Dan 6: Darius' pride and Daniel's preservation: (1) Daniel's
promotion in the Persian government (vv 1-3); (2) The conspiracy against Daniel
(vv 4-9); (3) Daniel's faithfulness and Darius' predicament (vv 10-15); (4)
Daniel in the lions' den (vv 16-18); (5) Daniel's deliverance and his enemies'
destruction (vv 19-24); (6) Darius' decree and praise of Yahweh (vv
Vv 1,2: When the Medo-Persian alliance overthrew the
Babylonian Empire, it acquired much geographic territory that it proceeded to
incorporate into its kingdom. The Persian Empire became the largest that the
world had yet seen eventually encompassing modern Turkey, Egypt, and parts of
India and North Africa as well as Babylonia. Darius divided his realm into 120
satrapies or provinces and set a satrap ("protector of the realm") in charge of
each one (cp Est 1:1; 8:9). They reported to three commissioners -- one of whom
was Daniel. Evidently Darius had heard about Daniel's unique gifts and
accomplishments as a Babylonian administrator and wanted to use him in his
NOW DANIEL SO DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF...: What makes this
so extraordinary is that Daniel would have been in his 80s by now!
AT THIS, THE ADMINISTRATORS AND THE SATRAPS TRIED TO FIND
GROUNDS FOR CHARGES AGAINST DANIEL...: Why did the other officials wanted to
get rid of Daniel? Perhaps his integrity made it difficult for them to get away
with graft and political corruption. A godly man in authority is a threat to
every ungodly man under his authority (Pro 20:8). This explains why the men
about to be placed under Daniel's authority were willing to take risks to keep
Daniel from being promoted. (It is also the reason the scribes and Pharisees
were terrified at the thought of Jesus being in authority over them. They wished
to persist in their sins and to profit from them. They devised a scheme to put
Jesus to death, even as Daniel's enemies formed a conspiracy to bring about his
Maybe since Daniel was quite old, his enemies wanted to
eliminate him so someone from a younger generation could take his place.
Anti-Semitism could also have been part of their reason (cp v 13; Dan 3:12).
THEY COULD FIND NO CORRUPTION IN HIM: He was
persecuted, though blameless: cp Psa 59:4; 109:3; Joh 19:6.
HE WAS TRUSTWORTHY: Examples of faithfulness in
service: Samuel (1Sa 3:20); David (1Sa 22:14); the temple overseers (2Ki 12:15);
the workers (2Ch 34:12); Hananiah (Neh 7:2); Abraham (Neh 9:8); the treasurers
(Neh 13:13); Daniel (Dan 6:4); Timothy (1Co 4:17); Epaphras (Col 1:7); Tychicus
(Col 4:7); Onesimus (Col 4:9); Paul (1Ti 1:12); Moses (Heb 3:2,5); Gaius (3Jo
1:5); Jesus Christ (Rev 1:5); Antipas (Rev 2:13).
Cp Luk 16:10; 2Ch 31:12.
The accusers' plan was similar to that of the Babylonian
officials who had tried to topple Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Dan 3). They
knew that Daniel was a God-fearing man who did not worship pagan idols. So they
set a trap for him believing that he would remain faithful to his faith. When
Daniel had to choose between obeying his God or his government, his God came
first (v 10; Acts 5:29).
THE ROYAL ADMINISTRATORS, PREFECTS... HAVE ALL AGREED:
The adversaries' exaggerated their claim that all the rulers of the kingdom had
concurred with their proposal. Obviously Daniel had not agreed to it.
