a revelation from God. In the second part, on the contrary, which treats of the development of the kingdom of God, Daniel, "who is by birth and by faith a member of the kingdom of God," alone receives a prophecy. - With this the change in the language of the book agrees. The first part (Daniel 2-7), treating of the world-power and its development, is written in Chaldee, which is the language of the world-power; the second part (Daniel 8-12), treating of the kingdom of God and its development, as also the first chapter, which shows how Daniel the Israelite was called to be a prophet by God, is written in the Hebrew, which is the language of the people of God. This circumstance denotes that in the first part the fortunes of the world-power, and that in the second part the development of the kingdom of God, is the subject treated of (ch. Auber. p. 39, Klief. p. 44).
(Note: Kranichfeld (d. B. Daniels, p. 53) seeks to explain this interchange of the Hebrew and Chaldee (Aramean) languages by supposing that the decree of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:31 [Dan 4:1]ff.) to his people, and also his conversation with the Chaldeans (Dan 2:4-11), were originally in the Aramaic language, and that the author was led from this to make use of this language throughout one part of his book, as was the case with Ezra, e.g., Dan 4:23. And the continuous use of the Aramaic language in one whole part of the book will be sufficiently explained, if it were composed during a definite epoch, within which the heathen oppressors as such, and the heathen persecution, stand everywhere in the foreground, namely in the time of the Chaldean supremacy, on which the Median made no essential change. Thus the theocrat, writing at this time, composed his reports in the Aramaic language in order to make them effective among the Chaldeans, because they were aimed against their enmity and hostility as well as against that of their rulers. But this explanation fails from this circumstance, that in the third year of Belshazzar the vision granted to Daniel (Daniel 8) is recorded in the Hebrew language, while, on the contrary, the later events which occurred in the night on which Belshazzar was slain (Daniel 5) are described in the Chaldee language. The use of the Hebrew language in the vision (Daniel 8) cannot be explained on Kranichfeld's supposition, for that vision is so internally related to the one recorded in the Chaldee language in the seventh chapter, that no ground can be discerned for the change of language in these two chapters.)
From these things we arrive at the certainty that the book of Daniel forms an organic whole, as is now indeed generally acknowledged, and that it was composed by a prophet according to a plan resting on higher illumination.
IV. The Genuineness of the Book of Daniel
The book of Daniel, in its historical and prophetical contents, corresponds to the circumstances of the times under which, according to its statements, it sprang up, as also to the place which the receiver of the vision, called the prophet Daniel (Dan 7:2; Dan 8:1; Dan 9:2; Dan 10:2.), occupied during the exile. If the exile has that importance in relation to the development of the kingdom of God as already described in 2, then the whole progressive development of the divine revelation, as it lies before us in the Old and New Testaments, warrants us to expect, from the period of the exile, a book containing records such as are found in the book of Daniel. Since miracles and prophecies essentially belong not only in general to the realizing of the divine plan of salvation, but have also been especially manifested in all the critical periods of the history of the kingdom of God, neither the miracles in the historical parts of the book, nor its prophecies, consisting of singular predictions, can in any respect seem strange to us.
The history of redemption in the Old and New Covenants presents four great periods of miracles, i.e., four epochs, which are distinguished from other times by numerous and remarkable miracles. These are, (1) The time of Moses, or of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, and their journey through the Arabian desert to Canaan; (2) In the promised land, the time of the prophets Elijah and Elisha; (3) The time of Daniel, or of the Babylonish exile; and (4) The period from the appearance of John the Baptist to the ascension of Christ, or the time of Christ. These are the times of the foundation of the Old and the New Covenant, and the times of the two deliverances of the people of Israel. Of these four historical epochs the first and the fourth correspond with one another, and so also do the second and the third. But if we consider that the Mosaic period contains the two elements, the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt and the establishment of the kingdom of God at Sinai, the, if we take into view the first of the these elements, the Mosaic period resembles that of the exile in this respect, that in both of them the subject is the deliverance of Israel from subjection to the heathen world-power, and that the deliverance in both instances served as a preparation for the founding of the kingdom of God, - the freeing of Israel from Egyptian bondage for the founding of the Old Testament kingdom of God, and the deliverance from Babylonish exile for the founding of the New. In both periods the heathen world-power had externally overcome the people of God and reduced them to slavery, and determined on their destruction. In both, therefore, God the Lord, if He would not suffer His work of redemption to be frustrated by man, must reveal Himself by wonders and signs before the heathen, as the almighty God and Lord in heaven and on earth, and compel the oppressors of His people, by means of great judgments, to acknowledge His omnipotence and His eternal Godhead, so that they learned to fear the God of Israel and released His people. In the time of Moses, it was necessary to show to the Egyptians and to Pharaoh, who had said to Moses, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice, to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go," that Israel's God was Jehovah the Lord, that He, and not their gods, as they thought, was Lord in their land, and that there was none like Him in the whole earth (Exo 7:17; Exo 8:18; Exo 9:14, Exo 9:29). And as Pharaoh did not know, and did not wish to know, the God of Israel, so also neither Nebuchadnezzar, nor Belshazzar, nor Darius knew Him. Since all the heathen estimated the power of the gods according to the power of the people who honoured them, the God of the Jews, whom they had subjugated by their arms, would naturally appear to the Chaldeans and their king as an inferior and feeble God, as He had already appeared to the Assyrians (Isa 10:8-11; Isa 36:18-20). They had no apprehension of the fact that God had given up His people to be punished by them on account of their unfaithful departure from Him. This delusion of theirs, by which not only the honour of the true God was misunderstood and sullied, but also the object for which the God of Israel had sent His people into exile among the heathen was in danger of being frustrated, God could only dissipate by revealing Himself, and He once did in Egypt, so now in the exile, as the Lord and Ruler of the whole world. The similarity of circumstances required similar wonderful revelations from God. For this reason there were miracles wrought in the exile as there had been in Egypt, - miracles which showed the omnipotence of the God of the Israelites, and the helplessness of the heathen gods; and hence the way and manner in which God did this is in general the same. To the heathen kings Pharaoh (Gen 41) and Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2). He made known the future in dreams, which the heathen wise men of the land were not able to interpret, and the servants of Jehovah, Joseph and Daniel, interpreted to them, and on that account were exalted to high offices of state, in which they exerted their influence as the saviours of their people. And He shows His omnipotence by miracles which break through the course of nature.
In so far the revelations of God in Egypt and in the Babylonish exile resemble one another. But that the actions of God revealed in the book of Daniel are not mere copies of those which were wrought in Egypt, but that in reality they repeat themselves, is clear from the manifest difference in particulars between the two. Of the two ways in which God reveals Himself as the one only true God, in the wonders of His almighty power, and in the displays of His omniscience in predictions, we meet with the former almost alone in Egypt, while in the exile it is the latter that prevails. Leaving out of view Pharaoh's dream in the time of Joseph, God spoke to the Pharaoh of the time of Moses through Moses only; and He showed Himself as the Lord of the whole earth only in the plagues. In the exile God showed His omnipotence only through the two miracles of the deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions, and of Daniel's three friends from the burning fiery furnace. All the other revelations of God consist in the prophetic announcement of the course of the development of the world-kingdoms and of the kingdom of God. For, besides the general object of all God's actions, to reveal to men the existence of the invisible God, the revelations of God in the time of the exile had a different specific object from those in Egypt. In Egypt God would break Pharaoh's pride and his resistance to His will, and compel him to let Israel go. This could only be reached by the judgments which fell upon the land of Egypt and its inhabitants, and manifested the God of Israel as the Lord in the land of Egypt and over the whole earth. In the exile, on the contrary, the object was to destroy the delusion of the heathen, that the God of the subjugated people of Judea was an impotent national god, and to show to the rulers of the world by acts, that the God of this so humbled people was yet the only true God, who rules over the whole earth, and in His wisdom and omniscience determines the affairs of men. Thus God must, as Caspari, in his Lectures on the Book of Daniel,
(Note: Vorlesungen ueber das B. Daniels, p. 20.)
rightly remarks, "by great revelations lay open His omnipotence and omniscience, and show that He is infinitely exalted above the gods and wise men of this world and above all the world-powers." Caspari further says: "The wise men of the Chaldean world-power, i.e., the so-called magi, maintained that they were the possessors of great wisdom, and such they were indeed celebrated to be, and that they obtained their wisdom from their gods. The Lord must, through great revelations of His omniscience, show that He alone of all the possessors of knowledge is the Omniscient, while their knowledge, and the knowledge of their gods, is nothing ... . The heathen world-power rests in the belief that it acts independently, - that it rules and governs in the world, - that even the future, to a certain degree, is in its hands. The Lord must show to it that it is only an instrument in His hand for the furthering of His plans, - that He is the only independent agent in history, - that it is He who directs the course of the whole world, and therefore that all that happens to His people in His own work. And He must, on this account, lay open to it the whole future, that He may show to it that He knows it all, even to the very minutest events, - that it all lies like a map before His eyes, - and that to Him it is history; for He who fully knows the whole future must also be the same who governs the whole development of the world. Omnipotence cannot be separated from omniscience." Only by virtue of such acts of God could the shaking of the faith of the heathen in the reality and power of their gods, effected through the fall and destruction of one world-kingdom after another, become an operative means for the preparation of the heathen world beforehand for the appearance of the Saviour who should arise out of Judah.
But as all the revelations of God were first and principally intended for Israel, so also the wonderful manifestations of the divine omnipotence and omniscience in the exile, which are recorded in the book of Daniel. The wonders of God in Egypt had their relation to Israel not only in their primary bearing on their deliverance from the house of bondage in Egypt, but also in a far wider respect: they were intended to show actually to Israel that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, possessed the power to overcome all the hindrances which stood in the way of the accomplishing of His promises. With the dissolution of the kingdom of Judah, the destruction of Jerusalem, the burning of the temple, and the dethronement of the royal house of David, the cessation of the offering up of the Levitical sacrifices, the carrying away of the king, the priests, and the people into bondage, the kingdom of God was destroyed, the covenant relation dissolved, and Israel, the people of Jehovah, driven forth from their own land among the heathen, were brought into a new Egyptian slavery (cf. Deu 28:68; Hos 8:13; Hos 9:3). The situation into which Israel fell by the carrying away into Babylon was so grievous and so full of afflictions, that the earnest-minded and the pious even might despair, and doubt the covenant faithfulness of God. The predictions by the earlier prophets of their deliverance from exile, and their return to the land of their fathers after the period of chastisement had passed by, served to prevent their sinking into despair or falling away into heathenism, amid the sufferings and oppressions to which they were exposed. Even the labours of the prophet Ezekiel in their midst, although his appearance was a sign and a pledge that the Lord had not wholly cast off His people, could be to the vanquished no full compensation for that which they had lost, and must feel the want of. Divine actions must be added to the word of promise, which gave assurance of its fulfilment, - wonderful works, which took away every doubt that the Lord could save the true confessors of His name out of the hand of their enemies, yea, from death itself. To these actual proofs of the divine omnipotence, if they would fully accomplish their purpose, new disclosures regarding the future must be added, since, as we have explained above (p. 489), after the expiry of the seventy years of Babylonian captivity prophesied of by Jeremiah, Babylon would indeed fall, and the Jews be permitted to return to their fatherland, yet the glorification of the kingdom of God by the Messiah, which was connected by all the earlier prophets, and even by Ezekiel, with the return from Babylon, did not immediately appear, nor was the theocracy restored in all its former integrity, but Israel must remain yet longer under the domination and the oppression of the heathen. The non-fulfilment of the Messianic hopes, founded in the deliverance from Babylonian exile at the end of the seventy years, could not but have shaken their confidence in the faithfulness of God in the fulfilment of His promises, had not God before this already unveiled His plan of salvation, and revealed beforehand the progressive development and the continuation of the heathen world-power, till its final destruction through the erection of His everlasting kingdom.
