Ezekiel 14:14 (NET bible)

Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, declares the sovereign Lord.

The Hebrew here is דנאל But in other places (outside of Ezekiel) the Hebrew is דניאל

I have read in some places that the Daniel of Ezekiel is actually the name Danel (Danil). Danel (the only one I can find any information on) was a ancient king of a Canaanite kingdom, that was an "El Elyon" Pantheion follower (from Ugatrat). The Scripture quoted above mentions 2 non-Israelites with Daniel (Danel) and the mention of Daniel seems out of place in the light of 2 cases.

1: When Ezekiel wrote/prophesied, Daniel would have been very young and most likely not have made a name for himself as yet.

2: Noah and Job are non-Israelites, why would a young Israelite be put in the middle of them? Both being much older, historically, then the young Daniel from the book of the same name.

The same name is again mentioned in verse 20, included with the same other 2 names.

Could this possibly be a different person then the person of the book of Daniel?

  • Great question! For what it’s worth, the qere for both of these (and 28:3), is דָּנִיֵּ֣אל = Daniel.
    – Susan
    Oct 14, 2015 at 2:07
  • Is it same job as in job? And is it same Noah?
    – user8377
    Oct 16, 2015 at 21:38
  • @talmudist My question is actually based on the spelling of the names, Noah and Job are spelled as they are throughout the bible, where as Daniel is not. But you do somewhat make a point.
    – seedy3
    Oct 16, 2015 at 22:35
  • I can't find the occurrence of [דנאל] anywhere in my Bible. Every occurrence is [דניאל]. Could someone point me to the any verse that has [דנאל] ?
    – Cynthia
    Oct 19, 2015 at 8:52
  • @Blesses Geek The net Bible makes a note of it by writing the Hebrew like this והיו שלשת האנשים האלה בתוכה נח [דנאל] דניאל* I'll see if I can find others that do the same.
    – seedy3
    Oct 19, 2015 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


I will not specifically reference spelling differences, since names in Scripture often bear different spellings. While such could indicate a different person, it need not, so spelling difference alone is not enough to make a judgment one way or another about who the referent is.

Regarding Daniel's Reputation

Yes, Daniel was young. But if one follows the timeline of Daniel, he increased in reputation at a rapid pace.

  • 605 BC he is taken into captivity; almost instantly upon his arrival in Babylon, he already makes a righteous name for himself in his unwillingness to defile himself with the king's meat (Dan 1:8) during his three year training period (Dan 1:5).
  • 602 BC would end the three year training period (Dan 1:18), at which time Daniel and his friends stood out from the crowd, even to King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 1:20).
  • Later 602 BC—it is likely in same year1—Daniel also makes a further righteous name for himself in interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2), righteously saving a number of innocent wise men from the king's death sentence (innocent in the sense that the king expected men to be able to tell him the content of his dream, which no person can do of himself [Dan 2:28-30], so they were being put to death for an unreasonable request). Daniel's popularity would have skyrocketed in Israelite circles as they learned of the king's reaction (Dan 2:46) and his promotion of Daniel (Dan 2:48) to highest of the wise men in the realm.

Daniel is not present in the events of chapter 3, and chapter 4 is of uncertain dating (none given in Scripture). While chapter 4 events may have increased Daniel's reputation, including his righteous call to the king turning to righteousness (4:26), neither this event or the later visions Daniel has during the reigns of later kings are needed, for the points above already established Daniel's reputation prior to Ezekiel even arriving in captivity himself during the second deportation (597 BC), much less the timing of his vision (sometime within or after the 6th month of the 6th year of his own captivity, per Ezek 8:1, but before the 5th month of the 7th year of his captivity [Ezek 20:1]).

This places Ezekiel 14:14 somewhere around 591-590 BC, roughly 11-12 years since Daniel's reputation was solidified by the events of Daniel chapters 1-2. Ample time to be referring to Daniel of the Book of Daniel.

