🔼The name Daniel: Summary
- Judge Of God, God Is My Judge
- From (1) the verb דין (din), to judge or govern, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Daniel in the Bible
There are three or four Daniels mentioned in the Bible:
- A son of king David who is also known as Chileab (see 1 Chronicles 3:1 and 2 Samuel 3:3).
- The famous prophet who wrote the Book of Daniel and who was among the first exile wave to Babylon (Daniel 1:6). Jesus refers to this Daniel in his sermon on the coming tribulation (spelled Δανιηλ; Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14). The prophet Ezekiel calls this man דנאל or Danel (Ezekiel 14:14, 14:20 and 28:3).
- Daniel number three — possibly named after number two — is mentioned among the second wave of returning Israelites (Ezra 8:2).
- A "great sage," according to BDB Theological Dictionary, who may be the same as the famous Daniel, except that his name is דנאל (Danel; without the yod) instead of the regular דניאל (Daniel). Ezekiel mentions him in Ezekiel 28:3.
🔼Etymology of the name Daniel
The name Daniel consists of two parts:
The first part of the name Daniel comes from the Hebrew verb דין (din), meaning to judge or govern:
The verb דין (din) means to judge or govern. It's an old verb that mostly describes the authority of a naturally superior (because that person is wiser, stronger, older, etcetera) in contrast to the governing done by a formal government (by politically favored and appointed officials).
The noun דין (dayyan) describes one such a leader, and noun דין (din) describes anything pertaining to primitive governing: a judgment, plea, complaint, contention. Noun מדון (madon) literally describes a "place or judging" and is synonymous with the contending that goes on in such a place. Noun מדונה (medina) described the jurisdiction of one judge, and became the word for province.
The postfixed letter י (yod) indicates possession: my judging, contending, etc.
The final part of the name Daniel is אל ('el), the abbreviated form of Elohim, the Hebrew denotation of the genus God:
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The whole name Daniel would mean something like God Is My Judge (NOBSE Study Bible Name List & BDB Theological Dictionary) or, more interpretively, God Rules Me. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Judge Of God.