"Danel"/Daniel in Ezekiel 14 & 28


Well-known member
A little puzzle in Ezekiel shows up in Ezekiel 14 & 28 when Ezekiel refers to "Danel"/Daniel. The issue is whether Ezekiel's "Danel" refers to a figure from well before the time of David, whether it refers to the 6th century BC Jewish exile Daniel of the Babylonian court, or both. A Canaanite legend from before Moses' time about "Danel" and his son Aqhat was found in an ancient archaeological artifact in Ugarit.

Ezekiel 14 (KJV)
13. Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
14. Though these three men, Noah, Daniel ("Danel"), and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.
15. If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
16. Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
17. Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
18. Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
19. Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
20. Though Noah, Daniel ("Danel"), and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
21. For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

Ezekiel 28
1. The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
2. Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
3. Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel ("Danel"); there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
4. With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:

The ancient Hebrew text alphabetically spells "Danel" דנאל in these verses, the same spelling as for the ancient Canaanite figure, rather than the spelling for the Book of Daniel's exile, "Daniel" דניאל . This inclines me to think that Ezekiel was more likely referring to the ancient Canaanite figure, since if he was referring to the Biblical exile Daniel, I would expect Ezekiel to use the same Biblical spelling. Nonetheless, the medieval Masoretes added vowel dots to the Danel in Ezekiel's text that make it look like דָּנִאֵל and would make it sound like the English pronunciation of "Daniel."

Ezekiel names "Danel" in 14:14 between Noah and Job, which implies to me that Ezekiel's Danel lived between the time of those two figures, well before the time of the 6th century BC exile Daniel, but perhaps within the time of the one in the Canaanite legend.

Ezekiel implies that "Danel" is righteous like Noah and Job, ("...they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness..."). His association of Danel with Noah and Job, placing Danel's name between theirs, would normally imply that Ezekiel was talking about a well-known pre-Mosaic, righteous Danel figure who was loyal to God, Jehovah, like they were. However, while the Canaanite legend portrays its pre-Mosaic "Danel" figure as admirable for his love for his son, the elegend also portrays him as pious to some Canaanite gods. This aspect of the Canaanite pagan Danel goes against the likelihood that Ezekiel chose him for his sermon. Conceivably, Ezekiel knew of an Israelite, non-pagan version of the legend of this pre-Mosaic "Danel." Or else Ezekiel used the pagan "Danel" to make a point that the pagan Danel's righteousness, whatever the extent of it, was not effective to save even his own children.

In contrast, the Biblical exile "Daniel" would clearly meet the qualities of righteousness and faithfulness to the God Jehovah shared by Noah and Job. That is, the 6th century BC Jewish exile Daniel shares Noah's and Job's qualities of righteousness and faithfulness to Jehovah, but isn't from their era, whereas the Canaanite Danel in the surviving Canaanite legend doesn't relate to Jehovah, and thus it's doubtful that Ezekiel would imply his righteousness.

The theme of Ezekiel 14:13-21 involves the three men's own survival, the protection of their children, and God sending disasters as punishment. The story of Noah involves Noah making an ark to successfully save himself and his family from God's punishing disaster of flood. The story of Job involves Job losing his children and other disasters coming upon him, although Job survives. The Canaanite legend of "Danel" involves Danel showing his piety with prayers to Canaanite gods for getting a son - Aqhat, then a Canaanite goddess angrily using a sailor to kill Aqhat for insulting her, and then a vulture eats Danel's dead son's corpse. Next, Danel kills the vulture and prays successfully for famine. The Canaanite legend shares the theme of protecting - or failing to protect - one's children, Danel's personal survival, and the divinely-sent disasters of beasts (the vultures sent by the goddess), famine (from Danel's prayer), and the sword (the sailor killing Aqhat).

