Study Guide

Book of Daniel Summary

Book of Daniel Summary

The book of Daniel begins with King Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon, ransacking Jerusalem. He ends up taking back the cream of the crop, the most elite and noble Israelites, to serve at his court in Babylon. Daniel and his friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—have to navigate between the demands Nebuchadnezzar is putting on them and their own religious principles. Ultimately, Daniel is able to stick to his guns—by avoiding un-Kosher Babylonian cuisine, for example—and proves to be of use to the king by helping interpret his dreams, like the one involving a particularly scary statue that symbolizes different world empires.

Daniel's friends are able to demonstrate their own faithfulness to God by surviving when Nebuchadnezzar throws them into a fiery furnace (nice going, Neb). Pop culture note: The saga of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was immortalized (not that it wasn't already immortal) in the Veggie Tales episode "Rack, Shack, and Benny," in which Nebuchadnezzar (a cucumber—or maybe a pickle?) tries to make everyone worship a giant chocolate bunny. (Is your mind blown yet?)

After seeing God save Shadrach and Company, Nebuchadnezzar forgets the moral lesson he's just learned and keeps thinking that he's the center of the universe. God remedies this by making him go insane and wander on all fours in the wilderness with the animals for seven years. He recovers by finally acknowledging God as supreme.

Next, after Nebuchadnezzar ends his reign as someone piously testifying to the Jewish God, we see his grandson Belshazzar totally messing it all up again. At an out-of-control drinking and feasting party, Belshazzar and his wives and guests drink out of sacred vessels that were stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem. A hand—disconnected from any body—appears and writes a message on the wall in Hebrew. Daniel reads and interprets it for the guests and explains that it means the party's over: Belshazzar and his kingdom are both going to fall. And fall they do—Belshazzar gets killed that night and the Medes and Persians take over.

Next, during the reign of Darius the Mede, Darius' governors and officials scheme against Daniel and trick Darius into passing a law that condemns Daniel into being thrown into a Lion's Den for worshipping his God. Like with Shadrach and pals, God saves Dan, while the conspirators meet the grisly fate he had just avoided.

After the first six chapters, the trippy part begins. Daniel sees various visions, all of them symbolizing future events that are going to take place.

  • Chapter 1

    Exile on (Babylon's) Main Street

    • The story begins when Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieges Jerusalem. He breaks in, conquers the city, and captures the king and some of the sacred vessels dedicated to God in the temple.
    • After this mad-cap spree, the king orders his palace master Ashpenaz to take some of the royal and well-educated Israelites and bring them back to Babylon to serve at the king's palace. Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are among the people who get exiled to Babylon.
    • The palace master makes them cash in their Hebrew names for slick, new Babylonian ones. Daniel receives the totally metal name of "Belteshazzar"; Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah become respectively "Shadrach," "Meshach," and "Abednego."

     Um, is this Kosher?

    • Immediately, Daniel n' pals run into a problem. The king offers them daily rations of fine Babylonian cuisine and wine—but the food isn't kosher.
    • Fortunately, God has mercy on Daniel by making the palace master merciful. After some back and forth, he gives Daniel, Shadrach, and co. permission to do a trial run: they'll "go veg" for ten days, eating nothing but water and vegetables. If they don't look worse than everyone else after that time, they can consider the next step to take.
    • Of course, they end up looking better than the people who are chowing down on the Babylonian cheeseburgers and lobster rolls (or whatever they were serving), and they're allowed to keep eating appropriate kosher and vegetarian meals.
    • Rather than collapsing from weakness, Daniel and his friends load up on wisdom, knowledge, and skills—all provided by God. Daniel also receives the ability to interpret dreams and visions, which will prove handy pretty soon.
    • When Nebuchadnezzar finally calls in the elite Israelites, after their training in Babylonian ways has been completed, he discovers that no one is wiser or more knowledgeable than Daniel and his friends. They're superior to all the Babylonian wise men, as well.
    • The book notes that Daniel remained in Nebuchadnezzar's court until the first year the Persian king Cyrus came to reign.
  • Chapter 2

    Insomniac King

    • One night, King Nebuchadnezzar has a disturbing dream. It's so bad, that he's not able to get any sleep thereafter.
    • He calls in his Babylonian magicians and enchanters and asks them for help, but he refuses to tell them (quite unreasonably) what the dream actually was. They need to both tell him the dream he had and interpret it. He says that if they fail to come through, he's going to tear them "limb from limb" and lay their houses "in ruins." But if someone can tell him the dream and interpret it, they'll get showered with riches and rewards.
    • Sensibly, the wise men ask a second time for Nebuchadnezzar to tell them the dream so they can interpret it. The king says they're just trying to buy time, and they reply that no one can satisfy his insane demand, except for the gods. The king orders them all to be put to death.

