Monday, February 21, 2011

Mormons Live Deliciously with Babylon the Great

Listening to "Leaders of Mormons Live Deliciously with Babylon the Great" hosted by Art Bulla on #BlogTalkRadio

Original Air Date: February 20, 2011

Leaders of Mormons Live Deliciously with Babylon the Great

Call from Bob Edwards. Severed from the ordinances for blasphemy and open rebellion. David O McKay attempted to get Church back on track after travesties of Heber J. Grant, but prevented redoing ordinances done under improper authority instituted by Grant by some of the Twelve. Revelations of Jesus Christ read pertaining to being allied with Babylon (living deliciously).

Section 2: 129-132, Revelations of Jesus Christ:
129 For did I the Lord God not speak through the mouth of my servant as he known among men, Ezekial, that if the Prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, that I may take the House of Israel in their own heart, saith the Lord, because they are all estranged from me through their idols, in the which they do live, saith the Lord, deliciously with Babylon the Great, and seek even the praise and honor of the world?
130 And this is recorded in the 14th Chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, the ninth verse.For did I the Lord God not also grant unto Israel, through Samuel, my servant, who saw much affliction because of the wickedness of the Children of Israel in his days, that they also should have a king like unto other nations, which wast the desires of their hearts? 131 And did this also not prove to be a snare and a curse unto them, for how oft was Israel led astray through the wickedness of her kings?
132 And did not Utah, saith the Lord, desire to become a state like unto all other states, and for this cause ye did forsake my law, even that of Abraham, O ye Latter-Day-Saints, yea, even that which ye, O ye Gentiles call polygamy, even as Israel hath forsaken my statutes and my judgments in all ages of the world and have even gone whoring after strange gods?

The Revelations of Jesus Christ, Section 2:

117 And he that will harden his heart against these things, and go on in the blindness of his mind, must perish, saith the Lord, with them who are wise and prudent and lifted up in the pride and cares of the world, even your merchants, your doctors, and your lawyers and your scribes, and pharisees, and your teachers, and your politicians, and all those who do uphold that which is known as Babylon the Great, who are mine enemies, saith the Lord, who are pillars which uphold the kingdoms of this world, which are of the devil, and who did take mine Only Begotten to the top of the Temple and say unto him, all these are kingdoms and they are mine, and who did crucify mine Only Begotten in that day because of his so-called offense against their order, and to which my people Israel are enslaved, even Zion and are trodden under foot by them at this time, saith the Lord God of Israel.
118 For would not the wicked and ignorant of the children men trod under foot the very God of Israel if in their power?
119 And for this reason they shall be ground, even into powder by my warriors, who are full of honor, saith the Lord.
120 For is thy slavery, O my people, not worse than that of Pharoah?
121 And did I not prophesy these things through the mouth of my servant Moses, in the Book of Deuteronomy in that day?
122 And these, servants of the world, if they retreat not from their stand, shall suffer the second death, for who shall withstand the Holy One of Israel, who is a consuming fire of those who are mine enemies as in the days of Pharoah.
123 And this hath been my gosple, saith the Lord, in all ages of the world upon which thou standest.
124 And now as I said concerning your Presidencies, saith the Lord, that if it should be that they should wholly depart from my counsels unto them, in the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds, which thing hath afflicted almost all of your authorities from the time of Joseph Smith, that they shall not have power to appoint another in the stead thereof.
125 For there is an end to their priesthood, if they should cause themselves to be severed from the heavens.
126 And it was that even my servant Joseph did plead long and hard unto me concerning the manuscript, in the which I did grant unto him that which did prove to be a snare and a curse instead of a blessing, saith the Lord.
127 And in this day, saith the Lord, them who ye unlawfully sustain as your Presidencies, did also plead long and hard, even as my servant Joseph, for that which was not right, and I the Lord God did grant that which should be a snare unto their souls, ven in these things, yea, even unto their destruction.
128 And how much greater was my servant Joseph, than them whom ye sustain as your presidents, saith the Lord?
129 For did I the Lord God not speak through the mouth of my servant as he known among men, Ezekial, that if the Prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, that I may take the House of Israel in their own heart, saith the Lord, because they are all estranged from me through their idols, in the which they do live, saith the Lord, delisciously with Babylon the Great, and seek even the praise and honor of the world?
130 And this is recorded in the 14th Chapter of the Book of Ezekial, the ninth verse.For did I the Lord God not also grant unto Israel, through Samuel, my servant, who saw much affliction because of the wickedness of the Children of Israel in his days, that they also should have a king like unto other nations, which wast the desires of their hearts?
131 And did this also not prove to be a snare and a curse unto them, for how oft was Israel led astray through the wickedness of her kings?
132 And did not Utah, saith the Lord, desire to become a state like unto all other states, and for this cause ye did forsake my law, even that of Abraham, O ye Latter-Day-Saints, yea, even that which ye, O ye Gentiles call polygamy, even as Israel hath forsaken my statutes and my judgments in all ages of the world and have even gone whoring after strange gods?
133 And your presidencies, saith the Lord, have hearkened unto the voices of them whom I did not send, they did bow unto the clamor that those who call themselves Latter-Day-Saints should become in the abominations thereof like unto all other nations who in their wisdom know not God, and his righteous decrees concerning the nations and their boundaries and habitations which were before set by me and councils of the Sons of God before the world was made, even by them, saith the Lord God of Israel.
134 And it is for this reason that I the Lord God of Israel have raised up my servant,as he is known among men, Art Bulla, that he shall call down that which shall destroy mine enemies, even in times of old, yea even that of Elijah, my Son. 135 And ye shall hearken unto his words, saith the Lord, unto my people who are called Latter-Day-Saints, or ye shall be cut off, yea forever and cast into the fire, saith the Lord God, who is mighty to the consuming of those who fight against me as in the days of Pharoah. The Revelations of Jesus Christ, Section 2.
Concerning the leftist assassination of the text in Daniel (
[Introduction: Critics on Daniel] [Placement in Canon] [Jesus Ben Sirach] [Historical Issues] [Linguistic Issues] [Indications of Early Date] [The 4 Kingdoms Issue] [Conclusion]