Prophecy stands side by side with God's actions along the whole course of the history of the Old Covenant, interpreting these actions to the people, and making known the counsel of the Lord in guiding and governing their affairs. As soon and as often as Israel comes into conflict with the heathen nations, the prophets appear and proclaim the will of God, not only in regard to the present time, but they also make known the final victory of His kingdom over all the kingdoms and powers of this earth. These prophetic announcements take a form corresponding to the circumstances of each period. Yet they are always of such a kind that they shine out into the future far beyond the horizon of the immediate present. Thus (leaving out of view the older times) the prophets of the Assyrian period predict not only the deliverance of Judah and Jerusalem from the powerful invasion of the hostile Assyrians and the destruction of the Assyrian host before the gates of Jerusalem, but also the carrying away of Judah into Babylon and the subsequent deliverance from this exile, and the destruction of all the heathen nations which fight against the Lord and against His people. At the time of the exile Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesy with great fulness of detail, and in the most particular manner, of the destruction of the kingdom of Judah and of Jerusalem and the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, but Jeremiah prophesies as particularly the return of Israel and of Judah from the exile, and the formation of a new covenant which should endure for ever; and Ezekiel in grand ideal outlines describes the re-establishment of the kingdom of God in a purified and transfigured form. Completing this prophecy, the Lord reveals to His people by Daniel the succession and the duration of the world-kingdoms, the relation of each to the kingdom of God and its preservation under all the persecution of the world-power, as well as its completion by judgments poured out on the world-kingdoms till their final destruction.
The new form of the revelation regarding the course and issue of the process commencing with the formation of the world-kingdoms - a process by which the world-power shall be judged, the people of God purified, and the plan of salvation for the deliverance of the human race shall be perfected - corresponds to the new aspect of things arising in the subjection of the people of God to the violence of the world-powers. The so-called apocalyptical character of Daniel's prophecy is neither in contents nor in form a new species of prophecy. What Auberlen
(Note: Der Proph. Dan. p. 79ff. (Eng. Trans. p. 70ff.))
remarks regarding the distinction between apocalypse and prophecy needs important limitation. We cannot justify the remark, that while the prophets generally place in the light of prophecy only the existing condition of the people of God, Daniel had not so special a destination, but only the general appointment to serve to the church of God as a prophetic light for the 500 years from the exile to the coming of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, during which there was no revelation. For these other prophets do not limit themselves to the present, but they almost all at the same time throw light on the future; and Daniel's prophecy also goes forth from the present and reaches far beyond the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. The further observation also, that the apocalypses, in conformity with their destination to throw prophetic light on the relation of the world to the kingdom of God for the times in which the light of immediate revelation is wanting, must be on the one side more universal in their survey, and on the other more special in the presentation of details, is, when more closely looked into, unfounded. Isaiah, for example, is in his survey not less universal than Daniel. He throws light not only on the whole future of the people and kingdom of God onward till the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, but also on the end of all the heathen nations and kingdoms, and gives in his representations very special disclosures not only regarding the overthrow of the Assyrian power, which at that time oppressed the people of God and sought to destroy the kingdom of God, but also regarding far future events, such as the carrying away into Babylon of the treasures of the king's house, and of the king's sons, that they might become courtiers in the palace of the king of Babylon (Isa 39:6-7), the deliverance of Judah from Babylon by the hand of Cyrus (Isa 44:28; Isa 45:1), etc. Compare also, for special glances into the future, the rich representation of details in Mic 4:8-5:3. It is true that the prophets before the exile contemplate the world-power in its present from together with its final unfolding, and therefore they announce the Messianic time for the most part as near at hand, while, on the contrary, with Daniel the one world-power is successively presented in four world-monarchies; but this difference is not essential, but only a wider expansion of the prophecy of Isaiah corresponding to the time and the circumstances in which Daniel was placed, that not Assyria but Babylon would destroy the kingdom of Judah and lead the people of God into exile, and that the Medes and Elamites would destroy Babylon, and Cyrus set free the captive of Judah and Jerusalem. Even the "significant presentation of numbers and of definite chronological periods expressed in them," which is regarded as a "characteristic mark" of apocalypse, has its roots and fundamental principles in simple prophecy, which here and there also gives significant numbers and definite periods. Thus the seventy years of Jeremiah from the starting-point for the seventy weeks or the seven times of Daniel, Daniel 9. Compare also the sixty-five years of Isa 7:8; the three years, Isa 20:3; the seventy years of the desolation of Tyre, Isa 23:15; the forty and the three hundred and ninety days of Eze 4:6, Eze 4:9.
In fine, if we examine attentively the subjective form the apocalypse, we shall find the two ways in which the future is unveiled, viz., by dreams and visions, the latter with almost all the prophets together with communications flowing from divine illumination, while revelation by dreams as a rule is granted only to the heathen (Abimelech, Gen 20:3; Pharaoh, Gen 41; Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 2) or to Jews who were not prophets (Jacob, Gen 28:12; Solomon, Kg1 3:5), and the revelation in Daniel 7 is communicated to Daniel in a dream only on account of its particular relation, as to the matter of it, to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah (cf. Amos 7-9; Isa 6:1; 63; Jer 1:13; Jer 24:1-2) had also visions. With Ezekiel visions rather than discourses conveying condemnation or comfort prevail, and Zechariah beholds in a series of actions the future development of the kingdom of God and of the world-kingdoms (Zech 1:7-6:15). We also find images representing angels seen by the prophets when in an ecstasy, not only with Zechariah, who was after Daniel's time, but also with Ezekiel; and Isaiah too saw the seraphim standing, and even moving and acting, before the throne of God (Isa 6:6-7). In the visions the future appears embodied in plastic figures which have a symbolical meaning and which need interpretation. Thus the appearance of angels to Daniel is to be explained in the same way as their appearance to Ezekiel and Zechariah.
Accordingly the prophecies of Daniel are not distinguished even in their apocalyptic form from the whole body of prophecy in nature, but only in degree. When dream and vision form the only means of announcing the future, the prophetic discourse is wholly wanting. But the entire return of the prophecy to the form of discourses of condemnation, warning, and consolation is fully explained from the position of Daniel outside of the congregation of God at the court and in the state service of the heathen world-ruler; and this position the Lord had assigned to him on account of the great significance which the world-kingdom had, as we have shown (p. 491), for the preparation beforehand of Israel and of the heathen world for the renovation and perfecting of the kingdom of God through Christ.
Both in its contents and form the book of Daniel has thus the stamp of a prophetical writing, such as we might have expected according to the development of the Old Testament kingdom of God from the period of the Babylonish exile; and the testimony of the Jewish synagogue as well as of the Christian church to the genuineness of the book, or its composition by the prophet Daniel, rests on a solid foundation. In the whole of antiquity no one doubted its genuineness except the well-known enemy of Christianity, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry, who according to the statement of Jerome (in the preface to his Comment. in Daniel) wrote the twelfth book of his λόγοι κατὰ Χριστιανῶν against the book of Daniel, nolens eum ab ipso, cujus inscriptus nomine, esse compositum, sed a quodam qui temporibus Antiochi, qui appellatus est Epiphanes, fuerit in Judaea, et non tam Danielem ventura dixisse, quam illum narrasse praeterita. He was, however, opposed by Eusebius of Caesarea and other church Fathers. For the first time with the rise of deism, naturalism, and rationalism during the bygone century, there began, as a consequence of the rejection of a supernatural revelation from God, the assault against the genuineness of the book. To such an extent has this opposition prevailed, that at the present time all critics who reject miracles and supernatural prophecy hold its spuriousness as an undoubted principle of criticism. They regard the book as the composition of a Jew living in the time of the Maccabees, whose object was to cheer and animate his contemporaries in the war which was waged against them by Antiochus Epiphanes for the purpose of rooting up Judaism, by representing to them certain feigned miracles and prophecies of some old prophet announcing the victory of God's people over all their enemies.
(Note: Cf. the historical survey of the controversy regarding the genuineness of the book in my Lehrb. d. Einleit. in d. A. Test. 134. To what is there mentioned add to the number of the opponents of the genuineness, Fr. Bleek, Einleitung in d. A. Test. p. 577ff., and his article on the "Messianic Prophecies in the Book of Daniel" in the Jahrb.f. deutsche Theologie, v. 1, p. 45ff., and J. J. Sthelin's Einleit. in die kanon. Bcher des A. Test. 1862, 73. To the number of the defenders of the genuineness of the book as there mentioned add, Dav. Zndel's krit. Untersuchungen ueber die Abfassungszeit des B. Daniel, 1861, Rud. Kranichfeld and Th. Kliefoth in their commentaries on the Book of Daniel (1868), and the Catholic theologian, Dr. Fr. Heinr. Reusch (professor in Bonn), in his Lehr. der Einleit. in d. A. Test. 1868, 43.)
The arguments by which the opponents of the genuineness seek to justify scientifically their opinion are deduced partly from the position of the book in the canon, and other external circumstances, but principally from the contents of the book. Leaving out of view that which the most recent opponents have yielded up, the following things, adduced by Bleek and Sthelin (in their works mentioned in the last note), are asserted, which alone we wish to consider here, referring to the discussions on this question in my Lehrb. der Einleitung, 133.
