The Bible’s answer
Daniel was an outstanding Jewish prophet who lived during the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.E. God enabled him to interpret dreams, gave him visions about future events, and inspired him to write the Bible book that bears the prophet’s own name.—Daniel 1:17; 2:19.
Who was Daniel?
Daniel grew up in Judah, a kingdom that included the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple. In 617 B.C.E., the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, captured Jerusalem and carried off “the foremost men of the land” into exile in Babylon. (2 Kings 24:15; Daniel 1:1) Daniel, who was probably a teenager at the time, was taken with them.
Daniel and some other young men (including Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were taken to the Babylonian palace to receive special training for governmental service. Although they were pressured to compromise their beliefs, Daniel and his three friends remained faithful to their God, Jehovah. (Daniel 1:3-8) After they had received three years of training, King Nebuchadnezzar praised them for their wisdom and skills, judging them to be “ten times better than all the magic-practicing priests and the conjurers in his entire realm.” He appointed Daniel and his friends to serve in the royal court.—Daniel 1:18-20.
Decades later, when Daniel was probably in his 90’s, he was summoned to the palace. A man named Belshazzar, who was then ruling in Babylon, asked Daniel to interpret handwriting that had mysteriously appeared on the wall. Having divine guidance, Daniel revealed that Babylon would fall to the Medo-Persian Empire. Babylon was captured that very night.—Daniel 5:1, 13-31.
Now, under Medo-Persian rule, Daniel was appointed as a high official and King Darius considered promoting him further. (Daniel 6:1-3) Jealous officials plotted to assassinate Daniel by having him thrown into a lions’ pit, but Jehovah rescued him. (Daniel 6:4-23) Toward the end of Daniel’s life, an angel appeared to him and twice reassured Daniel that he was a “very precious man.”—Daniel 10:11, 19.
Watch these events come to life in the two-part Bible drama Daniel—A Lifetime of Faith.