Author: Edith Shelton


Chapters 1-3 The call of Ezekiel.

1:1 speaks of the thirtieth year, probably referring the Ezekiel's age, for he then goes on to speak of the time as being the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin. That would be about 592 B.C., since the exile was 597 B.C.. If Ezekiel was 30 at that time, he would probably have been about the same age as Daniel. Daniel was taken in the first exile in 605/6 B.C., and was a young man at the time, perhaps about 16 or 17.

Ezekiel's vision of the four living creatures with their wheels and their strange way of moving is his way of trying to picture what he saw. He also saw a vision of the glory of God, and the Lord spoke to him. This was his call to go to Israel as a prophet. He was warned that they would not believe him. He was appointed as a watchman for the house of Israel, to warn the sinner to turn from his ways.

Judgment of Judah 4-24

Ch 4: Siege of Jerusalem - a brick, an iron plate -- lie on side 390 days, 40 days. Bread of several kinds of grain to eat and water to drink.

Ch 5: Cut off hair and beard, divide in thirds, and save small part. Represents what will be done to Jerusalem--because of their abominations, and doing what the nations round about them do. Famine, destruction, pestilence.

Ch 6-7: Ezekiel is told to prophesy against the mountains of Israel. (He is among the exiles in Babylon, but his prophecies at this time concern the land of Israel and Jerusalem.) These are hard prophecies of judgment against the idols and altars in Jerusalem and Judah. In these chapters we have the beginning of the repetition of "Then you/they will know that I am the LORD." (Depending on whether it is a 2nd person or 3rd person statement.) This is a key phrase throughout the book, repeated more than sixty times.

Ch 8-11: Sixth year, sixth month, fifth day. The elders of Judah are sitting before him -- wanting a word from the Lord. And the Spirit of God brings him in a vision to Jerusalem. Here he is shown the various kinds of idolatry being practiced, and a vision of an angel of judgment who is to mark those who sigh and groan about these abominations. He again has the vision of the cherubim and the wheels and the glory of the Lord. Then he is told to prophesy against them. After the vision he tells the exiles the things the Lord has showed him.

Ch 12: Preparing baggage as a sign that the people would go into exile; that is, those from Jerusalem.

Ch 13: Against the false prophets who prophesy from their own minds and say "Peace" when there is no peace--who have disheartened the righteous and encouraged the wicked.

Ch 14: Concerning those who set up their idols in their hearts.

Ch 16: Against Judah concerning idolatry in the figure of harlotry and adultery.

Ch 17: The king of Judah made a covenant with Babylon and has broken it. He will die in Babylon because he has despised his oath and broken his covenant.

Ch 18: The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not die for the father's sins nor the father for the son's. The righteous shall live and the wicked shall die if he does not turn from his wickedness. This is a call to repent and live.

Ch 19: A lament for Israel in poetic form

Ch 20-23: Seventh year, fifth month, tenth day. Prophecies against Judah. They have continually turned against the Lord since coming out of Egypt. But God has a plan for Israel that will not be frustrated. 20:32 "What is in your mind shall never happen--the thought, `Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.'" Ch 23 is about both Samaria and Jerusalem, called Oholah and Oholibah.

Ch 24: Ninth year, tenth month, tenth day. "...this very day the king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem, this very day."

Judgment on Gentiles 25--32

Ch 25: Judgment against Ammonites, Moab, Edom, Philistines because of their actions against Judah.

Ch 26-28: Eleventh year, first day of month. Prophecy against Tyre -- Nebuchadnezzar will conquer and demolish it. Ch 28 has the prophecy against the prince of Tyre and also against the king of Tyre. The king of Tyre is interpreted as Satan by many Bible teachers.

Ch 29-32: Tenth year, tenth month, twelfth day. Prophecy against Egypt. Also eleventh year, first month; eleventh year, third month; twelfth year, twelfth month; twelfth year, first month. Continuing prophecy against Egypt. 32:22-32 tells of other lands also that have gone down to the pit.

More prophecies concerning Judah & Israel 33--39

Ch 33: Responsibility of the watchman (see also chapter 18) Twelfth year, tenth month - a man escaped from Jerusalem brought word of the fall of the city. The destruction will come; the people will know a prophet has been among them.

