The Dream Keeper is a biblical story about Daniel and if anyone has any suggestions, Daniel and I need a little help to revise the story in one area.
I wrote The Dream Keeper some years ago and just a couple of years ago I revised it. In the beginning it took me a year on just research alone, and three years to write it. I found out that there was a ton of stuff written about what Daniel wrote, but not on the man himself. I even had a rabbi friend help me stay on track. He couldn't find anything about Daniel, either.
About a year ago I found out that it was believed Daniel became a eunuch while in Babylon. Here I have Daniel and Saphra married after they arrive in Babylon.
In all my research , I found nothing to suggest that Daniel was a eunuch. So, if anyone out there can point me to that fact, I'll gladly read it and rework the story. The nearest thing to the fact is 2 Kings 20:18. I worked too hard to give up on the book and hope to see it published.
Thanks for any help you can give me. God's hug, Jenni
Post by Jeff Gerke on Jan 14, 2010 16:10:34 GMT -5
If it's so hard to find, Jenni, almost no one will know about it. Anyway, it's legendary and might not be true. If the Bible doesn't explicitly say this, you're fine sticking with what it does say about Daniel.
I agree. Go for it. That legend probably came out of the time period where people thought that celibacy brought about more holiness - when the Catholic Church was pretty anti romance. Personally, I don't buy it. Does the Bible not say that it is not good for man to be alone, and that man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man. I believe that marriage is sacred in God's eyes and that marrying and having children can teach more about God than just about any other earthly experience. Look at the whole idea of becoming "children of God" - sometimes we are exactly that, reckless, unaware, shortsighted children who think we know everything. My Husband draws connections and parallels all the time.
The fact that an archaeological artifact connects the name Daniel with being an eunuch does not mean that the Daniel of the Bible is the same man. It was common in the ancient world to take the name of someone famous or admired, just the way patriotic Southerners will name their children "Lee". You don't have a problem of conflict with this piece of archaeology by writing your Daniel as married.
As an aside, celibacy was admired in early and medieval Christianity because it imitated the state in which the saints would find themselves in the life to come. "At the resurrection they neither are given nor taken in marriage." (Mt. 22:30) It was the case of trying to find heaven on earth, if you like. Early Christians did not believe celibacy in and of itself would confer holiness. The ancient world and the gnostics admired celibacy because they thought they could work their ticket to bliss with it, which is a version of achieving Salvation by personal effort--not a Christian idea one whit. The difference is subtle, but definite. But in general society, pagan and Israelite, and later, Christianity, marriage was the norm.
Another thing I thought of was that the Hebrews highly prized family, so Daniel would not have this done to him willingly. They would've had to drug him, or knock him out before doing the deed.
An added note: The Dream Keeper is a speculative novel because (I like thrillers so much) that I have a psychological aspect running through it. Maybe that's why none of the agents wanted it; they didn't know where to send it.
I think the idea he was a eunuch would be supported by the fact that lots of slaves or war captives taken in the past, especially for service to the king, were castrated, partly to knock the starch out of them and make them better slaves, and also to keep them honest when they served in harems. It probably depends on the particular culture they are abducted into. Joseph wasn't made a eunuch in Egypt. But the fact that the Biblical record doesn't mention marriage for any of the Babylonian Jewish slaves, even while telling details of their private lives (Daniel praying in his room, etc.) indicates to me that he was not married, and it makes sense that it was because of the castration practice. You might do better with research if you looked in Babylonian history, to see if you could find anything there.
I'm pretty sure Daniel would not have been willingly submissive to the operation!!! But it was probably one of the great indignities/pains he had to suffer as a Babylonian captive. There is much that would have been hard for him--such as leaving his family behind, never to see them again--that we don't hear about in the Scriptures. It puts me in awe of him all the more, to think what he would have had to suffer, and yet he remained faithful to God and faithrul to his captor rulers, as well.
I think (just a guess) that in old cultures where captives were regularly taken in battle and used in service in the victorious kingdoms, there was a cultural mindset that took the whole business more in stride. There still would have been great pain in the process, but more of a philosophical acceptance of the nature of the practice. "Oh well. They won. I remember when our king took captives when we beat the Assyrians a while back. Wish I'd treated them better. It's my turn now."
These are just thoughts. And if you decide to buck the historical presuppositions and marry him to someone, I'm sure it will still be a good story. I bet it would be hard to work the wife out of the story if you've gone this far. But you would need to realize that many might think it would be a pretty strong deviation from the Biblical account.
What if Daniel was a eunuch and, in your story, also married? Would that make the relationship that much more emotionally intimate? More room for the characters to show their true grit and the plot to have a subtle tension between prophet and wife?
Also thought about Jesus' description of eunuchs: some are eunuchs by birth, some by choice, and some by the choice of another (paraphrased from Matthew 19:12). What if Daniel was a eunuch by choice but later changed his mind, perhaps after being wooed by this lovely little helpmeet God had provided?
The reference to Daniel being a eunuch is in the first chapter of the book of Daniel. He and his friends were under the charge of the chief of the eunuchs, implying Daniel and company were too. It's the same kind of assumption that if my boss or supervisor is the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, chances are I'm a cowboy too.
Also this practice was fairly common at the time as a means of controlling captives. It was not Daniel's choice and not something any right minded Jewish youth would pursue. However, it had the added benefit of protecting him from much of the perversion going on in the Babylonian kingdom as eunuchs were forbidden to participate in religious rituals.
(Ancient mesopotamian history is a hobby of mine) I do agree with Myrthman that his being a eunuch wouldn't prevent him from being married...just prevent them from having children.
How you look at the world depends on where you are.
Danial being a eunuch also is rooted in the language. What makes many people believe Danial was a eunuch, is that several times Danial is referred to as an Official of Babylon. Well in Hebrew the word used can mean official or basically Eunuch. It also makes sense that as most of the Kings closest male servants in his household were eunuchs this was to ensure that the Queen or the Kings harem remained "untouched".
Post by Spokane Flyboy on Apr 18, 2010 19:24:19 GMT -5
To address the issue on celibacy, it's also stemmed from 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul admonishes the celibate lifestyle to dedicate yourself completely to God.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
John Morgan[br][br]"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - [i]The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story[/i] by Richard Bach