Book of Daniel Summary
The following is a summary of the Book of Daniel. The story recounts how Daniel and his companions are taken captive from Judea and trained as oracles for the king of Babylon. Daniel gains renown as an interpreter of dreams and receives a series of apocalyptic visions.

Chapters 13 and 14, which are not included in all versions of the Book of Daniel, are included in this summary.

Direct quotes are written in italics. Paraphrased portions are in regular type. The illustrations depict events from Daniel's life and most date from the Middle Ages.

Jump to: Nebuchadnezzar's Dream (The Statue) / The Firey Furnace / Nebuchadnezzar's Dream (The Great Tree) / The Writing on the Wall / Daniel in the Lion's Den  / Vision of the Four Beasts / Vision of the Ram and the Goat / Gabriel Reveals the Fate of Israel and Jerusalem / Vison of the Wars / Susanna and the Elders / The Priests of Bel / Daniel in the Lion's Den 

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For More Biblical Prophesy: See Book of Revelation Summary

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Chapter 1hapter 1: In approximately the year 605 BC Jerusalem is besieged by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Judah is defeated and vessels of the house of God are carried back to the land of Shinar along with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. As educated youths of noble heritage, in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and endued with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace.

They are placed under the care of the master of the eunuchs to be trained in the way of the Chaldeans, that is to interpret oracles for the king. They are given new names by the master of the eunuchs, unto Daniel he gave the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.  

The king decrees that they should receive a portion of the food and wine from his table for three years and then they should be brought before him. Daniel refuses to be defiled by the Kings food and wine and asks the master of the eunuchs if he may eat only vegetables and water. The master feels kindly towards Daniel but is worried the king will have his head if the young men do not thrive under his care.

Destruction of Jerusalem under Babylonian rule. Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493Daniel convinces the master of eunuchs to allow them ten days to prove they will not suffer and indeed after ten days, they are fairer and fatter of flesh than the other boys who had eaten the kings' food. So Daniel and his friends are allowed to continue with their meager diet, remaining undefiled.

Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. When the three years had passed and the trainees were brought before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were found to be ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his realm.

Chapter 2:  Sometime later, King has dreams that he cannot remember upon waking that are troubling him and making him unable to sleep. He calls in the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. But the interpreters cannot help him if he cannot remember the dream and protest that what he asks is known only to the gods. The king is furious and orders them all killed. Daniel convinces the king that if he will give him some time, he will give the interpretation.

The King agrees and Daniel shares the problem with his companions. They pray to God to reveal the secret so they will not be killed. Daniel is given a vision during the night and the next morning he is brought before the king to reveal the meaning.

Daniel tells him that none of his wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers could solve this problem but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets. He tells the king that his dream was of a giant statue, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, its legs of iron, its feet part of iron, and part of clay.

He hits the clay and iron feet with a rock and the statue crumbles to dust which is carried away by the wind. The stone which struck the statue becomes a great mountain which fills the whole earth.

Daniel explains that Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold and he will be followed by an inferior kingdom, then another which will rule over the entire earth. This will be followed by a fourth kingdom which will be as strong as iron but fractured and broken. During these times, God will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

Songe Nabuchodonosor statue - 15th century - artist unknownDaniel assures the King that the dream and it's meaning are certain. The king is so impressed with Daniel's revelation that declares your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets. He promotes Daniel to be governor of all of Babylon and chief of all it's wise men. Daniel takes care to see his companions are given prestigious positions in the city, but Daniel remains a close confidant of the king.

Chapter 3: King Nebuchadnezzar made himself a giant statue of gold and summoned all the officials and rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the statue. He commanded that everyone should fall down and worship the statue or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Most of the people did as he commanded but The Chaldeans complained to the King that the companions of Daniel refused to worship their gods or his statue.

Nebuchadnezzar ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego brought before him and asks if he has them killed for refusing to worship the statue, will their god deliver them from the fiery furnace? The companions answer that if it is Gods will they will be delivered but they will not worship his gods or his image either way. The king is furious and orders the furnace to be stoked and the men tossed in.

The furnace was so hot that the men who brought Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to it were killed by the heat. The companions fell into the flames but Nebuchadnezzar was astonished to see four men walking in the fire. He asked if they hadn't thrown but three men in. He answered and said, "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods."

The king called to them and they came out of the fire, unharmed. Even their clothing was unscorched. Nebuchadnezzar declared, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God."

The king decreed that death would be the penalty for anyone who spoke against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego because no other god could perform such miracles. The king then promoted them all.

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