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Daniel 6 study

Please remember to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit of God to guide and bless you before studying the Word of God. For more information on this see http://www.godswordexplained.com/?page_id=1884 [Daniel 1 study].
Daniel Chapter 6
6:1 ¶ It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
6:2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.
6:3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit [was] in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
6:4 ¶ Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he [was] faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
6:5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find [it] against him concerning the law of his God.
6:6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
6:7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
6:8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
6:9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
6:10 ¶ Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
6:11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
6:12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask [a petition] of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing [is] true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
6:13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which [is] of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
6:14 Then the king, when he heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself, and set [his] heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
6:15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is], That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
6:16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast [him] into the den of lions. [Now] the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
6:17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
6:18 ¶ Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
6:19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
6:20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: [and] the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of THE LIVING GOD, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
6:21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
6:22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
6:23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
6:24 ¶ And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast [them] into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
6:25 ¶ Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
6:26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he [is] THE LIVING GOD, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end.
6:27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
The Book of Daniel was written in the sixth-century BC
The events recorded in this Chapter provide additional evidence the Book was composed in the sixth-century BC rather than the Maccabean era conjectured by sceptics.
The advocates of the genuineness of Daniel have conclusively shown that the prohibition referred to, verse 8, corresponds altogether to the religious views the Medo-Persians, while on the other hand it is out and out in contradiction to the circumstances of the times of the Maccabees. . . . The religious restraint which was thus laid upon the Jews for a month is very different from the continual rage of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Jewish worship of God. . . . this narrative is destitute of every characteristic mark of the Seleucidan-Maccabee era.
The portrayal of Darius as well-disposed toward Daniel (Daniel 6:3, 14) and even toward Daniel’s God (Daniel 6:16) cannot be reconciled with the actions of Antiochus.
When consulting study resources referring to the Aramaic text, keep in mind that Daniel 5:31 in the English text appears as Daniel 6:1 in the Aramaic text, such that verse numbers in the Aramaic text for this Chapter are one greater than their English counterpart [1].
• [1] The first verse to mention Darius the Mede is numbered as 6:1 in the Masoretic Text and Vulgate, but 5:31 in English translations. This verse was assigned to the beginning of Daniel 6 when the Vulgate (the Latin translation produced by Jerome c. 400 AD) was divided into Chapters. The Vulgate Chapter divisions were introduced in the Middle Ages, and they are attributed to Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, in the thirteenth century. This Chapter division kept all of the references to Darius in the same Chapter. When the Hebrew text was divided into Chapters, the Vulgate Chapter divisions were used. However, in Luther’s German translation of the Bible and in subsequent English translations, the verse was assigned to the end of Daniel 5 in order to demonstrate the complete fulfilment of the message of the handwriting on the wall. Throughout Daniel 6, verse numbers are one number higher in printed Hebrew texts than in English Bibles. Starting with 7:1, the Hebrew and English Chapter divisions and verse numbering again align with each other and continue that way throughout the remainder of the Book.
The Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is not in strict chronological order – events of Chapters 5 & 6 occurred after those in Chapter 7 but the historical narrative of Chapters 1 – 6 is carried through to its conclusion.
Chapter 7 is a parallel vision to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2, but in greater detail.
The Daniel 2 vision was given to a heathen king; the Daniel 7 vision given to Daniel shows more clearly the nature of worldly kingdoms under the symbols of beasts.
The Book of Daniel reveals the answers through the positive examples of Daniel and his companions, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. Through a series of trials of their faith, they remained loyal to the true God. In each case, the servants of God prevailed over kings, idol-worshippers and magicians.
Chapter 6 marks the end of the “historical” (or narrative accounts) portion of the Book. The remaining Chapters concern  prophetic  revelation unfulfilled during Daniel’s lifetime (Daniel 12:9). The great visions and prophecies in Daniel 7-12 form the “back bone” or foundation for all other Biblical prophecies dealing with the last days that precede and terminate in the Second Coming of the Messiah. The events of Chapter 6 include the well-known episode of “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” — ridiculed by sceptics. — during the reign of Darius the Mede (539 BC – 538 BC) [2]. Daniel was an octogenarian when he was cast into the den of lions.
• [2] It is significant to see that Chapter 6 and other parts of Daniel that either unveil or illustrate great prophetic truths concerning the Gentiles, particularly as they affect the Jews and God’s program for the earth in time and even intimations of eternity, are purposely couched in terms to cause unbelief to founder by confusion. Daniel’s sceptics. include those who claim to follow Christ. Prayer to any deity was an important aspect of all of the religious practices of the time. It would risk the wrath of the neglected gods to make such a decree, it would be unenforceable, and it was contrary to Persian policies.
We see the first challenge in Chapter 1. Daniel and his friends refused to eat and drink anything that would defile them (Daniel 1:8, 11-12). The foods they were initially given to eat may have been unclean or filled with fat, making them unfit for someone who obeys God’s laws (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14; Leviticus 7:23). Daniel and his friends prevailed through the favour of God. Other challenges that followed include the interpretation of dreams (Chapters 2 and 4), the golden image and fiery furnace (Chapter 3) and the handwriting on the wall (Chapter 5).
Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den, one of the most popular and well-known Bible stories, is not the first great deliverance in the Book of Daniel, but it is the best loved. Daniel and his three friends are divinely delivered in Chapter 1 from a confrontation with the Babylonian government and Nebuchadnezzar its king. While these four godly Hebrews were willing to be called by Babylonian names, attend Babylonian schools, and even work for a Babylonian government, they were not willing to eat the food served at the king’s table.
God granted these men favour in the eyes of their foreign superiors, and they were allowed to eat vegetables, rather than the food set aside for them by their king. Because of their faithfulness, God gave these men an extra measure of wisdom, greatly impressing king Nebuchadnezzar, who gave them positions of influence and responsibility in his kingdom.
In Chapter 2, God delivered Daniel and his three friends. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream he could not understand; neither could his counsellors and wise men reveal or interpret the dream. In anger, the king commanded the execution of all the wise men of the land, including Daniel and his friends. In the providence of God, Daniel learned of the king’s dilemma and was able to reveal to the king his dream and its meaning, sparing his own life and the lives of the other Babylonian wise men.
In Chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar created a great golden image, before which the people of all nations were to bow in worship. Daniel’s three friends refused to bow down. Again in anger, Nebuchadnezzar threatened them with death if they did not obey his decree. Refusing to obey, they were thrown into a fiery furnace. God was present with them there and preserved them from death, injury, and even the smell of fire. The king was so impressed he issued a decree guaranteeing the Jews freedom to worship their God without hindrance.
Chapter 4 speaks of Nebuchadnezzar’s deliverance. He is delivered from his pride and oppression when, for a period, his sanity and kingdom are removed from him, and he must live like a beast of the field. From his own testimony, it appears he came to genuine repentance and saving faith as a result of God’s working in his life.
Chapter 5 witnesses Belshazzar’s condemnation in contrast to Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion in Chapter 4. Because of his rejection of the truth, and his blasphemy against the God of Israel, only one day in the life of Belshazzar is recorded in Scripture, only to announce his condemnation and death.
Daniel 5 tells of Belshazzar’s defeat and the end of the Babylonian kingdom, the “head of gold” of Daniel 2. The kingdom of the “Medes and the Persians” commences at the end of Chapter 5, when Darius becomes the first king of this new empire at about 62 years of age (Daniel 5:31).
Now, in Chapter 6, Daniel’s life is in danger, and he will experience God’s deliverance. Daniel 1 reveals what set Daniel apart from the rest of his Jewish peers and brought him to a position of prominence and power in king Nebuchadnezzar’s administration. But Chapter 6 identifies what sustained Daniel over the many years of his ministry and enabled him to survive the crises of his life.
Chapter 6 gives an account of Daniel’s being cast into the den of lions, and the causes of it, and the steps leading to it; and also of his wonderful deliverance out of it, and what followed upon that. It first relates how Daniel was made by Darius first president of the princes of the kingdom, which drew their envy upon him,  Daniel 6:1-4, and that these princes finding they could get no occasion against him, but in religion, proposed to the king to make a law forbidding prayer to any god for thirty days, which they got established,  Daniel 6:5-9, and Daniel breaking this law, is accused by them to the king; and the penalty, casting into the den of lions, is insisted on to be executed,  Daniel 6:10-13, which the king laboured to prevent, but in vain; and Daniel is cast to the lions, to the great grief of the king,  Daniel 6:14-18, who visited the den the next morning, and to his great joy found Daniel alive,  Daniel 6:19-23, upon which, by the law of retaliation, his accusers, their wives, and children, were cast into it,  Daniel 6:24, and an edict was published by the king, commanding all in his dominions to fear and reverence the God of Daniel,  Daniel 6:25-28.
Even though Daniel Chapter 6 is one of the most popular in all the Bible, it has also been the target of strong critical attacks because of the problem of the identity of Darius. Chapter 6 shares motifs with Psalm 2 and recalls Daniel 3. The structure of the Chapter is basically chiastic, centering on God’s deliverance of Daniel.
• A Introduction: Daniel’s success Daniel 6:1-3
• B Darius signs an injunction and Daniel takes his stand Daniel 6:4-10
• C Daniel’s colleagues plan his death Daniel 6:11-15
• D Darius hopes for Daniel’s deliverance Daniel 6:16-18
• D’ Darius witnesses Daniel’s deliverance Daniel 6:19-23
• C’ Daniel’s colleagues meet their death Daniel 6:24
• B’ Darius signs a decree and takes his stand Daniel 6:25-27
• A’ Conclusion: Daniel’s success Daniel 6:28
Outline
• A righteous person is a good testimony (1-3)
• A righteous person will face opposition (4-9)
• A righteous person boldly stands on his convictions (10-16)
• A righteous person is never abandoned by God (17-24)
• A righteous person makes a difference for the Lord (25-28)
Daniel 6
In Daniel 5 we learned about the overthrow of Babylon. Persia almost miraculously conquered this powerful capital in one night. It would be expected that the new foreign king would bring in his own officials and get rid of the previous administration. And yet Darius chose to have Daniel as one of three rulers he set over the entire kingdom.
