2.5 - Language



CONTENTS
This section discusses language-related aspects of the book such as the Literary Genre of Daniel and the Multiple Languages found within the book.

2.5.1 - Literary Genre

Like other OT passages and the book of Revelation in the NT, the book of Daniel is classified as apocalyptic. This term is derived from a transliteration of the first Greek word within the book of Revelation: Ἀποκάλυψις [Apokalypsis]. The word denotes “an action uncovering, disclosing, revealing.”1 Biblically, it refers to passages where God reveals information to man not obtained by any other means. Although this is the biblical meaning of the term, the term is also used to describe a literary genre denoting written works with revelatory passages containing visions and symbols:

In the New Testament only the book of Revelation can be classified as apocalyptic; but in the Old Testament, Ezekiel and Zechariah may be so classified in addition to Daniel. . . . Ralph Alexander has provided an accurate and comprehensive definition of apocalyptic literature in his study of this literary genre. He defines apocalyptic literature as follows: “Apocalyptic literature is symbolic visionary prophetic literature, composed during oppressive conditions, consisting of visions whose events are recorded exactly as they were seen by the author and explained through a divine interpreter, and whose theological content is primarily eschatological.” . . . Apocalyptic works rightly included in the Old Testament may be sharply contrasted to the pseudepigrapha because of the more restrained character of their revelation, identification of the author, and their contribution to biblical truth as a whole.2

Walvoord mentions an extremely important point in regard to canonical apocalyptic works, their contribution to biblical truth as a whole. Here again, we meet with the “Scripture safety net” which distinguishes errant, uninspired apocalyptic revelation from biblical, inspired revelation: does the revelation contribute to and uphold biblical truth revealed elsewhere in Scripture? It isn’t valid to identify the genre of a book as apocalyptic and then assume that all such works are roughly equivalent. Canonical apocalyptic works need to be differentiated from other apocalyptic works in the same way that canonical epistles (letters) are differentiated from noncanonical epistles. Identification of the genre is secondary to whether or not the literature in question has been recognized as canonical. We emphasize this point because academia often inverts this priority and categorizes a work as “apocalyptic genre” to discount its truthfulness as a legitimate mode of revelation by God:

That there are many spurious apocalyptic works both in the Old Testament period and in the Christian era can be readily granted. The existence of the spurious is not a valid argument against the possibility of genuine apocalyptic revelation anymore than a counterfeit dollar bill is proof that there is no genuine dollar bill.3

God has chosen to use this style of communication within the inspired corpus of the Scriptures and the validity of His message cannot be discounted because spurious books have been written imitating the same style or genre. The key is whether the book in question has been recognized as canonical. One of the important factors in recognizing the canonicity of a book is how it contributes to and fits within the overall teaching of the Scriptures. As we’ll see, the apocalyptic work of Daniel is foundational to a proper understanding of prophetic passages elsewhere in the Bible.

As many have recognized, apocalyptic passages are generally given within the context of apparent hopelessness. During times when it appears that events of history are not going according to God’s plans or promises. Apocalyptic revelation is often associated with a period in which man’s response to God led to judgment or postponement of promises. In the case of the book of Revelation, the Davidic king was rejected, crucified and His rule from the throne of David postponed (Acts 1:6-7) and the age of the Church began to unfold. With the book of Daniel, the Jews, Jerusalem, and even God’s house (the Temple) were judged and the people taken into captivity (see Historical Setting). In both cases, there were long periods characterized by disobedience and judgment but the apocalyptic message given by God underscored the fact that God’s covenant faithfulness (Lev. 26:44-45; Luke 1:32) cannot be thwarted and His sovereign will is destined to prevail upon the earth:

Apocalyptic literature is always pessimistic in the short run, there’s no hope. The die has been cast, unlike in the prophets when there’s a possibility of repentance, by the time you get to the apocalyptic literature the game is over; the whistle has blown, there’s no hope for repentance. There’s only one option—sit it out until God intervenes. So apocalyptic literature is pessimistic in the short run, optimistic in the long run.4

We’ll see this aspect when in Daniel 9 where Daniel, after interceding for the restoration of Jerusalem, is given the prediction of the Seventy Sevens for the Jews and Jerusalem, including the prediction of yet another destruction of the city to follow the restoration under Ezra and Nehemiah which Daniel is interceding for!5

2.5.2 - Multiple Languages

Within the book of Daniel, we find the influence of four different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Persian. Major sections of the book are written in Hebrew and Aramaic with individual Greek and Persian terms found within the text.

