The Remembrance Of Daniel’s Darius The Mede In Berossus And Harpocration -- By: Steven D. Anderson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 173:691 (Jul 2016)
Article: The Remembrance Of Daniel’s Darius The Mede In Berossus And Harpocration
Author: Steven D. Anderson

The Remembrance Of Daniel’s Darius The Mede In Berossus And Harpocration

Steven D. Anderson


Rodger C. Young

Steven D. Anderson is lead content creator for BiblePlaces, Santa Clarita, California; and Rodger C. Young is an independent researcher who specializes in biblical chronology and lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


Modern commentators on the book of Daniel commonly assert that there is no reference in ancient extrabiblical literature to Daniel’s Darius the Mede by the name “Darius,” apart from writers such as Josephus who were dependent on Daniel. However, the ancient writers Berossus and Valerius Harpocration were independent of the book of Daniel and yet referred to a king named Darius who reigned before the king who is currently called Darius I. These references should lead modern writers to reconsider the assertion that Darius the Mede was unknown in extant ancient extrabiblical literature.

Modern commentators on the book of Daniel largely concur that “Darius the Mede” was unknown in extant ancient literature except in Daniel’s text and sources derived from it. In a commentary that generally shows the highest level of scholarship in citing the relevant literature, Andrew Steinmann wrote, “No person mentioned in the book of Daniel is more obscure and controversial than Darius the Mede. No person by this name is known from extrabiblical records as having taken over the rule of Babylon following the fall of Nabonidus and Belshazzar. . . . The person called ‘Darius the Mede’ in Daniel (6:1 [ET 5:31]; 11:1) is unknown by that name in any other record.”1

Edward J. Young noted, “The identification of this king is as yet unknown, since secular historical sources are silent concerning him.”2 Mentioning only the monuments, H. C. Leupold wrote, “At this point another major problem crowds into the forefront: ‘Who was Darius the Mede?’ The monuments do not happen to know him by that name, at least the monuments discovered thus far.”3 John Whitcomb, who identified Daniel’s Darius with Gubaru of cuneiform inscriptions, wrote: “Neither the Greek nor the cuneiform records mention anything that can be connected with the name Darius, but uniformly employ Gobryas or Gubaru (Ugbaru).”4...

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