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by Joseph Exell
THE subject of Biblical Introduction is one that has become growingly important. It is the study of the human side of the document of Divine revelation. The Scripture has been divinely inspired, but human instruments have been employed to record the Divine message. The Holy Spirit has not used them as mechanical instruments; the human authors have not been mere automata; their whole personality was used for the Divine purpose. The work of the Divine Spirit in inspiration has been compared to that of a musician with an instrument. Yet the music drawn from an organ by an organist is conditioned by the material, the shape, and length of the various pipes he brings into play; the reeds, the keys, the trackers, have all their effect, and colour the music. Introduction is laying down the elements that go to this colouring of the message. The contents of the book under consideration is of necessity the first subject to be taken up. The historical background, actual or assumed, is next. Then its relation as a book to other books.
THE CHARACTER AND CONTENTS OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL.
In perusing a book, the first thing we master is the matters treated, and the succession of topics brought under review. Although the reader apprehends in a general way the literary form the work he is studying assumes, whether it is prose or poetry, narrative or reasoning, and also recognizes the language or languages in which it is written — studying these matters, as distinct from simply apprehending what they are, comes after the general contents of the book have thus been grasped. Next there may be an investigation of the literary form of the book. Only after that has been studied does the mind direct itself to linguistic peculiarities.
1. The contents of the Book of Daniel. In the first verse we have Nebuchadnezzar, the young conqueror, receiving the submission of the city of Jerusalem and of its king Jehoiakim. Among the hostages of noble and royal blood which he takes to be sent to Babylon, there are a number of youths. From these he wishes to select certain to be educated so as to be fit attendants on his court. These are committed to the care of Ashpenaz, or, to give him the name he has in the Septuagint Version, Abiesdri. These youths are divided off into messes of four. In one of these there is a youth that draws the tender love of this chief of the eunuchs. It is the youth who gives his name to the book. Soon Ashpenaz has to observe this youth and his three companions for another reason. They have scruples, and will not eat of the meat from the king's table. He does not consent to the request of this youth, favourite though he is with him. He fears lest they appear inferior to their companions when they are brought before the king; so he will not grant their request, but shuts his eyes when the steward under him, after an experiment of ten days' duration, permits these youths to live on pulse. The result fully justifies the experiment. When they are presented before the king, they distance all competitors. Such is the prologue of the story of Daniel
The rest of the book is divided into two nearly equal sections. First, incidents detached from each other, but arranged in a chronological succession: this ends with the sixth chapter. Next visions: this section, beginning with the seventh chapter, continues to the end of the book, and is also arranged chronologically.
The section of incidents. The first of these relates to Daniel's telling the king his dream and its interpretation, when all other members of the sacred college had failed to do so. It is not absolutely certain, by the language used, whether the king had forgotten the dream or simply was obstinately determined to put the claims of the Babylonian soothsayers to the test. It is not impossible that this was the occasion when the four friends were brought before the king, narrated already compendiously in the preceding chapter. The second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar — the date of this incident — coinciding, according to Babylonian reckoning, to some extent, with the third year after his accession, and therefore coinciding with the end of the third year of the training of those youths. The result of this manifestation of power by Daniel, and ascribed by him to the God whom he worships, is that Nebuchadnezzar ordains that the God of Daniel be henceforth reckoned among the great gods, especially on account of his wisdom as Revealer of secrets.
The next incident, that related in the third chapter, refers only to Daniel's three friends, not to Daniel himself. The three friends who bad, at Daniel's request, been promoted to places of trust in the province of Babylon, refuse to bow down in worship to the golden image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. In consequence of this act of insubordination and constructive treason — for so it seems to the Babylonian monarch — they are cast into a furnace of fire. God, whom they serve, for whose honour they have braved the wrath of the king, sends his angel and delivers them from the fiery furnace, and that angel, to the amazement of the king, is seen walking in the furnace with the three Hebrews. The king affirms his former decree with greater emphasis in regard to the God of Israel. His claims to be regarded as one of the great gods, — a god of gods — rests not only on his wisdom, but also on his power. As it is recognized that a God so great to deliver would be also great to destroy, to prevent his vengeance being poured forth on Babylon, the severest punishment is to be inflicted on any one who says anything derogatory of the God of the Hebrews.
While the former incident is dated by the Septuagint in the eighteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar — the year, according to the reckoning of Babylon, when he took Jerusalem — the incident of the fourth chapter must be placed much later in his reign. The Septuagint dates this incident the same year. Ewald would place it ten years later; probably the real date is the thirty-eighth year. The king, great and prosperous, has another dream. According to the Septuagint, he at once summons Daniel, and tells him the vision he has seen. Seeing what is revealed by the vision, and having a love for the splendid tyrant, Daniel is overwhelmed with sorrow. At last, adjured by the king he foretells his madness. A year elapses, the vision is so fulfilled. For seven months he is a maniac, and one of his own household acts as king. The king at length is restored to his senses, and decrees yet further honours to the God of heaven, without, however, declaring that the gods of Babylon were no gods — that is to say, without at all becoming a monotheist.
The next incident occurs during the time that Belshazzar, the son of Nabunahid is fulfilling the duties of the throne, while his father is living in enforced retirement in Tema. The young viceroy makes a feast at the consecration of his palace — so the Septuagint informs us — to inspirit his lords — the rabbuti, with whom, the annals of Nabunahid inform us, he always was during the illness of his father. He orders the vessels of the temple of Jehovah to be brought forth, along with trophies from the temples of other gods. It was a proof of the superiority of the gods of Babylon over all other deities, that these trophies had been brought from the very temples of these gods. It was thus a challenge to Jehovah. Over against the golden candlestick from Jerusalem, which by the royal orders was on the table, appeared on the fresh plaster a fiery inscription. No one could read it, notwithstanding that the greatest rewards were offered. At last, on the advice of the queen-mother, Daniel, who had retired from the court, probably on the murder of Evil-Merodach, is brought and reads the message of doom. The young viceroy hates not a jot of his promise. Daniel is made third in the kingdom. The Massoretic text has, "That night was Belshazzar King of the Chaldeans slain" — a most improbable statement, and one that is not found in the Septuagint.
The next incident occurs after the fall of the Babylonian power. Gobryas (Darius) is the governor of Babylon under Cyrus. Daniel occupies a prominent place in the court of the new viceroy. Possibly induced by fear of the riots liable to ensue when so many shrines are dismantled in order to scud the idols of the cities plundered by the Babylonian monarch back to their original seats, Darius issues a decree that all religious worship is to cease for a month, on pain of being thrown to the lions. Daniel disregards this sentence, and is accordingly thrown to the lions, despite the governor's efforts. Daniel is delivered from the lions by his God, in whom he trusted. Gobryas then issues a decree, reaffirming the decrees of Nebuchadnezzar, but not establishing the sole worship of Jehovah.
Such are the contents of the first section of the Book of Daniel. These incidents clearly exhibit the supremacy of the God of Israel over the gods of Babylon — a supremacy which the overthrow of the Jewish kingdom and the destruction of Jehovah's temple might have seemed to have rendered not even doubtful. The monarchs of Assyria and Babylon were highly religious in their way, and regarded themselves as the instruments of their own gods; all their victories were victories of the gods they worshipped, and manifestations el their power. Hence the special point of these works of wonder narrated in the Book of Daniel.
The second section consists of visions revealed to Daniel. These, like the incidents of the first section, are arranged chronologically. To a certain extent the contents of the vision of Nebuchadnezzar in the second chapter might be regarded as belonging to this section, and has to be considered along with it.
The first vision is dated as given in the first year of Belshazzar. Daniel in vision sees the four winds of heaven striving for the mastery on the surface of the great sea, the Mediterranean; and four beasts, great and mystical, arose out of the sea. The first was a winged lion, whose wings were plucked, and a man's heart was given him. The second was a huge bear, that gnawed three ribs in its teeth. The third, a leopard having four wings. The fourth was a beast great and terrible, that had no likeness among the beasts of the earth. It had great iron teeth, and brake in pieces and stamped the residue with its feet. It had ten horns at first, but an eleventh horn sprang up in the midst of the ten, and dispossessed three of these. Then the Ancient of Days sat for judgment, and one like a son of man appeared, and a new Divine kingdom was established. Not only is the vision narrated, but the interpretation is given also.
The next vision is dated the third year of the reign of Belshazzar. Daniel is in fact or in vision in Susa, the capital of Cyrus, whose conquests were perhaps not yet causing anxiety in Babylon. He sees a ram having two horns, standing before the gate of the city, and pushing in all directions, and prevailing over all the beasts that were round about it. From the region of the sunset came against it a goat, having one noticeable horn. It seemed to skim along the ground rather than to tread upon it. Before the onslaught of the goat the ram is powerless. After a little, Daniel sees the single horn in the forehead of the he-goat broken, and in its place four horns spring up. From the side of one of these four horns sprouts out a little horn, which mounts up to the stars of heaven. This vision is interpreted of the fall of the empire of Persia before the Greek power which Cyrus may even then have been coming in contact with in his struggle with Croesus.
In the ninth chapter Daniel has been fasting and praying, as the seventieth year since he was carried away a hostage had come, and yet Israel was not saved. In answer to his prayer, Gabriel comes to him, and reveals to him the future of his people. Jeremiah had spoken of seventy years, but he is shown that seventy weeks of years are determined upon his people. A history of mingled disaster and glory, sun and shadow, is shown, but clearly revealed is the anointed Prince who is yet to be cut off. Strangely, the end of this vision of comfort is desolation.
The last three chapters contain the account mainly of one vision; but it appears to us that it has so suffered, alike from excisions and from interpolations, that the real vision is hardly to be recognized. In the tenth chapter we are told of the coming of Gabriel again to Daniel, and the curtain is faintly lifted, that we may discern a conflict among the powers in heavenly places — the angels of the different nations. It is probable that the vision, in its original condition, had much more of this, but there has been interpolated by some later hand an account of the conflicts between Syria and Egypt. At the end of the eleventh chapter there is a passage which seems to be a version of the history of Antiochus, earlier and more succinct than that in the preceding verses. The last chapter concludes the vision, and, though not of the nature of an epilogue, yet forms a fitting close to the whole book. "Go thy way till the end: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days."
2. The literary form of the Book of Daniel. The Book of Daniel represented a new departure in the sacred literature of the Hebrews. It is the earliest example, and the only one in the Old Testament canon, of apocalypse. It had a long line of imitators in the inter-Biblical period, and the series was continued, and in a manner terminated, in the Christian Apocalypse of St. John.
It is closely related at once to history and to prophecy. Apocalypse may be regarded as in a sense the philosophy of history. Students of Plato know that when a philosophic thought was shaping itself in the brain of the great sage, the first form the thought assumed was a myth. Apocalypse is the philosophy of history in the mythic stage. The history it takes to do with is not that of one nation — although one nation, the people of God, is central — but that of the whole world. It is no limited terminus ad quem to which its purpose tends, but to the end of all things. And this is regarded as an orderly termination to a succession of events fixed beforehand. But while it is philosophy, it is philosophy in picture — in symbols of the imagination, not in propositions of the understanding. The symbols used show it is Eastern philosophy that is adumbrated — a philosophy which drew its symbols flora the grotesque combinations, human and bestial, which so liberally adorned the wails of the Assyrian and Babylonian palaces.
Like prophecy, apocalypse had to do with the future. The notion at present predominant, that whatever the prophet did, he did not prophesy, is one that certain!y was not held among the Jews, among whom prophecy was an actually present phenomenon. Thus in Deuteronomy 18:22 it is made the evidence that "a prophet hath spoken presumptuously," and not "the thing which the Lord hath spoken," when "the thing follow not nor come to pass." The Deuteronomist evidently believed that the principal function of the prophet was to foretell, Micaiah the son of Imlah applied the same test to the words of Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah (2 Kings 22:28). When Hananiah broke the yoke on Jeremiah's shoulders, and prophesied the overthrow of Babylon, the falsity of his prophecy was shown by its non-fulfilment; and Jeremiah appeals to that test, "The prophet that prophesieth of peace, when the word of that prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known that the Lord hath truly sent him." Of course, modern critics think they know better, but as they have not had under their observation the phenomenon of prophecy, reticence would more become them. It is part of a tendency to get rid of the supernatural altogether. Some men, whose real soundness we should be the last to impugn, failing, as we think, to grasp its real import, have yielded to it, and we think are doing great damage. It is difficult to see how they can avoid accusing our Lord and his apostles of being impostors, since they ground the claims of Christ so largely on the evidence of prophecy. We do not mean that the supporters of these views intend to maintain any such position, but this is its logical content. Certainly there was a time when the prophet was supposed to have to do only with the future, when every moral exhortation, every denunciation of wrong, was supposed to have a Messianic reference. From this the present critical view may be regarded as to a certain extent the reaction. We must, however, beware lest the reaction be allowed to go too far.
Like prophecy, apocalypse, we have said, had to do with the future. Yet there were marked distinctions between prophecy and apocalypse. The attitudes el the prophet and the apocalyptist to the future were different. The prophet regarded the future, whether of weal or woe, as the consequence of the moral condition of the time when he spoke. Because men had worshipped idols and abandoned the service of Jehovah, because they had wronged and oppressed their poorer brethren, therefore were the judgments of the Lord ready to be poured out on the land. It was because they repented — if they did so — that these judgments were arrested, and blessing came from the presence of the Lord instead of curse. The apocalyptist regarded the future simply as future, as the result of the general purpose of God totally apart from the actions of men. Certainly there would be evil in the time to come, and evil would be punished; but the apocalyptist spoke no words of exhortation or warning. The eye of the apocalyptist is a colourless medium, in which that which was coming on the earth was seen with all clearness. The eye of the prophet was now dimmed with tears, and now glowing with the refracted colours of a bliss which he rejoiced in, even while he saw it only afar off.
Closely connected with this is the fact that the prophet's message was largely lyric, while that of the apocalyptist was delivered in prose. In the case alike of the prophet and apocalyptist, vision was the means used to convey to him the truth to be declared. The prophet, however, never describes the vision he sees in distinct words; he gives a lyric accompaniment to it, and from this the reader may gather what the prophet sees. On the other hand, the apocalyptist is unmoved by what he sees. Certain of the prophets that were Daniel's contemporaries, as Ezekiel, are largely impregnated with the apocalyptic manner. Along with the description of what they saw, it is to be noted that apocalyptists made a much larger use of symbol than did the prophets. The symbols of the apocalyptist are largely logical symbols built up by fancy rather than by that poetic imagination which takes what nature gives, and fills it full with a Divine meaning. Prophecy was, as might naturally be expected from what we have just said, individual, personal; it is the people, not the abstract power, it regards. It is the monarch as an individual that is brought before us, not merely as the accidental representative of a certain phase of the Divine government by world-powers.
Akin with this is the enlarged and more defined angelology of the apocalyptists. The Eastern mind is not abstract, and the only way in which such an abstraction as a power, a state, an empire, can be grasped in its continuity, was, by seeing behind the state with its armies, as seen on earth, an angelic ruler. We in these later days have no difficulty in thinking of a nation as an abstraction, and speaking of the spirit of the nation; but we cannot realize the angel of a nation. It may be that the Oriental was wiser than we. Certainly the functions Scripture assigns to angels are much more numerous and important than those popular theology ascribes to them. The Book of Daniel thus is an apocalypse.
There was certainly a reason for this form of sacred literature making its appearance at the time of Daniel, and not earlier. So long as Judah was an independent country, its interests were limited to a great extent by the contiguous principalities that, small like itself, had but small effect on the great world. By the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonian world-power, and the deportation of so large a portion of the inhabitants, Judah was brought within the sweep of the great tide of history. Their view of events was extended to a vast degree, both as to time and space. They were thus enabled to grasp the world and its history as a whole in a very different way from what they could do while their thoughts were bounded by the Euphrates and the Nile. Inspiration does not supersede the effects of circumstances and education, but, assuming them, uses the person as he has become in consequence of them. Hence the prophet of a nation small geographically, even though inspired by the Divine Spirit, would have a limited outlook, and his prophecies, though referring to a remote future, would have the terms of their statements conditioned by the education and circumstances of him to whom they had been revealed. It was different when the Jews were removed to Babylon. The Persian Gulf, into which the Euphrates and Tigris poured their waters, opened into the Indian Ocean. Not only was Egypt subject to Nebuchadnezzar, but he had in his army Greeks from beyond the great sea. To the Jewish captives in Babylon the world became vaster, and prophecy now had a broader outlook; it became by this less impassioned — it became apocalypse. The very strange composite figures which adorned the walls of the temples and palaces of Babylon would help the imagination of the seer to symbols sufficiently comprehensive to convey the message entrusted to him for his hearers.
After the Jews had been restored to their own land, they were less likely to have devised any mode of composition so new and strange as apocalypse. The nation became more provincial than ever. The Persian rule does not seem to have been conducive to literary effort. The Jews inhabited a province in a great empire, ruled over by an alien race, their interests narrowed down to their flocks and herds, their vineyards and oliveyards. The events of their history were not the crash of empires and the fall of monarchs, but the invasion of locusts, the devastation of tempests, the exactions of tyrannical governors, and the incursions of predatory Arabs. Once devised, they might continue to produce apocalypse, but they could not have invented in these circumstances such a mode of composition. The character of apocalypse, as a mode of writing, suits the date assigned to it by tradition.
When the species of prophetic composition to which Daniel belongs is determined, the further question of its unity emerges. Are we to regard it as one book, composed as such by its author; or is it a number of separate parts united by an editor?
While the fact that it has formed from an early date one book, and from the fact that the same leading character appears in each successive part of it, the reader assumes at first, without doubt, that Daniel is one book. Yet the question may be put — Is its unity so beyond doubt? To any one who begins reading the Book of Daniel in the original, the fact is soon patent that the reader has to do with two languages. The fourth verse of the second chapter introduces the reader to Aramaic — a language that differs as much from Hebrew as Italian does from French. Further reading reveals the additional fact that the use of Aramaic ceases without warning at the end of the seventh chapter. When, into a book written mainly in one tongue, a large section in another tongue is intruded, the reason frequently is obvious; as in the case where in histories the original documents on which the narrative is founded are quoted; or semi-concealment may be intended, as in the case of the Latin section in Darwin's 'The Doctrine of Selection in Relation to Sex;' or the interlocutors introduced in a drama speak their own tongue, as in Shakespeare's 'Henry V.' For none of these reasons, nor for any reason obvious on the surface, are these two languages used here. The further consideration of the two languages in which Daniel is written we must reserve, but the fact that there are two distinct portions, marked off from each other by difference in language, renders unwise any dogmatic assertion that the unity is certain. But, further, there are other tokens of want of unity. As already observed, after the prologue, the Book of Daniel divides itself into two nearly equal portions, the first containing incidents, the second visions, each arranged in a chronological series. Did this division coincide with the linguistic division, a plea might be made for asserting that there were two distinct works, each, however, a whole in itself. But the fact that the divisions do not coincide disposes of this, even if the independence of the relation in which each part — incident or vision — stands to the rest, did not. The natural explanation of the above phenomena would seem to be that our Book of Daniel originally floated about in separate little tractates, some relating incidents, others visions; some in Aramaic, some in Hebrew; and that in a somewhat later age an editor collected them together and added a prologue. Confirmatory of this are the phenomena presented by the Septuagint translation. In some of the sections the Septuagint Version seems more concise than the Massoretic text, while in regard to other sections there have been interpolations, expansions, and paraphrase. Meinhold thinks that there are indications of difference in the Aramaic. It seems, then, exceedingly unwise to maintain the necessary unity of Daniel, and still more so to build any farther argument on this. Again, there is the possibility of interpolation — a thing to which apocalyptic books were specially liable, and from which Daniel also suffered. What it certainly suffered in the days of the later Seleucids it may have suffered earlier. For ourselves we admit the strongest suspicion as to the genuineness of the eleventh chapter. This possibility is an additional reason for caution.