The characteristics of these different languages and foreign terms found in Daniel have been the basis for a number of attacks by critics of the book. Assertions are made that various foreign words could not have been known by Daniel as early as the sixth century B.C. so Daniel must have been written at a later date. When discussing the languages and terms, we’ll touch upon reasons why this is not so. Along the way, it will become apparent how subjective many of these arguments are—frequently being based on presuppositions of scholars in combination with historical ignorance or silence. And, as in any realm of academic inquiry, many of the scholars disagree over key points.6
2.5.2.1 - Hebrew and Aramaic
Within the book of Daniel, Daniel 1:1-2:4a and 8:1-12:13 are written in Hebrew, whereas Daniel 2:4b-7:28 are in Aramaic. The use of Aramaic is not unique to Daniel, it is also found in Ezra, Jeremiah, and Genesis.7

The switch from Hebrew to Aramaic occurs in the middle of a verse,8 carefully crafted so as to coincide with the first words spoken by the Chaldeans (Babylonian wise men) who no doubt spoke in Aramaic at the court of Babylon. The switch to Aramaic is emphasized below:

Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.” (Dan. 2:4) [emphasis added]

From this point onward, Daniel continues in Aramaic until the end of chapter 7 and then resumes in Hebrew in chapter 8, verse 1 and for the rest of the book.

It would seem that the switch to Aramaic recognizes the Gentile setting of the historic narrative which follows since Aramaic was the predominant language spoken by the heterogeneous population at Babylon. Not only was Aramaic spoken at Babylon, it was the lingua franca over a wide region during the sixth century B.C., especially in the realms of government and commerce. With this in mind, the use of Aramaic may also serve to indicate that the subject matter of chapters 2-7 are of special interest to non-Jews:

Fragment from Isaiah Scroll

Fragment from Isaiah Scroll

9

Since Aramaic was the lingua franca of this period, it seems logical that Daniel would have recorded most of his memoirs in that language. In fact, Aramaic probably was the means by which he normally communicated. Official decrees were issued in Aramaic so that people in all parts of the empire could read them, and it is not surprising that chap. 4 was written in this language. Moreover, all the accounts in chaps. 2-6 concern Gentile kings whose activities would have been of interest to a world audience, and so this material was written in a language that non-Jews could understand. Finally, the messages concerning the four Gentile kingdoms of chap. 7 (and chap. 2) involved not only Israel but the whole world and therefore were issued in Aramaic. Regarding the Hebrew of Daniel, the introduction (chap. 1) was likely written in the prophet’s native language because it reports the fate of three Jewish youth’s sent to Babylon in the final days of the kingdom of Judah, an account that would have been of little interest to a Gentile audience. Like wise, chaps. 8-12 speak particularly of the fate of the Jews under tyrannical rulers (Antiochus IV and the eschatological Antichrist) and would not have been relevant to the Gentile world of Daniel’s time. Daniel therefor wrote this section in Hebrew, the language of the Jews. The Aramaic was reserved for the parts of the book that had universal appeal or special relevance to the Gentile nations, and Hebrew was employed for those portions that most concerned the Jews.10

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 Gentile 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 of 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).11

The distinction between Hebrew and Aramaic may also emphasize the Jewish vs. Gentile themes found within Daniel, especially the contrast between God’s plan for the Jews and Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24) vs. their repression under Gentile dominion during the Times of the Gentiles (Dan. 2:31-45; 7:1-28; cf. Luke 21:24; Rev. 11:2):

The explanation I wish to offer is that the author of Daniel had two related but distinct kinds of messages to deliver. One was a message of judgment and final defeat to the Gentile world, of whom the chief representatives of the time were Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. The other was a message of hope and deliverance for God’s oppressed but precious, holy people, the Hebrews.12

See Structure for additional information on this topic.

