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An Exegetical Look At the Book of Daniel

An Exegetical Look At the Book of Daniel

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Published by James Browning
A quick practice at using Scribd. The paper itself is mediocre at best so don't use it for your doctorate.
A quick practice at using Scribd. The paper itself is mediocre at best so don't use it for your doctorate.

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Published by: James Browning on Oct 24, 2013
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James Browning Daniel – Revelation Dr.

Martinez Exegetical Paper: Daniel 6:1-14 The purpose of this paper is exegetically examine the passage of Daniel 6:1-14 in order to better understand Daniel, who he was, and why he was the man that he was during a time of major political change. This chapter is most famous for containing the story of the lion’s den, but this paper will deal primarily with the events leading up to the lion’s den rather than that event itself. The goal of this paper is to better understand how Daniel’s character was shaped through his experience, choices, and understanding of God’s scripture. As with all exegesis it is imperative to examine the context of the passage, including the type of writing, authorship, cultural context, and intended reader. I will write more extensively regarding the intended reader later on, towards the end of the paper. However, one of the most important discussions that must be had when dealing with any study of Daniel is the time of writing. The two most common views are late date (ca. 180 B.C.) and the early date of the 6th century B.C. Stephen R. Miller deals more extensively on this topic in “The New American Commentary Volume 18 – Daniel” (pgs. 24-43). Miller carefully examines many of the arguments for both dates of writing because it is essential for an understanding and interpretation of the prophesy contained within the boo of Daniel. Many of those who subscribe to a later date of writing do so for pragmatic reasons, believing that a 6th century writer could not have nown about the coming events with such absolute clarity and precision that the boo of Daniel contains. Another popular argument for the 2nd century date of writing is the use of Gree and Persian loanwords. It is believed that the Gree and Persian words contained in Daniel did not enter into the Hebrew lexicon until around the 3rd century B.C. although even John Goldingay, a proponent of the late date concedes, “the Gree words hardly necessitate a very late date.” (Word Biblical Commentary, pg. xxv).

. For the purpose of this paper.” Opponents to this viewpoint attempt to explain away this belief in Eze iel’s Daniel by saying that he is probably referencing a mythological figure named “Danel. For those who believe that it is possible for God to have given Daniel visions regarding the future then the evidence strongly points to an early writing.According to Miller (pg 41) perhaps the best argument for the early date of writing is in the Boo of Eze iel. says the Lord. will be carried off to Babylon. According to Jewish tradition (Talmud tractate Sanhedrin 93b. 28:3). I will be ta ing an early date of writing understanding and the court tales as being literal. “Eze iel. 7 And some of your descendants. the 6th century prophet. author.” (Isaiah 39:5-7). he told him. and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day. and reader of the boo . When Isaiah was condemning Heze iah for showing the treasures of Israel to Babylon. But for those who view it as simply being impossible then. the later date is the one that ma es the most sense. and of the princes.” In this we can see that Daniel and the other three Hebrews were probably members of the royal family or at least a part of the Hebrew aristocracy. historical events. will be ta en away. your own flesh and blood who will be born to you. This seems to fit in line with Daniel 1:3 (KJV) “And the ing spa e unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs. In adopting the early date of writing. this also tells us much about the context. Pir e de Rabbi Eliezer iii) Daniel was foretold by the prophet Isaiah to King Heze iah in Isaiah 39.” Upon closer examination (which can be found in Miller) this argument does not hold up very well. alluded to Daniel three times in his boo (14:14. Assuming that Daniel is the author also aids in extrapolating the purpose of the boo . 20. and these references would appear to be conclusive evidence for the traditional view. The date of writing basically comes down to whether or not the reader believes that prophetic writing is possible or not. and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the ing of Babylon. that he should bring certain of the children of Israel. and of the ing's seed. “Hear the word of the Lord Almighty: 6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace. Nothing will be left.