Outside of the Pentateuch, no book of the OT has been subjected to as much scrutiny as the Book of Daniel. The detailed and accurate prophecies contained in that book have motivated many, Skeptic and professed believer alike, to subscribe to the theory of a late date of composition for Daniel in the time of the Maccabees.

Generally, the Maccabeean theory holds that the Book of Daniel was written around 168-165 BC. Most modern radical critics hold that the book was completed in its final form at that time, but some allow for parts of Daniel (mainly chapters 1-6) to have an earlier date prior to 168-165. Some say the editor in the 2nd century used certain traditions to compose the final form of Daniel.

Others have said that the book has many authors (one scholar says that there were six authors). All of them agree, however, that the final form of the book was completed around 165 BC. We will show that such late date hypotheses are NOT indicated by the evidence.

A word to begin, relative to the state of the question at hand. In many cases we shall cite an argument originally used by a critic who wrote at the beginning of this century, S. R. Driver. Since Driver first wrote, the arguments about Daniel have barely changed (Eccl. 1:9) - indeed, some of the arguments that Driver later retracted are still in use by some critics.

We shall see especially that, even as some liberal scholars slowly come to a more traditional outlook on some aspects of Daniel, Skeptics of the lower rank like Bernard Katz, and most recently Tim Callahan, continue to use long-refuted arguments against this important book.

Limitations of this Study

We will focus here upon arguments relative to the historicity and dating of Daniel, and as related, the fulfillment of its political prophecies. We will not be looking at the seventy weeks prophecy or anything having to do with prophecies commonly thought to be in our own future. On that issue see here.

Canon Fire: A Fair Prophet?

Our first set of arguments relates to the placement of Daniel in the OT canon.

First, a technical objection is sometimes made that Daniel was placed in the "Writings" and not the "Prophets." Hamner [Hamn.Dan, 1; see also DilHart.BDan, 25] writes:

The Hebrew canon consists of three divisions, the 'Law', the 'Prophets', and the 'writings', and Daniel is included in the third and last division. This suggests that the book was not known by 200 B.C. , about the time when the collection of prophetic writings was assembled.

