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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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(dan' iehl) Personal name meaning, “God is judge” or “God's judge.” 1. A son of David and Abigail, the Carmelitess (1 Chronicles 3:1 ), who is also called Chileab in 2 Samuel 3:3 . 2 . A priest of the Ithamar lineage (Ezra 8:2; Nehemiah 10:6 ) who returned with Ezra from the Babylonian captivity.

3. Daniel of Ezekiel 14:14 ,Ezekiel 14:14,14:20; Ezekiel 28:3 is spelled differently in Hebrew from all the other forms in the Old Testament. This Daniel was a storied figure of antiquity mentioned with Noah and Job. He was famous for wisdom and righteousness. Due to the similarity in the spelling of the name and the common attributes of wisdom and righteousness, some interpreters identify this Daniel with the Daniel of the canonical book of Daniel.

Most interpreters, however, take note of the differences in the spelling and also the fact of antiquity. Some identify the “Daniel” of Ezekiel with “Danel” of ancient Ugaritic literature.

4. The most common usage of “Daniel” refers to the hero of the Book of Daniel. This young man of nobility was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and elevated to high rank in the Babylonian and Persian kingdoms.

The Babylonians sought to remove all vestiges of Daniel's nationality and religion. For this reason, they sought to change the name of Daniel to Belteshazzar. (Daniel 1:7; Daniel 2:26; Daniel 4:8-9 ,Daniel 4:8-9,4:18-19; Daniel 5:12; Daniel 10:1 ).

Daniel was transported from Judah to Babylon in his early youth at the battle of Carchemish, 605 B.C. The text does not indicate his precise age. He was trained in the arts, letters, and wisdom in the Babylonian capital. Eventually, he rose to high rank among the Babylonian men of wisdom.

He was active throughout the long reign of Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 B.C.). No mention is made in Daniel of the times of Evil-Merodach (561-560 B.C.), Neriglissar (559-555 B.C.), or Labashi-Marduk (555 B.C.). However, much information is provided concerning Daniel's involvement during the reign of Nabonidus (555-539 B.C.). While Nabonidus was absent from his country for extended periods of time, he put his son Belshazzar in charge of the affairs of government.

Daniel was in Babylon when the forces of Cyrus, the Persian, captured Babylon. Successively, Daniel was a high governmental official during the reigns of Cyrus (539-529 B.C.) and Cambyses (529-522 B.C.). He served also during his old age into the reign of Darius I, the son of Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.). Daniel would probably have celebrated his one hundredth birthday during the reign of Darius.

He had outstanding physical attraction. He demonstrated at an early age propensities of knowledge, wisdom, and leadership. In addition to his wisdom, he was skilled in dream interpretation.

Throughout his entire life he demonstrated an unshakable faith in his God. It took courage to resist the temptations and threats which confronted him repeatedly. He recognized that God was continuously judging him. He remained faithful.

J. J. Owens

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Daniel'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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Daniel, Book of