Saturday, July 30, 2016

Daniel the Prophet, An Introduction to the Book

Daniel the Prophet, Pusey, p 75 - 76: 
“The book of Daniel is especially fitted to be a battlefield between faith and unbelief. It admits of no half-measures. It is either Divine or an imposture. To write any book under the name of another, and to give it out to be his, is in any case forgery, dishonest in itself, and destructive of all trustworthiness. But the case as to the book of Daniel, if it were not his, would go far beyond even this. The writer, were he not Daniel, must have lied, on a most frightful scale, ascribing to God prophecies which were never uttered, and miracles which are assumed never to have been wrought. In a word, the whole book would be one lie in the Name of God. The more God, as we shall see, is the center of the whole, the more directly would the falsehood come into relation to God….Either then we have true miracles & true prophecy, or we should have nothing but untruth. An apology for the supposed forger…is utterly untenable & immoral….A deceit which would fall under the sentence of God against those who say, Let us do evil, that good may come; whose damnation is just [Rom 3.8].”

Thematic importance: The Gospel about the Kingdom of God!
·       All the kingdoms of this world will come to an end & replaced with the KOG (2:44; 7:27).
·       The hope of God’s promises to come: Gen 12.1-7; 13.14-15; 15.8; 17.7-8; 26.2-3; 28.13; 35.12; 1Ch 16.16; 2Ch 20.6-7.

Dating Daniel:
Majority of scholars hold to a Liberal/historical/critical view
·       Some of the prophecies are so precise/accurate, only could have been written after the events.

Textual criticism:
·       Accepted as canon by Qumran community (Dead Sea Scrolls, c. 300 BC – 1st AD), with the largest representation of ANY biblical book at Qumran (8), inspiring many other works; called a prophet: Cave 4 Collection/Anthology

“The chosen ones of Israel in the latter days…that is [the time as] it is written in the book of Daniel the prophet, ‘For the wicked to act wickedly but they do not understand…but the righteous [shall purify themselves] and make themselves white and refine themselves, and a people knowing God will be strong’ [Dan 12.10; 11.32b]…”

Waltke, The Date of the Book of Daniel, Bibliotheca Sacra 133 (1976): 321-322.
“The discovery of manuscripts of Daniel at Qumran dating from the Maccabean period make it very unlikely that the book was written during [this time, 171 - 163 B.C.] since it would have taken some time for it to have been accepted & included in the canon.”

·       Josephus repeatedly calls him a prophet as well: Ant. 9.267-269; 10.245-246, 249, 267-276.

Literary Features:
·       Hebrew (1, 8-12) & Aramaic (2-7)
Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, pp 390-91:
“In the Babylon of the late 6th century, in which Daniel purportedly lived, the predominant language spoken by the heterogeneous population of this metropolis was Aramaic. It is therefore not surprising that an inhabitant of that city should have resorted to Aramaic in composing a portion of his memoirs. As to the question of why half the book was written in Aramaic and half in Hebrew, the reason for the choice is fairly obvious. Those portions of Daniel’s prophecy which deal generally with Gentiles affairs (the four kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the humiliation of that king in the episode of the fiery furnace and by his seven years of insanity, and also the experiences of Belshazzar and Darius the Mede) were put into a linguistic medium which all the public could appreciate whether Jew or Gentile. But those portions which were particularly Jewish interest (chaps. 1, 8-12) were put into Hebrew in order that they might be understood by the Jews alone. This was peculiarly appropriate because of the command in chapter 12 to keep these later predictions more or less secret and seal them up until the time of fulfillment (12.9).”

·       Writing in the 3rd person, i.e., Moses in the Pentateuch & God (Ex 20.1-7); Jesus (as the Son of Man, Mar 8.27; as the holy spirit, John 14.26; 15.26; 16.7).
·       Unique narrative includes history, prophecy, apocalyptic visions.

Setting: 1st Babylonian exile/captivity (c. 600 BC).
·       2nd in 597 B.C. and included among many other Jewish captives the prophet Ezekiel.
·       3rd in 586 B.C., at which time the temple and the city of Jerusalem were thoroughly destroyed.

·       Daniel, “God is my judge”;
·       Hananiah, “the Lord is gracious”;
·       Mishael, “who is what God is?”
·       Azariah, “the Lord has helped.”

·       Belteshazzar “protect his life,” or “Belti, protect the king” (cf. Dan 4:8);
·       Shadrach “command of Aku”;
·       Meshach uncertain but maybe “Who is like Aku?”
·       Abednego “servant of Nego.”

NOTE: An attempt to erase their Jewish monotheism & make them polytheists.

Rulers: Babylon Empire
·       Nebuchadnezzar II 605–562 b.c. “Nabu has protected the son who will inherit.”
·       Nabonidus 556–539; Co-regent Belshazzar 550–539

Persian Empire
·       Cyrus 539–530
·       Darius I 522–486

1.1: 3rd year of Jehoiakim, King of Judah.
·       Daniel uses the Babylonian system for counting the length of a reign;
·       Jeremiah 25:1 uses the Jewish system, “the 4th year.”
(Reigns could be counted from the beginning of the new year preceding a king’s ascension, or from the actual date of ascension, or from the beginning of the new year following his ascension; the third system was used in Babylon.)

1.2: “the Lord who gave” Judah to the pagan.

1.3: Ashpenaz (lit. “Innkeeper”), chief of the court officials (Heb. saris) need not mean “eunuch” in a technical sense (see Gen 37:36, where the term refers to Potiphar, who had a wife).

1.8: unclean food & drink (wine?)
·       No Jewish prohibition for wine but perhaps wanted to avoid “the luxurious diet of the king’s table as a way of protecting themselves from being ensnared by the temptations of the Babylonian culture.” ESV
NOTE: “Daniel & friends looked fitter (fatter in flesh; Dan. 1:15) than those who had consumed a high-calorie diet. This confirmed that God’s favor was upon them.” ESV
·       NO vegan lifestyle endorsement: Gen 9.3, “you can eat any moving thing that lives.”

1.10: “malnourished/thin faces/complexion”
·       The term “malnourished/thin” occurs only here & Gen 40:6: a dejected facial expression.

1.20: “better than any magician & conjurer”, backhand to occult/black practices.

1.21: 1st year of Cyrus as King.
·       c.539 B.C. Daniel lived longer: 10:1.

Morale: Possible whilst living in paganism/idolatry to retain strict, unitary monotheism.
·       John 17.14-16; Rom 12.2.
·       Exile/captivity points to a coming diaspora, & faithful remnant (i.e., the Christian church today: “pilgrims, foreigners” etc.).

Perseverance: The Message of Daniel, Dale Ralph Davis, p 26.
“[The words of Jesus in Mar 13.7, 13] sum up the message of Daniel: ‘the end is not yet’, and ‘but the one who endures to the end—he shall be saved.’ That’s not what we usually like to hear, for we think, for example, of the planned annihilation of Christians [in Africa, the Middle East, South-East Asia] and we long to tell them that the Lord has marked on his calendar a date in the very near future for their vindication. No, we have something like Daniel’s book instead—a realistic survival manual for the saints.”

No comments:

Post a Comment