Literature / Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel takes place during Babylon's conquest of Judah. The young males are shipped off to Babylon to be reeducated, and Daniel and his friends promise to stay faithful to each other and to God as they are taken into enemy territory. Their blessings from the Lord earn them the favor from the kings, but also make them many enemies in the court.

The Protestant canon version of Daniel is twelve chapters long. The Story of Susannah, The Idol Bel and the Dragon, and The Song Of The Three Children (which are deuterocanonical books, also known as the Apocrypha) are all adapted from the Vulgate version of Daniel, which extended the chapter count to fourteen.

This book provides examples of:

  • A God Am I:
    • Nebuchadnezzar reflects on the splendor of his city and how he built it all. God responds to his pride by temporarily driving the king insane and causing him to think he's an animal.
    • Darius is encouraged to sign an edict saying that for the thirty days only he may be prayed to.
  • Attempted Rape: Susanna is nearly assaulted by two elderly men who were so smitten by her beauty that they tried to rape her while she was alone taking a bath. They end up accusing her of having improper relations with somebody else that they witnessed when they bring her before the judges.
  • Batman Gambit: The officials that give Darius said decree count on Daniel being too faithful to stop praying to his God, even in secret.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: In some translations, King Belshazzar of Babylon became so frightened of the hand writing on the wall the Portent of Doom that he urinated in his robes.
  • Clear My Name: The story of Daniel saving Susannah's honor from two false accusers.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Daniel 11:37, which is commonly attributed to The Antichrist by some Christian Bible students, is sometimes interpreted as the person it's talking about being this due to how some translations handle the verse.
    He shall regard neither the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above them all.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Nebuchadnezzar seeing what looks like "a son of the gods" inside the furnace has been theorized in traditional Christian interpretation to be an early appearance of Jesus. Daniel later meets with a "son of man" sent from heaven, who Christ identifies himself as in the Gospels.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Daniel chapter 8 foretells of Alexander the Great 200 years in advance, with verses 7-8 referring to a male goat (symbolizing Greece) and a ram (ancient Persia and Media): "And I saw himnote  come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped down upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones out of the midst of heaven." In verses 21 and 22: "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four notable ones stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." After his death, the Empire was divided in four amongst his generals into the kingdoms of the Ptolemies (Egypt), Seleucids (Persia and Mesopotamia, later Syria), Attalids (Turkey), and the Antigonids (Macedonia and Syria).
    • Daniel 9:24-26 is believed to be talking about the coming of Jesus Christ in most Christian interpretations, with verse 27 referring to the coming of The Antichrist.
    • Daniel chapter 11 foretells events that the kings in the coming years will do in regard to the history of God's people Israel, including the appearance of King Antiochus IV and his setting up the "abomination of desolation" in the deuterocanonical books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees, and even possibly the appearance of The Antichrist, as interpreted by certain Christian Bible students.
  • Forgot I Could Change the Rules: Averted. King Darius attempts this to try saving Daniel from his sentence, but is reminded by his advisors that even the king cannot annul his own decrees once they are passed. This causes a problem when he's tricked into passing a law that ends up ordering the death of his favorite advisor Daniel.
  • Gainax Ending: The first half of the book chronicles the adventures of Daniel and his friends in Babylon. The latter half of the book is about visions Daniel receives of the future, which get just as odd as the Book of Revelation.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Darius's advisors trick him into ordering Daniel to be thrown into a den of lions. When Daniel is found alive, Darius orders those same advisors to be thrown to the lions instead.
  • Honor Before Reason: Several times by the protagonists, even when their life is on the line. When ordered to bow to a large statue, the three friends refuse to bow. When told that praising God and not the king will be punished with death, Daniel openly prays anyway and is arrested.
  • Keep the Reward: When Daniel was called by King Belshazzar of Babylon to interpret the writing on the wall in chapter 5, promising to reward him by even making him "the third ruler of the kingdom", Daniel tells the king to give the reward to someone else, yet he will interpret the writing. Daniel still gets rewarded, though it doesn't last for very long as the message for the king from the writing on the wall was fulfilled that very night.
  • Magic Music: If going by the additions to the text such as the Song of the Three Children, the praises of God sent up by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego brought forth God's protection on them in the form of "the Fourth Man" whom King Neubchadnezzar saw in the flames among the three.
  • Man on Fire: The guards who put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace were consumed by the flames as they threw the three captives in. Fortunately, the "fourth man" in the furnace (interpreted by Christians as a pre-incarnate version of Jesus) protected the three Jews in the flames so they came out looking no worse for wear as when they went in.
  • Meaningful Rename: The Hebrew boys are all given Chaldean names, to enforce their assimilation into Babylonian culture. Yet Daniel is the only character of the four who is still referred to by his original name in the narration.
  • Musical Episode: Daniel chapter 3 in Catholic editions feature the Song Of The Three Children, also known as the Prayer of Azariah.
  • Portent of Doom: The "writing on the wall" that King Belshazzar had Daniel translate — Mene, mene, tekel, u-Pharsin — meant that his kingdom was going to come to an end. And surely enough, it was fulfilled on the very same night.
  • True Companions: Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego).
  • Up To Seven: When the three friends deny their second chance to bow to the golden statue, Nebuchanezzer orders for the furnace they're to be thrown in to be heated seven times hotter than usual.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Nebuchadnezzar has a dream he wishes his magicians to interpret, he decides to test their truthfulness by declaring he will not tell them what his dream was, they must tell him. Knowing that lying would be suicide, the magicians angrily respond that this is impossible and no one but the gods can do this. The king orders them to be all executed.
    • Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar was on to something. If the gods of the magicians were real, they would already know the details of the king's dream. As it turns out, Daniel and his three friends interpret the dream having been told by God himself.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The Portent of Doom which Daniel translated for King Belshazzar of Babylon told him his days and his kingdom were about to end soon.