Daniel - Lesson 1

By Stafford North


Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can explain the historical circumstances surrounding the story of Daniel, including what was happening in the Kingdom of Judah and in other kingdoms related to the story.
  2. The student can provide a date for key events in the story of Daniel.
  3. The student can identify the following places on a map: Jerusalem, Samaria, Nineveh, Babylon.


  1. Have a chalkboard, marker board, overhead, or PowerPoint ready. You may download the PowerPoint to make overhead transparencies. When you do, click "Pure Black and White" on the print dialogue box.)
  2. Have copies of the worksheet ready to hand out at the beginning of the class.
  3. Be sure all the students have Bibles.
  4. Have cards ready to distribute with all the passages you want someone to read aloud during the lesson.
  5. Have a blank sheet of paper to hand out to each student so they can keep a list of personal applications throughout the class sessions. Ask them to keep this sheet in their Bibles so they can have it available to record applications.
  6. Have access to a map-on the wall, on a transparency, or on the supplied PowerPoint.


God is able to work in the affairs of nations so that while the nations make decisions for their own purposes, God is able to use such decisions to achieve His ends. The stories of the Kingdom of Judah and of Daniel are very good illustrations of this principle.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (about 10 minutes)

  1. Call the roll, or, if the class is large, let someone check the roll or let students sign in as they come to class. Make any necessary class announcements. If you like to start with songs, some that tie with the lesson today are "How Great Thou Art,""Majesty," "Mighty is Our God," or "Holy, Holy, Holy." Have a prayer.
  2. Tell the class that the study for this quarter is the book of Daniel. To get class involvement started from the first, ask the class this question: Q: What do you remember about the story of Daniel? We will work all of those into our class study. Here are a few more things you might not know about. A: Jesus quotes Daniel. The Book of Revelation refers to some passages in Daniel. Daniel makes prophecies about Jesus. In fact, one of Jesus' favorite expressions about Himself came from Daniel.
  3. The Book of Daniel is one of the most important Old Testament books to study because it shows God's power to work among nations and to reveal in advance events which will happen. The book also shows God's love by his care of Daniel and his friends. The book shows God's patience because, even after the Israelites have abandoned Him many times, He still wants to help them. Finally, the book of Daniel shows how God began many years in advance to work things so that, at the right time, Jesus would come to give His life for all of us.
  4. If you will be regular in attendance this term and will do a little home work, here are the things you will be able to do when our study is over. (Review the objectives of the class given in the Introduction to the Teacher.) As a part of our learning, you will complete during each class a worksheet which you can take home with you. If you will review this worksheet each week, you will be prepared to do well on a Review Quiz which you can do each time when you come to class. Think about this learning plan-listening well in class, looking at the visuals I will provide, writing down some important things to remember, reviewing these important items during the week, having some accountability for your learning on a brief review quiz as we start each new class period. If you will do these things, you will carry away from this study a very good understanding of the key elements of our look at Daniel. I hope you will enter this study with a strong desire to learn about this book of Daniel.

Learning Experiences: (about 20 minutes)

Let's start with a brief review of the history of Israel to provide some background to the study of Daniel. I will ask you questions as we go and you should fill in the appropriate blanks on the worksheet. Be sure to watch for the answers to put on your worksheet. The sentence in which the answer appears may not be expressed exactly as it appears on the worksheet. Also as we review this history, we will be making reference to the map so we can get oriented to location of the places in the story of Daniel. (The numbers below connect with numbers on the Student Worksheet.)

No. 1. Read Daniel 1:1. When the story of Daniel begins, Jehoiakim is in his third year as king over Judah when they were attacked by the Babylonians. Q:What actual year was this? A: 606 BC. Let's step back some years to get a fuller picture. Q: What is meant by "king of Judah?" A: King over the southern kingdom, the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (Show map of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Point out Jerusalem as capitol of Judah and Samaria as capitol of Israel.) Q: By the time of Daniel's birth, what had happened to the ten tribes of the Kingdom of Israel? A: They had been carried away by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Q: Why had this northern kingdom been taken away? Read 2 Kings 17:5-14. A: Because they followed idols and God had told them many times that if they did this, they would be taken into captivity. Q: When is the Assyrian Kingdom destroyed and by whom? A: By Babylon in 612 BC.

