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Prophet Daniel

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Prophet Daniel

This article is about the religious figure called Daniel. For the book in the Hebrew Bible, see Book of Daniel. For other uses, see Daniel (disambiguation).
"Danyal" redirects here. For places in Iran, see Danyal, Iran.
Briton Rivière
Born 7th Century B.C.
Died 6th Century B.C.
Babylon (?)
Honored in Christianity
Major shrine Tomb of Daniel, Susa, Iran
Feast July 21 - Roman Catholicism
December 17 - Greek Orthodoxy
Attributes Often depicted in the den of the lions

Daniel (, meaning in Hebrew "God is my Judge") is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways. Through divine wisdom from his God, Yahweh, he interpreted dreams and visions of kings, thus becoming a prominent figure in the court of Babylon. Eventually, he had apocalyptic visions of his own that have been interpreted as the Four monarchies. Some of the most famous accounts of Daniel are: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, The writing on the wall and Daniel in the lions' den.

Hebrew Bible

Main article: Book of Daniel

In the book of Daniel

Induction into Babylon

In the third year of the reign of

Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar

Main article: Daniel 2

In the narrative of Daniel Chapter 2, it is the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and the king is distressed by his dreams,[v.1] so he summons his interpreters.[v.2] However, they are unable to relay or interpret the dreams.[v.10-11] The king is furious and demands the execution of all the wise men in Babylon.[v.12] When Daniel learns of the king's order, he asks the captain of the guard, Arioch, to let him see the king.[v.13-16] Daniel prays for God's mercy to receive a revelation from the king's dream.[v.15-18] God then reveals the mystery to Daniel in a vision that night.[v.19] Daniel praises God with a doxology.[v.20-23] After meeting with Arioch again, Daniel is granted access to the king,[v.24-30] and relays the description of the dream,[v.31-36] followed by its interpretation.[v.37-45] With Daniel's successful interpretation of the dream, the king expresses homage,[v.46] followed by his own doxology that affirms that Daniel's God is God of gods for revealing this mystery of his dream.[v.47] Daniel is then promoted to chief governor over the whole province of Babylon.[v.48] At Daniel's request, his companions are also promoted, so that they remain at the king's court.[v.49][3]

Nebuchadnezzar's madness

Nebuchadnezzar recounts a dream of a huge tree that is suddenly cut down at the command of a heavenly messenger. Daniel is summoned and interprets the dream. The tree is Nebuchadnezzar himself, who for seven years will lose his mind and become like a wild beast. All of this comes to pass until, at the end of the specified time, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that "heaven rules" and his kingdom and sanity are restored to him.

Daniel and Belshazzar

In Daniel's later years, king Belshazzar holds a great feast for all his nobles. In a drunken state, the king calls for the sacred vessels captured from the Jerusalem temple and blasphemously drinks from them. Suddenly, the fingers of a man's hand appear before the king and write on the wall of the palace. When none of his wise men are able to interpret the message, Daniel is called in at the suggestion of the queen-mother. After reprimanding the king for his impiety, Daniel interprets the handwriting on the wall to mean that Belzhazzar is about to lose his kingdom to the Medes and the Persians. For successfully reading the cryptic handwriting, Daniel is rewarded with a purple robe and elevated to the rank of "third ruler" of the kingdom. "That very night", we are told, "Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain" and his successor was King Darius the Mede, aged 62.

Daniel and Darius the Mede

Main article: Daniel in the lions' den

After the Persian conquest of Babylon, Daniel is depicted as one of three senior administrators of the empire in the reign of Darius the Mede. When the king decides to set Daniel over the whole kingdom, the other officials plot his downfall. Unable to uncover any corruption, they use Daniel's religious devotion to defeat him. The officials trick the king into issuing an irrevocable decree that no god is to be worshiped for a 30-day period. When Daniel continues to pray three times a day toward Jerusalem, he is thrown into a lions den, much to the distress of Darius. After an angel shuts the lions' mouths, Daniel is delivered, and the corrupt officials and their wives and children are thrown into the den where they are eaten instantly.

Daniel's visions

Main article: Four monarchies

Daniel's ministry as a prophet began late in life. Whereas his early exploits were a matter of common knowledge within his community, these same events, with his pious reputation, serve as the basis for his prophetic ministry. The recognition for his prophetic message is that of other prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel whose backgrounds are the basis for their revelations.

From Chapter 7 to the end of the book of Daniel, an Daniel 7:12) This introduction leads into a series of dreams and visions where these events are expressed in greater detail.

Scholars argue that each of these beasts represent an emperor or kingdom that ruled over the Israelites. The vast majority of scholars accept the first as Babylon, the second as Media/Persia, the third as Greece and the 4th as Rome. The feet and toes represent the modern age which will be destroyed at the return of Christ when Christ is set up as head. A small group believes the first being

Daniel's final days

The time and circumstances of Daniel's death have not been recorded. However, tradition maintains that Daniel was still alive in the third year of Cyrus according to the section 153).

