First of all, the matter itself shews how Daniel did not speak from his own discretion, but whatever he uttered was dictated by the Holy Spirit for whence could he conceive the things which we shall afterwards behold, if he were only endued with human prudence? . . . This, then, is a great step, and we shall not repent of taking it, when we acknowledge Daniel to have been only the organ of the Holy Spirit, and never to have brought anything forward by his own private inclination.12
|Year (B.C.)13||Passage||Chronological Indicator||Related Events||Israel Ruled By||Daniel’s Age (Approx.)14|
|Dan. 1:1‣||3rd year of the reign of King Jehoiakim.||Daniel taken captive to Babylon. See Deportations.|
|Dan. 2:1‣||2nd year of King Nebuchadnezzar.17||Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of a great image of four metals.|
|Dan. 3‣||-||Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold, the fiery furnace.|
|Dan. 4:1-27‣||-||Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great tree chopped down.|
|Dan. 4:28-37‣||-||Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation as a beast.|
|Dan. 7:1‣||1st year of King Belshazzar.||Daniel’s vision of the four beasts.|
|Dan. 8:1‣||3rd year of reign of King Belshazzar.||Daniel’s vision of a ram and a goat.|
|Dan. 5:1‣||Last year of King Belshazzar.||Abuse of temple vessels at party, handwriting on the wall.|
|Dan. 5:31‣||1st year of Darius the Mede.||Fall of Babylon to Medo-Persia, Darius strengthened by Angelic messenger (Dan. 11:1‣).|
|Dan. 9:1-2‣||1st year of reign of Darius the Mede.||Daniel’s intercession for Israel and Gabriel’s answer of seventy sevens.|
|Dan. 6:1-9‣, 10-23‣||-||Daniel in the lion’s den.|
|Dan. 1:21‣||1st year of King Cyrus (539 B.C.)||In 538 B.C., Cyrus issued the decree allowing the Jews to return and rebuild (2Chr. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-5).|
|Dan. 10‣; 11‣; 12‣||3rd year of King Cyrus of Persia.||Daniel’s vision by the Tigris river.|
|Year (B.C.)25||Passage||Recipient||Divine Revelation||Interpreter/Messenger||Significance|
|Dan. 2:31-45‣||Dream of great image of four metals.||Sequence of glorious Gentile powers (Man’s perspective).|
|Dan. 4:10-27‣||Dream of a great tree chopped down.||Humbling of Nebuchadnezzar (the glorious human ruler is shown to be a beast).|
|Dan. 7:2-28‣||Vision of four beasts.||Sequence of beastly Gentile powers (God’s perspective).|
|Dan. 8:1-27‣||Vision of ram and goat.||Further detail regarding the sequence of beastly Gentile kingdoms.|
|Dan. 5:5-30‣||Finger’s of a man’s hand appear and write on a wall.||Judgment of Belshazzar and Babylonian Kingdom.|
|Dan. 9:20-27‣||Revelation of seventy weeks.||The sequence and timing of significant events concerning Jerusalem and the Jews.|
|Dan. 10:1‣-12:3‣||Vision of the glorious man.||Additional details concerning sequence of beastly kingdoms and other events concerning the Jews until the end of the age.|
I. Fate of Israel during the Times of the Gentiles (Dan. 1:1‣-12:13‣).
A. 1st Gentile dominion (Babylon) over Israel (Dan. 1:1‣-5:31‣)
1. Jews obtain favor in 1st Gentile dominion: Daniel and friends trained to serve during captivity of Judah (Dan. 1:1-21‣).
2. Times of the Gentiles from man’s perspective (glorious): Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:1-48‣).
a) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image composed of four metals (Dan. 2:1-23‣).
b) Daniel interprets the dream (Dan. 2:24-45‣).
c) Gentile confession of God’s glory: Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:46-48‣).
3. Gentile rejection of God’s revelation (Dan. 3:1‣-4:3‣).
a) An eternal Babylonian kingdom: an image entirely of gold (Dan. 3:1-2‣).
b) Divine honor claimed by man: Nebuchadnezzar’s image as object of worship (Dan. 3:3-7‣).
c) Supernatural preservation of Jews amidst 1st Gentile dominion: furnace (Dan. 3:8-27‣).
d) Gentile Confession of God’s Glory: Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3:28‣-4:3‣).
4. Revelation of character of Gentile rule: Nebuchadnezzar turned into a beast (Dan. 4:4-37‣).
a) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great tree chopped down (Dan. 4:4-18‣).
b) Daniel interprets the dream (Dan. 4:19-27‣).
c) God’s judgment of pride: Nebuchadnezzar shown to be a beast (Dan. 4:28-33‣).
d) Gentile confession of God’s glory: Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:34-37‣).
