Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Daniel, by John C. Whitcomb
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
The book of Daniel has long been a source of contention concerning higher criticism and the legitimacy of biblical predictive prophecy . This book serves as a worthwhile introduction to this fascinating and short prophetic book that bravely stands in the gap and gives thoughtful interpretations of the book’s prophecy and also places the book of Daniel in its historical perspective as well as its whole biblical perspective. As Daniel continues to be of interest to contemporary students of the Bible , this book does a good job at explaining some of the more notable and more common questions that readers would have about this book of the Bible and does so in a way that allows for ease of reading as it can be profitably read alongside the Bible as the reader goes through both books in tandem, with straightforward cross-referencing taken in a sequential manner. The student of textual criticism with a high degree of respect for biblical inerrancy and also for biblical history will find a great deal of enjoyment in this volume.
In a bit under 200 pages this book contains ten chapters that examine the complete contents of the Book of Daniel and provide some information for the reader to better understand Daniel’s context in the scripture and history. The author begins with acknowledgments and an introduction to the contentious view of Daniel as being a 2nd Century BC pseudonymous work, which is the common view of uninspired liberal critics about this book, a view the author tweaks on numerous occasions through the book. After this there is a chapter on Daniel’s training in Babylon (1) and another on Nebuchadnezzar’s great dream of the image (2) that later served as the likely inspiration for his own image that led to the peril of Daniel’s friends (3) and part of the background of pride that led to his dream of having to eat grass like an ox (4). After this the author discusses the fall of Babylon during the days of Belshazzar (5), Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den (6), and the visions of the four kingdom and the great horn (7), which the author views as being Satan. The rest of the book then follows with a look at the prophecy of the ram and the goat (8) symbolizing Persia and Greece, Daniel’s prayer and the prophecy of the seventy weeks so important for our dating of Jesus Christ’s birth and life (9) and a closing chapter that looks at the lengthy vision of the latter days of the last three chapters of Daniel (10). The book then closes with a bibliography, chronology, and map showing the Babylonian empire as it existed during the days of Daniel.
There is a great deal to praise about this book. The author has clearly done a great deal of reading about Daniel and about the historical events portrayed in that book, as well as a great deal of commentary about higher criticism and the influence of archaeology on how the book can be viewed by contemporary readers. The footnotes and sources cited by the author are excellent throughout and it is clear that the author is a knowledgeable commentator on the book of Daniel and one who has a pronounced ability to take this often misunderstood book and make its meaning plain. He has some clear interests in spiritual warfare and points out God’s sovereignty throughout, using that concept as a way of dividing the book and showing how the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel often duplicate each other from the perspectives of earth then heaven. That which appears noble and glorious to man may often be bestial and horrifying in the point of view of God, as even the glory of humanity is often nothing more than dross or rubbish to our Creator whose glorious nature far excels our fallen state when unredeemed. Fortunately for the reader, this book is full of discussion about redemption and Daniel’s unusual wisdom and spiritual insight, which hopefully may be shared by those who read this book faithfully and conscientiously.
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