Danel , father of Aqhat, was a culture hero who appears in an incomplete Ugaritic text of the fourteenth century BCE at Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria, where the name is rendered DN'IL, "El is judge".
The text in Corpus Tablettes Alphabétiques [CTA] 17-19 is often referred to as the Epic of Aqhat. Danel was depicted as "judging the cause of the widow, adjudicating the case of the fatherless" in the city gate. He passed through trials: his son Aqhat was destroyed but apparently in the missing conclusion was revived or replaced by Danel's patron god, Rp'u, who sits and judges with Hadad and Astarte and was likely considered to be the equivalent of El.
The Book of Ezekiel in three verses (14:14, 14:20, and 28:3) writes "Danel", which according to the Masoretic Text should be read as "Daniel". This notwithstanding, parallels and contrasts with Danel (without i) of the Book of Ezekiel, placed between Noah and Job and invoked as the very example of righteous judgement, first pointed out by René Dussaud in 1931, have led readers commonly to accept or occasionally to reject a degree of identification with Ugaritic Danel of the "Aqhat text", amounting virtually to the same figure. The three figures referred to in Ezekiel 14:14 -- "Even if Noah, Danel and Job were in it..." -- links the name with two non-Israelites of great antiquity. In Ezekiel 28:3, Danel is one noted for his wisdom in the prophecy addressed to the king of Tyre: "you are indeed wiser than Danel, no secret is hidden from you". The name, "Danel", had a long tradition in Hebrew culture: he is supplied as the father-in-law of Enoch in Jubilees.
Texts in the Ugaritic language, a Canaanite tongue, may provide an important clue. The language was discovered by French archaeologists in 1928, and known only from texts found in the lost city of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria. Ugaritic has been used by scholars of the Old Testament to clarify Biblical Hebrew texts and has revealed ways in which ancient Israelite culture finds parallels in the neighboring cultures. Ugaritic was "the greatest literary discovery from antiquity since the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mesopotamian cuneiform." Literary texts discovered at Ugarit include the Aqhat Epic (or Legend of Danel) -- all revealing a Canaanite religion. According to Edward L. Greenstein, a distinguished professor at Bar-Ilan University, Ugaritic texts solved the biblical puzzle of the anachronism of Ezekiel mentioning Daniel at Ezekiel 14:13-16; it is because in both Ugaritic and the Ancient Hebrew texts, it is correctly Danel -- the yod is missing in the originals.
T.E. Gaston argues that there are reasons to doubt the identification of Danel with the Danel of Ezekiel. Firstly, Danel is never described as wise or righteous. Secondly, given he was a Baal-worshiper it is unlikely that a strict Yahwist like Ezekiel would have considered Danel to be righteous. Thirdly, over eight hundred years separate the Aqhat text and the book of Ezekiel, and Danel is not mentioned in any Jewish source in the intervening period.
On the other hand, it is argued that Danel would fit the pattern of being an ancient non-Israelite like Job and Noah. Ezekiel's literary arrangement may also support this position. Yahweh has compared Judah with foreign nations before (Ezekiel 5:7) and the context appears to contain similar comparison in Ezekiel 14:13-19. The hypothetical rebellious country, while a cipher for Israel is not specifically named and could represent any ancient Near Eastern country. Ezekiel's audience is clearly enamored with non-Israelite myths (cf. Tammuz in Ezekiel 8:14), and so they could easily be aware of King Danel's legendary virtues. Thus, Ezekiel's triad, if they were three ancient, righteous, non-Israelite men, would fit the pattern of Yahweh judging Israel to some degree by the nations around them. The connection is more plausible when one considers that Ezekiel alludes to Danel in an oracle against Tyre (Eze. 28), for the cultures of Ugarit and Tyre were both Canaanite. Danel also had a son and like Job, was unable to deliver him from divine harm (cf. Ezekiel 14:20).
The name Danel has been given to one of the craters on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter.