Daniel's Calendar Decoded: From the Elephantine Papyri
The book of Daniel challenges us to know the depth and heights of Bible prophecy, but the Old Testament prophets often cloaked their revelations in a garb of metaphors and symbols. We can uncover these treasures, however, by using the proverbial method for conquering a tall mountain—one step at a time.
This study investigates the 2300-day and seventy-week time prophecies of Daniel according to the day-year principle, but we cannot appreciate the full power of Daniel's prophecies until we discover how the prophets reckoned time. Did they use the Babylonian calendar or a separate, Jewish calendar?
God buried clues to solve this mystery in the parched sands of Elephantine Island between the banks of the Nile River: In 1893, the Egyptologist, Charles Edwin Wilbour stumbled upon seventeen papyrus documents, written in Imperial Aramaic, each bearing both a Jewish and a synchronous Egyptian date.
So dust off your high school math as we brush away the sands of time from these ancient Egyptian artifacts in search of Daniel’s calendar.
More than five centuries before Christ, a colony of Jewish mercenaries, who had escaped the perils that befell their homeland settled in the fortress of Yeb near the first cataract of the Nile separating Egypt from Nubia. They spoke the language franca of the Persian Empire, Aramaic—the same Imperial Aramaic that the prophet Daniel had spoken and written. Of interest to our study, they double-dated various documents using both the Egyptian calendar and their own, Jewish calendar giving us the opportunity to reconstruct the Bible calendar used by the prophet in his prophecy.