The Book of Daniel

I. Title

       The book of Daniel is named after the main protagonist throughout; unlike his friends, who are remembered by their Babylonian names rather than their Hebrew names, and unlike Esther, who is likewise remembered for her Persian (or Aramaic) name, rather than her Hebrew name, Daniel, although given a Babylonian name, is not well remembered by it (Belteshazzar).

II. Author and Setting

       The author of the book is Daniel, although many modern critics would try to date the book much later, to the fifth or fourth century BC; the reason for such a late date though is primarily a result of the presuppositional determination that predictive prophesy is not possible; therefore, the "prophesies" are so accurate in Daniel, not because he was inspired by God, but because the author (whomever he might be) wrote them after the events described had happened.
       One wonders, then, why such a book would have ever been accepted as scripture or as at all authoritative.
Taking the book at face value, then, Daniel was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC, during the first deportation recorded in 2 Kings 24:8- 17. Daniel continued to minister through the reign of King Cyrus, under whom the Israelites began to return to Israel (see Ezra 1:1-4 and 2 Chronicles 36:22-23).

III. An Outline of Daniel

I. The Selection and Preparation of God's Servants
II. Nebuchadnezzar's First Dream 2:1-49
III. The Golden Image 3:1-30
IV. Nebuchadnezzar's second dream 4:1-37
V. Belshazzar's Feast 5:1-31
VI. Daniel in the Lion's Den 6:1-28
VII. Visions 7:1-12:13

IV. Historical Outline of Daniel 11

2. three more kings = Cambyses 529, Smerdis 522, Darius Hystaspes 521
    a fourth king = Xerxes 486-65

3. a mighty king = Alexander the Great

4. four points of compass = ruled by Cassander (Madedon, Lysimachus [Thrace/Asia Minor); Ptolemy (Egypt); Selecus (Babylon/Syria -- took Babylonian satrapy in 321, Syria in 301 after battle of Ipsus [vs. Macedonia], gained Asia Minor, killed at Hellespont)

5. king of the South = Ptolemy I Soter (b. 367; ruled 304-283) who married Berenice I
    one of his princes = Seleucus Nicator who fled from Antigonus in Babylon to serve Ptolemy; regained supremacy after Antigonus lost at Gaza in 312; he assumed kingship in 304 in north when Ptolemy did in the south; he gained the ascendancy during the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphia
    him = Ptolemy II Philadelphus 283-46 who was born in 308 of Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice I; he married his sister Arinoe II in 276. Administered successfully. Septuagint translated. Meanwhile Antiochus I Soter (280-62) obtained peace with Macedonia in 279 but gradually lost much of it.

6. daughter of the king of the south = Berenice II, daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus who in 247 married Antiochus II Theos.
    king of the north = Antiochus II Theos (262-246) who regained much from Egypt of what her father lost in Asia Minor and Syria. When Ptolemy II Philadelphus died in 246, Berenice II was divorced by her husband who married Laodice, a former wife, who poisoned her new husband Antiochus II, thus removing "his arm". After poisoning Berenice II too, Laodice appointed her son, Seleucus II Callinicus as king.

7. one of the descendants of her line = Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221), brother of Berenice II.
    the king of the north = Seleucus II Callinicus (247-226), son of Laodice who was defeated in a later invasion of Egypt. He lost most of Asia Minor along with losing to the military expansion of Ptolemy III who put his mother Laodice to death. Seleucus II Callinicus failed to invade Egypt in 240.

10. his sons = Seleucus III Ceraunus (227-223) and Antiochus III the Great (223-187). Both built large armies. The oldest was killed in Asia Minor and Antiochus III the Great pushed down into Palestine to the fortress Raphia in 219 where he was defeated in 217 by Ptolemy IV Philopator.

11. the king of the South = Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-204) who defeated Antiochus III the Great in a great victory at Raphia in 217. He did not follow up on his advantage.

13. the king of the north = Antiochus III the Great campaigned in the east (212-204) but returned with a much larger force against Ptolemy IV Philopator, son of Ptolemy III and Berenice II (b. 244) who died in 203.

14. the king of the South = Ptolemy V Epiphanes (203-181) who was opposed by the Nubians who controlled Thebes (208-186).
    the many = the Nubians who controlled Thebes (208-186) and Philip V of Macedonia who joined the Jews who were tired of Egyptian control of Palestine.

15. Antiochus III the Great captured the fortified city of Sidon in 203 and held Palestine by 199 but was driven back by Scopas of Egypt in 198 who eventually lost at Paneas and Sidon which assured Antiochus III the Great complete authority over Palestine.

17. the daughter of women = Cleopatra I, the daughter of Antiochus III the Great, given in marriage to Ptolemy V Ephiphanes in hopes of controlling Egypt in 193 (contracted the marriage in 197 when Ptolemy V Ephiphanes was only 10) so that Antiochus III the Great could attack Rome; but Cleopatra I sided with her new husband and Egypt actively allied with Rome against Antiochus III the Great, Asia Minor, and Greece.

18. The coastlands = Asia Minor and Greece, against which Antiochus III the Great moved; he even moved against a part of Thrace in 196 taking Thermopylae with the help of Hannibal; but a commander Lucius Cornelus Scipio (Scipio Asiaticus), brother of Scipio Africanus who earlier defeated Hannibal and the Carthaginians, defeated Antiochus III the Great and drove him from Thermopylae in 191 and won a second victory in 190 at Magnesia in Lydia in Asia Minor, thereby forcing the peace of Apamea in 188 which gave up all Asia Minor.

19. Antiochus III the Great returned to his own land and was probably slain about 187.

20. one will arise = Seleucus IV Philopator (187-176), a son of Antiochus III the Great. He didn't last long; probably he was poisoned by his prime minister, Heliodorus.

21. a despicable person = Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164), the "little horn" of chapter 8.

V. Questions on Daniel

1. When was Daniel taken into Babylonian captivity.
2. What section of the book is written in Aramaic?
3. Discuss Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the statue. What did each part of the statue signify?
4. What evidence is there to suggest Nebuchadnezzar will be in heaven?
5. Who was Darius the Mede?
6. Discuss the vision of the four beasts in chapter seven. Give the interpretation of the vision and identify the meaning of each beast.
7. Identify the ram and the two horns of chapter eight.
8. Identify the he-goat and the notable horn.
9. Who were the four notable replacing the single notable horn?
10. Who is the little horn of chapter eight?
11. Discuss the meaning of Daniel's seventy weeks (in chapter nine).
12. Concerning what kingdoms is 11:5-31 about?