Who Was Daniel in the Bible?

Prophet Daniel always put God first

Prophet Daniel

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Daniel was a young man of Jewish nobility taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year of Jehoiakim and renamed Belteshazzar. He was trained in the king's court and then elevated to a high rank in the Babylonian and Persian kingdoms.

Daniel the prophet was only a teenager when introduced in the book of Daniel and was an old man at the close of the book, yet never once in his life did his faith in God waver.

Who Was Daniel in the Bible?

  • Known for: Daniel was the hero and traditional author of the book of Daniel. He was also a prophet known for his wisdom, integrity, and faithfulness to God.
  • Hometown: Daniel was born in Jerusalem and then transported to Babylon.
  • Bible References: The story of Daniel in the Bible is found in the book of Daniel. He is also mentioned in Matthew 24:15.
  • Occupation: Daniel served as an adviser to kings, a government administrator, and a prophet of God.
  • Family Tree: Little is known about Daniel's early life. His parents are not listed, but the Bible implies he came from a royal or noble family.

Daniel means "God is my judge," or "judge of God," in Hebrew; however, the Babylonians who captured him from Judah wanted to wipe out any identification with his past, so they renamed him Belteshazzar, which means "may [god] protect his life."

In Babylon, Daniel was trained in the king's court for service. He quickly established a reputation for intelligence and for absolute faithfulness to his God.

Early in his retraining program, they wanted him to eat the king's rich food and wine, but Daniel and his Hebrew friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, chose vegetables and water instead. At the end of a test period, they were healthier than the others and were allowed to continue their Jewish diet.

It was then God gave Daniel the ability to interpret visions and dreams. Before long, Daniel was explaining the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Because Daniel possessed wisdom bestowed by God and was conscientious in his work, he not only prospered during the reigns of successive rulers, but King Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom. The other advisers became so jealous they conspired against Daniel and managed to get him thrown into a den of hungry lions:

The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. (Daniel 6:23, NIV)

The prophecies in the book of Daniel humble the arrogant pagan rulers and exalt the sovereignty of God. Daniel himself is held up as a model of faith because no matter what happened, he kept his eyes firmly focused on God.

Daniel's Accomplishments

Daniel became a skilled government administrator, excelling at whatever tasks were assigned to him. His court career lasted nearly 70 years.

Daniel was first and foremost a servant of God, a prophet who set an example to God's people on how to live a holy life. He survived the lion's den because of his faith in God. Daniel also predicted the future triumph of the Messianic kingdom (Daniel 7-12).

Daniel's Strengths

Daniel had the ability to interpret dreams and visions.

Daniel adapted well to the foreign environment of his captors while keeping his own values and integrity. He learned quickly. By being fair and honest in his dealings, he gained the respect of kings.

Life Lessons from Daniel

Many ungodly influences tempt us in our daily lives. We are constantly pressured to give in to the values of our culture. Daniel teaches us that through prayer and obedience, we can stay true to the will of God.

Question for Reflection

Daniel refused to compromise on his convictions. He avoided temptation by fixing his eyes on God. Keeping his relationship with God strong through prayer was a priority in Daniel's daily routine. What are you doing to stand firm in faith so that when times of crisis come, your trust in God does not falter?

Key Bible Verses

Daniel 5:12
"This man Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.” (NIV)

Daniel 6:22
"My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” (NIV)

Daniel 12:13
“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance." (NIV)

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "Who Was Daniel in the Bible?" Learn Religions, Aug. 4, 2022, learnreligions.com/daniel-prophet-in-exile-701182. Zavada, Jack. (2022, August 4). Who Was Daniel in the Bible? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/daniel-prophet-in-exile-701182 Zavada, Jack. "Who Was Daniel in the Bible?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/daniel-prophet-in-exile-701182 (accessed June 5, 2023).