The Jews need another deliverer like Moses. Isaiah 44 and 45 mention Cyrus as the anointed instrument used by God to deliver the Jews, predicting the events 100 years before they happened.
It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.’ (Isaiah 44:28).
The book of Daniel covers the events from the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon through to King Cyrus and Darius of Persia.
The authenticity of Daniel has been fiercely challenged for centuries with attacks of fabricated fairy tales…and then the archaeologists uncovered a small clay cylinder.
The Nabonidus Chronicle (556 – 539B.C.) states:
`The king was in the city of Tema; the king’s son, courtiers and army were in Babylonia.’
This explains why Belshazzar (as co-regent) could only offer Daniel third place in the kingdom.
The chronicle mentions the fall of Babylon during Belshazzar’s rule in 539 BC
`The gods of Babylonia entered Babylon from every direction when Cyrus attacked the Babylonian army at Opist…the people of Babylonia revolted…the troops of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle.’
The Fall of Babylon 539 BC
The last acting king of Babylon (according to the Bible), Belshazzar, drank and boasted at a feast held in honour of Babylonian gods and achievements.
‘Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.
“Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘MENĒ, MENĒ, TEKĒL, UPHARSIN.’ This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENĒ’—God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. ‘TEKĒL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. ‘PERĒS’—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.” Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom.
That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.’ (Daniel 5:1-2,25-30).
The book of Daniel has been attacked for centuries.
The contents of Daniel, with its specific and accurate foretelling of world events, and its miraculous stories set within a foreign super power, has been attacked from all sides and largely relegated to a collection of fabricated stories written centuries after the 6th Century BC.
Defence of the book of Daniel, other than acceptance by faith, had been limited until the discovery of a small clay cylinder…
Porphyry, a third-century AD philosopher, denounced the book of Daniel as a fake written in the Maccabean period (167–134B.C.) in his work Against the Christians. Many scholars have regurgitated this weak theory.
In general critics assert a) it is historically inaccurate; and b) its prophecies were written afterthe event.
In 1850 a German commentary claimed that the name of King Belshazzar was not to be found outside the book of Daniel.
The dramatic fall of Babylon is recorded by ancient historians including Herodotus, but Belshazzar is not mentioned:
“Cyrus then dug a trench and diverted the flow of the Euphrates river into the new channel which led to an existing swamp. The level of the river then dropped to such a level that it became like a stream. His army was then able to take the city by marching through the shallow waters . . . The Babylonians at the time were celebrating intensely at a feast to one of their gods and they were taken totally by surprise.” (Herodutus, Berosus and Xenophon).
Daniel describes events in the Babylonian palace immediately prior the Medes ending its empire in 539B.C.
Belshazzar promised Daniel the position of third ruler in the kingdom if he could interpret the writing on the wall
Even Herodotus (in 450B.C.) was unaware of Belshazzar a few generations after these events occurred
In 1854 Babylonian inscriptions were discovered that Nabonidus made his eldest son co-regent while he lived in Arabia.
This small, clay cylinder provided the hard evidence for the authenticity of the author and date of Daniel.
The cylinder inscription of Nabonidus found at the Ziggurat at Ur ends with a prayer about the religious life of Belshazzar, his son, calling him:
`Belsarusur, the firstborn son, the offspring of my heart.’
Implications of archaeological findings:
The author knew about Nabonidus’ son Belshazzar, a name forgotten subsequently from Herodotus onwards
The author knew that Babylon was rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar; another fact only revealed recently. ‘The king reflected and said, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?”’ (Daniel 4:30).
Also, the discovery of the scroll 4QDan (dated 125B.C.) at Qumran (adjacent to the Dead Sea in Israel) does not support critics’ view that Daniel was written in the 2nd century BC.
Godfrey Rolles Driver recognizes that “the presence and popularity of the Daniel manuscripts at Qumran conflicted with the modern view which advocates the late dating of the composition of Daniel”.