Evidence from the DSS shows that these shifts between Hebrew and Aramaic have been a part of Daniel from early on:

Another question in the case of Daniel concerns the bilingual nature of the book, which in the Hebrew Bible opens in Hebrew, switches to Aramaic at chapter 2:4b, and then reverts again to Hebrew at 8:1. The four scrolls that preserve material from two or all three of these sections make the very same transitions from Hebrew to Aramaic and back again.13

Noteworthy is 1QDana because it preserves the transition from Hebrew to Aramaic in Dan. 2:4. Manuscript 1QDanb is significant since like the Massoretic Text it omits Dan. 3:24-30, the interpolated materials found in the Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions of the book. Manuscripts 4QDana and 4QDanb both illustrate the shift from Aramaic back to Hebrew at Dan. 8:1, and 4QDana is also notable due to its age, ca. 100-50 B.C.; 4QDanc has been dated in the second century B.C., a fact that has implications concerning the time of the books’ composition . . .14

Some have reasoned that the two languages are evidence of more than one author, but the shift from Hebrew to Aramaic in mid-verse argues against this idea. Moreover, other mixed language Near Eastern compositions have been found to use a similar technique for emphasis.15
2.5.2.1.1 - Style of Aramaic

As might be expected, the critics have pointed to the style of the Aramaic within Daniel as evidence that the book was composed late, during the Maccabean era. They maintained that the Aramaic in Daniel was that of a Western rather than Eastern style. Others who have studied the question disagree, noting that the Aramaic of Daniel is Eastern, not Western.16 Presumably, Daniel would have composed in the Eastern style since he lived most of his life in Babylon. Still other scholars maintain that prior to the first century B.C., when Daniel would have written, there is no evidence that Aramaic had developed different Eastern and Western styles.17

In any event, more recent studies have shown that the Aramaic of Daniel is of early composition—too early to have been written in the Maccabean era when the critics place the composition of Daniel:

Kitchen notes that about ninety percent of the Aramaic vocabulary in Daniel occurs in fifth-century texts or earlier and maintains that words appearing in the fifth century presuppose their existence in the sixth century. Akkadian loan words in Aramaic are of no significance for dating since Aramaean migration into Mesopotamia from southern Babylonia persisted from the twelfth century B.C. All Persian words in Daniel are from Old Persian and therefore certainly plausible (even suggestive) for a pre-second-century dating. . . . In our opinion the strength of the argument for a pre-second-century Daniel comes from Daniel’s proximity to both the Elephantine papyri and the Aramaic of Ezra. In this there appears to be a general consensus among the scholars. Without question the majority of the Elephantine papyri are fifth century B.C., and the majority of modem scholars agree that the original composition of Ezra is no later than the fourth century B.C. If Daniel is so similar to the Elephantine papryi and Ezra, is it not reasonable to think that the composition of Daniel is prior to the second century B.C.?18

The affinity of the Aramaic portion with known fifth-century Aramaic documents argues for its early composition. Fox writes, ‘Recent studies on the Aramaic of Daniel indicate that it is closely akin to the fifth-century Imperial Aramaic of Ezra and the Elephantine papyri, but very different from the later Palestinian derivations of Imperial Aramaic witnessed by the Genesis Apocryphon and the Targum of Job found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. It now appears that “the Genesis Apocryphon furnishes very powerful evidence that the Aramaic of Daniel comes from a considerably earlier period than the second century BC.” ’19

Critics have also pointed to the relatively later form of the spelling of some Aramaic terms as an indication of a Maccabean era composition. In reply, Leupold notes that this could be an indication of editing activities which were part of the process of scribal maintenance of the text:

We on our part, however, are meeting the critic on his own ground and are assuming for the moment that the Aramaic portions of Daniel, since they were written in the world language, may, for that matter, have been brought up to date in spelling and endings and the like as late as the second century B.C. The particular reason for this revision may well have been the fact that the Book of Daniel was being appreciated anew in the troublous times under Antiochus Epiphanes. . . . It would not necessitate the loss of a single word or the alteration of the meaning of a single sentence. It would be entirely parallel, let us say, with the fortunes of Luther’s translation of the Bible, when the original of Luther of the sixteenth century is compared with reprints of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Certain consonants are dropped, others are added; some are doubled; some endings are changed; new spellings appear. . . . who, because of the nineteenth-century spelling, would venture the claim that Luther could not have been the author of the translation? . . . We cite Luther’s translation as a parallel because German orthography has undergone more extensive variations than has the English during the last four centuries.20

2.5.2.2 - Greek Words

King David playing Zither

King David playing Zither

21

Several musical instruments in chapter 3 of Daniel appear to be Aramaic transliterations of their Greek names.22 One English translation renders the musical terms as “harp” (קַתְרוֹם [qaṯrôm]), “psaltery” (פְּסַנְתֵּרִין [pesantērîn]), and “symphony” (סוּמְפֹּנְיַה [sûmeppōneyah])23 (Dan. 3:5, 7, 10, 15 in the NKJV).