Among the external grounds great stress is laid on the place the book holds in the Hebrew canon. That Daniel should here hold his place not among the Nebiym the prophetical writings, but among the Kethubm [the Hagiographa] between the books of Esther and Ezra, can scarcely be explained otherwise than on the supposition that it was yet unknown at the time of the formation of the Nebiym, that is, in the age of Nehemiah, and consequently that it did not exist previously to that time. But this conclusion, even on the supposition that the Third Part of the canon, the collection called the Kethubm, was for the first time formed some time after the conclusion of the Second Part, is not valid. On the contrary, Kranichfeld has not without good reason remarked, that since the prophets before the exile connected the beginning of the Messianic deliverance with the end of the exile, while on the other hand the book of Daniel predicts a period of oppression continuing long after the exile, therefore the period succeeding the exile might be offended with the contents of the book, and hence feel some hesitation to incorporate the book of one who was less distinctively a prophet in the collection of the prophetic books, and that the Maccabee time, under the influence of the persecution prophesied of in the book, first learned to estimate its prophetic worth and secured its reception into the canon. This objection is thus sufficiently disproved. But the supposition of a successive collection of the books of the canon and of its three Parts after the period in which the books themselves were written, is a hypothesis which has never been proved: cf. my Einleit. in d. A. T. 154ff. The place occupied by this book in the Hebrew canon perfectly corresponds with the place of Daniel in the theocracy. Daniel did not labour, as the rest of the prophets did whose writings form the class of the Nebiym, as a prophet among his people in the congregation of Israel, but he was a minister of state under the Chaldean and Medo-Persian world-rulers. Although, like David and Solomon, he possessed the gift of prophecy, and therefore was called προφήτης (lxx, Joseph., New Testament), yet he was not a נביא, i.e., a prophet in his official position and standing. Therefore his book in its contents and form is different from the writings of the Nebiym. His prophecies are not prophetic discourses addressed to Israel or the nations, but visions, in which the development of the world-kingdoms and their relation to the kingdom of God are unveiled, and the historical part of his book describes events of the time when Israel went into captivity among the heathen. For these reasons his book is not placed in the class of the Nebiym, which reaches from Joshua to Malachi, - for these, according to the view of him who arranged the canon, are wholly the writings of such as held the prophetic office, i.e., the office requiring them openly, by word of mouth and by writing, to announce the word of God, - but in the class of the Kethubm, which comprehends sacred writings of different kinds whose common character consists in this, that their authors did not fill the prophetic office, as e.g., Jonah, in the theocracy; which is confirmed by the fact that the Lamentations of Jeremiah are comprehended in this class, since Jeremiah uttered these Lamentations over the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah not qua a prophet, but as a member of that nation which was chastened by the Lord.
Little importance is to be attached to the silence of Jesus Sirach in his ὗμνος πατέρων, Sirach 49, regarding Daniel, since an express mention of Daniel could not justly be expected. Jesus Sirach passes over other distinguished men of antiquity, such as Job, the good king Jehoshaphat, and even Ezra the priest and scribe, who did great service for the re-establishment of the authority of the law, from which it may be seen that it was not his purpose to present a complete list. Still less did he intend to name all the writers of the Old Testament. And if also, in his praise of the fathers, he limits himself on the whole to the course of the biblical books of the Hebrew canon from the Pentateuch down to the Minor Prophets, yet what he says of Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Nehemiah he does not gather from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. When, on the other hand, Bleek seeks to account of the absence of any mention of Ezra, which his supposition that Jesus Sirach names all the celebrated men mentioned in the canonical books extant in his time contradicts, by the remark that "Ezra perhaps would not have been omitted if the book which bears his name had been before that time received into the canon," he has in his zeal against he book of Daniel forgotten to observe that neither the book of Nehemiah in its original or then existing form, nor the first part of the book of Ezra, containing notices of Zerubbabel and Joshua, has ever, separated from the second part, which speaks of Ezra, formed a constituent portion of the canon, but that rather, according to his own statement, the second part of the book of Ezra "was without doubt composed by Ezra himself," which is consequently as old, if not older than the genuine parts of the book of Nehemiah, and that both books in the form in which they have come to us must have been edited by a Jew living at the end of the Persian or at the beginning of the Grecian supremacy, and then for the first time in this redaction were admitted into the canon.
Besides all this, it appears that in the work of Jesus Sirach the previous existence of the book of Daniel is presupposed, for the idea presented in Sirach. 17:14, that God had given to that people an angel as ἡγούμενος (שׂר), refers to Dan 10:13, 20-11:1; Dan 12:1. For if Sirach first formed this idea from the lxx translation of Deu 32:8-9, then the lxx introduced it from the book of Daniel into Deu 32:8, so that Daniel is the author from whom this opinion was derived; and the book which was known to the Alexandrine translators of the Pentateuch could not be unknown to the Siracidae.
Still weaker is the argumentum e silentio, that in the prophets after the exile, Haggai and Malachi, and particularly Zechariah (Zech 1-8), there are no traces of any use being made of the book of Daniel, and that it exerted no influence on the Messianic representations of the later prophets. Kran. has already made manifest the weakness of this argument by replying that Bleek was silent as to the relation of Daniel's prayer, Dan 9:3-19, to Ezr 9:1-15 and Neh 9, because the dependence of Ezra and Nehemiah on the book of Daniel could not be denied. Moreover von Hofmann, Zndel (p. 249ff.), Volck (Vindiciae Danielicae, 1966), Kran., and Klief. have shown that Zechariah proceeded on the supposition of Daniel's prophecy of the four world-monarchies, inasmuch as not only do the visions of the four horns and of the four carpenters of Zac 2:1-4 (Zac 1:18-21) rest on Dan 7:7-8; Dan 8:3-9, and the representation of nations and kingdoms as horns originate in these passages, but also in the symbolic transactions recorded Zac 11:5, the killing of the three shepherds in one month becomes intelligible only by a reference to Daniel's prophecy of the world-rulers under whose power Israel was brought into subjection. Cf. my Comm. on Zac 2:1-4 and Zac 11:5. The exposition of Zac 1:7-17 and Zac 6:1-8 as founded on Daniel's prophecy of the world-kingdoms, does not, however, appear to us to be satisfactory, and in what Zechariah (Zac 2:5) says of the building of Jerusalem we can find no allusion to Dan 9:25. But if Bleek in particular has missed in Zech. Daniel's announcement of a Ruler like a son of man coming in the clouds, Kran. has, on the other hand, justly remarked that this announcement by Daniel is connected with the scene of judgment described in Daniel 7, which Zechariah, in whose prophecies the priestly character of the Messiah predominates, had no occasion to repeat or expressly to mention. This is the case also with the names of the angels in Daniel, which are connected with the special character of his visions, and cannot be expected in Zechariah. Yet Zechariah agrees with Daniel in regard to the distinction between the higher and the lower ranks of angels.
Rather the case stands thus: that not only was Zechariah acquainted with Daniel's prophecies, but Ezra also and the Levites of his time made use of (Ezr 9:1-15 and Neh 9) the penitential prayer of Daniel (Dan 9). In Ezekiel also we have still older testimony for Daniel and the principal contents of his book, which the opponents of its genuineness have in vain attempted to set aside. Even Bleek is obliged to confess that "in the way in which Ezekiel (Eze 14:14, Eze 14:20; Eze 28:3) makes mention of the rectitude and wisdom of Daniel, we are led to think of a man of such virtue and wisdom as Daniel appears in this book to have been distinguished by, and also to conceived of some connection between the character there presented and that which Ezekiel had before his eyes;" but yet, notwithstanding this, the manner in which Ezekiel makes mention of Daniel does not lead him to think of a man who was Ezekiel's contemporary in the Babylonish exile, and who was probably comparatively young at the time when Ezekiel spake of him, but of a man who had been long known as an historic or mythic personage of antiquity. But this latter idea is based only on the groundless supposition that the names Noah, Daniel, and Job, as found in Eze 14:14, Eze 14:20, are there presented in chronological order, which, as we have shown under Ezekiel 14, is a natural order determined by a reference to the deliverance from great danger experienced by each of the persons named on account of his righteousness. Equally groundless is the other supposition, that the Daniel named by Ezekiel must have been a very old man, because righteousness and wisdom first show themselves in old age. If we abandon this supposition and fall in with the course of thought in Ezekiel, then the difficulty arising from the naming of Daniel between Noah and Job (Eze 14:14) disappears, and at the same time also the occasion for thinking of an historical or mythical personage of antiquity, of whose special wisdom no trace can anywhere be found. What Ezekiel says of Daniel in both places agrees perfectly with the Daniel of this book. When he (Eze 28:3) says of the king of Tyre, "Thou regardest thyself as wiser than Daniel, there is nothing secret that is hidden from thee," the reference to Daniel cannot be denied, to whom God granted an insight into all manner of visions and dreams, so that he excelled ten times all the wise men of Babylon in wisdom (Dan 1:17-20); and therefore Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:6 9) and the queen (Dan 5:11) regarded him as endowed with the spirit and the wisdom of the gods, which the ruler of Tyre in vain self-idolatry attributed to himself. The opinion pronounced regarding Daniel in Eze 14:14, Eze 14:20, refers without a doubt also to the Daniel of this book. Ezekiel names Noah, Daniel, and Job as pious men, who by their righteousness before God in the midst of severe judgments saved their souls, i.e., their lives. If his discourse was intended to make any impression on his hearers, then the facts regarding this saving of their lives must have been well known. Record of this was found in the Holy Scriptures in the case of Noah and Job, but of a Daniel of antiquity nothing was at all communicated. On the contrary, Ezekiel's audience could not but at once think of Daniel, who not only refused, from reverence for the law of God, to eat of the food from the king's table, thereby exposing his life to danger, and who was therefore blessed of God with both bodily and mental health, but who also, when the decree had gone forth that the wise men who could not show to Nebuchadnezzar his dream should be put to death, in the firm faith that God would by prayer reveal to him the king's dream, saved his won life and that of his fellows, and in consequence of his interpretation of the dream revealed to him by God, was appointed ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief over all the wise men of Babylon, so that his name was known in all the kingdom, and his fidelity to the law of God and his righteousness were praised by all the captives of Judah in Chaldea.
Thus it stands with respect to the external evidences against the genuineness of the book of Daniel. Its place in the canon among the Kethubm corresponds with the place which Daniel occupied in the kingdom of God under the Old Testament; the alleged want of references to the book and its prophecies in Zechariah and in the book of Jesus Sirach is, when closely examined, not really the case: not only Jesus Sirach and Zechariah knew and understood the prophecies of Daniel, but even Ezekiel names Daniel as a bright pattern of righteousness and wisdom.
If we now turn our attention to the internal evidences alleged against the genuineness of the book, the circumstance that the opponents place the Greek names of certain musical instruments mentioned in Daniel 3 in the front, awakens certainly no prejudice favourable to the strength of their argument.
