If Daniel was one of the Prophets, I do not understand why he is not counted among the Prophets.

Why is his book among the Ketuvim and not Neviim?

  • Ben, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks for the very interesting question. I look forward to seeing you around on the site.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 28, 2010 at 1:10
  • basically answered here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/37474/… Commented May 21, 2014 at 2:39
  • Jews group their books more-or-less in historical order; as such, Daniel belongs in the same category as other Captivity-era writings (Chronicles, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah). Greeks, on the other hand, group their books more-or-less according to literary type; as such, Daniel belongs in the same category as other prophetical or visionary writings (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve).
    – user18041
    Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 20:54
  • Related judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/119171/…
    – Al Berko
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 19:45
  • @Lucian There are many inconsistencies with this explanation. Ruth is concurrent with the book of Judges. Lamentations was written by Jeremiah. Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes were written by Solomon at the beginning of the First Temple period. Job is of undetermined history, but is in no way related to Captivity-era.
    – Yehuda
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 14:42

5 Answers 5


See this lecture by Rabbi Dr. Leiman.

The standard answer, that of Rambam, is that the exact level of Daniel's visions were always "Divine inspiration", but never quite over the threshold of "prophecy", though he must have been pretty close to the line. (The Malbim says, for instance, that Ezekiel only made it over that threshold occasionally.) Don't ask me exactly what the "threshold" is.

The alternative, suggested by Don Isaac Abarbanel, is that the books of "prophets" were those who were given prophecy to convey to the people at that moment, for some purpose. Daniel was an "armchair prophet" (to quote Leiman); while he had visions, he was never ordered to convey them. So he may have been a "seer", but not a "speaker."

  • The threshold you are referring to must be the fact that Daniel prophesied outside of Israel, and Ezekiel made it over that threshold occasionally, because he is reported to have been transferred to Jerusalem for the measurement of the Temple. Don't forget though that what happened to Ezekiel was on a vision or on a dream. Personally, Ezekiel, like Daniel, never returned to the Land of Israel. If that's the reason, you might want to research for a more logical one, because Ezekiel is considered one of the prophets and Daniel is not.
    – Ben Masada
    Commented Nov 23, 2010 at 19:47

The difference concerns what was originally intended to be written, versus what was originally intended to be announced orally to the people.

  • You'll notice that David and Solomon (both prophets) have all of the books that they personally wrote (Tehillim, Mishlei, Shir HaShirim, and Kohelet) in Ketuvim.
  • Yirmiyah has two books, one in Nevi'im (Yirmiyah) and one in Ketuvim (Eicha).
  • Megillat Esther is in Ketuvim and was written by Mordechai (also a prophet).
  • 1
    I think this is the idea Rabbi Dr. Leiman intended (in the linked שיעור in Shalom's answer).
    – WAF
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 16:52
  • Yes, citing Abarbanel. Abarbanel quoted Rambam's answer (different levels of prophetic influence), then said "that's the opinion of Rabbeinu Moshe, but not the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu"
    – Shalom
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 16:55
  • @WAF, that wasn't entirely clear from the way Shalom wrote the answer (I certainly didn't pick it up until I read your comments just now).
    – Chanoch
    Commented Dec 19, 2010 at 0:24
  • do you have a source that Mordechai was a prophet? And if he was a prophet, was he a prophet at the time of the writing of Megillat Ester? We are told in the Talmud that the Megilla was written with Ruach Hakodesh, but Ruach Hakodesh is not Nevua (prophecy). -- see here for some sources about the differences books.google.com/…
    – Menachem
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 17:30

In the Moreh Nevuchim, Rambam explains the different levels of prophecy.

The second degree [of prophecy] is this : A person feels as if something came upon him, and as if he had received a new power that encourages him to speak. He treats of science, or composes hymns, exhorts his fellow-men, discusses political and theological problems; all this he does while awake, and in the full possession of his senses. Such a person is said to speak by the holy spirit. David composed the Psalms, and Solomon the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon by this spirit; also Daniel, job, Chronicles, and the rest of the Hagiographa were written in this holy spirit; therefore they are called ketubim (Writings, or Written), i.e., written by men inspired by the holy spirit. Our Sages mention this expressly concerning the Book of Esther. In reference to such holy spirit, David says:" The spirit of the Lord spoke in me, and his word is on my tongue" (2 Sam. xxiii. 2): i.e., the spirit of the Lord caused him to utter these words...

This is different from the type of prophecy that the Neviim had - in a dreams or visions.

And different yet from the highest level, which only Moshe Rabenu achieved - to have a clear prophecy without the intermediary of a vision (mouth to mouth).


An academic answer would be that the division of the Tanakh into Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim has to do with when the text was canonized. The Torah's text became stable around the time of Ezra, the Neviim around the time of transition from the Persian Empire to the Greek Empire, and the Ketuvim only after the destruction of Bayit Sheni.

This does not address the issue of 'dating' the material; the consensus of biblical scholars is that Daniel was composed at some point in the early Hasmonean era.

  • 4
    The consensus of modern scholars (to whom the whole idea of prophecy and Divine inspiration is a "primitive" notion), perhaps. Howver, our sources, starting with the Gemara (Bava Basra 14b ff), make it pretty clear that this is incorrect.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 29, 2010 at 4:49
  • 2
    @Alex I wouldn't jump all over ADDeRabbi just yet. He is a traditionalist, just one who is open to learning the opinions of modern scholars and then jiving them up with our sources where needed. ADDeRabbi, please correct me if I'm incorrect in that assessment.
    – Seth J
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 13:57
  • @Alex How does the Gemara imply this is incorrect?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 17:11

There is no true nevuah outside of Eretz-Yisrael could be an answer but didn't Yechezkel prophesize in Tel Aviv in Bavel?

  • 1
    Rashi to Yechezkel 1:3 states that he had already previously received prophecy in Eretz Yisrael, and identifies his first prophecy as either ch. 2 or 17.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 29, 2010 at 4:46
  • The Baal Shem Tov says that there is no nevua outside of E"Y except in a place of water. This is why Yechezkel spoke by the river.
    – yoel
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 15:34
  • @yoel That's very interesting, do you have a source for that?
    – HodofHod
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 16:58
  • @HodofHod it's from Degel Machane Efraim, but I don't remember exactly where... b"n I'll look and get back to you.
    – yoel
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 0:18

You must log in to answer this question.