IT was about fourteen or fifteen years after Daniel had the vision last noticed that Babylon was taken by the Medes and Persians. We have learned in another lesson how Cyrus entered the city of Babylon, and how Darius the Median took the kingdom. In the first year of this King Darius, Daniel, by studying the prophecies of Jeremiah, knew that the time had nearly come for the Jews to return to their own country. If you will turn to the twenty-ninth chapter of Jeremiah, and read the tenth verse, you will see that this was made very plain. But Daniel knew that his people had been very stubborn and disobedient, and feared that the Lord would, on that account, keep them in captivity much longer. So he prayed very earnestly, confessing his sins and the sins of his people, and begging that the Lord would fulfill his promise, and not put off the time of their return to Jerusalem.

While Daniel was yet praying, the Lord sent the angel Gabriel to comfort him, and to tell him the meaning of that part of the vision, which was left unexplained when Daniel fainted. He said, "O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." He also told him just how many years it would take to restore and rebuild Jerusalem; when the Saviour would come, how long he would preach, and when he would be cut off: and all these things came to pass just as the angel had said.

Just about seventy years from the time when the first company of captives were taken from Jerusalem, Cyrus returned from his wars with other nations, and began to reign in Babylon.

In the first year of his reign he issued a decree that all the Jews who had a mind to do so should be permitted to return to Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple. He also brought out the gold and silver vessels, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple at Jerusalem, five thousand four hundred in all, and gave them to the Jews to take back with them. As soon as they could get ready, nearly fifty thousand of them went up to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel [Ze-rub'-ba-bel] as a leader. The next year they began to build the temple, but as soon as the Samaritans found out what the Jews were doing, they wanted to join with them in building. 

When they were not allowed to do so, they were very angry, and tried to hinder the work in every way they could. Daniel still remained with the king of Persia, and when he heard of this, he felt very sad. He fasted and prayed for three whole weeks, and at the end of that time, he had a wonderful vision. In this vision the Saviour himself seems to have appeared to him, and Gabriel talked with him a long time, telling him what should come to pass for many hundred years to come. Daniel was now an old man, and it is supposed that he remained in the East till he died.

How many useful lessons may be learned from the life of this good man! He must have been studious and thoughtful in his youth; for even then he was skillful in wisdom, cunning in knowledge, and understood science, as will be seen from reading the fourth verse of the first chapter of the book of Daniel. He was temperate in his habits, and faithful to his God; for he refused the wine from the king's table, and all food that was forbidden by the Jewish law. He was faithful in telling all that the Lord showed him, and would not neglect the worship of his God even when threatened with death in a den 

of lions.