Ch 34: Prophecy against the shepherds (leaders) who did not feed the flock. The Lord himself will be the shepherd of his sheep. He will not only judge the shepherds, but he will also judge between the sheep.

Ch 35: Prophecy against Mt. Seir because they rejoiced at the desolation of Judah.36 Prophecy to the mountains of Israel - restoration A new heart and a new spirit (vv 26-27)

Ch 37: Valley of dry bones - prophesy to bones - skin, sinew, spirit "I will raise you from your graves...bring you home into the land of Israel...put my Spirit within you and you shall live" Stick for Judah and stick for Ephraim--one people, one nation--David shall be king over them; one shepherd. Everlasting covenant.

Ch 38-39: Gog of the land of Magog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. See 38:8 -- "in the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land where people were gathered from many nations upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste..." It speaks of them coming from the north, on horses, a great host. Verse 16 says "In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes." See chapter 39 which tells of them being defeated and falling upon the mountains of Israel and being a prey for the beasts and birds of prey. Their weapons will make a fire for seven years, and it will take seven months to bury all the bodies.

There is a lot of speculation concerning the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Rev. 20:7-9 seems to indicate that this will happen at the end of the millennium.

Vision of the temple and division of the land 40--48

In the twenty-fifth year of the exile, at the beginning of the year, in the fourteenth year after the city [Jerusalem] was conquered. About 572 B.C.

The Lord brought him in a vision to the land of Israel and showed him a large structure on a very high mountain. This was a temple, and a man with a measuring reed measured all the parts of it, showing Ezekiel the measurement of all parts.
I can't even picture what is being described. And I don't know when this temple was intended to be built, if it was intended to be built, or what it meant -- so I won't attempt to try to interpret it. In chapters 47-48 he measures off the whole land, showing where each tribe is to be located. So it doesn't seem to be something that was supposed to happen right after the Babylonian captivity since the other tribes had not been returned to the land. On the other hand, I can't see the need of a temple with places to kill and offer sacrifices after the time when Jesus was crucified. Chapters 45 and 46 speak of offering sin offerings, celebrating the passover, offerings to cleanse the sanctuary, daily burnt offerings, etc.


Daniel may be divided into two parts. The first six chapters consist of the narratives, the stories with which we are familiar -- Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, the young men in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lions' den. The last six chapters consist of prophetic visions given to Daniel. Some of these prophecies have already been fulfilled, some have not. These are the "mysterious" chapters and the controversial ones.

Daniel is not a prophet in the generally accepted sense of the word. He was not given messages to give to people or nations. God showed him the meaning of dreams, and God gave him visions of the future. But he was a statesman, a Hebrew statesman in Babylon under the Chaldeans and under the Medes and Persians.

Some historical background will be helpful in understanding Daniel. Josiah, who was a good king of Judah, that is, one who worshipped God, died in 609 B.C. when he foolishly and unnecessarily fought the Pharaoh of Egypt. Jehoahaz, Josiah's son, ruled for three months, but Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah was placed on the throne of Judah by the pharaoh. In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar, who was then the crown prince of Babylon, defeated Egypt and took from him Syria and Palestine. He descended on Jerusalem, made Jehoiakim swear allegiance to him and took some booty and a number of prisoners -- including nobility and those of royal family. It was at this time that Daniel and his three friends were taken to Babylon. After a few years Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and N came to lay siege to Jerusalem. Either Jehoiakim died, was killed in the siege, or was carried off to Babylon. In any event, his son Jehoiachin succeeded him. But he also was captured and carried off three months later. It was at this time, 597 B.C., that more captives were taken to Babylon, apparently including Ezekiel. Zedekiah then became king, and he also rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, against Jeremiah's advice, and Jerusalem was again besieged and this time completely destroyed. During all this time Daniel held a position of authority and responsibility in the court of Nebuchadnezzar.


Ch 1: Daniel is taken captive in the 605 conquest of Jerusalem along with his three friend, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who were all given Chaldean names (Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) and set to learning the language of the Chaldeans so they could be of use in the king's service. God gave them learning and skill and gave Daniel understanding of dreams and visions.