    Calling in the A-Team

    • Daniel and his friends are also arrested and slated to be executed—even though they apparently weren't present when the king had his initial freak-out and ordered every one dead. So, they don't know what's going on.
    • Daniel asks the king's head executioner Arioch why the king's death decree is falling on everyone so suddenly and without warning? Arioch fills him in on the situation.
    • So Daniel goes into Nebuchadnezzar and asks for a little time to discover the dream and relay the interpretation. Nebby agrees.
    • Daniel goes and tells Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to ask God for help, and their prayers are effective. During the night, Daniel has a vision which reveals the dream and its interpretation.
    • Clearly relieved and happy, Daniel sings a song of praise to God, citing God's supreme power and knowledge, his control over even the destiny of kings. He thanks God for rescuing him from his scrape with death.
    • He goes to Arioch and tells him not to kill the wise men—the day is about to be saved.

    Smashing a Statue

    • Daniel is brought in before Nebuchadnezzar. When Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel if he's able to help, Daniel gives all the credit to God, and says that all the wise men and enchanters are incapable of revealing these kinds of mysteries. He says that God gave Nebuchadnezzar his dream to show him what the future has in store.
    • Finally, Daniel launches into the actual description of the dream and its interpretation: King Nebuchadnezzar saw a giant, frightening statue of a human being—one with a head of gold, a chest and arms of silver, a stomach and thighs of bronze, lower legs made of iron, and feet made of mixed iron and clay.
    • Suddenly, he sees a stone—one not made by human hands—hit the statue on its weak part-clay, part-iron feet. The statue collapses into pieces and gets blown away by the wind. But the stone turns into a giant mountain that covers the entire earth.

    Like a Rolling Stone

    • Daniel goes on to interpret the dream: King Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold, the silver part of the statue is an inferior kingdom that will replace him, and the bronze part is a third kingdom that will "rule over the whole earth." The iron kingdom will be one that "crushes and smashes everything." The kingdom will get divided, symbolized by the clay and iron feet. It will be partly strong and partly fragile.
    • The stone thrown at the statue symbolizes the kingdom of God, which will utterly annihilate all these other kingdoms and permanently replace them, standing for all time.
    • Nebuchadnezzar is really impressed by this interpretation, bows down and worships Daniel and orders grain and incense offered to him. He also praises Daniel's God, saying he's clearly the "God of gods" for allowing Daniel to solve the king's puzzling dream.
    • The king gives Daniel a huge promotion, making him ruler of the province of Babylon (sort of like the mayor or maybe the county commissioner) and chief of all the Babylonian wise men (who just escaped mass extermination).
    • Remembering his friends, Daniel gets Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego cushy positions, helping him oversee the everyday business of Babylon.
    • Daniel remains a servant at the king's court until Babylon falls.
  • Chapter 3

    More Problems with Statuary

    • Perhaps taking a leaf out of the disturbing dream vision he just had interpreted, Nebuchadnezzar builds a giant golden statue and sets it up on a plain near Babylon.
    • His reverence for Daniel's God apparently evaporating, Nebuchadnezzar gathers together all the officials and VIPs from throughout the Babylonian Empire and its different nations and languages. He invites them to come to the statue's dedication ceremony.
    • When everyone is assembled, they are ordered to bow down and worship the golden statue when the music strikes up—or else they'll be thrown into a fiery furnace.
    • Apparently, everyone bows down and does as their told.
    • Well… almost everyone. Some Babylonians attack Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for being disobedient and failing to honor the statue.
    • Nebuchadnezzar flips out—which is mainly what he does—and orders the Jewish trio to be brought in. He asks them if what their accusers say is true.
    • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego immediately admit to not worshipping the statue. They say that their God is powerful enough to save them from the fiery furnace. If they can survive, it'll prove that their God is, indeed, pretty powerful.

