Daniel


Unveiling Daniel 11, Part 2

Unveiling Daniel 11, Part 2

For Part 1, covering Daniel 11:1-4, see here. Daniel 11:5-35 relates to the Greek kingdoms of the period between the Old Testament and New Testament. The main players in this section of Daniel’s prophecy are various “kings of the South,” who were kings of the Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt, and “kings of the North,” who were kings of the Seleucid kingdom in Syria. The period is fairly well-documented, and the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy has led many biblical scholars to deny that it is prophecy, arguing instead that it is a mere......


Unveiling Daniel 11, Part 1

Unveiling Daniel 11, Part 1

Daniel 11 presents the fourth vision given to the prophet Daniel. Much of the chapter pertains to events that unfolded during the intertestamental period, also known as the Hellenistic age. The vision was given in year 3 of Cyrus (Dan 10:1). Daniel 11:1 should be appended to the end of chapter 10, as it relates to the help that the heavenly messenger was given by Gabriel. Daniel 11:2 specifies “three more kings” who were to arise. These were Cambyses, Gaumata, and Darius I. Cambyses was the first Persian king to successfully take......


Daniel's Mourning

Daniel’s Mourning

The final section of the book of Daniel is the vision recorded in chapters 11-12. The introduction to that section is chapter 10, which describes the prelude to the vision. Chapter 10, in turn, begins with a notice that Daniel had been in mourning for three weeks prior to the vision. What prompted Daniel’s three weeks of mourning? Dan 9 records Daniel’s prayer following his reading of the 70 years prophecy in Jeremiah. This occurred in “the first year of Darius,” which was likely in 538 BC. Sometime that same year Cyrus......


Seventy Sevens are Determined

Seventy Sevens are Determined

Daniel 9:20-27 is one of the most important passages for understanding the prophetic timeline of the Bible. At the same time, it is given in veiled language that makes it difficult to understand. Although it is often referred to as the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy, the actual statement is that “seventy sevens” are decreed for the people and the holy city. Nearly everyone understands these “seventy sevens” to represent seventy sets of seven years, or 490 years. This understanding can be traced back before the time of Jesus. The Hebrew scroll shown as......


Daniel's Library

Daniel’s Library

Daniel 9:2 records that Daniel “observed in the books” that the exile would last 70 years, and apparently realized that the time was nearly up. The book of Jeremiah is mentioned specifically, but the reference to plural “books” begs the question of what kind of collection Daniel had. One of the first questions, which can be answered with a fair amount of certainty, is the nature of these “books.” The book with pages as we know it, otherwise referred to as a codex, can be excluded altogether since it would not be......


Daniel and the 70 Years of Jeremiah

Daniel and the 70 Years of Jeremiah

Daniel 9:1-3 introduces us to the prayer of Daniel for his people. It occurred in the first year of Darius the Mede, which was late 539 BC or early 538 BC. Daniel read in the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah that the exile in Babylon would last for 70 years, after which God would return his people to the land of promise. Jeremiah was a prophet at the height of his ministry when Daniel was a boy, and Daniel had probably seen and heard him while he was still living in Jerusalem.......


2,300 Mornings and Evenings

2,300 Mornings and Evenings

Daniel 8:13-14 includes an enigmatic statement about the length of the desolation of the holy place. “Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, ‘How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?’ And he said to me, ‘For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored‘” (NAS). There are at least three questions that relate to......


Daniel in the City of Susa

Daniel in the City of Susa

Daniel’s vision in Daniel 8 is set in a distant city, Susa. Susa was in Babylonian territory, but on the very eastern edge. It was about 225 miles from where Daniel most likely had the vision, Babylon. Although some believe Daniel may have actually been in Susa at the time of the vision, the text allows that he may have only been there in his vision. “And I looked in the vision, and it came about while I was looking, that I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the......


A Den of Lions in Babylon?

A Den of Lions in Babylon?

In a previous post we argued that the most likely location for the events of Daniel 6 was Babylon, the place where Daniel had spent nearly his entire life. So what kind of den might have been located in Babylon? Lions do not naturally live in caves or dens. Their natural habitat is open grassland or open forest. Clearly the place where Daniel was to be executed was the place where captive lions were held. No such place has been found in Babylon (or elsewhere in the ancient Near East), but there......


Where Was Daniel's Den of Lions?

Where Was Daniel’s Den of Lions?

The author of Daniel does not state where the events of Daniel 6 (Daniel in the lions’ den) took place. There are several possibilities, all shown on the map above, but one appears most likely. The answer to this question affects how we envision the den of lions. Ecbatana was the historical capital of the Median empire. Ecbatana is located about 250 miles to the northeast of Babylon, across some pretty rough and mountainous ground. If Darius the Mede ruled from the old Median capital, Ecbatana would be the logical location for......


Who was Darius the Mede?

Who was Darius the Mede?

Darius the Mede is mentioned several times in the book of Daniel: Dan 5:31 – Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of 62; he was “made king” over Babylon. Dan 6:28 – “So Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Dan 9:1 – Darius was the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent. Dan 11:1 – in the first year of Darius the Mede . . . The question comes from the fact that no ancient document or historian other than......


Babylon - How to Take a Strong City

Babylon – How to Take a Strong City

Ancient Babylon was a mighty city. Although ancient historians greatly exaggerated its size as well as the height and width of its walls, it was likely the largest city of its day. Excavations have shown that the city walls were built of mudbrick, using bitumen as mortar. The Ishtar Gate , which was located near the palace, was 45 feet tall and 32 feet wide, which probably reflects the approximate size of the rest of the city walls. The city proper was about 2 by 3 miles in size, although there may......


Belshazzar's Throne Room Identified

Belshazzar’s Throne Room Identified

Nearly all of the narrative sections of the book of Daniel (Dan 1-6) took place in and around the capital, Babylon. Daniel 5 records the night on which Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians. The crown prince, Belshazzar, was having a drinking party in the palace. Although exact details are lacking in the text, this probably took place in the throne room of the palace and the courtyard that faced it. The palace where Belshazzar lived was the one that had been built by Nebuchadnezzar a few decades earlier. It was......


Elijah, Daniel, and Miracles

Elijah, Daniel, and Miracles

Malachi ends his book with the pronouncement that Elijah the prophet would come before the great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal 4:5-6). This prophecy stumped the disciples of Jesus who were at the transfiguration. They saw Jesus in blazing white, flanked by Moses and Elijah (Mat 17:1-12). Afterward, they were puzzled at the appearance of Elijah, realizing that he was prophesied to return. They had just seen him, but then he had disappeared again, and Jesus begun to talk of his own death. The angel who announced the birth of......


Was Daniel a Eunuch?

Was Daniel a Eunuch?

It is suggested from time to time that Daniel and his friends may have served as eunuchs in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. This idea is illustrated, for example, in the 14th century illuminated manuscript shown above, which depicts the Hebrew captives being castrated. Where does this idea come from, and how reliable is it? The best case to be made for supposing that Daniel was a eunuch hangs on an implication and the translation of a Hebrew word. If you read the KJV (or ESV), you will find 7 references in Daniel......


Life and Times of Daniel

Life and Times of Daniel

As we start out a new Sunday School series on the book of Daniel it may be helpful to see Daniel in the midst of the events that were going on in his day. Daniel was born when the ruthless Assyrian empire still ruled the north. Egypt was still an independent nation to the south, and would remain independent until conquered by the Persian king Cambyses in 525 BC. We don’t know when Daniel was born, but perhaps it was around 620 BC. We do know that he was deported as a......