Other Sources

Before we embark further into Daniel chapter four, I want to explain several things by way of historical narratives. There are several narratives, all non-biblical, that I believe support the content of Daniel chapter four. The reason I have chosen to do this is because a Christian may, in fact, be challenged by several points in this chapter of Daniel. These challenges may be as follows:

  1. Why does Daniel 4:1-3 and Daniel 4:34-36 not appear, for example, in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
  2. With the absence of these verses in the Dead Sea Scrolls, has someone added them and therefore made up the idea of what Nebuchadnezzar was supposed to have said?
  3. Did Nebuchadnezzar really have a dream of a great tree that represented him that which meant he would become insane for a period of seven years?
  4. Is there evidence of Nebuchadnezzar missing from his kingdom for seven years?
  5. Did Nebuchadnezzar die soon after he returned to power after his absence?

As we attempt to answer the above questions I will tell you now that some of the questions are trivial and are easily answered. Others are, indeed, more challenging, but I hope that when you read the non-biblical narratives of several records you will gain more confidence in support of God’s word. I know I have. Please do not misunderstand me. When I make the comment of gaining more confidence in God’s word I am not in any way suggesting that you nor I have any doubt in God’s word. Rather, by having additional information, it should indeed increase our confidence that the Bible can, and is, to be trusted as the word of God. For some people (unbelievers) – they want everything proven before they believe or they simply could care less as to what God says. With some unbelievers – whatever you say to them, they will never believe. In support of that tragic fact, let me mention two Scriptures. The first is Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 where he said, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (NASB) Did you get the point? Paul is saying that some people literally want absolute proof before they believe in something. Sadly, that isn’t realistic. I’ve said before in another published work that the irony is that none of us have ever seen the wind, but we believe in it. But we only see the “effects” of the wind. We never see it literally.

The other Scripture, again from Paul, is in 2 Corinthians 4:1-4 which says “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (NASB) Here is the proof that no matter what you might say to some people, they are completely blind to the truth of God’s word.

Please know we are continuing to exposit the book of Daniel.  But, in order to understand the challenges that others (unbelievers) will state, we need to briefly depart from that structure due to the narratives that we will discuss. Upon completion of those narratives, we will revert to our verse by verse study.

In the next several blogs you will hear from voices of the past. They are:

Berossus (believed to have been born c.330 -340 BC). He was a Babylonian writer, a priest of Bel Marduk and an astronomer who wrote in the Koine Greek language. Using ancient Babylonian records and texts that are now lost, Berossus published the Babyloniaca (History of Babylonia) in three books sometime around 290–278 BC

Abydenus was a Greek historian and the author of a History of the Chaldeans and Assyrians, of which some fragments were preserved by Eusebius in his Praeparatio Evangelica, and by Cyril of Alexandria in his work against Julian. Several other fragments are preserved by Syncellus. These were particularly valuable for chronology. An important fragment, which clears up some difficulties in Assyrian history, has been discovered in the Armenian translation of the Chronicon of Eusebius. He probably wrote around 200 BC and, as Cyril states, in the Ionic dialect.

Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor (c. 105 – 35 BC) was a Greek scholar who was enslaved by the Romans. After his release, he continued to live in Italy as a Roman citizen. So productive was his writing that he earned the surname “Polyhistor” (meaning very learned). The majority of his writings are now lost, but the fragments that remain shed valuable light on antiquarian and eastern Mediterranean subjects. Among his works were historical and geographical accounts of nearly all the countries of the ancient world and the book – Upon the Jews. Of some interest for the ancient history of the Jews is his account of Assyria-Babylonia, frequently drawn upon by Jewish and Christian authors. Josephus made use of the work, and likewise, so did Eusebius in his Chronicles.

Titus Flavius Josephus (37 – 100 AD) was a first-century Roman-Jewish scholar, historian, and hagiographer. He is most famous for his works, The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews. Another work which is pertinent to our study is Flavius Josephus Against Apion.

Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 260/265 – 339/340 AD), was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He wrote several works, namely, Chronicon, Church History, Life of Constantine, Apology for Origen, and Proof of the Gospel etc.