In the list of the instruments of music which were played upon at the inauguration of Nebuchadnezzar's golden image, three names are found of Grecian origin: קיתרס = κίθαρις, סוּמפּניה (סיפניא) = συμτηωνία, and פסנתּרין ()פסנטרין = ψαλτήριον (Dan 3:5, Dan 3:7, Dan 3:10, Dan 3:15). To these there has also been added סבּכאa = σαμβύκη, but unwarrantably; for the σαμβύκη σάμβυξ ζαμβίκη is, according to the testimony of Athen. and Strabo, of foreign of Syrian, i.e., of Semitic origin, and the word σαμβύκη is without any etymon in Greek (cf. Ges. Thes. p. 935). Of the other three names, it is undoubted that they have a Grecian origin; but "no one can maintain that such instruments could not at the time of the Chaldean supremacy have found their way from the Greek West into Upper Asia, who takes into view the historical facts" (Kran.). At the time of Nebuchadnezzar, not only was "there intercourse between the inhabitants of Upper Asia and the Ionians of Asia Minor," as Bleek thinks, but according to Strabo (xiii. 2, 3) there was in the army of Nebuchadnezzar, Antimenidas, the brother of the poet Alcaeus, fighting victoriously for the Babylonians, apparently, as M. v. Nieb. in his Gesch. Assurs, p. 206, remarks, at the head of a warlike troop, as chief of a band of fuorusciti who had bound themselves to the king of Babylon. According to the testimony of Abydenus, quoted in Eusebius, Chr. Arm. ed. Aucher, i. 53, Greek soldiers followed the Assyrian Esarhaddon (Axerdis) on his march through Asia; and according to Berosus (Fragm. hist. Graec. ed. Mller, ii. 504), Sennacherib had already conducted a successful war against a Greek army that had invaded Cilicia. And the recent excavations in Nineveh confirm more and more the fact that there was extensive intercourse between the inhabitants of Upper Asia and Greece, extending to a period long before the time of Daniel, so that the importation of Greek instruments into Nineveh was no by means a strange thing, much less could it be so during the time of the Chaldean supremacy in Babylon, the merchant-city, as Ezekiel (Eze 17:4, Eze 17:19) calls it, from which even in Joshua's time a Babylonish garment had been brought to the Canaanites (Jos 7:21). But if Staehelin (Einleit. p. 348) further remarks, that granting even the possibility that in Nebuchadnezzar's time the Babylonians had some knowledge of the Greek musical instruments, yet there is a great difference between this and the using of them at great festivals, where usually the old customs prevail, it must be replied that this alleged close adherence to ancient custom on the part of Nebuchadnezzar stands altogether in opposition to all we already know of the king. And the further remark by the same critic, that psalterium and symphonie were words first used by the later Greek writers about 150 b.c., finds a sufficient reply in the discovery of the figure of a πσαλτήριον on the Monument of Sennacherib.
(Note: Cf. Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, p. 454. On a bas-relief representing the return of the Assyrian army from a victorious campaign, companies of men welcome the Assyrian commander with song, and music, and dancing. Five musicians go before, three with many-sided harps, a fourth with a double flute, such as are seen on Egyptian monuments, and were in use also among the Romans and Greeks; the fifth carries an instrument like the santur (פּסנתּרין, v. Gesen. Thes. p. 1116), still in use among the Egyptians, which consists of a hollow box or a sounding-board with strings stretched over it. - Quite in the same way Augustine (under Psa 32:1-11) describes the psalterium.)
But if through this ancient commerce, which was principally carried on by the Phoenicians, Greek instruments were brought into Upper Asia, it cannot be a strange thing that their Greek names should be found in the third chapter of Daniel, since, as is everywhere known, the foreign name is usually given to the foreign articles which may be imported among any people.
More important appear the historical improbabilities and errors which are said to occur in the historical narratives of this book.
These are: (1) The want of harmony between the narrative of Nebuchadnezzar's incursion against Judah in Jer 25:1., Jer 46:2, and the statement of Daniel (Dan 1:1.) that this king came up against Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim, besieged the city, and carried away captive to Babylon Daniel and other Hebrew youths, giving command that for three years they should be educated in the wisdom of the Chaldeans; while, according to the narrative of Daniel 2, Daniel already, in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, interpreted to the king his dream, which could have occurred only after the close of the period of his education. This inconsistency between Dan 1:1 and Jer 26:2; Jer 25:1, and also between Daniel 1 and 2, would indeed be evident if it were an undoubted fact that the statement that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, as mentioned in Dan 1:1, meant that this was done after he ascended the throne. But the remark of Wieseler (die 70 Wochen u. die 63 Jahrwochen des Proph. Daniel, p. 9), that the supposed opposition between Daniel 1 and 2 is so great that it cannot be thought of even in a pseudo-Daniel, cannot but awaken suspicion against the accuracy of the supposition that Nebuchadnezzar was the actual king of Babylon at the time of the siege of Jerusalem and the carrying away of Daniel. The dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2:1 is expressly placed in the second year of his reign (מלכוּת); in Daniel 1 Nebuchadnezzar is called the king of Babylon, but yet nothing is said of his actual reign, and the time of the siege of Jerusalem is not defined by a year of his reign. But he who afterwards became king might be proleptically styled king, though he was at the time only the commander of the army. This conjecture is confirmed by the statement of Berosus, as quoted by Josephus (Ant. x. 11. 1, c. Ap. i. 19), that Nebuchadnezzar undertook the first campaign against the Egyptian king during the lifetime of his father, who had entrusted him with the carrying on of the war on account of the infirmity of old age, and that he received tidings of his father's death after he had subdued his enemies in Western Asia. The time of Nebuchadnezzar's ascending the throne and commencing his reign was a year or a year and a half after the first siege of Jerusalem; thus in the second year of his reign, that is about the end of it, the three years of the education of the Hebrew youths in the wisdom of the Chaldees would have come to an end. Thus the apparent contradiction between Dan 2:1 and Dan 1:1 is cleared up. In reference to the date, "in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim" (Dan 1:1), we cannot regard as justified the supposition deduced from Jer 36:9, that the Chaldeans in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim had not yet come to Jerusalem, nor can we agree with the opinion that Nebuchadnezzar had already destroyed Jerusalem before the victory gained by him over Pharaoh-Necho at Carchemish (Jer 46:2) in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, but hope under Dan 1:1 to prove that the taking of Jerusalem in the fourth year of Jehoiakim followed after the battle at Carchemish, and that the statement by Daniel (Dan 1:1), when rightly understood, harmonizes easily therewith, since בּוא (Dan 1:1) signifies to go, to set out, and not to come.
But (2) it is not so easy to explain the historical difficulties which are found in Daniel 5 and Dan 6:1 (Dan 5:31), since the extra-biblical information regarding the destruction of Babylon is very scanty and self-contradictory. Yet these difficulties are by no means so inexplicable or so great as to make the authorship of the book of Daniel a matter of doubt. For instance, that is a very insignificant matter in which Bleek finds a "specially great difficulty," viz., that in Daniel 5: "so many things should have occurred in one night, which it can scarcely be believed could have happened so immediately after one another in so short a time." For if one only lays aside the statements which Bleek imports into the narrative, - (1) that the feast began in the evening, or at night, while it began really in the afternoon and might be prolonged into the night; (2) that the clothing of Daniel with purple and putting a chain about his neck, and the proclamation of his elevation to the rank of third ruler in the kingdom, were consummated by a solemn procession moving through the streets of the city; (3) that Daniel was still the chief president over the magi; and (4) that after the appearance of the handwriting lengthened consultations took place, - if one gives up all these suppositions, and considers what things may take place at a sudden disastrous occurrence, as, for example, on the breaking out of a fire, in a very few hours, it will not appear incredible that all the things recited in this chapter occurred in one night, and were followed even by the death of the king before the dawn of the morning. The historical difficulty lies merely in this, that, as Staehelin (p. 35) states the matter, Belshazzar appears as the last king of Babylon, and his mother as the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, which is contrary to historical fact. This is so far true, that the queen-mother, as also Daniel, repeatedly calls Nebuchadnezzar the father (אב) of Belshazzar; but that Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon is not at all stated in the narrative, but is only concluded from this circumstance, that the writing on the wall announced the destruction of king Belshazzar and of his kingdom, and that, as the fulfilling of this announcement, the death of Belshazzar (Dan 5:30) occurred that same night, and (Dan 6:1) also the transferring of the kingdom of the Chaldeans to the Median Darius. But that the destruction of the Chaldean kingdom or its transference to the Medes occurred at the same time with the death of Belshazzar, is not said in the text. The connecting of the second factum with the first by the copula ו(Dan 6:1) indicates nothing further than that both of these parts of the prophecy were fulfilled. The first (Dan 5:3) was fulfilled that same night, but the time of the other is not given, since Dan 6:1 (Dan 5:31) does not form the conclusion of the narrative of the fifth chapter, but the beginning to those events recorded in the sixth. How little may be concluded as to the relative time of two events by the connection of the second with the first by the copula ,ו may e.g., be seen in the history recorded in 1 Kings 14, where the prophet Ahijah announces (Kg1 14:12) to the wife of Jeroboam the death of her sick son, and immediately in connection therewith the destruction of the house of Jeroboam (Kg1 14:14), as well as the exile (Kg1 14:15) of the ten tribes; events which in point of time stood far apart from each other, while yet they were internally related, for the sin of Jeroboam was the cause not only of the death of his son, but also of the termination of his dynasty and of the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes.
(Note: By a reference to this narrative Kran. has (p. 26) refuted the objection of Hitzig, that if the death of Belshazzar did not bring with it the transference of the kingdom of the Chaldeans to the Medes, then Dan 6:28 ought to have made mention of the death of the king, and that the kingdom (twenty-two years later) would come to the Chaldeans should have been passed over in silence.)
So here also the death of Belshazzar and the overthrow of the Chaldean kingdom are internally connected, without, however, rendering it necessary that the two events should take place in the self-same hour. The book of Daniel gives no information as to the time when the Chaldean kingdom was overthrown; this must be discovered from extra-biblical sources, to which we shall more particularly refer under Daniel 5. We hope to show there that the statement made by Daniel perfectly harmonizes with that which, from among the contradictory reports of the Greek historians regarding this occurrence, appears to be historically correct, and perhaps also to show the source of the statement that the destruction of Babylon took place during a riotous feast of the Babylonians.
The other "difficulty" also, that Darius, a king of Median origin, succeeds Belshazzar (Daniel 6:1 [Dan 5:31]), who also is, Dan 9:1 and Dan 11:1, designated as a Median, and, Dan 9:1, as the son of Ahasuerus, disappears as soon as we give up the unfounded statement that this Darius immediately followed Belshazzar, and that Ahasuerus the Persian king was Xerxes, and give credit to the declaration, Dan 6:28, that Cyrus the Persian succeeded in the kingdom to Darius the Median, according to the statement of Xenophon regarding the Median king Cyaxeres II and his relation to Cyrus, as at Dan 6:1 shall be shown.
