- Author: Daniel
- Period: 606 BC (1:1) to 533 BC (10:1)
- Prime Minister of Babylon and Persia
- Tomb in Susa (Persia: Iran)
- Predicted Persian, Greek, and Roman empires long before they were countries, let alone world powers.
- The lifetimes of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah overlapped.
Daniel in the New Testament
- Daniel 7:13 – 14 (Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, 14:62, Luke 21:27) Jesus applied this prophecy of Daniel to the period between the beginning of the Kingdom and the destruction of Jerusalem. The religious leaders were upset when Jesus applied it to Himself.
- Daniel 9:25 – 27 (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14) Jesus applied Daniel’s prophecy to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Outline of Daniel
- How Daniel became a part of the court of the King of Babylon.
- Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation, sequencing the world powers from Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome, at which time the eternal kingdom would be established.
- Daniel’s three friends refuse to worship the king’s idol, so are cast in the fiery furnace
- Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream and his humiliation.
- The fall of Babylon; the handwriting on the wall.
- Persian king tricked into condemning Daniel; the lion’s den.
- Daniel’s dream of four beasts representing four kingdoms, and then the eternal kingdom.
- Daniel’s vision of a ram and a goat predicting the defeat of Persia by Greece, Alexander and his four generals..
- Daniel notes the end of Jeremiah’s 70 years and begins to pray. Gives the timing of the Messiah.
- Another of Daniel’s dreams predicting the fall of Persia to Greece.
- Another of Daniel’s dreams about the fall of Persia to Greece with more details.
- Closing details of the destruction of Israel (and the Temple) with references to the promise of eternal life.
Caution: Scenes in
Daniel often are used to validate disobedience to the government. If no New Testament writer made the
connection, neither should we. Learn
from the faith of Daniel, not the specific actions.
1. See 2 Kings 24 and 2 Chronicles 36. Daniel was part of the royal family taken into exile in 606 BC. Ezekiel prophesied in 592 – 570 BC Jeremiah from 628 – 585 BC. Jeremiah and Ezekiel wrote several times over their careers. Daniel’s writing appears to be in retrospect.
2. The Temple articles appear again in 5:2 at a party. Many articles were returned by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7 – 11)
3. Eunuchs occupied important positions because the could not have children who might compete with the sons of the king.
5. Servants of the king often were captives, but also must be educated and refined so as not to embarrass the court in their service.
8. Daniel had been taught the dietary rules of the Law of Moses.
9. God intervened here
12. The chief eunuch was not inclined to change the diets of the four young men, but agreed to a 10-day competition. Whether God intervened here, or if the king’s diet was basically unhealthy is unknown.
16. As a result, the diet of all trainees was changed.
17. The four young men were helped by God to be the best trainees.
18. Daniel held this post until Babylon fell.
1. Dreams apparently were not only common but also normally meaningful.
5. The king was not superstitious. He demanded that the interpreter already know the dream to prove that the interpretation was correct.
10. The existing magicians knew that they were fakes.
16. Daniel did not know of the dream or the decree until he was arrested.
19. Daniel and friends prayed. Daniel got the answer.
24. Daniel also asked that the fakes be spared.
30. Daniel denied that he got the answer by his own wisdom but by the power of God.
32. The king’s dream was of a big statue of gold, silver, bronze, and iron mixed with clay. The statue was destroyed by a big rock that grew very large.
36. Gold head was Babylon. Silver was the next kingdom; bronze the third, iron/clay the fourth. The names were not revealed.
44. The big rock represented an eternal kingdom to come in the days of the fourth kingdom.
48. The king understood that God, not Daniel gave the interpretation. As a result, Daniel’s friends became governors and Daniel became prime minister.
1 – 7 Nebuchadnezzar has a 90’ tall statue built and commands everyone to worship it.
8 – 15 Daniel’s three friends, now high civil servants in Babylon, do not worship and are brought before the king.
16 – 18 Daniel’s three friends tell the king that their God is able to deliver them. And, whether He does or not, they will not worship the statue.
19 – 23 So, Daniel’s three friends are bound and cast into the furnace. The fire is so hot that those who threw them in were killed by it.
