Daniel, persons in the Bible
in the Bible. 1
Prophet, central figure of the book of Daniel
Sealer of the covenant.
Daniel, book of the Bible
book of the Bible. It combines “court” tales, perhaps originating from the 6th cent. B.C., and a series of apocalyptic visions arising from the time of the Maccabean emergency (167–164 B.C.), which clearly presuppose the history of Palestine in the Hellenistic era after Alexander the Great (d.323 B.C.). In its canonical form, the book reads as a divine vindication of the exiled Daniel and the Kingdom of God for which he suffers as the representative of the people of God. A long passage from a point near the beginning of chapter 2 through chapter 7 is written in Aramaic; the rest is in Hebrew. The Septuagint
not only inserts the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men into the third chapter, but adds two more chapters containing the stories of Susanna and of Bel and the Dragon. The additions are found in Catholic Bibles and the Protestant Apocrypha. The common theme of chapters 1–6 and 7–12 is the clash of the Kingdom of God and kingdoms of the earth. Despite the apparent powerlessness of the Kingdom of God and its human champion Daniel—a victim of the exile and Babylonian might—the kings of the earth come to acknowledge that they rule only by divine permission. Chapters 7–12 are to be read on two levels. Events on earth have their heavenly counterparts. In these chapters the supernatural power behind the kings of this world is revealed. For all his ferocity and might, he is a doomed adversary of Israel's God, the King of kings, who vindicates his beleaguered people on earth. The book is both an assurance to the faithful and a summons to perseverance in light of superhuman efforts to eradicate the people of the heavenly King. The book can be divided as follows: Daniel and his friends are taken to the Babylonian court, where they remain faithful to the Law; a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar is interpreted by Daniel; Nebuchadnezzar, demanding divine honors, tries to punish three recalcitrant Jews by burning them in a furnace; a second dream of Nebuchadnezzar is interpreted by Daniel to foretell the king's madness; Daniel interprets the handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar's feast; he escapes alive from the lions' den; Daniel has four apocalyptic visions. Fragments of the book of Daniel have been found at Qumran (see Dead Sea Scrolls
See J. J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Vision of the Book of Daniel (1977); A. Lacocque, The Book of Daniel (1979); J. Goldingay, Daniel (1989). See also bibliography under Old Testament.
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Book of Daniel, which consists largely of a series of dreams and visions, may be the most complete treatment of dreams in Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) and is a clear demonstration of the Hebrew regard for dreams. One of the latest books of Hebrew Scripture, it was written in approximately the second century B.C.E., when the Jewish people were struggling against the oppressor Antiochus Epiphanes, who was profaning Judaism. The book is about the young man Daniel, who lived under foreign oppression during the Jewish exile in Babylonia. The historicity of Daniel as a person has been debated. In the Book of Daniel, he is portrayed as an Israelite youth of great ability with a special understanding of visions and dreams.
Chapter 2 reports the story of King Nebuchadnezzar, a man afflicted with insomnia, who during his restless sleep was aware of his disturbing and portentous dreams but was unable to recollect what they were. He consulted a number of Babylonian soothsayers, who, when they were unable to help him, were killed. Daniel alone believed he could solve the king’s problem. He sought the mercy of God concerning this mystery, which was revealed to him in a vision during the night.
Daniel confronted the king and told him that his dreams foretold the future. He then proceeded to interpret the king’s dream, a dream of an image wrought of many magnificent metals, that was broken and crumbled. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was a portent that the kingdom would one day be divided—the only kingdom that cannot be divided or destroyed is God’s.
Daniel interpreted another dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s in which Nebuchadnezzar saw a tall tree that grew so high that its top reached to heaven. Then the Lord came to him and told him to hew down the tree and cut off its branches, but to leave the stump in the earth, let it be wet and passed over seven times. Then he was told that God rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He wills. The dream, Daniel warned the king, meant that King Nebuchadnezzar had become like the tree, but because he regarded himself as the author of his own power, God would cut him down.
Because Nebuchadnezzar did not heed Daniel’s warning. He lost his mind and was brought down by a strange psychosis that lasted seven years, after which he was restored to reason.
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1. Paul (Wilson). born 1958, British conductor; musical director of the English National Opera 1997--2003
2. Samuel. ?1562--1619, English poet and writer: author of the sonnet sequence Delia (1592)
a. a youth who was taken into the household of Nebuchadnezzar, received guidance and apocalyptic visions from God, and was given divine protection when thrown into the lions' den
b. the book that recounts these experiences and visions (in full The Book of the Prophet Daniel)
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