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Da 6:1-28. DARIUS' DECREE: DANIEL'S DISOBEDIENCE, AND CONSEQUENT EXPOSURE TO THE LIONS: HIS DELIVERANCE BY GOD, AND DARIUS' DECREE.
1. Darius--GROTEFEND has read it in the
cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis, as Darheush, that is,
"Lord-King," a name applied to many of the Medo-Persian kings in
common. Three of that name occur: Darius Hystaspes, 521 B.C., in whose reign the decree was carried into effect
for rebuilding the temple
Darius Codomanus, 336 B.C., whom Alexander
overcame, called "the Persian"
an expression used after the rule of Macedon was set up; and Darius
Cyaxares II, between Astyages and Cyrus [&AELig;SCHYLUS, The Persians, 762, 763].
3. Daniel was preferred--probably because of his having so
wonderfully foretold the fall of Babylon. Hence the very expression
used by the queen mother on that occasion
is here used, "because an excellent spirit was in him."
5. It is the highest testimony to a godly man's walk, when his most watchful enemies can find no ground of censure save in that he walks according to the law of God even where it opposes the ways of the world.
6. assembled together--literally, "assembled hastily and tumultuously."
Had they come more deliberately, the king might have refused their
grant; but they gave him no time for reflection, representing that their
test-decree was necessary for the safety of the king.
7. The Persian king was regarded as representative of the chief
god, Ormuzd; the seven princes near him represented the seven
Amshaspands before the throne of Ormuzd; hence Mordecai
refused such homage to Haman, the king's prime minister, as
inconsistent with what is due to God alone. A weak despot, like Darius,
much under the control of his princes, might easily be persuaded that
such a decree would test the obedience of the Chaldeans just conquered,
and tame their proud spirits. So absolute is the king in the East,
that he is regarded not merely as the ruler, but the owner, of the
8. decree--or, "interdict."
9. Such a despotic decree is quite explicable by remembering that the king, as the incarnation of Ormuzd, might demand such an act of religious obedience as a test of loyalty. Persecuting laws are always made on false pretenses. Instead of bitter complaints against men, Daniel prays to God. Though having vast business as a ruler of the empire, he finds time to pray thrice a day. Daniel's three companions (Da 3:12), are not alluded to here, nor any other Jew who conscientiously may have disregarded the edict, as the conspirators aimed at Daniel alone (Da 6:5).
10. when Daniel knew . . . writing . . . signed--and that, therefore,
the power of advising the king against it was taken from him.
11. assembled--as in Da 6:6, "assembled" or "ran hastily," so as to come upon Daniel suddenly and detect him in the act.
12. They preface their attack by alleging the king's edict, so as to get him again to confirm it unalterably, before they mention Daniel's name. Not to break a wicked promise, is not firmness, but guilty obstinacy (Mt 14:9; Mr 6:26).
13. That Daniel--contemptuously.
14. displeased with himself--for having suffered himself to be
entrapped into such a hasty decree
On the one hand he was pressed by the immutability of the law, fear
that the princes might conspire against him, and desire to consult for
his own reputation, not to seem fickle; on the other, by regard for
Daniel, and a desire to save him from the effects of his own rash
16. Thy God . . . will deliver thee--The heathen believed in the interposition of the gods at times in favor of their worshippers. Darius recognized Daniel's God as a god, but not the only true God. He had heard of the deliverance of the three youths in Da 3:26, 27 and hence augurs Daniel's deliverance. I am not my own master, and cannot deliver thee, however much I wish it. "Thy God will." Kings are the slaves of their flatterers. Men admire piety to God in others, however disregarding Him themselves.
17. stone . . . sealed--typical of Christ's entombment
under a seal
Divinely ordered, that the deliverance might be the more striking.
18. neither were instruments of music, &c.--GESENIUS translates, "concubines." Daniel's mentioning to us as an extraordinary thing of Darius, that he neither approached his table nor his harem, agrees with XENOPHON'S picture of him as devoted to wine and women, vain, and without self-control. He is sorry for the evil which he himself had caused, yet takes no steps to remedy it. There are many such halters between good and bad, who are ill at ease in their sins, yet go forward in them, and are drawn on by others.
19. His grief overcame his fear of the nobles.
20. living God--having life Himself, and able to preserve thy life;
contrasted with the lifeless idols. Darius borrowed the phrase from
Daniel; God extorting from an idolater a confession of the truth.
21. Daniel might have indulged in anger at the king, but does not; his sole thought is, God's glory has been set forth in his deliverance.
22. his angel--the instrument, not the author, of his deliverance
(Ps 91:11; 34:7).
23. because he believed--"Faith" is stated in Heb 11:33 to have been his actuating principle: a prelude to the Gospel. His belief was not with a view to a miraculous deliverance. He shut his eyes to the event, committing the keeping of his soul to God, in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator (1Pe 4:19), sure of deliverance in a better life, if not in this.