National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series

Daniel, whose name means “God is my judge,” is a well-known biblical figure who played a significant role during the Babylonian exile. His story is primarily recorded in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. Here is a biography of Daniel with scriptural citations:


1. Introduction and Early Life (Daniel 1:1-7):

Daniel was a young Judean noble who was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 605 BCE. Along with other young men, he was chosen to be trained in the ways of the Babylonians. Despite being in a foreign land, Daniel remained faithful to his Jewish identity.


2. Faithfulness in Dietary Choices (Daniel 1:8-16):

Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food and wine, which likely violated Jewish dietary laws. Instead, he requested to eat only vegetables and drink water. God blessed Daniel’s faithfulness, and he and his companions appeared healthier and stronger than those who consumed the royal provisions.


3. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Daniel 2:1-49):

King Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream that none of his wise men could interpret. By God’s revelation, Daniel was able to interpret the dream, revealing that it prophesied the rise and fall of various empires. Daniel’s interpretation impressed the king, leading to his promotion to a high position in the Babylonian court.


4. Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace (Daniel 3:1-30):

Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship a golden statue set up by King Nebuchadnezzar. As a result, they were thrown into a fiery furnace. Miraculously, they emerged unharmed, as God protected them in the midst of the flames.


5. Nebuchadnezzar’s Humbling and Restoration (Daniel 4:1-37):

King Nebuchadnezzar had another dream that troubled him, and he called on Daniel to interpret it. The dream foretold Nebuchadnezzar’s downfall and subsequent restoration, which came to pass when the king was humbled and recognized the sovereignty of God. After a period of madness, Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity and power were restored.


6. The Handwriting on the Wall (Daniel 5:1-31):

During the reign of Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, a mysterious hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall during a great feast. The wise men could not interpret the writing, but Daniel was called upon and revealed its meaning: the Babylonian kingdom would fall that very night. Daniel’s interpretation proved true when the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon.


7. Daniel in the Lions’ Den (Daniel 6:1-28):

Under the rule of King Darius, Daniel’s enemies conspired against him and tricked the king into issuing a decree that prohibited anyone from praying to any god except the king for a period of 30 days. Despite the decree, Daniel continued to pray to his God openly. As a result, he was thrown into a den of lions. God protected Daniel, and he emerged unharmed the following morning. The king acknowledged the power of Daniel’s God and decreed that all should worship Him.


8. Daniel’s Visions and Prophecies (Daniel 7-12):

The latter half of the Book of Daniel contains a series of visions and prophecies given to Daniel. These visions include symbolic imagery and provide insight into future events, including the rise and fall of empires and the coming of the Messiah.

Daniel’s unwavering faith, wisdom, and trust in God make him a remarkable figure in biblical history. His experiences and prophecies continue to inspire and provide spiritual insight. The full narrative of Daniel’s life and prophecies can be found in the Book of Daniel.