Critics assert that the appearance of some of these terms indicated a late date of composition for the book of Daniel because these Greek words would not have been known in Babylon in the sixth century B.C.

Three Greek loan words that appear in the Aramaic portion of the book (cf. Dan. 3:5, 7, 10, 15) are commonly cited as proof of a late date. Jeffrey insists that these words—qaytěrôs, “zither” (Greek kitharis), pěsantērîn, “harp” (Greek psaltērion), and sûmpōněyâ, “pipes” (Greek symphōnia)—“have a history within Greek that shows that they could hardly have come into Oriental languages until that spread of Greek culture which followed the campaigns of Alexander the Great . . .” Yet Kitchen points out that the Greek kitharis (Dan. 3:5, 7, 10, 15) is know from Homer (eighth century B.C. at the latest [Illiad 13.731; Odyssey I:153]) and is not a certain sign of late composition. Although the other two words are not attested in Greek until after the sixth century B.C., this argument from silence does not mean that they were not present in the Greek language or that they were unknown in Babylon in the sixth century B.C.24

Greek culture had a wide influence in the Near East in the time of Daniel. Mitchell and Joyce identify significant cultural interactions facilitating the dissemination of Greek culture in the years 750, 660, 605-585, 595-570, 590, sixth-fifth century, and fifth century B.C. Boutflower also lists dates demonstrating contact of Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt with the Asiatic Greeks for over a century before the age of Daniel: 715, 711, 707, 698, 697, 674, 664, 605, 595, 587 B.C.25 Moreover, there were Greek colonies in Palestine as early as the days of Hezekiah and possibly even earlier.26 Greek culture was dispersed abroad by extensive trading activities and also by the employment of Greek mercenaries in Egypt and Western Asia.27

Evidence of the extensive and early influence of Greek culture is reflected in the appearance of Greek words in other early Aramaic documents, such as the Elephantine Papyri dated to the fifth century B.C.28

Furthermore, the terms in question are all musical terms which we might expect were among the earliest terms to cross language boundaries due to the wide influence of the arts and employment of foreign musicians.29 Musical terms frequently retain their original phonetic pronunciation by transliteration into the native tongue, much like the Italian words piano or viola in English.30

In Daniel’s day, the Neo-Babylonian empire had eclipsed the Assyrian empire and Babylon served as a center of commercial intercourse so Greek culture, some by way of earlier influence in Assyria, would be expected:

The assumption that the instruments of the Greeks were in use among the Chaldeans early in the sixth century B. C., or even in the seventh and eighth, involves no difficulty whatever. It would seem strange, rather, if no traces of commercial intercourse with the Greeks at about the middle of the sixth century B. C. were found in Babylon, the primitive “city of merchants” (Eze. 17:4, 12; cf. Jos. 7:21), since the Assyrian kings Esar-haddon, Sargon, and Sennacherib were involved in either friendly or hostile relations with the Greeks of Asia Minor, as early as the eighth century B.C.31

In fact, numerous scholars have remarked upon the relative paucity of Greek terms within Daniel—if Daniel were written in the Maccabean era as critics maintain, there should be many more Greek words found within the text. For between the Medo-Persian empire of Daniel’s time and the Maccabean era, we find the rise and fall of Alexander the Great which furthered the dissemination of Greek culture and influence:

Insuperable difficulties are encountered in attempting to explain how it was possible in the 160 years between Alexander’s conquest of the Near East and the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes that not a single Greek term pertaining to administration or government had been adopted into the Aramaic of the early second century. Since there are at least fifteen Persian loan-words (largely pertaining to government functions and administrative titles) to be found in Daniel’s Aramaic, it is perfectly evident that Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Babylonian capital, readily adopted foreign terms of this sort. But the fact that no such Greek terms are to be found in Daniel demonstrates beyond all reasonable doubt that this work was composed in the Persian period rather than after Greek had become the language of government in the Near East.32

In fact, the meager number of Greek terms in the Book of Daniel is a most convincing argument that the prophecy was not produced in the Maccabean period, the heart of the Greek era. By 170 B.C. Greek-speaking governments had controlled Babylon and Palestine for 150 years, and numerous Greek terms would be expected in a work produced during this time.33

34
2.5.2.3 - Persian Words
The text of Daniel also includes words of Persian origin. This too has been seen as evidence for a late date of composition for the book. But, as in the case of the Greek Words found in Daniel, we find that the appearance of the terms is easily explained by early contact between Persia and Aramaic-speaking peoples as well as the restricted sphere in which the terms were employed.

