The Book Of Daniel
Most theologians do agree that Daniel wrote the entirety of the book. But some minority views, including those outside of the Christian faith, believe the final six chapter were written by a Jew during the time when Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the Jewish temple with an abomination of desolation.
The Book of Daniel
The first section, Daniel 1-6, known as the Babylonian Narratives, shows four Jewish men living holy lives in a pagan land. They work hard and excel in Babylonian society, without compromising their integrity or faith. The main audience for this book would have likely been Jews who were under an oppressive ruler.
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Daniel was of noble birth, if not one of the royal family of Judah. He was carried captive to Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiachin, B. C. 606, when a youth. He was there taught the learning of the Chaldeans, and held high offices, both under the Babylonian and Persian empires. He was persecuted for his religion, but was miraculously delivered; and lived to a great age, as he must have been about ninety-four years old at the time of the last of his visions. The book of Daniel is partly historical, relating various circumstances which befel himself and the Jews, at Babylon; but is chiefly prophetical, detailing visions and prophecies which foretell numerous important events relative to the four great empires of the world, the coming and death of the Messiah, the restoration of the Jews, and the conversion of the Gentiles. Though there are considerable difficulties in explaining the prophetical meaning of some passages in this book, we always find encouragement to faith and hope, examples worthy of imitation, and something to direct our thoughts to Christ Jesus upon the cross and on his glorious throne.The captivity of Daniel and his companions. (1-7) Their refusal to eat the king's meat. (8-16) Their improvement in wisdom. (17-21)1-7 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, took Jerusalem, and carried whom and what he pleased away. From this first captivity, most think the seventy years are to be dated. It is the interest of princes to employ wise men; and it is their wisdom to find out and train up such. Nebuchadnezzar ordered that these chosen youths should be taught. All their Hebrew names had something of God in them; but to make them forget the God of their fathers, the Guide of their youth, the heathen gave them names that savoured of idolatry. It is painful to reflect how often public education tends to corrupt the principles and morals.8-16 The interest we think we make for ourselves, we must acknowledge to be God's gift. Daniel was still firm to his religion. Whatever they called him, he still held fast the spirit of an Israelite. These youths scrupled concerning the meat, lest it should be sinful. When God's people are in Babylon they need take special care that they partake not of her sins. It is much to the praise of young people, not to covet or seek the delights of sense. Those who would excel in wisdom and piety, must learn betimes to keep the body under. Daniel avoided defiling himself with sin; and we should more fear that than any outward trouble. It is easier to keep temptation at a distance, than to resist it when near. And we cannot better improve our interest in any with whom we have found favour, than to use it to keep us from sin. People will not believe the benefit of avoiding excess, and of a spare diet, nor how much they contribute to the health of the body, unless they try. Conscientious temperance will always do more, even for the comfort of this life, than sinful indulgence.17-21 Daniel and his fellows kept to their religion; and God rewarded them with eminence in learning. Pious young persons should endeavour to do better than their fellows in useful things; not for the praise of man, but for the honour of the gospel, and that they may be qualified for usefulness. And it is well for a country, and for the honour of a prince, when he is able to judge who are best fitted to serve him, and prefers them on that account. Let young men steadily attend to this chapter; and let all remember that God will honour those who honour him, but those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed.Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Daniel and his God-fearing friends were forced to live in Babylon, far from home and far from the land their Lord had promised them. Later in the book, Daniel prophesied of terrible trials still to come in the Promised Land (Daniel 11:31). Whatever the trial was, though, it was always the result of sin.
Have you ever endured the weight or consequences of sin and felt as though God had left you behind, that He had stranded you in a world far from the comforts associated with home? The book of Daniel paints a portrait of how to serve God faithfully in the middle of such a world and how to persevere in hope even with no immediate solutions to the problems that get us down.
