Daniel was a prophet during the Babylonian captivity. He was carried to Babylon as a youth and eventually rose to high office in the courts of Nebachudnezzar and other rulers.
When the Babylonians occupied Israel and Judah, they carried forcibly resettled the aristocratic, wealthy and others they deemed valuable. Daniel was among these. He was brought to Babylon and trained to serve in the court of the king.
Daniel rose to prominence early on. He had a passion to serve God. He showed this by asking to be fed a diet of vegetables rather that the food from the kings table. This was probably food from sacrifices to Babylonian gods (though it may have just not been kosher). He must have been persuasive, for he prevailed. Because he and his friends were very healthy on this diet, he gained a reputation for wisdom.
His reputation grew when God began to show him interpretations of Nebachudnezzar’s dreams. In one of these dreams, Daniel saw the rise and fall of empires from the Babylonians to the time of Christ (the Roman Empire with the Persian and Greek empires in between). Much of his prophecies deal with the kingdoms to come from his own time to the first coming of Christ and the fate of Israel in that time.
The most famous story of Daniel is his survival of a night in the lion’s den. He was cast into it as a form of capital punishment for his devotion to God. This book also contains the story of Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego who were cast into the fire of a hot furnace for refusing to worship and idol, a statue in the image of Nebachunezzar. God brought them through unharmed.
Daniel is also mentioned in the book of Ezekiel.