Chapters 4 and 5 depict two striking examples of men who were born into heathen backgrounds with whom the Spirit of God was struggling to salvage for His kingdom. King Nebuchadnezzar, who in spite of acting and reacting according to the dictates  of his pagan philosophy, was, nevertheless, an honest person who, when confronted with it, accepted the truth. Belshazzar, who was thoroughly familiar with his grandfathers experience, was obligated to deal with the same truths that Nebuchadnezzar, finally, whole heartedly accepted, leaving Belshazzar without excuse. He too, could have, but did not reconcile himself to the things that could have saved him the terrible embarrassment portrayed in Chapter 5. Such will be the fate of all who reject truth when it is plainly revealed and deliberately chose to become avowed unbelievers.
Now, contrast to the degenerate character and behaviour of Belshazzar, whose final hours are depicted in Chapter 5, “The character of Daniel is [here] presented to the world as a striking example of what God’s grace can make of men fallen by nature and corrupted by sin”. [3]
• [3]  Sanctified Life by Ellen G. White page 21
“Although he was a man of like passions with ourselves, the pen of inspiration presents him as a faultless character. His life is given us as a bright example of what man may become, even in this life, if he will make God his strength and wisely improve the opportunities and privileges within his reach”. [4]
• [4]  Testimonies for the Church Volume 4; pages 569-570
Spiritual dilemma
The first step in understanding this message is to come to appreciate the historical and cultural context of the conflict. Daniel and many of his fellow Jews were no longer living in the Promised Land, but in Babylon. The Babylonian Empire had crushed all its enemies, including the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco II at Carchemish in 605 BC. This critical battle opened the door to Babylonian dominance over Judah. Daniel, aged 17 or 18, was among the first residents of Jerusalem to be deported to Babylon.
Living in the Promised Land had been an essential element of the covenant between the children of Israel and their God. The land itself was more than a home, more than a gift from God. It was a symbol of His power and authority. When Babylon took the Jews into captivity, some of them may well have been in shock that their God had not prevailed. The God who parted the waters of the Red Sea, using those same waters to drown the pride of Egyptian power, had not delivered Jerusalem from Nebuchadnezzar’s armies! How could that be?
Of course, Israel’s and Judah’s prophets had warned that God would withdraw His protection from His people if they continued to ignore His laws. As far back in their history as Moses, the warning had been in front of the nation (Deuteronomy 28). Yet the children of Israel stubbornly persisted in their sins. The people of Judah went into captivity not because God was powerless before the armies of Babylon, but because of their sins.
Living in exile
The questions of exile are a fundamental part of the Book of Daniel: It was essential for God to prove by His miraculous acts that He had allowed His people to go into captivity in 587 BC, not through weakness, but rather to maintain His integrity as a holy God, who carries out His covenant promises both for good and for bad, according to the response of His people. So the whole narrative in Daniel relates a series of contests between false gods of human invention and the one true sovereign Lord and Creator of heaven and earth.
God is holy and righteous, and He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). He does not permit ongoing sinfulness to continue forever. Eventually, rebellion against God brings consequences. But even for those Jews who understood, exile brought with it questions. How could they serve God without a temple? How could they be the covenant people while separated from the Promised Land?
Introduction
Daniel was a Jewish young man who served as a high-ranking official in the king’s court, but his colleagues resented his success and favour before the king, and so it is recorded in Daniel 6 that they created a plot by which Daniel’s faith would land him in trouble with the law and would result in his death. When Daniel was punished for praying to God by being thrown into a den of lions, God miraculously spared his life by shutting the mouths of the lions.
In Chapter 6 of Daniel, this righteous man is convicted of a crime which is not a sin. Daniel purposefully committed this crime because he did not wish to commit a sin, which was not a crime.
While Daniel deservedly commands centre stage of our text, much can be learned from King Darius and even Daniel’s peers, who seek to arrange his downfall and destruction. Once again in the Book of Daniel, we are reminded that God is able to deliver His people, even in a distant land. The inspired and inspiring words of our text have much to teach us.
A primary issue of Chapter 6 is the identity of Darius the Mede. Secular history has no record of a king named Darius. We need no outside confirmation of reliability if we believe the Bible to be divinely inspired, accurate, and authoritative. If we reject the Bible’s authority, historical confirmation of its teachings will certainly be insufficient to change minds. However, it can be proven by dating and archaeological records that Darius the Mede was Cyaxares II – who was the son of Astyages, the son of Ahasuerus, who was Cyaxares I.
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, and they will again in the prophetic future. They became deranged by their senseless, overbearing pride in the past, and they will again in the predicted future. They were blatantly impious in their desecration of holy things in the past, 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; isn’t this now happening?.