The unity of Daniel is argued from its alleged unity of purpose. It is not a disproof of a unity of purpose to show, as we have done, that it has been compiled from several distinct documents. An editor may collect several separate tracts all bearing on one subject and exhibiting it in different lights. Separate tractates would not, however, be the natural mode in which one would compose a work of imagination. We do not recall any case where two series of disconnected fragments were composed by a writer of a work of imagination, mechanically stuck together without any link of connection, and whose issue as one book became a powerful literary factor in the development of a people. One would have difficulty in deciding which would be the more unlikely — the mode of composition or the result.
It has, however, been maintained, and is persistently maintained still, that the purpose of this book is to sustain the spirits of the Jews under the persecution they endured under Antiochus. That view, taken alone, may quite well be held by the most orthodox of traditionalists, but along with this it is maintained that it was written in the very storm and stress of this persecution, and hence was an historical novel. Almost necessarily connected with this is the assertion that Nebuchadnezzar stands for Antiochus. It is somewhat awkward that this assertion has to be supplemented by the further statement that Belshazzar and Darius also represent Antiochus. No reason has been assigned why the novelist, anxious that his readers should recognize the portrait, should make their task thus more difficult by perpetually changing the name of the puppet whose raison detre was to be the portrait of Antiochus.
If, however, we do not press this, but look rather at Nebuchadnezzar as represented to us in the Book of Daniel, are the deeds and character ascribed to him like the deeds of which Epiphanes was guilty, or the character we know he possessed? We must answer this in the negative. We shall take the incidents seriatim, for it is in the series of incidents that this portraiture is alleged to be presented to us. Nebuchadnezzar takes hostages from Jerusalem along with part of the treasures of the temple. We learn nothing of Antiochus taking hostages to bring them up in his court. That fact is the central portion of Nebuchadnezzar's share in the incident recorded in the first chapter; the removal of the treasures from the temples of captured cities was as little peculiar to Nebuchadnezzar as to Antiochus. A point of contrast, indeed, may be noted. Antiochus did not leave any portion of the treasures behind him when he robbed temples, and Nebuchadnezzar, in the first instance in regard to Jerusalem, did, The dream of the second chapter has no parallel event in the history of Antiochus. Certainly Antiochus erected idols as Nebuchadnezzar is related in Daniel 3:0. to have done, but the peculiar heinousness of the action of Epiphanes was that he erected the statue in the courts of Jehovah's temple and over his altar. Nothing of the kind is ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar. The peculiarities again of the idol of Nebuchadnezzar — its height, its position, its gilding — the statue of Antiochus did not possess. There is nothing in the history of Antiochus like the fiery furnace: the only point of resemblance is that Antiochus and Nebuchadnezzar alike (as did all heathen monarchs) demanded all officials to worship their gods. Antiochus further wished to compel a nation to abandon its religion; Nebuchadnezzar never had any such mad project in his mind. If the incident in the third chapter of Daniel is intended to be a representation of the setting up of "the abomination which maketh desolate" in the temple, it can scarcely be called a successful effort. Neither the dreams of Daniel 4:0. nor the madness of Nebuchadnezzar are paralleled by anything which is recorded of Antiochus. We are told, indeed, that Antiochus was called Epimanes "the Mad," instead of Epiphanes "the Illustrious," and that the madness ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar referred to this. Had we any evidence that this title was given to Antiochus by the mob, say of Antioch, there might be a bare possibility that this nickname might have reached Palestine. But the only occasion on which it was given him was by Polybius the historian, and our evidence for this is a passage in Athenaeus, bk. 5., in which it is said, "Polybius, in the six and twentieth (book) of the histories, calls him (Antiochus) Epimanes, and not Epiphanes, on account of his deeds;" This is a totally different matter from his subjects giving him the title. The symptoms of the madness, such as it was, of Antiochus were totally different from those of that of Nebuchadnezzar. There is little resemblance between the mad pranks of a Marquis of Waterford and the antics of a lunatic that imagines himself a beast. Belshazzar's feast, we are told, was intended to be a picture of the orgies of Antiochus in the grove in Daphne. Opinions may differ as to the resemblance between the sign and the thing signified. Belshazzar invites a thousand of his lords into his palace. Antiochus entertained the whole populace in the grove at Daphne. Antiochus's festival lasted thirty days, that of Belshazzar only one night. The point of Belshazzar's feast that specially brought the wrath of God was that he used the sacred vessels for his banquet; there is no reference in history to any such action on the part of Antiochus. Excessive pomp, excessive debauchery, characterized the feast in Daphne, characteristics which are not represented as being markedly present in the fewest of Belshazzar. If reference should be made to the fact that wives and concubines were present, and that be regarded as a sign of debauchery, it must be remembered that these words are omitted from the Septuagint Version. There is nothing in the history of Antiochus that at all corresponds to the story of Darius and his decree and the condemnation of Daniel to the den of lions.
Not only are the events of the history in Daniel utterly unlike the events of the history of Antiochus, but the characters assigned to Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius are utterly unlike what we know to have been the character of Antiochus. Nebuchadnezzar, as presented to us in the Book of Daniel, is a typical Eastern conqueror, vigorous, clear-sighted, but capricious, and subject to fits of ungovernable rage. At the same time, there is a deep religiousness of feeling, ready, when he is convinced that he has been wrong, to go to the utmost extreme of honor to the persons he has wronged. Take him all in all, he is a stately, awe-inspiring personage. The writer of the eleventh chapter declares Antiochus to be a vile person. Such a person as that could never have been declared to be, as Nebuchadnezzar, the head of gold. Even Belshazzar cannot deserve the title of a vile person; he has promised to highly honour the interpreter of the fiery inscription, and when the tenor of the inscription becomes far other than he would, he does not, as most despots would have done, vent his rage on the messenger of evil; no, he does not bate one jot of the glory and dignity he had promised. Still less could Darius deserve the title of a vile person. He certainly is represented as easily persuaded; but his eagerness to save Daniel, and his sorrow when all his efforts proved unavailing, show his character to be very different from that of Antiochus.
We may, however, estimate the character of Nebuchadnezzar by the effects that character is represented as having on Daniel, and comparing that with the effect on the Jews of the character of Antiochus. It is obvious that Daniel 1:0 had a high personal esteem for the splendid tyrant, destroyer though he had been of all the glories of Jerusalem. When Daniel is the messenger of evil tidings, when in the king's dream he sees his coming madness, "he was astonied one hour," and had to be reassured by the king before he could tell the dread interpretation. Then the words burst from him, "My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation to thine enemies;" and is anxious that by repentance the king may attain a lengthening of his tranquillity. Can any one, reading the Books of the Maccabees, imagine a zealous Jew picturing his model saint maintaining an attitude like that toward Epiphanes? The very idea can only be due to a defective historic sense on the part of those who have devised this theory, and on the part of those who support it.
It is further said, in connection with this theory of the purpose of Daniel, that the character of Daniel is modelled on that of Joseph. Certainly there are not a few points of resemblance between the two careers. If Joseph goes down to Egypt a slave, Daniel goes to Babylon a hostage. If Joseph becomes governor of the land by interpreting the dream of Pharaoh, Daniel is admitted into the counsel of the King of Babylon by not only interpreting a dream which he had, but by telling him also the dream itself. Joseph is made the second person of the kingdom, and Daniel the third. Notwithstanding all these resemblances, the points of difference are too important to allow us to assume that the latter history was imitated from the former. One characteristic of all cases of such imitation is that in every point where a direct comparison is of necessity instituted between the original hero and the hero modelled upon him, the imitator endeavours to make his hero nobler than the original. If we apply this canon, the story of Joseph ought to have been written last. Joseph dropped down to a lower degradation than did Daniel, and from a higher elevation. Further, Daniel did not rise to such an elevation as Joseph; he is only third person in the kingdom, or perhaps one of a board of three, whereas Joseph becomes the second person in the kingdom. The events in Joseph's history which make most impression on the imagination of the reader have no place in the history of Daniel. Joseph's relation to his brethren and to Potiphar's wife are not paralleled in the history of Daniel. But more, some, at any rate, of the points of resemblance between the histories have not been pressed as they certainly would have been had "Daniel" been a work of fiction "written up" to Joseph. Like Joseph, Daniel precedes the mass of his countrymen in removal to a foreign land; like Joseph, Daniel has become prominent years before the coming of his kindred; but Daniel is not represented as doing anything to make the coming of his people to Babylon easier, or their residence there more pleasant. It cannot be answered that the facts of the Babylonian captivity hindered any such invention; for any one reading the Talmud or the Jewish commentaries would see that notorious facts are no barrier to Jewish imagination. Joseph kept alive in his brethren the hope of deliverance from Egypt, and "gave commandment concerning his bones." In the return of the children of Judah to Jerusalem, Daniel is not represented as taking any part. If the Book of Daniel had been a novel modelled on the history of Joseph, the resemblance would have been closer in these critical points. We might go further. If a novel at all, and Daniel an ideal character, then certainly he would have been represented, if not as actually going to Jerusalem, helping his fellow-countrymen in their return, and aiding them in Babylon with money and influence. Explanations would, at least, have been offered to remove the seeming failure from the Jewish ideal. If, again, the Book of Daniel is an approximately contemporary record, the causes which prevented Daniel from accompanying his brethren might — probably would — be so obvious that it would be superfluous to narrate them.
Another explanation of the origin of the Book of Daniel is that it was written up to the name — either to the name as significant or as designating a person elsewhere referred to in Scripture. The name may mean either "God is my Judge," or "the judge of God." The only incident in the book that might seem to flow from the first meaning is that of the lions' den. Even this incident rather reveals God as the Help and Deliverer of his saints than as their avenging Judge. Had the name of the prophet been Azriel (Jeremiah 36:26), there might have been more plausibility in the assertion that the book was written to the name. Hitzig's contention is that the name means "the Divine Judge," and such names as Gabriel support this view. On this supposition the book is still less like one written up to the name. In the story of Susanna and the elders we see what the imagination of the Jew produced when writing up to that idea; indeed, so well does the story suit the name, that M. Renan is sure that this represents the original form of the Daniel legend — an opinion that is a reductio ad absurdum of this view. The canonical Book of Daniel cannot be written up to the name.
Has the book been written up to the references to Daniel in Ezekiel 14:14-20 and 28:3? In the first of these references Daniel is put on a par in righteousness with ]Noah and Job. The ideas of righteousness prevalent at the time when, according to the critical school, Daniel was written can be learned from Ecclesiasticus, e.g. Ecclus. 17:22, "The alms of a man is as a signet with him, and he will keep the good deeds of man as the apple of the eye, and give repentance to his sons and daughters." That Daniel gave alms is probable, but not a word is said of this in the Book of Daniel. Zeal for the cause of Jehovah is, somewhat later than the days of the Maccabees, a token of righteousness, as we may see in 2 Maccabees 6, 7. Daniel's three friends manifest that zeal much more than he; when they are threatened with the fiery furnace he is elsewhere, and no explanation of his absence is given. If he were the ideal righteous man, his absence would be explained. If we turn to the Book of Tobit, we see the Jewish ideal of a date, as it seems to us, somewhat earlier than that of the Maccabees. Tobit gives alms, buries the dead of his people, and what he does himself he urges on his son. Before he became a captive, he proclaims, as a special evidence of his righteousness, the fact that he went from Naphtali to Jerusalem to offer at the altar in Jerusalem. Daniel, on the other hand, makes no effort to go to Jerusalem, even when the people are permitted by the decree of Cyrus to return. So far, then, as righteousness is concerned, Daniel has not the obtrusive righteousness we should expect in a character written especially to illustrate this.
The other characteristic ascribed to Daniel in Ezekiel is wisdom. The wisdom of the period of the Maccabees, if we may judge by Ecclesiasticus, was largely gnomic and proverbial. There is no trace of that in Daniel. Another characteristic of the Jewish wise man was the solution of hard questions or riddles. This was one of the special proofs of Solomon's wisdom, that all the riddles of the Queen of Sheba he could solve. This is a character given to Daniel in the Massoretic text of Daniel 5:12 — a verse that is quite omitted from the Septuagint. In Job it is the solution of the moral problems of the universe. The only characteristic of Jewish wisdom that Daniel possesses is the interpretation of dreams, and in regard to this he expressly disclaims the credit of this power, attributing it to God. His apocalyptic visions, which occupy so large a space in the book, are in no sense connected with Hebrew wisdom. It seems impossible to imagine the Book of Daniel to be written up to the character of a wise man from whom no secret is hid, and yet only one of the special characteristics of the Hebrew wise man being attributed to its hero.
If we look at the purpose alleged a little more carefully, we think it will be seen that the Book of Daniel could not have been written merely to encourage the Jews in their struggle against Epiphanes. The incidents narrated are not such as would be naturally fitted,to fire people to resist the behests of a tyrant with force of arms. For that purpose the stories of the Book of Judges were far better fitted. If anything may be supposed to be inculcated by the incidents in the Book of Daniel, it is passive resistance. We learn from 1 Maccabees 2:29-36 how certain Jews followed the lines of passive resistance, and were all destroyed. The course followed by Mattathias and his sons was in direct contrast with this, and they deprecated any such suicidal policy. This event happened in the year B.C. 168, the date when, according to critics, Daniel was written. If it be granted that the same mistaken idea, as led to the disaster to which we have just referred, might be supposed to be dominant in the mind of the writer of Daniel, it is, on that supposition, impossible to explain the almost immediate popularity of the book. It inculcates passive resistance; and passive resistance, while the only mode of resistance open to those in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, was not the method fitted to be successful in regard to Antiochus Epiphanes. This alleged purpose must, we think, be abandoned.
As, however, no composition or compilation ever is made without some purpose, what is the probable purpose for which "Daniel" was compiled? The canon of the Old Testament is mainly the history of Divine dealings with a particular race, in order to fit them for the office assigned — that of being the race of which Christ was to come. Every crisis in their history is narrated to us under prophetic sanction. No greater crisis in the history of the Jewish people had occurred than that of the Babylonian captivity. The capture of Jerusalem, the desolation of the temple which God had promised to make his dwelling-place for ever, the overthrow of the Davidic monarchy which, like the temple, had been promised an unending duration, — all were fitted to sap their faith in God. Moreover, they had been led captive by one who ascribed all his victories to the favour of his own gods. To Nebuchadnezzar his conquest of Jerusalem and plunder of its temple was a demonstration that the God of the Jews was very inferior to Merodach (Marduk). Certainly the prophets of Jehovah had threatened the king and the people with vengeance, because they had forsaken the worship of Jehovah. In the reign of Manasseh the Jews had worshipped Baai and all the host of heaven; that worship had been abandoned for that of Jehovah under Josiah. The prophets of Baal would denounce the judgments of Baal on the people for abandoning that worship. Which set of prophets were right? Disaster had been foretold by both sets of prophets. Was the disaster due to the abrogation of the worship of Jehovah by Manasseh, or to the abrogation of that of Baal by Josiah? The miracles related in Daniel amply decided that question, and they alone must have settled it. The nation that went to Babylon were prone to idolatry, prone to abandon their national God Jehovah; they came back fanatical monotheists and fanatical worshippers of Jehovah. It could only be some special demonstrations of the supreme Godhead of Jehovah that could do this — deeds of wonder like those narrated in the first chapters of the Book of Daniel.
It would, however, have value for this end only if it were a record of facts, not a moral romance. Its popularity is explicable only on the ground that it was regarded as history. No such book as Daniel ever was popular unless on the idea that it was a series of accounts of real events. It is a series of disconnected accounts of events and visions written, some in one language, some in another. It has few graces of composition; the rhetorical passages we find in some parts being in so many cases suspicious, since they are not in all the versions, that the remaining instances are suspicious also. If it is a record of facts, and regarded to be such, this popularity is thoroughly intelligible. No novel of Covenanting times in Scotland ever had the popularity among the Scottish people that Howie's 'Scots Worthies' had, and that was because, simple and rough in its style as it is, it was looked upon as a statement of facts.
3. The linguistic peculiarities of the Book of Daniel. We have referred to the fact that there are in Daniel two languages used. There have been several different explanations of the two languages.
(1) Some of these explanations are logical, as that of Keil, which declares that the first, the Aramaic part, gives us the development of the world-power in relation to the kingdom of God; and that the second, the Hebrew portion, represents the development of the kingdom of God in relation to the world-power. Against this view it may be effectively urged that the eighth chapter gives the development of the world-power of Macedonia over against the kingdom of God, as much as do the second and seventh, and as little gives the development of the kingdom of God. Indeed, the Messianic kingdom is more prominent in the two earlier visions.
(2) Another explanation is difference of audience contemplated. This is the theory of Merx. Where the contents were relatively simple and suited for ordinary Jewish society, the language used was Aramaic, the common language of business and social intercourse. Where the contents of the prophecy were more recondite, the sacred language, Hebrew, was used, which was known to few beyond the learned Jews. To this the answer of Lenormant is sufficient. The first chapter is simple narrative, yet it is in Hebrew. On the other hand, the seventh chapter, with its account of the four beasts, is as recondite as the account of the combat of the ram and the he-goat in the following chapter, yet the former is in Aramaic, and the latter in Hebrew.
(3) Another theory, that of Eichhorn, explains the two languages by difference of authorship. Meinhold has a view somewhat akin to this, only he makes the division between the authors at the end of the sixth chapter, because he thinks the seventh chapter indicates Aramaic of a different age. The connective on which he lays stress may be explained in a different way. Neither hypothesis explains why the writer of the first chapter, having written that whole chapter in Hebrew, and a few verses in the second, should suddenly break off into Aramaic. Meinhold's theory adds the difficulty — why the writer of the latter portion, having begun in Aramaic, should suddenly turn off into Hebrew. The problem is still there, only it now applies to two authors instead of one.
