Daniel The book of
Dan’iel, The book of, stands at the head of a series of writings in which the deepest thoughts of the Jewish people found expression after the close of the prophetic era. Daniel is composed partly in the vernacular Aramaic (Chaldee) and partly in the sacred Hebrew. The introduction, Dan. 1-2:4a, is written in Hebrew. On the occasion of the “Syriac” (i.e., Aramaic) answer of the Chaldeans, the language changes to Aramaic, and this is retained till the close of the seventh chapter (2:4b-7). The personal introduction of Daniel as the writer of the text, 8:1, is marked by the resumption of the Hebrew, which continues to the close of the book. ch. 8-12.
The book may be divided into three parts. The first chapter forms an introduction. The next six chapters, 2-7, give a general view of the progressive history of the powers of the world, and of the principles of the divine government as seen in the events of the life of Daniel. The remainder of the book, chs. 8-12, traces in minuter detail the fortunes of the people of God, as typical of the fortunes of the Church in all ages. In the first seven chapters Daniel is spoken of historically; in the last five he appears personally as the writer. The cause of the difference of person is commonly supposed to lie in the nature of the case. It is, however, more probable that the peculiarity arose from the manner in which the book assumed its final shape. The book exercised a great influence upon the Christian Church. The New Testament incidentally acknowledges each of the characteristic elements of the book, its miracles, Heb. 11:33, 34, its predictions, Matt. 24:15, and its doctrine of angels. Luke 1:19, 26.
The authenticity of the book has been attacked in modern times. (But the evidence, both external and internal, is conclusive as to its genuineness. Rawlinson, in his “Historical Evidences,” shows how some historical difficulties that had been brought against the book are solved by the inscription on a cylinder lately found among the ruins of Ur in Chaldea.—Ed.)