Ch 2: Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and called all his magicians, sorcerers, etc. to tell him the meaning. But first they must tell him the dream. Since they all said this was not possible, he ordered them all to be killed. But Daniel persuaded the captain of the king's guard to give him an opportunity. He and his friends prayed, and God showed him the dream and the interpretation. He then told the king of his dream of a large image with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay.
The gold head he said was Nebuchadnezzar; the other parts were kingdoms that would follow his. There was also a large stone that came and demolished all the kingdoms -- this was the kingdom of the God of heaven which would be set up and never destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar was greatly impressed and made Daniel head over all the wise men of Babylon and appointed his three friends, at Daniel's request, to positions of responsibility.

Ch 3: Nebuchadnezzar made a large image (perhaps he got the idea from his dream) about 90' high and 9' wide made of gold. He assembled all the various officers of his kingdom and told them they must fall down and worship this image when the music sounded -- or be thrown alive into a fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to do so. They said they would worship only their God, and would not bow down to any idol. (We are not told where Daniel was at this time.) Neb. was furious and ordered the furnace heated very hot and threw them in. But then they saw four men walking around inside, and the three were brought out with no damage at all. The king was astonished and recognized the power of God and issued a proclamation that no one should say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego, or they would be torn limb from limb. Whatever he did, he seemed to do it with a passion for extreme punishments.

Ch 4: This whole chapter seems to be a public record Nebuchadnezzar made. Nebuchadnezzar had another dream, and this time he told Daniel what it was. He saw a great tree, and it was cut down, and a watcher or holy one came down and made a proclamation. Daniel hesitated to tell him the interpretation, but he finally did tell him it was also about him. It indicated he would be "cut down" and forced to wander like a wild beast. Seven times would pass over him (no further meaning given for "times"), and when he acknowledged that the Most High rules over the kingdom of men he would regain his sanity. Daniel tried to get the king to change his ways and avoid this trouble, but a year later it happened as Daniel had foretold. When he was restored, he praised the Lord and gave glory to Him. Nebuchadnezzar reigned for over forty years, until 562 B.C.. We don't know at what time in his reign this occurred or what effect, if any, it had on him afterwards.

Ch 5: The story of Belshazzar's feast occurs in 539 B.C. when the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon--that very night. Belshazzar is the son and co-regent of Nabonidus, who had been an official under Nebuchadnezzar. Although the queen mentioned in the story calls Nebuchadnezzar his father, this is not the actual relationship as we would view it. In the midst of the banquet handwriting appeared on the wall and no one could read and understand it. The queen suggested that Daniel be called. The words were numbered, weighed, divided. Daniel said God was telling him "God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." Belshazzar died as the invading army entered Babylon that night. Interestingly, Daniel continues in a position of power and counsel to the new rulers. If he was 16 when he was brought to Babylon, he would have been about 82 when the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon and possibly had not been active in the government for a while. (That is only an assumption since the queen had to remind Belshazzar about him, but in 8:27 it speaks of him going about the king's business in the third year of Belshazzar.) No doubt in his position of authority, he would have been known outside of Babylon.

Ch 6: This chapter speaks of King Darius, and 9:1 speaks of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede, who became king... History does not seem to have cleared up the relationship between him and Cyrus, king of Persia, who is mentioned in 10:1.

Daniel was named as one of the three presidents, the highest positions in the land, and the usual politicking and infighting seemed to go on. Others were jealous of him and tried to find something against him, but there was nothing. So they persuaded Darius to issue an order that no one could ask anything of any god or any man for thirty days, or he would be cast into a den of lions. Sounds like a foolish idea, but maybe it seemed to the king a good way to enforce his authority. For whatever reason, he signed it. And "the law of the Medes and the Persians cannot be revoked." But Daniel continued to pray as before, and this was reported to the king, who now realized the foolishness of his decree and who wanted to save Daniel. But there was nothing he could do, and Daniel was thrown into the lions' den. Realize that Daniel must now be an old man in his 80's; this is not a young man put in the lions' den. The king agonized all night, and in the morning he went to see if Daniel's God had saved him. Daniel told him God had sent an angel to close the lions' mouths. Then the king had the accusers and their families thrown to the lions. They were not so fortunate. And Darius also made a public proclamation concerning the God of Daniel. 6:28 says, "So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian." But we still don't know the relation between those two.


The first two visions in chapters 7 and 8 are in the first and third years of Belshazzar. We don't know exactly when Belshazzar became co-regent with his father, but this would have been between 555 and 539 B.C.