    Nebuchadnezzar, Re-Flummoxed 

    • Snarling with rage, Nebuchadnezzar arranges for them to get tossed into the furnace. He orders the furnace to be extra toasty, warming it up to seven times its normal temperature.
    • Nebuchadnezzar's henchmen prepare to toss the fully clothed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace, but the cronies get burned to death in the process of chucking the trio into the furnace.
    • Nebuchadnezzar is shocked to see that there appear to be more than three people in the fire. There's a fourth person present, who looks like "a song of the gods." And he's walking, alive with the other three.
    • Dazzled and impressed, Nebuchadnezzar calls Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego out of the fire. They emerge completely unscathed—to the surprise of all the king's officials.
    • Learning the same lesson over again, Nebuchadnezzar hails the God of the Jews, saying that he sent an angel to save them in the fire.
    • Nebuchadnezzar then outlaws blasphemy against the Jewish God, saying anyone who breaks this rule will be "torn limb from limb" and their houses will be destroyed. He marvels that only this God could've managed to rescue someone from such certain death.
    • He hands around further promotions to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (good times).
  • Chapter 4

    A Night of Unsettling Dreams

    • King Nebuchadnezzar addresses all the people of his empire, praising "The Most High God." But then he flashes back into a crazy tale—turns out, he wasn't always the kind of person who acknowledged "The Most High God."
    • He begins by discussing another deeply disturbing dream he had. (Nebuchadnezzar is telling this story, looking back on things that already happened—but chronologically, the dream happens sometime after the fiery furnace debacle ends.)
    • He sees a massive tree, spreading out over the earth, full of fruit, and providing shade and shelter and food to all the animals and birds.
    • But a "holy watcher" (some kind of angel) comes down from heaven and orders the tree cut down. The angel says it should be stripped of its leaves and branches, and left as a mere stump covered with a "band of iron and bronze."
    • It becomes clear that the tree symbolizes a human being, since the angel then says that "he" should be bathed in dew and have his mind changed from that of a human into that of a beast. "He" will need to stay that way until "seven times" (seven years) have passed over him.
    • The angel says that this needs to happen because the holy watchers want the symbolic human tree to realize that there is no one above the Most High.

    Tree-Fallin', Now He's Tree-Fallin' 

    • Nebuchadnezzar again calls on Daniel to interpret the dream. Daniel obliges, but says that he wishes the dream were meant for Nebuchadnezzar's enemies. But as it is, the dream is meant for Nebuchadnezzar—he is the tree that is going to get cut down
    • Daniel explains that Nebuchadnezzar is like the tree. Since he's king of this huge empire, he's responsible for giving everyone food and shelter and protection.
    • But Nebuchadnezzar is about to get cut down to size. He's going to go mad, flee human society, and live out in the woods with the wild animals, eating grass for food. After seven years, he'll get back his sanity and acknowledge the Most High God.
    • Daniel doesn't say that Nebuchadnezzar can avoid this fate, but he advises him to atone for his sins by becoming more righteous and to be merciful to the oppressed.

    Beasty Boy

    • Skip ahead twelve months: Nebuchadnezzar—still sane—is walking around on the rooftop of his palace in Babylon, admiring his city.
    • He starts musing aloud to himself, rhetorically asking if this isn't a pretty awesome city, dedicated to his own personal glory and majesty.
    • At that moment, a voice from heaven announces to him that the sentence is going to be fulfilled against him. He's going to lose control out in the kingdom and go mad in the wilderness.
    • And he does go mad. It all happens exactly as it was predicted: he ends up growing his hair "as long as eagle feathers" and his fingernails and toenails become like talons.
    • Finally, seven years later, he regains his sanity and his kingdom when he suddenly confesses that there is no one higher than God. He recites a hymn praising God and implying—by stating that God's kingdom endures forever—that he is far more powerful than any earthly king.
    • So, like Job, he regains everything that he had lost, and "still more greatness was added to me."
    • He concludes with a final brief hymn, saying that God "is able to bring low, those who walk in pride"—a pretty obvious reference to the way he used to be.
  • Chapter 5

