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The Book of Daniel
As I attempt to bring this Book to you, I approach it with a feeling of great awe and respect, mingled with joy and fear, for I know I do not have the ability to do it properly, so I need His help. I realize that this Book, like the Book of Revelation, is a stumbling block to many people because they say “I don’t understand it.” Quite frankly there are many things in the Bible I can not completely comprehend, including this wonderful Book. I think there are things in there we are not meant to know. To understand this Book, you must go to God in prayer and ask Him to help you understand. The Holy Spirit is available to all TRUE Christians, because He abides within you (Rom.8:9). All you need do is ask Him to help you! He will!
As with all my commentaries, I will do the Book of Daniel Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment, it is NOT Scripture.
I have done much research on this Book, and have placed many web sites addresses that may help you to better understand.
The Book of Daniel is called "the Prophecy of Daniel" and "the Prophecy of Daniel the Prophet". Daniel was one of the children of Judah that were carried captive into Babylon with Jehoiakim; and was of princely blood, if not of the royal seed, as appears from Dan.1:3,5.
No Book of the Old Testament has been subjected to as much inspection as the Book of Daniel. The detailed and accurate prophecies contained in that Book have motivated many, skeptics and professed believers alike, to subscribe to the theory of a late date of composition for Daniel in the time of the Maccabees.
In general, the Maccabeean theory holds that the Book of Daniel was written around 168-165 BC. Most modern major critics hold that the book was completed in its final form at that time, but some say parts of Daniel (largely chapters 1-6) to have an earlier date prior to 168-165. Some say the editor in the 2nd century used certain traditions to compose the final form of Daniel.
Some say that the Book has many authors (some commentators says that there were several authors). But all seem to agree, that the final form of the book was completed around 165 BC.
The Jews do not think that this Book was written by Daniel himself, but by the men of the great synagogue; even though it is clear, from the Book itself, that Daniel is the writer of it, as seen from Dan. 7:1, 2, 28; 8:1, 15, 27; 9:2; 10:2; 12:5. That Daniel wrote books, which were received, read and believed by the Jews as being of God, is affirmed by Josephus. The Jews as a whole do acknowledge that this Book was written by the influence of the Holy Spirit, but not by prophecy. They, without any basis, distinguish between the Holy Spirit and prophecy. It is the general consent of their nation, that this Book is among the holy writings, but not among the Prophets; nor will they allow Daniel to be a prophet. The reasons they give are shaky; what seems to have induced them to degrade Daniel is the obvious prophecy of the time of the Messiah's coming in this Book, which sometimes they must admit, is fixed in it. The precise time of Messiah's Coming was made known to Daniel. There are two men to whom the end was revealed, and afterwards it was hidden from them; and these are they, Jacob and Daniel. From Daniel, according to Dan.12:4, “but thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book” and from Jacob, Gen.49:1,10, “that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days”. The prophecy of Daniel was so clear, with respect to the time of the Messiah's Coming, that one cannot dismiss it lightly.
There are no other authentic writings of Daniel, which bear his name. The stories of "thirteenth" and "fourteenth" chapters are fictional and false.
Daniel is said to have descended from the royal family of David; and he appears to have been carried into Babylon when very young, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim king of Judah, A.M. 3398, B.C. 602, or 606. He and his three fellow-captives, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, being youths, were chosen to be about the king's court, and were appointed to have an education suitable to the employments for which they were destined. As they had been carefully brought up in the Mosaic institutions, they regulated their conduct by them, even in the court of a heathen king, where they were slaves; and although ordered to be fed from the royal table, they would not eat that food, because the Chaldeans ate of meat forbidden by the Mosaic law, and probably even that which might be dominated clean became defiled by having been sacrificed to idols before it was prepared for common use. At their earnest request, the officer under whose care they were placed permitted them to use vegetables only; and finding that they grew healthy and strong by this aliment, did not oblige them to use the portion sent from the king's table.
Daniel appears to have been instructed in all the wisdom of the Chaldeans, which was at that time greatly superior to the learning of the ancient Egyptians; and he was soon distinguished in the Babylon court, as well for his wisdom and strong understanding as for his deep and steady piety.
His interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the variously compounded metallic image raised his credit so high at the court that he was established governor of the province of Babylon, and made chief of all the Magians, or wise men in that country. The main facts and incidents of his history are so interwoven throughout the Book bearing Daniel’s name, that it was undoubtedly written by himself.
The reputation of Daniel was so great, even in his lifetime, that it became a proverb. "Thou art wiser than Daniel," said Ezekiel ironically to the king of Tyre (Eze.28:3), and by the same prophet (Daniel) God ranks him among the most holy and exemplary of men, when he declares, speaking relative to Jerusalem, which had been condemned to destruction, "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own lives by their righteousness" Eze.14:13, 20).
