1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.Next Verse 2
The Book of Daniel is a biblical apocalypse, combining a prophecy of history with an eschatology (the study of last things) which is both cosmic in scope and political in its focus. In more mundane language, it is "an account of the activities and visions of Daniel, a noble Jew exiled at Babylon." In the Hebrew Bible it is found in the Ketuvim (writings), while in Christian Bibles it is grouped with the Major Prophets. Its message is that just as the God of Israel saved Daniel and his friends from their enemies, so he would save all of Israel in their present oppression.
The book divides into two parts, a set of six court tales in chapters 1–6 followed by four apocalyptic visions in chapters 7–12. The Apocrypha contains three additional stories, the Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.
Though the book is traditionally ascribed to Daniel himself, modern scholarly consensus considers it pseudonymous, the stories of the first half legendary in origin, and the visions of the second the product of anonymous authors in the Maccabean period (2nd century BC). Its influence has resonated through later ages, from the Dead Sea Scrolls community and the authors of the gospels and Revelation, to various movements from the 2nd century to the Protestant Reformation and modern millennialist movements – on which it continues to have a profound influence.
The literary structure of the book of Daniel is marked by three prominent features. The most fundamental is a genre division between the court tales of chapters 1–6 and the apocalyptic visions of 7–12. The second is a language division between the Hebrew of chapters 1 and 8–12, and the Aramaic of chapters 2–7. This language division is reinforced by the chiastic arrangement of the Aramaic chapters (see below). Various suggestions have been made by scholars to explain the fact that the genre division does not coincide with the other two. However, the most reasonable proposal is that put forward by John J. Collins: the language division and concentric structure of chapters 2-6 are artificial literary devices designed to bind the two halves of the book together. It should also be noted that the time settings of chapters 1–6 show a progression from Babylonian to Median times, which is repeated (Babylonian to Persian) in chapters 7–12. The following outline is provided by Collins in his commentary on Daniel:
How amazing is your love,
A love that overcomes, endures and redeems.
How astounding is your life,
A life that sustains, heals and creates.
How awesome is your hope,
A hope that promises, restores and inspires.
How absorbing is your truth,
A truth that releases, changes and rebuilds.
How we worship you, as we remember the moment when your love conquered.
When out of the cave of sorrow Jesus arose to release forgiveness to the world.
And each time we encounter this resurrection day we are again lifted to an eternal place.
Our sin, brokenness and darkness fall away and your light and peace flood our lives.
How we thank you for this incredible celebration we call Easter.