5. Times of the Gentiles from God’s perspective (beastly): Belshazzar (Dan. 7:1‣-8:27‣).
a) Daniel’s vision of four beasts (Dan. 7:1-28‣).
(1) The vision of beasts (Dan. 7:1-15‣).
(2) An angel interprets the vision (Dan. 7:16-27‣).
(3) Daniel’s reaction to the vision and its interpretation (Dan. 7:28‣).
b) Daniel’s vision of a ram and a goat (Dan. 8:1-27‣).
(1) The vision of a ram and a goat (Dan. 8:1-14‣).
(2) An angel interprets the vision (Dan. 8:15-26‣).
(3) Daniel’s reaction to the vision and its interpretation (Dan. 8:27‣).
6. 1st Gentile dominion (Babylon) judged: Belshazzar (Dan. 5:26-30‣).
a) Desecration of God’s holy vessels: Belshazzar’s feast (Dan. 5:1-4‣).
b) God’s judgment of pride: handwriting on the wall (Dan. 5:5-6‣).
c) Gentile astrologers and wise men unable to understand the revelation (Dan. 5:7-8‣).
d) Daniel interprets the message (Dan. 5:9-29‣).
e) 1st Gentile dominion overthrown (Dan. 5:30‣).
B. 2nd Gentile dominion (Medo-Persia) over Israel (Dan. 5:31‣-11:1‣)
1. Jews obtain favor in 2nd Gentile dominion: Daniel promoted to governorship (Dan. 5:31‣-6:3‣).
2. Divine honor claimed by man: Darius as object of prayer (Dan. 6:4-17‣).
3. Supernatural preservation of Jews amidst 2nd Gentile dominion: lion’s den (Dan. 6:18-24‣).
4. Gentile confession of God’s glory: Darius (Dan. 6:25-28‣).
5. Restoration of Israel follows Times of the Gentiles: Seventy Sevens (Dan. 9:1-27‣).
a) Daniel’s intercession for the Jews and Jerusalem (Dan. 9:1-19‣).
b) Gabriel’s message of the Seventy Sevens (Dan. 9:20-27‣).
C. Remaining Gentile dominion over Israel until the end of the age: Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Antichrist (Dan. 10:1‣-12:13‣).
1. Daniel’s vision of the glorious man (Dan. 10:1-9‣).
2. Daniel’s reaction to the vision and ministry by angels (Dan. 10:10-20‣).
3. Angel explains scriptural truth concerning the times until the end of the age (Dan. 10:21‣-12:13‣).
a) The remaining kings of Medo-Persia (Dan. 10:21‣-11:2‣).
b) The king of Greece and four successor kings (Dan. 11:3-4‣).
c) The kings of the North and South: Seleucids and Ptolemies (Dan. 11:5-20‣).
d) Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dan. 11:21-35‣).
e) Last Gentile dominion: Antichrist (Dan. 11:36-45‣).
(1) Divine honor claimed by man: Worship of Antichrist and his image (Dan. 11:36-39‣).
(2) Last Gentile dominion judged (Dan. 11:40-45‣)
f) Supernatural preservation of the Jews amidst last Gentile dominion: the tribulation (Dan. 12:1-3‣).
g) The end of the age (Dan. 12:4-13‣).
A Whoever sheds
B the blood
C of man
C´ by man shall
B´ his blood
A´ be shed.The parallel or contrasting elements of a chiasm are generally labeled to clarify their correspondence (i.e., A-A´, B-B´, C-C´). The purpose of chiasm is to draw the reader’s attention to the relationship between the parallel or contrasting elements which, upon meditation, provide additional insight into the passage.For example, the chiasm in Genesis 9:6 provides a number of insights which might be overlooked on a simple reading of the verse: (A-A´) The verse teaches the principle of lex talionis or “law of retribution:” that the perpetrator of a crime will receive what was done to the victim (“whoever sheds . . . shall be shed,” Lev. 24:19-20; Pr. 24:29; Mat. 5:38.); (B-B´) the emphasis upon blood connects the verse with the biblical teaching that life is in the blood and remission of sin is by the spilling of blood (Lev. 17:11); (C-C´) underscores the principle of human government: when the blood of man is spilled in murder, it would be the responsibility of other men to enforce judgment in the place of God (cf. Gen. 4:10-12).Sometimes, as in the example above, the chiastic structure is so clear it can hardly be denied. In other situations, the chiasms are less obvious, but still undeniable once they are seen. There are cases, however, where chiasms can be the subjective creation of the observer and imposed upon the text. So caution is needed when identifying chiasms.Many people who approach the book of Daniel for the first time come away with a strange feeling that somehow the book has structure beyond what is readily apparent, but they have difficulty putting their finger on exactly what it is. It is our belief this is evidence of the purposeful chiasms within the book.As in the above example, the chiastic structure of Daniel reflects a concentric organization based on parallel relationships:
In 1972 Lenglet wrote that chapters 2-7 were a literary unit, not only because of the commonality of Aramaic but also because they were carefully composed in a concentric structure. He observed that there was a paralleling relationship between chapters 2 and 7 [Fourfold periodization of Gentile powers to rule over Israel], 3 and 6 [Divine deliverance of those faithful to God (from the furnace vs. from the lion’s den)], and 4 and 5 [Divine humbling of Babylonian King], based on similar thematic concerns.30
Indeed, its structure is finely balanced, forming a neat chiastic arrangement of material, chapters 2 and 7 presenting visions of a fourfold periodization of earth’s historical and political succession, chapters 3 and 6 depicting specific adventures (told in characteristic “U shaped” plot) that test the faith of Daniel and his three friends, and chapters 4 and 5 (the centerpiece of the chiasmus) relating details illustrating divine dealings aimed at trying the character of two Babylonian kings.31The following table is based upon insights from Patterson.32 As will be seen, the chiastic structure of Daniel involves parallels, symmetry (mirror-like reflection) and repeated sequences.
