Monday, January 27, 2020

On Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

READING ACTS: Daniel 2:1-13 – Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Phil Long).

For more on the term "enchanter" (אשף, 'āshaph) in Daniel 2:10, see the comments here (the immediately preceding post) on the Babylonian cleric known as āshipu. The "enchanters" appear a little more often in Daniel than Phil says (1:20; 2:2, 10, 27; 4:4; 5:7, 11, 15). I think that's a complete list. Both BHS and Lisowsky's Konkordanz miss one or more occurrence.

As Phil says, the term "Chaldean" is an ethnic designation for a Babylonian tribe. It is used sometimes in its original meaning in the Book of Daniel (1:4 [?], 5:30, 9:1; also Ezra 5:12).

Herodotus calls the Chaldeans "the priests of Bel." Later Greek writers continue to use the term to mean a type of magico-religious practitioner. That is the frequent usage also in the Book of Daniel (2:2, 5, 20; 3:8 [?]; 4:4 [Evv. 4:7]; 5:7, 11, 15). This is an example of a parallel in Daniel to what I like to call "Greek Fantasy Babylon," the imaginary Babylon described by Greek writers in the Persian and Hellenistic eras. It is another indication that the Book of Daniel was written much later than the sixth century BCE.

Elsewhere in the Bible, "Chaldeans" is used as an ethnic term, more or less synonymous with "Babylonians."

UPDATE: I have noted earlier posts in Phil's series here and links.

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