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tory, manners, can of the Book of js (6) “ the
the time of the Maccabees, in proof that the book was then in existence, and was regarded as a genuine production of Daniel ; particularly (a) the testimony of Josephus ; (6) of the author of the Book of Maccabees; and (c) of the authors of the Septuagint translation. There is (5) the fact that the book was so written in two different languages that we cannot well attribute it to a writer of the Maccabean period. And there is (6) “the accurate knowledge which the writer of the Book of Daniel displays of ancient history, manners, and customs, and OrientalBabylonish peculiarities, which shows that he must have lived at or near the time and place when and where the book leads us to suppose that he lived." For the genuineness and authenticity of what other book can more clear and decisive testimony be brought? These considerations seem to make it clear that the book could not have been a forgery of the time of the Maccabees, and that every circumstance combines to confirm the common belief that it was written in the time of the exile, and by the author whose name it bears. But if this is so, then its canonical authority is established: for we have all that can be urged in favor of the canonical authority of any of the books of the Old Testament. Its place in the canon from the earliest period; the testimony of Christ; the testimony of Josephus and the Jews in all ages to its canonical authority; the testimony of the early Christian fathers; its prophetic character; and the strong internal probabilities that it was written at the time and in the manner in which it professes to have been, all go to confirm the opinion that it is a genuine production of the Daniel of the captivity, and worthy to be received and accredited as a part of the inspired oracles of truth. On one of these points, which has not been insisted on in this Introduction-its prophetic character—the evidence can be appreciated only by an examination of the particular prophecies; and that will be seen as the result of the exposition of those parts of the book which refer to future events. It may be said, in general, however, that if it is proved to have been written in the time of the captivity, there will be no hesitation in admitting its inspiration. Porphyry maintained, as we have seen, that the pretended prophecies were so clear that they must have been written after the events; and this, as we have seen also, is one of the leading objections urged against the book in more modern times. If this is so, then, apart from all the evidence which can be furnished of the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel it may be properly inferred, that if the book was written in the time in which it professes to have been, it furnishes the highest evidence of inspiration, for no one can pretend that the predictions occurring in it, pertaining to future events, are the results of any mere natural sagacity.
§ 4. NATURE, DESIGN, AND GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL.—The Book of Daniel is not properly a history either of the Jews or Babylonians, nor is it a biography of the writer himself. It is not continuous in its structure, nor does it appear to have been written at one time. Though the work, as we have seen, of one author, it is made up of portions, written evidently on different occasions, in two different languages, and having, to a considerable extent, different objects in view. Though the author was a Jewish exile, and surrounded by his own countrymen as exiles, yet there is almost no reference to the past history of these people, or to the causes of their having been carried into captivity, and no description of their condition, struggles, and sufferings in their exile; and though written by one who resided through the greatest part of a very long life in a land of strangers, and having every opportunity of obtaining information, there is no distinct reference to their history, and no description of their manners and customs. And although his own career while there was eventful, yet the allusions to himself are very few; and of the largest portion of that long life in Babylon-probably embracing more than seventy years—we have no information whatever. In the book there are few or no allusions to the condition of the exiles there; but two of the native kings that reigned there during that long period are even mentioned; one of those—Nebuchadnezzar-only when Daniel interpreted two of his dreams, and when the colossal idol was set up on the plain of Dura ; and the other—Belshazzar-only on the last day of his life. The book is not regular in its structure, but consists of an intermixture of history and prophecy, apparently composed as occasion demanded, and then united in a single volume. Yet it has a unity of authorship and design, as we have seen, and is evidently the production of a single individual.
In considering the nature, design, and general character of the book, the attention may be properly directed to the following points :1. The portions containing incidents in the life of the author,
and of his companions in Babylon, of permanent value. II. The prophetic portions. III. The language and style of the book.
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I. The portions containing incidents in the life of the author, and of his companions in Babylon, of permanent value.
As already remarked, the allusions to his own life, and to the circumstances of his companions in exile, are few in number; and it may be added, that where there are such allusions they are made apparently rather to illustrate their principles, and the nature of their religion, than to create an interest in them personally. We could make out but little respecting their biography from this volume, though that little is sufficient to give us decided views of their character, and of the value and power of the religion which they professed.
, The few personal incidents which we have, relate to such points as the following: The selection of Daniel, and three other captives, when young, with a view to their being trained in the language and science of the Chaldeans, that they might be employed in the service of the government, ch. i.; the fact that Daniel was called, when all the skill of the Chaldeans failed, to interpret a dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and that he was enabled to give an explanation that was so satisfactory that the king promoted him to exalted honor, ch. ii.; the narrative respecting the three friends of Daniel-Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,—who refused to fall down and adore the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar erected in the plain of Dura, and who for their disobedience were cast into the fiery furnace, ch. iii.; Daniel's interpretation of a second dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and the fulfillment of the interpretation of that dream on the monarch, ch. iv.; his interpretation of the hand-writing on the wall at the feast of Belshazzar, ch. v.; and the attempt of the enemies of Daniel to destroy his influence and his life by taking advantage of his known piety, and the firmness of his attachment to God, ch. vi.