|Aspect||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6||Chapter 7|
|Subject||4 Metals (Future)||Nebuchadnezzar’s Proclamation (Faith)||Nebuchadnezzar’s Writing (Character)||Belshazzar’s Writing (Character)||Darius’ Proclamation (Faith)||4 Beasts (Future)|
a Daniel vs. Wisemen
c Dream (now past)
a´ Daniel vs. Wisemen
c´ Dream (yet future)
|Tension||Daniel vs. Wisemen||Accusation of 3 youths||God vs. pride of Nebuchadnezzar||God vs. pride of Belshazzar||Accusation of Daniel||Beast vs. Saints|
|Action||Dream interpreted by Daniel||Refusal to worship man’s image||Predicted, interpreted, fulfilled: Gentile king judged (Nebuchadnezzar)||Predicted, interpreted, fulfilled: Gentile king judged (Belshazzar)||Refusal to pray to man||Dream interpreted by Angel|
|Rescue||4 youths and wisemen (Jews and Gentiles)||3 youths (Jews)||Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar restored)||Israel33||Daniel (a Jew)||Saints resurrected (Jews and Gentiles)34|
1“The book lends itself readily to a division into two sections: chapters 1 to 6, consisting of narratives set against an historical background, and chapters 7 to 12, comprising the visions of Daniel. Similarity of subject-matter appears to have been the predominant consideration for such a grouping, and while in the first division a general chronological order was observed, in the second the visions were related to one another in terms of theme and content rather than the actual time when they were supposed to have been experienced. Elementary as this bifid division is, it has led a great many scholars to conclude that Daniel was a composite work. Spinoza and Sir Isaac Newton were among early exponents of this view, . . .”—Roland K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Prince Press, 1969, 1999), 1107.
2There are a few exceptions where the text records Daniel praying or attributing his actions and abilities to God (e.g., Dan. 2:23-24‣, 30‣; 5:17‣; 6:22‣).
3“In chapters 1-6 the stories are consistently narrated from the third person in regard to Daniel. An example of this is in 1:8. ‘But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food.’ Daniel’s thoughts and actions are described in the third person, as though the stories are being narrated by an imaginary author. Exceptions to this (e.g., Dan. 2:27-45‣) occur in passages that appear as quotations of Daniel’s speech. In chapters 8‣-12‣, however, the material is narrated from the first-person perspective. ‘In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king a vision appeared to me, Danielà . And I looked in the vision’ (8:1‣). In general the remainder of the book is narrated in the first person (though the introduction to the final unit [10:1-3‣] quickly shifts from the third person to the first). Chapter 7‣, however, is technically in the third person, though in practicality it is in the first. That is, the whole chapter is presented as a ‘summary’ of Daniel’s vision, in which the vision is communicated from the perspective of the first person.”—J. Paul Tanner, “The Literary Structure of the Book of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 137 no. 545 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, January-March 1968), 280.
4“The employment of the two languages points to an equally valid division, which has to do with the identity of the people concerned, rather than the literary criteria. For want of better terms, these two divisions may be called by the names ‘Jewish’ and ‘Gentile.’ The first chapter of the book clearly places itself in the ‘Jewish’ category, . . . The eighth chapter is again in this group, . . . The ninth chapter belongs to the same group, . . . Then the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth chapters must also be so classified, . . . The intervening seven chapters, however, place matters pertaining to Gentile history to the fore.”—Leon J. Wood, A Commentary on Daniel (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 18.
5The presentation of material out of chronological order is also an intentional device encountered in the gospels.