And Driver [Driv.BD, xivii-xiviii] said earlier:

...there are strong reasons for thinking that the threefold division represents three stages in the collection and canonization of the sacred books of the O.T.,--the Pent. being canonized first, then the 'Prophets' (in the Jewish sense of the expression), and lastly the Kethubim. The collection of the 'Prophets' could hardly have been completed before the third century B.C.; and had the Book of Daniel existed at the time, and been believed to be the work of a prophet, it is difficult not to think that it would have ranked accordingly, and been included with the writings of the other prophets.

In response to this objection, Archer [Arch.DEx, 7-8] writes:

As for the placement of Daniel in the Masoretic arrangement of the canon, this is completely without evidential force. Writing in the east first century A.D. Josephus made the following statement concerning the Hebrew canon (Contra Apion I, 38-39 [8]): 'We do not possess myriads of inconsistent books, conflicting with each other. Our books, those which are justly accredited, are but two and twenty, and contain the record of all time.' He then broke these twenty-two books down into three categories: five books of Moses (ie., the Pentateuch), thirteen books of the Prophets, and the remaining four books that 'embrace hymns to God and counsels for men for the conduct of life.' The four books of poetry and wisdom were unquestionably Psalms, Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. These four constituted the entire third division of the canon---the Writings---in Josephus's day, rather than the thirteen assigned to it by the Masoretes of the late first millennium A.D.
As for the thirteen books of the Prophets, as recognized in the first century A.D., they were apparently the Former Prophets, including Joshua, Judges-Ruth, the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, the two books of Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah-Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel (which were classified by the second century B.C. LXXs Major Prophets), the Twelve Minor Prophets as one volume (since they could all be included in one large scroll), Song of Solomon, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Esther. There is no possibility that Josephus could have regarded Daniel as belonging to the Writings. Very clearly he included it among the Prophets, along with Solomon's prophetic parable of love (S of Songs) and the exilic and postexilic books of history, all of which were composed from a prophetic perspective. Therefore, we are forced to conclude that the Masoretic division of the canon, coming as it did six or seven centuries after Flavius Josephus, has no bearing whatever on the date of Daniel's composition or on its status as a truly prophetic work.

And Whitcomb [Whit.BD, 15-6] adds:

Most conservative Old Testament scholars believe that Daniel was not placed among the prophets in our present Hebrew Bible because he served in a foreign court, did not prophesy directly to the people of Israel, and included much historical material in the book. But, significant evidence is available that Daniel was originally counted among the prophets and was only shifted to another category of canonical books of Hebrew scribes in the fourth century A.D.
First, Daniel was listed among the prophets in the Septuagint translation (hence the position of our English Bibles through the medium of the Vulgate). Second, Josephus (first century A.D.) listed Daniel among the prophets. Third, Melito, bishop of Sardis (A.D.70), did the same. Fourth, Origen (d. A.D. 254) listed Daniel before Ezekiel and the twelve prophets. R. Laird Harris thus argues not only for the full canonicity of the book of Daniel but also its inclusion among the prophetic books in the most ancient Hebrew collections.

And Archer says elsewhere [Arch.SOT, 388-9]:

The Masoretes may have been influenced in this reassignment by the consideration that Daniel was not appointed or ordained as a prophet, but remained a civil servant under the prevailing government throughout his entire career. Second, a large percentage of his writings does not bear the character of prophecy, but rather history (Chap.1-6), such as does not appear in any of the books of the canonical prophets. Little of what Daniel wrote is couched in the form of a message from God relayed through the mouth of His spokesman.

These findings are confirmed by Koch [Koch.DanP], who points out that Daniel was regarded as being among the prophets in the NT, in the LXX, and at Qumran. The shift to the Writings, he says, was not until the 5th-8th century AD.