These must have been but a few of the incidents that occurred to Daniel in the course of a long life spent in Babylon, and they were probably selected as furnishing valuable illustrations of character; as evincing the nature of true piety; as proofs of divine inspiration; and as showing that God has control over kings and nations. All that is here stated, occurred at distant intervals in a long life, and this fact should be remembered in reading the book.
II. The prophetic portions of the book.
The prophecies of the Book of Daniel may be arranged under two great classes : those relating to the Babylonian mo
narchs; and those of more general interest pertaining to the future history of the world.
(1.) The former are confined to the calamities that would come upon the two monarchs who are mentioned in the bookNebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Of the former of these kings, Nebuchadnezzar, his derangement as a judgment of heaven, on account of his pride, is predicted, ch. iv.; and of the latter, Belshazzar, the termination of his reign, and the taking of his kingdom, on account of his impiety, are predicted, ch. v. The object did not seem to be to state what farther would occur to the kingdom of the Chaldeans, except as it should be lost in the great kingdom of the Medes and Persians, in which it would be absorbed.
(2.) Those of general interest pertaining to future times. Of these there are several classes :
(a.) The prospective history of the revolutions in the great kingdoms of the world; or a general glance at what would happen in relation to the empires that were then playing their part in human affairs, and of those which would grow out of the kingdoms existing in the time of Daniel.
These may be arranged under the following general heads:
(1.) A description of the great kingdoms or empires that would properly grow out of the Babylonian or Chaldean monarchy, ch. ii. That kingdom was, in the time of Daniel, the great, and almost the single, sovereignty of the earth; for, in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, this had absorbed all others. From this, however, were to spring other great dynasties that were to rule over the world, and that might properly, in some sense, be represented as the successors of this. These great revolutions are represented in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar respecting the golden image, ch. ii., and they are described by Daniel as (a) the great monarchy of which Nebuchadnazzar was the head-Babylon-represented in the image by the head of gold, ch. ii. 38; (6) as another kingdom inferior to this, represented in the image by the breast and arms of silver (ch. ii. 32, 39)—the Medo-Persian empire, that would succeed that of Babylon; (c) as a third kingdom that would succeed this, represented in the image by the belly and the thighs of brass, ch. ii. 32, 39; (d) as a fourth kingdom more mighty than either, subduing all nations under it, and crushing the powers of the earth, yet made of discordant materials, so as never firmly to adhere as one; represented by the legs of iron, and the feet and toes partly of iron and partly of clay, in the image, (ch. ii.
32, 41-43,) denoting the mighty Roman power; and (e) as another kingdom that would spring up under this fourth kingdom, and that would ultimately supplant it, and become the permanent kingdom on the earth. (ch. ii. 44, 45.)
Substantially the same representation occurs again in ch. vii., under the image of a succession of formidable beasts that were seen by Daniel in a dream. These four great kingdoms, represented successively by a lion, by a bear, by a leopard, and by a non-descript monster, were also succeeded by a great and permanent kingdom on the earth—the reign of God. In this representation, Daniel goes more into detail in respect to the last great empire than he does in interpreting the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Indeed, the design of this latter representation seems to be, to give a more full account of the changes which would occur in this last great kingdom on earth-the kingdom of the saints—than had been before given.
(2.) A particular prophecy of the conquests of the king of Greciæ- Alexander the Great-extending down to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and to the calamities and desolations which he would bring upon the holy land, ch. viii. This occurs in a vision which Daniel had at Shushan, in the province of Elam, and consisted of a representation of a ram with two horns, “pushing” in every direction, as if to extend its conquests everywhere. From the west, however, there came a goat, with a single horn between its eyes, that attacked and overcame the ram. This single horn on the head of the goat is subsequently represented as broken, and in its place there came up four other horns, and out of one of them a little horn that became great, and that magnified itself particularly against “ the prince of the host," and that took away the daily sacrifice, or that closed the sacred services of religion in the temple.
A part of this is explained by Gabriel, as referring to the king of Greciæ; and there can be no difficulty in understanding that Alexander the Great is referred to, and that by the four horns that sprang up out of the one that was broken, the four kingdoms into which that of Alexander was divided at his death are meant, and that by the little horn that sprang up
dantiochus Epipular and mains that sprang cially as they chos. x.
(3.) A pap of the kinegypt so fue sanctuary
(3.) A particular and minute prophecy respecting the wars between two of the kingdoms that sprang out of the empire of Alexander-Syria and Egypt—so far especially as they affected the holy land, and the services in the sanctuary of God, chs. X.