    Drinking the Kool-Aid

    • Fast forward to the future: a new Babylonian ruler, King Belshazzar, is partying with a bunch of revelers like it's 1999.
    • Things start to get out of hand when Belshazzar demands the sacred vessels his father (in historical reality, his grandfather) Nebuchadnezzar stole from the temple in Jerusalem—so that he, his wives, and his concubines can all drink out of them. They go ahead and do this, all while praising their Babylonian deities who are associated with the elements of nature.
    • Midway through this blasphemous chug-a-thon, a magical human hand appears in the air and starts writing something on the wall. When Belshazzar sees this, he turns pale, his limbs grow weak, his knees knock together. He has a classic freak out.
    • When the hand has finished writing and vanished, Belshazzar calls in the Babylonian wise men, enchanters, and fortune tellers—but they're unable to decode the message. This causes Belshazzar to be even more perturbed.

    Queen Knows Best

    • Finally, the queen recommends Daniel. She knows that he's smart, wise, and "endowed with a spirit from the holy gods." She states that Nebuchadnezzar found him extremely useful on multiple occasions. Belshazzar takes her advice.
    • Daniel enters and Belshazzar elaborately beseeches him and asks if he can help, promising a reward.

    Measure Up

    • Dan answers by saying that Belshazzar should save his promises and rewards for somebody else. He then launches into a little moral and historical lesson, explaining that "the Most High God" gave Nebuchadnezzar power and greatness, which allowed him to do whatever he wanted as king. But God proved to Nebuchadnezzar that only God was really in charge, by making him live in the wild with the animals for seven years and forcing Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge God. Yet, says Daniel, Belshazzar failed to learn the same lesson and become humble. Plus, he defiled the sacred Temple vessels. Belshazzar and his revelers also paid homage to gods of the natural elements, which says Daniel "do not see or hear or know," instead of worshipping the true God.
    • Finally, having made his point, Daniel turns to interpret the writing on the wall. It's a set of Hebrew words for different weight measurement: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin.
    • Mene, says Daniel, means that God has numbered the days of Belshazzar's kingdom and is now bringing it to an end. Tekel means that Belshazzar has personally failed the test of measuring up as a worthy and humble ruler. And Peres (the singular form of Parsin) means that his kingdom will fall and be divided by the Medes and the Persians.
    • Even though Daniel said Belshazzar shouldn't waste time awarding him, he awards him anyway—making him third in the kingdom.
    • In short order, the next sentence informs us that Belshazzar was killed later that night, and "Darius the Mede" took over the city.
  • Chapter 6

    IT'SATRAP!

    • Daniel is able to retain his high position, even though the Babylonian Empire has just fallen to pieces. He continues to serve as one of Darius the Mede's top three men—presidents who supervise the one hundred twenty satraps that help govern the kingdom (a "satrap" is basically a state governor).
    • But the other two presidents and the satraps all get jealous of Daniel. He's been doing so good that Darius is planning to make him his number one president, ruling over everyone else except for the king.
    • The satraps can't find anything to discredit Daniel with in his own life, since he's a pretty clean-living and incorruptible guy. So they devise a plot.
    • The satraps go to Darius and start to kiss up to him. They convince him to sign a document ordering everyone to pray to him and worship him—and only him—for thirty days, or else they'll be thrown into a den full of lions.

    How Many Traps Would a Satrap Trap if a Satrap Could Trap Traps?

    • Daniel pays no attention to the new rule and continues to pray to God at his window facing Jerusalem.
    • The satraps go to Darius and tell him what Daniel is doing. But the king really likes Daniel and makes every effort he can to save him. Still, the satraps tell him that he can't change his own laws.
    • So Darius orders Daniel thrown into the lion's den—though, before it happens, Darius tells Daniel that he hopes God can save him. After Daniel is put inside, the den is sealed over with a giant boulder.
    • After heading home, Darius refuses to eat. He fasts and is unable to sleep, as well.