By comparison, the Jewish exile Daniel survives the Babylonian king's threat over a dream's interpretation (Dan. 1) and survives the Persian king's lion's den (Dan. 6). However, the Bible doesn't depict those two threats as coming from God, but rather from earthly kings. Further, the Jewish Daniel's story doesn't involve his children.
Last edited:


Well-known member
In contrast to Ezekiel 14, Ezekiel 28's themes much more closely resemble the story of the Jewish exile Daniel than they do that of the Canaanite Danel. The king of Tyre falsely sets himself up as God and he's in the midst of the seas. This resembles the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar making a statue of himself and ordering people to bow to it (Dan. 3) and Daniel seeing a beast representing Babylon coming out of the "Great Sea" (Dan. 7). Ezekiel calls the king of Tyre, perhaps sarcastically, "wiser than Danel", claiming in the same verse, "there is no secret that they can hide from thee". This alludes to the theme of the exile Daniel's wisdom (Dan. 1) and how the Babylonian king asserted to Daniel, "I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof" (Dan. 4:9). Ezekiel 28 describes the Tyrian king's riches negatively, whereas the Babylonian kings' riches are described negatively in Daniel 4-6. In Ezekiel 28, the Tyrian king is punished by God, whereas in Daniel 4-6, the Babylonian kings Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were punished by God. The Tyrian king and the Babylonian kings have such great riches, yet they get killed (the Tyrian king and Belshazzar) or turned into a beastlike state (Nebuchadnezzar).

In contrast to the Book of Daniel's description of its Daniel, the Canaanite legend of Danel doesn't specifically describe Danel's wisdom. It does describe him as a judge of the cases of widows and orphans. The Canaanite Danel also does search out and discover what happened to his son, even finding his son's remains. But the Canaanite legend doesn't go as far as to explicitly talk about "no secret" troubling or being hidden from Danel, like Daniel 4:9 does about Daniel. The Canaanite story doesn't involve a king setting himself up as God or being exceptionally rich. Although the goddess causes tragedy to Danel and Aqhat by killing Aqhat, the Canaanite legend doesn't portray it as righteous punishment for Danel or Aqhat mistakenly setting themselves up as godlike.

The common objections to either of these two possible intended references in Ezekiel to "Danel" don't seem to fully resolve the issue. One common objection to Ezekiel's Danel being the Canaanite Danel is that Ezekiel would not describe the pagan Danel as righteous. However, technically Ezekiel doesn't state that his Danel was overall "righteous". Rather, Ezekiel just said that Danel's righteousness wouldn't save his own sons. If Ezekiel was referring to a Polytheist, then Ezekiel would be saying in effect, "This Polytheist's righteousness won't save his own sons." The idea would be that even if a Polytheist were otherwise righteous, being well-meaning and doing righteous deeds, he wouldn't save his own children. I can't remember any time in the Bible when an open Polytheist was called "righteous." But for that matter Ezekiel doesn't actually say whether his "Danel" was a Polytheist.

A second objection to Ezekiel's Danel being the Canaanite one is that Tradition identifies Ezekiel's Danel with the 6th cent. BC Daniel. However, the Tradition here is not an Ecumenical, dogmatic decree. Further, the Canaanite texts for the Danel legend were found in modern times and written in the 1st millenium BC, so the Church Fathers may have been unaware of the legend.

On the other hand, an objection to Ezekiel's Danel being the Jewish exile Daniel is that supposedly Ezekiel was writing at the beginning of the Jewish Exile under Babylon, when Daniel would have been a youth. Thus, it's unlikely that Ezekiel would have known of the Jewish exile Daniel. However, in the Biblical story of Daniel, the Babylonian king was already paying attention to Daniel's wisdom in Daniel's youth. Daniel Chp. 2 has Daniel revealing the king's dream in the second year of the king's reign. The king rewarded Daniel this way:
Dan. 2:48
Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
These qualities could especially be known to Ezekiel if they were factually true.

