← other writings

The Book of Daniel


Historical Inaccuracies

The book of Daniel has a number of historical inaccuracies.

The Neo-Babylonian empire had the following kings:

King Nabu-kudurri-usur, also known as Nebuchadnezzar, captured Jerusalem in 597 BC and deposed its king Jehoiachin.

Belshazzar was the son of king Nabonidus, who acted as king regent. Nabonodis left his son in control of the throne for a time (which is perhaps why Daniel is made third in command, and not second in command, in chapter 5).

It seems that author of Daniel changed “Nabonidus” to “Nebuchadnezzar” in chapters 2 through 5. The “Prayer of Nabonidus” fragment found in Dead Sea scrolls seems to lend evidence to this, as it has similarities to chapter 4 of Daniel.

The Septuagint includes several additions to Daniel. In the “Old Greek” version of “Bel and the Dragon”, the king in the story is Babylonian, while in in Theodotion’s version, the king is Cyrus. Perhaps this is another example of the king in the story being adjusted to fit the external context of the story.