    Satraps Entrapped by Their Own Trap

    • The next day, Darius heads down to the den to see if God saved Daniel. And he has: Daniel is fine and answers the king when Darius calls to him. Dan explains that God's angel showed up and made sure the lions' mouths stayed shut. So, Daniel is saved, and Darius allows him to be taken out of the den.
    • But the king punishes the people who conspired against Daniel—not only the satraps and presidents, but their wives and children are chucked into the lions' den. The lions start to devour them and crunch their bones before they even hit the floor (ew).
    • Like Nebuchadnezzar before him, Darius issues a proclamation, telling everyone that they need to respect and fear Daniel's God. He pays tribute to God for saving Daniel and says that God's kingdom will outlast all others.
    • The chapter ends, stating that Daniel went on to do pretty well for himself, both during Darius' reign and that of the next king: Cyrus.
  • Chapter 7

    The Little Arrogant Horn that Could

    • Now, the short stories end and the trippy visions start… This all happened back in the bad old days when Belshazzar was still ruling. While he was cuddled up in bed—whether asleep or watching Conan, the book doesn't say—Daniel had "visions of the night," which he then wrote down.
    • Daniel describes how he saw the four winds blowing on the ocean. Four different beasts come up from the sea (apparently connected to or activated by the wind).
    • The first beast is a lion with eagle's wings. He loses the wings and is stood upright, like a human being, and is given a human heart.
    • The next beast is a bear, chewing on three ribs. A voice says to the bear, "Arise, devour much flesh." (So, so far, this isn't too different from the climactic sequence of any old '90s Power Rangers episode, really.)
    • The third beast is a leopard with four bird wings—oh, and four heads. It is given "dominion" over a kingdom of some sort.
    • The fourth beast is the worst and most terrible—its teeth are made of iron. It's totally different from all the beasts that came before it. It tramples the pieces of the things it's crushed and destroyed and devoured. Plus, it has ten horns (the sharp, pokey kind—not saxophones).
    • Now things get seriously far out: a little horn pops up and knocks out three of the other horns. And the little horn has human eyes, and speaks arrogantly from its mouth. Nothing to see here, just a pretty typical horn.

    Golden Oldie

    • This arrogant horn gets interrupted, when God—"an Ancient One" or "The Ancient of Days"—appears on a throne, with other thrones set in place around him.
    • God is wearing snow-white clothing, with a white wooly mane of hair. His throne is made of fire and the wheels of the throne—we guess it doubles as a chariot—are also made of fire. A stream of fire (there's lots of fire in this scene) is also coming out from his presence.
    • The number of angels serving him is enormous: "a thousand thousands" or "ten thousand times ten thousand." That's short hand for "a lot."
    • The divine court is in session and God's law books are open.
    • But despite this epic, Disney World style laser, fire, and light show, the little horn (yeah, it's still here, by the way) keeps gibbering on arrogantly. The fourth beast, the one containing the little arrogant horn, gets put to death (presumably by God or by the angels). Though the other beasts lose their dominions, their lives are prolonged.
    • Then, Daniel sees "one like a human being" who comes with the clouds of heaven. He arrives at the feet of The Ancient of Days. God gives him the dominions that all the other beasts have just lost, except that the "one like a human being" isn't going to lose his kingdom. It's going to last forever.

    The Man Who Would Be King

    • Daniel is way terrified by all these visions of God and arrogant, talking horns. So he approaches one of God's attendants (an angel of some sort) to get the scoop on what's going on.
    • Now, the interpretation starts: the angel says that the beasts represent four kings—but they're all going to fall at some point. Only the "holy ones of the Most High" are going to endure and rule the kingdom forever.
    • Like any reasonable person, Daniel is particularly interested in knowing what was going on with the last beast and with the crazy horn drama. Daniel says that, after the little horn beat the other horns, he could see it making war against God's holy ones—that is, until the Ancient One showed up, judged the little horn, and gave the kingdom to the Holy Ones.
    • The angel replies, saying that the last beast is going to be the worst kingdom of all. It's going to tear stuff up, smash stuff down, wreck the entire earth—just generally be nasty. 
    • The ten horns symbolize ten kings who will arise out of that empire. But the little horn symbolizes an especially bad king who will attack and put down three other kings.
    • The little horn king is going to speak against God, persecute the holy ones (the Jews), and mess around with their laws and holy days. But the holy ones will only be in his power for "a time, two times, and half a time."
    • Then, the little horn king is going to be judged by God. His kingdom will be taken from him and given to the holy ones, who will rule and live in it forever.
    • Daniel ends the chapter by saying that all of these visions really scared him and made his face turn pale. But he kept thinking about them anyway.
  • Chapter 8

