The prophet Habakkuk (Dan 14:33-14:34)

“Now the prophet Habakkuk

Was in Judea.

He had made a stew.

He had broken bread

Into a bowl.

He was going

Into the field

To take it

To the reapers.

But the angel

Of the Lord

Said to Habakkuk.

‘Take the dinner

That you have

To Babylon,

To Daniel,

In the lions’ den.’”

Who is this prophet Habakkuk? It is not clear whether he was one of the minor prophets with the same name. Here, he is a prophet in Judea. Since the minor prophets were already known, this may be an attempt to connect the two prophets, Habakkuk and Daniel together. Anyway, he had some stew and bread that he was bringing to the workers reaping in the field, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him. This unnamed angel told Habakkuk to bring his dinner to Daniel in the lion’s den in Babylon. That would be quite a task since foot travel was the normal form of transportation between Judea and Babylon. Once again, there is an emphasis on eating. I would; think that the last thing that Daniel was worried about in the lion’s den would be food.

Daniel was the companion of King Cyrus (Dan 14:2-14:2)

“Daniel was

A companion

Of the king.

He was the most honored

Of all his friends.”

Daniel was certainly in Babylon. How he was involved with the Persian Cyrus before he took over Babylon is not clear. Thus, this might be after the Persians had taken over Babylon. Certainly, Daniel was considered a companion and an honored friend of the king. Daniel was once again like Joseph in Egypt.

The wealth of Joakim (Dan 13:4-13:4)

“Joakim was very rich.

He had a fine garden,

Adjoining his house.

The Jews used to come

To him,

Because he was

The most honored

Of them all.”

Obviously, despite being a captive in Babylon, some Jews prospered.  This story does not say how or why Joakim grew wealthy.  Nevertheless, he was very rich.  He also had a wonderful garden that was right next to his house.  Many of the Jews, since they are no longer called Israelites or Judeans, would come to his spacious house.  They also honored him, probably because he had so much wealth.  Thus, this Joakim was a big shot among the well to do exiled Israelites in Babylon.

Joakim (Dan 13:1-13:1)

“There was a man

Living in Babylon

Whose name was Joakim.”

This chapter 13 story only appears in the Greek Septuagint version of the Book of Daniel. Thus, this story of Susanna and Daniel is sometimes called apocryphal literature. It probably should be at the beginning of this work, since it presents Daniel as a young man, but it is usually placed here at the end. This story is about the wife of Joakim, a Jewish man living in exile in Babylon. The name Joakim means that the Lord will establish him.

The southern campaign in Palestine (Dan 11:22-11:24)

“Armies

Shall be utterly swept away

Before him.

They shall be broken

Before him.

This includes

The prince of the covenant as well.

After an alliance is made

With him,

He shall act deceitfully.

He shall become strong

With a small party.

Without warning,

He shall come

Into the richest parts

Of the province.

He shall do

What none of his predecessors

Had ever done.

He shall lavish

Plunder,

Spoil,

Wealth,

On them.

He shall devise plans

Against strongholds,

But only for a time.”

This king of the north from Syria and Babylon, King Antiochus IV, would go south to Judea or Palestine. He would take his armies and go against the prince of the covenant, probably the Jerusalem high priest, Onias III. He was going to act deceitfully and become strong with a small party of his own. He even was going to attack the rich areas of Israel to plunder, spoil, and give wealth to his friends, something his predecessors had never done. He even would temporarily make plans against the various strongholds.

The new leader (Dan 11:19-11:20)

“Then he shall turn back

Toward the fortresses

Of his own land.

But he shall stumble.

He shall fall.

He shall not be found.

Then shall arise

In his place,

One who shall send

An official

For the glory

Of the kingdom.

But within a few days,

He shall be broken,

But not in anger,

Nor in battle.”

King Antiochus III turned back to Syria. However, he stumbled and fell. In other words, he died. Then, his son, Seleucus IV (187-175 BCE), took over as king of Syria and Babylon. However, he sent one of his officials, Heliodorus, to take money from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem. However, this official was not successful. He died, not in anger or battle, but was a broken man. Actually, Heliodorus assassinated King Seleucus IV in 175 BCE.

Darius the Mede (Dan 11:1-11:1)

“As for me,

In the first year

Of Darius the Mede,

I stood up

To support him,

To strengthen him.”

Once again, there is a reference to Darius the Mede, also mentioned in chapter 9. As far as we can tell, there was no such person. Somehow, he comes between the Babylonian King Belshazzar and the Persian Cyrus the Great. Perhaps, he was the first Persian general who entered Babylon after its fall in 539 BCE, but there are no indications of that. He appears to be a literary fiction, perhaps based on the later Persian King Darius I, the 3rd ruler after Cyrus, from 522-486 BCE, who acted very favorably towards the returning Jews to Jerusalem. This time it is the angel Gabriel referring to how he helped Darius the Mede in his first year as the ruler, by supporting and strengthening him.

The description of the man on the banks of the Great River (Dan 10:4-10:6)

“On the twenty-fourth day

Of the first month,

As I was standing

On the bank

Of the great river,

That is the Tigris,

I looked up.

I saw

A man clothed

In linen,

With a belt

Of gold,

From Uphaz,

Around his waist.

His body was

Like beryl.

His face was

Like lightning.

His eyes were

Like flaming torches.

His arms,

As well as his legs,

Were

Like the gleam

Of burnished bronze.

The sound

Of his words were

Like the noise

Of a multitude.”

On the 24th of the 1st month, Daniel was on the banks of the great river, the Euphrates, not the Tigris, since the Tigris does not go through Babylon. Then Daniel looked up. He saw a man dressed in linen clothes with a Uphaz gold belt. Uphaz was another name for Ophir, a large gold mining area. Daniel then described this man’s body as like beryl or emerald looking. His face was like lightning. His eyes were like flaming torches. He almost sounded like Santa Claus. His arms and legs were like burnished bronze, similar to the bronze man at the end of the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 40-47. The sound of his voice was like a large group of people. He was quite unique.

During the reign of Darius (Dan 9:1-9:1)

“In the first year

Of Darius,

Son of Ahasuerus,

By birth

A Mede.

He became king

Over the realm

Of the Chaldeans.”

Here is the problem with Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus. As far as we can tell, there was no such person. Somehow, he comes between the Babylonian King Belshazzar and the Persian Cyrus the Great. Perhaps, he was the first Persian general who entered Babylon after its fall in 539 BCE, but there are no indications of that. He appears to be a literary fiction, perhaps based on the later King Darius I, the 3rd ruler after Cyrus, from 522-486 BCE, who acted very favorably towards the returning Jews to Jerusalem.

The vision in Susa (Dan 8:1-8:2)

“In the third year

Of the reign

Of King Belshazzar,

A vision appeared

To me,

Daniel.

This was after

What appeared to me

At first.

In the vision,

I was looking.

I saw myself

In Susa,

In the capital,

In the province

Of Elam.

I was by

The river Ulai.”

Daniel once again assumes the first-person singular. His second vision took place two years after the first dream, around 542 BCE, the 3rd year of King Belshazzar. In this vision, he was in Susa, the winter capital of Babylon, also mentioned in the Book of Esther. Susa was the ancient capital of the province of Elam. The Ulai River or the Eulaeus River, or as it is known today as the Karkheh River flowed through Susa. Today Susa is known as Shush, in Iran.