Bible Characters – The story of Daniel

Daniel in Hebrew means “God is my Judge” this is the hero of the Book of Daniel.A noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem, he is taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and serves the king and his successors with loyalty and ability until the time of the Persian conqueror Cyrus, all the while remaining true to the God of Israel.

Daniel’s name means “God (El) is my judge”. While the best known Daniel is the hero of the Book of Daniel who interprets dreams and receives apocalyptic visions, the Bible also briefly mentions three other individuals of this name:

The Book of Ezekiel (14:14, 14:20 and 28:3) refers to a legendary Daniel famed for wisdom and righteousness. In chapter 20, Ezekiel says of the sinful land of Israel that “even if these three, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.”

In chapter 28, Ezekiel taunts the king of Tyre, asking rhetorically, “art thou wiser than Daniel?” It is possible that the author of the Book of Daniel chose the name Daniel for his hero because of his reputation. “The legendary Daniel, known from long ago but still remembered as an exemplary character … serves as the principal human hero in the biblical book that now bears his name.

Ezra 8:2 mentions a priest named Daniel who went from Babylon to Jerusalem with Ezra.Daniel is a son of David mentioned at 1 Chronicles 3:1. This legendary Daniel is known for his righteousness and wisdom and a follower of the god El (hence his name), who made his will known through dreams and visions.[11] It is unlikely that Ezekiel knew the far older Canaanite legend, but it seems reasonable to suppose that some connection exists between the two.[12] The authors of the tales in the first half of the Book of Daniel were likely also unaware of the Ugaritic Daniel and probably took the name of their hero from Ezekiel;[12] the author of the visions in the second half in turn took his hero’s name from the tales.