    Billy Goats Get Gruff

    • Daniel records that this is his second vision, also coming during the reign of King Belshazzar. He sees himself in the city of Susa (which will be the Persian capital), in the province of Elam, by the river Ulai.
    • Suddenly, a ram shows up. But not just any ram. This ram has two horns. (Actually, that might sound like pretty ordinary ram stuff—but they're pretty long horns.) The one horn is a lot longer than the other, though. The ram starts charging around, beating down all the beasts in sight and ruling over everything. He's getting stronger, improving his mad ram skills in the process.
    • But lo! Another male goat shows up. This goat has one horn, right between its eyes. He charges the first ram "with savage force." He smashes the ram's two horns, knocks it over, and gives it a good trampling. Triumphant, the male goat gets super-buff. But at the height of its power, its big single horn gets broken and is replaced by four smaller horns.
    • Out of one of these four horns comes a little horn. The little horn grows in power over the east, the south, and "the beautiful land."
    • Now, the goat's rampage gets cosmic. He attacks the heavenly host and knocks some of the stars and angels out of the sky and tramples on them.
    • The angry angel-attacking goat continues his blasphemous outrages by taking away the burnt-offering from the prince of the heavenly host and overthrowing his sanctuary. The goat throws truth on the ground and keeps growing in power and wealth.
    • Daniel sees one "holy one" asking another how long this is going to be allowed to happen. The other "holy one" says that the sanctuary will get restored after two thousand three hundred days.

    Just Ask Gabe

    • After seeing this part of the vision, Daniel has trouble trying to understand it. Suddenly, someone appears before him, and a voice calls out from the river Ulai, revealing that the person who has just appeared is none other than the Angel Gabriel. The voice urges Gabriel to help Daniel understand the vision.
    • Daniel bows down and falls prostrate in front of Gabriel. Helpfully, Gabriel explains that the vision is of the end times.
    • Daniel falls into a trance and then Gabriel sets him back on his feet. Gabe says that the first two-horned ram represents Persia and Media with their two kings (who defeat Babylon and conquer a huge kingdom). The male goat with one horn is Greece. The horn is Alexander the Great (which the text doesn't mention by name).

    The Baddest King on the Block

    • When Alexander dies, his kingdom is split four ways by four different kings (here are the four horns that sprout out of the male goat's head, replacing the first horn).
    • Gabriel says that at the end of the rule of these four kings, when the Greek rulers have reached the peak of their evil deeds, a king will come who will outdo them all in wickedness. He will be skilled in intrigue and destructive, launching attacks on and destroying the holy ones and other people of power. He will be deceitful and really arrogant, even trying to attack the "Prince of princes."
    • But he'll be defeated eventually—though not by human beings.
    • Gabriel tells Daniel to seal up the vision and not tell anyone about it.
    • Afterward, Daniel says he fell sick and was stuck in bed for a number of days. Then he arose and went back to his job working for Belshazzar, but the vision still puzzled him.
  • Chapter 9

    Guilt Trip

    • Now we come to the reign of Darius the Mede, who ruled over the Babylonians after Belshazzar fell. In the first year of Darius' reign, Daniel says that he was reading about how the prophet Jeremiah said that Jerusalem would stay destroyed for seventy years before it could be restored.
    • So Daniel goes into fasting mode, dressing down in some sackcloth and smearing himself in ashes.
    • Dan then prays to God, praising him and confessing to him on behalf of all Jews. He says that they have been unfaithful to God's law and have acted wicked and rebelliously. They have also ignored the messages that the prophets gave to them and to their leaders.
    • Daniel continues in this vein. He says that, whereas God is righteous, Israel and Judah and their leaders and authorities need to be full of shame. He asks God for mercy and forgiveness, confessing that all of Israel has been guilty of rebellion against God's law and failing to live up to it.
    • They've violated Moses' oath to God, says Dan, and now they're paying the punishment. God has allowed Jerusalem to be conquered and plundered—something totally unprecedented in Israel's history.
    • Daniel continues confessing the sins of his people to God. He then asks God again for mercy, pleading with him to turn his wrath away from Jerusalem.
    • He asks God to turn his face towards now-desolated Jerusalem. He further asks for God's forgiveness toward a nation and a city that bear his name.