Canon Fire II: Ben Sirach

The second canon-related objection observes that Jesus Ben Sirach - whose writings are often called upon to verify the state of the OT canon - quotes all the Prophets except Daniel in 170 BC. This is taken to mean that Sirach was unaware of Daniel; hence, it was written after 170 BC. A coherent form of this objection was made by Driver [Driv.BD, xivii; see also Lacq.Dan, 7]:

Jesus, the son of Sirach (writing c. 200 B.C.), in his enumeration of famous Israelites, Ecclus. xliv--1., though he mentions Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and (collectively) the Twelve Minor Prophets, is silent as to Daniel. In view of the remarkable distinctions attained by Daniel, and the faculties displayed by him, according to the Book, the statement in Ecclus. xlix. 15 that no man had ever been born 'like unto Joseph,' seems certainly to suggest that the writer was unacquainted with the narratives respecting Daniel.

Archer [Arch.SOT, 389] responds:

But it should be pointed out that other important authors like Ezra received no mention either. Nor for that matter did he make mention of such key figures in Hebrew history as Job, or any of the Judges except Samuel; Asa, Jehoshphat, and Mordecai. How can such omissions furnish any solid ground for the idea that these leaders were unknown to Jesus Ben Sirach?

In this regard, it should be noted that Ecclesiasticus failed to mention people outside of Israel. The writer was very Sadducean and nationalistic; he selected personalities to feature according to his own ideas. He pays no attention to those outside Israel: Jonah at Nineveh, Daniel at Babylon, and Mordecai in Persia. Thus, aside from being an argument from silence, pointing out that Sirach did not mention Daniel is irrelevant.

Some do, however, find allusions to the Book of Daniel in Sirach's work, which would make the point moot - SRM.Dan, 25-6.

As for one "not being like Joseph," it should be noted that, unlike Joseph, Daniel did NOT save the entirety of Israel from extinction and did not do anything to raise the Jews as a whole to prominence. Far too much emphasis is placed on the fact that both received dreams as a prophetic tool; the differences between these two personages tend to be ignored.

Historical Issues

[Introduction] [The Siege of Daniel 1:1] [The Chaldeans] [Belshazzar] [Darius the Mede] [Daniel in Ezekiel] [Nebuchadnezzar: Spelling of Name] [Nebuchadnezzar: Madness] [Satraps] [Where Was Daniel at Furnace-Time?] [How Found Ten Times Better?] [The Watchers]

With this section we get into the "meatiest" objections against the Book of Daniel - and the place where we have the most controversy.

The Siege

Critics observe historical inaccuracies in Daniel 1:1 and the lack of a contemporary account of a siege of Jerusalem [see Call.BPFF, 152; DilHart.BDan, 34]. Driver [Driv.IOT, 498] complained:

That Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, and carried away some of the sacred vessels in 'the third year of Jehoiakim' (Dan.1), though it cannot, strictly speaking, be disproved, is highly improbable: not only is the Book of Kings silent, but Jeremiah, in the following year (c.25) speaks of the Chaldeans in a matter which appears distinctly to imply that their arms had not yet been seen in Judah.

In response, Archer [Arch.DEx, 14] notes:

Daniel 1:1 states that Nebuchadnezzar's first invasion of Judah and siege of Jerusalem took place in the third year of Jehoiakim, whereas Jeremiah 46:2 dates the first year of Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. This objection was raised before modern scholarship understood the complexity of ancient Near-Eastern dating systems. We now know that in Judah the non-accession-year system was followed, whereby the calendar year in which a new king acceded to the throne was reckoned as the first year of his reign (which in the case of Jehoiakim would have been 608 B.C.). But in the northern kingdom (which, of course, came to an end in 722 B.C.) and in Babylon, the accession-year system prevailed. According to this reckoning, the year when the new king came to power would be called simply his accession year. The first year of his reign would not begin until the commencement of the next calendar year. Thus, by the Babylonian reckoning, Jehoiakim's first year was 607; therefore Nebuchadnezzar's invasion in 605 was Jehoiakim's third year. Who can fault Daniel, living in Babylon, for following the Babylonian reckoning? Therefore this argument turns out to be not only worthless but a confirmation that the author of Daniel wrote from a Babylonian perspective.