No. 2. Q: How faithful to God has the kingdom of Judah been? Read 2 Kings22:3, 10-20. A: They also have worshipped idols although a few of their kings have been faithful kings (Hezekiah and Josiah for example), but most of their kings have allowed idols and taken part in worship to them. Q: What has God predicted about the kingdom of Judah? Read Jeremiah 25:8-10. A: They too will be carried away into captivity because of their sins. Q: Did God tell them they would return from this captivity? Read Jeremiah 25:11. A: They would go away into Babylon but would return after 70 years. (Show map of the BabylonianEmpire. Show where their capitol city of Babylon is located.) Nebuchadnezzar begins to fulfill this prophecy when he comes against Judah in 606 BC.

No. 3. Q: Now to review, what had happened to the Kingdom of Israel because of their idolatry and when did it happen? A: They have been taken away by theAssyrians in 722 BC. Q: What is then predicted to happen to the Kingdom ofJudah? A. They also will be carried away. Q: By whom and for how long will they be in captivity? A: By Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians and they will be gone for 70 years. Q: In what year does the Babylonian leader Nebuchadnezzar first conquer Jerusalem and take captives? A: 606 BC.

No. 4. Q: So what dates have we studied so far and what happened in each? A:722 BC-the Kingdom of Israel falls. 606 BC-Nebuchadnezzar first comes against Jerusalem and takes captives.

No. 5. Q. How many more times does Nebuchadnezzar attack Jerusalem? A: Two. Q: In what years? A: 597 and 586 BC. Q: What is different about 586BC? A: In 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar took more captives but in 586 BC, Jerusalem is totally destroyed and all the remaining people are taken captive to Babylon. Q: What important people were taken captive to Babylon in 606 BC. A: Daniel and his three friends- Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah. Q: What important person was taken captive to Babylon in 597 BC? A: Ezekiel. Q: What was the difference in the locations as to where Daniel and his friends were kept and where Ezekiel stayed? A: Daniel and his friends were in or near the Babylonian palace, while Ezekiel lived with the exiles in their refugee camp by the river.

No. 6. Let's review our dates again. Q: What happened in 722 BC? Q: When were the Assyrians destroyed and by whom? Q: What are the three dates when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and what happened at each date?

No. 7. Now let's project forward. Q: How long did Jeremiah say the Jews would be captive in Babylon? A: 70 years. Q: Counting from the time of the first captives taken, in what year would they be allowed to return? A: 536 BC. And so it was.

Application: (about 14 minutes)

  1. Give each student a blank sheet of paper to keep in his/her Bible. Ask the students to write across the top of the sheet these words: "My PersonalApplications from the Book of Daniel." Tell them that as the study goes along, they should write on this sheet any applications to their own life which they find in Daniel as a way of committing themselves to and remembering this personal application.
  2. Q: What lessons do we learn from this story about God? A: He punishes those who do not keep His word. He warns people to repent. He still loves His people even when they are rebellious and wants to restore them. God has the wisdom and the power to achieve His purposes by using those people and nations that make their own free choices (Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon).
  3. Q: How does any of this apply to us today? A: God still punishes those who do not keep His word, but not necessarily in this life. God still loves His people and wants to bring good to them. God can still use nations and people to work out His will even when they are not aware of it. (Bringing down the Iron Curtain, perhaps God is at work through nations today in Afghanistan and Iraq.) We will bring much harm to ourselves and others if we stray from what God has told us to do.

Assignment: (About 1 minute)

  1. Study from your worksheet to prepare for the Review Quiz when you next come to class.
  2. Next class period we will discuss who wrote Daniel. Check out in your commentaries and the introduction to Daniel in a study Bible to see what you can find out on your own about the dating of Daniel.

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