The remaining "difficulties" and "improbabilities" are destitute of importance. The erection of a golden image of the gigantic proportion of sixty cubits high in the open plain, Daniel 3, is "something very improbable," only when, with Bleek, we think on a massive golden statue of such a size, and lose sight of the fact that the Hebrews called articles that were merely plated with gold, golden, as e.g., the altar, which was overlaid with gold, Exo 39:28; Exo 40:5, Exo 40:26, cf. Exo 37:25., and idol images, cf. Isa 40:19; Isa 41:7, etc. Of the seven years' madness of Nebuchadnezzar the narrative of Daniel 4 says nothing, but only of its duration for seven times (עדּנין, Dan 4:20, Dan 4:22, Dan 4:29), which the interpreters have explained as meaning years. But that the long continuance of the king's madness must have been accompanied with "very important changes and commotions," can only be supposed if we allow that during this period no one held the reigns of government. And the absence of any mentioning of this illness of Nebuchadnezzar by the extra-biblical historians is, considering their very imperfect acquaintance with Nebuchadnezzar's reign, not at all strange, even though the intimations by Berosus and Abydenus of such an illness should not be interpreted of his madness. See on this under Daniel 4. Concerning such and such-like objections against the historical contents of this book, what Kran., p. 47, has very justly remarked regarding v. Lengerke's assertion, that the author lived "in the greatest ignorance regarding the leading events of his time," or Hitzig's, that this book, is "very unhistorical," may be here adopted, viz., "that they emanate from a criticism which is astonishingly consistent in looking at the surface of certain facts, and then pronouncing objection after objection, without showing the least disposition toward other than a wholly external, violent solution of the existing difficulties."
All the opponents of the book of Daniel who have followed Porphyry
(Note: Whose opinion of the contents of the book is thus quoted by Jerome (Proaem. in Dan.): "Quidquid (autor libri Dan.) usque ad Antiochum dixerit, veram historiam continere; si quid autem ultra opinatus sit, quia futura necierit, esse mentitum.")
find a powerful evidence of its being composed not in the time of the exile, but in the time of the Maccabees, in the contents and nature of the prophecies found in it, particularly in this, as Bleek has expressed it, that "the special destination of the prediction extends to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes when that Syrian prince exercised tyranny against the Jewish people, and especially sought by every means to abolish the worship of Jehovah and to introduce the Grecian cultus into the temple at Jerusalem; for the prophecy either breaks off with the death of this prince, or there is immediately joined to it the announcement of the liberation of the people of God from all oppression, of the salvation and the kingdom of the Messiah, and even of His rising again from the dead." To confirm this assertion, which deviates from the interpretation adopted in the church, and is also opposed by recent opponents of the genuineness of the book, Bleek has in his Einleitung, and in his Abhandlg. v. note, p. 28, fallen upon the strange expedient of comparing the prophecies of Daniel, going backwards from Dan 12:1-13, for the purpose of showing that as Dan 12:1-13 and 11:21-45 speak only of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, of his wicked actions, and especially of his proceedings against the Jewish people and against the worship of Jehovah, so also in Daniel 9, 8, 7, and 2 the special pre-intimations of the future do not reach further than to this enemy of the people of God. Now certainly in Dan 12:1-13, Dan 12:11 and Dan 12:12 without doubt refer to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and Dan 11:21-35 as surely treat of the proceedings and of the wicked actions of this Syrian king; but the section 11:36-12:3 is almost unanimously interpreted by the church of the rise and reign of Antichrist in the last time, and is explained of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, as lately shown by Klief., only when an interpretation is adopted which does not accord with the sense of the words, and is in part distorted, and rests on a false historical basis. While now Bleek, without acknowledging the ancient church-interpretation, adopts that which has recently become prevalent, applying the whole eleventh chapter absolutely to Antiochus Epiphanes, and regards it as necessary only to reject the artistic explanation which Auberlen has given of Dan 12:1-13, and then from the results so gained, and with the help of Daniel 8, so explains the prophecies of the seventy weeks, Daniel 9, and of the four world-monarchies, Daniel 2 and 7, that Dan 9:25-27 closes with Antiochus Epiphanes, and the fourth world-kingdom becomes the Greco-Macedonian monarchy of Alexander and his successors, he has by means of this process gained the wished-for result, disregarding altogether the organism of the well-arranged book. But scientifically we cannot well adopt such a method, which, without any reference to the organism of a book, takes a retrograde course to explain the clear and unambiguous expressions by means of dark and doubtful passages. For, as Zndel (p. 95) has well remarked, as we cannot certainly judge of a symphony from the last tones of the finale, but only after the first simple passages of the thema, so we cannot certainly form a correct judgment from its last brief and abrupt sentences of a prophetical work like this, in which the course of the prophecy is such that it proceeds from general to special predictions. Dan 12:1-13 forms the conclusion of the whole book; in Dan 12:5-13 are placed together the two periods (Daniel 7 and 8) of severe oppression of the people of God, which are distinctly separable from each other - that proceeding from the great enemy of the third world-kingdom, i.e., Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 8), and that from the last great enemy of the fourth world-kingdom, i.e., Antichrist (Daniel 7), - while the angel, at the request of the prophet, makes known to him the duration of both. These brief expressions of the angel occasioned by Daniel's two questions receive their right interpretation from the earlier prophecy in Daniel 7 and 8. If we reverse this relation, while on the ground of a very doubtful, not to say erroneous, explanation of Daniel 11, we misinterpret the questions of Daniel and the answers of the angel, and now make this interpretation the standard for the exposition of Daniel 9; 8; 7; and 2, then we have departed from the way by which we may reach the right interpretation of the prophetic contents of the whole book.
The question how far the prophecies of Daniel reach, can only be determined by an unprejudiced interpretation of the two visions of the world-kingdoms, Daniel 2 and 7, in conformity with the language there used and with their actual contents, and this can only be given in the following exposition of the book. Therefore we must here limit ourselves to a few brief remarks.
According to the unmistakeable import of the two fundamental visions, Daniel 2 and 7, the erection of the Messianic kingdom follows close after the destruction of the fourth world-kingdom (Dan 2:34, Dan 2:44), and is brought about (Dan 7:9-14, Dan 7:26.) by the judgment on the little horn which grew out of the fourth world-power, and the investiture of the Messiah coming in the clouds of heaven with authority, glory, and kingly power. The first of these world-powers is the Chaldean monarchy founded by Nebuchadnezzar, who is the golden head of the image (Dan 2:37-38). The kingdom of the Chaldeans passes over to Darius, of Median origin, who is followed on the throne by Cyrus the Persian (Dan 6:28), and thus it passes over to the Medes and Persians. This kingdom, in Daniel 7 represented under the figure of a bear, Daniel saw in Daniel 8 under the figure of a ram with two horns, which, being pushed at by a he-goat having a great horn between his eyes as he was running in his flight over the earth, had his two horns broken, and was thrown to the ground and trodden upon. When the he-goat hereupon became strong, he broke his great horn, and in its stead there grew up four horns toward the four winds of heaven; and out of one of them came forth a little horn, which became exceeding great, and magnified itself even to the Prince of the host, and took away the daily sacrifice (Dan 8:3-13). This vision was thus explained to the prophet by an angel: - The ram with two horns represents the kings of the Medes and Persians; the he-goat is the king of Javan, i.e., the Greco-Macedonian kingdom, for "the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (Alexander of Macedon); the four horns that sprang up in the place of the one that was broken off are four kingdoms, and in the latter time of their kingdom a fierce king shall stand up (the little horn), who shall destroy the people of the Holy One, etc. (Dan 8:20-25). According to this quite distinct explanation given by the angel, the horn, i.e., Antiochus Epiphanes, so hostile to the people of God belongs to the third world-kingdom, arises out of one of the four kingdoms into which the monarchy of Alexander the Great was divided; the Messianic kingdom, on the contrary, does not appear till after the overthrow of the fourth world-kingdom and the death of the last of the enemies arising out of it (Daniel 7). Accordingly, the affirmation that in the book of Daniel the appearance of the Messianic salvation stands in order after the destruction of Antiochus Epiphanes, is in opposition to the principal prophecies of the book; and this opposition is not removed by the supposition that the terrible beast with the ten horns (Dan 7:7) is identical with the he-goat, which is quite otherwise described, for at first it had only one horn, after the breaking off of which four came up in its stead. The circumstance that the description of the little horn growing up between the ten horns of the fourth beast, the speaking great and blasphemous things against the Most High, and thinking to change times and laws (Dan 7:8, Dan 7:24.), harmonizes in certain features with the representation of Antiochus Epiphanes described by the little horn (Daniel 8), which would destroy the people of the Holy One, rise up against the Prince of princes, and be broken without the hand of man, does not at all warrant the identification of these enemies of God and His people rising out of different world-kingdoms, but corresponds perfectly with this idea, that Antiochus Epiphanes in his war against the people of God was a type of Antichrist, the great enemy arising out of the last world-kingdom. Along with these resemblances there are also points of dissimilarity, such e.g., as this: the period of continuance of the domination of both is apparently alike, but in reality it is different. The activity of the prince who took away the daily sacrifice, i.e., Antiochus Epiphanes, was to continue 2300 evening-mornings (Dan 8:14), or, as the angel says, 1290 days (Dan 12:11), so that he who waits and comes to the 1335 days shall see (Dan 12:12) salvation; the activity of the enemy in the last time, i.e., of Antichrist, on the contrary, is for a time, (two) times, and an half time (Dan 7:25; Dan 12:7), or a half (Dan 9:27) - designations of time which have been taken without any exegetical justification to mean years, in order to harmonize the difference.
Accordingly, Daniel does not prophesy the appearance of the Messianic redemption after the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes, but announces that the fourth world-kingdom, with the kingdoms growing out of it, out of which the last enemy of the people of God arises, would first follow Antiochus, who belonged to the third world-kingdom. This fourth world-kingdom with its last enemy is destroyed by the judgment which puts an end to all the world-kingdoms and establishes the Messianic kingdom. Thus the assertion that the special destination of the prediction only goes down to Antiochus Epiphanes is shown to be erroneous. Not only in the visions Daniel 2 and 7 is the conduct of the little horn rising up between the ten horns of the fourth beast predicted, but also in Dan 11:36-45 the actions of the king designated by this horn are as specially predicted as is the domination and rule of Antiochus Epiphanes in Dan 8:9., 24f., and in Daniel 11:20-35.
These are all the grounds worth mentioning which the most recent opponents of the historical and prophetical character of this book have adduced against its genuineness. It is proved from an examination of them, that the internal arguments are of as little value as the external to throw doubts on its authorship, or to establish its Maccabean origin. But we must go a step further, and briefly show that the modern opinion, that the book originated in the time of the Maccabees, which is set aside by the fact already adduced (pp. 505f.), the use of it on the part of Zechariah and Ezra, is irreconcilable with the formal nature, with the actual contents, and with the spirit of the book of Daniel.
1. Neither the character of the language nor the mode in which the prophetic statements are made, corresponds with the age of the Maccabees. As regards the character of the age, the interchange of the Hebrew and the Chaldee, in the first place, agrees fully with the time of the exile, in which the Chaldee language gradually obtained the ascendency over the Hebrew mother-tongue of the exiles, but not with the time of the Maccabees, in which the Hebrew had long ago ceased to be the language used by the people.
