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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12

Book Overview - Daniel

Means "God is my Judge."

Author. It was very probably Daniel, though some think it may have been one of his companions, and still others think the history may have been gotten together and written about 166 B. C.

The Date. The date then would have been between the captivity, 605 B. C., and the death of Daniel, 533 B. C., perhaps late in his life, or if by some other (which I do not think likely) about 166 B. C.

The Prophet. He was probably born in Jerusalem and was one of the noble young captives first carried into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. He was educated by order of the king and soon rose to great favor and was chosen to stand before the king in one of the highest government positions under the Chaldean, Median and Persian dynasties. He lived through the whole period of the captivity and probably died in Babylon. It is said that not one imperfection of his life is recorded. The angel repeatedly calls him "greatly beloved."

World Empires of the Book. (1) The Babylonian Empire (625-536 B. C.) with Nebuchadnezzar as the leading king and the one who carried Israel captive. (2) The Persian Empire (536-330 B. C.) which became a world power through Cyrus, under whom the Jews returned to Jerusalem. (3) The Grecian Empire, which, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, subdued the entire Persian world. (4) The Roman Empire, which was anticipated by and grew out of the Syrian Empire.

Purpose of the Book. The purpose of the book seems to be: (1) To magnify Jehovah, who delivers his servants, who is God of all nations, and who will punish idolatry, who is pure, righteous, etc. (2) To encourage his countrymen to resist the forces that threaten the foundation of their faith. This was done by the example of Daniel and his companions whom Jehovah saved. (3) To give a prophecy or vision of all times from the day of Daniel to the Messianic period. (4) To outline the religious philosophy of history which would issue in a great world state, which the Messianic King would rule by principles of justice and right, and which would subdue all kingdoms and have everlasting dominion. The main idea is the ultimate triumph of the kingdom of God. As compared with former prophetic books there are two new teachings. (1) Concerning angels. (2) Concerning a resurrection from the dead.


  1. Daniel's History, Chs. 1-6.
    1. His youth and education, Ch. 1.
    2. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's image dream. Ch. 2.
    3. In the fiery furnace. Ch. 3.
    4. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's tree dream, Ch. 4.
    5. Interpretation of the hand-writing on the wall for Belshazzar, Ch. 5.
    6. In the Lion's den, Ch. 6.

  2. Daniel's Vision of the Kingdom, Chs. 7-12.
    1. The four beasts, Ch. 7.
    2. The ram and the he-goat, Ch. 8.
    3. The seventy weeks, Ch. 9.
    4. The final vision, Chs. 10-12.

For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the various visions of Daniel and become familiar with the contents of each. (2) Make a list of all the passages that refer to the fact of Daniel's praying and point out some of the specific prayers with their answers. (3) Point out the different attempts to overthrow or kill Daniel and tell the cause, by whom he was opposed and how he escaped. (4) Make a list of the different symbols such as the lion and learn the description given of each symbolic animal. (5) Point out the several decrees made by the different kings and learn what led to the decree, how it affected Daniel, how it bore upon the worship of the people of his nation, how it affected the worship of Jehovah, etc. (6) The difficulty and possibility of right living in bad surroundings. (7) The openness of Daniel's conduct. (8) The elements of strength of character displayed by Daniel. (9) The inevitable conflict between good and evil.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 25th, 2018
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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