24 – 25 Daniel’s three friends are unhurt. The king sees four men walking in the furnace.
26 – 27 The king tells Daniels three friends to come out. They are unhurt, not even smelling of smoke.
28 – 30 The king changes the law so that Daniel’s three friends can worship their God. Further, he rules that no one may insult their God upon penalty of death. The three were further promoted within the government.
1 This chapter is a publication by the king after the events reported in it were complete.
1 – 3 Again, Nebuchadnezzar extols the one true God whose kingdom is everlasting.
4 – 18 The king tells his dream, unlike chapter 2. Apparently, the magicians knew better than to make something up. In the dream, a great tree is cut down that it may graze with the beasts for a time.
19 – 27 Daniel’s interpretation is that the king will be cut down for a time and graze with the beasts until he “comes to know that Heaven rules.” Daniel recommends that the king put off the sentence or at least shorten it by adopting right behavior and mercy.
28 – 33 A year later, while boasting of his accomplishments, the king loses his mind and grazes like a beast for seven years.
34 – 35 At the end of the set period, the king’s mind was restored and he praised God.
36 – 37 The king was restored to his former position, but seems to have learned a lesson.
1 Belshazzar probably was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar.
2 The gold and silver dinnerware from the Temple in Jerusalem has been taken by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13, 2 Chronicles 36:18).
3 – 4 The Temple dinnerware was used to praise pagan gods. Daniel will comment on this in verse 23.
5 – 6 The fact that the bodiless hand was writing on the wall was enough to terrify the king.
7 – 9 As usual, the magicians were called to interpret.
10 – 13 The queen was a much better student of history, so she advised the king to call Daniel.
14 – 16 The king speaks respectfully to Daniel and asks him to interpret.
17 – 21 Daniel declines any reward. Before interpreting, he reminds the king of Nebuchadnezzar’s history and how he had been humbled.
22 – 24 Daniel calls the king an arrogant ignoramus who should have learned the lessons of his grandfather.
25 The words on the wall were three coins of the realm, each coin name being derived from a different Babylonian word.
26 Mene (mina), 50 shekels, from the verb, “To number.” God has numbered (evaluated) the kingdom.
27 Tekel, a shekel, from the verb, “to weigh.” You came up short on God’s balance.
28 Upharsin, half shekel, from the verb, “to divide.” Your kingdom will be divided between the Medes and Persians.
29 Daniel, against his wishes, was rewarded briefly.
30 – 31 Belshazzar believed that his capital was impregnable. To show his disregard for the Medes and Persians, he threw a big party for his governors. That night, the Medes and Persians diverted the river that ran through town and marched in on the paved riverbed. The entire government was captured and killed in one night. Daniel, retired prime minister, was given high position in the new regime (chapter 6)
1 – 3 Daniel was called out of retirement by the Median king, Darius, and made one of the top three administrators. Darius gave thought to making Daniel the prime minister.
4 – 9 The other administrators conspired to dispose of Daniel by deceiving Darius into ordering that no god or man could be petitioned except the king for 30 days.
10 – 13 Daniel continued to pray. A leader had servants and a semi-public lifestyle, so his practice was known. Daniel’s opponents told the king, reminding the king that, once signed, it could not be changed.
14 – 15 The king tried to find a way out, but could not.
16 The king expressed his confidence in Daniel’s God.
17 – 20 The king agonized over Daniel all night and went to check on him first thing in the morning.
21 – 23 Daniel attributed his survival to God.
24 The king ordered that Daniel’s accusers (and their families) all be cast into the lions’ den, in which they all died.
25 – 27 Darius published a decree extolling the virtues of the God of Daniel.
28 Cyrus was co-regent of Medo-Persia.
1 Dropping back before chapter 5, Daniel had another dream.
2 – 8 In the dream, four beasts came out of the Mediterranean, each with strange features. The fourth beast was particularly terrifying.
9 – 10 Then, the scene shifted to heaven.
11 – 12 The fourth beast is destroyed.
13 – 14 Cited in Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, 14:62, Luke 21:27.