(Note: The use of the Chaldee along with the Hebrew in this book points, as Kran., p. 52, justly remarks, "to a conjuncture in which, as in the Hebrew book of Ezra with its inwoven pieces of Chaldee, the general acquaintance of the people with the Aramaic is supposed to be self-evident, but at the same time the language of the fathers was used by the exiles of Babylon and their children as the language of conversation." Rosenm., therefore, knows no other mode of explaining the use of both languages in this book than by the assertion that the pseudo-author did this nulla alia de causa, quam ut lectoribus persuaderet, compositum esse librum a vetere illo propheta, cui utriusque linguae usum aeque facilem esse oportuit. The supposition that even in the second century before Christ a great proportion of the people understood the Hebrew, modern critics set themselves to establish by a reference to the disputed book of Daniel and certain pretended Maccabean psalms.)
In the second place, the Hebrew diction of Daniel harmonizes peculiarly with the language used by writers of the period of the exile, particularly by Ezekiel;
(Note: Compare the use of words such as בּזּה for בּז, Dan 11:24, Dan 11:33 (Ch2 14:13; Ezr 9:7; Neh. 3:36; Est 9:10); היך for איך, Dan 10:17 and Ch1 23:12; כּתב for ספר, Dan 10:21 (Ezr 4:7-8; Ch1 28:19; Neh 7:64. Est 3:14); מדּע, Dan 1:4, Dan 1:17 (Ch2 1:10; Ecc 10:20); מרעיד, Dan 10:11 and Ezr 10:9; עתּים for עתּות, Dan 9:25; Dan 11:6, Dan 11:13, Dan 11:14 (Chron., Ezra, Neh., Ezekiel, and only once in Isa; Isa 33:6); הצּבי used of the land of Israel, Dan 8:9, cf. Dan 11:16, Dan 11:41, also Eze 20:6, Eze 20:15, and Jer 3:10; זהר, brightness, Dan 12:3, Eze 8:2; חיּב, to make guilty, Dan 1:10, and חוב, Eze 18:7; קלל נהשׁת, Dan 10:6, and Eze 1:7; לבוּשׁ הבּדּים, Dan 12:6-7, and Eze 9:3, Eze 9:11; Eze 10:2, Eze 10:6-7, etc.)
and the Chaldean idiom of this book agrees in not a few characteristic points with the Chaldee of the book of Ezra and Jer 10:11, wherein these Chaldean portions are markedly distinguished from the Chaldean language of the oldest Targums, which date from the middle of the first century b.c.
(Note: See the collection of Hebraisms in the Chaldean portions of Daniel and of the book of Ezra in Hengstenberg's Beitrage, i. p. 303, and in my Lehrb. d. Einl. 133, 4. It may be further remarked, that both books have a peculiar mode of formation of the 3rd pers. imperf. of הוא: להוא, Dan 2:20,Dan 2:28-29, Dan 2:45 (להוה, Dan 4:22), Ezr 4:13; Ezr 7:26, להון, Dan 2:43; Dan 6:2-3, and Ezr 7:25, and להוין, Dan 5:17, for יהוא, יהון, and יהוין, which forms are not found in the biblical Chaldee, while the forms with l are first used in the Talmud in the use of the imperative, optative, and subjunctive moods (cf. S. D. Luzzatto, Elementi grammaticali del Caldeo biblico e del dialetto talmudico babilonese, Padova 1865, p. 80-the first attempt to present the grammatical peculiarities of the biblical Chaldee in contradistinction to the Babylonico-talmudic dialect), and להוא is only once found in the Targ. Jon., Exo 22:24, and perhaps also in the Jerusalem Targum, Exo 10:28. The importance of this linguistic phenomenon in determining the question of the date of the origin of both books has been already recognised by J. D. Michaelis (Gram. Chal. p. 25), who has remarked concerning it: "ex his similibusque Danielis et Ezrae hebraismis, qui his libris peculiares sunt, intelliges, utrumque librum eo tempore scriptum fuisse, quo recens adhuc vernacula sua admiscentibus Hebraeis lingua Chaldaica; non seriore tempore confictum. In Targumim enim, antiquissimis etiam, plerumque frustra hos hebraismos quaesieris, in Daniele et Ezra ubique obvios.")
In the third place, the language of Daniel has, in common with that of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, certain Aryan elements or Parsisms, which can only be explained on the supposition that their authors lived and wrote in the Babylonish exile or under the Persian rule.
(Note: Not to mention the name of dignity פּחה used in the Assyrian period, and the two proper names, אשׁפּנז, Dan 1:3, and אריוך, Dan 2:14, cf. Gen 14:1, Gen 14:9, there are in this book the following words of Aryan origin: אזדּא, Dan 2:5, Dan 2:8, derived from the Old Persian âzandâ, found in the inscriptions of Bisutun and Nakhschi-Rustam, meaning science, knowledge; גּדברין, Dan 3:2-3, and גּזבּר, גּזּברין, Ezr 1:8; Ezr 7:21, from the Old Persian gada or gãnda, in Zend. gaza or ganga, thus gadȧbara, treasurer, the Old Persian form, while גּזבּר corresponds with the Zend. gaza-bara; דּתבר, Dan 3:2-3, Old Persian and Zend. dâta-bara (New Pers. dâtavar), one who understands the law, a judge; הדּם (הדּמין, Dan 2:5; Dan 3:29), from the Old Persian handâm, organized body, member (μελος); פּתבּג, costly food, Dan 1:5, Dan 1:8,Dan 1:13, Dan 1:15 and Dan 11:26, from the Old Persian pati-baga, Zend. paiti-bagha, Sanskr. prati-bhâga, allotted food "a share of small articles, as fruit, flowers, etc., paid daily to the rajah for household expenditure"; פּתגּם, Dan 3:16; Dan 4:14, Ezr 4:17; Ezr 5:7; Ezr 6:11, from the Old Persian pati-gama, a message, a command; פּרתּמים, Dan 1:3, Est 1:3; Est 6:9, the distinguished, the noble, in Pehlevi, pardom, Sanskr. prathama, the first; and the as yet unexplained מלצר, Dan 1:11, Dan 1:16, and נבזבּה, Dan 2:6, and finally כּרוזא, a crier, a herald, Dan 3:4, Old Persian khresii, crier, from which the verb כּרז, Dan 5:29, in Chald. and Syr. of similar meaning with the Greek κηρύσσειν.)
But the expedient adopted by the opponents of the genuineness to explain these characteristic agreements from imitation, is inadmissible from this consideration, that in the Hebrew complexion of the Chaldee portion as in the Aryan element found in the language there used, this book shows, along with the agreements, also peculiarities which announce
(Note: Thus Daniel uses only the plur. suffixes כון, הון, לכון, להון, while in Ezra the forms כם and הם are interchanged with כון and הון in such a way, that הון is used fifteen times, הום ten times, כון once, and כם five times. The forms with םused by Ezra, and also by Jeremiah, Jer 10:11, prevail in the Targum. Moreover Daniel has only המּון (Dan 2:34-35; Dan 3:22), Ezra, on the contrary, has the abbreviated form המּו (Ezr 4:10,Ezr 4:23; Ezr 5:5, Ezr 5:11, etc.); Daniel דכּן, Dan 2:31; Dan 7:20-21, Ezra דך, Ezr 4:13, Ezr 4:15-16, Ezr 4:18, Ezr 4:21; Ezr 5:8, and דך, Ezr 5:16., Ezr 6:7., Ezr 6:12; Daniel נולי, Dan 2:5, Ezra נולוּ, Ezr 6:11; Daniel גּדבריּא, Dan 3:2, Ezra גּזבּר, Ezr 1:8; Ezr 7:21.)
the independent character of its language.
Although perhaps the use of peculiar Aramaic words and word-forms by a Jew of the time of the Maccabees may be explained, yet the use of words belonging to the Aryan language by such an one remains incomprehensible, - such words, e.g., as אזדּא, דתברין, פּתבּג, which are met with neither in the Targums nor in the rabbinical writings, or הדּם, member, piece, from which the Targumists formed the denom. ,μελίζεσθαι, to dismember, and have naturalized in the Aramaic language (cf. J. Levy, Chald. Wrterb. ueber die Targ. i. p. 194). Whence could a Maccabean Jew of the era of the Seleucidae, when the Greek language and culture had become prominent in the East, have received there foreign words?
But as the language of this book, particularly its Aryan element, speaks against its origin in the age of the Maccabees, so also "the contemplative-visionary manner of representation in the book," as Kran. (p. 59) justly remarks, "accords little with a conjuncture of time when (1 Macc. 2ff.) the sanctuary was desecrated and tyranny rose to an intolerable height. It is not conceivable that in such a time those who mingled in that fearful insurrection and were called on to defend their lives with weapons in their hands, should have concerned themselves with visions and circumstantial narratives of detailed history, which appertain to a lengthened period of quietness, instead of directly encouraging and counselling the men of action, so that they might be set free from the fearful situation in which they were placed."
2. Thus in no respect do the actual contents of this book correspond with the relations and circumstances of the times of the Maccabees; but, on the contrary, they point decidedly to the time of the exile. The historical parts show an intimate acquaintance not only with the principal events of the time of the exile, but also with the laws and manners and customs of the Chaldean and Medo-Persian monarchies. The definite description (Dan 1:1) of the first expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem, which is fabricated certainly from no part of the O.T., and which is yet proved to be correct, points to a man well acquainted with this event; so too the communication regarding king Belshazzar, Daniel 5, whose name occurs only in this book, is nowhere else independently found. An intimate familiarity with the historical relations of the Medo-Persian kingdom is seen in the mention made of the law of the Medes and Persians, Dan 6:9, Dan 6:13, since from the time of Cyrus the Persians are always placed before the Medes, and only in the book of Esther do we read of the Persians and Medes (Dan 1:3, Dan 1:14, Dan 1:18), and of the law of the Persians and Medes (Dan 1:19). An intimate acquaintance with the state-regulations of Babylon is manifest in the statement made in Dan 1:7 (proved by Kg2 24:17 to be a Chaldean custom), that Daniel and his companions, on their being appointed for the king's service, received new names, two of which were names derived from Chaldean idols; in the account of their food being brought from the king's table (Dan 1:5); in the command to turn into a dunghill (Dan 2:5) the houses of the magicians who were condemned to death; in the death-punishments mentioned in Dan 2:5 and Dan 3:6, the being hewn to pieces and cast into a burning fiery furnace, which are shown by Eze 16:10; Eze 23:47; Jer 29:29, and other proofs, to have been in use among the Chaldeans, while among the Medo-Persians the punishment of being cast into the den of lions is mentioned, Dan 6:8, Dan 6:13,ff. The statement made about the clothing worn by the companions of Daniel (Dan 3:21) agrees with a passage in Herodotus, i. 195; and the exclusion of women from feasts and banquets is confirmed by Xen. Cyrop. v. 2, and Curtius, v. 1, 38. As to the account given in Dan 2:5, Dan 2:7, of the priests and wise men of Chaldean, Fr. Mnter (Religion der Babyl. p. 5) has remarked, "What the early Israelitish prophets record regarding the Babylonish religion agrees well with the notices found in Daniel; and the traditions preserved by Ctesias, Herod., Berosus, and Diodor. are in perfect accordance therewith." Compare with this what P. F. Stuhr (Die heidn. Religion. des alt. Orients, p. 416ff.) has remarked concerning the Chaldeans as the first class of the wise men of Babylon. A like intimate acquaintance with facts on the part of the author of this book is seen in his statements regarding the government and the state officers of the Chaldean and Medo-Persian kingdom (cf. Hgstb. Beitr. i. p. 346ff.).