I am a pastor in Kenya. I use Pastor Chuck Swindoll's books a lot: Moses, David, Joseph, Esther, Hand Me Another Brick. I also receive Insight [for Today] daily. I use all as my study material. . . . I pray that I could absorb all that, live it and teach it. God bless Chuck, God bless Insight For Living.
Tom Finley is a professor emeritus of Old Testament and Semitics at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Finley's area of expertise is Northwest Semitic languages, specifically Hebrew and Aramaic. He authored the Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary (Joel, Amos, Obadiah) (reprinted by Galaxie Software), the Everyman's Bible (Commentary on Joel, Obadiah, Micah) (Moody), and co-authored How Biblical Languages Work: A Student's Guide to Learning Hebrew and Greek (Kregel). He also contributed notes on the prophets mentioned above to The Life Recovery Bible. He authored chapters in three books, and his articles have appeared in Grace Theological Journal, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Vetus Testamentum, Zeitschrift für Althebraistik, and Decision Magazine. He has addressed both regional and national meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society, and he has served as a translation consultant for portions of the Old Testament for the NIV Children's Version.
It could be said that there are parts of the Old Testament, in the propheticbooks Ezekiel, Jeremiah, which are apocalyptic in the sense that they areprophecies of a benign future. They haven't got the world-wide scope, the ideaof a totally transformed world, which you get in the Book of Daniel, and whichis passed on, of course, to the Book of Revelation, and which is central toChristian apocalyptic beliefs. ...
What makes the Book of Daniel different from all other books, is it's builtaround a series of five dreams, or revelations, that purport to lay out, instep by step fashion, what will actually happen in the last days. And thefifth one, which is right toward the end of the book in chapter 11, is sodetailed, it's the longest prophecy in the Bible. It literally details troopmovements in the Middle East, the invasion of Jerusalem, all the things thatare supposed to happen right before the end. ... What makes Daniel differentfrom the other profits, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, is its specificity ... incontrast to the other prophets, which in the most general sense predict a timeof peace and a re-gathering of Israel, but not these specific scenarios. Thesigns of the end. What would actually lead up to this coming about. That'swhat makes Daniel unique ... .
Now who was Daniel? Well, Daniel, himself, is known as first of all as a verypious character. Secondly, Daniel has visions and can interpret dreams. So, wehave really two parts of the book of Daniel. One, the legends about Daniel thepious young man. A kind of model Jew resisting the temptations of acculturationto this outside society. The latter half of the Book of Daniel, however, isDaniel's visions, which gives us a way of thinking about what will be thefuture of Israel after God triumphs over the forces of Antiochus Epiphanes. Sothe visions of Daniel are really one of our first important pieces ofapocalyptic literature, responding to a period of crisis and oppression andusing apocalypse as a way of saying, "Hold fast. Stay faithful, God willtriumph." ...
Really, all apocalyptic literature is much more a response to a concrete set ofcircumstances, often political circumstances that drive this sense that we haveto look for a mode of deliverance from God. And Daniel was, as a book, reallyresponding to the political crisis of Antiochus Epiphanes and the politicalforces of war that are all about. ... For the people of this period there'sreally no difference between religion and politics. We can't simply look atthis work as if its symbolism of good and truth and beauty are divorced fromthe political reality that's all around them. ...
Did you know there are more than 350 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, and thirteen of those are found in the book of Daniel? Written centuries before the birth and life of Jesus Christ, these prophecies offer us a renewed passion and resolve to live boldly for God today, knowing that we are alive at a special time in history. There is not one prophecy of Jesus Christ left unfulfilled that is standing in the way of His return!
In both the Greek version of the Septuagint and the Vulgate, the book of Daniel is mentioned as the fourth of the major prophets, after Ezekiel. The Hebrew includes it among the Ketubim (Writings), between Ezra and Esther, but only its protocanonical part (chap. 1-12). Probably prior to the first century B.C. it was located among the Nebiim (Prophets), which is the source the Septuagint would have used. 041b061a72