appointing his officials including 120 satraps overseen by three administrators. Eze iel and Isaiah). brought him before the ing and reminded the ing of his injunction against praying to anyone other than himself and reminded the ing that even he could not change the law that had already gone into effect. they devised a plan to trap him using his faith in the Hebrew God. Daniel 6 falls into the former category. The conspirators caught Daniel in his prayers. the first half dealing with actual events that happened to Daniel that fall into the category of court tales. Darius.g. Chapter 6 of Daniel tends to follow that format. The ing was trapped and very upset. . one of whom was Daniel. The hero of the story emerges as a local guy who maintains local values and through divine intervention solves an unsolvable problem thereby teaching the foreign ruler the value of the local hero’s beliefs and god. Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. I believe that these events can be ta en as historical. and through flattery and politics they were able to convince the ing to pass a law forbidding anyone to pray for 30 days to anyone except King Darius.The Boo of Daniel can be fairly evenly divided into two portions. The chapter begins with a new ruler. Soon Daniel we appointed to oversee all of them.. The “court tale” genre was a common one at the time which has led some scholars to speculate that the first six chapters are more parables than historical events. the ing hoped that Daniel’s God would save him and then the ing stayed up all night loo ing for a solution and felt generally distressed by the whole situation. They approached King Darius. The other officials began to loo for a way to bring about Daniel’s downfall. but unable to find any evidence of corruption. The law went into effect and even though it was nown to Daniel. However due to the other biblical evidence previously cited (e. he still continued to pray toward Jerusalem three times a day with the windows open. They do tend to fall into the typical format of being in a foreign context under a foreign ruler. and the second half that deals with Daniel’s visions that come more from the apocalyptic genre.

and it was his dreams that confirmed to Daniel the events that would lead to the succession of empires about to come. While there had been very large empires and ingdoms before this time. the Babylonians too it to the next level and that continued in succession up through the Romans. including in the vision to Nebuchadnezzar. the ing recognized this fact the next morning and pulled Daniel out. and immediately before the event itself in the handwriting on the wall. because the power struggle that ta es place in chapter 6 is not some small town petty argument. The events and politics of Babylon had far reaching consequences much in the same way that those of Washington DC and Beijing do today. Originally the foretelling had caused distress to Daniel (under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (chapters 2. The Babylonian Empire had just fallen that year to the Medes and the Persians. Millions would have been aware of the edicts and proclamations made in chapter 6 but not many would have nown the reasons behind them. Both empires were among the largest the world had ever seen up until that point and controlled much of the nown world. Daniel’s lifetime really mar ed the beginning of the age of empires. This had been foretold in the Bible and particularly to Daniel. and 7) but by the end of Belshazzar’s rule Daniel seems to be very ready for a change in leadership and is barely civil to Belshazzar during his final party. Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel’s first “boss” was the pinnacle of the Babylonian empire. This is for the role of second in . The period of writing is extremely tumultuous politically in the Middle East. The Boo of Daniel is li e an insider’s view into the behind the scenes events that shaped the empire. It is imperative to note these historical events as the bac drop. Immediately following the events of chapter 6 the exile period ended and the Jews were permitted to return bac to Israel.Daniel was saved from the lions by God. The ing then ma es an empire wide proclamation declaring God’s power and sovereignty. and threw the conspirators and all their respective families into the pit. the Jews had been in captivity for 70 years and Daniel was getting to be very elderly. including details regarding the Mede-Persian and Gree empires. At this point in time. 4.

However. Daniel’s faithfulness and excellence enabled him to maintain and even rise in power despite being foreign. Overview of Daniel’s Rise to Power Chapter 6 is actually the third time that Daniel had risen to power and authority. in this case.command of an empire. This position came with immense power. Throughout the entire boo . 180) that this is a common theme throughout the court tales in describing Daniel as being endowed with the spirit of the holy gods. Daniel seemed to be the one standing in the way of power and corruption. but also acting as an important help to those rulers through the interpretation of dreams (chapter 2). nor Persian. Daniel’s faithfulness and excellent spirit certainly made him stand apart from the other officials in particular because he was neither Babylonian. disgusted by the ing’s rec less partying. and a ruler under the previous regime. a Mede. Daniel is portrayed as a man of integrity. 16 and 20). and nowing the coming events turned him down. over the citizens as well as the rest of the officials. elderly. So what is Daniel doing as a successful administrator for the enemy that destroyed his people? . The first too place over a series of events in chapters 1 and 2. We also see that Daniel and his friends do not compromise in their faith and service to God. Later on in the chapter the ing twice describes Daniel as being a “faithful servant” (vs. He must have been very good at his job indeed in order to maintain such authority under such dramatic changes in leadership. all while approximately 80 years old (his vegetable diet from chapter 1 must have really paid off). Under the new regime of Darius. Daniel once again establishes himself as one who “possesses and extraordinary spirit…” (6:3) Sydney Greidanus points out in “Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons” (pg. In chapter 5 again is promised power and authority by Belshazzar in exchange for translating the handwriting on the wall. Daniel. in which Daniel is shown to stay strictly obedient to God’s rules even to the point of occasionally defying his captors and rulers (chapter 1).

