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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL\\

This book is called, in the Vulgate Latin version, "the Prophecy of
Daniel"; and in the Syriac and Arabic versions "the Prophecy of Daniel
the Prophet". This Daniel was of the children of Judah, that were
carried captive into Babylon with Jehoiakim; and was of princely blood,
if not of the royal seed, as appears from, \\#Da 1:3,5\\. Josephus {a} is
express for it, that he was of the kindred and family of Zedekiah: and
Saadiah Gaon {b} says he was of the seed of Hezekiah, and so fulfilled
the prophecy in \\#2Ki 20:18\\. As to what the author of the "Lives of the
Prophets", ascribed to Epiphanius, says {c}, that he was born in upper
Bethabara, not far from Jerusalem, it is not to be depended on; or that
his father's name was Sabaam, according to a tradition mentioned by the
true Epiphanius {d}. The Jews {e} would have it that this book was not
written by Daniel himself, but by the men of the great synagogue; though
it is evident, from the book itself, that Daniel is the writer of it, as
from \\#Da 7:1,2,28 8:1,15,27 9:2 10:2 12:5\\. That he wrote books, which
were received, read, and believed by the Jews as of God, is affirmed by
Josephus {f}; and the Jews in general acknowledge that this book was
written by the influence of the Holy Spirit, but not by prophecy; they,
without any foundation, distinguishing between the Holy Spirit and
prophecy. And so Maimonides says {g}, it is the general consent of their
nation, that this book is among the holy writings, but not among the
Prophets; nor will they allow Daniel to be a prophet: the reasons they
give are frivolous; what seems to have induced them to degrade him is
the manifest prophecy of the time of the Messiah's coming in this book,
which sometimes they are obliged to own is fixed in it. They tell us a
story of Jonathan ben Uzziel, that having finished his paraphrase of the
Prophets, thought to have wrote one on the Hagiographa, or holy
writings, among which they place the book of Daniel; but was forbid by
"Bath Kol", or a voice from heaven, giving this as a reason, because
that in it is contained the end of the Messiah {h}, the precise time of
his coming; and the gloss on the passage adds, by way of explanation,

``in the book of Daniel;''

though elsewhere they would have it, that after it was made known to
Daniel, it was taken away from him. For so, they say {i}, there are two
men to whom the end was revealed, and afterwards it was hidden from
them; and these are they, Jacob and Daniel: from Daniel, according to
\\#Da 12:4\\, "but thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book
&c.", from Jacob, \\#Ge 49:1\\, "that I may tell you that which shall
befall you in the last days". Yet the prophecy of Daniel was so clear, with
respect to the time of the Messiah's coming, that one of their Rabbins,
who lived about fifty years before the coming of Christ, asserted that
the time of the Messiah, as signified by Daniel, could not be deferred
longer than those fifty years {k}; and a most glaring prophecy it is,
and sufficient to denominate Daniel a prophet, as well as many more
contained in this book. And, after all, Maimonides himself owns, that
he, and the other writers of the Hagiographa, or holy writings, may be
called prophets in general. And Aben Ezra observes of Daniel, in his
preface, that he delivered out prophecies of things now past, and of
things to come; yea, he expressly calls him a prophet on \\#Da 1:17\\. And
Jacchiades, another of their commentators on this book, says that he
attained to the highest degree of prophecy. To which may be added the
testimony of Josephus {l}, who says he was one of the greatest
prophets, and to be preferred to others; since he not only predicted
things future, but fixed the time when they should come to pass. And,
above all, and what should satisfy us Christians, he is expressly
called a prophet by our Lord, \\#Mt 24:15\\. There are no other authentic
writings of Daniel, which bear his name; the stories of Susannah, and
of Bel and the Dragon, which make the "thirteenth" and "fourteenth"
chapters in the Greek of Theodotion, and in the Vulgate Latin version,
are apocryphal and spurious. The Oriental writers make Daniel the
author of a volume, entitled, "Principles relating to the Explanation
of Dreams". And there is another book in the king of France's library,
with this title, "Odmath-al-mantoul n Daniel al-nabi"; which contains
predictions of the Prophet Daniel, received by tradition from him. This
is a book which abounds with falsities, forged by the Mahometans, and
founded on the real prophecies of Daniel {m}. This book, written by
him, is partly historical, relating facts in which he was concerned;
and partly prophetic, of things that should happen from his time to
the end of the world, and especially of the Messiah and his kingdom;
and it is written partly in Hebrew, and partly in Chaldee. This great
man, as he was both in nature and grace, in religion and politics,
lived throughout the captivity, but does not seem ever to have returned
into Judea; but continued in the courts of the kings of the Medes and
Persians, to take care of the affairs of his people the Jews. Where he
died, and was buried, is not certain. Some say in Babylon; and others,
which is more likely, at Susa on the Tigris, where he was in the third
year of Cyrus, \\#Da 10:1,4\\. So says Abulfeda {n}; with which agrees the
account of Benjamin of Tudela {o}.

{a} Antiqu. l. 10. c. 10. sect. 1.
{b} Comment. in Dan. i. 5.
{c} Pseudo-Epiphan, de Vit. Prophet. c. 10.
{d} Contra Haeres. haeres. 55.
{e} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 1.
{f} Antiqu. l. 10. c. 10. sect. 7.
{g} Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 45.
{h} T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 3. 1.
{i} Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 84. 4.
{l} Ibid. ( Antiqu. l. 10. c. 10. sect. 7.) ut supra.
{m} Calmet's Dictionary, in the word "Daniel".
{n} Apud Schickard. Not. in Purim.
{o} Itinerar. p. 86.

\\INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 1\\.

This chapter begins with an account of the first captivity of the Jews,
in the times of Jehoiakim; of which captivity Daniel was one, and it is
mentioned on his account, \\#Da 1:1,2\\, who, with others, were selected by
the order of the king of Babylon, to be educated in the learning of the
Chaldeans, and to be maintained at his expense, in order to be his
ministers, \\#Da 1:3-7\\, but Daniel and his three companions refused the
king's meat and wine, lest they should be defiled; in which they were
indulged by their governor, after trial being made, that they were
fairer and fatter for it, \\#Da 1:8-16\\, and, at the end of the time
appointed, they appeared to have a large share of knowledge, wisdom, and
learning; upon which they were taken into the king's court and service,
\\#Da 1:17-20\\, and the chapter is concluded with observing the long
continuation of Daniel here, even to the first year of Cyrus, \\#Da 1:21\\