And Baldwin [Bald.Dan, 19-20] adds:

It is true that there is no mention of a siege of Jerusalem at this time in 2 Kings, though it does say that in the days of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years' (2 Kings 24:1), and Chronicles adds, 'Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to take him to Babylon' (2 Chron. 36:6). The presence of Nebuchadrezzar in Jerusalem is thus doubly attested prior to the siege of 597 B.C., which was in Nebuchadrezzar's seventh year, just after the death of Jehoiakim in his eleventh year (2 Kings 24:6-10). The publication of the Babylonian Chronicles in the British museum made available an independent source of precise information relating to the events of Nebuchadrezzar's accession.
The following table sets out the details as they can be reconstructed from the Babylonian data for 605 B.C.
  • January/February -- Army returned from a campaign to Babylon
  • April/August -- Battle of Carchemish, after which Nebuchadrezzar pursued the Egyptians south and conquered the whole of Hatti-land (i.e. Syria-Palestine). [see also SRM.Dan, 57]
  • August 15 -- Death of Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadrezzar
  • September 7 -- Accession of Nebuchadrezzar.
In light of this information the biblical statements begin to look probable. Jehoiakim had been put on the throne by the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco (2 Kings 23:34) and therefore Nebuchadrezzar, in taking all that belonged to the king of Egypt (2 Kings 24:7), would need to include the king of Judah. This would be the occasion when Jehoiakim became his servant and was bound in fetters to be taken to Babylon. Whether he made the journey or not we cannot know. The Bible is consistent in asserting that Nebuchadrezzar put pressure on Jerusalem and it's king; the Babylonian evidence allows time for him to do so. It is also clear why the outcome is left vague. The death of his father made the return of the crown prince imperative (he had been called king proleptically, as in Jer. 46:2); he would need to leave the army in the command of his generals and travel light with all speed back to Babylon as Berossus recounted.

This objection therefore fails.


It is said that the term "Chaldeans" was not as specialized in the 6th century B.C. as it was in 2nd century B.C. The book of Daniel specializes the term to refer to magicians and astrologers. [see Call.BPFF, 166; Porte.Dan, 28] Montgomery [JM.CCBDm 73] formulates the objection thusly, finding it important enough to say:

Perhaps transcending the obvious historical difficulties recorded above is the naive use of "Basic-Chaldeans" as a class of magicians.

And Hamner [Hamn.Dan, 4] adds:

The word Chaldeans is used to describe an astrologer, but was not used in this way in the sixth century B.C. It is unlikely that Daniel would have a prefectship over the astrologers (Dan. 2:48) as this would have involved membership of the Babylonian priesthood. (Nehemiah and Esther both refer, however, to high positions held by Jews at the Persian court).

This objection is also noted by Katz [Kat.McD].

Archer [Arch.SOT, 390], however, replies:

This theory, however, fails to fit the data of the text, for the author of this work was certainly aware that Kasdim was the ethnic term for the race of Nebuchadnezzar. Thus in Daniel 5:30 Belshazzar is referred to as the king of the Chaldeans; in this case the term certainly could not refer to any class of wise men. Therefore, we must look to other explanations for the twofold use of Kasdim. Herodutus (vol. 1, sec 181-183) refers to the Chaldeans in such a way as to imply that they were speedily put into all the politically strategic offices of Babylonia as soon as they had gained control of the capital. If this was the case, then "Chaldean" may have early come into use as a term for the priests of Bel-Marduk.

And Baldwin [Bald.Dan, 28-9] adds:

Since Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean by race the ethnic use of the term in the book of Daniel is not surprising; its use by Herodotus as a technical term for the priests of Bel in the fifth century B.C. shows it had already by then a secondary sense. There is nothing incongruous about the use of the term in both meanings, nor need it cause confusion, any more than our use in English of the word 'Morocco' to designate both the country and the leather for which it is famous. Needless to say the Moroccan would not use the name in both these senses.

Baldwin goes on to say that although the term is used only in the ethnic sense in Assyrian records in the 8-7th centuries B.C., there is no use of the term - in EITHER sense - in Babylonian documents in the 6th century (although Diodorus Siculus indicates that the caste was around as early as the time of Nabopolassar, Nebucadnezzar's father). It is simply a presumptuous argument from silence to say that the term is an anachronism [Mill.D16, 70].