Daniel was 17 or 18 years old when he was taken hostage and exiled to Babylon. He was 84 years old when he was thrown into the Den of Lions. He had lived in a community of unclean people and served under 4 pagan kings for 67 years. Even after all those years the Bible still says he had an extraordinary spirit. In fact, Daniel’s adversaries themselves admitted that Daniel was blameless. Can the people in our communities tell the same about us today? Let us not permit time, blessings, or the world to drive us away from the author of our blessings.
In the previous Chapter we saw the end of the Babylonian empire. In a single day, the Medes and Persians took the city and killed the Babylonian king, Belshazzar. History records the date of this event as October 12, 539 BC. In the Chapter before us, Darius the Mede has been appointed by King Cyrus over Babylon and Daniel is now an elderly man, aged 84. But, as we shall see, Daniel is still an extraordinary man. A fact that will raise the envy and jealousy levels amongst his peers and leave Daniel in a very precarious position with some very hungry lions.
Near the end of his life, Daniel faced a death decree, just like his friends did in Chapter 3.
Again worship was the issue. Would he obey the king’s law or would he be loyal to the God of heaven?
As we shall see, he willingly faced death with unswerving fidelity to his heavenly Father, and God chose to deliver him.
In the end time, God’s faithful people will also face a death decree. See Revelation 16.
Freedom of conscience and religious liberty are constantly threatened in this world. Again and again there are persecution, imprisonment, and killing of people for their religious convictions. Daniel 6 describes such a situation.
Daniel had already served with distinction in the administrations of the Babylonian kings Nebuchadnezzar (Chapters 1-4) and Belshazzar (Chapter 5) when the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon. In Chapter 6, Daniel now starts serving king Darius, who was an uncle of Cyrus II the Great.
As a viceroy for king Cyrus, Darius enlisted the help of Babylonian nobles to govern the conquered territory. Cyrus was renowned for creating an empire that drew on the talents of subjugated people. Satraps, or governors, ruled over provinces with a great deal of autonomy in this remarkable system.
At this point in Daniel’s life (539 BC), he was a prominent elder statesman 84 years old. Darius called upon him to be one of 3 governors over the 120 satraps. Because of Daniel’s skill and integrity, though, Darius decided to promote him to a position above the other governors (Daniel 6:3).
It may have been this plan that set in motion the events of Chapter 6. Envy was undoubtedly a major motivation for the plot to disgrace or destroy Daniel, but it is just as likely that Daniel’s honesty prevented these men from illicit revenue through bribery, fraud and misappropriation of funds. To Daniel’s credit, his enemies could find no fault that would discredit him.
They had observed, however, Daniel’s unswerving dedication to God. They schemed to manipulate circumstances such that Daniel’s dedication would appear to be disloyalty to the king. These governors and counsellors then approached Darius (verse 6).
Daniel Chapter 6 is a great message and possibly the most loved message in the Old Testament. We’ve got an elderly godly man, hungry powerful big cats, corrupt jealous officials, supernatural preservation, and the bad guys getting what they deserve. There are so many dramatic features in this message – the jealousy of political subordinates, the vanity of a king, the integrity of a man, the power and preservation of God, even wild animals and violence.
The fact that such an event as Daniel being cast into the lions’ den should be given the same amount of space in Scripture as the panoramic view of world history recorded in Chapter 7 leads to the conclusion that, from God’s viewpoint, this was an important event not only to Daniel but to all students of Scripture.
Peter tells us “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But as we see in the message of Daniel in the Lions’ Den – our God is powerful to save and deliver! We should not be surprised when we face opposition and attacks from the corrupt world system. We might even find ourselves in a desperate predicament despite our innocence and integrity. We should be inspired by the faith and the courage and the calm of Daniel whose testimony was only enhanced by his dangerous trials. What an impact God can produce from such a faithful witness. “He is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever”.
Daniel’s prayer
Significantly, Chapter 6 sets up a test of faith based on prayer itself. We must have faith to believe that God hears our prayers and that He answers us (Hebrews 11:1, 6). In Daniel’s case, though, the very act of kneeling before God was a test of his faith. This focus on wording may seem like a small point, but understanding the atmosphere in the royal court helps to explain the king’s rash decision. These men did not merely petition the king as calm government officials. They presented an aura of urgency through emotion, perhaps suggesting the possibility of disloyalty among the newly conquered people of Babylon. What could make more sense than a test of loyalty to the king crafted as a ban on petitions to any other man or god?
Verse 10 of Daniel 6 tells us that, “when Daniel knew that the writing was signed”, he knelt and prayed as he always had. Daniel knew the type of men who shared governmental authority with him. He knew they would be watching. He knew they had set a trap. But Daniel also knew the God he served!
This verse also points out another important aspect of Daniel’s prayer — he faced Jerusalem. Praying toward the temple in Jerusalem had long been customary among the people of God (Psalm 5:7), but Daniel may have had more in mind. Although he was a captive in exile in Babylon, he was undoubtedly quite familiar with Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple four centuries earlier.