Josephus (Ant. lib. x., c. 12), says that God bestowed many favors on Daniel: that he was advanced to the rank of the most considerable prophets; that he enjoyed the favor of princes, and the affection of the people during his life; and that after his death his memory became immortal. He observes also that, in the features of his predictions, he differs widely from all other prophets; they foretold scarcely anything but disastrous events; but the opposite, Daniel predicts most joyous events, and fixes the times of accomplishment with more circumstantial precision than the others did. Because of this truth, we cannot doubt that God had given this outstanding man a much greater degree of light to fix the times when his predictions should issue, more than he had given to all his predecessors, who simply declared the mind of God in relation to things future, without trying to indicate the distance of time in which they should be fulfilled. There are but very few exceptions to this either in Isaiah or Jeremiah. And in this respect the prophecy of the seventy weeks of Daniel exceeds all that had gone before, as the incidents and transactions relative to its fulfillment were so various, and yet so fixed and declared six hundred years before the time, that when the time came in which they were predicted to take place, they were expected, and occurred exactly according to the prediction, and the expectations founded upon it. This prophet therefore, far from occupying a lower place among divinely inspired men, deserves to be placed in the front rank with all those who have been most distinguished among the men who have partaken most largely of the prophetic gift.
The rabbis have tried to degrade Daniel, and have placed his prophecies among the hagiographa, books which they consider to possess a minor degree of inspiration; and it is probable that he meets with this treatment from them because his prophecies are proofs very clear that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, and that He came at the very time that Daniel said the Prince Messiah should come. But the testimony and sayings of such doubtful men are infinitely overpowered by the testimony of Ezekiel, which has been produced above; and the testimony of our Lord, who gives Daniel the title of prophet (Mat.24:15), without the slightest hint that He was to ashamed to say it. Jesus always spoke truth!
It is very probable that Daniel did not return at the general restoration from the Babylon captivity. At that time, if alive, Daniel must have been an old man; and it is most likely that he finished his days in Babylon, though some commentators say that he returned to Judea with Ezra, came back afterward to Persia, and died in the city of Susa.
Josephus speaks of his skill in architecture (Antiq. lib. x., c. 12), and that he built a famous tower at Ecbatane or Susa, which remained to his time, and was so exquisitely finished that it always appeared as if newly built. In this tower or palace the kings of Persia were interred; and in consideration of its founder, the guard of it was always chosen from the Jews.
Daniel cannot be ranked among the Hebrew poets: his Book is all in prose; and it is written partly in Hebrew and partly in Chaldee. The Chaldee part begins with "O king, live for ever!" and continues to the end of the seventh chapter.
The Book of Daniel
In Daniel and his prophecy, observe these things for the better understanding of this book, and the mind of God in it:
(1.) As to the author; FIRST, Daniel was a prophet, as appears in the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, meaning Christ the Messiah and His Kingdom, what He should do, chapter 2; also chapter 7 to the end of the book. The first six chapters are historical, the last six prophetical. SECOND, As to his lineage, he was one of the royal seed. THIRD, He was a captive. FOURTH, He was rarely qualified for piety, wisdom, beauty. FIFTH, As to his education, he was trained for three years in learning. SIXTH, His advancement for his parts and wisdom. SEVENTH, He was faithful and blameless in the place of honor to which he was preferred. EIGHTH, His care and kindness for his companions; he procured their promotion also. NINTH, His singular holiness and power with God in prayer, (Eze.14:14). TENTH, His faithfulness and constancy in the worship of God, in spite of the envy and persecution of his enemies. ELEVENTH, The strange providence of God in his preservation and deliverance. TWELFTH, His sign integrity and flourishing state under several kings' reigns, even in critical times and great changes, unto his old age, and beyond the seventy years of captivity.
(2.) As to the book itself, both the historical and prophetical part of it, especially the latter, we find, FIRST. Great variety in them. SECOND, Famous predictions (prophecies) of the Messiah, of dreadful wars, of dreadful miseries to countries, and specifically the Jewish nation, for putting Christ to death; great persecutions of the church, by the Grecians and Romans especially, in which Antiochus and the Antichrist are pointed at. These things are all of such important consideration, that our blessed Saviour calls for special understanding in the reading even of one part of it (Mat.24:15). His chronology and calculations may be called the key of time, relating to the church's sufferings and deliverances. Beloved
Daniel spoke of the greatest Favorite we read of, namely, of the King of Heaven (Dan.9:23; 10:11), and of the greatest kings then on Earth. Daniel was the most honorable pattern of a public heart for the church of God, for whose affliction he was deeply afflicted in the midst of his court honors and employments.
Book of Daniel
Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3. Ch.4. Ch.5 . Ch.6 . Ch.7 . Ch.8 . Ch.9 . Ch.10 . Ch. 11. Ch.12 . Special Comments