the prophet daniel
      Fragments of a Scroll found near the Dead Sea likely makes an amazing reference to the prophet Daniel. The fragment, found in a cave located along the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea, is known as the "Prayer of Nabonidus." The artifact, which  doesn't seem to draw much attention in Biblical archaeology circles, is actually very important. First of all it is a copy of a scroll written in the language of Babylon, Aramaic, not Hebrew as in the case of the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Aramaic was the language spoken in ancient Babylon. The reason this is important is because Daniel the prophet was educated in the Aramaic language of Babylon. We found this stated in Daniel 1:4 and in Daniel 2:4.
prayer of nabonidus
Prayer of Nabonidus
      There is also evidence that the original book of Daniel from chapters 2:4 through chapters 7:28 were also written in this ancient Aramaic language known as Chaldee (the language of Babylon), the same language used in Babylonian documents of the 7th century B.C.
      This evidence comes from other Dead Sea Scroll fragments found of the book of Daniel. These fragments confirm the fact that the events spoken of in the book of Daniel were written down by Daniel in ancient Aramaic during the time of his captivity in Babylon.
      Now the text of the "Prayer of Nabonidus" is an account of the Babylonian king Nabonidus, the father of the Biblical ruler Belshazzar. In his account, Nabonidus had come down with a disease while away from Babylon at his stay at the oasis city of Teman in Saudi Arabia. He prayed to his false gods and idols of silver, gold, wood, stone and clay, but to no avail. So he sought the help from a Jew who was part of the exiles taken into captivity back to Babylon. This Jew tells Nabonidus to worship and honor the Most High God instead of his foreign gods.
      This Jew, referred to here, is most likely the prophet Daniel. We know from Scripture that Daniel was still alive during the reign of Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar. Scripture also indicates that the Queen of Babylon, likely the Queen of Nabonidus, Belshazzar's mother, believed that Daniel was, in her words, "A man in the kingdom in whom dwelt the Spirit of the Holy God, . . . like the wisdom of the gods whom Nebuchadnezzar your father (grandfather) - your father the king (Nabonidus) - made him chief of the magicians. astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers." Daniel 5:11
      So Daniel was considered to be the chief man to go to under both king Nebuchadnezzar and king Nabonidus when dealing with issues concerning God.
       Now, these fragments of the scroll give evidence outside of the Bible that Nabonidus likely called upon Daniel's advise after his prayers to his false gods had failed.
      Below is one English translation of the scroll fragments known as the Prayer of Nabonidus 4Q242.
 
1) The words of the prayer which Nabonidus, king of Babylon, the great king, prayed when he was stricken
2) with an evil disease by the decree of God in Teman. I Nabonidus was stricken with an evil disease
3) for seven years, and from that time I was driven and I prayed to the Most High
4) and, as for my sin, he forgave it. A diviner – who was a Jew of the Exiles – came to me and said:
5) ‘Recount and record these things in order to give honor and greatness to the name of the God Most High.’ And thus I wrote: I
6) was stricken with an evil disease in Teman by the decree of the Most High God, and, as for me,
7) seven years I was praying to gods of silver and gold, bronze, iron,
8) wood, stone and clay, because I thought that they were gods.
 