To illustrate the wide diffusion of the Arameans, and their contact with Median tribes speaking the Old Persian well before the sixth-century date of the book of Daniel, Boutflower lists significant contacts in the following years: 1650, 1350, 1150, 1120, 1050, 1010, 885-860, 850, 770-730, 745, 744, 722, 536, and 471-411 B.C.35

The presence of Akkadian loanwords . . . is, of course, unexceptional in a work such as Daniel, considering the cultural milieu from which it emerged. The same is true of the nineteen or so words of Persian origin, some of which are attested in the Targums. About half of the Persian loan words occur in Official Aramaic, and in general can be found in sixth- to fifth-century B.C. literary sources. It is worth noting that all such Persian terms are Old Persian in nature, i.e., earlier than ca 300 B.C., a fact which would be consistent with the linguistic situation of pre-Hellenistic Aramaic.36

The majority of the Persian loan words are technical terms which were used within the sphere of governmental business—just the sort of terminology which Daniel, in his administrative position under the Medes and Persians, would have quickly acquired:

The speculation as to why Persian terms should be used is much ado about nothing. It would be natural for Daniel, who may have written or at least edited this passage after the Persian government had come to power, to bring the various offices up-to-date by using current expressions. The fact that Daniel was so familiar with these offices is another evidence that he lived in the sixth century B.C..37

For a careful examination of the list presented at once reveals the fact that at least twelve of the seventeen words listed are in the class of governmental terminology used at governmental headquarters—names of officials, technical terms, and the like. If Daniel moved in the circles of the new Persian government he must have become immediately aware of the new regime that the Persians set up, their new nomenclature to designate the new officials. Not only that, but he must have seen that to use the old terminology would have confused the new generation for which he was writing.38

As mentioned concerning the contribution of The Septuagint regarding the Date of Daniel, there is evidence that by the time the Septuagint was translated, the meaning of a number of the Persian terms had been forgotten. This would be unlikely if Daniel were written late.

Furthermore it should be observed that even in the Septuagint translation of Daniel, which dates presumably from 100 B.C., or sixty-five years after Judas Maccabeus, the rendition of several of the Aramaic technical terms for state officials was mere conjecture. . . . It is impossible to explain how within five or six decades after Daniel was first composed (according to the Maccabean date hypothesis) the meaning of these terms could have been so completely forgotten even by the Jews in Egypt, who remained quite conversant in Aramaic as well as in Greek. (Cf. D. J. Wiseman, Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, p. 43.)39

Moreover, some of the Persian words are from an older form of Persian which no longer existed by the Maccabean era:

The Persian expressions in the book would seem to be rather strong evidence for an early time of composition. Kitchen points out that “the Persian words in Daniel are specifically, Old Persian words.” Old Persian gave way to Middle Persian ca. 300 B.C., so these terms must have come from an era before Persia fell to the Greeks since the Middle Persian period began at that time and there are no Middle Persian expressions in the book.40

In summary, the Persian terms which appear within the book of Daniel are exactly what one would expect if the book of Daniel were written in the sixth century B.C., shortly after the events it describes.41

The linguistic evidence that critical scholars once advanced with such enthusiasm as proof of a Maccabean date for Daniel has undergone sobering modification of late as a result of archaeological discoveries in the Near East. In 1891 S. R. Driver could write quite confidently that the Persian words in Daniel presupposed a period of composition after the Persian empire had been well established; the Greek words demanded, the Hebrew supported, and the Aramaic permitted a date subsequent to the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. . . . [but the] studies of Rosenthal have shown that the kind of Aramaic employed in Daniel was that which grew up in the courts and chancelleries from the seventh century B.C. on and subsequently became widespread in the Near East. Thus it cannot be employed as evidence for a late date of the book, and in fact it constitutes a strong argument for a sixth-century B.C. period of composition. . . . It is now known that the Persian load-words in Daniel are consistent with an earlier rather than a later date for the composition of the book.42



Notes

1Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 67.

2John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1971), 13-14.

3Ibid., 21.

4Charles Clough, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso, [transcriber], 2006), 1.8.

