Thursday, September 06, 2007


The prophet Daniel from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceilingDaniel (Hebrew: דָּנִיֵּאל, Arabic: دانيال, Danyal) is a figure appearing in the Hebrew Bible and the central protagonist of the Book of Daniel. The name "Daniel" means "God is my judge" or "God's judge."

Daniel was a young man of the upper crust of Jewish society who was taken captive by Nebudchadnezzar, king of Babylon and the Chaldean dynasty. Nebudchadnezzar endeavored to remove all traces of Daniel's nationality and religion. For this reason they strove to change Daniel's name to Belteshazzar: (Dan. 1:7; 2:26; 4:8-9, 18-19; 5:12; 10:1).

At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar II (the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century before at the hands of the Assyrians), 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 three other noble youths named Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego were among the Jewish young nobility carried off to Babylon (probably as hostages to ensure the loyalty of Judah's king and advisors), along with some of the vessels of the temple. Daniel and his three Jewish companions were subsequently evaluated and chosen for their intellect and beauty, to be trained as Chaldeans, who constituted the ranks of the advisors to the Babylonian court.


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