      A couple of things to notice here. First is that this Jew who was exiled to Babylon in the past and was considered by Nabonidus as one of his chief diviner's. This matches Daniel 5:11 which says Nabonidus "made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers." And it may have been because he was healed from his disease after he prayed to the "Most High God" as Daniel had instructed him.
Why is this most likely Daniel? Because Daniel had a similar encounter with Nebuchadnezzar, the father of Nabonidus. You can read that story in Daniel chapter 4, which is a "Recount and record" written by Nebuchadnezzar being stricken with a mental illness for seven years by a decree from God because of his pride. A similar thing evidently happened to Nabonidus, and he was told to "Recount and record" his story by Daniel in order to give Glory to God.
      Secondly, the term length of his suffering was seven years, the same as what happened to his father Nebuchadnezzar.  
      Thirdly, Nabonidus wasn't healed until he acknowlegded and prayed to the God of Daniel, whom he refers to as "God Most High."  This is the same name that Nebuchadnezzar uses for God as found in Daniel 4:2, and Nebuchadnezzar also is not healed until he acknowledges God and prays for forgiveness.
       Fourthly, both accounts refer to the fact that it was their sin that they needed forgiveness from, and which God forgave after they repented. The account of Nabonidus doesn’t say specifically what his sin was. More then likely, it was the fact that he was worshiping the false gods of Babylon.
      As for Nebuchadnezzar, his main sin was pride. He thought he was the supreme ruler of the world. Yet God brought that man to his knees in order that he might humble himself before God. He was so prideful that he held onto his pride for seven years refusing to repent.
      Daniel told him to repent back in Daniel 4:27 when he told Nebuchadnezzar. "Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”
      That exact same message God gives to men today. Repent, turn away from your sinful lifestyle, and believe the Gospel. You just need to follow the same steps Nebuchadnezzar did. It starts with turning away from your pride, humbling yourself and acknowledging (believing) in the Most High God and confess your sins to Him in deep sorrow, and turn away from your sins.  
      Now at the time of Nebuchadnezzar, men could only plead with God the Father to forgive their sins. For Christ had yet to come into the world.
      Now today, the Father commands all men to have faith in His Son Jesus Christ in order that forgiveness of your sins will occur. That you might be justified before Him by faith in Christ.
      Don't let your pride get in your way. It will only lead to your downfall.
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Photo Links to Artifacts Mentioned in this Article
Daniel Aramaic
Fragment
Prayer  of Nabonidus
Fragment
Sources:
 
Frank Moore Cross English Translation of 4Q242 Prayer of Nabonidus :
 
1) The words of the p[ra]yer which Nabonidus, king of [Ba]bylon, the great king, pray[ed] when he was stricken]
2) with an evil disease by the decree of G[o]d in Teman. [I Nabonidus] was stricken with [an evil disease]
3) for seven years, and from [that] (time) I was like [unto a beast and I prayed to the Most High]
4) and, as for my sin, he forgave it (or: my sin he forgave). A diviner – who was a Jew o[f the Exiles – came to me and said:]
5) ‘Recount and record (these things) in order to give honour and great[ness] to the name of the G[od Most High.’ And Thus I wrote: I]
6) was stricken with an evil disease in Teman [by the decree of the Most High God, and, as for me,]
7) seven years I was praying [to] gods of silver and gold, [bronze, iron,]
8) wood, stone (and) clay, because [I was of the opini]on that th[ey] were gods
 
4Q242 Prayer of Nabonidus English Translation found at Livius.org :
 
1) Words of the prayer, said by Nabonidus, king of Babylonia, [the great] king, [when afflicted]
2) with an ulcer on command of the most high God in Temâ:
["I, Nabonidus,] was afflicted [with an evil ulcer]
3) for seven years, and far from [men] I [was driven, until I prayed to the most high God.] and
4) an exorcist pardoned my sins. He was a Jew from [among the children of the exile of Judah, and said:]
5) "Recount this in writing to glorify and exalt the name of [the most high God."Then I wrote this:] "When
6) I was afflicted for seven years [by the most high God] with an evil ulcer during my stay at Tema,
7) I prayed [to] the gods of silver and gold, [bronze and iron,] wood, stone and lime,{{It is interesting to notice that the line "have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron,
8) wood and stone" returns in Daniel, just twenty-two lines below the story of the madness of Nebuchadnezzar.}} because [I thought and considered] them gods
 
Another English Translation of 4Q242 Prayer of Nabonidus
 
1) The words of the p[ra]yer which Nabonidus, king of [Ba]bylon, the great king, pray[ed] [when he was stricken]
2) with a bad disease by the decree of G[o]d in Teman. [I Nabonidus with a bad disease]
3) was smitten for seven years, and sin[ce] G[od] set [his face on me he healed me]
4) and, as for my sin, he remitted it. A diviner, he was a Jew fr[om among the Exiles, came to me and said:]
5) ‘Pro[cla]im and write to give honour and [exalt]ation to the name of the G[od Most High.’ and I wrote as hollows: ]
6) I was smitten by a bad disease in Teman [by the decree of the Most High God]
7) For seven years [I] was praying [to] gods of silver and gold, [bronze, iron,]
8) wood, stone (and) clay, since [I thoug]ht ]that the[ey] were gods.
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