5Passages like these demonstrate the importance of focusing on the long-term, big-picture concerning what God is doing in history rather than the here-and-now. This is why an understanding of the prophetic framework within Scripture is so important.

6“In Bertholdt’s day the critics counted ten Greek words in Daniel: they have no come down to two. Dr. Pusey denies that there are any.”—Robert Anderson, Daniel in the Critic’s Den (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1909, 1990), 43n2.

7“A similar use of Aramaic is found in Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Jer. 10:11; and the two words of the compound name Jegar-Sahadutha in Genesis 31:47.”—Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, 14.

8“If someone looks at a copy of the Hebrew Bible, these sections in Aramaic will appear no different from other parts of the Old Testament. This is true because the Aramaic characters are like those of the Hebrew, or, to be more exact, the square-shaped Hebrew letters are actually borrowed from the Aramaic. . . .”—Neil R. Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2003), 28.

9Dead Sea Scroll - part of Isaiah Scroll (Isa. 57:17-59:9), 1QIsab, (ca 100 B.C.) Image courtesy of Daniel Baranek. Image is in the public domain.

10Stephen R. Miller, “Daniel,” in E. Ray Clendenen, Kenneth A. Mathews, and David S. Dockery, eds., The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1994), 48.

11Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 434.

12Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1954, 1977), 108.

13Martin Abegg, Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1999), 483.

14Miller, Daniel, 50.

15“However, in the light of what is now known about Near Eastern literary forms, it is possible to refute conclusively the arguments for diversity of authorship posited on the ground that the book contains two languages. The device whereby the main corpus of a literary composition was enclosed within a contrasting linguistic form so as to heighten the effect was commonly used in constructing single, integrated Mesopotamian compositions such as the Code of Hammurabi. Daniel, therefore, should be understood as a consciously composed literary unit involving Hebrew and Aramaic components.”—Roland K. Harrison, “Daniel, Book of,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 862.

16The position of the verb in the Aramaic of Daniel has been found to reflect that of an Eastern, rather than Western style of composition, “Now this is a very damaging admission indeed, for if Daniel was really composed by a Jewish patriot in Judea during the early second century B.C. it could not possibly have been composed in an eastern type of Aramaic.”—Gleason Leonard Archer, “Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 136 no. 542 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, April-June 1979), 143.

17“As Martin observes . . . ‘When he [Driver] wrote, the only material available was too late to be relevant. Subsequently, R. D. Wilson, making use of earlier materials that had come to light, was able to show that the distinction between Eastern and Western Aramaic did not exist in pre-Christian times. This has since been amply confirmed by H. H. Schaeder.’ ”—Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, 15. “It used to be asserted rather confidently that the Aramaic of this book bears such a close resemblance to the Western Aramaic that is found in Jewish sources that originated in Palestine about this time [of the Maccabees] or later that it must be classed as Western Aramaic. This claim was then naturally followed by the contention that Daniel, who had spent practically three-fourths or more of his life farther east, where the Eastern Aramaic was spoken, would naturally have written in Eastern Aramaic had he written this book. . . Wilson proved rather exhaustively, also on the basis of the papyri, that such a claim cannot be substantiated . . . Charles formulates his findings . . . ‘The differentiation of Aramaic into Eastern and Western cannot from existing documents and inscriptions be established before the first century B.C., if so early.’ ”—H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1949, 1969), 30.

18Robert I. Vasholz, “Qumran And The Dating Of Daniel,” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, vol. 21 no. 4 (Evangelical Theological Society, December 1978), 316-317.

19J. Paul Tanner, “The Literary Structure of the Book of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 137 no. 545 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, January-March 1968), 273.

20Leupold, Exposition of Daniel, 33-34.

21King David playing the Zither. Image courtesy of Andrea Celesti, (1637-1712). Image is in the public domain.

22 “Satrap” (Dan. 6:1) was once thought to be a Greek term, but “In this connection scholars have now become aware that the term ‘satrap,’ which was once thought to have been Greek in origin, was actually derived from the Old Persian form kshathrapān, which also occurred in cuneiform inscriptions as shatarpānu, giving rise to the Greek term ‘satrap.’ ”—Roland K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Prince Press, 1969, 1999), 1125.