The prophetical parts of this book also manifestly prove its origin in the time of the Babylonian exile. The foundation of the world-kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar forms the historical starting-point for the prophecy of the world-kingdoms. "Know, O king," says Daniel to him in interpreting his dream of the world-monarchies, "thou art the head of gold" (Dan 2:37). The visions which are vouchsafed to Daniel date from the reign of Belshazzar the Chaldean, Darius the Median, and Cyrus the Persian (Dan 7:1; Dan 8:1; Dan 9:1; Dan 10:1). With this stands in harmony the circumstance that of the four world-kingdoms only the first three are historically explained, viz., besides the first of the monarchy of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:37), the second of the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, and the third of the kingdom of Javan, out of which, at the death of the first king, four kingdoms shall arise toward the four winds of heaven (Dan 8:20-22). Of the kings of the Medo-Persian kingdom, only Darius the Median and Cyrus the Persian, during whose reign Daniel lived, are named. Moreover the rise of yet four kings of the Persians is announced, and the warlike expedition of the fourth against the kingdom of Javan, as also the breaking up and the division toward the four winds (Dan 11:5-19) of the kingdom of the victorious king of Javan. Of the four kingdoms arising out of the monarchy of Alexander of Macedon nothing particular is said in Daniel 8, and in Dan 11:5-19 only a series of wars is predicted between the king of the south and the king of the north, and the rise of the daring king who, after the founding of his kingdom by craft, would turn his power against the people of God, lay waste the sanctuary, and put an end to the daily sacrifice, and, according to Dan 8:23, shall arise at the end of these four kingdoms.
However full and particular be the description given in Daniel 8 and Daniel 11 of this daring king, seen in Daniel 8 as the little horn, yet it nowhere passes over into the prediction of historical particularities, so as to overstep the boundaries of prophecy and become prognostication or the feigned setting forth of the empiric course of history. Now, though the opinion of Kran. p. 58, that "the prophecy of Daniel contains not a single passus which might not (leaving the fulfilment out of view) in a simple, self-evident way include the development founded in itself of a theocratic thought, or of such-like thoughts," is not in accordance with the supernatural factor of prophecy, since neither the general prophecy of the unfolding of the world-power in four successive world-kingdoms, nor the special description of the appearance and unfolding of this world-kingdom, can be conceived of or rightly regarded as a mere explication of theocratic thoughts, yet the remark of the same theologian, that the special prophecies in Daniel 8 and 9 do not abundantly cover themselves with the historical facts in which they found their fulfilment, and are fundamentally different from the later so-called Apocalypse of Judaism in the Jewish Sibyl, the book of Enoch and the book of Ezra (= Esdras), which are appended to the book of Daniel, is certainly well founded.
What Daniel prophesied regarding the kings of Persian who succeeded Cyrus, regarding the kingdom of Javan and its division after the death of the first king into four kingdoms, etc., could not be announced by him by virtue of an independent development of prophetic thoughts, but only by virtue of direct divine revelation; but this revelation is at the same time not immediate prediction, but is an addition to the earlier prophecies of further and more special unveilings of the future, in which the point of connection for the reference of the third world-kingdom to Javan was already given in the prophecy of Balaam, Num 24:24, cf. Joe 3:6 (4:6). The historical destination of the world-kingdoms does not extend to the kingdom of Javan and the ships of Chittim (Dan 11:30), pointing back to Num 24:24, which set bounds to the thirst for conquest of the daring king who arose up out of the third world-kingdom. The fourth world-kingdom, however distinctly it is described according to its nature and general course, lies on the farther side of the historical horizon of this prophet, although in the age of the Maccabees the growth of the Roman power, striving after the mastery of the world, was already so well known that the Alexandrine translators, on the ground of historical facts, interpreted the coming of the ships of Chittim by ἣξουσι ̔Ρωμαῖοι. The absence of every trace of the historical reference of the fourth world-kingdom, furnishes an argument worthy of notice in favour of the origin of this book of Daniel during the time of the exile. For at the time of the Babylonian exile Rome lay altogether out of the circle of vision opened up to the prophets of Scripture, since it had as yet come into no relation at all to the then dominant nations which were exercising an influence on the fate of the kingdom of God. Altogether different was the state of matters in the age of the Maccabees, for they sent messengers with letters to Rome, proposing to enter into a league with the Romans: cf. 1 Macc. 8, 12.
The contents of Daniel 9 accord with the age of the Maccabees still less than do the visions of the world-kingdoms. Three and a half centuries after the accomplishment of Jeremiah's prophecy of the desolation of Judah, after Jerusalem and the temple had been long ago rebuilt, it could not come into the mind of any Jew to put into the mouth of the exiled prophet Daniel a penitential prayer for the restoration of the holy city, and to represent Gabriel as having brought to him the prophecy that the seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem prophesied of by Jeremiah were not yet fulfilled, but should only be fulfilled after the lapse of seventy year-weeks, in contradiction to the testimony of Ezra, or, according to modern critics, of the author of the books of Chronicles and of Ezra, living at the end of the Persian era, that God, in order to fulfil His word spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, had in the first year of Cyrus stirred up the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persian to send forth an edict throughout his whole kingdom, which directed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and commanded them to rebuild the temple (Ch2 36:22., Ezr 1:1-4).
3. If now, in conclusion, we take into consideration the religious spirit of this book, we find that the opponents of its genuineness display no special gift of διάκρισις πνευμάτων when they place the book of Daniel in the same category with the Sybilline Oracles, the fourth book of Ezra (= 2 Esdras), the book of Enoch, the Ascentio Jesajae, and other pseudepigraphical products of apocryphal literature, and represent the narrative of the events of Daniel's life and his visions as a literary production after the manner of Deuteronomy and the book of Koheleth (Ecclesiastes), which a Maccabean Jew has chosen, in order to gain for the wholesome truths which he wished to represent to his contemporaries the wished-for acceptance (Bleek, p. 593f.). For this purpose, he must in the historical narratives, "by adducing the example of Daniel and his companions on the one side, and of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar on the other, exhort his fellow-countrymen to imitate the former in the inflexible stedfastness of their faith, in their open, fearless confession of the God of their fathers, and show them how this only true, all-powerful God will know in His own time to humble those who, like Antiochus Epiphanes, raised themselves against Him in presumptuous pride and sought to turn away His people from His service, and, on the other hand, to make His faithful worshippers in the end victorious" (Bleek, p. 601). Hence the tendency is conspicuous, "that the author in his descriptions in Daniel 3 and 6 almost always, in whole and in part, has kept before his eye the relations of his time (the land of Judea being then under the oppression of Antiochus Epiphanes) and the surrounding circumstances; and these he brings before his readers in a veiled, yet by them easily recognisable, manner" (p. 602). Wherein, then, does the "easily recognisable" resemblance of these two facta consist? Nebuchadnezzar directed a colossal image of threescore cubits in height and six cubits in breadth to be erected on the plain of Dura, and to be solemnly consecrated as a national image, the assembled people falling down before it doing it homage. Antiochus Epiphanes, on the contrary, did not command an idol-image, as has been supposed from a false interpretation of the βδέλυγμα ερημώσεως (1 Macc. 1:54), to be placed on the altar of burnt-offering, but only a small idol-altar (βωμόν, 1 Macc. 1:59) to be built; no mention is made, however, of its being solemnly consecrated. He then commanded the Jews to offer sacrifice month after month on this idol-altar; and because he wished that in his whole kingdom all should form but one people, and that each should leave his laws (v. 41), he thus sought to constrain the Jews to give up the worship of God inherited from their fathers, and to fall in with the heathen forms of worship. Nebuchadnezzar did not intend to forbid to the nations that became subject to him the worship of their own gods, and to the Jews the worship of Jehovah, but much more, after in the wonderful deliverance of the three friends of Daniel he recognised the omnipotence of the supreme God, he forbade by an edict, on the pain of death, all his subjects from blaspheming this God (Dan 3:28-30).
And wherein consists the resemblance between Antiochus Epiphanes and the Median Darius (Daniel 6)? Darius; it is true, at the instigation of his princes and satraps, issued an ordinance that whoever within thirty days should offer a prayer to any god or man except to the king himself should be cast into the den of lions, but certainly not with the view of compelling the Jews, or any other of his subjects, to apostatize from their ancestral religion, for after the expiry of the appointed thirty days every one might again direct his prayer to his own god. The special instigators of this edict did not contemplate by it the bringing of the Jewish people under any religious restraint, but they aimed only at the overthrow of Daniel, whom Darius had raised to the rank of third ruler in the realm and had thought to set over the whole kingdom. But when Daniel was denounced to him by the authors of this law, Darius became greatly moved, and did all he could to avert from him the threatened punishment. And when, by an appeal of his satraps to the law of the Medes and Persians that no royal edict could be changed, necessity was laid upon him to cause Daniel to be cast into the den of lions, he spent a sleepless night, and was very glad when, coming to the lions' den early in the morning, he found Daniel uninjured. He then not only commanded Daniel's accusers to be cast to the lions, but he also by a proclamation ordered all his subjects to do homage to the living God who did signs and wonders in heaven and earth. In this conduct of Darius towards Daniel and towards the living God of heaven and earth, whom Daniel and the Jews worshipped, can a single incident be found which will remind us of the rage of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Jews and their worship of God?
Still less can it be conceived that (as Bleek, p. 604, says) the author of this book had "without doubt Antiochus Epiphanes before his eyes" in Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4, and also in Belshazzar, Daniel 5. It is true that Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, according to Daniel 4 and 5, sin against the Almighty God of heaven and earth and are punished for it, and Antiochus Epiphanes also at last fell under the judgment of God on account of his wickedness. But this general resemblance, that heathen rulers by their contact with the Jews did dishonour to the Almighty God, and were humbled and punished for it, repeats itself at all times, and forms no special characteristic of the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. In all the special features of the narratives of Daniel 4 and 5, on the other hand, complete differences are met with. Nebuchadnezzar was struck with beast-like madness, not because he had persecuted the Jews, but because in his haughty pride as a ruler he deified himself, because he knew not that the Most High ruleth over the kingdom of men (Dan 4:14); and when he humbled himself before the Most High, he was freed from his madness and again restored to his kingdom. Belshazzar also did not transgress by persecuting the Jews, but by causing at a riotous banquet, in drunken insolence, the golden vessels which had been brought from the temple in Jerusalem to Babylon to be produced, and by drinking out of these vessels with his captains and his wives amid the singing of songs in praise of the idol-gods; thus, as Daniel represented to him, raising himself up against the Lord of heaven, and not honouring the God in whose hand his breath was and with whom were all his ways, although he knew how his father Nebuchadnezzar had been punished by this God (Dan 5:20-23) for his haughty presumption.
