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“As for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him. Bible

“in the first year of Darius the Mede.” Making Daniel 11:1 the first verse of Daniel 11 instead of the last verse of Daniel 10 makes the chronology of Persia unworkable. Daniel 11:1 should be the last verse of Daniel 10, not the first verse of Daniel 11. The chapters were put in the Bible long before archaeologists and historians pieced together an understanding of Persian history, and in this case, the chapter break between Daniel 10 and Daniel 11 was put in the wrong place: Daniel 10 was ended one verse early.

The Bible was originally written with no spaces, punctuation, verses, or chapters. An entire scroll was just one solid string of letters. So, for example, if the original Bible was in English, John 11:34-36 (RSV) would be: ANDHESAIDWHEREHAVEYOU LAIDHIMTHEYSAIDTOHIMLORD COMEANDSEEJESUSWEPTSO THEJEWSSAIDSEEHOWHELOVEDHIM.

Chapters: The Jews began dividing the Old Testament into “sections” (not chapters yet) before the Babylonian Captivity in 586 BC. Our modern chapter divisions in the Old Testament came from Stephen Langton, a professor in Paris engaged in editing a Latin version of the Bible in 1205. These chapter divisions were added to the Hebrew text in 1330. The chapter divisions in the New Testament began to be made much earlier, before the Counsel of Nicea in 325 AD, but today’s chapter divisions were not finished until the Archbishop of Canterbury did so in about 1227.

Verses: After the Babylonian Captivity of 586 BC, the Jews started to occasionally add spaces to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament before what to them was the start of a new thought, and some of those spaces later became verse divisions in our modern English Bible. However, our modern verse divisions in the Old Testament were standardized much later, about 900 AD.

When it came to the verses in the New Testament, the first systematic verse divisions were added by Robert Stephanus to his critical Greek text of 1551. Those verse divisions were then used by William Whittingham in 1557, a major translator of the Geneva Bible of 1560; and thus the Geneva Bible of 1560 was the first English Bible to use standardized chapter and verse divisions. The Geneva Bible was the Bible used by William Shakespeare and John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress), and was also the Bible brought across to America on the Mayflower by the Pilgrims, who used that version, not the King James Version. It should be noted, however, that even today scholars occasionally differ on where to divide a verse and thus even modern versions still occasionally differ a little (see commentary on Psalm 36:1).

The standardization of the chapter and verse divisions by 1560 was both a good and bad thing. On the good side, it allowed for much easier and more accurate communication about the Bible, because one person could write to another and comment about a chapter and verse and they both could then communicate about the same verse.

On the bad side, however, was the fact that there was a lot about Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and also about biblical history, that was not known in the 1500’s. As a result, many chapters and verses in the Bible are broken in the wrong place, often causing confusion or misinterpretation of the Bible, or at least a loss of the proper emphasis of what the Bible is saying.

The traditional chapter break in Daniel 11:1 is one of the places where the chapter is in the wrong place. This is well understood by conservative scholars, but not easily seen by the English reader who is not familiar with Persian history. “The people who divided Scripture into chapters have not done this accurately at all times. Thus the first verse of this chapter [Dan. 11] should have been the last one of chapter 10” (Harry Bultema, Commentary on Daniel. P. 313). “Nothing could be clearer than that this verse [Dan. 11:1] still belongs to what was just considered [in Dan. 10] (H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel. P. 468). “…it is clear that it [Dan. 11:1] should be considered with the statement in 10:21 concerning the reciprocal aid between Michael and the interpreting angel” (Stephen Miller, The New American Commentary: Daniel. P. 289). Daniel would be easier to read and understand if Daniel 11:2 had been correctly marked as Daniel 11:1.


Commentary for: Daniel 11:1