The prayer and vision of chapter 9 took place in the first year of Darius, so that would have been 539 or 538 B.C. The vision in chapters 10-12 is dated in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia.

Ch 7: Daniel had a dream and/or vision at night in which he saw four great beasts rising out of the sea, the fourth being terrible and dreadful and exceedingly strong. He also saw thrones, and "one that was ancient of days" took his seat. Books of judgment were opened. There also came one like a son of man who was given dominion. When Daniel asked about the vision, he was told that the four beasts are four kings, but the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom. He asked about the fourth beast, and was told it was a fourth kingdom on earth that was different from the others and would devour the whole earth. From it ten kings would arise, and another after them, different from the former ones. He thinks to change times and the law; and he will continue for a time, two times, and half a time (again, we don't know what a "time" is here). But the court will sit in judgment and his dominion will be taken away and give to the people of the Most High.

This vision of the ten kings (or kingdoms) is constantly being referred to by those who are trying to prophesy from this as to the end times. The European confederation as a continuation of the Roman empire (the toes of clay and iron of Nebuchadnezzar's image vision) is one explanation often put forth. From this the "anti-Christ" will come according to this explanation.

Ch 8: The vision of the ram and he-goat. This was interpreted by Gabriel. The ram was the kings of Media and Persia, and the he-goat was Greece. This came to pass in Alexander. As in verse 22 "four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power." There is also mention of a "king of bold countenance" who shall arise...shall make deceit prosper...shall magnify himself... shall even rise up against the Prince of princes.

Ch 9: In the first year of Darius, about 538, Daniel had been in Babylon almost 70 years. And he reads in Jeremiah's prophecy about 70 years passing before the end of the desolation of Jerusalem. So he sets himself to pray and confess the sins of the people and ask the Lord to act concerning Jerusalem.

In answer to his prayer Gabriel is sent to give him a message -- one that people today are still trying to figure out. Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city... From the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem... Sixty-nine of these "weeks" are mentioned--7 and then 62. Then the anointed one will be cut off. The city and sanctuary will be destroyed, etc. This last is taken to refer to the coming and death of the anointed one -- Jesus, to the destruction of city and temple.
9:27 "...he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, etc." has been taken to refer to the anti-Christ coming at the beginning of the tribulation and making a covenant which he will break in the middle of that time. Perhaps the words could be taken to mean that, but there was little success in interpreting prophecies about the coming Messiah before Jesus came, and I doubt the success of interpreting the prophecies that are still future, if they are still future.

Ch 10: In the third year of Cyrus there is a detailed vision. In this chapter we read of the "man" who came to tell Daniel "what would befall his people in the latter days." He says that the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him 21 days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help him. In v.20 he says he will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and "when I am through with him, lo, the prince of Greece will come." We seem to be given a glimpse of some heavenly battles here.

Ch 11 gives a detailed account of the rise of Greece and of the comings and goings of the "king of the south" and the "king of the north." According to a footnote in my Harper Study Bible, this chapter gives a detailed history of the Ptolemy and Seleucid empires (Egypt and Syria), which were two divisions of Alexander's empire, up to and including Antiochus Epiphanes in vs 36-45. The footnote says concerning this Antiochus "who was the type of the antichrist yet to come; but many features of this prediction were not fulfilled in the career of the historical Epiphanes and can only find fulfilment in the end time." Some, such as Hal Lindsey, see the king of the north as referring to farther north -- this confedertion of ten European countries from which he expects the antichrist to arise. However, these detailed historical notes seem to show that the king of the north was in Syria, and the king of the south in Egypt in the time after Alexander and before the Romans rose to power.

Ch 12 finishes this vision, saying that "at that time" Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people shall arise. There shall be a time of great trouble, but your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book. A resurrection is spoken of also.

Daniel was told that the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many believe this is the time of the end, so they are trying to "unseal" the words and discover their meaning. You will hear references to Daniel 7 -- the beasts that rise from the sea, the fourth beast and its ten horns, and the two and a half times; Daniel 9 -- the seventy weeks; and Daniel 11 -- the kings of the north and the south, and especially the willful king who will "magnify himself above all."

Maybe the best verse is 12:3 [after the resurrections in 12:2] And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.