Who wrote the book of Daniel?

There is a bit of debate regarding who the author of Daniel is for reasonable reasons. Ultimately, God the Holy Spirit is the divine author of Daniel. As a prophecy, it fits squarely within 2 Peter 1:20-21 which says, “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Uncovering the human author of Daniel is a bit more complicated. The first six chapters are narrated in the third person. Daniel may have dictated those chapters to a scribe who wrote down what he prophesied. Or, humility in that day required one not to write so much of themselves as that could seem arrogant and braggadocious. If this is the case with Daniel, it may have simply been a humble way to tell his story and prophecy.

The last six chapters of Daniel are in the first person and most likely written by him. At least part of the book was written by him. Here are those sections which are clearly from Daniel:

  • Daniel 7:1 | Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter.
  • Daniel 8:27 | And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.
  • Daniel 9:2 | I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
  • Daniel 10:2 | In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks.

Additionally, Jesus clearly calls Daniel a prophet and attributes at least part of the book to him. Matthew 24:15 says: “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)…” After surveying the various arguments for and against Daniel being the author of the entire book bearing his name, it seems to me that this is the most likely option.

Who do you think the human author of Daniel is?

In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.

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