(4) Lenormant's theory is that the Aramaic portion is really a Targum or interpretation, and that during the Antiocheau persecution the Hebrew of this portion was lost. This theory is, to some extent, adopted by Mr. Bevan. Certainly it is in favour of this view, that the Hebrew ceases in the middle of the fourth verse of the second chapter, in quite an accidental way, at a point that marks no change in the subject of the narrative. Against it is the fact that the Aramaic section concludes with the end of a chapter. Had any such disaster befallen any of the sacred books, some trace of the event would certainly have been found in the Talmud, terribly distorted, no doubt, but none the less recognizable. The Talmudists do not discuss the question at all; they certainly call the Aramaic portion of Daniel "Targum" in reference to the language, but assert it "to defile the hands." The task of the defenders of Daniel would, in some respects, be made easier if this theory could be maintained.
(5) Another theory is that the difference of language represents a difference in date in the delivery of the prophecies or narrative, those written under the Babylonian supremacy being in Aramaic, but those under the Persian rule in Hebrew. This, were it accurate, would be merely a statement of fact, not an assignment of a reason for that fact. The original framers of this view have failed to note that the eighth chapter is dated under Belshazzar, while the sixth is under Darius.
(6) Dr. Wright, the author of the Donnellan Lectures on Ecclesiastes, and of the Bampton Lecture on Zechariah, has a theory which he indicates in his 'Introduction to the Old Testament'. His theory is that the Book of Daniel is compiled of "excerpts from a larger work (partly preserved in the original language, and partly translated)." While there is, in favour of this view, the fact that the canonical books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles seem to have resulted from a process analogous to this, against it is the fact that there are no links of connection in Daniel, as there are in the books in question. It also assigns no reason for the translator selecting certain portions of the book to be turned into Hebrew, and omitting others. There must have been at least two books from the twofold chronological arrangement. Further, it does not explain the peculiar phenomena presented to us by the Septuagint Version preserved to us in the Codex Chisianus.
(7) If we may venture to suggest another theory, it would be that, as Daniel was originally compiled from fly-leaves, some of these tracts were composed in Aramaic, others in Hebrew, and that the whole was edited by some one who wrote the prologue. It would be impossible to assign the reason why a writer, to whom two languages were equally familiar, should write one leaflet in one language, and another in another. After they had been so written, it would be natural that each tract, even though it may have been epitomized, should be kept in the canonical book in the language in which it was originally written. There may have been some reason of policy why certain prophecies that seemed to relate the overthrow of the Persian empire should be shrouded in Hebrew rather than published in Aramaic. The Persian police, who would certainly be able to read Aramaic, were probably ignorant of Hebrew.
Since we have now discussed the question of the two languages, we must next take them up successively.
(1) As it is the first language which the reader encounters in his study of the Book of Daniel, we must look at the Hebrew. When one investigates the age of a work, the circumstances of the book must be kept carefully before him. If the book is one that has been frequently transcribed, if there is not any cheek on the changes introduced that exist in the case of a book that is regularly read, then we may expect to find alterations in the direction of modernization. Thus in Urry's edition of Chaucer, published before the recent effort was made after extreme accuracy, many changes are introduced, all in the way of modernization. In such an edition, the occurrence of a recent word had little worth in settling the date of the book; on the other hand, every ancient word had full chronological value, So it is with Daniel. The presence of relatively recent words means much less than many critics make out, while the presence of ancient words has all its probative force intact.
It has been said by Canon Driver that "the great turning-point in Hebrew style" between old and middle Hebrew "fails in the age of Nehemiah." The Jews, returning from Babylon to Palestine, found their own land filled with foreign settlers of different nationalities, to whom Aramaic was the only common tongue. The Jews were necessitated to carry on commerce with these intruders, and therefore obliged to use Aramaic. But more in Babylon and the cities of the Medes, in which they had dwelt as captives, they would be obliged to use Aramaic constantly; consequently, they soon ceased to speak Hebrew at all, and even when they wrote it, Aramaic words and idioms were prone to intrude. Even before the days of the Captivity, Aramaic had begun to infect Hebrew — not unnaturally, as Aramaic was the language of commerce and diplomacy. The change that had become marked in the days of Nehemiah may well have been exemplified in men like Daniel, though living in an earlier generation. Any one who, unaware of the history of the poets, passed from the study of the 'Canterbury Tales' to peruse 'Piers the Ploughman,' would be ready to assert the latter-named poem to be one of a very much earlier date than the other; yet we know they were contemporary poems. The reason was that Chaucer, living in the court, accustomed to foreign ways, wrote in the style that was on the way to become prevalent, whereas Langland (or Langley) had a homely muse, and retained the older forms of phrase and modes of versification that were fast disappearing. So too Spenser and Shakespeare present the same contrast — the old and disappearing as over against the new and rising characteristics of the language. Thus it is not a proof that Daniel is later than Haggai and Malachi that in some respects his language seems more akin to the later Hebrew than theirs. He is like Geoffrey Chaucer in the court, and engaged in diplomacies with foreign courts; they are more like Langland, with homelier wits and surroundings.
Although we thus can fix the date when old Hebrew passed into middle Hebrew, it is not so easy to fix when it passed from middle Hebrew to new Hebrew. There are no complete books in Hebrew extant, universally acknowledged to belong to the period of the Greek domination. Of course, from a priori grounds and internal evidence, several of the psalms are called Maccabean. To us the evidence seems utterly insufficient. But even if the critical decision were granted in regard to the Psalms, verse retains archaic forms that have been long disused by prose. The next mass of Hebrew is not reached till we come as far down as the age of the Mishna, that is to say, A.D. 200.
Although we have, as we have said, no complete Hebrew works from the period of Greek supremacy, we have, fortunately, considerable fragments of a very famous work written in Hebrew in the period in question. The Book of Ecclesiasticus was translated into Greek by the grandson of the author. There is certainly a doubt as to the date at which this translation was made, whether B.C. 130 or B.C. 230; although we think the balance of evidence is in favour rather of the earlier than of the later date, we will not contest the matter. The Hebrew from which it was translated was thus probably written B.C. 180, if not B.C. 280. This is a work which has disappeared as a whole, but there remains, as we have said, considerable quotations from it in various tracts of the Talmud, and in other Rabbinic writings. The fact that even when the treatises in question are in Aramaic, the quotations from Ecclesiasticus — or to give the book its Rabbinic name, Ben Sira — are in Hebrew, shows that Hebrew was the language in which the book was written. These quotations have been collected by various hands. We shall make use of two — that in Dukes' 'Blumenlese,' and that in an article by Dr. Schechter, in the Jewish Quarterly. The number of these quotations is not very large, amounting in all to what would be equal to a somewhat long chapter. But for purposes of comparison we would lessen the number still further. We would take only those quotations which are not only attributed to Ben Sira, but which we are able to identify in one or other of the three versions and those which, when quoted, are introduced by the formula, "It is written in the Book of Ben Sira," or some such phrase. When there is a variation in the quotation, we would prefer the more archaic forms, as any change towards modernization might be the result of a copyist's blunder. Even of those that remain we shall restrict ourselves to a few specimens.
The first of those we select is the fourth of the quotations brought together by Dr. Schechter, and the eighth in the collection of Dukes. It occurs in 'Hagigah,' 13 (a). This is the twelfth tractate of Seder Moed, the second division of the Talmud. It is also quoted in the Rabbinic treatise on Genesis, Bereshith Rabbi, and by Yalkut on Job. These vary from the Talmudic form of the quotation, but only to a very slight degree —
נמופלא ממך אל תדרושׂ ובמכוסה ממך אל תחקור במה שׂית החברנן אין לך עסק בנסתרות"Into that which is too wonderful for thee, do not search; into that which is veiled from thee, do not inquire; upon that which is permitted, reflect: thou hast no business with secret things" (Ecclus. 3:21, 22). The versions agree fairly well with this, and it is quoted as from "the Book of Ben Sira."
When we compare this sentence with Biblical Hebrew, we at once feel how far we are removed from the Hebrew of the age of Nehemiah and Esther, not to say that of Daniel. There is a resemblance to the language of Ecclesiastes, which, with the similarity of subject, suggests that Ecclesiasticus is an imitation of Ecclesiastes — an idea that is confirmed by the name of the Greek translation. If we look at the Hebrew word by word, we find that in these two verses there are three words that are not in use in Biblical Hebrew. In the first verse we find מופלא, "a wonder." The root פָלָא occurs frequently in Scripture, but the noun above never occurs at all. The cognate form, מִפְלָאָה occurs in Job; the common word is &פֶלֶא רָשָׁה, "to permit;" in Ezra 3:7 there is a derivation from it, רִשְׁיוֹו, "permission." In Biblical Hebrew In) would have been used. It is frequent in Rabbinic, and in the Aramaic form occurs in the Targum. עֵסֶק, "business," is another word unknown to Biblical Hebrew, but frequent in Rabbinic. Buxtorf says the Biblical equivalent of this is דבר. Further, there is one construction used which only occurs in Ecclesiastes, מָה שֶׂ־. In Daniel there is no instance of the short relative; it is always the long, אֲשֶׂר, that is used. Here then, in the short space of two verses, we have three words not used in Biblical Hebrew, and one construction that is found only in Ecclesiastes. These words do not represent any rare thought or thing, but have common equivalents in the Bible, and so too with the construction.
To show that our conclusion is not based on merely one instance, we shall consider the seventh in Dr. Schechter's list, which is the next that suits our requirements. It is a quotation of Ecclus. 42:9, 10, and is found in Sanhedrin 100 (b), the fourth tractate in Seder Nezeeqeen, the fourth division of the Talmud. This passage is all the more interesting because it is assigned as a reason why the Book of Ben Sire was not allowed to be read. It is (14) in Dukes. The passage is —
לאתינשׂא נישׂאת שׂמא לא יהיו לה בנים הזקינה שׂמא תעשׂה כפים בת לאביה מטמונת שׂוא מפחדה לא יישׂן בלילה בקטנותה שׂפא תתפתה בנערותה שׂמא תזנה בגרה שׂמא, "A daughter is for her father a vain treasure; care for her does not suffer him to sleep in the night; when she is little, lest she be seduced; in her girlhood, lest she should commit fornication; in her maturity, lest she should not be married; when she is married, lest she should not have sons; when she is old, lest she should practise witchcraft."
Here there is certainly some variation between the versions and the Hebrew we have just given. The Greek is, "A daughter is for her father a watchful care, and anxiety for her taketh away sleep — in her youth, lest she pass the flower of her age; and having been married, lest she be hated; in her virginity, lest she be shameless and become with child in her father's house; and having a husband, lest she transgress; and being married, lest she should be barren." Both the Latin and the Syriac have been largely modified by the Greek, though several of the renderings seem to indicate that they had before them a text like the Hebrew above given. The Greek shows traces of confusion and repetition, which are awanting in the Talmudic quotation.
When we take this passage clause by clause, we find again how far removed we are from the Hebrew of Daniel. The third word, מַטְמוֹנֶת, is not used in the Bible; the corresponding masculine noun does occur, but the feminine never, not even when it is in apposition to a noun feminine. The Latin Version, by using abscondita, shows that the translator must have had this word before him as in Biblical Hebrew, טמן means "to hide." The second clause presents nothing to be adverted on, but the third is full of late peculiarities. The first word, קְטַנוּת, is unknown in the Bible, though not infrequent in later Hebrew. The verb and adjective are common in Biblical Hebrew, but the abstract noun never occurs. Next we have שֶׁמֶא, a connective meaning "lest," and thus equivalent to פֶן in Biblical Hebrew. It is a compound of שֶׁ־, the short relative, and מָא, "what," in Aramaic and Rabbinic. Canon Driver translates אֲשֶׂר לָמָה (Daniel 1:10), "lest," as Theodotion. If this rendering be accepted, we have certainly a preparative for the Rabbinic connective. Yet the form in Daniel is obviously very much the earlier. Connectives are marks of the age of a book, that do not as a role mislead, and this connective occurs five times in the space of these two verses. The last word, תַּתְפַתֶּה, certainly is part of a well-known verb, but it does not occur in Biblical Hebrew in this conjugation. In the next clause, besides the connective sheme', we have נַעְרוּת, "youth," a word unknown in Biblical Hebrew. The first word of the next clause, בָגְרָה, is the third feminine singular preterite of the verb בָּגַר, "to have reached a marriageable age" — a verb unknown in Biblical Hebrew, but not uncommon in Rabbinic writings; it is used in the Aramaic parts of the Talmud and in the Targums. In the same clause we find the word נשׂא in the niphal, "to be married" (nubere) — a usage unknown in Biblical Hebrew, where we have בעל used in kal for the man, and niphal of the woman. The nearest approach to this usage 2 Chronicles 24:3 and Nehemiah 13:25, where a father takes a wife for his son, and 2 Chronicles 13:21, where a man takes a wife to himself; but in no case is the passive found in this meaning. In the last clause the phrase, כְּשָׂפִים תַעֲשֶׂה, "to practise witchcraft," is not Biblical; the Bible writers employ כָשַׂפ in the piel. Here, in the space of two verses, rather long verses certainly, are four words that do not occur in Biblical Hebrew, and one of these is a connective repeated five times. One of the other verbs is not used in the Bible in the conjugation, and another neither in the sense nor conjugation. Further, there is a phrase not Biblical.
We might easily go on, and would only make our case stronger. It is certainly clear to every unbiassed mind that the Hebrew of Ben Sira is very much more recent than that of Daniel. As we have said, the Hebrew of Ben Sira is more akin to that of Ecclesiastes, of which work it seems an imitation. If Ben Sira was written even so late as B.C. 180, Ecclesiastes must have been considerably earlier, and Daniel must have been much earlier still.
It is clear that the line which divides new from middle Hebrew must pass between Daniel and Ecclesiasticus. As surely as the latter is on one side of the line, so surely is the former on the other. Canon Driver and Professor Bevan have amply proved the resemblance there is between the language of Chronicles, Nehemiah, Ezra, and Esther, and that of Daniel, a resemblance that is only what might readily be expected. It is the Hebrew natural to one who had become accustomed to Aramaic as the language of everyday life. The resemblances to Ezekiel have been pointed out by Delitzsch and Keil. It must further be borne in mind that the first chapter is probably from the pen of an editor, and is a condensation of an Aramaic original. That the language of Daniel should resemble that of a number of works, all of which claim to have been written in the Persian period, does not prove, as some critics think it does, that Daniel was written in the Greek period.
But it is urged that there are late words in Daniel. Professor Bevan has made out a list of eight words. We think any one will recognize the relatively small number of these words. In four verses from Ben Sirs we found seven, and could easily have increased the number. Surely eight in six chapters, containing a hundred and fifty-seven verses, is no very extraordinary number. But when we examine these alleged "late" words, we are compelled to lessen their number as evidence of the late date of Daniel. Three of these, גיל, "age," הִיֵב, "guilty," and זֶעְנִים, "herbs," occur in the first chapter, and therefore, though they might afford an evidence of the age of the editor, afford no evidence of the age of the original book. Further, the first two of these occur in the speech of Ashpenaz (Abiesdri), and are therefore really instances in which the Aramaic of the document, from which the prologue was condensed, shines through. The third case is probably a scribal blunder. Although זֶרְענִיםoccurs in Daniel 1:16, in Daniel 1:12 we have זרעים, which consonantally is a common word. Originally, both words would be the same, and it was more likely that a scribe would by a blunder write the more recent form to which he was accustomed, than the more ancient with which he had little acquaintance. Two others, מִכְמַנִּים and אַפֶדֶן, occur in the eleventh chapter, the authenticity of which we deny. Even if we take them as they stand, with regard to the first of these the reading seems to be corrupt, כמן in Aramaic, both Eastern and Western, means not "to lay up" as treasure, but "to lie in wait" (e.g. Exodus 21:13) — a meaning unsuitable here. The LXX. render τοìπος. The latter is a technical word, and therefore might well be introduced in regard to the thing. It is Semitic, according to Furst; it is certainly not Greek, although it is precisely a case where a Greek technical word would have been expected. There are still three words which remain, הִתְמַרְמַר, "to he moved with anger" (Daniel 8:7); נֶחְתַּך, "to be decreed" (Daniel 9:24); רָשַׁם, "to write" (Daniel 10:21). In regard to the first of these the case is not a strong one; the verb מָרַר, "to be grieved," is not a very rare verb: it is used in kal, niphal, piel, and hiphil elsewhere, if not in hithpael. The second case is suspicious, for the LXX. seem to have had another reading. But even if we admit this and רָשַׁם, there is not much on which to build a theory. Two words in four chapters — for necessarily the first and eleventh chapters fall to be excluded — are much less than seven words in four verses. Professor Bevan adds מלכיות (Daniel 8:22), "kingdoms," but the LXX. read מְלָכִים, as they render βασιλεῖς. Theodotion had the same reading, as he has the same rendering. The Peshitta has , showing that it too read מְלָכִּים, not מלכיות.
But Professor Bevan has another list of eight words, which he says are used in Daniel in other than their classical Hebrew meaning. The first of these is כַּשְׂדִּים. The references he gives are Daniel 1:4 and 2:2. He says that while in all other parts of Scripture כַּשְׂדִּים is the name of a nation, in Daniel only it is the name of a caste. In the first of the references, "the tongue of the Chaldees," it is not necessarily any other than a national name; and, if we accept the reading of the Septuagint in the second case, it is so also. The next instance he brings is זַעֲכִים, which is "sad" in Genesis 11:6, and "badly nourished" in Daniel 1:10, but the meaning in Daniel is more primitive. It is said that חַרְטֻמִּים is believed to be of Egyptian origin, and in the Pentateuch is used only of the magicians of Egypt. In Daniel it means "magicians in general." Furst declares the Egyptian derivation to be without foundation. Even if we granted the Egyptian origin of the word, the great intercourse between Egypt and Assyria, proved by the Tel-el-Amarna tablets being in Assyrian, would make it no impossible thing that the word might be transferred to Assyria. The fourth case, בְשַׁלְוָה, "in security" (Daniel 8:25), occurs in a notoriously corrupt passage, which it is impossible to interpret satisfactorily. The next two cases occur only in ch. 11. There remain only two cases, תָּמִיד, "continual," for the daily sacrifice, and יְאׄר, used for the Nile in most cases in the rest of Scripture, but for "a river" in general in Daniel 12:5, Daniel 12:6, Daniel 12:7. As to the first of these, it occurs in Daniel 8:11 and 13, and the versions indicate a great confusion in the text at these points. As for the last instance, the passage Professor Bevan quotes from Isaiah (Isaiah 33:21) disproves his contention. "The glorious Lord will be to us a place of broad rivers and streams" can have no reference to the Nile or Egypt. As little can his reference to Job (Job 28:10) apply to the Nile (Revised Version), "He cutteth out channels among the rocks." It would be somewhat violent to describe the small channels cut by the miner as "Niles."
