Book summary

Daniel was a man from a well-educated family in Jerusalem. He was taken into captivity during his youth by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, during Judah’s exile to Babylon. Daniel’s writing reassured God’s people that their judgment of captivity was not permanent, and shared glorious visions of the future.

Similar to the book of Revelation in the New Testament, the book of Daniel covers themes of prophecy that are important to the end-time church.

Chapters 1-7 — Nebuchadnezzar

Ch 1 — Daniel and his three friends

Nebuchadnezzar seeks able young men
  • Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility — young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. (Dan. 1:3-4)

Daniel and his three friends are among those chosen
  • Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. (Dan. 1:6-7)

Nebuchadnezzar promotes them
  • The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. (Dan. 1:19-20)

Ch 2 — Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue

  • The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?” (Dan. 2:26)

  • “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue — an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze…” (Dan. 2:31-32)

Ch 3 — Rescued from the fiery furnace

  • King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (Dan. 3:1)

  • Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” (Dan. 3:4-6)

  • [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not worship this image of gold, so Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a furnace made seven times hotter than usual. They came out unharmed.] Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!” (Dan. 3:28)

Ch 4 — Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a tree

  • “I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.” (Dan. 4:10)

Ch 5 — The writing on the wall

  • Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking. (Dan. 5:5-6)

Ch 6 — Daniel in the den of lions

  • And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. (Dan. 6:23-24)

Chapters 7-12 — Daniel’s visions

Ch 7 — Vision of four beasts

  • Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.” (Dan. 7:2-3)

Ch 8 — Vision of a ram and a goat

  • I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long… suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. (Dan. 8:3,5-6)

Ch 9 — Prayer for restoration

  • Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. (Dan. 9:16)

Ch 10-12 — Visions of the future

  • I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. (Dan. 10:5-6)

  • “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.” (Dan. 11:2)

  • There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people — everyone whose name is found written in the book — will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan. 12:1-2)