September 3, 2014

AUTHOR:  Likely Daniel, though some question this. Chapters 7-12 are written in the first person (“I Daniel” 7:15), through the first six chapters are in the third person (“Then Daniel answered” 2:14).

DATE:  The period of the Babylonian captivity, approximately 605-538 BC.

IN TEN WORDS OR LESS:  Faithful to God in a challenging setting, Daniel is blessed.

DETAILS:  As a young man, Daniel-along with three others to be known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego- are taken from their homes in Jerusalem to serve the King of Babylon. Daniel’s God-given ability to interpret dreams endears him to King Nebuchadnezzar whose vision of a huge statue; Daniel says represents existing and future kingdoms. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego find trouble when they disobey an order to bow before a statue of Nebuchadnezzar; as punishment, they are thrown into a fiery furnace, where they are protected by an angelic being “like the Son of God” (3:25). The next Babylonian King, Belshazzar throws a drinking party using cups stolen from the temple in Jerusalem; he literally sees “the handwriting on the wall,” which Daniel interprets as the soon-to-come takeover of Babylon by the Medes. The Median king, Darius, keeps Daniel as an adviser but is tricked into passing a law designed by other jealous officials to hurt Daniel, who ends up in a den of lions. Once again, God protects His people; Daniel spending a night and replaced by the schemers, who are mauled by the hungry beasts. The final six chapters contain Daniel’s prophetic visions, including that of “seventy weeks” of the end times.

QUOTABLE:  Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king (3:17)…My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths that they have not hurt me. (6:22)…O my God…we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness’s, but for thy great mercies. (9:18)

UNIQUE AND UNUSUAL: The book was originally written in two languages: Hebrew (the introduction and most of the prophecies, chapter 1 and chapters 8-12) and Aramaic (the stories of chapter 2-7).