A second objection to Ezekiel's Danel being the Jewish exile Daniel is that modern critical scholarship perceives the story of Daniel to be a 2nd century BC invention, rather than being a factually correct narrative. However, modern critical scholarship also perceives the story of Daniel to be based on Babylonian court tales, and there is archaeological evidence of a Jew being an official in the Babylonian empire. Thus, even if the story of Daniel was a 2nd century BC tale, it could still be a retelling of a tale about a factually real Babylonian Jew named "Daniel."

If I were to put this information together and make my own theory, it would be that Ezekiel was technically referring to the Canaanite "Danel," but intending to allude to both Danel and Daniel. This is because Ezekiel spells his figure "Danel" in Chapters 14 and 28 like it's spelled in the Canaanite legend. However, whereas a big majority of the implied features of Ezekiel 14's Danel matches the Canaanite Danel instead of the Jewish Daniel, the opposite is true for Ezekiel 28's Danel.

The idea that Ezekiel could allude to two figures using the same name or image would not be unlike other contexts in the Bible. The Bible uses "David" as a reference to both the historical King David of about 1000 BC and as a reference to the Messiah (as in Isaiah 55). Similarly, Ezekiel 37 gives two narrative prophecies of a resurrection process. Both are described as Israelites coming alive again, and readers have different opinions as to what these two descriptions refer to: A physical, biological resurrection, or a metaphorical, political "resurrection" of the Israelite nation at the end of its exile. In my understanding, Ezekiel 37 most likely refers to both types of resurrection, one being literal and biological, and the other being metaphorical and political.
Last edited:


Well-known member
Biblehub commentaries on Ezek 14:14,20 take the view that the Danel in the verse is the same as the Jewish exile serving the court in Babylon.

One of the arguments in favor of Ezekiel's Danel being the Jewish exile is that Ezekiel could have been arranging the names Noah, Daniel, and Job in decreasing order of their effectiveness and saving others. Noah saved his whole family, Daniel saved 3 young men in Dan. Chap. 2, but Job wasn't able to save his relatives. But in fact, in Dan. 2, Daniel not only saved the 3 youths from killing, but saved the other wise men and magi of Babylon whom the king was threatening along with the youths..

Constable's commentary on the NET Bible website theorizes that Noah, the Jewish exile Daniel, and Job have a special connection in that they persevered in faith despite trials.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers comments about the words in Ezek 28:3 where Ezekiel says that the King of Tyre is wiser than Daniel:
(3) Wiser than Daniel.--
This is ironically spoken. Daniel was so famed for his wisdom in the great Chaldaean Empire (Daniel 1:20; Daniel 2:48; Daniel 4:18; Daniel 5:11-12; Daniel 6:3, &c.) that the report must have already reached Tyre. He had been twenty years in Nebuchadnezzar's court when Jerusalem fell, and the siege of Tyre was five years later.

Constable writes on the NET site about Ezekiel 28:
Indeed, the king was a very wise man, wiser even than Daniel, who had revealed divine secrets to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel had been in Babylon since 605 B.C., almost 20 years, so he was by this time well-known. Another possible interpretation is that the king thought he was wiser than Daniel, not that he knew of Daniel necessarily, but Ezekiel used Daniel as a standard of great wisdom. The king of Tyre had understanding of matters that were obscure to other people, or he believed that he did. His wisdom had enabled him to become rich personally and to make Tyre wealthy.


Well-known member
I read Daniel B. Wallace's "Who is Ezekiel's Daniel?".
Wallace covers the same issues that I discussed above, although it gets a bit into a few more. For instance, Wallace asserts that Ezekiel listed some other things out of order besides just listing a 6th century Daniel before a more ancient Job in Ezek 14. But he doesn't give any examples.

In his article, "Identifying the Daniel Character in Ezekiel", Reuven Chaim Klein suggests that the Daniel of Ezekiel 14 and 28 is David's son "Daniel", also known as "Chileab." Klein notes that there is a Jewish tradition about the righteousness of David's son Daniel, like his devotion to Torah study.