What makes the Book of Daniel most profitable for some makes it most problematic for others. Daniel is one of the great Old Testament prophets, and these prophecies have a great deal to say about things yet to come. For the Bible-believing Christian this puts Daniel on the “must read” list. For the unbelieving skeptic, it puts the message and meaning of this great book on the “hit list.” Much that is written about Daniel, then, is written from a critical perspective. Daniel is profitable for the Christian because it describes life in Babylon during the dark days of the captivity of the Jews, in fulfillment of the prophecies God had given this wayward people. Finally, Daniel is a most profitable book because it describes the life of a very godly man, living in an ungodly world. Only about half of the Book of Daniel is prophetic; the rest is history. In the historical chapters of Daniel we find familiar stories, of Daniel in the lion’s den, and Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace. These exciting stories provide models for all of us as to how we should live in an ungodly world, until that time when the Lord fulfills His prophetic promises and returns to the earth to establish His kingdom. I urge you to make the study of Daniel a “must.” It is my hope and prayer that these messages on the Book of Daniel will stimulate and facilitate your study of this portion of God’s Word.
Among the great prophetic books of Scripture, none provides a more comprehensive and chronological prophetic view of the broad movement of history than the book of Daniel. Of the three prophetic programs revealed in Scripture, outlining the course of the nations, Israel, and the church, Daniel alone reveals the details of God’s plan for both the nations and Israel. Although other prophets like Jeremiah had much to say to the nations and Israel, Daniel brings together and interrelates these great themes of prophecy as does no other portion of Scripture. For this reason, the book of Daniel is essential to the structure of prophecy and is the key to the entire Old Testament prophetic revelation. A study of this book is, therefore, not only important from the standpoint of determining the revelation of one of the great books of the Old Testament but is an indispensable preliminary investigation to any complete eschatological system.
In the twentieth century, comparatively few important commentaries on the book of Daniel have been published. Taken as a whole no complete commentary on Daniel from the conservative point of view has been written since Leupold and Young’s work. In the light of recent scholarly discussions and considerable additional archeological evidence, the findings of both conservative and liberal scholarship published in the first half of the twentieth century must now be thoroughly reviewed and reevaluated. The Qumran scrolls still await publication as they relate to Daniel, but there are indications that they will support rather than weaken the conservative interpretation regarding Daniel as a genuine book. The clarification of details surrounding the capture of Jerusalem in 605 B.C., the reign of Belshazzar, and the fall of Babylon as embodied in recent discoveries cast new light upon any exposition of the book of Daniel. The research of D. J. Wiseman and the recent study of Darius the Mede by John C. Whitcomb are important contributions. The studies in the field of introduction by Merrill Unger, Raymond Harrison, and Gleason Archer are also invaluable. Thus, a verse-by-verse commentary written from the conservative point of view, presenting the premillennial interpretation but including the consideration of all alternative views, is long overdue. It is hoped that this present study will make a contribution of a constructive nature toward the understanding of Daniel as one of the most important prophetic books in the Scriptures. The present work is an effort to provide a commentary which will give all the essential information necessary for a detailed exposition of the text in the light of extant literature, recent biblical scholarship, and the expanding field of archaeological discovery.
In attempting an interpretation of the book of Daniel, the principle has been followed of interpreting prophecy in its normal sense while, at the same time, recognizing the apocalyptic character of its revelation. Full attention is given to the critical theories which regard Daniel as a forgery. The denial of the authenticity of the book of Daniel is refuted by internal evidence and archeological discoveries which support the genuineness of the prophecies of Daniel.
To avoid constant repetition of the English translation, the Authorized Version is quoted at the beginning of each section. Where the Authorized Version requires revision to bring out the precise meaning, attention is called to such variations. The Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver, and Briggs was used as a standard dictionary, although others are quoted. Principal sources include the commentaries by Montgomery, representing the modern critical view, Keil, expounding the old conservative view, and Edward Young and Leupold who support conservative amillennial scholarship. All students of Daniel must confess their debt to these monumental works. Acknowledgement is made to all publishers of copyrighted material for their gracious permission to quote representative portions.
In preparation of this commentary, the author has been guided by the objective to prepare a companion volume to his earlier commentary on the book of Revelation. In this new commentary on the book of Daniel, an attempt has been made to provide the careful student of the Word of God with the necessary tools and information to ascertain accurately the revelation of this important book and to relate it to systematic theology and specifically to eschatology as a whole. In the light of contemporary world events, which fit so well into the foreview of history provided in the book of Daniel, a study of this kind is most relevant to the issues of our day and, supported by other Scriptures, offers the hope that the consummation is not too distant. If the reader, through the study of this volume, has greater understanding of the divine prophetic program, more insight into contemporary events, and a brighter hope concerning things to come, the intention of the author will have been realized.