Who is Making the Reference?

Yes, Ezekiel is the attributed human author of the book bearing his name, and with this I agree. But what is stated in Ezekiel 14:12 is that "the LORD came again to me, saying..." (NKJV), of which 14:14 is part of what was stated by YHWH, as the end of v.14 restates, "...says the Lord GOD." So the question is, would YHWH be referencing someone other than Daniel of the scriptures to indicate righteousness to the Israelite people? To this, I would have to answer "no," as it would make no sense in the historical context to reference anyone other than the most recent "hero" (so to speak) of righteousness in Israelite eyes.

It is actually this last point, perhaps, that is why Daniel fits between Noah and Job. Sometimes the central position is a point of emphasis (such as in chiastic structures in Hebrew).

The contemporary Daniel fits contextually with these two men like so:

  1. All are Righteous Intercessors/Deliverers: Noah and Job interceded for their families (Noah with the Ark construction, Gen 6:13-22, as it was he that was viewed as righteous; Job with his sacrifice for his children's possible sin, Job 1:5). Daniel just recently helped deliver his three friends by leading the dietary protest and then delivering the wise men of Babylon from death, including the Israelite ones that just came through the three year training (Daniel's brethren, at least in the broad sense—we do not know if he had any actual family with him).

  2. All were Righteous Men Geographically Dissociated with the Land of Israel Now: The fact that Noah and Job were not Israelites is not what is relevant. Daniel was no longer in "the land" of Israel (and thus, not in Jerusalem that was going to be judged, v.21), while Noah and Job also were not in the land of Israel (whether they never were present in the land area that would become Israel is unknown). These three that have point #1 in common are being hypothetically placed into the land for purposes of the illustration, to demonstrate that if any one of them were to be there during the coming judgment, they could not have interceded to deliver anyone; he alone (whichever one) would be all that one's righteous intercession could deliver during the coming judgment upon Jerusalem (v.21).

    Likely as well, precisely because Daniel worked as a non-explicit deliverer (i.e. not delivering just his family) that he also fits central to the group. He was the one who delivered his people (the wise Israelites) and those not his people (the Babylonian wise men) from death. The illustration in Ezekiel is that no one from the land—family or otherwise—will be delivered because of the righteousness of another.

Daniel is the newbie to the "righteousness" scene compared to Noah or Job, but at the time of Ezekiel's vision, he is very much at the center of both Israelite and Babylonian interest. This popularity along with his fitting the pattern needed for the illustration with Noah and Job argues in favor of the contemporary Daniel being included in the group.


1 Stephen R. Miller in Daniel, Vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), pages 76-77, addresses the dating of the events in chapter 2 from those of chapter 1 (NOTE: His footnotes have been replaced by letters here to keep them separate from this answer's footnotes):

2:1 Nebuchadnezzar had this dream in his “second year,” which according to the Babylonian calendar (likely followed by Daniel in dating the Babylonian kings) would have extended from Nisan (Mar.–Apr.) 603 to Nisan 602 B.C.[a] A pertinent question is, Had Daniel completed the three-year training program spoken of in 1:5? Wood thinks that Daniel and his friends had not and argues that this is the reason they were not called before the king with the other wise men.[b] Most naturally the text is taken to mean that the Hebrews had finished the program, that is, the events of chap. 2 follow chronologically the interview at the end of the training program described in chap. 1. Moreover, in 2:48 Daniel is made chief wise man by the king, indicating that he had finished his training and already was classified as part of this group.

Yet how could Daniel have finished a three-year training program by Nebuchadnezzar’s second year if he was captured in the year in which Nebuchadnezzar became king (605 B.C.)? Driver explains the three years on the basis of the accession year reckoning employed in Babylon and Judah.[c] By this method the time until the first Nisan (Mar.–Apr.) is considered the accession year of the king, not his first year (see chart).

