The Book of Daniel


 Daniel was taken captive in 605 BC by Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian and his written recordings continue until 536 BC, the third year of Cyrus the Persian. Daniel may have lived until 530 BC.


Only a pagan named Porphyry in the 200’s AD challenged the authenticity of the book of Daniel. He claimed it was a forgery from around 160 BC. Then in the 1600’s higher criticism challenged Daniel as the author and questioned that the book was written in the years 605-530 BC. This criticism only came 2,000 years after Daniel had written the book. The people of Daniel’s day, the people between the OT and NT, the people of Jesus day (including Jesus Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14), the early church plus the first 1600 years of church leaders accepted the book of Daniel as authentic.


Daniel was a government official who functioned as an inspired and prophetic writer. The Jews organized the books of the OT as: Law, Prophets, and Writings. The Jews placed the book of Daniel in with the Writings and not the Prophets probably because Daniel was not called a “nabhi” (prophet) but was a “hozeh” (seer) or a “hakham” (wise man). The prophets were in the second section and the seers, wisemen and priests were in the last section.



640 BC Eight year old Josiah becomes king of Judah

632 BC Josiah begins his religious reforms

628 BC Josiah begins to smash the idols (from Assyrian influence) in Judah

627 BC Ashurbanipal, the last great Assyrian ruler, dies

  • Jeremiah is called to be a prophet to the nations

626 BC Nabopolassar, a Chaldean prince from southern Mesopotamia marched to Babylon and defeated the Assyrians who were weakened by internal         struggles and declared himself king of Babylon.

  • the Medes side with Babylon
  • the Egyptians side with Assyria

624 BC Zephaniah, the prophet, writes his book

623 BC Josiah repairs the temple and the book of the law is found

616 and 615 BC Assyria holds off Nabopolassar

614 BC Medes take the ancient Assyrian capital, Asshur

612 BC Nineveh falls to Babylon

610 BC Assyrians are driven out of Haran

609 BC Assyrians are finished

  • With the decline of Assyrian power Judah's king Josiah has been reforming Judah's religion
  • Josiah's actions indicated a declaration of independence from Assyria
  • When Egypt's Pharaoh Necho marches to help Assyria in 609 Josiah meets him at Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29-30) but is killed.
  • Jehoahaz is placed on the throne but Necho takes him to Egypt and places Jehoiakim on the throne of Judah

606 BC Habakkuk is written

605 BC Babylon defeats Egypt at Carchemish and they cross the Euphrates        under General Nebuchadnezzar's command (the crown-prince)

  • Nebuchadnezzar moves through Syria and Israel to take control of these lands.
  • August 16 Nabopolassar dies
  • Nebuchadnezzar returns to Babylon to secure his throne traveling 580 miles in three weeks. He arrives in Babylon on September 7
  • FIRST CAPTIVITY: Members of the royal families are taken from Judea, Phoenicia, Syria, Egypt, Philista and others to ensure no revolts while Nebuchadnezzar is gone
  • 18 year old Daniel is taken and kept. Jehoiakim is taken but is sent back to serve a Nebuchadnezzar's vassal king
  • October 1 Nebuchadnezzar is back in Syria directing his military

604 BC Nebuchadnezzar returns to Babylon in February and meets some of his royal captives (Daniel 1:1-20)


The Last Kings of Judah

Josiah            641-609

Jehozhaz      609

Jehoiakim      609-598

Jehoiachin    598-597

Zedekiah       597-586



Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written in Aramaic (Chaldee) and not Hebrew.

This shift from Hebrew to Aramaic and then back to Hebrew are also found in the scrolls from Qumran and in the Massoretic text (the Hebrew text used to translate most English Bibles)

Aramaic is also found Ezra 4:8-6:18 and 7:12-26 because it contains correspondence between the government in Israel and the Persian imperial court between the years of 520-460 BC.



  • 332 B.C.: Alexander’s conquest of Jerusalem: Priest Jaddua showed him references to himself in Daniel and the city was spared (Josephus).
  • R. Kodewey, 1899-1917 excavated Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, Banquet hall found, 173' x 56'. Rebuilt by Saddam Hussein
  • Daniel was an eyewitness in Chapter 5 and the book indicates an author that has extensive knowledge of events around the time of 605-530 BC that would not have been available for someone writing during the Maccabean revolt.
  • Details of this time period are accurate including the Babylonian style of punishment: fire, but fire was sacred to the Zoroastrians of Persia. The Persians preferred to use the punishment of being thrown to lions.
  • If the book was written during the Maccabean Revolt we would expect more details of the Maccabees.
  • If the book was written during the Maccabean time we would not expect Daniel and his God to be feared in the court of the Pagan king Nebechadnezzar since Antiochus Ephiphanes was persecuting and opposing the Jews and their God.
  • Any Persian words that appear in the book of Daniel would be expected since they are Old Persian words. Old Persian words gave way to Middle Persian around 300 BC. There are no Middle Persian expressions in the book. The Septuagint was made around 130 BC or about 35 years after the Maccabean revolt, yet the translators did not correctly translate the 4 Old Persian words but merely guessed at their translation. If they had been written in 160 BC we would expect them to be able to translate them correctly in 130 BC
  • Many fragments of Daniel have been found at Qumran indicating the book was important in from 300-100 BC
  • Jesus quotes Daniel 3 times and refers to him as Daniel the Prophet
  • Daniel mentioned three times in Ezekiel (Ezek 14:14, 20; 28:3). He was classed with Noah, Job, et al. Daniel was set up by Ezekiel as the standard against which to measure wisdom (Ezek 28:3).



Historical Chapters 1 - 6.

Visions Chapters 7 - 12


Chronological Order

chapter 1 Babylonian Captivity 605

chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream 604

chapter 3 Nebuchadnezzar’s Image 603

chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride 570

chapter 7 The vision of the 4 beasts 553

chapter 8 Ram and He-goat vision 551

chapter 5 Babylon falls to Persians 539

chapter 9 Vision of seventy weeks 538-538

chapter 6 The Lions’ Den 538

chapter 10 -12 Closing visions 536