The whole elaborate list of proofs of the relatively recent date of the Hebrew of Daniel has failed when carefully looked at, and the cases in point are reduced to two.
The argument from the unlikeness of the language of Daniel to that of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, even though that unlikeness were greater than it is, would be unsafe. The language of Spenser's 'Faery Queene' is greatly more archaic than that of Shakespeare's 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' yet these two works were published nearly contemporaneously. Along with a number of absurdly incorrect and rash statements, Dean Farrar is safe in saying, "Nothing certain can be inferred from the philological examination of the Hebrew" of Daniel. He is also safe in saying, "On this part of the subject there has been a great deal of rash, incompetent assertion." This is an admission that the case has broken down.
(2) Aramaic. The Aramaic portion of Daniel begins with the fourth verse of the second chapter, and continues to the end of the seventh. The dialect of Aramaic, in which this portion has come down to us, is what used to be called Chaldee. It is closely akin to the dialect in which the Targums were written, and is also very like that in which the paraphrase of the Samaritan Pentateuch has been preserved. Although no books have been preserved to us from any date approximately as old as the date ascribed to Daniel by tradition, or even as old as the late date ascribed to the book by critics, we still have a very considerable mass of inscriptions, which enable us in some way to estimate the character and history of the language. These inscriptions are spread over a very wide area — the banks of the Tigris on the east, the slopes of the Taurus Mountains on the north, and Egypt on the south. The stretch of time represented is also very great. The earliest inscriptions of any length we have date back to the reign of Tiglath-pileser, about B.C. 750, and in its Eastern form it is still a living tongue among the Nestorians.
The question as to the Aramaic of Daniel is complicated by the action of copyists in changing, by insensible degrees, the language of a document. Any one copyist might make but little alteration, but generations of them would necessarily make much change. And as the tendency was always to make alterations in one direction, in course of time the difference between the original text and that of some centuries later would of necessity be very considerable.
We must glance at the history of the Aramaic tongue among the Jews. The medium of ordinary business alike in Nineveh and Babylon was Aramaic, and this is proved by the fact that on the back of clay tablets which contain deeds of sale, the docquet — which gives a summary of the contents — is in Aramaic. The Jews were resident there for approximately fifty years, among a people who spoke a language differing but slightly from their own. They could learn Aramaic with as great ease and rapidity as Italians pick up French. At the same time, in the bosom of their families, the ancient tongue of Palestine would be spoken. When by the decree of Cyrus they were permitted to return to their own land, the Jews found that many settlers had pressed in upon the territory which they had previously occupied. All these settlers could speak Aramaic, whatever tongue they might use besides, and this would have compelled the Jews also to learn Aramaic. In all likelihood the Aramaizing process had gone on already in the territories of the northern tribes. When the Ninevite monarchs sent in colonists to inhabit the land that had been so laid waste by their campaigns, the only common language these colonists could have would be Aramaic. Moreover, the remnants of the people that were left in the land would also have to learn Aramaic in order to carry on intercourse with these incomers. The tendency to abandon Hebrew would gradually become irresistible; hence we find that the common people required to have the Law interpreted to them. In these circumstances it was but natural that the Hebrew that was still occasionally spoken should be very much Aramaized. But, on the other hand, it is almost necessary to hold that the Aramaic spoken by the Jews had a Hebrew colour given to it.
Although Hebrew may have fallen into disuse among the Jews and the Samaritans, it was still spoken among the Phoenicians till the Greek period was well advanced. Not impossibly it may have been spoken in Moab and Ammon, if not so late as it was in Phoenicia, at least far down in the Persian period. This would tend to preserve in force the tendency to modify Aramaic in a direction that would make it more like Hebrew. In some of the older inscriptions, as those in Sindschirli, Aramaic has many points in which it is liker Hebrew than, at all events in its Eastern dialects, it afterwards was. In the East, Aramaic was developing in another direction and under other influences. It would be nearly impossible to say with certainty what were the distinctive characteristics of Eastern Aramaic in the days of the Babylonian supremacy, the modifications that the language has undergone are so great.
While the modifications which the spoken language underwent were great, to some extent, this would be liable to affect works that were repeatedly copied. The books that, like the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, were used in the regular synagogue service, would be protected from any great change by the familiarity of the audience with the words. Daniel was not so protected, hence it would be greatly exposed to modification and interpolation. When we compare the Massoretic text with the translation which has come down to us in the Codex Chisianus, we find extraordinary differences. Not unfrequently have these differences been referred to, and the Septuagint version of Daniel has on account of them been denounced as unfaithful. It seems a somewhat hasty conclusion to come to, that this translation, which in regard to other books is fairly faithful, should in regard to this book and — with the exception of Ezra — this book alone, be so very unfaithful. Like Daniel, Ezra was not regularly read in the synagogue: there was, therefore, the possibility of variation. Do the phenomena before us fit this latter supposition? Were the differences between the Septuagint and the Massoretic due to variations in the text from which the latter ultimately sprang? It so happens that we can prove this by having other versions that date before the fixation of the Massoretic text, and we find that there is precisely the gradual variation exhibited that we might expect. Theodotion's, which appears to have been a revision of a translation made probably in Asia Minor, is, after the Septuagint, the earliest of these. The object Theodotion avowedly had was to make the Greek agree as nearly as possible with the Hebrew original as he had it. Hence his version may be held as accurately representing the Hebrew text current in his day. His date cannot be fixed with anything like absolute certainty, but it appears to have been about the middle of the second century. The Peshitta is nearly contemporary, but a shade later. Last of all comes the Vulgate in Jerome's revision. Of these the last is in closest agreement with the Massoretic text, the Peshitta next, Theodotion further removed, though none of them is nearly so wide of the Massoretic as is the Septuagint. With these evidences of variation, it is rash to rest any argument for the recency ot the Book of Daniel on alleged traces of recency in the Aramaic.
There are, however, other evidences of this modernizing process being at work on the Aramaic portions of Daniel. The two words in ancient Aramaic inscriptions that from their frequency strike most readily the reader as different from more recent Aramaic, either Eastern or Western, are זִי for דִי. and ארקא for ארעא. The line which divides the inscriptions which use the older form from those which use the more recent is about the beginning of the Christian era. The earliest inscription in the 'Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum,' which has דִי is one of Aretas, חרת (A.D. 4), and the latest in which זִי occurs is in an Egyptian inscription dated by Comte de Vogue, "the time of the Ptolemies."
If the differences were due simply to a change wrought by time, then we should have to take our choice between asserting that the Aramaic portion of Daniel was not written till at earliest the beginning of our era, or that the text was modified. The former hypothesis is impossible from the reference to the Aramaic portions of Daniel in the dying speech of Mattathias and in the Third Book of the Sibylline Oracles. Canon Driver thinks this peculiarity part of the official style of Egypt, Babylon, etc. It so happens that the geographical line between these styles coincides pretty nearly with the temporal. New inscriptions may, as Canon Driver has said, alter the complexion of the question very much. The ease with which זִי could be altered to דִי is obvious, and the fact that in Biblical Aramaic the contracted form דְ never occurs which could not arise from זִי, seems to confirm us in the belief that such an alteration has taken place. What we have said of דִי applies also to ארקא, with this difference — that we have an example of what we think has taken place in Daniel and Ezra, in the Aramaic verse in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 10:11). There the word "earth" occurs twice in our English Version. In the first case the word represents ארקא, in the second ארעא; but in none of the versions is there any indication that a different word was before the translator. The same may be said in regard to the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel on this passage. The probability is that here we have a change begun, but not completed. The change in the case alike of זִי and of ארקא was an easy one.
Notwithstanding all the efforts at modernization, there is still a long distance between the Aramaic of Daniel and that of the Targums. The most obvious point of difference is the almost total absence of ית, the sign of the accusative, from Biblical Aramaic, and its frequency in all the Targums, not only Jewish, but Samaritan also. The only case in which it occurs in Biblical Aramaic is Daniel 3:12, where it is used to give the oblique case of a pronoun. It is remarkable that in one of the inscriptions from Sindschirli we have ות ית, used in a similar way (ותה, Hadad Inscr., 1. 28), and this is the only case in which it occurs. Another common word in the Targums is ארי, meaning "that," "in order that," or "because." This word does not occur in Biblical Aramaic at all: instead of it we have the cumbrous phrase כלק־בלד־י — a phrase that does not occur in the Targums in this sense: כל קבל in Targumic means "over against" (Ruth 4:4). Every reader of Hebrew knows how frequently the verbal particle יֵשׁ occurs in Biblical Hebrew; as frequent in the Targums is אִית. This does not occur in Biblical Aramaic; its place is taken by אִיתַי. In the Targums the negative of this is לֵית; in Daniel and Ezra we have instead לִא־אִיתַי. In Biblical Aramaic הֵן is the word for "if," which does not occur in Targumic. On the other hand, אי is the word commonly used in the Targums, which again does not occur in the Bible. הֵן is a form occurring in inscriptions. Closely akin to this is לָהֵן, "therefore," which, occurring in Biblical Aramaic, does not occur in the Targums. These particles are, as every one knows, the most conclusive indications of the age of a document.
Almost as important are pronouns. We have already referred to the relative דִי and its relation to the still older form זִי. It is to be noted that in Biblical Aramaic דִי is always written plenum, never in the contracted form דְּ, which, again, is the more common form in the Targums. It would be impossible, as we have said above, to regard the contracted form as resulting from a scribal modification of זִי, which, however, may easily be the genesis of the Biblical דִי. The first personal pronoun in Biblical Aramaic is אֲנָה, which does not occur in the Targums, where the regular form is אֲנָא, sometimes contracted נָא. The form אֲנָא is also found in Sindschirli along with the Phoenician אנךand the Hebrew אנכי, an intermingling which we find in all early Aramaic. Not improbably the two cases where אנא occurs in Biblical Aramaic are due to the copyist having mistaken ךfor א, letters which are very like in the older Aramaic script. The Biblical Aramaic plural is אֲנַחְנָא, whereas the common Targumic is אַנוּן or נַחְנָא, which do not occur in the Aramaic of the Bible. The pronoun of the second person singular is in Daniel and Ezra אַנְתְּ, in the Targums the most common form by far is אַתְּ, which does not occur in the Aramaic of the Bible. The pronoun of the second plural in Biblical Aramaic is אֲנתְּוּן, whereas in the Targums the invariable form is אֲתוּן. The third person masculine, the only form that occurs in Biblical Aramaic, is the same as in the Targums; it seems to have been the same in Sindschirli. The plural of the demonstrative in Biblical Hebrew is sometimes אלך, a form that occurs in inscriptions, but never in the Targums. The prenominal difference between Daniel and the Targums is thus very considerable.
Further, there are differences in verbal forms. In Biblical Aramaic all the verbs that in Targumic are ליא are ליה. The aphel of Targumic verbs appears in Biblical Aramaic as haphel, the characteristic ה being in some cases carried through the whole inflexion. The one aphd case is probably due to scribal change. Instead of the ittaphal, the Targumic passive of the aphel, we have a huphal form. Professor Bevan quotes an instance of what seems to be a uphal from the Palmyrene. He admits himself it may be aphel, and moreover it does not touch on the presence of the h-forms in Biblical Aramaic as distinct from that of the Targums. These ה forms are characteristic of the oldest forms of Aramaic; e.g. they occur in the Sindschirli Inscriptions. Professor Bevan dismisses all these as merely cases of orthography. For our Part, we thought that when a cockney dropped his h's it was more than a question of orthography. Further, the older orthography thus preserved, despite every tendency to change, does not lose its evidential value. Another case which, though it may be dismissed on the same plea — incompetent, as we think it — yet has some cogence. The distinction is still preserved in Biblical Aramaic between ס and שׂ, a distinction which had disappeared in the Targumic. From their origin the Targums of necessity represented a form of Aramaic probably much more ancient than the date at which they were committed to writing would imply.
Formerly the efforts of critics were directed to show that the Aramaic of Ezra was morn ancient than that of Daniel; that attempt is abandoned now, and the plan now is either to assert Ezra late, or to assert that the language was stationary for something like three centuries. If the latter hypothesis is assumed, we might assert that it had been stationary for a couple of centuries before the days of Ezra.
The conclusion we come to with regard to the Aramaic of Daniel is that, taking all the facts into consideration, the Aramaic is early, but how early it is impossible to say.
But the date of the Aramaic is not the only question on which critics of Daniel are at issue. There are two dialects of Aramaic — a Western, formerly called Chaldee, now sometimes called Palestinian; and an Eastern, still called incorrectly Syriac. Although there is the Mandeean sub-dialect, which does not agree in all points with the dialect of the Peshitta, it is indubitable that Biblical Aramaic, as we see it now, has a predominant Western character. This, it is argued, militates against the author being the historic Daniel, who is alleged, when he wrote, to have been an inhabitant of Babylon. In the first place, as has already been pointed out in the older Aramaic, even of the East, the distinction between Eastern and Western forms is not so marked as it became later. In the next place, a process analogous to that we have just referred to, which obliterated indications of age, occurred, by which Eastern peculiarities were removed when it could be done, and their place supplied by those that were Western; just as Scotch songs, when published in London, become Anglicized. And it seems to us that there are evidences that the Book of Daniel has undergone this process. The most prominent trace of this which we see is the form of the imperfect in ל as לֶחֱוֵֹא for third person singular. This is certainly an Eastern form of the imperfect, and still is found in the Mandaean. Professor Bevan supplies an ingenious explanation. He maintains that it was to avoid a form which would be very like the sacred name יהוה, that the scribes, in the case of Daniel and Ezra, adopted this form of the imperfect third person. Like many other ingenious interpretations, it proves nothing, because it proves too much. If this explanation were true, we should find, on the one hand, no examples of the third person imperfect of הוא beginning with יִ in the Targums, and should find instances of the third person imperfect beginning with ל; but in the Targum of Onkelos, Genesis 18:17, we find the third singular of the imperfect with; used without any thought of the Divine name. Further, there are no instances of the third person in לְ. A much more natural explanation is that these third persons are survivals. In Mandaean only some verbs have this form of the third imperfect, in other cases the ordinary Syriac form with נ occurs. While י (yod) and נ (nun) have in the older Aramaic script a considerable resemblance, so that nun might be read yod, by one who was accustomed to yod not nun in a given case, lamed was very different from yod. Further, the resemblance to the sacred name which resulted from the change might act as a deterrent from change, though it could scarcely act as an incentive to it. Further, the K'thib often represents a Syriac form, while the K'ri is pointed according to the Chaldee usage. Thus in the fifth verse of the second chapter we have כשׂדיא instead of כשׂדאי. There are further Mandaean forms still surviving, as תִנְדַּע (Daniel 4:23).
If we turn from the text before us, and try to rediscover the text that must have been before the translator of the Septuagint when he made his version, we find further traces of Eastern forms. The most common preformative of the third person singular and plural imperfect in Eastern Aramaic is נ (nun). It seems to us that there are traces that the translator had a text of this kind before him. Thus the last clause of the fifth verse of the second chapter, "And your house shall be made a dunghill," is rendered by the Septuagint, ̓Αναληφθήσεται ὑμῶν τὰ ὑπάρχοντα εἰς τὸ βασιλικόν, which may be paraphrased, "And your goods be escheat to the crown." This version is not due to any shrinking from the meaning of the phrase, for when it occurs in the next chapter (ver. 29) it is correctly translated. It is clear the translator read נזלו instead of נולי. The other changes would easily follow from this. So too in the seventh verse, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation," is rendered in the Septuagint, "O king, tell the dream, and his servants will decide [as to the interpretation]." Here the text is translated as if it were the third person instead of the first person plural — a translation only possible to one with a manuscript before him in which there was an admixture of Eastern forms. Naturally, the cases are few where any such is recognizable, but still even one or two cases render the probability considerable. When we bear in mind that the peculiarity of the Syriac imperfect is not impossibly a development of Aramaic that may in its fulness have been later than the Captivity, the rarity of traces of it becomes also the more intelligible. At all events, this is clear — no conclusion against the authenticity of Daniel can be based on the want of Eastern forms in the present Massoretic text. This may be due to the modification introduced by copyists, or may even be a proof of antiquity.
There are certain names and titles which are alleged to have a Persian origin. In the first place, the names may have been altered. This may be held to be as good as .proved by Ashpenaz appearing as Abiesdri in the Septuagint. We know that the Jews had an objection to writing the names of heathen gods, and had an especial objection to representing any Israelite as having the name of a heathen god embedded in his name. The titles might be modified to something more intelligible, and, further, glosses and interpretations might get into the text. The lengthened list of officials in the third chapter suggests something of this sort. Further, if the tradition that Nebuchadnezzar married a Median princess had any truth in it, as the language of Media and Persia was the same, officials might, in some eases, receive Persian, that is, Median, designations; and yet again, not unfrequently designations that have been declared to be Persian have been found to be really of Assyrian origin. It is further alleged that there are words of Greek origin present. It can be proved that these words are either not Greek or have no right to be in the text. For a complete examination of this part of the subject, we must refer the reader to the excursus on that subject subjoined to the third chapter.
2. THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE BOOK.
The historical background of the Book of Daniel must embrace a narrative of the events, actual or assumed, that form the setting of those related in the book itself. It must also contain the fulfilment of those portions which are, or at all events purport to be, prophecies. As these are connected with each other, there is necessitated a sketch of the history of the Eastern world from the fall of Nineveh till, if not the fall of Rome, at least the fall of Jerusalem. Part of this history has been long well known, but part of it has only recently emerged into history in any true sense. Few portions of history of which we previously knew anything at all have undergone such a revolution as the beginning of the period before us. The actual events were lost to us by contradictory romances which it would be misleading to call legends or traditions. We had certain fragments of truth in Berosus and Abydenus, but what was truth and what falsehood we had no means of determining. The discoveries of Botta, Layard, and Rawlinson, followed up by Smith, Oppert, Schrader, Delitzsch, Pinches, and others, have opened to us a new world.
Formerly it was imagined that Babylonia was the country of the Chaldeans, and Babylon their capital. Now we find that the Chaldeans were freebooting tribes that had intruded themselves from the desert into the fertile and cultivated territories of Mesopotamia and Babylonia, mainly the latter. They were Semites, and therefore to a degree the kinsmen of the Babylonians, yet by habits and history they were quite distinct from them. When they penetrated into Babylonia, they gradually spread themselves through the land, erecting fortified strongholds in which to shelter their predatory bands. These were generally known by the name of the chief that had originally led them into the land, prefixed by the word bit, or "house of." From these centres they oppressed the unwarlike Babylonians, who were only preserved from annihilation by the walls that surrounded their cities.
