Authorship and Audience

Daniel is the author of this book, as stated in Daniel 8:1, 9:2, and 10:2. The intended audience is not given directly in the book but it can be surmised by the fact that Daniel 2:4 - 7 is written with Aramaic, the common language of the Ancient Near East at the time Daniel was writing. Thus, it seems that Daniel, at least the first half of the book, is intended for an international audience.

Date and Context

Daniel and his friends were likely taken in the first conquest of Jerusalem that occurred in 605 B.C. (Daniel 1:1-7 and 6:28). The events (not necessarily the events described in the visions) in the book took place between 605 and 530 B.C. and the bulk of the book was likely finished by 535 BC. This meant that Daniel was involved in both the Babylonian and Persian governments. In the midst of exile, Israel must have had a lot of questions... Is God powerful? Is God sovereign? Is God faithful? What about all of God's promises? Although indirectly, the book of Daniel answers these questions and gives hope to God's exiled people.


  • God is sovereign over ALL nations at ALL times. The book of Daniel highlights God's sovereign control over kingdoms, kings, and history itself (see Daniel 2:21a).


0. Introduction [1]

I. God's Sovereignty Over Kings and Kingdoms [2 - 7]

A. King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream: 4 Kingdoms [2]

B. Daniel's Friends are Persecuted [3]

C. God Humbles King Nebuchadnezzar [4]

D. God Humbles King Belshazzar [5]

E. Daniel is Persecuted [6]

F. Daniel's Vision: 4 Kingdoms [7]

II. God's Sovereignty Over the Future [8 - 12]

A. The Ram and Goat: Medo-Persia and Greece [8]

B. Will God be faithful to unfaithful Israel? Will God exercise compassion? [9]

  1. Daniel's Prayer [9:1-19]

  2. God's Answer [9:20-27]

C. The Future as it Relates to God's People (see 10:14) [10 - 12]


  • From a literary perspective, the book of Daniel is masterfully written. One of the most prominent evidences of this is found in Daniel 2. In Daniel 2, we find that the king has had a dream for which he would like an interpretation. To prove the legitimacy of his diviners and wise-men, he asks them to interpret the dream, but refuses to tell them his dream so that anyone who wishes to provide an interpretation must first divine the dream itself. This is an impossible task and, to make matters worse, the king soon orders that all who were asked for an interpretation of the unknown dream be killed. As the commander of the king's bodyguard was on his way to kill the wise-men, however, Daniel pleads with the king for more time, requests an answer from God, and receives revelation of the mystery (2:19). At this point in the narrative, I believe the most natural question is: What is was the king's dream and what is its interpretation? This is not, however, Daniel's primary point. The primary point is not the revelation (that is, the content of the revelation), but the revealer (the source of the revelation). Notice that the dream is revealed to Daniel in 2:19, but we do not get to hear what the dream was about until 2:31. It is more important that we first hear Daniel's prayer, which spotlights God's sovereignty, wisdom, and knowledge and then hear Daniel's preface before the king, which underscores the fact that God is the source of this revelation and God's wisdom far surpasses any human wisdom.

  • Daniel 2:4 - 7 are written in Aramaic. At the time Daniel was written, Aramaic was the lingua franca that would have been spoken and understood by many in the Ancient Near East. This highlights the fact that the events discussed are of international importance and should get international attention.

  • Daniel's vision encompass history from the current events of Daniel's day to the inter-testamental period to eschatology which has yet to happen.

  • In Daniel 12:2, we see one of the clearest descriptions in the Old Testament of the resurrection for either judgement or condemnation.

  • Chapters two through seven have a chiastic structure. To illustrate this, the chapters could be displayed as follows with chapters two and seven paired, chapters three and six paired, and four and five paired:

    Ch. 2 - King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream: 4 Kingdoms

    Ch. 3 - Daniel's Friends are Persecuted

    Ch. 4 - God Humbles King Nebuchadnezzar

    Ch. 5 - God Humbles Belshazzar

    Ch. 6 - Daniel is Persecuted

    Ch. 7 - Daniel's Vision: 4 Kingdoms

  • When reading about the golden statue which King Nebuchadnezzar sets up in chapter three, don't forget the vision that Daniel just saw (the statue of a man made of four, different materials). By making the statue completely of gold, Nebuchadnezzar is declaring that his kingdom will last forever and the dream he had, which God revealed and explained through Daniel, will not come to pass.

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