15 – 16 Daniel asks for an explanation of someone in the dream.
17 – 18 The beast represent four kings (kingdoms). Like Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2, the saints receive their eternal kingdom in the time of the fourth beast.
19 – 22 Daniel asked for more information about the fourth beast.
23 – 27 The horns on the fourth beast represent ten kings. The next king will speak against God and persecute the saints for a time. John used the same images in Revelation 13 and 17 to represent the Roman Empire. But, that king will be destroyed; the Kingdom of God will prevail.
28 Daniel was troubled and did not publish the
1 – 2 Two years after the vision recorded in chapter 7, Daniel had a second vision. In the new vision, he was by the Ulai River near Susa in Elam, that capital of the Persian empire.
3 – 14 A ram with two horns was defeated by a goat. The goat’s horn was broken; four horns grew in its place. One of the four grew toward Israel and stopped the sacrificial system.
13 – 14 Two “holy ones” in the dream talked about the length of the desolation. Note that, at this time, the physical Temple was in ruins. The future desolation would last about 6.3 years
15 – 22 Daniel asked for an explanation. The ram represented Medo-Persia. The goat represented Greece. The four horns show that the Grecian empire will be split four ways.
23 – 26 One of the four lines from Greece will destroy Israel but will be broken by non-human means.
27 The vision caused Daniel to faint and be sick. No one understood, implying that he told others about it.
Note: Antiochus Epiphanes stopped the regular sacrifice in 171 BC. Judas Maccabeus restarted it in 165 BC (Hanukkah).
1 In the same general period as chapter 6.
2 Daniel read Jeremiah (25:11 – 12, 29:10). Note that Jeremiah wrote “serve,” not that the Temple would be desolate for 70 years. Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem in 606 BC, again in 597 BC, and destroyed it in 586 BC. Babylon was destroyed by Persia in 536 BC. (See also 2 Chronicles 36:21 and Ezra.)
3 – 19 Daniel’s prayer recounts the errors of Israel, that God was right to punish them.
- The fact of Jeremiah’s prophecy is noted, but Jeremiah had not prophesied restoration, just length of service, which was completed when Babylon fell.
11 & 13 Leviticus 26:14 – 45 specifies the results of failure, including exile (33) and a stoppage of sacrifice (31).
19 As Moses (Exodus 32:9 – 14, Numbers 14:11 – 20), Daniel rests his case that restoring Jerusalem would make God look good.
21 – 23 Gabriel (see 8:16) was dispatched to comfort Daniel and to give him understanding of a vision concerning his request for restoration.
24 – 27 “Sabbaths” and “sevens” and “weeks” were the same word in Hebrew.
The 70 weeks prophecy:
- At this time (~536 BC) Jerusalem and the Temple were in ruins and vacant.
- Jesus cited this (Matthew 24:15) concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (also see Matthew 24:34).
- (24) The end of prophets (Zechariah 13:1 – 6, 1 Corinthians 13:8 – 10, Ephesians 4:11 – 13, Revelation 11:1 – 13)
- (24) Anoint (Hebrews 9:23 – 27)
- (24) To finish transgression, to make an end of sins (Hebrews 9:24 – 10:4)
- (24) To make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness (Hebrews 9:12 – 15).
- A general timing follows in 25 – 27, but the details of that timing are in chapters 11 and 12.
- Isaiah 39 – Hezekiah (~ 700 BC) is told that Babylon will conquer Israel. Babylon had recently freed themselves from Assyria rule due to the Assyrian loss of 185,000 men at Jerusalem.
- Isaiah 40 – 66
A general history (in advance) from Babylon to the Messiah.
- Isaiah 40:1 – 8, Matthew 3:3 John the Baptist.
- Isaiah 42:1 – 4, Matthew 12:18 – 19 The Messiah
- Isaiah 43:5 – 7 Return from captivity
- Isaiah 44:28 – 45:4 Cyrus named as the agent of restoration more than a century before his birth.
- (25) The command to rebuild did not happen in 536 BC when Babylon fell. Two years later Darius died and Cyrus took over (2 Chronicles 36:22, Ezra 1:1). Cyrus gave permission to rebuild.
