In this work we focus on the character analysis of Daniel as a man chosen by God. The King James’s Bible was used as the main text. We have tried to understand the text within its own context, independently from other revelations. Historical facts were only used in a way consistent with the explanations given in the BD. Only obvious rational assumptions were made, e.g. the King’s meal was not kosher. In the third chapter, where we scan the BD, we also ignored facts and events that are irrelevant to our analysis of the character and prophecies of Daniel. Since the text is very rich, we choose only the important points related to the prophetic character of Daniel. The historical authenticity of BD, its relation with other chapters, its integrity with the rest of the Old Testament and its relation to the Qur’an are all beyond the scope of this work.
We will examine Daniel in terms of possessing the required attributes for a messenger. We can understand the process of choosing someone to be a messenger for humanity if we compare it to how we choose someone to do an important job; this person must possess certain qualities. Our requirements become much more stringent in accordance with the importance of the duty. After the candidate has been found we support this person.
…to God belongs the highest comparison. (Qur’an 16:60)
There are some requirements for representing God and guiding people. These are called the attributes of messengers.
The first characteristic of a messenger is truthfulness; this is the pivot of Prophethood. It could not be otherwise, for if a prophet were to lie, everything connected with the divine religion would be upset. The truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is paramount. He was completely truthful toward all of God's creatures. The second attribute of Prophethood is trustworthiness. Being a believer implies being trustworthy. All prophets were the best of believers and therefore were perfect exemplars of trustworthiness. They were loyal and never cheated anyone. The third attribute of Prophethood is the communication of truths, otherwise known as "enjoining good and forbidding evil." Prophets came with the same divine religion based on submission to God, and all had as their sole mission the communication of this Message. Intellect is another important attribute of Prophethood. In this context, intellect has a specific meaning: a composite of reasoning power, sagacity, intelligence, sound judgment, and wisdom that far surpasses the ability of ordinary people through a sublime power of understanding. It encompasses and coordinates all human abilities, whether of the heart and soul or of the mind. The infallibility of prophets is an established fact based on reason. This quality is required for several reasons. First, the prophets came to convey the Message of God. This is their function as guides and good examples to be followed. If we liken this Message to pure water or light, then any impurities would have polluted the Message. Every stumble is an impurity, a dark spot in the heart and causes doubts in the minds of listeners. The last attribute is that the messages of the prophets were concerned about unseen worlds and that they made prophecies. These were among the miracles of the prophets.
Before we start to analyze BD we need to stress some important points. First of all, except for the final attribute, all these attributes should be the target for all humans who want to achieve decency, if not excellence. Secondly, even if a person does not possess these qualities, God can still use this person. Thirdly, we have to honor people who possess these qualities as they are people who possess prophetic morals.
BD starts with a scene where a king is choosing people from different nations as servants for his kingdom. Obviously, due to his intelligence, trustworthiness, physical perfection and many other qualities, Daniel was one of the four chosen from among the Jews. When the king appointed them daily provision, Daniel requested that he should not be given food that is forbidden by God. However, at the same time he stated and proved that lawful food is healthier.
The king had a dream that troubled his spirit. However, he forgot what he had seen in that dream. He called the astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers and asked for an interpretation of his dream. Nobody could satisfy him, which made the King furious. He finally understood the deception of the so-called wise men and he ordered them all to be killed. Apparently God had prepared this scene for the Daniel’s grand entrance. After hearing the order, Daniel prayed to God and God revealed to him the vision and its meaning:
“Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise [men], the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king. But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.”
Daniel’s job was not to interpret the dream, but rather to tell people about God. Thus, he used this dream as an opportunity. The dream was a statue-like image, which symbolizes the kingdom where each part of the body corresponds to the present and future kings. Later on we witness the faith of Daniel’s friends and how they stood up for their beliefs. Chapter Four starts with the statements of a transformed king who respects and probably believes in Daniel’s God. However, after certain events followed, events that happened in exactly the way Daniel had predicted, the king praised, extolled and honored the King of Heaven and became a believer. In Chapter Five, Daniel showed his truthfulness to the King. Chapter Six shows that people trusted Daniel (6.3) and that his enemies could find nothing to accuse him of at all (6.4;6-5). They therefore tricked the king into signing a law that prohibited Daniel from worshipping God. However, man-made laws could not come between him and God, so he kept praying and making supplications. The king ordered Daniel to be executed, however God saved him. When he returned to the king, just as before, he used this as an opportunity to communicate with the people and he gave full credit to God.
“My God hath sent me his angels.”(6.22)
The following chapters (7-10) are important in terms of Daniel’s visions and his messages from the unseen world, although his dreams and their interpretations will be explained in the next section. The following table shows the important verses where the attributes can be clearly seen.
Truthfulness 4-19; 5-28; 5-17; 5-28
Trustworthiness 2-18; 5-28; 6-3
Communication 2-18; 2-28; 3(indirect);
5-18; 6-10; 6-22
Intelligence 1-4; 1-17; 4-19/24
Infallibility 1-4; 1-8; 6-4; 6-24
In Daniel we see a great example to follow. This is a man of conviction, devotion, truth, trust, wisdom and respect for the Most High. He walks to his death, talks to kings, solves problems and uses every opportunity to talk about God. With such devotion he finds God always near him offering protection and blessings. May God’s blessings be upon his messengers, their companions and their faithful followers.
It would be appropriate to finish this article with some of the names of God that are mentioned in BD. Some things are so good, that one can never read them too many times.
... the God of heaven. (2-19)
He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. (2-21)
He revealeth the deep and secret things: He knoweth what [is] in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him. (2-22)
God in heaven that revealeth secrets. (2-28)
God [is] a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets. (2-47)
... the most high God. (3-26)
There is no other God that can deliver after this sort. (3-29)
How great [are] His signs! and how mighty [are] His wonders! His kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion [is] from generation to generation. (4-3)
... He that liveth for ever. (4-34)
... the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase. (4-37)
... the God in whose hand thy breath [is], and whose [are] all thy ways. (5-23)
He [is] the living God, and steadfast for ever, and His kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion [shall be even] unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth. (6-26/27)
• Wilson, Robert Dick, Studies in the Book Of Daniel.
• Baldwin, Joyce, Tyndale Old Testament Commentary
• Thomas, John, An Exposition of Daniel.
• Sir Isaac Newton’s Observations on Daniel.