A Commentary

© 1971 by
The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or brief reviews.


Among the great prophetic books of Scripture, none provides a more comprehensive and chronological prophetic view of the broad movement of history than the book of Daniel. Of the three prophetic programs revealed in Scripture, outlining the course of the nations, Israel, and the church, Daniel alone reveals the details of God’s plan for both the nations and Israel. Although other prophets like Jeremiah had much to say to the nations and Israel, Daniel brings together and interrelates these great themes of prophecy as does no other portion of Scripture. For this reason, the book of Daniel is essential to the structure of prophecy and is the key to the entire Old Testament prophetic revelation. A study of this book is, therefore, not only important from the standpoint of determining the revelation of one of the great books of the Old Testament but is an indispensable preliminary investigation to any complete eschatological system.

In the twentieth century, comparatively few important commentaries on the book of Daniel have been published. Twentieth century scholars, to be sure, have the heritage of some of the great commentaries of the past, beginning with Jerome and John Calvin, and including later works such as the commentaries by Moses Stuart, E. B. Pusey, and Otto Zockler. To these can be added the commentaries by S. P. Tregelles, Nathaniel West, Joseph A. Seiss, and William Kelly. One of the old giants is the commentary by C. F. Keil, still a standard work. Critical scholarship, assuming that the book of Daniel was a pious forgery of the second century, has in later years greatly influenced treatment of the book of Daniel. Works by Robert H. Charles, F. R. Driver, F. W. Farrar, and the monumental work of James A. Montgomery in the International Critical Commentaries have dominated the field. Later liberal critics such as Arthur Jeffery in the Interpreter’s Bible and Norman W. Porteous in his recent work have brought liberal scholarship up to date.

The exposition of the book of Daniel has been enriched by reverent, conservative scholars who have produced popular works such as the expositions of H. A. Ironside, Arno C. Gaebelein, and Louis Talbot; and many similar volumes have served as homiletical treatments of the book. Robert Culver has contributed a theological treatment of Daniel relating to prophetic interpretation. Specialized studies such as those by H. H. Rowley and Robert Dick Wilson have led the way in scholarly debate in the twentieth century relative to the authenticity of the book of Daniel. Among all these works, however, no thorough commentary from the pre-millennial conservative point of view has appeared. The important works of H. C. Leupold and Edward Young, standard commentaries on Daniel, present only the amillennial view and are now twenty years old.

Taken as a whole no complete commentary on Daniel from the conservative point of view has been written since Leupold and Young’s work. In the light of recent scholarly discussions and considerable additional archeological evidence, the findings of both conservative and liberal scholarship published in the first half of the twentieth century must now be thoroughly reviewed and reevaluated. The Qumran scrolls still await publication as they relate to Daniel, but there are indications that they will support rather than weaken the conservative interpretation regarding Daniel as a genuine book. The clarification of details surrounding the capture of Jerusalem in 605 B.C., the reign of Belshazzar, and the fall of Babylon as embodied in recent discoveries cast new light upon any exposition of the book of Daniel. The research of D. J. Wiseman and the recent study of Darius the Mede by John C. Whitcomb are important contributions. The studies in the field of introduction by Merrill Unger, Raymond Harrison, and Gleason Archer are also invaluable. Thus, a verse-by-verse commentary written from the conservative point of view, presenting the premillennial interpretation but including the consideration of all alternative views, is long overdue. It is hoped that this present study will make a contribution of a constructive nature toward the understanding of Daniel as one of the most important prophetic books in the Scriptures. The present work is an effort to provide a commentary which will give all the essential information necessary for a detailed exposition of the text in the light of extant literature, recent biblical scholarship, and the expanding field of archeological discovery.

In attempting an interpretation of the book of Daniel, the principle has been followed of interpreting prophecy in its normal sense while, at the same time, recognizing the apocalyptic character of its revelation. Full attention is given to the critical theories which regard Daniel as a forgery. The denial of the authenticity of the book of Daniel is refuted by internal evidence and archeological discoveries which support the genuineness of the prophecies of Daniel.

To avoid constant repetition of the English translation, the Authorized Version is quoted at the beginning of each section. Where the Authorized Version requires revision to bring out the precise meaning, attention is called to such variations. The Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver, and Briggs was used as a standard dictionary, although others are quoted. Principal sources include the commentaries by Montgomery, representing the modern critical view, Keil, expounding the old conservative view, and Edward Young and Leupold who support conservative amillennial scholarship. All students of Daniel must confess their debt to these monumental works. Acknowledgement is made to all publishers of copyrighted material for their gracious permission to quote representative portions.

Invaluable assistance has been offered by Dr. Bruce K. Waltke, Professor of Semitic Languages and Old Testament Exegesis, of Dallas Theological Seminary. His careful review of the manuscript and suggestions for its improvement have immeasurably improved the work as a whole. His intimate acquaintance with the Hebrew and the Aramaic text, as well as his wide reading and contemporary scholarship, has enriched this study.

In preparation of this commentary, the author has been guided by the objective to prepare a companion volume to his earlier commentary on the book of Revelation. In this new commentary on the book of Daniel, an attempt has been made to provide the careful student of the Word of God with the necessary tools and information to ascertain accurately the revelation of this important book and to relate it to systematic theology and specifically to eschatology as a whole. In the light of contemporary world events, which fit so well into the foreview of history provided in the book of Daniel, a study of this kind is most relevant to the issues of our day and, supported by other Scriptures, offers the hope that the consummation is not too distant. If the reader, through the study of this volume, has greater understanding of the divine prophetic program, more insight into contemporary events, and a brighter hope concerning things to come, the intention of the author will have been realized.