Nevertheless it was believable enough that Darius did not object or consult
ANYONE WHO PRAYS TO ANY GOD OR MAN DURING THE NEXT THIRTY
DAYS, EXCEPT TO YOU, O KING...: The plan catered to the king's vanity. The
proposed statute evidently covered petitions of a religious nature rather than
requests of any type since a general ban, even a permanent ban, would have been
absurd. Perhaps the antagonistic rulers also aimed at impressing the Babylonians
with the importance of remaining loyal to their new Persian king. In any case
they promoted humanism, the philosophy that puts man in the place of
"The iniquity of world rulers during the 'times of the
Gentiles' has not yet been examined to the last detail. These monarchs have
sponsored idolatry in the past [Dan 3], and they will again in the prophetic
future. They became deranged by their senseless, overbearing pride in the past
[Dan 4], and they will again in the predicted future. They were blatantly
impious in their desecration of holy things in the past [Dan 5], and they will
be again in the foretold future.
"But that is not all; there is yet a final touch. Man will
finally seek to displace God altogether" (Feinberg).
PUT IT IN WRITING THAT IT CANNOT BE ALTERED: Under
Persian law, the king was bound by the authority of a royal edict (vv 8,12,15;
cp Est 1:19; 8:8). This made his power less than it was under an absolute
dictator such as Nebuchadnezzar (cp Dan 2:39). The action of Darius was both
foolish and wicked. Did he yield to the request of the ministers because he was
greatly influenced by the claims to deity which many of the Persian kings
WHERE THE WINDOWS OPENED TOWARD JERUSALEM: Solomon had
taught the Jews to pray to the Lord facing Jerusalem since that is where He
promised to be in a special sense for them (2Ch 6:21,34-39; cp Psa 5:7). The
fact that his window was open evidently symbolized for Daniel that his prayers
THREE TIMES A DAY: Praying three times a day was
evidently the practice of godly Jews dating back to David, if not before then
HE GOT DOWN ON HIS KNEES: Daniel's kneeling posture,
reminiscent of Solomon's at the temple dedication, indicated his dependence on
God as a suppliant. Normally the Jews stood when they prayed (1Ch 23:30; Neh 9;
Mat 6:5; Mar 11:25; Luke 18:11,13), but they kneeled (and prostrated themselves)
when they felt a more urgent need (1Ki 8:54; Ezra 9:5; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60;
9:40; 20:36; 21:5).
"He knew the penalty. Was he foolhardy? Why couldn't he have
taken care not to be seen? Why couldn't he have closed the lattice window, which
is so pointedly mentioned as being open? Wouldn't common prudence have demanded
at least that? God could hear just as well with it shut.
"But why SHOULD he hide? Why should he be ashamed or afraid?
Who has supreme power, God or man? Naaman the Syrian said (2Ki 5:18): 'When I
bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant this thing.' But
Daniel was a man of different stamp. Why should he temporise and interrupt his
communion with God at the whim of a heathen monarch? It was no sin to pray; it
was his duty. And if he intended to pray, why should he hide it?
"He could not have faithfully followed any other course. His
allegiance to God was on trial, and he faced the issue squarely. He did not go
out of his way to flout the king's commandment. He merely ignored it, and
followed his usual custom of worship, scorning subterfuge" (GVG).
For what did Daniel pray? For the welfare of the city where
God had sent them into exile, and for the Jews' return from exile. That this was
the subject of his praying, among other things including thanksgiving (v 10),
seems clear since Daniel possessed a copy of Jeremiah's prophecy (Dan 9:2; cp
Jer 29:1,7,10). Jeremiah had written that God had promised to hear such prayers,
if they were wholehearted, to restore the fortunes of the Jews, and to regather
them to the Promised Land (Jer 29:12-14). See Daniel's specific prayer, recorded
in Dan 9:3-19.
Cp Christ in Gethsemane: praying the third time (Mat 26:44).
Here are portrayed "the sufferings of Christ" -- AND "the glories that follows"
They evidently felt that eyewitness testimony would be
important in making their case. But did they suppose that a man who was so
faithful as to pray, even under threat of death, would pray and then lie about
WHO IS ONE OF THE EXILES FROM JUDAH: The same
anti-semitic description had been used before, of Daniel (Dan 2:25; 5:13), and
of his 3 friends (Dan 3:12).
