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Iran Susa _DSC19209

The exterior of the tomb of the prophet Daniel inside the mausoleum. The actual tomb is inside this enclosure...

 

Daniel is the protagonist of the Book of Daniel in both the Christian Bible's Old Testament and the Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, which cover the Babylon Exile of the Jews.

 

After the Kingdom of Israel fell in 720BC at the hands of King Sargon II of Assyria, the Southern Kingdom or Judah fell in 586BC at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar II, marking the end of the Jewish states and the beginning of the Babylonian Exile. Nebuchadnezzar deported the Jews to Babylon, taking Daniel, along with Hanahiah, Mishael and Azariah as members of the Jewish royalty to be trained as Chaldeans, where Daniel was given the name of Belthesar in service of Nebuchadnezzar.

 

Upon completing his training, Daniel became provincial governor of Babylon, and became known for his talent as interpreter of dreams, one of which foresaw Nebuchadnezzar's descent into animal behaviour. Later, Nebuchadnezzar's successor Belshazzar disgraced the sacred golden and silver vessels taken from the destroyed Temple of Jerusalem as 'the gods of gold and silver', following which a disembodied hand is to have written on the wall מנא ,מנא, תקל, ופרסין. Daniel was called and translated the words as;

 

מנא = Mene, or a monetary toll

תקל = Tekel, or a tokenary weight

ופרסין = Parsin, or a division, which also alludes to 'Persian'.

 

-> Mene Mene Tekel Parsin

 

And Daniel therefore interprets the writing on the wall (henceforth used as an expression for impending doom) as;

 

God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end - You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting - Your kingdom is divided and given to the Persians.

 

The story becomes historically verifiable as having occurred in 539BC when that night Belshazzar is slain by his own sons and Babylon is conquered by Persia's Achaemenid King Cyrus the Great. Cyrus freed, returned the Jews to Israel, and began the rebuild of the Temple of Jerusalem, later completed by Darius the Great. Daniel chose to remain in Babylon and after surviving being thrown famously into the Lions' Den for continuing his faith in the Judaic God, Cyrus issued a decree commanding the reverence of 'the God of Daniel'.

 

Daniel spent the latter years of his life as a prophet until his unrecorded death. Although this tomb in Susa is the traditionally recognised restplace, there are claims of other tombs.

  

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Taken on April 27, 2008