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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Daniel 1

Verses 1-8


Daniel, the writer of this book, is known exclusively as "The prophet of Gentile Times." He wrote and spoke to the Gentiles only, not to his nation Israel, though he prophesied concerning, them. He served most of his life as Statesman-Prophet in official capacity of court service; both to kings of Babylon and Medo­Persia. His prophecies concerned Gentile nations, from their beginning 606 B.C., until their end, at the second coming of Christ in glory, Luke 21:24.

He was of noble birth, carried with three other boys of noble birth, from Jerusalem to Babylon, as possible descendants of king Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20:17-18; Isaiah 39:7; Daniel 1:3-4. King Nebuchadnezzar chose these four young men to be trained for his personal services; He changed their residences, names, occupations, food, and language. But he could not change or defile their character, as recounted Daniel Ch. 1.

Like John, "the beloved" to our Lord, Daniel is three times said to be "greatly beloved," a strong character trait, Daniel 9:23; Daniel 10:11; Daniel 10:19.

He had a long and useful life as a contemporary of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Ezekiel 14:20 as well as of Joshua, the restoration High priest, Ezra, and Zerubbabel.

In character he was:
1) strong in purpose, Daniel 1:8;
2) Wise, tactful, and courteous under pressure, Daniel 1:11-13;
3) Loveable, Daniel 1:9; Daniel
4) Intelligent and spiritual, Daniel 1:17; Daniel 1:20; Daniel 9:11-13;
5) Brave, Daniel 4:19-26; ch. 5, 6;
6) Modest and humble, Daniel 2:28-30.
7) Given to Faith and Prayer, Daniel 2:13-28; Daniel 6:10.

DANIEL -- The Book

The Book of Daniel has two major parts:

1. Chapters 1-6 are historical in nature, predominantly dealing with facts.

2. Chapters 7-12 are primarily prophetic accounts and interpretations of visions Daniel saw of Gentile nations and their relation to Israel, the chosen of God, who would ultimately triumph over all Gentile powers.

Let it be further understood that the book of Daniel is a companion to the book of Revelation, as it concerns the future triumph of the Kingdom of God over Gentile powers. This triumph is effected through two "glory bodies", chosen as witnesses of God in the Old Covenant and New Covenant eras. They are: 1) Israel restored, and 2) The Church, the Bride of our Lord, each triumphantly coming either out of or through the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy, Daniel 9:26-27; ch. 12; Revelation 19:5-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:10.

DANIEL -- The Book

(two major divisions)


1. The man Daniel.

2. The forgotten dream interpreted.

3. The three of the fiery furnace.

4. Nebuchadnezzar’s derangement and recovery.

5. Belshazzar’s feast--Handwriting on the wall.

6. Daniel in the den of lions.


7. The four beast Empires.

8. The ram and the he-goat,

9. The seventy weeks.

10. Angels of nations in conflict.

11. Kings of the North and South.

12 The times of the and-


Chapter 1

Daniel’s captivity in Babylon, v. 1-8

His history and training, v. 9-21

His redress of grievance, v. 9-21

Chapter 2

The dream of Nebuchadnezzar, v. 1-3

Daniel’s prayer for wisdom, v. 14-18

Secret dream of Nebuchadnezzar revealed, v. 19-30

The Dream told to the king, v. 31-35

Interpretation of the four part image, v. 36-43

Beginning and end of final world Empire, v. 44, 45

Daniel promoted, v. 46-49

Chapter 3

Pride and folly of Nebuchadnezzar, v. 1-7

Three Jewish colleagues refuse to worship the image,v.8-18

Their preservation, no harm in furnace, v. 19-25

The convinced king--Two decrees, v. 26-30

Chapter 4

The king’s proclamation, v. 1-3

Nebuchadnezzar’s tree vision, v. 4-18

Daniel interprets tree vision, v. 19-27

Tree vision restoration of Nebuchadnezzar, v. 28-37

Chapter 5

Belshazzar’s drunken feast, v. 1-4

Handwriting on the wall, v. 5-16

The handwriting interpreted, v. 17-31

Chapter 6

Daniel’s history to rise of Cyrus, v. 1-3

Foolish decree of Darius, v. 4-9

Daniel steadfast under stress, v. 10-15

Daniel cast into the den of lions, v. 16, 17

The delivering God, v. 18-24

Darius’ decree concerning Daniel’s God, v. 25-28

Chapter 7

Daniel’s beast vision, v. 1-3

The four beast Empires:

a) Babylon, v.4

b) Medo-Persia, v. 5

c) Greece, v.6

d) Roman, v. 7

Ten kings and the (Little Horn), v. 8

Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man, v. 9

Scene in Heaven before the coming of the Lord, v. 9-12

Definitive meaning of the beast vision, v. 15-28

Chapter 8

Vision of the Ram and He-goat, v. 1-14

The Ram and He-goat explained, v. 15-27

Chapter 9

Daniel and Ezekiel’s vision of the 70 weeks, v. 1, 2

Daniel’s prayer and confession, v. 3-19

Gabriel’s explanation of the 70 weeks, v. 20-27

Chapter 10

The glory of the Lord and angelic conflict over the nations, v. 1-21

Chapter 11

From Darius to the man of sin, v. 1-20

Antiochus Epiphanies and the "Little Horn" of

Daniel ch. 8, vs. 21-35

The "Little Horn" and the end time, v. 36-45

Chapter 12

Time of "The Tribulation The Great", v. 1

The two resurrections, v. 2, 3

God’s final message to Daniel, v. 4-13



Verses 1-8:

Verse 1 relates
that in the third year (full year) of the reign of king Jehoiakim of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and besieged it; Jeremiah 25:1 lists it as the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign, using a part of a fourth year as a basis, whereas Daniel used only the full year, (third). Daniel was in the first deportation of the people of Judah, eight years before Ezekiel, his later contemporary prophet in Babylon. See 2 Kings 24:1-2; 2 Chronicles 36:5-7; Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 52:12-30.

Verse 2 adds
that the Lord gave or delivered Jehoiakim (king of Judah) into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand, along with a part of the sacred vessels of the house of God; Which he carried to the treasure­house of his god in Shinar, ancient name for Babylon, Genesis 11:2; Genesis 14:1; Isaiah 11:11; Zechariah 5:11. It was an ancient custom for conquering kings to carry expensive vessels of worship, and statutes of gods of conquered nations, and hold them in their own treasure-houses. Note, only a "part" of the vessels were first taken, because it appears that Nebuchadnezzar meant to leave enough in Jerusalem for their bare public worship, while serving as a tribute-paying people to him. Later the remaining vessels were also taken and put in the house of Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, then restored under Cyrus, to the house of his god "Bel", Ezra 1:7. See also Jeremiah 27:19; Genesis 10:10; Genesis 11:9.

Verse 3 relates
that king Nebuchadnezzar directed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuch-servants (chamberlains) to bring certain of the children of Israel, of the king’s seed, and of the princes of those of royal lineage of David in Israel, alive into Babylon to serve him in ruling over their captive people; Such eunuch servitude had been foretold by Isaiah, 2 Kings 20:17-18; Isaiah 39:7.

Verse 4 further
describes the astute qualities of those Hebrews selected for training for service in the palace of the king in Babylon as follows:
They were to be:
1) young men without blemish, any deformity or injury from having been crippled, Leviticus 24:19; Judges 8:18; Acts 7:10.
2) well favored, handsome, suggesting to the orientals an high level of mental powers,
3) and skillful in all wisdom, capable of making decisions,
4) cunning in knowledge, holding capacities of reasoning, not mere parrots or puppets;
5) and understanding science, comprehending matters of mathematics, astronomy, and the sciences of the day;
6) even such as had ability (physical and mental) to stand up credibly in the king’s palace; and
7) such as might be taught and learn, in a relatively short time, the learning or (customs and culture), as well as the tongue or language and literature of the Chaldeans.