In the book of Ezekiel

Main article: Danel

The prophet Ezekiel, with whom Daniel was a contemporary, describes Daniel as a "pattern of righteousness" in the Book of Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and "wisdom" (28:3).[5] In the Hebrew sections of the Book of Daniel the name is spelled Dânîê’l whereas in the Book of Ezekiel that name is spelled Dânîyê’l.

A number of scholars have proposed that Ezekiel is referring to another Daniel, possibly the "Danel" ("Judgment of God") known from Caananite Ugaritic literature (such as the Epic of Aqhat and Anat.[6] However Danel is never called "wise" or "righteous"; since Danel was a worshipper of Baal and other pagan gods, it would be unusual if he was considered a paradigm of Jewish righteousness by Ezekiel.[7] In contrast, the hero of the Book of Daniel is both wise and righteous.[8]


Bel and the Dragon

In the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel known as Bel and the Dragon, the prophet Habakkuk is supernaturally transported by an angel to take a meal to Daniel while he is in the lions' den. In response, Daniel prays, "Thou hast remembered me, O God; neither hast thou forsaken them that seek Thee and love Thee".[9]

Views of Daniel


According to Rabbinical tradition, Daniel was of royal descent; and his fate, together with that of his three friends,

According to this view, Daniel and his friends were eunuchs, and were consequently able to prove the groundlessness of charges of immorality brought against them, which had almost caused their death at the hands of the king.[11]


The prophet is commemorated in the Coptic Church on the 23rd day of the Coptic month of Baramhat.[12]

On the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) as the "uncut mountain"

Daniel is commemorated as a prophet in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod together with the Three Young Men (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), on December 17.[15]

The Roman Catholic Church commemorates St. Daniel in the Roman Martyrology on July 21.[16] However, his commemoration at Mass occurs only on local calendars of particular dioceses, sometimes on July 21 and sometimes on another day. For example, the archdiocese of Gorizia celebrates the feast of St. Daniel, prophet and confessor, on September 11. The reading of the Mass is taken from the Book of Daniel, chapter 14; the Gradual from Psalm 91; the Alleluia verse from the Epistle of James 1; and the Gospel from Matthew 24.[17]


Main article: Islamic view of Daniel

Muslims traditionally consider Daniyal (Arabic: دانيال, Danyal) as an Islamic prophet, alongside the other major prophets of the Old Testament. Although Daniel is not mentioned in the Qur'an, there are accounts of Daniel's life which feature in later Muslim literature. Daniel is listed as a prophet in all major versions of Stories of the Prophets.[18] When the Muslims conquered Alexandria in AD 641, a mosque was immediately built dedicated to Daniel.[19]

Muslim exegesis, including Tabari's History of the Prophets and Kings narrates that Daniel was carried off to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar's attack on Jerusalem. It goes on to state that there he was thrown into the den of the lions, but was later rescued. In one such account, Daniel is aided by Jeremiah, who comes to Babylon to help Daniel in the lions' den.[20] In the apocryphal Bel and the Dragon, however, there is a very similar tale which states that the Hebrew prophet Habbakuk was miraculously transported to the den of the lions, to give a meal to Daniel.

All sources classical and modern, describe Daniel as a saintly and spiritual man. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, in his Qur'anic commentary says:

Daniel was a righteous man of princely lineage and lived about 506-538 B.C. He was carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, the Assyrian, but was still living when Assyria was overthrown by the Medes and Persians. In spite of the "captivity" of the Jews, Daniel enjoyed the highest offices of state at Babylon, but he was ever true to Jerusalem. His enemies (under the Persian monarch) got a penal law passed against any one who "asked a petition of any god or man for 30 days" except the Persian King. But Daniel continued true to Jerusalem. "His windows being open in his chambers towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime."


Daniel is considered a minor prophet in the teachings of the Baha'i Faith.[22] Some Baha'i converts introduced the principle of reincarnation, specifically that of Daniel and John.[23]

Six tombs of Daniel

Main article: Tomb of Daniel

There are six different locations claiming to be the site of the tomb of the biblical figure Daniel: Babylon, Kirkuk and Muqdadiyah in Iraq, Susa and Malamir in Iran, and Samarkand in Uzbekistan. Tomb of Daniel at Susa is most agreed tomb .[24]

See also

Saints portal


External links

  • Book of Daniel (Biblical Passage)
  • by Rob Bradshaw Detailed dictionary-style article.
  • in the TaNaKh Detailed authorized Jewish translation of the original
  • Who is Ezekiel's Daniel? : The Ugaritic Danel
  • Daniel 11 in Context Overview of the allusions to the Syrian Wars in Daniel 11

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