The relation not only of Nebuchadnezzar and of Darius, but also of Belshazzar, to the Jews and their religion is therefore fundamentally different from the tendency of Antiochus Epiphanes to uproot Judaism and the Mosaic worship of God. The Babylonian kings were indeed heathen, who, according to the common opinion of all heathens, held their national gods to be greater and more powerful than the gods of the nations subdued by them, among whom they also placed the God of Israel; but they that heard of the wonders of His divine omnipotence, they gave honour to the God of Israel as the God of heaven and of earth, partly by express confession of Him, and partly, at least as Belshazzar did, by honouring the true worshippers of this God. Antiochus Epiphanes, on the contrary, persisted in his almost mad rage against the worship of God as practised by the Jews till he was swept away by the divine judgment. If the pretended pseudo-Daniel, therefore, had directed his view to Antiochus Epiphanes in the setting forth of such narratives, we could only imagine the purpose to have been that he might lead this fierce enemy of his people to acknowledge and worship the true God. But with such a supposition not only does the sentiment of the Jews, as it is brought to light in the books of the Maccabees, stand in opposition, but it is also contradicted by the prophecies of this book, which threaten the daring and deceitful king, who would take away the daily sacrifice and lay waste the sanctuary, with destruction without the hand of man, without giving any room for the thought of the possibility of a change of mind, or of his conversion. The author of these prophecies cannot therefore have followed, in the historical narratives of his book, the tendency imputed to him by modern critics.
On the whole, an entire misapprehension of the spirit which pervades the historical parts of the book of Daniel lies at the foundation of the supposition of such a tendency. The narratives regarding Nebuchadnezzar, his dream, the consecration of the golden statue, and his conduct after his recovery from his madness, as well as those regarding Darius, Daniel 6, could not be invented, at least could not be invented by a Maccabean Jew, because in the pre-exilian history there are altogether wanting types corresponding to the psychological delineation of these characters. It is true that a Pharaoh raised Joseph, who interpreted his dream, to be the chief ruler in his kingdom, but it does not come into his mind to give honour to the God who revealed in the dream what would befall his kingdom (Gen 41). For the other narratives of this book there are wanting in the Old Testament incidents with which they could be connected; and the resemblance between the life-experience of Joseph and that of Daniel extends only to these general matters, that both received from God the gift of interpreting dreams, and by means of this gift brought help and deliverance to their people:
(Note: Chr. B. Michaelis thus brings together the analogies between the events in the life of Joseph and of Daniel: "Uterque in peregrinam delatus terram, uterque felix somniorum interpres, uterque familiae ac populi sui stator, uterque summorum principum administer, uterque sapientum sui loci supremus antistes.")
in all details, however, Daniel is so different from Joseph, that the delineation of his portrait as found in this book cannot be regarded as a copy of the history of Joseph. Still less can we think of the narratives of Daniel as poetical compositions; for the characters of Nebuchadnezzar and of Darius the Mede are essentially different from the prevailing views of Judaism concerning the heathen. The relation of both of these genuine heathen kings to the revelations of God shows a receptivity for the control of the living God in the lot of men, as is predicated before and after the exile in no Jewish writing of a single heathen. Such representations of character cannot be invented; they are drawn according to life, and can only be understood if the wonders of divine omnipotence and grace which the book of Daniel relates truly happened.
But as in the historical narrations, so also in the visions of Daniel, there is wanting every trace of any tendency pointing to Antiochus Epiphanes. This tendency is derived only from the view already (p. 513) shown to be incorrect, that all the prophecies of Daniel extend only down to this king, and that with his death the destruction of the God-opposing world-power and the setting up of the Messianic kingdom of God is to be expected. But if the opponents of the genuineness of this book derive support for their views from the relation of the prophecies of Daniel to the pseudepigraphic products of the Jewish Apocalyptics, so also, on the other hand, Zndel (Krit. Unter. p. 134ff.) has so conclusively proved the decided difference between the prophecies of Daniel and the Sibylline Oracles, which, according to Bleek, Lcke, and others, must have flowed from one source and are homogeneous, that we may limit ourselves to a brief condensed exhibition of the main results of this proof (p. 165ff.).
First, the subject of the two writings is perfectly different. In Daniel the seer stands in moral connection with the vision; this is not so with the Sibyl. Daniel is a pious Israelite, whose name, as we see from Ezekiel, was well known during the Chaldean exile, and whose life-history is spent in inseparable connection with his prophecies; on the contrary, the Sibyls withdraw their existence from all historical control, fore they date back in the times of hoary antiquity, not only of Israel, but of all nations, viz., in the period of the deluge, and their persons disappear in apocryphal darkness. "While Daniel on his knees prays for the divine disclosure regarding the time of the deliverance of his people, and each of his revelations is at the same time an answer to prayer, the Sibyl in the Maccabean time is represented, in a true heathenish manner, powerfully transported against her will by the word of God as by a madness, and twice she prays that she might rest and cease to prophesy."
Again, the prophetic situation is just as different. As is the case with all the earlier prophets, Daniel's prophecy goes forth from a definite historical situation, the growing up of the first great world-power in Assyria-Chaldea; it stands in a moral practical connection with the deliverance of Israel, about which it treats, after the expiry of the seventy years of Jeremiah; the four world-monarchies which were revealed to him take root in the historical ground of the time of Nebuchadnezzar. In the Seleucidan-Jewish Sibyl, on the contrary, there is no mention made of a prophetical situation, nor of a politico-practical tendency; the Sibyl has in a true Alexandrine manner a literary object, viz., this, to represent Judaism as the world-religion. "That life-question for Israel and the world, When comes the kingdom of God? which in Daniel springs up in an actual situation, as it shall also be only answered by divine fact, is in the Alexandrine Sibyllist only a question of doctrine which he believes himself called on to solve by making the heathen Jews and associates of the Jews.
Finally, in the Sibyls there is wanting a prophetical object. The prophetical object of Daniel is the world-power over against the kingdom of God. This historico-prophetic idea is the determinating, sole, all-penetrating idea in Daniel, and the centre of it lies throughout in the end of the world-power, in its inner development and its inner powerlessness over against the kingdom of God. The four world-forms do not begin with the history of nations and extend over our present time. On the contrary, the creative prophetic spirit is wanting to the Sibyl; not one historical thought of deliverance is peculiar to it; it is a genuine Alexandrine compilation of prophetic and Graeco-classic thoughts externally conceived. The thought peculiarly pervading it, to raise Judaism to the rank of the world-religion, is only a human reflection of the divine plan, that in Abraham all the nations shall be blessed, which pervades all the prophets as the great thought in the history of the world; in Daniel it comes out into the greatest clearness, and is realized by Christianity. This prophetic world-thought the Sibyl has destroyed, i.e., has religiously spiritualized and politically materialized it. "Not the living and holy covenant God Jehovah, who dwells on high and with the contrite in heart, but Godhead uncreated and creating all things, without distinction in Himself, the invisible God, who sees all things, who is neither male nor female, as He appears at a later period in the teaching of the school of Philo, is He whom the Sibyl in very eloquent language declares to the heathen. But of the God of Israel, who not only created the world, but who also has a divine kingdom on the earth, and will build up this kingdom, in a word, of the God of the history of redemption, as He is seen in His glory in Daniel, we find no trace whatever." The materialistic historic prophecy of the Sibyllist corresponds with this religious spiritualism. He seeks to imitate the prophecies of Daniel, but he does not know the prophetic fundamental thought of the kingdom of God over against the kingdom of the world, and therefore he copies the empirical world-history: "first Egypt will rule, then Assyria, Persia, Media, Macedonia, Egypt again, and then Rome."
Thus the Sibylline Apocalyptic is fundamentally different from the prophecies of Daniel.
(Note: This may be said also of the other apocryphal apocalypses of Judaism, which we have no need, however, here specially to consider, because these apocalypses, as is generally acknowledged, originate in a much later time, and therefore have no place in discussions regarding the genuineness of the book of Daniel.)
Whoever has a mind so little disciplined that he cannot perceive this difference, cannot be expected to know how to distinguish between the prophecies of Daniel and the philosophical reflections of the book of Koheleth.
(Note: The Deuteronomy which Bleek and others quote along with the book of Koheleth cannot be therefore taken into consideration as capable of supplying analogical proof, because the supposition that this book is not genuine, was not composed by Moses, is no better grounded than is the supposed non-genuineness of the book of Daniel.)
If Koheleth brings forward his thoughts regarding the vanity of all things in the name of the wise king Solomon, then is this literary production, which moreover is so very transparent that every reader of the book can see through it, altogether comprehensible. If, on the other hand, a Maccabean Jew clothe his own self-conceived ideas regarding the development of the war of the heathen world-powers against the people of God in revelations from God, which the prophet living in the Babylonian exile might have received, then this undertaking is not merely literary deception, but at the same time an abuse of prophecy, which, as a prophesying out of one's own heart, is a sin to which God in His law has annexed the punishment of death.
If the book of Daniel were thus a production of a Maccabean Jew, who would bring "certain wholesome truths" which he thought he possessed before his contemporaries as prophecies of a divinely enlightened seer of the time of the exile, then it contains neither prophecy given by God, nor in general wholesome divine truth, but mere human invention, which because it was clothed with falsehood could not have its origin in the truth. Such a production Christ, the eternal personal Truth, never could have regarded as the prophecy of Daniel the prophet, and commended to the observation of His disciples, as He has done (Mat 24:15, cf. Mar 13:14).
This testimony of our Lord fixes on the external and internal evidences which prove the genuineness of the book of Daniel the seal of divine confirmation.
For the exegetical literature of the book of Daniel see in my Lehrb. der Einl. in d. A. Test. 385f. The Messrs. T. and T. Clark of Edinburgh have recently published an English translation of this work, under the title of Manual of Historico-Critical Introduction to the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament, etc., translated by the Rev. Professor Douglas, D.D., Free Church College, Glasgow. 2 vols., Edinburgh 1869]. To what is there recorded we may add, Das Buch Daniel erkl. von Rud. Kranichfeld, Berlin 1868; Das Buch Daniels uebers. u. erkl. von Dr. Th. Kliefoth, Schwerin 1868; J. L. Fller, der Prophet Daniel erkl., Basel 1868 (for the educated laity); Pusey, Daniel the Prophet, Oxf. 1864; and Mayer (Cath.), die Messian. Prophezieen des Daniel, Wien 1866. [Der Prophet Daniel, theologisch-homiletisch bearbeitt. von Dr. Zoeckler, Professor der Theologie zu Greifswald (J. P. Lange's Bibelwerk, 17er Thiel des A. T.), 1870.]