Here’s the last installment.

Arguments based on language and words

The first argument for a 2nd century BC date for Daniel in this category is that the book is written in two different languages. The critics suggest that this creates a sense of ‘disunity.’

The beginning and the end of this book are directed towards the Jews and are in Hebrew.  The central part of the book is in Aramaic and messaged to the Gentiles. This is a device that was common in Mesopotamian literature; the book also demonstrates a complex literary structure which is strong evidence for its unity.

And while we’re here, the critics complain because the first half of the book is written in the third person, while the second half is in the first person.

Apparently this was a common style used in antiquity as well. The reason Daniel chose not to insert himself personally into chapters one through six as he did in chapters seven through twelve relates to his different role in each part. 

In the first part of the book he wrote about how he was captured, brought to Babylon and trained. Then, he relates how he solved the mysteries that Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar put before him. Additionally, God saved him from the schemes of the Persian wise men who were jealous of his favor with Darius the Mede. It was thus natural for Daniel to speak of himself obliquely rather than to brag about his abilities, his piety, and his favor with God. By putting it in the third person he was able to cast a stronger light on God’s role in the events. He was also able to avoid putting the emphasis on any frightening or angry feelings he might have had during these times.

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Here’s the second installment. 

The Arguments Based on the History of Babylonian Kings

Critics claim that there was never a king of Babylon named “Belshazzar;” the last king was Nabonidus. Also, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t have a son named “Belshazzar.”

Four cylinders were found in the ruins of a ziggurat in 1854 at Ur which contained a prayer from Nabonidus to the gods:

As for me, Nabonides, King of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a life of long days, and as for Belshazzar, my oldest son my offspring, instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plentitude.

A further inscription from Nabonides’ reign was found that says:

Putting the camp under the rule of his oldest son, the firstborn. The army of the empire he placed under his command. His hands were now free; He entrusted the authority of the royal throne to him.”

So we can see that Nabonides did have a son named Belshazzar, and he was made co-regent. So why does Daniel refer to Belshazzar as  “the son of Nebuchadnezzar”?  Nebuchadnezzar was his maternal grandfather, and of course, very famous.  The word that we translate ‘son of’ or ‘son’ in Hebrew is ‘ben;’ it’s cognate in Aramaic is ‘bar.’ The actual meaning of both of them is ‘one of,’ as in ‘one of a certain house,’ or ‘one of a certain profession,’ or ‘one of a certain country,’ etc. In the true sense of the word, Belshazzar was ‘one of’ the family of Nebuchadnezzar. 

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