The Chaldeans first come distinctly into history with the campaigns of Shalmaneser II. against Babylonia. In his eighth and ninth years he marched into that province to interfere in a question of succession in one of these small Chaldee states that had gained a position of supremacy over the others. State after state submitted to the conqueror. Although presents Were brought from these states to after Ninevite monarchs, none of them for nearly a century seem to have made as great conquests in Babylonia as Shalmaneser till Tiglath-pileser III. This latter monarch came as the protector of the oppressed Babylonians. These little Chaldean kinglets were always endeavouring, in the first place, to secure a position of superiority over their fellows, and then, as the sign and result of this, to secure possession of Babylon. This city once in their hands, they could rule all Chaldea with a strong hand. Shalmaneser placed on the throne of Babylon a subject-king, Nabonassar. He was succeeded by others in the same capacity. A Chaldean monarch seized the throne. He was overthrown and taken prisoner. Thereafter Tiglath-pileser became King of Babylon in his own person, and reigned there by the name Pul.
During the reigns of Sargon and Sennacherib there was a constant struggle with another Chaldean prince, Merodach-Baladan, for the possession of the sacred city of Babylon. Esarhaddon, installed King of Babylon before his father's assassination, reigned a portion of every year in the southern city, and thus retained possession of Babylonia without much opposition. During the greater part of his reign Asshurbanipal seems to have been free of serious difficulties with the Chaldees. His struggle was with Elam, which he claims to have completely subdued. For the latter years of his reign, and for the reigns of his successors, we have no monumental evidence. We simply know nothing for certain of the fall of Nineveh, save that it did fall, and that Nabopolassar, the Chaldean monarch of Babylon, had to do with the result.
The Assyrian Empire, under Esarhaddon and Asshurbanipal, had possession of Egypt. Necho, the grandfather of the Pharaoh-Necho of Scripture, was governor of a portion of Egypt under these monarchs. His grandson seems to have secured the supremacy over all Egypt, but probably was reckoned, as his father and grandfather had been, satraps of the King of Assyria. Nabopolassar, if we follow Abydenus and explain him, seems to have occupied a similar position in Babylon — nominal satrap of the great king, the King of Assyria, yet practically independent. When he gained possession of Nineveh, Nabopolassar seems to have claimed the empire of which that city had been the capital, and regarded Necho, and probably all the other monarchs who had made themselves independent, as his satraps. Possibly it might be the expression of this claim that led to the march of Necho to the Euphrates. This is described by Berosus as the rebellion of the satrap whom he, Nabopolassar, "had set over Egypt, Coelo-Syria, and Phoenicia." Not impossibly Nabopolassar may have given events this colour in his proclamations, that his people might imagine that Necho, with his connivance as his satrap, had seized Palestine and Syria in addition to Egypt. Then, when he felt strong enough, he sent his son Nebuchadnezzar against Necho. The Babylonian and the Egyptian armies encountered each other at Carchemish, the fortress by which the Egyptians maintained their hold of Northern Syria. The Egyptians were utterly defeated, and Nebuchadnezzar pursued their flying forces through Syria and Palestine, receiving the submission of the various subject-kings, taking from them hostages. He advanced against Jerusalem, which submitted without much resistance. After taking hostages, he retained Jehoiakim on the throne. Among the hostages were Daniel and his three friends. Shortly after this the young conqueror was checked in his career by the news of his father's death. Fearing lest the opportunity might be seized to make an attempt at revolution, sending his heavy troops and hostages by the long but easier route northward to Carchemish and then southward, he himself dashed across the desert with his light-armed troops, and took possession of the throne. Unfortunately, we have no inscriptions to tell us what campaigns Nebuchadnezzar undertook after this. From the Prophet Jeremiah's mention of the Elamites and Meres as having to drink the cup of fury in consequence of the rise of Nebuchadnezzar, we may presume that he made campaigns to the east and north. Meantime Egypt began to intrigue with the newly submitted provinces. Jehoiakim revolted from Nebuchadnezzar three years after his submission to him. Nebuchadnezzar, probably engaged in other campaigns of more importance, did not immediately march against this rebel, who must have appeared to him a sufficiently insignificant one. He did not, however, overlook his fault. Bands of Chaldeans were sent against Judaea, and with these operated Syria, Moab, and Ammon, that seem to have remained faithful to their suzerain. Nothing like a siege of Jerusalem was undertaken till after the death of Jehoiakim and the accession of his son. Again the Babylonian monarch has only to appear before it for Jerusalem to submit, and Jeconiah is carried away captive to Babylon. Zedekiah, the uncle of the young captive, became king in his stead, as vassal of the King of Babylon.
Meantime a new Pharaoh had risen in Egypt. Pharaoh-Hophra advanced into Philistia and Phoenicia, and received the submission of Zedekiah. This brought the Chaldeans back in force to Syria, and before them Pharaoh retired and Jerusalem was besieged. Pharaoh-Hophra made some attempt to relieve Jerusalem, and, indeed, the Chaldean army broke up from Jerusalem to go to encounter him. He retired, however, without having effected anything. Again the siege was renewed and Jerusalem was taken, and Zedekiah, deposed and blinded, was carried a captive to Babylon. We do not know the course of Nebuchadnezzar's campaigns, but during his reign he besieged and captured Tyre, and then invaded Egypt and reduced it to subjection. The real history of the overthrow of Pharaoh-Hophra we do not know, but in his thirty-seventh year Nebuchadnezzar seems to have conquered Egypt. The long reign of the great conqueror drew near a close. After forty-three years of the possession — if we except the period of his madness, probably short — the glorious possession of the throne of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar died.
He was succeeded by Evil-Merodach, who is accused of being tyrannous and vicious. It is a possible supposition that he had a favour for Judaism, which expressed itself in setting Jeconiah at his own table. After a reign of two years, his brother-in-law, Nergal-shar-ezar, conspired against him and slew him. It is by no means impossible that Daniel retired from the court after the murder of the son of his master. This would easily explain Belshazzar's ignorance of him. Nergal-shar-ezer reigned about four years, and was succeeded by his son Labashi-Marduk, who was murdered after a reign of a few months. His successor was Nabunahid, a Babylonian we are informed — that is to say, not a Chaldean. It is possible he might be the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar. He ascended the throne in the year B.C. 556, and we can by the contract tables fix the date of his accession to within a few days; between the twelfth and eighteenth Sivan the murder and the accession must have taken place. For the reign of Nabunahid we have the advantage of a long inscription on a clay tablet, entitled "the annals of Nabuuahid." Several other documents have come down to us also throwing light on his character. In several inscriptions he has named his eldest son along with himself, as if associating him on the throne. Although the name "king" is not given to him, he fulfils all the functions of the monarchy, and prayers are put up for him as for the monarch. For a number of the years of his reign Nabunahid took no part in the business of royalty, not even on the New Year's festival, where his presence as monarch was indispensable, did he come to Babylon. Certainly from his seventh to his eleventh year, it is told us of Nabunahid that he was in Tema. Where Tema was, and what it was that thus kept Nabunahid there, we do not know. It may have been sickness, bodily or mental; it may have been that he had vowed the life of a solitary. Though this is the hypothesis at which Winckler hints, it seems to us improbable. Meanwhile the crown prince was with the Rabbuti at the head of the army, and managing the affairs of the kingdom. It was probably when thus he assumed the regency that the feast occurred, narrated in Daniel, when the fiery inscription appeared on the wall. During the reign of this monarch a Scythian horde, under the command of a king Istuvigu (Astyages), had overrun Media and Elam, had pressed into Babylonia, and had wrested Assyria from the empire. This horde had the general name of Manda, or Umman-Manda. These nomads were pressing in upon Babylonia, and Nabunahid relates how he dreamed that Marduk appeared to him and foretold the destruction of these intruders. "Marduk said to me, 'The Umman-Manda of whom thou speakest, he himself and the kings his allies shall be no more. In the third year the gods will cause them to cease.' Cyrus, King of Ansan, his insignificant vassal, with his few troops scattered the numerous Umman-Manda. Astyages, the King of the Umman-Manda, he took and brought in fetters into his land." Nabunahid here regards Cyrus as his real ally sent by the gods to destroy his enemies the Manda.
In regard to no character in ancient history has the revolution to which we referred above been greater than in regard to Cyrus. We had several accounts of him, two fairly full, from Herodotus and Xenophon; besides, we had the fragments of Ctesias Diodorus and Justin. Altogether we felt that if we combined the Greek sources with the notices of Scripture, we knew a great deal about Cyrus. We find now that all our knowledge from Greek sources is utterly misleading. We were told that he was the grandson of Astyages and the great-grandson of Cyaxares. He certainly was not related to Astyages, and most probably not to Cyaxares either. We were told he was King of the Persians, and threw off the Median rule. He was king of the small canton of Ansan, and was hailed by the Medes as their deliverer from the oppression of the Manda. Ansan seems to have been generally reckoned to Elam, but was not coincident with it. Persia (Parsua) seems to have been another canton contiguous to Ansan. For some reason, after he had overthrown Astyages, Cyrus took the title of King of the Persians.
We cannot, and even if we could, do not, require here to follow the course of Cyrus's conquests. It is sufficient that, after he had overthrown Astyages, he turned his eyes towards Babylonia. So long as Belshazzar commanded, he seems to have been unable to pierce into Babylonia proper. In the ninth year of the reign of Nabunahid we learn that Cyrus overran Mesopotamia, and made Gobryas governor of the whole province, as a Median king. having given it the new name of Gutium. After this he seems to have directed his march against Croesus, and subdued Lydia. Then in the year B.C 538 he turned his arms towards Babylonia. Nabunahid now commanded the army in person, and sustained a defeat at Borsippa, and fled. Gobryas hurried forward to Babylon, the gates of the citadel Essakkil were thrown open to him, and when the morning broke the shields of Gutium were seen on the walls of Essakkil. On the third Marcheswan Cyrus entered Babylon in peace, and on the eleventh of the same month was Belshazzar slain by Gobryas. Gobryas, appointed Governor of Babylonia, appoints governors to all the petty kingships of Babylonia, and these, we already know, were numerous. We have elsewhere indicated our belief that Gobryas is Darius the Mede. We cannot tell how long his rule lasted.
Cyrus was succeeded by Cambyses, and he by the usurper Smerdis the Mede. Darius Hystaspis wrested the throne from him, and was succeeded by Xerxes, who appears to be the Persian monarch that stirs up all his wealth against the realm of Grecia. Then the record omits all mention of the successive Persian monarchs till Darius Codomannus, who had to bear the shock of the assault of Alexander the Great. Alexander assigned, as the reason of his invasion of Persia, the fact that Xerxes had invaded Greece. There are few parts of ancient history better known than the campaigns of Alexander the Great. Left by the murder of his father in possession of Macedon, this youth of twenty conquered in two years the whole Balkan Peninsula. In B.C 334 he crossed the Hellespont, conquered South-Western Asia to beyond the Indus, Egypt, and Cyrene, and then at thirty-three died. ]No conqueror ever left, in so short a life, so deep an impress on the world. Wherever he had carried his arms, there for centuries after Greek influences flourished. The continuance of the Greek-Bactrian kingdom, for centuries after it was cut off to a great extent from intercourse with the West, is evidence of the impress made by Alexander on all with whom he came in contact. The narrative in Josephus of Alexander visiting Jerusalem is by no means incredible; its accuracy would never have been questioned had it not been conjoined with the statement that Jaddua the high priest showed Alexander the prophecy of Daniel concerning him. The synchronism of Jaddua, with Alexander is only proved by Josephus's statement, and that is used to prove the late dale of Chronicles, but the rest of the narrative, which proves the early date of Daniel, is dismissed as unworthy of credit. This is an instance of the unconscious dishonesty of biassed intellects, who will admit anything rather than that a prophet ever foretold. Such a bias makes all the judgments of the critical school, where prophecy is involved, liable to suspicion. However, we would not press this narrative, as it is destitute of direct support. Alexander certainly gave privileges to the Jews, and the process of Hellenization began then that continued under the Lagids.
After the death of Alexander, his empire was scrambled for by his different generals. A division at last was made which was fairly permanent — the Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. Of these by far the largest was Syria, which on several occasions embraced the grater part of Asia Minor and a portion of the Balkan Penisula. Egypt came next, which embraced, besides Egypt proper, Palestine, Coelo-Syria, Phoenicia, and Cyprus. Not only were these two last the most powerful, but they were most in contact with the Jews. Each was ruled by one dynasty from the days of Alexander — Egypt by the Lagids, snd Syria by the Seleucids, and their wars and rivalries fill up very much the annals of the Diadochi. This is evidenced by the eleventh (interpolated) chapter of Daniel.
There is an additional interest for us in the history of the Seleucids, the monarchs of Syria, in the fact that from them sprang Antiochus Epiphanes, whose persecutions and the revolt of the Jews against them left such a trace on Jewish history. Palestine and Coelo-Syria remained for a century in the power of the Lagids of Egypt, who seem on the whole to have been liked by the Jews. It was wrested from them by Antiochus the Great, the father of Epiphanes. Epiphanes, as a hostage in Rome, had imbibed a wholesome respect for the power of the great republic. With brilliant military talent, as manifested by his Egyptian campaigns, and with some genius for finesse in politics, he was incapable of estimating the power of religious fervour. His residence in Rome, and his licentious life, had made him incapable of real religious faith, so it seemed to him an easy matter to coerce the Jews into abandoning the faith of their fathers. Had he read their earlier history, he would have found what would have encouraged him in his belief. The people were, in the days before the Captivity, always prone to turn from the worship of Jehovah to the worship of idols. The persecution of the Jews by Antiochus is — if we except the efforts of Jezebel and Manasseh, of which we have no particulars — the earliest recorded persecution for religion, the first great experiment of compelling men by force to believe according to orders from their political superiors. It seems to us difficult to explain the different attitude of the Jewish people to the worship of Jehovah before and after the Captivity save as the result of miracles of a sort not unlike those related in Daniel.
The zeal of Mattathias and the valour of his sons at length wrung from the Seleucids the independence of Palestine. The Maccabean rulers fell finally under the all-conquering power of Rome. Then came the tragedy of Calvary, when the Messiah promised to the fathers was cut off, when the Jewish people threw away their hope and glory, and brought down on their own heads and on those of their children the curse of innocent blood. And in little more than a generation the curse did fall on them. Jerusalem was compassed with armies, the eagle standards of Rome were gathered together, and Jerusalem became heaps.
How far the history may stretch beyond this — to the division of the empire into East and West — to the rise of the European kingdoms, away even to the future date when these too will fall under the power of the Messianic empire, we do not intend to inquire. It was necessary to dwell at greater length on the background, actual or assumed, of the book, and next on the period of Epiphanes, as it is the time when critics have determined that Daniel was written.
3. EXTERNAL RELATIONS OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL.
1. External references to the Book of Daniel. Two things are to a certain extent regarded as proved by external references to a book — its date, and the extent of the effect it produced. In regard to both of these, there are various considerations which ought to modify our conclusions. We are not to look upon the earliest indisputable reference to a book as approximately the date at which it came into existence; it really only affords a limit determining the latest date we may ascribe to it, but decides nothing as to how early it may be. Quotation proves that the book quoted must have come into existence before the book in which it is quoted, but does not prove how long before. Of course, a book quoting must be later in date than that it quotes; how much it is impossible to say, save from other grounds. On the other hand, the popularity of a book may be greater or less than the number of quotations might seem to warrant. A striking phrase may be found on every lip taken from a poem but seldom read; while a book may be extremely potent in the hearts and thoughts of men, and yet be seldom quoted, because it does not lend itself to quotation. Few books have been so much read since it was first written as the 'Imitatio Christi,' and yet quotations from it are rare. From the traces of their influence in Scripture, we know that the Books of Enoch were largely read in the period immediately preceding the days of our Lord, yet in the voluminous Talmud there are few traces that these books had ever been heard of. The character, then, of given writings has to be taken into consideration — the writings which we expect to find quoted, and those we expect to find quoting. Further, quotation is not the earliest way in which contact with an earlier writing is manifested. Direct word-for*word quotation, with due reference to the authors, is a result of literary advance and the idea of property in literary products. The ballad-writers freely borrowed from those that preceded them. The Hebrew prophets did so, as may be seen by the parallel passages in Micah and Isaiah, and in Isaiah and Jeremiah. It is enough if one can trace resemblances of diction. Stronger than these, are references of a sort that, without quotation or even resemblance of diction, yet imply the knowledge of the contents of the book, and take for granted that this knowledge is general. The nature of the effect produced on the writings of a period depends greatly on the habits of the time, and the character of the literature which has survived. We cannot verify the Vedas by quotations from contemporary literature.
The literature of the period most nearly contemporary with the traditional date of Daniel is by no means extensive, and is not of a character to lend itself to the act of quotation. The prophets may be regarded from the literary side of their works as poets. Poets do not make frequent references to contemporary poets. Tennyson and Browning have both left voluminous poetical remains behind them, yet we doubt if the one refers so much as once to the other. Yet Ezekiel mentions on two different occasions Daniel as a famous person, in terms that suit the Daniel of our book, though, as we have shown above, these references are not the origin of it. It has been objected that cur Daniel would have been too young to be so mentioned; but careful investigation shows this not to be a valid argument. If Daniel were carried away a hostage at the age Joseph was when sold into Egypt, namely, seventeen — and he might be more-at the end of the third year of his education he would be at least twenty. That, we think, probably coincided with the telling and interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's first dream, and thereafter he was admitted to the royal councils. Twenty was certainly an early age to attain such eminence, but the miraculous gifts he possessed might easily be supposed to elevate him to any position even at that early age. This had occurred five years before Ezekiel was carried captive to the river Chebar. We cannot tell exactly when the prophecy of Ezekiel 14:0. was delivered, but it must have been after the time of the prophecy of the eighth chapter, the sixth month of the sixth year — that is to say, later than some ten or eleven years after Daniel had been admitted to the royal council-chamber. Daniel would then be two years older than Joseph was when he was made governor of all Egypt. He would be four or five years older still when the prophecy against Tyro was pronounced. Remoteness of station, especially when connected with unity of blood, would tend to surround Daniel with a halo to the captives by the river Chebar, and equal him with the ancient worthies. Ben Sira glorifies his slightly elder contemporary Simon, the son of Onias, in terms that put him not only on a par with the great men of old, but even make him the superior of most of them. We then see no reason to doubt that it is to the Daniel of the canonical book that Ezekiel refers, and not any older worthy carried away to Nineveh.