As Moses was trained in the lore (literature and language) of the Egyptians to his profit, Acts 7:22, so Daniel trained in that of the Chaldeans, so that he was familiar with the minds of their mysterious lore, to the effect that he was given an heaven ­bestowed understanding of dreams and visions, and was able to clothe the interpretations in the understandable language of the Chaldeans, v. 4, 5, 17. From this background the magi, wise men of the east, also seemed to understand, Daniel 9:24; Matthew 2:1-5.

Verse 5 relates
that king Nebuchadnezzar directed that these young Hebrews in training, while pursuing the literature, language, and science of the Chaldeans, should receive a portion of the king’s meat or food. The Hebrew language suggests that it was "the delicacies and dainties," very special food that the king ate, not that furnished to his eunuchs! For these young men were being prepared to stand as courtiers, royal princes in captivity, not as eunuchs.

It was an Eastern custom for a king to entertain, with the food of his table, many royal captives, as evil Merodach, king of Babylon entertained Jehoiachim, king of Judah, Jeremiah 52:33-34. Not only was the best of food but also the best of the kind of wine that the king drank provided for them. This was to continue for a period of three years of their training, at which time they were to be graduated for royal palace service in Babylon. Gold is tried in the fire, as these were, 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 4:12.

Verse 6 names
four of those young men, who were chosen for training for royal service, from the tribe (royal lineage) of Judah, the most noble tribe of Israel, as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. As Moses was trained in the schools of Pharaoh, at Pharaoh’s expense, to become a servant of God, in a foreign, heathen land, so were these, Exodus 2:10; Acts 7:22.

Verse 7 explains
that to each of these, the prince, or master over the eunuchs, gave Chaldean names, as follows: 1) to Daniel (God my judge) was given the name Belteshazzar which means "the king’s leader or attendant" or "Bel’s prince;" 2) To Hananiah, whom Jehovah has favored, was given the name Shadrach; 3) To Mishael was given the name Meshach, the goddess of Babylon, Jeremiah 25:26; Jeremiah 51:41; Jeremiah , 4) To Azariah, whom God has helped, was given the name Abed-nego, meaning "Servant of Lucifer," god of the shining fire, Isaiah 14:12. Thus these four young men were dedicated to idol gods of Babylon, whom they later refused to worship, Daniel 3:16-18.

Verse 8 concludes
that Daniel (apparently from the beginning) purposed, or resolved by choice of heart, that he would neither defile nor profane himself, either with the king’s meat, (delicacies and dainties), or with the wine which he drank, Numbers 6:1-4; 1 Corinthians 10:21. Therefore he requested (made redress of grievance, based on conscience, and the word of his God) that the prince of the eunuchs not require that he defile himself with the wine and food of the Chaldean king, to endorse idolatry. Such was the conviction of the Divine and holy standard of morals and ethics held by Daniel, in a far away land, as a captive, whose life or death was, except for the living God, in the hands of an heathen king, Leviticus 11:45; Deuteronomy 32:38; Psalms 106:28; Psalms 141:4; Ezekiel 4:13; Hosea 9:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:22. See also 1 Corinthians 10:31; Hebrews 11:24-26; Acts 5:29.

Verses 9-21


Verses 9-21:


Verse 9 relates that God had brought Daniel into the favor or good will and love with the prince or master of the eunuchs of Nebuchadnezzar who was in charge of Daniel; as He did Joseph while in prison in Egypt; Genesis 39:1; Acts 7:10. In like manner God had often protected His people Israel, Psalms 106:46; Proverbs 16:7. See also 1 Kings 8:50.

Verse 10 relates the misgivings and fears that the prince of the eunuchs had toward granting the petition of Daniel, with regards to accepting the food and drink that the king had appointed to him and his Jewish fellow students, v. 5. The prince of the eunuchs imposed the possibility and probability, in his mind, that the king upon reviewing them would see their faces sadder, more pale, or less healthy than other students, and that such might cause him to lose his head, in neglecting to carry out the mandate of the king, a thing that often happened under oriental despots, v. 12, 13; Daniel 3:4-6; Daniel 6:7.

