Daniel דָּנִיֵּאל

Daniel is one of those biblical names, still widely used in Israel today, that is not only strong and lovely, but carries significant meaning

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: BIBLE STUDY, Hebrew Names
Photo: Shutterstock

The biblical name Daniel is a combination of the two Hebrew words Din and El, translated: Judge and God. Thus the Hebrew name Daniel means “God is my judge,” or “God will judge me.”

Daniel is the key figure in the Book of Daniel, an interpreter of dreams and a seer in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem around 600 BC and was looking for young people for his royal court. Even then, foreign governments understood that it was worth investing in Israel and the Jews.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. Daniel 1:3-4

So Daniel was one of the chosen noble Jews from Judah. In exile he was given a new name, Belteshazzar, after a Babylonian ruler. This name means ‘Bel save the king.’ In Babylon, God revealed to him the apocalyptic end of the world empires that ruled Judea and presented to him the eternal kingdom of God that would follow.

The name Daniel is extraordinary in its meaning as explained by Judaism. It signifies a person who can quickly adapt to changes in life. One who insists on space, is communicative, modest, loves peace and wide spaces. A person with spiritual insight. They love change but also have a need for trust, struggling within a narrow framework, and seeking experience. These are biblical and Jewish explanations for the properties of the name Daniel.

I have some friends named Daniel. And in modern Israel there is a new trend to use this special name also for girls. Nor is this an echo of the Western name Daniella. Here in Israel, many women are today simply named Daniel.

The name Daniel reminds us that no man can judge us, only God. Especially in a time when everyone likes to judge everyone, it is this name that points to the Almighty and His justice. “God judges us” and no other! This is to encourage us to trust and follow only God, no matter what others say or think. Because at the end of the day He, and He alone will judge.

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