and the fact that Daniel was active and excelling at his age showed God’s vested interest in the life of Daniel. he was now ta ing the reign of the new administration and was excelling so prominently that the ing was planning on appointing Daniel as overseer of all the officials. if they wanted to continue to maintain their beliefs and culture then they could face being left out in the cold when it came to actual leadership and promotion. once again excelling despite his age. indoctrinating only those captured through positions of power far from their original homes. the first and last promotions came despite the challenge of age. But this time it is despite his very advanced age. Chapter 6 features Daniel. Daniel had been living in captivity for nearly 70 years and had spent most of that time in authority. Rather than simply sweeping in and trying to completely enforce their culture on all the people that they conquered. however. Babylon was very much the melting pot of its day.The Opposition Daniel’s rise to power clearly had its challenges. Those who had been left behind were free to retain their original culture and beliefs as long as they did not conflict with the interests of the empire. He demonstrates the cool head and necessary abilities to not only interpret the ing’s dream but to save the lives of himself and his friends. If they wanted to excel in their new positions of leadership and be able to fully interact and engage in the court politics of Babylon. The reason for the success of this initial empire was their foresight in governing multiple people groups and cultures. they had to essentially become Babylonian. Interestingly. that the captives were faced with a unique dilemma. This meant. the Babylonians repatriated the aristocracy of a conquered people. Daniel managed to wal the fine line of holding on to his faith . However. While Daniel was notable for his diligence and faithful service tempered with wisdom. Rather than retiring. Daniel also faced cultural challenges. only God is in control of our age. In chapter two Daniel assumes a position of leadership despite his obvious and apparent young age. Clearly Daniel’s success was divinely ordained. Daniel faced personal challenges each time he was promoted.

when all other options are exhausted. along with some pretty obvious flattery. This list mirrors the officials mentioned in chapter 3. 13a). Then he was able to clearly adapt and succeed again when the Medes and Persians conquered again when he was so much older. It would also seem that a part of this opposition came from an anti-Semitic attitude. pays no attention to you. These are the immediate forefathers of the leaders who organize the attempt at genocide in Esther as well. there are five types of officials mentioned in chapter 6 verse 7. Stefanovic (pg. Unfortunately it quic ly becomes apparent to Darius that the real intended target of the law was not traitors to the empire. 214) highlights many of these similarities pointing out that in the petition to the ing. is the angle that the officials are ta ing. Daniel’s opposition was great. and the elderly unwilling to budge from their world view. was a master at wal ing this tightrope. This is very telling of Daniel’s character because he was able to hold on to his faith in God at a young and still formative age despite his surroundings (and occasional death threats). The fiery furnace event most li ely occurred as a way to consolidate power and establish loyalty among his followers. with the youth pic ing up cultural trends and quic ly forgetting previous values. They seem to be saying that Daniel’s untrustworthiness is rooted in his Jewishness. though. .and beliefs but still adapting to culture. the ing has already gotten to now Daniel by this point because he hopes in Daniel’s God to save him. Not all of Daniel’s opposition was internal. but Daniel. However. 14). This cultural adaptation is something that we don’t see often even in our own native culture. his most trusted official. The conspiracy against Daniel has strong parallels to the events of chapter 3. who is one of the exiles from Judah. Even our churches have trouble deciding how to adapt to changing norms in dress and music. They slyly attempt to “assist” the ing in consolidating his power and rooting out disloyal leaders. The trust that Darius had in Daniel is shown through his immediate and deep distress (vs. O ing…” (vs. Daniel. however. We see it when they approach the ing with a captured Daniel. “Daniel. It seems that this.