Interestingly, Lacocque admits to the earlier uses in Herodotus [Lacq.Dan, 27], but STILL insists, without any substantiation, that Daniel's use of the term would be too early.

As for Daniel being leader over this bunch, it was hardly required that he endorse all of their practices to be their leader. One must show that Daniel would have had to personally corrupt himself in order for this objection to have any force.


Our third objection set concerns the personage of Belshazzar. Let us first, for a moment, that it was once argued that Belshazzar did not exist at all. With that in mind, now that critics assent to his existence, they are reluctant to grant him his due as he is represented by Daniel, saying that he was: a) not a King, and b) not a son of Nebuchadnezzar, as Daniel indicates. Hamner [Hamn.Dan, 4] writes:

Belshazzar is represented as the son of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 5:11), although he was the son of Nabodinus. He was heir to the throne and may have acted as regent in his fathers absence, but he was never actually a King despite Dan 5:1-30;8:1.

And Driver [Driv.IOT, 498] adds:

Belshazzar is represented as king of Babylon; and Nebuchadnezzar is spoken of throughout (chap. 5:2,11,13,18,22) as his father. In point of fact Nabodinus was the last King of Babylon; he was a usurper, not related to Nebuchadnezzar, and one Belsharuzer is mentioned as his son. Belsharuzur's standing title is the 'king's son,' something like the 'crown prince.'

This objection, too, is noted by Katz. Archer [Arch.SOT, 391-2] replies to the objections:

This argument, however, overlooks the fact that by ancient usage the term son often referred to a successor in the same office whether or not there was a blood relationship. Thus in the Egyptian story, 'King Cheops and the Magicians (preserved in the papyrus Westcar from the Hyksos Period), Prince Khephren came to pass in the time of thy father, King Neb-ka.' Actually Neb-ka belonged to the Third Dynasty, a full century before the time of Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty. In Assyria a similar practice was reflected in the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, which refers to King Jehu (the exterminator of the whole dynasty of Omri) as 'the son of Omri.'

Archer then goes on to explain that Belshazzar could have been a literal grandson of Nebuchadnezzar if Nabodinus married one of his daughters:

There is fairly conclusive evidence that Belshazzar was elevated to secondary kingship during the time of Uzziah in the kingdom of Judah--a common practice in ancient times in order to secure a peaceful succession. Recent archaeological discoveries indicate that Belshazzar was in charge of the northern frontier of the Babylonian empire while his father Nabodinus maintained his headquarters at Teman in North Arabia. Among the discoveries at the site of Ur is an inscription of Nabunaid containing a prayer for Nabunaid himself followed by a second prayer for his firstborn son, Bel-shar-usur, such prayers being customarily offered only for the reigning monarch. Still other cuneiform documents attest that Belshazzar presented sheep and oxen at the temples in Sippar as 'an offering of the king.'

Clearly, Belshazzar was regarded as a "king" in a full sense of the word - indeed, the evidence is so clear that even the liberal Lacocque admits that the cuneiform evidence "militate(s) in favor of a reign of Belshazzar." [Lacq.Dan, 92, emph. in original] The kingship is further confirmed by Xenophon, who, reporting on the fall of Babylon, says that the "king" was slain. He does not name this king, but since Nabodinus was in custody at the time (according to Berosus, he was captured and deported - MillS.Dan, 168) - and since Xenophon describes this king as "a riotous, indulgent, cruel, and godless young man" (that would be a bad description of Nabodinus) - Xenophon must be referring to Belshazzar [Ford.Dan, 122; Gold.Dan, 107].

Finally, there is this consideration: The Aramaic language did not have a word for what Belshazzar actually was: a "crown prince." Therefore, Daniel would have had to use the nearest functional word (from the point of view of the Jews, and their own concept of what a co-regency was) to describe what Belzy was doing. [Mill.DBel, 77]

As for the father/son relationship, there are many possible answers to this:

  1. Archer notes above the reference to "Jehu son of Omri." This reflects a general Oriental usage of father/son terminology. Textual (non-Biblical) evidence reveals that "son" was used at least 12 different ways in the ancient Orient, and "father" was used at least 7 different ways [Ford.Dan, 123; MillS.Dan, 149].

