Daniel is one of the central prophetic books in the Tanak. It is foundational to much of Christian understanding of the end times. It is also a compelling case study in Israelite circumstances in exile.
Daniel 1-2, Hostages in Babylon
Daniel and his companions were Jewish hostages to Babylon before and during the destruction of the first temple by Nebuchadnezzar. In this first vignette involving adherence to the dietary laws and the interpretation of dreams, Daniels character and favor with God are established.
Daniel 3-4, Trial by Furnace
When Daniel's friends remained true to character and to God by refusing to worship the state idol, they were thrown into a furnace. Their salvation from that trial was a witness to Nebuchadnezzar who gave glory to God. Nebuchadnezzar's conversion was later complete when God humbled him for a season, by giving him the mind of a beast.
Daniel 5-6, The End of Babylon
The final two chapters of the historical narrative sees the end of Babylon as an independent kingdom and the rise of the Medes and the Persians. As a major figure in both Babylon and Persia, Daniel interprets the writing on the wall for Belshazzar and survives an attempted assassination via the lion's den.