they were to pray for the welfare of the city because their own welfare was tied to it. for in its welfare you will have welfare. to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. the God of Israel.’” (Jeremiah 29:4-7 NASB).The Jeremiah Connection As a member of a prominent family in Judah. He would most li ely have seen this period of transition and upheaval as pivotal and his own experience and s ills as necessary in preventing the downfall of this empire. See the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile. He cares about the fate of God’s people. Had the conspirators succeeded. Daniel was no doubt a well-read man. that they may bear sons and daughters. Chapter 29 is a message directly to those who would soon be captured and ta en into exile in which Jeremiah gives them some counter intuitive advice. with Daniel’s miraculous escape from the lions and loyalty in service as possible catalysts in the ing’s mind. he cares about his people. Ta e wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters. “Thus says the Lord of hosts. praying three times a day and eating the produce of Babylon but refusing to ta e the meat that had been offered to idols and refusing to worship gods other than the one true God of heaven and earth. Daniel certainly seems to have ta en this to heart. He appears to have a strong understanding of the writings of his people. Rather than sabotaging their captors and attempting to undermine the mighty Babylonian empire. and plant gardens and eat their produce. and multiply there and do not decrease. how much longer would the Jews have remained in exile? As it was they were released soon afterwards. he was doing it for the same reason that he is praying for the Jews. . ‘Build houses and live in them. Jeremiah is letting them now that they were in it for the long haul. and as an educated court official in Babylon. Here we see Daniel intentionally living out what Jeremiah had foreseen. and pray to the Lord on its behalf. and ta e wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands. He is then most li ely familiar with Jeremiah 29. Daniel was serving so wholeheartedly not just because he enjoyed his job. His prayer towards Jerusalem is in obedience to Solomon’s dedication to the temple (1 Kings 8:46-51). He faithfully obeys God here.

But those Hebrews were about to face events that were yet to come and Daniel’s life was meant to be an example of trusting in God despite changing cultural and political bac grounds. Personal Application Daniel’s intended reader would have probably been those Jews who were born into exile. This can only come from careful reading and meditation. But a lesser point that is evident is the fact that Daniel is leaning on God’s promises which lead to his excellent service. and Daniel was not that man. But Daniel is notable to the world around him because of his faithfulness and diligence in administration. By the time chapter 6 was written. Daniel’s decades of faithfulness combined with his cultural adaptability are astounding.The boo of Daniel. Daniel’s example isn’t just of a man praying regularly. . This can clearly be seen at the end of the chapter in verses 26 and 27 when Darius himself declares God’s sovereignty and power. meaning that some of Daniel’s intended audience may not yet be born. Depending on the interpretation some of the visions have yet to happen. James 1:23 tal s about the man who hears but doesn’t do. the Jews would have been going home and getting ready to face new challenges and opposition to the truth faith in God. Daniel was able to correctly discern and apply God’s word in dramatically changing situations. Faithfulness that is not based on the one night in the lion’s den. but is based on 70 years of hard wor . although that is a good thing to repeat. diligence. Daniel was written primarily to those Jews of that time. I want to be li e Daniel in faithfully serving regardless of the situation because of my immersion in the Word of God. There would have been hardly anyone left who had been alive before the exile. but it was also written to future generations because not all of the visions would happen immediately. and trusting in God’s word. Daniel’s own age was atypical of the time period so those who were currently reading were most li ely younger. That means that if I am to be li e Daniel. including this chapter is primarily about God’s sovereignty and control over the affairs of nations and men. However for me personally.

it is that I should be studying prophecy more in order to be better at my job. But I will have a boss for the rest of my life. I am not very li ely to be thrown into a lion’s den. I am to do my homewor without procrastination (or ta ing the easy way out (this is page 10 instead of 8). And the Bible has a lot to say about that. Daniel is nown among Christians as the man who was thrown into the lion’s den. and I will have to go to wor every day. If I have learned anything from this passage and this class in Daniel. I am wor hard at my job daily for my entire career and not just occasionally.I am to serve more fully and completely. But he was nown among his contemporaries as the man who was incorruptible. .

Dallas: Word Boo s. Aug 31. David C. 1994. Talmud tractate Sanhedrin 93b. John E.Bibliography Coo . B. 2007 . The New American Commentary Volume 18 – Daniel. Eerdmans Publishing Company (December 19. Jan 30. Daniel. Zdrav o Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise: Commentary on the Book of Daniel. Sydney “Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons” Wm. “International Bible Lesson Commentary 2008-2009: New International Version” Coo Communications Ministries Intl (April 2008) Goldingay. 2012) Miller. 1989 Greidanus. 30. Word Biblical Commentary. Pacific Press Publishing. Stephen B. B&H Publishing Group. Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer iii Stefanovic.

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