  2. Hints of an actual familial relationship, however, provide a more convincing solution to the problem. Indications of such are given by Herodotus, who reports that the queen mother Nitorcris, Nebucadnezzar's wife, was the "mother" of Nabodinus [Town.Dan, 70] - perhaps meaning by this, the mother-in-law.

    The realization of this kind of relationship, or something similar, is being slowly adapted even by liberal critics. Oriental monarchs who were usurpers commonly tried to legitimate their claim to the throne by marrying their predecessor's wife or daughter [Bout.IABD, 116]. This may be indicated in the case at hand by the fact that Nabodinus named one of his sons after Nebucadnezzar. Furthermore, one of Nabodinus' predecessors, Neriglissar, himself married one of Nebucadnezzar's daughters, so there would be a precedent for Nabodinus to follow.

    In light of the above, it may be suggested that Daniel shows a polemical awareness of such an attempt to legitimate the rule of Nabodinus. The repeated emphasis upon the father/son relationship of Nebucadnezzar and Belshazzar serves to highlight the fact that Belshazzar is decidedly UNlike his "father" Nebucadnezzar - he is, by comparison, grossly incompetent, sensual, worthless, and ignorant of the power of the true God.

    A very thin blood relationship may have been exaggerated, or even created out of whole cloth by the usurpers [see Meadw.ADGD, 64], to perpetrate the fiction that Nabodinus and Belshazzar were legitimate heirs of the throne - and Daniel may well be reflecting this exaggeration/court fiction in his own polemical manner.

    Note especially the implication that the queen mother was NOT invited to the banquet, and that Daniel was no longer a recognized wise man - which would fit in with the idea of a usurper "cleaning house" for his own protection, and a polemical response by Daniel. [see esp. Fewe.CSov, 82, 91-2]

Moreover, the very mention of Belshazzar is proof of an early date for Daniel. Recall, again, that it was once argued that Belshazzar never existed. Here is why, according to Archer [ibid.]:

The fact that by the time of Herodotus (ca 450 B.C.) the very name of Belshazzar had been forgotten, at least so far as the informants of the Greek historian were concerned, indicates far closer acquaintance with the events of the late sixth century on the part of Daniel than would have been the case by the second century B.C.

Archer goes on to explain that the writer of Daniel 5:16 can only promise Daniel to be 3rd ruler in the kingdom is proof of the book's veracity. Why could he not promise #2? Because Belshazzar was #2 as long as his father was still alive.

Baldwin [Bald.Dan, 22-3] adds these words, in line with what has been said above, and serves as a summary:

Five times in chapter 5 Nebuchadrezzar is referred to as his father, and Belshazzar is called his son (5:22). The assumption has often been made that the author's knowledge was so defective that he thought Belshazzar was literally son of Nebuchadnezzar, whereas we know that his father was Nabodinus, son of a Babylonian nobleman, Nabu-alatsu-iqbi. It needs to be borne in mind that the terms 'father' and 'son' are used figuratively in the Old Testament. Elisha called Elijah 'my father' (2 Kings 2:12); 'sons of the prophets' were their disciples, and there is some evidence that outstanding kings gave their name to successors who were not of their dynasty. There is in Esdras 3:7, 4:42 an interesting example of a king bestowing as a prize the honour of being called his kinsman, or cousin. Nevertheless the constant repetition of the father-son theme in Daniel appears to imply more, as though the legitimacy of the king might have been under attack.

Baldwin goes on to explain, too, that Belshazzar could be the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar (a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar could have carried Belshazzar's father, thus making it very literal).

Darius the Mede

Our fourth objection set concerns another personage in the Book of Daniel - Darius the Mede. Darius the Mede is regarded as a fictional character, or at very best a confusion based on Cyrus' third son - who was not a Mede, but a Persian. Again, Hamner [Hamn.Dan, 4]:

The book also regards 'Darius the Mede' (Dan. 5:31; 6:25) as responsible for the conquest of Babylon and its first ruler. Persian records refer to the conquest by Cyrus and to the governorship of Gubaru (Gobryas), a Persian.