Solomon had anticipated a time when God’s people might be carried away captive, so he specifically asked that God look with mercy on them when they repented, praying toward the temple (1 Kings 8:46-53). God later appeared to Solomon, telling him that He had heard his prayer (1 Kings 9:3).
The crucial act of faith in Chapter 6, however, is prayer. Daniel prays toward Jerusalem, a city levelled by the Babylonians, and he prays toward a temple that no longer stands. Daniel’s actions clearly show that it was not the Promised Land, nor was it the city of Jerusalem, nor even the existence of a temple of God that was vital to the faith of Israel. His prayer demonstrates that what really matters is wholehearted dedication to God Himself. That is the core of real faith, and a fitting response to enemies who defy the true God and persecute His people!
Whose immutable word?
One of the most important elements of this message is the law of the Medes and Persians. 3 times in Chapter 6 we read that this law, once issued, could not be changed (verses 8, 12, 15). Even the king was powerless to change his own laws. What we read in Chapter 6 is different from the preceding five Chapters. Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were Babylonian kings, not Persian. As such, they were free from such constraints.
This provision may seem strange to modern readers, but there were valid and practical reasons for the Medes and Persians to adopt such an attitude toward law. First, the inability to change a law after issuing it would impel the king to be more deliberate in considering legislation before enacting it. Second, the legal framework of society would be more stable.
Perhaps the reason that is most relevant to Daniel 6, though, is one that has more to do with manipulation of laws to achieve one’s purpose than stable government. Daniel’s enemies used this established concept of Persian law to entrap Daniel and outmanoeuvre the king, who was actually fond of Daniel and wanted to save him (Daniel 6:14-15).
Even though the king was compelled to have Daniel thrown into the lions’ den, God miraculously spared Daniel’s life. As Daniel told the king the next morning, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me” (verse 22).
Daniel’s enemies did not prevail against this servant of God. We should also note that only the true God has unchangeable laws, purposes and promises: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
CHAPTER 6
1 Daniel is made chief of the presidents. 4 They conspiring against him obtain an idolatrous decree. 10 Daniel, accused of the breach thereof, is cast into the lions’ den. 18 Daniel is saved. 24 His adversaries devoured, 25 and God magnified by a decree.
6:1 ¶ It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

The variations from the Masoretic text in the Septuagint are, in regard to the verses 1-3, very considerable. It assumes the last verse of Chapter 5, and begins, “And he set up a hundred and twenty and seven satraps over all his kingdom. And over them he set three men as presidents, and Daniel was one of the three men [and had authority over all men in the kingdom. And Daniel was clothed in purple, and was great and honourable before Darius the king, because he was honourable and understanding and prudent, and there was an holy spirit in him, and he prospered in the affairs of the kingdom which he did]. Then the king thought to place Daniel over all his kingdom [(and the two men who stood with him and the hundred and twenty-seven satraps) when the king thought to place Daniel over his whole kingdom].” The passages within brackets, are additions to amplify the description, and to connect it with the honour given Daniel by Belshazzar. The bracketed parts are easily separable from the rest, and then what remains forms a continuous narrative.
Darius the Mede – Cyaxares II – sometimes called Pharnaspes, was the son of Astyages, the son of Ahasuerus who was Cyaxares I.
Cyaxares’ father, called “Astyages” by the Greek historians, took the throne name “Ahasuerus” (= Xerxes). [The Hebrew ‘Ahasuerus’ descends from the Persian name for Xerxes.]
Astyages, had a son (Darius) and a daughter (Mandane) – who married a Persian and bore Cyrus II the Great.
Darius the Median upon the death of his father he became king of Media. Later, in 539 BC – aged about 62 years old (Daniel 5:31) – he “received the kingdom” from Cyrus II the Great and assumed rule over the Neo-Babylonian Empire after the fall of Babylon to a Medo-Persian force (Daniel 5:31) for about 2 years until his death.
Darius the Median
• his reign was honoured by God [PK556]
• the angel Gabriel sent ‘to confirm and to strengthen him’ – Daniel 11:1
• becomes a special friend of Daniel (according to the Greek historian Zenophon)
• dies shortly after the fall of Babylon – only one regnal year is mentioned in Bible
• dies about two years of fall of Babylon [PK556/7]
• was the last Median ruler – Cyrus the Persian, his niece and also his son-in-law, then ruled.
Cyrus the Persian – also called Cyrus II the Great
• son of Mandane who was the daughter of Astyages
• a general under his uncle, Darius the Median
• conquered Babylon in 539 BC, visited uncle and offered him gifts and a palace in Babylon
• in return, Darius gives his daughter as well as the kingdom of Media
• has son, Cambyses.
• lived for many years after the conquest of Babylon.
Darius I – king of the Median Empire from 522 BC September to 486 BC October.