Some resemblances of diction have been seen by some commentators; e.g. Professor Fuller, between Daniel and Haggai and Malachi, but with the exception of Malachi 3:16 and Daniel 12:1 (comp. Daniel 7:10), these resemblances are not striking. The passage in Malachi seems to assume that the idea of a book of remembrance being kept before the Lord was one well known — as do also the passages in Daniel. The resemblance between the prayer in Nehemiah 9:0. and that in Daniel 9:0. is too great to be accidental. It is impossible to settle with any certainty which is the earlier, but the greater elaboration of the prayer in Nehemiah is a presumption against its being the earlier. It is more difficult to escape the reference to the four horns of the Grecian goat of Daniel in Zechariah 1:18. Were it not that criticism forbids us to see a prophecy in any word of a prophet, we might be inclined to see a reference to the triumphant conflicts waged by Mattathias and his sons against the Greek monarchy. It is difficult to imagine four horns without imagining also some animal whose horns they are. To the reader of Daniel the reference would be plain.
The earliest of the apocalyptic books, the Book of Enoch, part of it dated, as we think, B.C. 210, is full of evidences of the influence of Daniel. Indeed, the whole apocalyptic series are the product of the visions of Daniel. In the Apocrypha the most noticeable reference is that which the author of the Maccabees represents the dying Mattatbias as making. No one would claim that the ipsissima verba of the old man's dying advice are given, but the tenor of them can scarcely fail to be correct. One wishing to encourage those engaged in a life-and-death conflict, in which passive resistance had proved unavailing, would not readily, in cold blood, have preferred the preservation of Daniel's friends in the furnace, and Daniel himself in the lions' den, to the vigorous narratives of the Judges. Had the dying speech of Mattathias been invented, the inventor would have chosen more pat illustrations. The date of 1 Maccabees is approximately B.C. 100. The Book of Baruch is also dependent on Daniel, especially the first and older portion. Any one carefully comparing the two will be convinced that Baruch is dependent on Daniel; not, as Ewald thought, Daniel on Baruch. The date of this book is very doubtful. Ewald would place it in the Persian period. With regard to the first portion this seems a not improbable date. To place it after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, as do Schiirer and Kneucker, is quite untenable. No one who had seen the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus would be under the mistaken idea that, after the Chaldeaus had burnt it with fire (Baruch 1:2), there could be offered on the altar burnt offerings and sin offerings. It must have been written by one who had no conception of a time when there was neither sacrifice nor offering. It, therefore, must date so long after the days of Nebuchadnezzar that the results of his capture of Jerusalem were forgotten, and before Epiphaues. The Fourth Book of Esdras certainly does, at least in its present form, date from after the destruction of Jerusalem, and it acknowledges Daniel and refers to portions of it. In the Apocrypha there is another book, Ecclesiasticus, which is brought forward as evidence both for and against the early knowledge of the Book of Daniel. On the affirmative side we have Ecclus. 17:17, "For in the division of the nations of the whole earth he set a ruler over every people; but Israel is the Lord's portion." This is supposed to refer to the angelic rulers of each nation, and this we find referred to in Daniel. Although the view above is supported by the name of Fritzsche, we do not regard it as quite certain, in the first place, that there is a reference here to angelic rulers; it may be kings that are meant. In the early history there was no king in Israel; the Lord was their King. On the other hand, it is an absurdity to imagine that Ben Sira borrowed this idea from the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy 32:8, "He set the bounds of the nations according to the angels of God." The repeated references to Enoch seem to imply a greater prominence than the mention of him in Genesis would suggest — a prominence most easily explicable by an acquaintance with the earliest Book of Enoch, and it implies the existence of Daniel. We do not think that even this may be pressed. On the other hand, the negative evidence is equally valueless. The evidence against the early existence of Daniel, as derived from Ecclesiasticus, is that Daniel is not mentioned in "the Hymn of the Fathers." But the argumentum e silento, at all times an unsafe one, is strikingly so in regard to Ben Sira. We have three versions of this book, to some extent independent of each other — the Greek, made by a grandson of the author; the Latin; and the Syriac. In each there are verses that are in neither of the other two. Moreover, we have several quotations from the Book of Ben Sira in the Talmud and other rabbinic sources which we do not find in any of the versions. When we think of the number of verses that are left out by each authority, it seems by no means improbable that more sentences have been left out than those omitted from the versions and yet quoted by the Talmud. One or more of them may have referred to Daniel. Further, "the Hymn of the Fathers" is such an irregular production, meandering through the ages without any regard to chronological succession, that not only might verses drop out without observation, but subjects might be omitted without the writer, not to speak of copyists, being necessarily cognizant of any omission. The actual omissions besides that of Daniel are too numerous to give the omission of Daniel any probative force. If the omission of Job may be explained on the ground that Job was not an Israelite, that will not explain the omission of Ezra and Jehoshaphat. ]No deduction thus can be made from the silence of Siracides.
Outside the deutero-canonical books of the Apocrypha the earliest reference to Daniel, acknowledged practically by all to be indubitable, is to be found in the 'Oracula Sibyllina,' 3:396-400 —
"Having given forth one sucker, which the destroyer of men shall cut off,
From ten horns, he shall plant another sucker beside,
He shall cut off the warrior, father of the purple race,
Ariel himself by sons whom [he shall receive into equal rule]
be slain, and then shall the horn planted by, rule."
The reference here to Daniel and to Epiphanes is practically universally acknowledged; the only difficulty is to fix the date at which it was written. It is very difficult to fix the date of any part of the 'Oracula Sibyllina.' They are divided into books, but these books have not only no connection with each other, but even each book is in no sense a whole, but is really a cento made up of fragments of the most diverse ages and origins. The third book is, of the books which are at all lengthy, most nearly a unity, and the fragments of which it is romp, seal most nearly synchronize with each other. We can fix the date of this book by the fact that the Jewish Messiah is expected during the reign of "the seventh king of Grecian race;" therefore, reckoning in Alexander, in the reign of Ptolemy Philometor. He is also called βασιλευìς νεοìς — a term that would apply to him, but in no sense to his successor Physcon. Against any later date is the fact that, while there is thus a reference to Epiphanes, there is no reference to the victorious struggles of the Maccabees against him — a thing that would certainly be joyously chronicled by one who was not only a Jew, but also an Alexandrian, and therefore had a debt of hatred to pay to Epiphanes on both these grounds. It seems almost necessary to fix the date of this part of the Sibylline Oracles as not later than B.C. 170. Granting this to be the true date, we cannot fix the date of Daniel to that; it must have had a wide popularity many years before that, in order to have been carried down to Egypt, and there to be received into general reading among the Jewish community. Even though one should date the Sibylline Oracles as late as do Schurer and Hilgenfeld, and say it originated B.C. 140, still it is difficult to imagine so great a popularity to be attained, in the circumstances, in twenty-four or twenty-five years. This view seems to us to contradict the evidence.
Although Daniel is not referred to by Philo — a thing easily to be understood by the subjects treated and the methods employed by this writer — Daniel is largely quoted by Josephus, his later contemporary. Josephus has given a summary of the first six chapters. He omits the seventh, possibly because it seemed in its line of thought a repetition of the second chapter. He gives a summary of the eighth chapter, transferring to it a picturesque feature from the beginning of the tenth, and some features to complete the prophecy about Epiphanes from the same chapter.
We need not carry our account of the external references to Daniel further down. After this they become very frequent, especially when the argument from the "seventy weeks" became so relied on by Christian apologists in discussion with the Jews. Too much is made of the fact that the apostles did not use this argument. We have only a small number of the sermons of the apostles, and we do not know all the lines of argument adopted by them. Further, Daniel was not so generally known, as it was not so regularly read in the synagogues as were some of the technical prophets and the Megilloth. The apostles could not thus appeal to the words of Daniel, as they could to prophecies familiar to the ear of the audience. Again, the argument from "the seventy weeks" implied an accurate knowledge of history and a power of calculating that could scarcely be expected from an ordinary audience. But again the implied argument proves too much, and therefore it proves nothing. If it were worth anything, it should prove that Daniel was not known in the era of our Lord, but that may be easily demonstrated to be false.
2. Relation of Daniel to the canon. There are in regard to this, two questions — the relative date of Daniel in regard to the other books in the canon; and next, the age of the canon as a whole.
(1) In regard to the first question, it has been assumed that the Book of Daniel has been put among the K'thubim, and not among the prophets, because its date of composition was later than that of any of the prophetic books. Further, that it was placed late among the K'thubim, because even among these late books it was the latest. These statements, we need hardly say, apply only to the Massoretic arrangement. If the present Massoretic order were very ancient, this theory might be in a slight degree plausible, especially if there were no other orders to compete with it, and if the arrangements in the rest of the books of the canon followed an obviously chronological order. But not one of these suppositions is correct. So far as we are aware, there is at present no definite information as to when the present order was adopted in the Hebrew Bibles. Certainly it is not the order of the books in the passage usually referred to in the Talmudic treatise 'Baba Bathra.' The order in it is 'The Torah' — the books which belong to the prophets; Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Twelve — the books which belong to the K'thubim, Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, and the roll of Esther, Ezra, and Chronicles. No one can fail to notice that here the arrangement of the greater prophets does not follow that of chronology, as Isaiah is put after Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The order in our present Septuagint is totally different from the arrangement in the Hebrew Bible. In the Septuagint the K'thubim are placed between the historical books and the later prophets, Of course, the Canon of Alexandria was a more elastic thing than that of Jerusalem, still the former was as much Jewish as the latter; if the chronological order were important, and the K'thubim were supposed to be later than the other books, then in the Alexandrian Canon as well as in that of Jerusalem they would have been placed last. Further, the order of Alexandria in regard to the several books is not invariable; still, the three divisions follow the same order generally. This order is that followed by Melito. Nothing, then, can be deduced from the succession of the three parts of the Jewish canon. We do not find any evidence that in the rest of the books there is any attempt at a chronological order. In the Peshitta there is no distinction made between the classes, and the arrangement of the books is highly peculiar — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Job, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, the minor prophets, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
If we take the K'thubim alone, we find one Massoretic order was — Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah. This is the order followed by Spanish manuscripts; the order in our Hebrew Bibles is derived from that followed in German manuscripts. It is Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the five Megilloth (the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther), Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles. It would only be a man very ignorant of chronology who would say that chronology had anything to do with the succession of the books here. In both of these Massoretic orders there is in reality an utter disregard of chronology.
(2) The next question — Why was the Book of Daniel not reckoned among the prophets? Why was it placed among the K'thubim? There is a prior question to be put — Was Daniel not originally placed among the prophets? It must be noted that in the Alexandrian Canon it was among the prophetical books. Such also is its position in the Peshitta. Further, in Josephus's account of the canon he reckons the books twenty-two, and he places only four among the K'thubim, and these he describes in terms that suit Proverbs, Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and perhaps Song of Solomon, but not Daniel. The rest of the books, with the exception of the Law, he ascribes to the prophets. Melito also, whose catalogue of the canonical books seems to be that of the Jews of Asia Minor, places Daniel among the prophets. The question then really is — Why did the Jewish rabbins of the fifth century A.D. place Daniel among the K'thubim? By this time Daniel was being specially appealed to by Christians in their controversies with the Jews, and hence their dogmatic views might afford the reason. But other reasons are not far to seek. Daniel was not a professional prophet. David is called a prophet by Peter in Acts 2:30, yet his Psalms are among the K'thubim. David was more than a prophet, and his works were not in the prophetic style. Moses was a prophet, yet his books are not included among the prophetic books. If it is said that the Law was more sacred than even the prophets, he was credited by the Rabbinic writers with being the author of Job, and it is placed among the K'thubim. Moses also was more than a prophet. But even to be the work of a professional prophet was not enough. Lamentations was in ancient days ascribed to Jeremiah, yet the Book of Lamentations is placed among the K'thubim. It is evident there was some other reason why certain books were placed among the K'thubim. It was really the style of composition. We have already seen the difference between the prophetic and apocalyptic styles, and that certainly was enough to make the distinction.
It may be objected that the resemblance between Samuel and Kings on the one side, and Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles on the other, makes it difficult to understand why the first were reckoned prophetic writings, and the others were placed in the more miscellaneous division of K'thubim. The fact that Ezra, the reputed author of these four last-named books, was a scribe, not a prophet, and that these four books form really one book, may be the reason. If, however, Ezra and his school completed the canon, and this appendix to the canon was added by them, the position occupied by these books is even more easily explicable.
There were thus two reasons at work which might lead to placing any book among the Hagiographa. First, special literary style — that is to say, one differing from that of the prophets. Next, the office of the author, if he were something other than an official prophet. There is thus nothing to be deduced as to the date of Daniel from the position it occupies in the Massoretic canon.
(3) There now comes the second question — Is there any evidence as to the date of Daniel to be drawn from the fact that the book is in the canon? It is clear if we could fix the date at which the canon was closed; then, as Daniel is included in the canon, it must be dated before that event. But further, the date at which the Jews decided that certain books formed, and alone formed, their canon of sacred books, does not determine the latest date at which a book could be admitted to it. The Christian canon is by many regarded as fixed by the Council of Laodicaea. No one would pretend that any books were admitted into the canon of the Fathers of Laodicaea which they knew to have been composed but a few years before their own day. If we regard that as spurious, and look to the Third Council of Carthage, still the same thing holds. The books, while thus declared to be canonical, were regarded as having originated some three centuries before. To find the date at which the canon was fixed would only supply a lower limit. This date is very difficult to determine — difficult, that is to say, to any one who will not determine the date simply to suit his prejudices. The date assumed as the latest at which a book had been admitted into the canon is placed without any proof, by Professor Ryle, at B.C. 105 — a date which is demonstrably false. The prologue of Siracides was written, at the latest, B.C. 132, not impossibly a century earlier, and at that time the canon was not only fixed, but all the books which composed it had been translated into Greek. Dr. Xavier Koenig ('La Formation du Canon') wishes to turn aside the force of the threefold mention of the tripartite division by laying stress on the indefinite and varying name given to the K'thubim. But it would be difficult to translate that term and not seem to assert that this class contained all the scriptural books. The word K'thubirn was the technical term by which the canonical Scriptures were denoted; it also was the term by which those sacred books were denoted that were neither Law nor prophets. Hence the variation in the phrase by which the younger Siracides denotes them. It would be difficult to imagine this selection and translation to have been completed in less than half a century. This would place the formation of the canon as early as B.C. 180; that is to say, fifteen years before the critical date of Daniel.
The other question to which we referred is much more important — What was the principle according to which this selection was made? Dr. Koenig indicates the idea that perhaps these are all the Hebrew books that have survived the period of persecution. This cannot be maintained, else why was Ecclesiasticus excluded from the canon? In his rhetorical fashion, Dean Farter explains the inclusion of Daniel in the canon, while Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom are excluded, "by its intrinsic superiority." He does not show that this would be observable to a Jew of the period of the Maccabees; the literary sense of Jews of that period, judged by their productions, was pretty low. One has only to read Judith to see this. If a person had only the hooks before him, and knew nothing more, he would be a singular critic who would say that Esther was immeasurably superior to even such a book as Tobit, not to speak of the Book of Wisdom, or that Ecclesiastes was immeasurably superior to Ecclesiasticus. Any such merely subjective test as this could never have been employed to settle the canon.
In a writer of the first century of our era we have a principle of canonicity laid down which is not liable to objection, and which, it seems to us, is proved to be true by the facts of the case. Josephus ('Contra Apionem') lays down the principle that those books alone were considered canonical which had originated before the end of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanua Of course, this only supplies one principle of selection. He further asserts that the works included were by prophets. This would imply that the works attributed to David and Solomon were included in the canon because of the prophetic character assigned to their authors.
The first chronological principle explains, and seems to us alone to explain, the reason of the exclusion of the apocryphal books. Ecclesiasticus was often quoted by the Talmudists: why was it excluded? The traditional view — that of Josephus — explains it. If it is said that Ben Sire did not put a famous name at the head of his work, and therefore it was not reckoned canonical, this assertion really admits the principle, and only implies that the Jews were sometimes cheated into misapplying it. But further: on the one hand, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Books of Enoch had famous names at their head, and Ruth and Esther had not. Why were the latter included in the canon and the former excluded from it? The principle laid down by Josephus would explain it, especially if it had been applied and the canon fixed before the composition of any of these former books. The exclusion of the Book of Tobit appears to us the most irrefragable proof of the truth of Josephus's assertion of the principles underlying the canonicity of the books of the Old Testament. It seems to us impossible to date Tobit later than the end of the Persian Empire, the date assigned to it by Ewald. If so, why was it not included? Simply because it was composed after the canon had been closed. It claimed a much higher antiquity than Daniel, but its claims were not admitted.
It seems, then, that somewhere about the end of the Persian rule, that is to say, about the time the Talmudists place the great synagogue, the canon was fixed. The principles on which they selected the books which were to form the canon seem to have been those laid down by Josephus — that the book must be reputed to have been composed before the death of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and to have been the work of prophets. If this is granted — and, in the light of the evidence, it is impossible reasonably to resist it — the Book of Daniel must certainly date so much before the end of the Persian period, that its claim to belong to the Babylonian period could not be challenged at the time. At all events, the date assumed by the critical school, viz. B.C. 165, is definitely to be put aside as clearly false.
3. Versions of Daniel. We have four translations, each of which was completed before the Massoretic text of the Hebrew Scriptures was fixed — the Septuagint, Theodotion, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate in Jerome's edition. There are fragments of the other Greek versions preserved in Field, and fragments of the older Latin versions in the Latin Fathers, noticeably in Tertullian. Of the Latin Fathers, the Africans quote from a version made from the Septuagint.
