Survey of Daniel

Book Type: The fifth book of the Major Prophets; the twenty-seventh book of the Old Testament; the twenty-seventh book of the Bible.

Author: Daniel, noted specifically in Daniel 8:15.

Audience: Daniel was written to record events during Daniel's lifetime in exile in Babylon as well as to provide exiled Jews hope regarding God's plan for the future. The example of Daniel and his three friends offered a positive role model for Jews living in a pagan culture, while his prophecies encouraged readers and hearers of God's future hope for His people.

Date: The last event recorded by Daniel (Daniel 10:1) occurred in about 536 BC. The book of Daniel was likely completed around this time or shortly afterwards.

Overview: Daniel consists of 12 chapters, including a mixture of historical events and future prophecies. Chapter 1 focuses on Daniel's background. He was a young man when Jerusalem was destroyed, taken captive to Babylon, and educated with three friends to serve in the king's court. These four men sought to not defile themselves with the king's unclean foods and were blessed as a result, being selected for high positions in the kingdom.

Chapters 2—7 cover problems and prophecies related to the nations or Gentiles. King Nebuchadnezzar faces a problem, and Daniel and his friends provide God's wisdom (Daniel 2—4). King Belshazzar's wickedness leads to his downfall (Daniel 5). Later, Daniel is miraculously delivered from the lion's den, while those who falsely accused him were eaten by the lions (Daniel 6). In Daniel 7, he has a dream regarding the future of the Gentile nations.

Chapters 8—12 shift to additional future prophecies regarding Israel and the nations. Chapter 8 includes the prophecy of the ram and male goat. Chapter 9 discusses the important prophecy of the seventy weeks, describing both Israel's return to the land and her distant future. Chapters 10—12 speak of a future restoration involving the Messiah, various kingdoms, and God's ultimate plan for His people.

Key Verses (ESV):

Daniel 1:19–20: "And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom."

Daniel 2:31:"You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening."

Daniel 3:17–18: "If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

Daniel 4:34–35: "At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, \ for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, \ and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; \ all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, \ and he does according to his will among the host of heaven \ and among the inhabitants of the earth; \ and none can stay his hand \ or say to him, 'What have you done?'"

Daniel 9:25–27: "Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."