Years of Training Year of King’s Reign Date First Accession year From Sept. 605 (the time Nebuchadnezzar assumed throne) to Nisan (Mar.–Apr.) 604 B.C. Second First year Nisan 604–603 B.C. Third Second year Nisan 603–602 B.C.

Nebuchadnezzar’s second year did not end until April 9, 602 B.C.,[d] and Daniel was taken into captivity almost three full years earlier in the summer of 605 B.C. Driver also points out that Daniel did not have to train three complete years, but according to Hebrew usage, a part of a year was reckoned as a whole.[e] This would mean that the program could have lasted less than two years if it consisted of a full year and parts of two others. Any of these suggestions (or a combination of them) could explain how the three-year training program was completed in Nebuchadnezzar’s second year.[f]

[a] If Daniel employed the Judean calendar, as he did in dating the Hebrew king Jehoiakim (1:1), Nebuchadnezzar’s second year would be from Tishri (Sept.–Oct.) 604 B.C. to Tishri 603 B.C. Since Nebuchadnezzar was not a Judean king, Daniel probably dated the Babylonian monarch by his own system.

[b] L. Wood, A Commentary on Daniel (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 49–50.

[c] S. R. Driver, The Book of Daniel, CBSC (Cambridge: University Press, 1922), 17. Also E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949), 55–56; G. L. Archer, Jr., “Daniel,” EBC (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 41–42.

[d] J. C. Whitcomb, Daniel (Chicago: Moody, 1985), 29.

[e] Driver, Daniel, 17; cf. Young, Prophecy of Daniel, 56; J. G. Baldwin, Daniel, TOTC (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1978), 85.

[f] For other explanations see J. A. Montgomery, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel, ICC (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1979), 140–41.

  • Your quote states: "Nebuchadnezzar had this dream in his “second year,” He started his rule in 602 BCE, so is this saying that it was about 4 or 5 years before Daniel had his chance to interpret the dream?
    – seedy3
    Oct 19, 2015 at 22:39
  • The quote is arguing that he started his rule in 605 BC and that the dream is interpreted in 602 BC, so roughly three years plus from Daniel's captivity to "his chance to interpret the dream," based in part upon the information from Daniel 1 about three years preparation time for them (Dan 1:5). What the quote discusses is reconciling the reference to the "second year" from Dan 2:1 with respect to that three year time frame. As noted in the quote, Wood feels it occurred sooner than that. In our case, that does not affect the argument about Daniel's early popularity.
    – ScottS
    Oct 19, 2015 at 23:13

The Daniel of the biblical book is דָּנִיֵּאל, while in Ezek 14:14 and 28:3 it is דָּנִאֵל and this has led to division of opinion among scholars as to the identification of this particular individual. Prior to more recent discoveries in the ruins of Ugarit that unearthed the "the Story of Aqht" and has led some scholars including Zimmerli to identify this person as the Legendary King Dnil other candidates were sometimes put forward, Jewish tradition knows of a Dan'el who was the grandfather of Methuselah (Jub 4:20) and 1 Enoch 6:7 identifies another Dan'el who was one of the leaders of the Angels that cohabited with the daughters of men.

In the final analysis is it not possibly to be absolutely certain that Ezekiel is referring to the Daniel that has a book named after him, however in this writers opinion Ezekiel is almost certainly referring to the Daniel of the captivity. In support of that conclusion I would offer the following evidence.

1) Having been exiled around 605BC, Daniel had ample time to establish his reputation as a righteous man before Ezekiel was written.

2) There are no other examples in scripture of a writer using a Pagan as an example of rightousness.

3) Dressler says that "the Story of Aqht" "does not portray Dnil as either king, or wise, or righteous."1

4) If Ezekiel is using any of the other suggested 'Daniels' then he would be appealing to a idolater as an example of righteousness in context that condemns idolatry.

5) However, the example of Daniel who lived a righteous life in the heart of paganism fits the context of Ezekiel's words.

