7.22 Daniel -- The Structure of the Book

The reader immediately notices that the book has a split personality.  The first six chapters are accounts of miracles and revelations, in which God enlightens pagan kings and protects His servants.  The last six chapters contain Daniel’s personal dreams and visions about world empires.  Each half of the book is in chronological order.  Yet the separation is imperfect, as chapters 2, 4, and 5 involve dreams and visions of pagan kings concerning God’s judgment on world empires.  And chapter 3 isn't even about Daniel at all.


The book is also structured by language.  It begins in Hebrew, but in Dan 2:4 shifts to Aramaic, continuing in that language through Dan 7:28, before switching back to Hebrew.  Since Aramaic was an international language of commerce and diplomacy, it is often suggested that chapters 2-7 use Aramaic because they address Gentiles as well as Jews,  whereas chapters 1 and 8-12 "deal with special concerns of the chosen people" (NIV Study Bible 1301).


We shall discuss the book in chapter sequence.