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The Book of Daniel


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The Book of Daniel. Chaps 1-6 stories; chaps 7-12 visions Chaps 1, 8-12 Hebrew; chaps 2-7 Aramaic Three parts of Old Testament canon: Law 400, Prophets 200, Writings end of 1st c. Daniel is in the Writings in the Hebrew Bible; in Prophets in English Bibles.

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The Book of Daniel

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The Book of Daniel

  • Chaps 1-6 stories; chaps 7-12 visions

  • Chaps 1, 8-12 Hebrew; chaps 2-7 Aramaic

  • Three parts of Old Testament canon: Law 400, Prophets 200, Writings end of 1st c. Daniel is in the Writings in the Hebrew Bible; in Prophets in English Bibles.

  • Story world = Babylonian exile in 6th c.


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History of Israel I

  • 586 BC Jerusalem falls to Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (605-562)

  • 539 Last king of Babylon Nabonidus (556-539) loses to Cyrus the Persian

  • 323 Alexander the Great Dies

  • 323-ca 200 Palestine ruled by Ptolemies from Egypt


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History of Israel II

  • 200 BC -- 63 BC--Palestine ruled by Seleucids from Syria

  • 167 Antiochus IV ordered swine sacrificed on altar in Jerusalem; forbade observance of sabbath and circumcision

  • Revolt against Antiochus led by Maccabees--Judas, Jonathan, Simon--with rededication (Hannukah) of temple in 164


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Information about 6th century inDaniel

  • Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar; actually they were not related. Belshazzar son of Nabonidus

  • Belshazzar the last king of Babylon; last Babylonian king was a man named Nabonidus

  • Babylonia fell to Darius the Mede; actually fell to Cyrus the Persian. Darius followed Cyrus

  • Nebuchadnezzar very sick in chap 4; no ancient record of this. Nabonidus was universally disliked in antiquity; thought to be crazy


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Information about Second Century in Daniel

  • Alexander hardly on throne when kingdom divided Dan 11:3-4

  • Dan 11:31 description of persecution by Antiochus IV

  • Dan 11:40 predicts that Antiochus IV would die in Palestine; he actually died in Mesopotamia

  • Temple not yet restored = pre 164 BCE


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Options in time of Persecution

  • Go along to get along

  • Join a guerrilla outfit--”little help” in 11:34 = Maccabees. 1 Maccabees; cf. 2 Maccabees

  • Trust in God to deliver you from the enemy.


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Daniel 1

  • The Jews Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), Azariah (Abednego) were taught literature and language of Babylon

  • They refused royal food; ate only vegetables and water. They were fatter and better

  • Ten times smarter than local bureaucrats


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Daniel 2

  • Daniel interprets dream of Nebuchadnezzar

    • Gigantic statue

    • Head of gold = Nebuchadnezzar

    • arms of chest of silver = Medes

    • belly and thighs of bronze = Persians

    • legs of iron Alexander

    • feet = iron and clay = Ptolemies and Seleucids

    • crushed by stone not made with human hands

  • Daniel exalted


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    Daniel 3--Daniel not a player

    • Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to worship gigantic statue.

    • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse

    • Thrown into fiery furnace

    • King sees four men in furnace; men freed without any damage

    • God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego praised; Nebuchadnezzar converts


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    Daniel 4

    • Tree falls = Nebuchadnezzar

    • King driven away to live with wild animals; ate grass like animals, hair grew long as eagles’ feathers, nails became like birds’ claws

    • Nebuchadnezzar restored to throne

    • Nabonidus stayed a long time in desert; prayer of Nabonidus in Dead Sea Scrolls


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    Daniel 5

    • Belshazzar king; only regent while Nabonidus in desert

    • Handwriting on wall

    • Daniel interprets

    • Mene God has numbered your days; tekel weighed and found wanting; peres = your kingdom given to Medes and Persians;

    • Belshazzar killed; Darius reigns


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    Daniel 6

    • Everyone must pray to king; Daniel refuses

    • Daniel thrown into den of lions, much to regret of king Darius

    • king has insomnia; rushes to lions’ den

    • God sent an angel to shut lions’ mouths

    • Daniel’s accusers thrown into lions’ den-eaten before they hit the bottom