(1) The Septuagint. The history of the Septuagint version of Daniel is very singular. It seems to have been excluded from the Septuagint, and its place filled by that of Theodotion, mainly through the overmastering influence of Origen. That Father found that the differences between the Septuagint version of Daniel and the Hebrew in the Palestinian Recension were very great, and came to the conclusion that the Septuagint Version was corrupt. He had, however, retained it in his Hexapla and Tetrapla, although he put Theodotion in the place of honour in his page which usually the Septuagint Version occupied, It had, however, by the time of the Reformation, utterly disappeared, only in some of the Greek and Latin Fathers there was evidence that they had used another Greek version in their quotations from Daniel than that preserved to us in Theodotion. Most noticeable among these is Justin Martyr, in his 'Dialogue with Trypho.' However, nothing was certain until a manuscript was discovered in the library of the Chigi Palace in Rome which contained this version of Daniel. Magistris the librarian discovered and edited it in 1772. Eight years afterwards a Syriac version of this same version was found in the Ambrosian Library in Milan, by Bugati the librarian. It was found to confirm the authenticity of the Codex Chisianus. This Syriac version had been made by Paulus Tellensis, Jacobite Bishop of Tells, in Mesopotamia, in the beginning of the seventh century. Further confirmation, if such were required, was found in the agreement between this new-found version and the passages quoted in Justin Martyr. The value of this version has been very differently estimated. The great mass of critics have assumed that all the differences between the Massoretic text of Daniel and the Septuagint Version have been caused by variation from his original on the part of the Septuagint translator. The only writer who has given, as it seems to us, this version even approximately the important place it deserves, is Graetz, in an article in the 'Monatschrift f r Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums,' 1871. We ought also to mention Lenormant, 'La Divination.' At the same time, we must notice a most elaborate assault on this version which has been made by Dr. Gwynn, in his article "Theodotion," in Smith's 'Dictionary of Christian Biography.' His theory is that the Chistian version is produced from the Palestinian text — practically, according to him, the Massoretic — by interpolation and paraphrase. From a coincidence in a single phrase it is concluded that the author of this version was also the author of the version of the latter part of 2 Chronicles and Ezra, which goes by the title of 3 Esdras in the Latin Vulgate (1 Esdras of our English Apocrypha). The main reason which seems to induce him to maintain this view is that he regards the apocryphal additions to Daniel as the product of the translator of this version. We think this, however, is demonstrably false. The apocryphal additions to Daniel, save the Song of the Three Hebrew Children, are in the Septuagint placed away at the end, as if appendices. To make this appear more clearly, there is a note at the end of the twelfth chapter of Daniel in the Chisian Codex before the addition which says, "Daniel, according to LXX., has been copied from an examplar having the subscription, 'Copied from the Tetrapla, with which it has been collated.'" Then come 'Susanna' and 'Bel,' which is entitled "From the prophecy of Ambakoum (Habakkuk), son of Jesus of the tribe of Levi." This would seem to indicate that these additions were not in the Tetrapla, but were placed there by the copyist. The same phenomenon is presented in Bugati's edition of 'Paulus Tellensis.' The Song of the Three Holy Children is on a different footing, as it is, or they are (for there are two distinct compositions united in it), translations from Hebrew or Aramaic. If, notwithstanding this, these additions were found only in the Septuagint Version, something might still be said for attributing these additions to it alone, but they are found in Theodotion and the Peshitta as much as in the Septuagint. They are not transferred from the Septuagint to Theodotion, for they occupy a different position, in regard to the canonical Daniel in Theodotion, from that they occupy in the Septuagint, and the text of the additions is different. It seems in the highest degree gratuitous to assert that the Septuagint Version is the source. Further, such a change as "Abiesdri" instead of "Ashpenaz" is not to be explained on the above hypothesis. But further, two reasons are assigned for this falsification — the author desired to make better Greek than what would result from a literal version, and to support the courage of his compatriots in their struggle against Epiphanes yet more than the canonical text did. Neither of these aims is at all obvious when one goes over the whole of the Septuagint and compares it with the Massoretic text. If the reader compares the fifth chapter of Daniel in the Septuagint Version with that in the Massoretic text, he will find the Septuagint is much the shorter; and further, while the additional sections in the Massoretic text have all the look of rhetorical amplifications, the omissions cannot be explained as the result of any bias on the part of the translator. In some cases the amplification is on the side of the Septuagint, though not so generally. There are, however, cases of "doublets" — where two different versions of the same Hebrew passage are placed together; these may at times seem amplifications, but in almost all cases they betray their real origin. In some cases the Septuagint gives a slavishly accurate rendering of the Massoretic Hebrew, and the next verse, it may be, is very wide of the Hebrew; in such cases the natural deduction is that the Hebrew from which the Septuagint was translated was not the Massoretic. In not a few cases the difference may be explained by the likeness of letters, especially in the script of Egypt, about B.C. 120. Near the beginning of the first century B.C. the square character was introduced, but the differences can be more easily explained by the earlier letters.
It seems to us impossible to resist the conclusion that the Septuagint Version represents a text very different from that of the Massoretes. The frequency with which the differences may be explained from resemblances in the older mode of writing indicates that this translation was made at latest one hundred years B.C. The frequent occurrence of those double renderings referred to above indicates that the manuscript which Origen embodied in his Tetrapla had been copied from one which had been gone over either by a scholar, who supplied in the margin the renderings of the Hebrew which he thought preferable, or by one who had the loan of another version of Daniel, and transferred the renderings of this other version to the margin of his own copy when they seemed to him striking. The former supposition appears to us to be the simplest explanation of the phenomena. We need not stay to give instances of those differences to which we have referred, as we shall notice them as they occur in the text. We may say the same thing in regard to the "doublets" of which we spoke above. While we have said above that the mode of writing indicates that this translation had been made at least a century before our era, the prologue to Siracides renders it certain that at the latest by B.C. 132 it was established in use among the Greek-speaking population of Egypt.
(2) Theodotion. The writer of this version belonged, according to one account, to Ephesus; according to another, to Pontus, in Asia Minor. His object was not to make a completely new translation, but rather to amend the extant version so as to bring it into close agreement with the Hebrew text then prevalent. Dr. Gwynn, in his article in Smith and Wace's 'Dictionary of Christian Biography,' argues that the approximate date of Theodotion is A.D. 180. Fritzsche ("Bibelubersetzungen," Herzog's 'Real-Encyclopaedia') declares for an earlier date, thinking that the points in which Justin Martyr differs from the LXX. are all those which agree with Theodotion (which is scarcely the case), and that Justin, therefore, must have known Theodotion. The change may, however, be explained by the efforts of copyists to conform Justin to the version received by the Church. From these resemblances in the quotations from Daniel in Justin Martyr to Theodotion's version, Dr. Gwynn would argue that there was another version of Daniel which had an equal claim with that placed by Origen in the Hexapla to be reckoned that of the Seventy. This is, we think, confirmed by quotations in Irenaeus, Clement of Rome, etc. On the ether hand, Justin Martyr and the Latin Fathers of Africa quote, with slight variations, from the Septuagint. If Theodotion's version were formed on a translation of Daniel current in Asia Minor, the phenomena would be explicable. Tradition declares Theodotion to have belonged to Asia Minor, and to Asia Minor Irenaeus also belonged. The version of Theodotion is much closer to the present Massoretic text than the Septuagint version of Daniel. Yet there are several cases of very considerable divergence. These divergences cannot be explained by the influence of the old Septuagint, for the fact that there was another Greek version of Daniel in use rendered it much less potent. The most natural supposition is that the Hebrew text to which Theodotion harmonized his Greek version was considerably removed from the present Massoretic. These divergences from the present received Hebrew text are noticed as they occur in the following commentary.
(3) The Peshitta. The date of this version is doubtful, but we think that it cannot be placed later than the last quarter of the second century. It is universally recognized that the claim Ephrem Syrus makes for the version as a whole, that it is taken directly from the Hebrew, is true. That this is true of Daniel appears, on careful examination, to be thoroughly confirmed. It is yet closer to the Massoretic text than Theodotion, though even it varies at times very considerably from the present received Hebrew text. We have endeavoured to make use of this version throughout the ensuing commentary, and in some cases have been led to a different reading by consideration of its rendering. The fact that, although the Peshitta is nearly contemporary with the version of Theodotion, it presupposes a Hebrew text nearer the Massoretic, implies that the Massoretic activity had already commenced in Babylon.
(4) The Vulgate. The Latin Version as revised by Jerome. As Jerome made his version under the guidance of Jewish rabbins, it is to be expected that his version would exhibit a close adherence to the Hebrew text as received among the Jews of the fifth century. While this is the case generally, he varies from the present Massoretic text in a few places. These we have taken notice of as they occur. This proves that, even so late as the days of Jerome, the Massoretic text had not quite reached fixity.
The other versions, the Coptic and the Arabic, we have not made use of, as they are too late to have any evidential value.
The Massoretic text, we thus see, has no claim to antiquity in its present form. Throughout the Old Testament the relationship between the Q'ri and K'thib — "that which is read" and "that which is written" — indicates in general the coalescence of two different schools of readings. In making this statement, we are putting on the one side those cases where the Q'ri is due to reasons of propriety or reverence. On the whole, the differences between Q'ri and K'thib, in regard to the Aramaic of Daniel, indicate, as we have noticed above, that the K'thib is the more Eastern of the two recensions. This variation between the Q'ri and the K'thib at once dissipates any superstitious reverence for the Massoretic text that might linger in the mind even after a consideration of the widely different text suggested by a study of the versions.
It is obvious that a necessary preliminary to a commentary on Daniel is the fixation of the text on which the commentary is to be based. In the subsequent work we have endeavoured to form a text of each successive verse before we have interpreted it. In doing this we have placed great weight on the reading that appeared to be behind the Septuagint. As the Massoretic text cannot date earlier than the end of the fifth century, the Septuagint represents a text fully six hundred years older. Certainly there have been interpolators at work in the Septuagint, but the Septuagint is not the only field of their operations. We find almost certain evidence of their misdirected activity in the Massoretic text,
4. COMMENTARIES ON DANIEL.
The idea of commenting on the books of the Bible is one that sprang up early among Christians. Among those of the Old Testament none has had a larger share of attention, and few were earlier commented on, than the Book of Daniel. One of the earliest of the patristic commentaries is that of Hippolytus. He occupies himself entirely with the visions. It is to be noted that he regards the fourth empire as the Roman — a view earlier maintained in 4 Esdras. The next we may note is Ephrem Syrus, whose commentary forms part of the voluminous edition of his works published in Rome. He is singular among the Fathers and early Jewish writers in maintaining the fourth empire to be the Greek. It would almost necessarily be the case that before the Romans, under Pompey, conquered Jerusalem, the fourth empire would be looked upon as that of Epiphanes. Later Jewish commentators, smarting under Mohammedan oppression, made the Saracen empire the fourth, and regarded the Roman as a continuance of the Greek. Most important of all ancient commentators is Jerome. Chiefly through his refutation of Porphyry's views have we any knowledge of that early assault on Daniel, and on Christianity through Daniel; the positions of Porphyry have been taken up by writers who would be insulted did any one accuse them of wishing to assail Christianity. It is perfectly true Porphyry might be correct in his premisses, but mistaken in his conclusions; hence modern commentators may accept the former, while rejecting the latter. Throughout mediaeval times there were many Christian commentaries on the Book of Daniel, but they are nearly utterly valueless to the modern commentator. Mediaeval Jewish commentaries are not of much greater value. They were mainly engaged in the prophetic part in covert assaults on Christians and Mohammedans. The most important of these are Saadia the Gaon, Kimchi, Rashi, Aben Ezra, and Jephet-ibn-Ali.
At the time of the Reformation there were several commentaries on Daniel issued; of these the most important is that of Calvin. It has much of that writer's keen exegetic insight, but its usefulness is lessened by the fact that it is so largely hortatory, moreover of necessity Calvin knew nothing of the Septuagint Version, and therefore was without one of our main helps to the attainment of a true text of Daniel. After his day commentaries on Daniel published by Protestants were mainly directed against the Papacy, and the commentators occupied themselves with calculations as to the time of its fall. Some later Romanist commentaries equally directed themselves against the Protestant powers; but others, as Cornelius a Lapide, maintain the fulfilment to be far in the future. Of the former a very favourable example is Sir Isaac Newton's 'Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John;' a little later is Bishop Newton's 'Dissertations.'
With the beginning of this century began the critical assault on Daniel. Bertholdt's commentary was the first assailant of a really thorough-going character, lie maintained that there were nine authors. Eichhorn, De Wette, Bleek, and others followed on the same side. These, abandoning the manifoldness of authorship, maintained that our Book of Daniel was the product of a time when the voices of the prophets had become fainter (matter) and fainter, and at last had altogether ceased; that it was the product of the time of Epiphanes. These views were combated by Hengstenberg, Auberlen, Havernick, in Germany. The discoveries of Layard and Botts in Nineveh made a vast change on the line of assault and detente. Every new discovery in Nineveh or Babylon was hailed by both parties as supporting its own view. Meantime the critical school have certainly secured the ear of the public. At the beginning of the more recent period in the history of the interpretation of Daniel, the critical school were denounced, especially in this country, as opponents of Christianity. In reaction against this unjustifiable assault on their Christianity, the critical school, now that they have got the advantage, will practically not give their opponents a hearing. Characteristic of the first period is Pusey's 'Lectures on Daniel,' very learned, but somewhat confused. The author is always very sure of his own correctness, though sometimes he is not to be trusted in his references to his opponents. One thing he seems to have clone — demolished the attempt to prove a difference between the Aramaic of Daniel and that of Ezra. Characteristic of the latter period is Dean Farrar's 'Daniel,' in the Expositor's Bible Series, wonderful for its assumption of learning and for its marvellous blunders — for its contempt of all opponents and its self-contradictions.
Of the commentaries since the date of Babylonian discoveries on the conservative side, the most considerable have been Rose and Failer, in the 'Speaker's Commentary;' Keil, in Keil and Delitzsch's 'Bibelwerk;' Zockler, in Lange (especially under the American editor). Lenormant ('La Divination') gives an estimate of Daniel, and the historicity of the opening chapters. Dr. Charles H. H. Wright, in his introduction, and in various other writings, maintains the orthodox position with much skill and learning. Kliefoth and Kranichfeld and Caspari also maintain the orthodox standpoint, The most recent work on that side is Anderson's 'Coming Prince.' On the other side are Hitzig, who has a desire to find Persian elements in every name; Ewald, dogmatic but clear-sighted; Meinhold, who admits that the historic portion must date before the Maccabean period. The most recent contributors to the interpretation of Daniel from the critical side are Professor Bevan and Dr. Behrmann. Professor Bevan manifests at times a decided bias, but, apart from this, he is scholarly and fair-minded. Behrmann is very fair, although he maintains the critical position, and at the same time is accurate and scholarly. One of the most noteworthy books on the critical side in regard to this question, as in regard to all questions of Old Testament Introduction, is Canon Driver's 'Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament.'
To a great extent the two schools never meet, for the real reasons for belief in the authenticity of Daniel and disbelief of it never come into court. On the one side, in many minds the real reason for maintaining the authenticity of Daniel is that they fear for Christianity itself. They have formulated their ideas of the truth; their notions are like Prince Rupert's drops — a scientific toy of old days. In their eyes, break off the smallest portion of them, and they sink into dust. In others it is the unwillingness that many minds have to research; they must follow some one, and for the time they are on the orthodox side; they are now drifting to the critical side.
On the other hand, in the case of many on the critical side, the historical and linguistic objections paraded forth hide what is the real and insoluble objection — the presence of miracle. Many of the critical school seem as if they were not conscious of this latent motive, yet in many ways it manifests itself. Closely connected with miracle is prophecy, and to that idea, too, they have an invincible repugnance. The fourth empire must be the Greek, for if it be not, then there is, even on the assumption of the latest date permissible, a prophecy, a foretelling. The Messiah cut off must be Onias III., who, as probably as not, died in his bed, because otherwise there might be a "foretelling" of Christ. The attitude thus taken up is eminently unscientific. To approach any problem with a determination to exclude all features that cause difficulty is the very reverse of scientific.
5. DIFFICULTIES IN REGARD TO DANIEL.
We have already noticed the latent objection to the authenticity of Daniel, the ostensible objections we consider in regard to the passages on which they are founded. We shall, however, rapidly gather them together and look at them. For convenience we shall follow the order in which Dean Farrar has collected these alleged "difficulties" in his recent 'Commentary on Daniel.'
(1) There is an alleged anachronism. In the first verse of Daniel it is asserted that Nebuchadnezzar received the submission of Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim; and this is alleged to contradict Jeremiah 25:1, which synchronizes the first year of Nebuchadnezzar with the fourth of Jehoiakim. The members of the critical school who advance that objection forget to tell us that the clause in Jeremiah on which they base their objection is not found in the Septuagint. Further, the critics assume a siege and plunder of Jerusalem and of the temple, although the narrative says nothing of this, and then declare the narrative to be false, because of this plundering which they have imagined.
(2) Belteshazzar is said to be named "according to the name of my god" (Daniel 4:8), whereas the received interpretation of Balatzu-utzur does not contain any divine name. It never suggests itself to these critics, that as the LXX. and Theodotion call him always "Balthasar," giving him the same name as they give King Belshazzar, the form in our Hebrew Bibles is due to the defacing instinct which led them to write "Manasseh" instead of "Moses" in Judges 18:30. We need not speak of the other names in this section; we speak of them in the places where they occur.
(3) "The second year of Nebuchadnezzar" (Daniel 2:1). This statement is assumed to contradict Daniel 1:5, where "three years" is fixed as the duration of the period of training assigned to the Jewish youths. If this contradiction be maintained to be absolute, then Daniel cannot be "a religious novel," as Dean Farrar maintains — the two conflicting notes of time are too close to each other in the narrative not to have been observed by the author. Again, the date may have been altered through the blunder of a copyist, as Ewald thinks. This, however, is a difficulty only to those who deny the statement of Berosus that Nebuchadnezzar made the expedition to Syria before he became king, and forget that the years of a Babylonian king's reign dated from the new year after his accession. Moreover, the training of those hostages may have begun before the death of Nabopolassar. If these things are borne in mind, the second year of Nebuchadnezzar, when nearing its close, might coincide with the close of the third year of the training of the Hebrew youths.
(4) Chaldeans, as a class of magicians, "is an immense anachronism." But the reader may see under the verses where the words are alleged to occur, grave reason for doubting whether the word actually belongs to the text. It seems to a certain extent probable that it is an intrusion from the margin.
(5) The fifth objection, "Arioch," is not really an objection, even in Dean Farrar's eyes. The dean sees great difficulty in the fact that Arioch introduces Daniel to the king as if he had discovered him; while in the end of the previous chapter the king had found Daniel "ten times better than all the magicians," etc. The dean forgets that this want of unity is against the idea of a novel — which he advocates. It does not occur to him that the difficulty may be removed by regarding the incident related in the second chapter as the occasion when Nebuchadnezzar discovered the ability of Daniel and his companions.
(6, 7) The worship given to Daniel and accepted by him forms a greater difficulty to those who will have us believe Daniel is the ideal of a Jew in a heathen court, formed by "a pious Chasid" of the time of the Maccabees. Everything that makes his conduct inexplicable on the highest moral grounds is an argument against the book being a novel of such an origin, and for it being a true history. A contemporary historian often omits explanations which after-times desiderate, simply because the explanation is obvious to him.
(8) Dean Farrar is quite sure that the Babylonian priests formed a caste. We do not think there is evidence of this. But to be over "the wise men" was not to be head of the priests. Further, even to be "over the priests" did not necessarily imply being a priest. In France and Russia, the head of the government department that is over the priesthood is not himself a priest.
(9) The omission of Daniel from those who refused worship to the golden image is just one of the difficulties which it is incumbent on Dean Farrar to explain on the hypothesis that Daniel is a religious novel. The alleged Greek names of musical instruments are discussed more fully elsewhere, and shown either not to be Greek or not to have been in the original text.