    It Gets Better (then Way Worse, then… Better Again)

    • While Daniel is seeking forgiveness from God in the course of making his prayer, Gabriel shows up again at the time reserved for evening sacrifices.
    • Gabriel tells Daniel that he is here to give him a message and says that he (Daniel) is greatly beloved by God.
    • He says that God has decreed that Jerusalem will remain desolate for seventy weeks. This is in order to atone for its sins, to allow it to regain its prophetic mission, and to anoint a holy place.
    • There will be seven weeks until Israel gets a new prince, and it will take sixty-two weeks to partly rebuild it—though that time period will still be troubled.
    • After the sixty-two weeks are over, things are going to get bad again: the soldiers of a new conqueror are going to destroy the city and an "anointed one" will be cut off from Jerusalem.
    • The new (and apparently wicked) ruler is going to be constantly fighting wars and his reign will finally end "with a flood."
    • But before that happens, the wicked ruler will make a corrupt deal that will last one week. For half of that week, he will be able to stop sacrifice and offerings to God in the temple. Instead, he will set up an "abomination that desolates" in their place, which will end when the ruler is finally destroyed and permanently defeated.
  • Chapter 10

    Scared by an Angel

    • The text says that Daniel received a message from God during the reign of King Cyrus (one of the Persian kings). It spoke of a great conflict.
    • At that time, Daniel was in mourning, eating meagerly and avoiding meat and wine (back to the vegetarian diet again). He also had stopped anointing himself.
    • While standing on the bank of the river Tigris (these things have a tendency to happen at riversides) Daniel saw a man clothed in linen and wearing a gold belt. He also has a body like beryl (a gem-like mineral) and a face like lightning. His eyes are literally fiery, his arms and legs "gleam like burnished bronze," and his voice sounds like a whole crowd of roaring people.
    • The people who were with Daniel (he mentions now that there were people with him) couldn't see the man, but they started to tremble and then wimp out anyway, running off and leaving Daniel alone.
    • Daniel of course starts to get pale and lose his strength. He falls on the ground, face-first, and goes into a trance when he hears this impressive-looking character start to speak.

    Archangel UFC

    • But the angel picks Daniel up, stands him on his feet, and tells him to listen. Daniel trembles, but the angel says he shouldn't be afraid. Because Daniel has been humble in front of God, his words have gained him a lot of press in heaven. This has caused the angel to come down and speak to him.
    • The angel says that he was locked in combat with "the Prince of Persia" (some sort of counter-angel who is a cosmic warrior in favor of Persia) for twenty-one days. The archangel Michael also helped him in waging this battle. In fact, he's the one holding down the fort so to speak, while this angel is chatting with Daniel.
    • The angel says he's going to tell Daniel things about what's going to happen to his people during the last days, now.
    • Daniel feels speechless and turns his face toward the ground, but "one in human form" (the angel) touches his lips, making him speak.
    • Dan says that he feels unworthy and too weak to be speaking with the angel. But the angel touches him and sends strength into him again, while telling him to be courageous.
    • The angel says that he still needs to go back and fight the Prince of Persia, and later the Prince of Greece, but first he will tell him words that are written in the "book of truth."
    • He also mentions the archangel Michael again, saying that he's the only one helping him to fight the Prince.
  • Chapter 11

    Age of Empires (Hellenistic Expansion Pack)

    • The angel says that he helped support Darius the Mede during his reign (who Daniel also served). But he goes on to tell Daniel that four more kings will arise in Persia, and the last of these will stir up a war with Greece. This is going to backfire terribly when a great warrior king (Alexander the Great) comes out of Greece to establish a massive empire.
    • But when Alex dies, his empire will be split four ways—not by his descendants, but by others.
    • The king of the south is going to grow in might, but one of his officers will end up gaining even more power and ruling an even bigger realm.
    • The daughter of the king of the south will try to make an agreement with the king of the north, but it won't fly. The offspring of the king of the south aren't going to be able to rule. The daughter and her attendants and children will all be "given up."
    • But "a branch from her roots"—one of her relatives—is going to rise up and fight the king of the north and win. He will carry off plunder to Egypt.
    • Then, there will be a brief period of peace, before the king of the north invades the land of the king of the south.
    • The sons of the king of the north are going to lead the massive assault. The king of the south will muster up a large army, but he's going to get defeated.