This objection is alluded to by Katz [Kat.McD].

Admittedly, this is by far the most difficult historical problem in the book - albeit not "insurmountable" as Lacocque [Lacq.Dan., 109] suggests. There are two major responses to this problem. One is a proposal by John Whitcomb that Darius the Mede is to be identified with Gubaru, the provincial governor of Babylon. Whitcomb's work, we may note, is conspicuously absent from the bibliographies of, or is never cited by, Lacocque and others who regard the problem as "insurmountable".

The other is a proposal by Donald Wiseman (supported by Shea, Shea.DMedePB, and Colless, Coll.CPDMede) that Daniel 6:28 should be translated, "Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius even the reign of Cyrus the Persian," i.e., taking the former name as a throne name - so that Darius the Mede is, in fact, Cyrus the Persian. Both interpretations have attractive features.

Let us first consider the case for the Gubaru equation. Whitcomb suggests that "there is one person in history, and only one who fits all the Biblical data concerning Darius the Mede. He is never mentioned by the Greek historians, but appears in various sixth century B.C. cuneiform texts under the name of Gubaru." [Whit.DMede, 10-16] The central feature of this view is to distinguish Gubaru form Ugbaru, both of whom are called Gobryas in some translations of the Nabodinus Chronicle.

Whitcomb shows that Ugbaru died within weeks of his capture of Babylon, while the latter continued as governor of Babylon for at least fourteen years. About the significance of the confusion between Ugbaru and Gubaru, Whitcomb writes, "...many were led to assume that Ugbaru and Gubaru were the same person and were to be identified also with the "Gobryas" of Xenophone's Cyropaedia. This effort to identify Darius the Mede with a composite 'Gobryas' was clearly unsatisfactory, and opened the door for critics to deny any possibility of an historical identification for Darius the Mede." [ibid., 24]

According to Whitcomb's theory, Gubaru was born in 601 B.C. to Ahasuerus, a Mede, and was appointed by Cyrus as governor over Babylon and the "Region beyond the River." He assumed the kingship over this territory when Cyrus himself withdrew from Babylon, and appointed his own supervisors over his dominion, holding the power of life and death over them.

But now to the Cyrus equation. Wiseman translates Daniel 6:28, "Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, even (namely, or i.e.) the reign of Cyrus the Persian." And he continues to support his case: "Such a use of the oppositional or explicative Hebrew waw construction has long been recognized in 1 Chronicles 5:26 ("So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria even the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria") and elsewhere."

This seems to be supported by the Septuagint and Theodotion which translates Daniel 11:1 the "first year of Cyrus" rather than the "first year of Darius". It could be that Darius the Mede had dual names; this sort of argument is advanced by Colless [Coll.CPDMede, 113], who (though he accepts a late date for Daniel) believes that the double-naming of Cyrus was a reflection of the propensity of the Daniel author to use "double names" for characters (i.e., Daniel/Belteshazzar) - and asserts that Daniel 6:28 was expected to be understood by the reader as making the Darius/Cyrus connection.

Another explanation of this sort suggests that Daniel was emphasizing Cyrus' Median bloodline - his father was a Persian, but his mother was a Mede [Shea.DMedePB, 251; Gold.Dan, 51] - in order to demonstrate the exact fulfillment of earlier OT prophecies of victory by a Mede.

Other indications of this equation may be called upon. The apocryphal story of the Three Guardsmen seems to indicate that Darius the Mede was Cyrus, as does the story of Bel and the Dragon [Bald.Dan, 27; MillS.Dan, 176]. The personal data recorded in Daniel seems to lend support to either identification - Gubaru or Cyrus. Darius the Mede was said to have been 62 when he assumed power; this would fit either Gubaru or Cyrus from what we know. (Cicero tells us that Cyrus died at age 70; cuneiform texts say that Cyrus ruled 9 years after Babylon was captured

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