The book of Daniel is named for its main character and
author. Daniel means either “God is my Judge” or “God is
Judge.” The meaning depends on whether the Hebrew Yod (y “i”),
in the middle of the word, is taken as a first person suffix
or merely as a connective.
Daniel is called a prophet
by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:15). However, he does not
fit the typical mold of the biblical prophets since his
recorded prophecies were not delivered to Israel until after
the exile. He did not hold the office of prophet among the
Israelites and it appears he had little contact with his own
people during the seventy years of exile.
appearance, character, and ability of Daniel are exceptional.
Daniel’s parents are not mentioned, but we know he was “of the
king’s seed” and “of princes” (1:3), a circumstance
remarkably foretold by the eighth century B.C. prophet Isaiah.
And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood
who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will
become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (Isaiah
“Eunuch” denotes an official, officer or
chamberlain and it comes from the word castrate, since many
eunuchs suffered such a fate. In view of the fact that Daniel
is described as a “young man without any physical defect”
(Daniel 1:4), Isaiah’s use of “eunuch” simply indicates an
From the testimony of a contemporary, Daniel
was known for his righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14, 20) and known
by Yahweh for his wisdom (Ezekiel 28:3). He is mentioned in
those passages with Noah and Job, who were historical people,
so Daniel was also a historical person, not a
Nebuchadnezzar, one of the most capable of
ancient rulers, expected to have in his regime the best talent
his new empire could provide. He found none equal to Daniel
the statesman. Daniel was a man of perception, purpose,
principle, prayer, purity and power. He was touched five times
by heavenly beings: (1) to make him see (8:18-19); (2) to give
him skill (9:21-22); (3) to make him stand (10:10-11); (4) to
make him speak (10:16); and (5) to make him strong (10:18).
What God thought of Daniel is revealed when he is
addressed as “highly esteemed” by heavenly beings (Daniel
9:23; 10:11, 19). Daniel stands as one of the most admirable
of God’s servants in the OT. From boyhood through old age,
Daniel never compromised his faith in God. He was a man of
conviction and courage to the end. He dared to be a Daniel!