Short Notes on Aspects not addressed in Sabbath School Lesson on Daniel


Koot van Wyk 11th of January 2020


Elias Brasil de Souza did an article in 2016 for a Festschrift that is recommended here since it is working with a wisdom structure for the Old Testament and New, that is in line with what the Bible really packed in for us.

De Souza’s article on the focus of wisdom connected to creation and eschatology was also the conclusion of myself in 1987 at Stellenbosch University in a seminar presented to Prof. dr. Charles Fensham. This diagram shows my conclusion comparing Egyptian and Israelite wisdom:

설명: D:\Wisdom in the Bible in Perspective Koot van Wyk.jpeg

One of his statements on the menu-selection of Daniel needs more clarification for both De Souza and his prooftext, Doukhan:

"For example, in rejecting the menu prescription of the king, Daniel and his companions preferred the menu of creation. So the first statement of Daniel, as recorded in the book evokes creation: "Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give (nātan) us vegetables (zērō' im) to eat ('ākal) and water to drink" (Dan 1:12). As aptly noted by Doukhan, the words "give," "vegetables," and "eat" occur together in the Bible only in Genesis 1:29"(a  )

Both Doukhan and De Souza presents here the concept that Daniel was leaning on Creation theology as ground for his choice of vegetarianism. If Daniel was 85 when he wrote chapter 2, namely in the second year of King Darius the Mede who died sometimes close to October of 538 (Gobryas that is), then Daniel was 18 during his deportation in this first onslaught of Nebuchadnezzar to Judah. 67 years are spanned out between 605 BCE and 538 BCE when in December of that year, for the first time Cyrus is mentioned as the “king of Babylon and king of the four quarters of the earth”. Before that with clarified exceptions, Cyrus was just mentioned as the “king of the four quarters of the earth” from October (Tishri) of 539 to December of 538, thus two inclusive years or two overbridging years, enough space for Darius the Mede to fit in as W. Shea has convincing argued in AUSS 1977 and later.

The factor that De Souza and Doukhan has not considered, is that Assyrian religion (definitely with evidence presented below) and Babylonian religion maybe as collector of the war-booty libraries of Assyrian theology, did promulgate the idea that vegetarianism makes you both clean and without blemish.


“Clean and Without Blemish” understanding in Assyrian Religious Theology connected to Vegetarianism


The case of the Assyrian Text from Nimrud ND 5545

The text was found in room NT 12 at Nimrud (883-859 BCE) and for the first seven days in Tishri a list of prohibitions are given followed by a statement what will happen if the prohibition is ignored.(b)

On the first day no garlic must be eaten or a scorpion will strike him. No onion or there will be an oppression inside for him. Not a doormouse for it is an abomination for Ninlil (god) and if he does, he will see sickness. On the second day he should not eat garlic, cooked flesh, flesh of an ox, goat or pig. On the third day he shall not eat fish nor have intercourse with a woman. On the fourth day he shall not eat the flesh of a bird, dates, garlic or onion. On the fifth day he shall not eat pig. Many of the aforementioned examples are repeated until the seventh day. What is interesting for our topic, is day eight. On this day the king were to “cleanse himself” as a result of the abstinence of the items just listed, he was then to “fill his house with fruit from (his) garden” (Nimrud text ND 5545 line 54).

This text dates to the times of Mesha and Omri of Israel and the principle in the Assyrian religion is that in order to be clean and without blemish the king has to attain to a pure vegetarian diet.

Back to Daniel. In the light of this pre-text, the guard of Daniel could be convinced to follow his request because it was known as a route to cleanliness and a state of unblemishness.

For Daniel, the creation theology and Moses’ Leviticus 11 prescriptions was grained into his home-school with his father and mother before he came, but for the guard who listened to Daniel, the consideration of ND 5545 line 54 and similar wisdom going around in Assyria of that time, could have been a push of the arm.



(a)See the article online of Elias Brasil de Souza on the role of Wisdom in Daniel and the rest of the Bible. De Souza tries to see Wisdom as the undercurrent in the work of Joseph in Genesis, Proverbs, Psalms 19 and other passages of the Bible but also the apocalyptic material of Daniel. Elias Brasil de Souza, (2016) "Wisdom in Daniel" in "En fin desde el principio" or "The End from the Beginning": Festschrift Honoring Merling Alomia, 265-282. Downloaded from online file:///D:/Wisdom_in_Daniel%20de%20souza.pd on the 11th day of January 2020.

(b) P. Hulin, “ A hemerological Text from Nimrud,” Iraq 21 (1959): 42-53. Keep in mind that the hemerological texts are of extreme importance for the book of Daniel and Revelation since they are evidence of the 360 day a year or 30 days per month for 12x in one year as a kind of predictive year in this science of future guessing of the Kassites, Assyrians and Babylonians of which we have evidence of each one of them.