King – – – – – – – – – – Reign – – – – – Scripture
Cyrus I – – – – – – – – 600-580 BC
Cambyses I – – – – – – 580-559 BC
Cyrus II the Great – – – – 559-530 BC – – – Ezra 1:1; Ezra 4:5; Daniel 5:31 to Daniel 6:28; Daniel 9:1; Daniel 11:1
Cambyses II – – – – – – 530-522 BC
Smerdis – – – – – – – – – 522 BC
Darius I – – – – – – – – 522-486 BC – – – Ezra 5-6; Haggai; Zechariah
Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) – – – 486-464 BC – – – Ezra 4:6; Esther
It pleased Darius
Darius the Mede began his rule over Babylon as recorded at the end of Chapter 5. See Daniel 5:31 and Darius the Mede. This Chapter records events associated with the second kingdom in the Sequence of Kingdoms — previously revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2) and Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7) [5]. This is the Medo-Persian Empire, represented by the ram with two horns in Daniel 8.
• [5] Daniel’s vision in Chapter 7 occurs before the events recorded in Chapter 6.
This was “Darius the Median took [by agreement] the kingdom” (Daniel 5:31). As noted in Chapter 5, Darius was Cyrus’ uncle and father-in-law [6]. Cyrus II the Great was actually the conquering king. Interestingly, the verb “took” is from the Aramaic word “kebal” [7] meaning “receive”. Therefore, it is better understood that Darius actually “received the kingdom” from Cyrus rather than conquering it. The “kingdom” he received was the Babylonian capitol city itself.
• [6] See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary page 254 under “Darius the Mede . . ”.
• [7] From Online Computer Lexicon. The word “Kebal” is found three times in Daniel – 2:6 “receive”; 5:31 “took”; & 7:18 “take”.
It pleased Darius
• Darius the Mede was Cambyses II.
Daniel distinguished himself: Daniel was one of three leaders directly under Darius, and he shined above the other two leaders because he had an excellent spirit. Daniel had a good attitude in his work and life, and this made him the object of attack.
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom – Evidently over the kingdom of Babylon, now united to that of Media and Persia. As this was now subject to him, and tributary to him, it would be natural to appoint persons over it in whom he could confide, for the administration of justice, for the collection of revenue, etc.. Others however, suppose that this relates to the whole kingdom of Persia, but as the reference here is mainly to what was the kingdom of Babylon, the latter is presumed. Besides, it is hardly probable that he would have exalted Daniel, a Jew, and a resident in Babylon, to so important a post as that of the premiership over the whole empire. However, from his position and standing in Babylon it is not improbability that he might have occupied, under the reign of Darius, a place similar to what he had occupied under Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. In dividing the kingdom into provinces, and placing officers over each department, Darius followed the same plan which Xenophon tells us that Cyrus did over the nations conquered by him. “It seemed good to him to appoint satraps over the conquered nations.” Compare Esther 1:1.
It appears Darius’ pattern of reorganization must have been familiar even to the Babylonians as well as the Persians. It seems reasonable to conjecture the kingdom he inherited was in terrible disarray, not only because of the irresponsible rule of Belshazzar, but also the effect of an ongoing war of conquest by the Persians over a protracted period of time. Consequently, Darius had to start from scratch to build up a new infrastructure of government.
Darius may have become familiar with Daniel in a number of ways. It certainly appears unusual for this Hebrew, who had been so intimately associated with the Babylonian kingdom Cyrus had just overthrown, to rise so quickly to a position of power under this Mede. While the text does not say, we would hardly be wrong to conclude that, as before, God gave Daniel favour in the sight of this king.
Daniel’s rise to power under Darius did not rest upon his remarkable accomplishments of the past. We are told Daniel “began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps” because of the “extraordinary spirit” he possessed. Darius recognized not only Daniel’s wisdom but his integrity and faithfulness. Here was a man he could trust in a leadership position who would not cause him to “suffer loss”. Recognizing his unique abilities, Darius planned to promote Daniel, placing him in charge of all the commissioners and the satraps.
The king’s plan to promote Daniel seems to have become public knowledge; at least the commissioners and satraps knew. The thought of Daniel’s promotion created much consternation. This crisis must be taken most seriously. Why? What distressed them so greatly? The common view is that Daniel’s peers were jealous. Perhaps so, but the matter seems more serious to them.
The context supplies the reason for their distress. His ability threatened them, but more so his honesty. The king was delighted to find a man of ability and honesty. To the corrupt leaders of the kingdom, Daniel’s ability and honesty seriously threatened their corruption. They could neither corrupt Daniel nor deceive him. If he were to rise above them, they could not continue.
When the Medo-Persian alliance overthrew the Neo-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 (cf. Esther 1:1; Esther 8:9). They reported to 3 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 government. Because of the vast geographical region that 120 satrapies entailed, this number and size of provinces would be consistent with the Persian Empire as historically ruled by Cyrus.
With time, the Medo-Persian empire would grow to occupy a vast region.
Since Darius’ rule over Babylon was about 2 years, this governmental reorganization occurred soon after the fall of Babylon to Medo-Persia. As such, the Babylonian government could have been in a state of disarray following the absentee rule of Nabopolassar and his profligate son, Belshazzar.