HE WAS GREATLY DISTRESSED: Nebuchadnezzar had become
angry with Daniel's three friends when they refused to idolize him (Dan 3:19),
but Darius became angry with himself for signing the decree. This shows how much
he respected and valued Daniel.
HE WAS DETERMINED TO RESCUE DANIEL: Cp Pilate with
Jesus (Luk 23:20).
THEY BROUGHT DANIEL AND THREW HIM INTO THE LIONS' DEN:
Two different books have been written which share the same title: "Daniel in the
Critics' Den". Their authors have compared Daniel's experience in the lion's den
to the book of Daniel coming under attack by textual critics, Dan 6 is one of
the portions which has come under the heaviest attack. A good part of this
attack has to do with the Gentiles who appear in the book: Belshazzar (Dan 5),
and Darius (Dan 6) -- whose very existences have been disputed. However, by now,
perfectly reasonable explanations for both have been discovered and offered:
Until recent years, nothing was known of Belshazzar, but by now his existence
and identity have been independently confirmed. "Darius" is commonly accepted as
one of the titles of Cyrus, which seems the best guess as of now, but In twenty
or forty years, we may know as much about Darius as we now know about
Belshazzar. Either way, most of the critics' case against the book of Daniel has
MAY YOUR GOD, WHOM YOU SERVE CONTINUALLY, RESCUE YOU!:
The KJV is even more definite: "Thy God whom thou servest continually, HE WILL
The lions' den appears to have been a large pit in the ground
with an opening above that a large stone sealed, probably to keep people from
stumbling into it. Such pits were commonly used as cisterns to store water or as
prisons. Daniel had to be lifted up out of it (v 23), and others when thrown
into it fell down toward its bottom (v 24). It may also have had a side entrance
or drain since if it did not, rain could have filled the den and drowned the
A STONE WAS BROUGHT AND PLACED OVER THE MOUTH OF THE
DEN: Cp the great stone at the tomb of Christ.
AND HE COULD NOT SLEEP: Quite possibly Daniel -- in the
lions' den -- slept better than his king -- in the safety and comfort of his
palace! To the believer, external circumstances and surroundings are not the
prerequisite for "peace". Daniel in a lions' den, Joseph in a pit, Paul in a
storm-tossed ship, or in a prison... all these are more in the hands of God than
AT THE FIRST LIGHT OF DAWN: Evidently spending a night
in the lions' den was the minimum that the law required.
For the typical parallel, cp those who go to the tomb of
Jesus, "at dawn" (Mat 28:1).
His unlikely surroundings do not keep Daniel from delivering
his exhortation to the king!
MY GOD SENT HIS ANGEL: Like the Angel who was with
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace: Dan 3:28. Cp Acts 27:23-25;
12:5-10; Gen 24:40.
AND HE SHUT THE MOUTHS OF THE LIONS: "...who through
faith... shut the mouths of lions" (Heb 11:33).
NOR HAVE I EVER DONE ANY WRONG BEFORE YOU: Cp the
innocence of Christ.
Then the king applied the "law of retaliation", and cast his
friend's accusers into the very den in which they had placed Daniel (cp,
generally, Gen 12:3; Est 7:9,10; Gal 6:7).
BEFORE THEY REACHED THE FLOOR OF THE DEN, THE LIONS
OVERPOWERED THEM AND CRUSHED ALL THEIR BONES: Thus proving that it wasn't
through lack of appetite that Daniel's life was spared!
Recognition of the supremacy of God's dominion and kingdom
over all others. Such a decree would encourage the scattered exiles of Israel,
and keep them ready and willing for their eventual return from exile.
DURING THE REIGN OF DARIUS AND THE REIGN OF CYRUS: Or,
as the NIV mg, "the reign of Darius, THAT IS, the reign of Cyrus". This supports
the view that "Darius" was a title for Cyrus. Cyrus' first full year as king of
Babylon was 538 BC, and this is when Daniel's career in government service ended