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What is Book of Daniel about? Explain the summary!

Image of Daniel in the Old Testament

The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament is a story featuring Daniel, a Jewish man.

Daniel is regarded as a prophet in Christianity, but not in Judaism.

So, what exactly was the story of "The Book of Daniel"?

Daniel, Chosen by the Elite

The time Daniel was in was the time when Nebuchadnezzar II had taken Jerusalem and carried out the Babylonian Captivity.

For more information on Nebuchadnezzar II and the Babylonian Captivity, see these articles.

Nebuchadnezzar II utterd the following to train officials to administer the territories he occupied.

Nebuchadnezzar II Image

From among the Jewish royalty and nobility, select and educate boys of good face, able-bodied, wise, and talented.

Among these chosen boys was Daniel.

Daniel thought.

Ancient male image

I am a Jew. I will never defile my body with Gentile meat or drink! There is only one God even in the land of the Gentiles!

Daniel believed, of course, in Yahweh, the One and Only God.

For more information about Yahweh, please refer to this article.

Daniel was so outstanding that he was able to serve the king and became very important.

The Unraveling of Nebuchadnezzar II's Dream

One day, Nebuchadnezzar II had a strange dream.

Nebuchadnezzar II Image

I had a strange dream. There was a strange statue. The head of the statue was of pure gold, the chest and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron, and the feet of part iron and part clay. Then, a stone was thrown at the statue, and its leg was broken, and the statue was shattered into pieces, leaving no trace, but the shattered pieces were spread all over the earth. Does anyone know what this means?

Nebuchadnezzar II asked the wise men for an answer but was frustrated that no one could have given him one.

Nebuchadnezzar II Image

What the hell, nobody knows what it means? I'm going to kill you all!

Ancient male image

Please wait!

It was Daniel who waited at that time.

Ancient male image

I will reveal it to you.

Nebuchadnezzar II Image

Oh. Can you do it? Well, let's hear it!

Thus began Daniel's explanation of Nebuchadnezzar II's dream.

Ancient male image

The golden head of the statue the king saw in your dream. This shows   yourself, and the silver, bronze, iron, and potter's clay under your head represent the kingdoms of the tributary kingdoms attached to you. The fact that these are shattered and broken to pieces by the stone means that the destruction of this kingdom is finally approaching!

Daniel prophesied the destruction of the kingdom from the dream of Nebuchadnezzar II.

After that, Daniel also interpreted the strange dream seen by Nebuchadnezzar II again, and again unraveled the destruction of the kingdom.

The results of this dream revealed led to Daniel's appointment as Secretary of State over the entire province of Babylon.

The story of Daniel revealing the dream of the man of rank and rising in the world is very similar to the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament.

There is also an article about the story of Joseph,

Please take a look if you like.

Explaining the letters written by fingers

In the reign of King Belshazzar, a strange phenomenon occurred while the king was holding a grand banquet at his palace.

Mesopotamian (Babylonian) king image

Hey, a hand just appeared!

A hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall of the banquet hall.

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.

These were the words the finger wrote on the wall.

Mesopotamian (Babylonian) king image

What in the world is this? Someone please explain what this is all about!

King Belshazzar was panicking.

Then Daniel was called.

Ancient male image

Mene means to count. It means to count your reign and it is coming to an end. Tekel means to measure. You have been weighed by God and judged insufficient. Parsin means to divide. It means your kingdom will be divided between Media and Persia.

What Daniel said meant the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

And later King Belshazzar was killed and the kingdom was truly destroyed.

Next comes the era of Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great.

For more information on Cyrus the Great, please see this article.

After the destruction of Neo-Babylonian Empire

After the conquest of Neo-Babylonian Empire by the Achaemenid Empire led by Cyrus the Great, Daniel was still highly valued in the region.

However, other vassals became jealous of Daniel.

They threw him into the cave of the lions.

God image

Daniel, it's all right. I am with you!

This was a close call for Daniel, but by the power of God, he was not attacked by the lions.

On the contrary, those who tried to ensnare Daniel became the lion's prey.

It is said that when Daniel was praying to God, the angel Gabriel appeared and received a message about the Messiah, suggesting that Daniel was God's favorite.

Additions to Daniel (Susanna and the Elders)

The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament includes a short story called "Additions to Daniel", which is not included in the Greek translation.

This "Additions to Daniel" refers to the portions of the book that are not recognized as canonical by Judaism and some Christian denominations.

One of the stories depicted in the "Additions to Daniel" is that of "Susanna and the Elders".

This story is about a trial centering on a married woman named Susanna, and is sometimes called the oldest mystery story.

Susanna, peeked at by a group of erotic old men

Once upon a time there was a beautiful looking married woman named Susanna.

Her husband was Joakim, a powerful man in the city.

Susanna was not only beautiful, but also wise and knowledgeable about the Torah.

Ancient female image

Now I am going to bathe in the garden, so I will ask you to exorcise the people!

Susanna kept people away from her garden, where she would get naked and bathe.

However, voyeurs, who had sexual appetites, peeped into her garden.

The peepers were, of all things, two elders who had been chosen to be circuit judges.

Thus, the elders in this story are villains.

The two elders were peeking at Susanna bathing in the nude.

Elder man image

Wow, what a sight to behold!

But the old men were not satisfied with just peeking, they pressed Susanna to have an affair with them.

As Susanna was about to return home, the two elders stood in front of her and said

Elder man image

If you don't have relations with us, Susanna, we will accuse you of having been having secret meetings with a young man in the garden.

This was the worst kind of threat, but Susanna did not give in to it.

Ancient female image

I absolutely refuse to mingle with you people!

Susanna refused this demand and was arrested as threatened.

Daniel correcting the injustice of the old men

Susanna was thus arrested for a crime she did not commit, but by the time Daniel appeared on the scene, she was on the verge of being executed.

It was a terrible false accusation, but it was Daniel who objected to it.

Daniel asked the two elders a question separately.

Ancient male image

What was the tree that stood where Susanna was said to have met secretly with the young man?

The two could not agree on this answer.

Elder man image

It was a frankincense tree

Elder man image

It was an oak tree.

They each gave different answers.

Then Daniel said

Ancient male image

The frankincense tree is a very low tree. The oak tree on the other hand is a very tall tree. The tree is too big to be mistaken by witnesses at the same scene. You are lying!

Thus the unjust elders were executed and virtue triumphed.

Susanna the Nude in Paintings

Susanna was often the subject of artists.

In the Middle Ages, the figure of Suzanne praying was mainly depicted, but after the Renaissance, it seems that bathing scenes have become more often depicted.

While some compositions emphasized the story, there are also works that focus on nudes.

In other cases, the paintings did not depict the elders at all, but simply depicted a nude Susanna.

As for the depiction of the bathing scene, European painters did not paint it out of religious belief.

Scholarly image

They drew it out of their interest in the "Nude Susanna".

It is said so.

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