- Artaxerxes provided additional decrees around 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1 – 8).
- The starting date for this prophecy is conjectural.
- “The people of the prince” (26) turn out to be the Roman army.
- The comment about the destruction of Jerusalem is an aside, not coincident with the death of the Messiah.
- The regular sacrifice is to be stopped at week 69.5.
- At week 70, the list in verse 24 is complete.
- Although the exact number of years represented by each “week” may be figurative or may have a different starting point, people in Jesus’ day knew that they lived in the right time based on chapters 11 and 12. Premillennialism has an extraordinarily long last half week.
1 Daniel had had a vision without understanding in the past (7:28). This is about five years after the chapter 8 prayer.
4 If the Jewish calendar was being used, the date had no specific significance.
7 Daniel was not alone at the time. The others were affected by God.
12 – 13 Daniel’s first-day prayer motivated God to send an angel to accomplish his request, but the angel had to send for help.
14 – 19 The experience sapped all of Daniel’s strength, but the angel revived him. Daniel learned of things future to him. These things are recorded in chapter 11.
20 – 21 Then the angel and Michael will shortly go back to accomplishing their task, which involves both Persia and Greece (chapter 8).
1 The same angel aided Darius in his conquest of Babylon.
2 This historical record is too short to be definitive. Several lists of Persian kings have been proposed. However, the Greco-Persian wars lasted from 499 – 449 BC.
3 The “mighty” Greek king was Alexander (336- 323 BC).
4 When he died, four of his generals split the empire (Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Greece).
5 King of the South: Ptolemy, Egypt.
6 King of the North: Seleucus, Syria. Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II, married Antiochus II (Syria) around 250 BC. But Antiochus returned to his first wife, killing Berenice and her children.
7 But her brother, Ptolemy III, avenged her and occupied Antioch.
8 Ptolemy II carried away 2500 golden idols and 1000 tons of silver (245 BC).
9 Seleucus II counterattacked to no avail (235 BC).
10 Antiochus III regained what had been lost.
11 Ptolemy IV counterattacked, the decisive battle being fought at Gaza (217 BC).
13 But, Antiochus III regained Palestine in 198 BC.
14 Some Jews who thought that Daniel’s prophesy was in Week 70 tried to help it along resulting in idols in the Temple.
15 Antiochus III re-captured Gaza and pushed into Egypt.
17 Antiochus III gives his daughter Cleopatra I to Ptolemy V. She sides with her husband rather than making an alliance.
18 So, Antiochus turned his attention to the coasts of Turkey.
19 Antiochus III then turned east (into his own territory) but died trying to rob a temple in Elymais (SW Iran).
20 Seleucus IV inherited a bankrupt kingdom, so was soon killed.
21 Antiochus IV seized power by intrigue. He was the worst of the line (175 BC)
22 – 28 Antiochus IV was known for his deceit and arrogance. In addition, he taxed the Israelites very harshly.
29 – 32 Antiochus invaded Egypt again, but the Romans intervened. He retreated to Israel.
36 – 39 Antiochus IV put a statue of Zeus in the Temple, sacrificed a pig on the altar, and ended the sacrificial system (171 BC, see 8:13 – 14).
40 – 45 A synopsis of the final years of Antiochus IV, up to the time of the Maccabees (165 BC). Premillennialists claim that thousands of years will pass between verse 39 and verse 40.
1 A description of the Maccabean revolt. Michael was mentioned in 10:13, coming to help the angel tasked with Persia. The Maccabbean revolt began at the worst time in Israelite history amidst crushing taxes, enforced idolatry, and extreme tyranny. The delivery described here may have come to pass in the events celebrated as Hanukkah.
2 – 3 This resurrection does not need to be at the resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 27:51 – 53) or in the future. It says “many,” not “all.”
4 Publication was delayed. But, the book as we have it was commonly included in the Prophets long before 200 BC, because it was included in the Septuagint. “Knowledge shall increase” if only by the passage of history.
5 – 9 Daniel asks for more specific dates, but does not get any.
10 – 13 A brief review and some comfort.