Why was the book of Daniel written?
If the book was actually written by Daniel, it was written very late in life, when the prophet was in his late 80’s. The book covers a period of time from 605 B.C., when Daniel was taken captive, to 539 B.C., when Cyrus overcame the Babylonian empire – sixty-six years. It does not appear to be a chronicle about Daniel. Daniel is just the main human figure in the story. But that brings us back to where we started: why was the book written?
Written about the time of the return of the Jews to Babylon, the intent of the book is to encourage the Jews, and give them a glimpse into their future. God has not abandoned them. His people, though captives in a foreign land, have unexpected positions of power. Through their influence, even pagan rulers, while not embracing the God of the Jews exclusively, recognize and admit His sovereignty over their lives and kingdoms.
Who are these people who rise from the obscurity of defeat and captivity to positions of leadership and influence among the nations? They are those who do not embrace the ways of those who have oppressed them (1:8). They are those who will not worship any God but the Lord – regardless of the penalty (chapters 3 and 6), and whose trust is supremely in the God of the Jews.
As Daniel draws to a close, it will not be long before the Jewish people will be allowed to return and rebuild their homeland. They will need these lessons to preserve their national identity, and encourage them in difficult days ahead to be true to the Lord who is in control of all things, and who favors them above all peoples. That is why the book was written.