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Easton's Bible Dictionary


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        God is my judge, or judge of God. (1.) David's second son, "born
        unto him in Hebron, of Abigail the Carmelitess" (1 Chr. 3:1). He
        is called also Chileab (2 Sam. 3:3).
        (2.) One of the four great prophets, although he is not once
        spoken of in the Old Testament as a prophet. His life and
        prophecies are recorded in the Book of Daniel. He was descended
        from one of the noble families of Judah (Dan. 1:3), and was
        probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, during the reign of
        Josiah. At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar
        (the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century
        before), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at
        the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign
        of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and other three noble youths
        were carried off to Babylon, along with part of the vessels of
        the temple. There he was obliged to enter into the service of
        the king of Babylon, and in accordance with the custom of the
        age received the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar, i.e., "prince of
        Bel," or "Bel protect the king!" His residence in Babylon was
        very probably in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, now identified
        with a mass of shapeless mounds called the Kasr, on the right
        bank of the river.
        His training in the schools of the wise men in Babylon (Dan.
        1:4) was to fit him for service to the empire. He was
        distinguished during this period for his piety and his stict
        observance of the Mosaic law (1:8-16), and gained the confidence
        and esteem of those who were over him. His habit of attention
        gained during his education in Jerusalem enabled him soon to
        master the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans, and even to
        excel his compeers.
        At the close of his three years of discipline and training in
        the royal schools, Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency
        in the "wisdom" of his day, and was brought out into public
        life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation
        of dreams (1:17; 2:14), and rose to the rank of governor of the
        province of Babylon, and became "chief of the governors" (Chald.
        Rab-signin) over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and
        also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream; and many years
        afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and
        consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar's impious
        feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother
        (perhaps Nitocris, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) to interpret
        the mysterious handwriting on the wall. He was rewarded with a
        purple robe and elevation to the rank of "third ruler." The
        place of "second ruler" was held by Belshazzar as associated
        with his father, Nabonidus, on the throne (5:16). Daniel
        interpreted the handwriting, and "in that night was Belshazzar
        the king of the Chaldeans slain."
        After the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, who was now master of all
        Asia from India to the Dardanelles, placed Darius (q.v.), a
        Median prince, on the throne, during the two years of whose
        reign Daniel held the office of first of the "three presidents"
        of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs,
        no doubt interesting himself in the prospects of the captive
        Jews (Dan. 9), whom he had at last the happiness of seeing
        restored to their own land, although he did not return with
        them, but remained still in Babylon. His fidelity to God exposed
        him to persecution, and he was cast into a den of lions, but was
        miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree
        enjoining reverence for "the God of Daniel" (6:26). He
        "prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the
        Persian," whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of
        the decree which put an end to the Captivity (B.C. 536).
        He had a series of prophetic visions vouch-safed to him which
        opened up the prospect of a glorious future for the people of
        God, and must have imparted peace and gladness to his spirit in
        his old age as he waited on at his post till the "end of the
        days." The time and circumstances of his death are not recorded.
        He probably died at Susa, about eighty-five years of age.
        Ezekiel, with whom he was contemporary, mentions him as a
        pattern of righteousness (14:14, 20) and wisdom (28:3). (See
        NEBUCHADNEZZAR T0002684.)

Related Bible History

Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Daniel' Eastons Bible Dictionary". - Eastons; 1897.

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