The Book of Daniel: Study Materials
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

I) Introduction: Composition History

II) Contents:

Ch. 1 – Daniel & Companions at the Babylonian Court

Ch. 7 – Vision of the Four Beasts

Ch. 2 – Nebuchadnezzar’s First Dream: Great Statue

Ch. 8 – Vision of a Ram and a Goat

Ch. 3 – Three Companions in the Fiery Furnace

Ch. 9 – Angel Gabriel and the Seventy Weeks

Ch. 4 – Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream: Great Tree

Ch. 10-12 – Historical Visions, Battles, the End

Ch. 5 – Belshazzar’s Feast: Writing on the Wall

Ch. 13 (Greek) – The Story of Susanna

Ch. 6 – Daniel remains safe in the Lion’s Den

Ch. 14 (Greek) – The Stories of Bel and the Dragon

III) An Overview of the Great Empires of the Ancient Middle East

IV) Daniel's Apocalyptic Visions as related to Ancient Jewish History

Statue in Dan 2:31-45 Beasts of Dan 7:1-28 Ram & Goat of Dan 8:1-25 Empire
vv. 32a, 37-38:
head of gold
vv. 4, 17:
lion w/ eagle's wings
-x- Babylonians
vv. 32b, 39a:
chest & arms of silver
vv. 5, 17:
bear w/ three tusks
vv. 3-4, 20:
ram w/ two horns 
vv. 32c, 39b:
middle & thighs of bronze
vv. 6, 17:
leopard w/ 4 wings & 4 heads
(same as above) Persians
vv. 33a, 40:
legs of iron
vv. 7, 17, 19, 23:
terrifying beast w/ iron teeth
vv. 5-7, 21:
goat w/ one horn
Alexander the Great
vv. 33b, 41-43:
feet partly iron, partly clay
vv. 20a, 24a:
and with 10 horns
vv. 8, 22:
it breaks & becomes four horns
Ptolemies & Seleucids
-x- vv. 8, 20b-21, 24b-25:
another horn w/ arrogant mouth 
vv. 9-14a, 23-25d:
another horn acts arrogantly
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
vv. 34-35, 44-45:
stone that becomes mountain 
9-14, 18, 22, 26-27:
Ancient One & Son of Man
vv. 14b, 25e:
(restoration implicit; not by human hands)
[God restores Israel forever] 

Remember: Although their setting is during the Babylonian Exile (6th cent. BC), the stories actually stem from the 3rd and early 2nd centuries BC, and the whole book was compiled ca. 167-164 BC.

V) Babylonian, Mede and Persian Rulers

Nebuchadnezzar (605-562) Cyaxares (625-585) 

Cyrus (550-530)
defeats Astyages (550)
captures Babylon (539)
Amel-marduk (562-560) Astyages (585-550)

(Darius the Mede?)
Neriglissar (560-556)
Nabonidus (556-539)
Belshazzar (co-regent 549-539)   .
Cambyses (530-522)
Darius I Hystaspes (522-486) 
Xerxes I (486-465)
Artaxerxes I (465-424)
Xerxes II (423)
Darius II (423-404)
Artaxerxes II (404-358)
Artaxerxes III (358-338)
Arses (338-336)
Darius III (336-331)

VI) The Seleucid and Ptolemaic Dynasties (Greek)

332-323: King Alexander the Great leads the Greek armies invading the East, but he dies of a fever at age 33.

323-321: General Perdiccas is appointed regent over the whole empire, but is soon assassinated.

321-281: The Wars of the Diadochi: Alexander's generals and their successors (Ptolemy, Antigonus, Cassander, Lysimachus, Antiochus, Seleucus, Laomedon, etc.) divide the empire into four parts, but fight each other for forty years to gain control of more territory; by 281 the two main rulers controlling the East are Seleucus & Ptolemy.

At first Palestine was controlled by the Ptolemies (320-198), but later by the Seleucids (198-141).

Ptolemy I "Soter" (323-282; a.k.a. Ptolemy Lagi) Seleucus I "Nicator" (312-281)
Ptolemy II "Philadelphus" (282-246) Antiochus I "Soter" (281-261)
Antiochus II "Theos" (261-246)
Ptolemy III "Euergetes" (246-221) Seleucus II "Callinicus" (246-226)
Seleucus III "Soter" (226-223)
Ptolemy IV "Philopator" (221-204) Antiochus III ("The Great") (223-187)
Ptolemy V "Epiphanes" (204-180) Seleucus IV "Philopator" (187-175)
Ptolemy VI "Philometor" (180-145)
     Cleopatra I (180-176)
     Cleopatra II (170-164)
Antiochus IV "Epiphanes" (175-164)
Antiochus V "Eupator" (164-162)
Demetrius I "Soter" (162-150)
Ptolemy VII "Neos Philopator" (145-44) Alexander Balas (150-145)
Ptolemy VIII, "Euergetes II" (170-163; 144-116) Demetrius II "Nicator (145-139, 129-125)
[Antiochus VI "Epiphanes Dionysus": 145-142]
Antiochus VII "Sidetes" (138-129)
116-30: more Ptolemies (IX-XV) and Cleopatras (III-VII)
ruled until the Romans took over
125-65: descendants of Demetrius II and Antiochus VII
fight for control until the Romans take over

[For more detail, see also my webpage on the Hellenistic Era Rulers.]

VII) The Hasmonean Family (Main Leaders by Generations)

VIII) Bibliography: Recommended Readings

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