Smith's Bible Dictionary


Dan'iel. (judgment of God).

1. The second son of David, by Abigail, the Carmelitess. 1Ch_3:1. In 2Sa_3:3, he is called Chileab. (B.C. About 1051).

2. The fourth of 'the greater prophets'. Nothing is known of his parentage or family. He appears, however, to have been of royal or noble descent, Dan_1:3, and to have possessed considerable personal endowments. Dan_1:4. He was taken to Babylon in "the third year of Jehoiakim" (B.C. 604), and trained for the king's service. He was divinely supported in his resolve to abstain from the "king's meat" for fear of defilement. Dan_1:8-16.

At the close of his three years discipline, Dan_1:5; Dan_1:18, Daniel had an opportunity of exercising his peculiar gift, Dan_1:17, of interpreting dreams, on the occasion of Nebuchadnezzar's decree against the Magi. Dan_2:14. Ff. In consequence of his success, he was made "ruler of the whole province of Babylon." Dan_2:48. He afterwards interpreted the second dream of Nebuchadnezzar, Dan_4:8-27, and the handwriting on the wall which disturbed the feast of Belshazzar. Dan_5:10-28.

At the accession of Darius, he was made first of the "three presidents" of the empire, Dan_6:2, and was delivered from the lion's den, into which he had been cast for his faithfulness to the rites of his faith. Dan_6:10-23. Compare Bel and the Dragon 29-42. See Dan_14:29-42. (Apocrypha)

At the accession of Cyrus, he still retained his prosperity, Dan_6:28, compare Dan_1:21. Though he does not appear to have remained at Babylon, compare Dan_1:21, and in "the third year of Cyrus" (B.C. 534), he saw his last recorded vision, on the banks of the Tigris. Dan_10:1; Dan_10:4.

In the prophecies of Ezekiel, mention is made of Daniel as a pattern of righteousness, Eze_14:14; Eze_14:20, and wisdom. Eze_28:3. The narrative in Dan_1:11 implies that Daniel was conspicuously distinguished for purity and knowledge at a very early age.

3. A descendant of Ithamar, who returned with Ezra. Ezr_8:2.

4. A priest who sealed the covenant drawn up by Nehemiah, B.C. 445. Neh_10:6. He is perhaps the same as Daniel, 3.


Taken from: Smith's Bible Dictionary by Dr. William Smith (1884)