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Saint Of The Day For December 17: Saint Daniel

A Jew from a noble family, he was deported to Babylon (7th century BC). For his wisdom and ability to interpret dreams, he becomes Nebuchadnezzar’s official.

For prophesying the fall of the Babylonian Empire he is fed to the lions, but God saves him.

The Story of Daniel

We can get to know the prophet Daniel through his inspired book, handed down to us, a unique fact, in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, written around the middle of the 2nd century BC.

The book is divided into two parts: a historical one (chapters 1-6 and 13-14) where Daniel and his three companions are presented in the furnace and then Daniel in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar as the interpreter of dreams.

There is then a second prophetic-apocalyptic part (chapters 7-12), with four visions concerning the Kingdom of God.

Through the Book, Daniel has achieved a doctrinal purpose, fixing in the one God the true faith, and, at the same time, a consoling purpose, one of encouragement: although there are peoples who seem stronger, none are as strong as the God in whom they believe.

Daniel, The prophet

He was born in Jerusalem to a noble family around 600 BC.

The book was therefore not written by him, as historians now agree, but by disciples who collected and passed on his memories.

No one doubts the historicity of the prophet.

He became famous as a prophet thanks to the episode of Susanna, who was saved from death to which she had been unjustly condemned by two dishonest judges (cf. Dan 13:45):

“The people assembled in the house of Ioakim, her husband; the two elders also went there, full of perverse intentions, to condemn Susanna to death…She wept and lifted up her eyes to heaven, her heart full of trust in the Lord…

‘Eternal God, who knows the secrets, who knows the things before they happen, 43You know that they have laid falsehood against me! …While Susanna was being led to death, the Lord aroused the holy spirit of a young man named Daniel, 46who cried out, ‘I am innocent of her blood!’…

51Daniel exclaimed, ‘Separate them (the judges) well from each other, and I will judge them’…”

The two judges gave two contradictory answers

“Then the whole assembly burst into shouts of joy and blessed God, who saves those who hope in him… From that day on Daniel became great before the people”.

Subsequently, his ability to interpret the king’s dreams enabled him to acquire greater spiritual and moral authority.

It is known that he survived the collapse of the Neo-Babylonian empire (539) and that his last vision is dated in 536.

Having been born around 620, he was therefore by then more than 80 years old, fulfilling the last words spoken to him by the angel:

‘You go to the end and rest; and rise to your lot at the end of the age’ (Dan 12:14).

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