This is the same Darius mentioned in the latter part of the preceding Chapter; who, as soon as he took the kingdom of Babylon, divided it into a 120 provinces, as was the manner of the Medes and Persians. So Darius the son of Hystaspes divided the kingdom of Persia into twenty provinces, and set governors over each, according to Herodotus. To these 120 provinces 7 more were afterwards added, through the victories of Cyrus and Cambyses, and Darius Itystaspes, (Esther 1:1).
With the successful conquest of Babylon and the surrounding territory, it now is appropriate for the new kingdom to organize, both from the standpoint of law and order and from the benefit of taxation which this would allow. In such an organization, it would be sensible to use qualified men who had served previously in the Babylonian kingdom. The conquerors did what they could to set up a friendly relationship with the people in their power; and although Belshazzar was slain, his father, Nabonidus, lived for some years afterward. Even some of the gods of Babylon were honoured by the conquerors.
The organization of the new kingdom is detailed in the opening verses of Chapter 6. 120 princes or “satraps” were appointed. The fact is that the appointment of 120 officials to rule such a vast territory and of 3 presidents to rule over them was not at all unreasonable. Whether or not there were precisely 120 subdivisions of his territory is not indicated, but the need for this number of officials is obvious.
Darius was far from naive. To establish himself and his rule over the territory formerly ruled by Babylon, he appoints 120 satraps, each responsible for a certain geographical region. The king’s major concern was corruption. He knew that political power afforded the opportunity not only for oppression but for corruption. Darius feared he would not be able to adequately supervise the satraps with such a large kingdom, and they would enrich themselves at his expense. For this reason, the king appointed 3 governors over the 120 satraps. He wanted to create a system of accountability which would prevent him from suffering loss.
An hundred and twenty princes (satraps) – cf. Ester 1:1 where Xerxes governed 127 provinces.
Daniel records that the king appointed 120 satraps. Perhaps the total number of satrapies differed [8]. The region of rule might have extended beyond newly-acquired Babylonia, adding to his pre-existing realm such that the combined area approached that of King Ahasuerus’ later rule [9]. On the other hand, the satrapies in Daniel may have been much smaller in size [10], only encompassing newly-acquired Babylonia [11]. Historical records provide evidence the number of satrapies under a ruler can vary significantly with time and political fortune [12].
• [8] Daniel does not say that Darius divided the empire into 120 satrapies but merely declares that the king appointed 120 ‘satraps’.
• [9] A chief or satrap over every province which belonged to the Medo-Persian empire. Afterwards we find it enlarged to one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, by the victories of Cambyses and Darius Hystaspes. In the Book of Esther, King Ahasuerus is said to rule “over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia” (Esther 1:1 cf. 8:9). From the Book of Esther it cannot be proved that so many satraps were placed over the 127 provinces into which Xerxes divided the kingdom, but only that these provinces were ruled by satraps and pechas. But the division of the whole kingdom into 127 provinces nevertheless shows that the kingdom might have been previously divided under Darius the Mede into 120 provinces.
• [10] These governors may very well have had responsibility for and jurisdiction over districts which were smaller than those commonly designated as satrapies.
• [11] Comparison has been made between this number and the number 127 of Esther 1:1 (cf. Esther 8:9), designating Persian provinces. Since Darius’ kingdom was not the whole Medo-Persian empire, however, but only the much smaller area approximating that of the former Babylonian empire, There is no intention to say that the two numbers have reference to the same land divisions. It states that 120 ‘satraps’ were set over the kingdom, namely, the kingdom of the Chaldeans (Daniel 9:1). The statement of Daniel 6:1 has nothing whatsoever to do with the division of the Medo-Persian empire into satrapies or provinces that took place during the later administrations of Darius I and Xerxes.
• [12] Herodotus reported that the Persian Empire was divided into 20 satrapies. The fifth satrapy included Phoenicia, Palestine, and Cyprus. Yet the Behistun Inscription of Darius I sets the number of satrapies at 23, and a tomb inscription reads 29. Thus in ancient records the exact number of Persian satrapies varies.
We have no way of knowing who the “hundred and twenty princes” may have been, but, in view of Cyrus’ benevolent treatment of those he conquered and the welcome he received from the Babylonians [13]. it seems possible they could have been chosen from among Belshazzar’s “lords” mentioned in Daniel 5:1 with Daniel being one of them.
• [13] . . . the famous Cyrus cylinder, . . . goes on to describe how Cyrus had improved the lives of the citizens of Babylonia, repatriated displaced peoples and restored temples and cult sanctuaries. . . . some have asserted that the cylinder represents a form of ‘human rights charter’, . . .
Josephus, through forgetfulness, makes these princes and provinces three hundred and sixty. This applied to over the whole kingdom; or, “in the whole kingdom”; in the several parts of it. They take care of all things relative to the civil government of it, both for the honour and advantage of the king, and the good of the subjects.
Princes – Daniel 3:2 – designated officials at the head of the largest divisions of the empire.