6) It seems reasonable that Ezekiel would choose a pre-Israelite (Noah), a gentile (Job) and an Israelite (Daniel) to make his point—they were all worshipers of Yahweh in pagan cultures.

7) Too little is known about any of these other potential 'Daniels' (or if they even really existed) to force them upon the text of Daniel

8) Noah and Job lived in very different times to Daniel—it seems logical to assume that the writer is drawing his examples not just from different cultures (see point 6) but also from different epochs of history.

9) These all appear to be variant spellings of the same name.

As to the difference in spelling Alexander points out that the Ezekiel spelling would be vocalized as Daniel2 and Dressler points out that difference is a vowel letter/ mater 3/. Both these scholars support the understanding that this is the biblical character Daniel.


1 Dressler, "The Identification of the Ugaritic Dnil with the Daniel of Ezekiel,” VT 29 [1979]: p154

2 Ralph H. Alexander, “Ezekiel,” in Expositor's Bible Commentary vol 6, 1986, p808

3 "The Identification of the Ugaritic Dnil with the Daniel of Ezekiel,” VT 29 [1979]: p156

  • The argument in this post is very similar to that in an article by Daniel Wallace which convinced me of the same conclusion. Oct 19, 2015 at 17:02
  • Jonathan, I did a little clean up work (not much), but one edit I made in particular you should review to be sure I understood correctly what you meant (I refer to point #7). Good answer, BTW.
    – ScottS
    Oct 19, 2015 at 20:12
  • I do know there are variants of names, even in our day, Just one off the top of my head is the English name Joshua, in Hebrew you have Yehoshua, Yeshua, Yeshu and so on. This seems like a very plausible answer. One issue I have is that the Book of Daniel is also dated to the 2nd century BCE, not as a book of prophesy but of hope to the enslaved populace to the Seleucid empire. Just questions that come up when analyzing the texts.
    – seedy3
    Oct 19, 2015 at 22:48
  • 1
    @seedy3 the book of Daniel is not dated to the 2nd century BC except by critical scholarship who persist to ignore the evidence of language and the relevant finds in Qumran - such scholarship is based upon the idea that the book must have occurred after the life of Antiochus because the 'prophecies' are so accurate and detailed they must have been written after the events. I find such arguments wholly unconvincing, as do the vast majority of genuinely christian scholars and readers - we just don't have enough 'faith' to overrule the evidence so we stick to the 'niave' view :D Oct 20, 2015 at 7:17
  • Regarding evidence #2: Wouldn't Rahab be an example of a pagan as an example of righteousness? Heb. 11:31
    – rexposadas
    Oct 22, 2015 at 2:16

The phrase alone, "even if these men were in it," implies that these men are not in this hypothetical country. As you noted, Noah and Job were not Israelites. So Daniel would be out of place if he were an Israelite. However, this instance of Daniel (Dan'el) seems to be a reference to the legendary hero of wisdom featured in a late 2nd millennium myth from Ugarit.

I would argue that it was this reputation that prompted the author of "Daniel" to give his protagonist the same name as this legendary seer.

So... instead of saying that Ezekiel was referring to the Daniel of "Daniel." I'm saying that Ezekiel and "Daniel" are both referencing a legend already ancient by the time those two books were written. Noah and Job were both ancient legendary figures. It makes sense that Daniel (at least when Ezekiel wrote this) was also an ancient legendary figure.

Yes. This answer presupposes a 2nd-century BCE dating for the book of "Daniel." The reason for such a late date has less to do with the supposed accuracy of the predictions made in the book as it has to do with the mistakes made about the period in which it was set. It gets more right about the 2nd-century BCE than it does about the 6th-century BCE, which is what you would expect from a book written in the 2nd-century BCE. This late dating is also supported by the heritage of its literary genre (which was relatively popular starting in the 2nd-century BCE and extending to the 2nd-century CE). We don't interpret the Onion the same way we interpret CNN. Why would we interpret apocalyptic literature the same way we interpret historical nonfiction?

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