(10) We shall notice here the alleged monotheistic decrees which Dean Farrar has taken up under different headings. All these form difficulties only to those who have not studied the phenomena of heathenism, or at all events have not apprehended its bearing on such proclamations as those before us. The heathen of one nation never had much difficulty in acknowledging that the god or gods of another nation were really divine beings, with power to hurt, and with the right to be worshipped. The policy pursued by Nabunahid, but reversed by Cyrus, of bringing the gods of all the subject cities into Babylon, proceeded on this idea Punishment is decreed against any one who should speak disrespectfully of the God of the Jews. No order is issued for sacrifice and worship to be given to Jehovah alone.
(11) Dean Farrar says incorrectly that Belshazzar is somewhat emphatically called the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and quotes Daniel 5:11, in which verse the word "son" does not at all occur. Certainly Nebuchadnezzar is called "his father." The emphasis is wholly in Dean Farrar's imagination. He knows that Jehu is called "the son of Omri" in the inscription of Shalmaneser II., when he was simply his successor. Dr. Hugo Winekler tells us that "'son,' after the name of Chaldean princes, is only to be taken in the sense of belonging to the dynasty of —"
(12) "In that night was Belshazzar King of the Chaldeans slain." This verse is not in the Septuagint. The siege of Babylon and its capture by assault, imagined by Dr. Sayce and Dean Farrar to be related in Daniel, is neither narrated nor implied. The whole difficulty is due to the inveterate inaccuracy of the dean and to the hastiness of the doctor. Dean Farrar objects that Belshazzar was not king; but if he was not "king," he performed all the functions of king, and had prayers put up for him as if he were joint king with his father, although certainly the dates of the contract tables are reckoned by his father's reign, as they are even in some cases after Cyrus is on the throne.
(13) In the case of Darius the Mede we admit there are difficulties. We have elsewhere submitted the evidence which has led us to suppose that Gobryas is intended. Dean Farrar is quite sure "Gobryas" was a Persian. His son Mardonius is called a Mede by Nepes. The newly discovered history of Cyrus renders it very doubtful what constituted a Persian. Parsua seems to have been little more than a canton, like Ansan, belonging sometimes to Elam, sometimes to Media. All these cantons had "kings," and these kings retained their titles in after-life, although their kingship was merely honorary.
(14) He is called "the son of Ahasuerus." We do not know who the father of Gobryas was; he might have been called Ahasuerus. Surely Dean Farrar does not need to be told of the carelessness of the Jews in regard to proper names. Thus in Joseph ben Gorion "Epiphaues" appears as אספנוס, a mode of writing "Vespasianus."
(15) This last historical objection is the assumption that as the writer only mentions "four kings of Persia," he only knew of "four." If we suppose that to the prophet only "four" kings were made known, that is nothing against the authenticity of that portion of the book. We know Alexander the Great defended his invasion of Persia on the ground that it was a reprisal for the invasion of Greece by Xerxes. In that case it was quite natural, in a sketch of history, to leap from Xerxes to Alexander.
We have followed the catalogue of difficulties presented to us by Dean Farrar, because it is the most recent, and also because from the reputation of the author it is likely to be very popular, not that we would do the critical school the injustice of regarding him as in any sense their representative. The brevity of our answers to these objections is to be explained and excused by the fact that each and all are considered again in the commentary which follows.
There are other alleged historical difficulties besides those mentioned above; but these also we consider in connection with passages involved. The only one of these we would notice here is the alleged reference to a formed canon in Daniel 9:2, "I Daniel understood by books." Critics forget to tell us that hassephareem is never used for the books of the canon; it is always hakketheobeem. They also forget to inform us that hassephareem might mean simply "the letter," and refer to the letter of Jeremiah the prophet, to which references are made elsewhere in the chapter.
As our readers will have seen, the Introduction to Daniel is in the main a discussion of the question of its authenticity. Let us, in conclusion, sum up the results we have reached. There are two clearly marked parties — the traditional and the critical. The one, the traditional party, maintain that the Book of Daniel is a record of facts, in the main vouched for by Daniel himself, who, according to the traditional view, is an actual historic character. The other, the critical party, declare the Book of Daniel to be a religious novel, written in the days of the Maccabees. Its purpose is to encourage the Jews in their conflict against Epiphanes. For this object the writer exhibits Epiphanes under the names of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius the Mode, and in the person of Daniel presents us with the picture of the ideal Jew in the court of a heathen prince. Daniel is chosen because his name indicates the character, or because the characteristics assigned to Daniel in the prophecy of Ezekiel suit the position the author wishes to represent his ideal Jew occupying. Further, the history of Daniel is modelled on that of Joseph.
It is clear that the critical school have recognized that it is not enough merely to assail the traditional position; that it is necessary to supply some explanation of the origin of the book assailed. It is a supposable case that the negative part of the critical contention might be proved, while the positive remained doubtful. But a close inspection of the argument and position of the critical school at once shows us that the two sides of their case are intimately connected. Were "Daniel" not written in the Maccabean period, then that period was prophesied of, and one of the main reasons for critics taking up their present position in regard to the Book of Daniel would be gone. On the other hand, tradition has always some value. The critical school sometimes seem to assume that if a book is said by tradition to have been written by one person at one time, that is a reason for saying that it was written at another time and by a totally different person. A rigid application of this tacit principle would deprive us of all our classics, Greek and Roman. We, then, can claim that the critical school have failed if they do not establish both parts of their case, even though the traditional school be not able to advance any strong positive arguments on their own behalf. They have merely to maintain the defence.
With the facts before us which we have just presented to our readers, it seems impossible to resist the conclusion that the case against the authenticity of Daniel has broken down. If we take the first portion of the critical contention, that the Book of Daniel is a religious novel, we find that it presents none of the characteristics that are present in successful productions of this class. The fact that one portion of it is written in one language, while another portion is written in another, is strongly against this view. Further, the incidents narrated do not suit the alleged purpose of the book, viz. to encourage the Jews in their armed opposition to Epiphanes; they would prompt to passive, not active, resistance. It cannot be maintained that Nebuchadnezzar is a portrait of Epiphanes. The character ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar is utterly unlike that ascribed to Epiphanes in the book itself. The feelings caused by the character and conduct of Nebuchadnezzar are utterly unlike those occasioned by the deeds of Antiochus. The assertion that the madness ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar is due to the alleged nickname given to Epiphanes is disproved, as it is shown that there is no evidence that this nickname ever was given to Antiochus Epiphanes. As little are Belshazzar or Darius the Mode portraits of Antiochus. It cannot be intended to represent the ideal of a pious Jew in a heathen corot, as many of the incidents do not easily fit into this idea. We have an account of the hero's three friends being cast into the fiery furnace because they will not be guilty of idol-worship; but we have no explanation given us why Daniel was not beside his three friends. To mention no more, every pious Jew of the time of the Maccabees would regard the return of the captives to their own land as the greatest event of the reign of Cyrus. Daniel is represented neither as urging on Cyrus the advisability of permitting the Jews to return, nor of aiding them in availing themselves of this permission when granted. Far less is Daniel himself represented as returning. The story of an ideal Jew in the court of Cyrus would not have omitted some reference to this great event, or failed to exhibit the relation his hero bore to it. We have further seen this story cannot have been written to suit the meaning of the name, or to the character ascribed to the historic Daniel in Ezekiel. As little can the incidents here be modelled on those in the life of Joseph. We are thus obliged to decide Daniel not to be an historical religious novel. If not a novel, it would seem necessary to hold that it must be true.
If we now consider the date ascribed to this book by the critical school, we think their case has broken down here too. If we take the argument from language, we find that the Hebrew of the Book of Daniel, when compared with that of Siracides, is much older. We know that Ecclesiasticus was written at latest a dozen years earlier than the critical date of Daniel. We have seen that the words whose presence is regarded as proof of the recency of Daniel are either not recent or have no right to be in the text. We thus see that the critical case, so far as the argument from the Hebrew is concerned, has failed. As to the Aramaic, which is asserted to be recent and Western, whereas it should be ancient and Eastern, the probative force of the instances brought forward is weakened by the evidences of a process of modernization and Occidentali-zation having gone on. On the other hand, there seem to be survivals in the Massoretic of an earlier text, which had not the recent or Western characteristics we now find in it. The alleged presence of Greek words has not been proved. Hence we may claim that the linguistic case against Daniel has not been made good.
When we turn from internal to external evidence, the case for the relative antiquity of Daniel seems strong. The four horns of Zechariah and the prayer of Nehemiah would be acknowledged as due to the influence of Daniel, were none of the books involved Biblical. The middle portion of Enoch would not be placed later than B.C. 210, were it not needful to do so to avoid proving Daniel early. If the Book of Baruch is to be dated, with Ewald, in the Persian period, then Daniel must be as early, as Baruch is clearly borrowed from it. We may neglect the reference to the horns in the Sibylline Oracles. The weight of evidence seems to us strong in favour of an early date.
Any fair estimate of the fact that Daniel is in the canon, we have seen, points also to the early date of Daniel. On the criterion laid down by Josephus, the Book of Daniel must have been believed, by those who fixed the canon, to have been written before the clays of Artaxerxes Longimauus. Nothing antagonistic to Daniel's claims can be deduced from the place it occupies in the canon. It is incumbent on critics — if they maintain that, while Daniel was a recent book, it was yet imagined to be ancient when the canon was formed — to show how that took place. If they could point to any tradition in First Maccabees, or even Second Maccabees, valueless as it is, or Josephus, though he is late, that the Book of Daniel had been discovered in the recesses of the temple, or in some cave beyond Jordan, then its reception into the canon would be explicable. The First Book of Maccabees was written about half a century after the heat of the Maccabean struggle. Daniel was so well known that the author felt it no anachronism to tell, as probably he had been told, that Mattathias referred to the incidents in the Book of Daniel on his deathbed. Had there been any story of the discovery of the Book of Daniel, the dying scene of Mattathias would have been differently recorded. A case for the origin of Daniel being, at all events, earlier than the Maccabean period, might be made out, as shown above, from the mistakes of the Septuagint, as they are seen to be due to a mode of writing that ceased about that period.
The alleged contradictions of history in Daniel have all been shown to be due either to mistakes in regard to the meaning of Daniel or to the facts of history.
We therefore claim that the attempted disproof of the authenticity of Daniel has completely failed.
NOTE ON THE RECENTLY DISCOVERED FRAGMENT OF ECCLESIASTICUS.
Since the above Introduction was not only in type, but stereotyped, the question of the Hebrew of Daniel has entered into a new phase — Mrs. Gibson and Mrs. Lewis have added to the debt which Biblical science owes them by discovering a fragment of the Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus. It is a portion of the thirty-ninth chapter of that book. This discovery, important in itself, has led to the further discovery at Oxford of nine more leaves of the same manuscript as that to which this fragment belongs, and almost continuous with it. The importance of the character of the Hebrew in which the Book of Ben Sira was written cannot be minimized, although the critics, who will have it that Daniel is late, have maintained a discreet silence on the question, notwithstanding the numerous quotations from it in rabbinic literature. The fragment adds a great deal to our knowledge of the Hebrew of Ecclesiasticus, and I would venture to add a few words on the bearing it has on the discussion above of the same question in the light only of the rabbinic quotations. In doing so, I hope my readers will consider my situation — in Palestine, away from public libraries, and liable always to have books, periodicals, and newspapers from Europe delayed, if not seized, by the Turkish postal authorities. I am thus very much handicapped in my study of this question. Through the kindness of Mrs. Gibson, I received a copy of the proof-sheets of Dr. Sehechter's article in the Expositor of July, 1896, with his edition of the text and translation; she kindly also enclosed Canon Driver's article in the Guardian, July 1, 1896. I had also forwarded to me the August number of the Expositor for 1896, with the article of Professor Margoliouth. I understand Professor Neubauer will shortly publish the nine leaves which he discovered in Oxford; but, unfortunately, I cannot wait till it reaches me, and must draw my information from what Canon Driver has said in the Guardian. The date of the manuscript cannot, according to Dr. Schechter, be later than the beginning of the twelfth century. This was the time when Hebrew learning was most flourishing — the age of Rashi and Aben Ezra.
The first thing that strikes the reader is that many of the later peculiarities which are present in all the Talmudic quotations, are absent — a fact that is noted by Canon Driver. The Hebrew of the fragment is thus liker classical Hebrew than the Hebrew of the quotations. The question that must be decided, then, really is — Which is the better evidence? In considering this, we must bear in mind the late date of this manuscript, and the comparatively early date of the Talmudic quotations. Further, we must take account of the habits of the Talmudists in quotation. When they quote with the formula, "As it is written in the book of," they are usually scrupulously accurate, however flagrantly inaccurate they may be in other matters. Above, I restricted my study of the Hebrew of Ben Sira to such passages. It is perfectly true that, as a rule, the evidence of a manuscript is to be preferred to that of a quotation; yet there are many exceptions to this rule. Thus, in regard to the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer, the uncial manuscript L, dated by Tregelles in the ninth century — i.e. three centuries earlier than the manuscript before us — has the doxology; but Tertullian, 'De Oratione,' quotes each sentence of the prayer, but omits the doxology. Here the evidence of the quotation is clearly right, and the manuscript c]early wrong. Further, there is sometimes a tendency in a copyist to amend the language of the writer he is copying, and conform it to a classic standard; thus in 1 Corinthians 15:33 we have in the Receptus χρησταÌ changed into χρησθ. It is at least a possibility that this manuscript represents a classically amended recension. There are a large number of various readings placed in the margin of the manuscript before us, which indicates an uncertainty as to the true reading — precisely the state of matters when the editorial copyist would feel himself free to exercise his skill. This suspicion is confirmed by the way that at times all the versions are united against the text of the manuscript before us. To take the second verse of the fragment — the first cited by Canon Driver — it begins מעשׂי אל כלם טובים. In regard to this clause, all the versions unite in adding a qualifying adverb to the adjective, the Greek adds σφοìδρα, the Syriac , and the Latin valde. The Latin is here independent of the Greek; the verse equivalent to this is not, as in the Greek and Syriac, the sixteenth, but the twenty-first, and, moreover, the Latin wants the latter half of the verse. The fact that the Syriac adverb here used means "together," led Professor Margoliouth to think that an Aramaic word — very like the Syriac one — which means "very," had stood there. For our part, the preponderance of evidence seems in favour of Professor Margoliouth's contention that there is a word omitted in the text of the manuscript, and that word was Aramaic. For further argument in this line we must refer the reader to Professor Margoliouth's article in the Expositor for August, 1896. Our contention may be supported by another argument. If the text of the recently discovered fragment accurately represents the original of Ben Sira, and if we can fix the date of a document by its language, then Ecclesiasticus must have been written a long while before Ecclesiastes. Canon Driver says of the language of this fragment, "Instead of being more debased than that of Ecclesiastes, it is considerably less so." If, then, debasement of language be a proof of late date, and the want of it of an early date, then Ecclesiastes must have been written considerably later than the Book of Ben Sire, not, as Canon Driver modestly says, "about the same time." But the Greek title given to the translation, presumably by the translator himself, the grandson of the author, implies that he regarded his grandfather's book as an imitation of Ecclesiastes. From this two things follow — first, that Ecclesiastes had been so long translated into Greek that its position was quite assured, — therefore that its Hebrew original must be very much older than that of Ben Sira; second, that the Hebrew of Ben Sira must have been like that of Ecclesiastes. Hence it follows that the difference of the language in the fragment before us from that of Ecclesiastes is due either to classical emendation of Ecclesiasticus or to corruption of Ecclesiastes. The first seems the simpler hypothesis in the light of the quotations from Ben Sire in the Talmud. If both texts are approximately in their primitive condition, then the absurd result follows that Ecclesiastes was at the same time very much earlier and very much later than Ecclesiasticus.
At the same time, Canon Driver does admit that there are three late non-Biblical words in this fragment. One of these is the frequent word in rabbinic, עסק, "business," another is החפיק, "to supply," and חחדות, "contention." As the reader of the above Introduction will see, the Hebrew words in Daniel, otherwise unexampled in Scripture, are reduced to two. The Hebrew portion of Daniel is considerably longer than this fragment, yet it has fewer unexampled words. He mentions other two words as common to this fragment and the later parts of the Old Testament. Only one of these occurs in Daniel, and it also occurs in Ezekiel. If Canon Driver had extended over this fragment the line that some critics have extended over Daniel, he should have found several more, e.g. עקדב in the singular; it appears only in the plural in the Bible. Canon Driver says, speaking of the nine Oxford leaves, that "the waw 'conversive' occurs several times." He does not notify his readers of the fact that the waw "conversive" is the regular usage in Daniel, save in Daniel 11., which is spurious. He says there are no new Hebrew idioms. Against this Professor Margoliouth has shown several distinct Aramaisms, e.g. חיתשׂן, "beasts of teeth." Aramaisms have a very different meaning as evidence of age in Ben Sira from what they ought to have in Daniel. By hypothesis Daniel was a man to whom Aramaic was the every-day speech, but Siracides was resident in Jerusalem. Any person situated as Daniel was — living among foreigners, and using commonly their tongue, especially if that tongue was cognate to his own — would almost of necessity introduce foreign words into his own language when he used it. Siracides was not in these circumstances. Greek had probably, to a large extent, dispossessed Aramaic as a business language. Hebrew had become a sacred literary tongue, and in that case the Aramaisms in it had already got embedded there before the advent of the Greek supremacy. Canon Driver adverts to the fact that the longer form of the relative is used in the Oxford leaves; in the quotations it is always the short form that appears. Canon Driver does not, however, notify his readers that the short form of the relative never appears in Daniel. One point which Canon Driver minimizes is the fact that in the fragment we have evidence that the distinction between ס and שׂ had been lost by the time Ben Siva was writing — a distinction maintained in full force in Daniel.
I do not feel myself competent to give a judgment on the metrical question which has been introduced into this discussion by Professor Margoliouth. My acquaintance with Arabic versification is too rudimentary. While Dr. Driver is quite sure that this fragment confirms Professor Noldeke's condemnation of Professor Margoliouth's theory, in the Expositor for August 1896 Professor Margoliouth maintains that this fragment confirms his theory. To one with only a superficial knowledge of his metrical scheme, he seems to make out a very fair case. He says, "A great many verses suit the metrical scheme exactly," some of those cases being instances where the versions could not have helped the student to make the discovery. He admits that in many cases the lines do not suit, but these he maintains with great show of reason — arguing from the versions — are corrupt. There are others where he admits that neither the text of the fragment nor that of the versions gives a metrical line, but in these cases he maintains both are corrupt.
Thus, even in the light of this new fragment of the text of Ben Sira, I do not feel compelled to alter my former decision.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29