Verse 11 gives Daniel’s petition for an alternative, as he presented it to Melzar, the steward or chief butler of the eunuchs who had been given special supervision over Daniel,. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azaniah, the three Hebrew children, closely associated as student colleagues with Daniel, Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13.

Verse 12 asks Melzar, the chief steward over these 4 Hebrew young men, to prove or test these for 10 days, by permitting them to have pulse to eat and water to drink only. The pulse referred to a vegetable diet with no meat, or simply food grown from seeds. Like Moses he chose the afflictions of the children of God for a season above the pleasure of the moment, Hebrews 11:25.

Verse 13 continues the challenge of Daniel to his steward­master, Melzar. His request pressed upon Melzar to grant to him, and his three Hebrew colleagues, their request for a period of ten days, after which he was to look upon them and compare their appearance with that of those who had eaten the king’s meat and drank his wine for the same ten day period. Then he concluded that as Melzar saw their appearance, so should he deal with them, a fair and rational request. Such illustrated Deuteronomy 8:3 that "man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord," Matthew 4:4.

Verses 14-16 add that Daniel’s request was granted, as the four were proved for 10 days. At the end of that time it is certified that their countenance was fairer and fatter, smoother and firmer in appearance, then all those who ate of the king’s meat. Upon such evidence, Melzar the steward took away their portion of the king’s meat and wine and provided them pulse or a vegetable food instead, with water to drink, John 2:5; John 14:15; John 15:14. It is always wise to obey the word of God in express matters of morals, ethics, and worship, Acts 5:29.

Verse 17 explains that, based on the obedient stand these four Hebrew children took, God gave or doled out to them, knowledge and skill (to quicken them) in all their learning and wisdom, as He did to Bezaleel and Solomon, Exodus 31:2-3; 1 Kings 3:12; Job 32:8. And Daniel had, held, or possessed understanding in "all," kinds of visions and dreams, v. 20; 2 Chronicles 1:10-12; Luke 21:15; James 1:5-7; Acts 7:22. Daniel was blessed for obedience in Babylon, as Joseph had been in Egypt, Genesis 40:5; Genesis 41:1; Genesis 41:8.

Verse 18 states that at the end of their days of three years of appointed studies, as the king had required, the prince of the eunuchs brought them for review and examination in the presence of King Nebuchadnezzar, v. 5. Not only were Daniel and his three colleagues brought in but also "other youths," as these four were "among them all," v. 3, 19. They "stood" before the king, Isaiah 40:1-4; Luke 1:19.

Verse 19 further states that the king communed with them in a very personal way. He was very favorably impressed, even to the extent that he certified that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah should "stand before him," to be honored as princes, to rule with Nebuchadnezzar, in a position near the throne-center of Babylon, confirming the exaltation of those who are humbly obedient, Luke 18:14; James 4:1; 1 Peter 5:5-6.

Verse 20 adds that, upon quizzing them personally, he found that in all matters of wisdom and understanding "that the king inquired of them," he found them to be ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were located in all his realm of reign. They had the wisdom from above, the per-excellent wisdom, unknown to the unbelievers, whether pauper or potentate, Proverbs 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:25; 1 Corinthians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 3:19. Those who wrought miracles by magic or trickery could not match God’s men, Genesis 41:8; Genesis 41:24; Exodus 7:11; Exodus 7:22.

Verse 21 concludes that Daniel was so blessed that he continued, even unto the first year of King Cyrus, 2 Chronicles 36:2; Ezra 1:1. He saw the return of the remnant of Judah, when the 70 years of their prophesied captivity was over, Jeremiah 35:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10; Daniel 9; Daniel 1, 2; Daniel 10:1. He still lived beyond the first year of Cyrus. See also Psalms 110:1; Psalms 112:8.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Daniel 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.