    The King in the North

    • During that time, a lot of people are going to join the fight against the king of the south—including some of the more lawless Hebrews.
    • But Daniel says that they're going to fail (even though the king of the north himself is going to win, beating the king of the south by taking over a fortified city and successfully killing the king of the south's crack troops).
    • The king of the north is able to take over Judea, the beautiful land. He then attempts to offer a woman in marriage to the king of the south. But this doesn't bring any peace or political advantage to the king of the north.
    • The king of the north will capture many people from the coastlands, but will be taken to account by an official of some sort (probably a Roman tax-collector demanding that the king of the north pay tribute to Rome). He will finally fall and disappear (probably killed when robbing a temple to get plunder to pay off Rome, for the record).

    Re-Enter Arrogant Horn Guy (This Time as a Person)

    • Another official (likely a tax-collector) will be sent out, but will fail in his mission (which may have been to loot the Jerusalem Temple).
    • Finally the big villain of these prophecies (the same as the arrogant little horn from the first vision: Antiochus IV Epiphanes) appears on the scene.
    • He will successfully attack and defeat his enemies, including the Jews who attempt to defend their religion and way of life. His skill at intrigue helps him succeed.
    • The bad king is going to keep plundering places and giving the booty to the richest people. Then, he will attack the king of the south. This time, the king of the south is going to be defeated (though not killed, apparently), with traitors from his court helping the bad king.
    • The two kings will now plot together, but to no effect.

    King of Forts

    • Now, the bad king will return back to the north and prepare to attack and persecute the Jews. But actually, instead he's going to go back to the south again and get defeated there by a fleet of ships from Kittim (Rome).
    • So now, the real persecutions start. His armies are going to attack and desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem and the Jews' fortress.
    • They're going to stop the regular burnt offering given to God, and set up "the abomination that makes desolate" (probably a statue of Zeus).
    • The king will seduce some Jews away from fulfilling their religious duties, breaking the covenant.
    • The wise Hebrews will be able to help their people, but will be attacked and killed. But the persecutions the wise suffer are a way of purifying them for the times that will come later, at the end.
    • The king will go on doing whatever he wants. He's going to act like he's greater than any god, and will say blasphemous things about God himself.
    • But he's only going to prosper for a limited time period.
    • The king will ignore all gods, and will only pay worship to a foreign god of fortresses.
    • He'll continue rewarding his cronies and selling the lands he's conquered.
    • At the end of the chapter, the angel continues the story of the future: he says that the king of the south will fight yet another war with the bad king.
    • The bad king is going to invade many lands and sweep along, fighting in Judea and Egypt. Libyans and Ethiopians will join his army.
    • He will make his war camp between the holy mountain of Jerusalem and the sea. But eventually he'll be destroyed and utterly defeated.
  • Chapter 12

    Strange Days, Indeed

    • The angel says: at that point in time, the archangel Michael will help the Jews and protect them.
    • The world will be wracked by anguish, but everyone whose name is "written in the book" will be saved.
    • At the end of time, everyone will be brought back from the dead. Some will be awakened to everlasting life and some to "shame and everlasting contempt."
    • The wise will shine with great luminousness, like stars, and lead other people to imitate them and behave well.
    • The angel tells Daniel to keep these revelations secret and not tell anyone. Evil is going to increase in the last days.

    Get Some Rest

    • Then Daniel sees two other angels, both standing on opposite sides of the river. The one asks the other (who is dressed in linen and resembles a priest) how long it will take for all these wonders to end.
    • The other replies, "a time, two times, and half a time." When the holy ones of Israel have been totally humiliated and all their power has been taken from them, then the end will come and they will be saved.
    • Daniel doesn't fully understand. He asks what the ultimate outcome of all these events is going to be.
    • The angels tell him to go his way. They say that these revelations are secrets that needed to be hidden until the end.
    • The angels say that the good will be purified and cleansed of their sins, but the wicked will keep on being wicked. The wise will be able to understand these revelations, but the wicked won't.
    • After the "abomination that desolates" is set up in the temple, there will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days, but those who manage to live until one thousand three hundred and thirty five days afterward will be happy.
    • They tell Daniel to go and rest, that he will receive his rewards when he rises from the dead at the end of days.