God’s Kingdom in the Doxological Speeches of Daniel

Within the court tales of the Aramaic section of Daniel (Daniel chapters 2 – 6), there exists several speeches that parallel each other in style and content as they break from the narrative structure. These speeches are hymnic in form, doxological in character, and are spoken from the mouths of prominent characters such as Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, and Darius. This paper proposes that these parallel doxological speeches in the narrative section of Daniel exhibit literary functions in the Book of Daniel that provide a single theological message for the entire work: the God of Israel has enduring and absolute sovereignty over the kings of the nations and the attributes of his kingdom will ultimately be manifested throughout the entire world.
This brief study will first provide the basis by which these doxological speeches are considered parallel. This will include semantic and stylistic repetition, thematic cohesion, as well as shared borrowing from a particular strand of Israel’s psalmic tradition. The second movement of this paper will demonstrate how several of these features reveal the function of the narrative speeches for the entire book of Daniel. Plöger’s approach, which investigates the literary function of speeches and prayers embedded within narratives, will serve as a methodological basis to accentuate how these speeches speak in concert to create a united theological statement about the nature of the kingdom of God.

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