23“Symphony” in the NKJV may have been misleadingly translated as “dulcimer” in the KJV, “The earliest meaning of the Greek word sumphonia [Dan. 3:5] was ‘sounding together,’ that is, the simultaneous playing of instruments or voices producing a concord. Jerome, commenting on Luke 15:25 where the word occurs, noted: ‘The symphonia is not a kind of instrument, as some Latin writers think, but it means concordant harmony.’ ”—Edwin M. Yamauchi, “Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era, Part I: The Archaeological Background of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 137 no. 545 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, January-March 1968), 12.

24Miller, Daniel, 28-29.

25Josh McDowell, Daniel in the Critics’ Den (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1979), 98-99.

26“According to Professor Sayce, ‘there were Greek colonies on the coast of Palestine in the time of Hezekiah’—a century before Daniel was born; ‘and they already enjoyed so much power there that a Greek usurper was made King of Ashdod. The Tel el-Amarna tablets have enabled us to carry back a contract between Greece and Canaan to a still earlier period’ [The Higher Criticism and the Monuments, pp. 494, 495]. Indeed, he goes on to indicate the possibility ‘that there was intercourse and contact between the Canaanites or Hebrews and Palestine and the Greeks for the Aegean as far back as the age of Moses.’ ”—Anderson, Daniel in the Critic’s Den, 47.

27“Recent archaeological evidence has demonstrated that the whole argument based upon the premise that Greek loan words could not have been found in Near Eastern literature before the time of Alexander the Great is flawed. W. F. Albright declared; ‘Greek traders and mercenaries were familiar in Egypt and throughout Western Asia from the early seventh century on, if not earlier. As early as the sixth century B.C. the coasts of Syria and Palestine were dotted with Greek ports and trading emporia.... There were Greek mercenaries in the armies of Egypt and Babylonia, of Psammetichus II and Nebuchadnezzar.’ Greek words have been attested in the Aramaic documents of Elephantine dated to the fifth century B.C.”—Miller, Daniel, 29. “The early nature and extent of Greek influence in the entire area can be judged from the presence of Greek colonies in the mid-seventh-century B.C. Egypt at Naucratis and Tahpanhes, as well as by the fact that Greek mercenary troops served in both the Egyptian and Babylonian armies at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C.”—Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1126.

28“Greek words have been attested in the Aramaic documents of Elephantine dated to the fifth century B.C.... the Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra exhibits striking parallels with early examples of the language found in such documents as the Elephantine Papyri, also written in Imperial Aramaic and dated to the fifth century B.C.... On the other hand, the Aramaic of the book does not conform to later samples of the language.”—Miller, Daniel, 29, 31.

29“Foreign musicians were known to be at Nebuchadrezzar’s court, as they were at others. This could account for the names of some of the instruments given in Aramaic . . . The studies by Mitchell and Joyce and by Coxon have shown that all these types of instruments . . . occur in early Babylonian and early Greek texts.”—Donald J. Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1985, 2004), 111.

30“It should carefully be observed that these three words are names of musical instruments and that such names have always circulated beyond national boundaries as the instruments themselves have become available to the foreign market. These three were undoubtedly of Greek origin and circulated with their Greek names in Near Eastern markets, just as foreign musical terms have made their way into our own language, like the Italian piano and viola.”—Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 431.

31Otto Zöckler, “The Book of the Prophet Daniel,” in John Peter Lange, ed., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1880), 26.

32Archer, Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel, 142-143.

33Miller, Daniel, 30.

34“The book of Daniel would have been saturated with Greek terms if it were written as late as 167 B.C. in Palestine, where Greek-speaking (Hellenistic) governments had controlled the entire region for more than 160 years. Instead of this, we find just two or three technical terms referring to obviously foreign cultural objects. Thus, critical objections, deeply rooted in antisupernaturalistic presuppositions, turn out to be a providential means for displaying all the more brilliantly the authenticity and genuineness of the book of Daniel as a sixth-century B.C. document.”—John C. Whitcomb, Daniel (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1985), Dan. 3:5.

35McDowell, Daniel in the Critics’ Den, 91-92.

36Harrison, Daniel, Book of, 1:861.

37Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, Dan. 3:3.

38Leupold, Exposition of Daniel, 23-24.

39Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 432.

40Miller, Daniel, 28.

41Archer attributes the appearance of Persian technical terms to a possible late recension of material in Daniel. “The appearance of Persian technical terms indicates a final recension of these memoirs at a time when Persian terminology had already infiltrated into the vocabulary of Aramaic.”—Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 423.

42Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1124-1125.


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