6“The key role of chapter 7 , so important to the full teaching of Daniel, thus gains wider significance as an interpretative key for Old Testament eschatology.”—Richard D. Patterson, “The Key Role of Daniel 7,” in Grace Theological Journal, vol. 12 no. 2 (Grace Seminary, Fall 1991), 257.
7Carl Friedrich Keil, “Daniel,” in Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), s.v. “Integrated Organization.”
8Patterson, The Key Role of Daniel 7, 251.
9For example: “It is of crucial importance to note that in detailing the events of these future end-time days, John draws upon the material presented under Daniel’s predictions relative to the fourth kingdom/era.” [emphasis added]—Patterson, The Key Role of Daniel 7, 260. “If indeed John is consciously introducing major sections of his book by the Daniel 2‣ allusion—which in view of the above discussion seems to be the case—a further conclusion possibly can be drawn . . .” [emphasis added]—G. K. Beale, “The Influence of Daniel Upon the Structure and Theology Of John’s Apocalypse,” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, vol. 27 no. 4 (Evangelical Theological Society, December 1984), 419.
10Dan. 12:4‣; Rev. 1:11‣, 19‣; 2:1‣, 8‣, 12‣; 3:1‣, 7‣, 12‣, 14‣; 10:4‣; 14:13‣; 19:9‣; 21:5‣.
11Dan. 7:15-16‣, 28‣; 8:27‣; 10:20‣; 12:8‣; 1Pe. 1:10-11; Rev. 7:13-14‣.
12John Calvin, Commentary on The Prophet Daniel (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1998, 1561), s.v. “Preface.”
14Assuming Daniel was born in 620 B.C.
15“It is most likely that Daniel and his friends were somewhere around 15 years old when taken captive. And the fact that Daniel lived through the entire seventy year period, and beyond, would support his youthfulness at the very beginning of the captivity.”—Paul Benware, Daniel’s Prophecy of Things to Come (Clifton, TX: Scofield Ministries, 2007), Dan. 1:3. “We know [Daniel is] about 14 for the reason that the kind of training, this three year training was the ancient form of high school, so we guess that [he was] around 14.”—Charles Clough, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso, [transcriber], 2006), 2.24. “Now we know from what Plato tells us about the operation of the Babylonians that the standard age for developing their training was at 14.”—Robert Dean, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso [transcriber], 2006), 3.33. “He was perhaps about 14 years old.”—Arno Clemens Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel: A Key to the Visions and Prophecies of the Book of Daniel, 2nd (New York, NY: Our Hope, 1911), 13. “Plato, Alcibiades 1:121, states that the education of Persian youths began in their 14th year, and Xenophon, Cy., 1, 2 mentions the 16th or 17th years as the close.”—Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1949, 1998), Dan. 1:5..
16Andrew E Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2011), 159, 349.
18Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, 349.
19This date cannot be established with certainty. See Daniel 3:1 for a discussion of various views.
20Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, 349.
21This occurred 12 months after Nebuchadnezzar’s warning vision (Dan. 4:28‣). Steinmann takes the duration of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity (“seven times”, Dan. 4:16‣) to be a period less than 7 years. [Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, 173-174] See commentary on Daniel 4:1.
22Anderson places this vision in 541 B.C. [Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, 10th ed (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1894, 1957), 28n2].
23Some take this as 536: [C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1986), 291], [Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, 349].
24“Each of the four visions opens with a chronological notice (Dan. 7:1‣; 8:1‣; 9:1‣; 10:1‣) that signals its beginning and places the vision in chronological order. However, it should be noted that the visions overlap the narratives in time sequence.”—Andrew E Steinmann, Daniel (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2008), 21.
26Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, 349.
27Anderson places this vision in 541 B.C. [Anderson, The Coming Prince, 28n2].
28Interestingly, Culver concluded that an outline based on chronological order was out of the question. “Although the book contains much history and is accurate in its historical statements, an outline according to historical sequence of the events described is out of the question. The oracles are not in chronological order. Neither are the historical pieces. Even if rearranged in chronological order, they would not admit of logical arrangement or analysis in such position.”—Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1954, 1977), 105.
29James Patrick Holding, “Debunking the Documentary Hypothesis,” in TJ: The In-Depth Journal of Creation, vol. 19 no. 3 (Answers in Genesis, 2005), 38.
30Tanner, The Literary Structure of the Book of Daniel, 273.
31Patterson, The Key Role of Daniel 7, 250.
33Both Israel and the temple vessels were “rescued” at the overthrow of Babylon by Medo-Persia (Jer. 25:12) leading to their return to Jerusalem under Cyrus.
34Within the context of the book of Daniel, the “saints” of chapter 7 are understood to be Jews. The Gentile component of those persecuted and resurrected becomes clear from other passages, especially in the NT.