A Summary of the Book of Daniel

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Daniel is one of the most exciting books in the Bible, fascinating children in the first six chapters, and challenging the wisest of adults in the last six chapters. Daniel is also one of the rareness of apocalyptic literature, for it promotes faith in God more than any other book. In 605 BCE, as a teenager, the Babylonian army captured Daniel, during its first attack on Jerusalem.

Because of their disobedience to God, the nation of Israel and Judah was taken captive. Daniel survived the attack and spent the rest of his life in the city of Babylon, in the service of the royal court. He went by two names: Daniel and Belteschazzar. That city was generally regarded as the most beautiful in the known world. Ancient authorities, not known for accuracy, claimed that its walls were 60 miles long, 300 feet high and 80 feet thick. Both a passage in Isaiah and Jeremiah 51:37-43 prophesized that Babylon would be destroyed and never occupied again.

The prophecy was partially correct: the city was destroyed. However, part of it has been occupied in recent years by the government of Iraq. Daniel is described as living in Babylon for the entire duration of the Babylonian empire, a period of 72 years, assisted five succeeding kings, survived through the occupation by the Medes, and into the occupation of the Persians. He was present as Israel was taken into captivity; he died two years after a fragment of the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.

The first six chapters deals with experiences in Daniel's life and contain five well-known stories. Daniel's interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream: The king demanded that his magicians, exorcists, sorcerers, etc. describe the dream to him, and to interpret its meaning. He might have withheld information about the...