Daniel went to Babylon during the first deportation in 606 B.C. He and other members of the Judean royal and noble families were given special training to serve in the Babylonian court. He quickly gained a reputation as an interpreter of dreams and riddles. This led to his appointment in high government posts.

As an old man, Daniel served in the Medo-Persian administation after Babylon fell in 539 B.C. He was unlike the other prophets in that he did not go around saying, "Thus saith the Lord." Instead, he was primarily an interpreter of dreams and a recipient of visions himself.

The book falls naturally into two parts. In Dn.1-6 Daniel spoke in the third person about activities involving himself and his three Jewish companions, and he interpreted dreams and riddles received by others. In Dn.7-12 he spoke in the first person about visions which he himself received. Some of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament are found in the Book of Daniel, especially those about Daniel's three friends in the fiery furnace (Dan.3) and Daniel in the lion's den (Dan.6).

The book has become a modern battleground on two counts. Liberal scholarship places the writing of the book in the middle of the second century B.C., whereas conservatives generally believe it was written by Daniel in the sixth century B.C. Secondly, scholars have been divided on the precise historical identification of features of the visions.

The book has many important passages, but Dan.12v2-3 stands out as the clearest Old Testament reference to the resurrection of the dead. The key Old Testament passage behind Jesus' application of the term "Son of Man" to himself is Dan.7v13. Material from every chapter in Daniel is either quoted or alluded to in Revelation, and only two chapters are without some background in Daniel.

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