Old Testament Summaries: Book of Daniel
Religion Articles 6/30/12
By: Yona Williams
The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament follows in the same footsteps as the Book of Ezekiel, where the Prophet David addresses Judah's captivity at the hands of the Babylonians. Daniel is one of the many Jews who had been removed from his home and brought to Babylon. In this article, you will learn about important messages and chapters in the Book of Daniel.
Daniel wrote the religious text sometime between 540 and 530 BC at a time where Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had conquered Judah and sent many of its inhabitants to Babylon. Daniel was amongst some of the hostages taken. While in Babylon, Daniel served as part of the royal court of Nebuchadnezzar and several rulers who followed Nebuchadnezzar. As a prophet, he wrote the book to include his actions, prophecies, and visions.
The first chapter of the Book of Daniels begins with a description of the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. By Daniel 1:17-20, we learn that Daniel and some of his friends were deported to Babylon, where their courage and obvious blessings of God elevated their status to a place at the king's court. From chapters 2 to 7, we learn of a dream that Nebuchadnezzar has that only Daniel could properly decipher. In the dream, the King sees a statue that represents the kingdoms that would emerge in the future.
Nebuchadnezzar makes an impressive statue of himself and forces everyone to worship it. However, not everyone obliged â€“ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not â€“ yet they were miraculously spared by God even though they had been punished by being tossed into a furnace full of fire. God judges Nebuchadnezzar for his pride, which is later restored once he recognized and admits the rule of God.
To get an idea of the text presented in the Book of Daniel, consider the following passages:
"You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue - an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance." (Daniel 2:31)
"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:17-18)
"His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: â€˜What have you done?â€™" (Daniel 4:34-35)
Other highlights of the Book of Daniel include:
Nebuchadnezzarâ€™s son Belshazzar misusing the items taken from the Temple in Jerusalem.
A vision is presents of a ram, a goat, and several horns, which signifies future kingdoms and their rulers.
A "seventy weeks" prophecy of Daniel's is revealed.
Daniels receives a visit from an angel in a vision that makes things clear to the prophet.