Princes. Aramaic ’achashdarpan, literally, “satraps” (see on Daniel 3:2). The various details of the provincial administration of the Persian Empire prior to Darius I’s reorganization are still obscure. Herodotus states that Darius I created 20 satrapies as main divisions of the empire. Each satrapy was divided into provinces. The inscriptions of Darius give various totals for the satrapies (21, 23, 29), indicating that the king probably changed the number as well as the size of satrapies during his reign. Some Greek historians use the term “satrap” for lower officials, as Daniel apparently did when he used the term to designate provincial governors. Compare the 127 provinces of Esther 1:1 in the time of Xerxes.
The word “princes” is from the Aramaic word “’achashdarpan” meaning “satrap” [14]. It is the same word for “princes” in Daniel 3:2 that were appointed by Nebuchadnezzar. Furthermore “cuneiform sources show that under the form satarpanu the word was used as early as the time of Sargon II (722 BC – 705 BC). A Hurrian [15] origin has now been suggested. The Persians evidently took over this official title from the west” [16].
• [14] From Online Computer Lexicon: #0324; this corresponds to 0323. KJV – princes (Daniel 9:1) satrap, a governor of a Persian province.
• [15] The Hurrians (also Khurrites [1]; these were a people of the Ancient Near East, who lived in northern Mesopotamia and areas to the immediate east and west, beginning approximately 2500 BC. They probably originated in the Caucasus and entered from the north, but this is not certain. Their known homeland was centred in Subartu, the Khabur River valley, and later they established themselves as rulers of small kingdoms throughout northern Mesopotamia and Syria. The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The Hurrians played a substantial part in the history of the Hittites.
• [16] see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Volume 4 pages 781 and 810 under “Princes”.
Princes – The word here rendered “princes” occurs only in Daniel in the Chaldee form, though in the Hebrew form it is found in the Book of Esther – Esther 3:12; Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3, and in Ezra – Ezra 8:36. In Esther and Ezra it is rendered lieutenants. In Daniel – Daniel 3:2-3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:1-4, Daniel 6:6-7 it is as rendered princes. It is a word of Persian origin, and is probably the Hebrew mode of pronouncing the Persian word satrap. The word undoubtedly refers to the Persian satraps, or governors, or viceroys in the large provinces of the empire, possessing both civil and military powers. They were officers high in rank, and being the representatives of the sovereign, they rivalled his state and splendour. Single parts, or sub-divisions of these provinces, were under inferior officers; the satraps governed whole provinces. The word is rendered satraps in the Greek, and the Latin Vulgate.
There are a number of important Median loan-words in Old Persian which, through the Greek, became the English word satrap. ‘Satrap’ is a word that means ‘protector of the kingdom’; Xenophon and other Greek historians applied it to lower officials. See Daniel 3:2 concerning satraps.
6:2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.
• Daniel’s name means “God is my judge”.
The name Daniel comes from the Hebrew “God is my judge”. The meaning of Daniel’s name is very appropriate for one who chose to please God rather than man. His attitude is similar to that of the apostle Paul who said: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:6). Believers can learn from these examples and say along with the parents who named Daniel: “God is my judge”.
• Daniel was born in Jerusalem but taken captive to Babylon as a young man.
The biblical character Daniel was born into a noble family in Jerusalem but was taken into captivity as a young man and brought to Babylon. He and several other captives were selected as being “young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace” (Daniel 1:4) and were trained for three years before officially beginning their jobs as servants of the king.
• Daniel and his friends were faithful in their work and faithful to God.
From their earliest days in Babylon, Daniel and his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were characterized by a simultaneous faithfulness in their duties and faithfulness to God. Though they excelled in their training and service and were even renamed – Daniel became Belteshazzar, Mishael became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego — their primary identity as devoted servants of God remained unchanged.
It is recorded that “God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom The king interviewed them [all of the trainees], and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king’s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom” (Daniel 1:17-20).
Daniel’s companions went on to have their faithfulness to God tested and proved when they refused idolatry and were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment but emerged unscathed (Daniel 3:1-30). Many years passed, and Daniel continued serving each king in succession and rising through the ranks. Eventually, he was appointed to a high administrative position in the kingdom along with two others. But “Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm” (Daniel 6:3).
• Daniel was above reproach in his work.
The other administrators and those they managed felt resentful about Daniel’s success, and so plotted to bring him down somehow, “but they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him” (Daniel 6:4). And the plotters realized they would have to figure out a way to get the king to penalize Daniel for his faith.
• Daniel was targeted and penalized for his faith.
The plotting administrators went to the king and proposed a new law (which, in their legal system, was unable to be changed once it was made) that no one could pray to any god except the king himself and that anyone who broke this law would be thrown into a den of lions. The king signed the law, and Daniel continued faithfully with his habit of praying three times a day in front of the windows of his house, facing toward Jerusalem. The administrators caught him in the act, then went to the king to report on Daniel’s newly “illegal” activity. The king was distressed because he cared about and respected Daniel, but even he could not repeal a law that had already gone into effect. So down Daniel went into the lions’ den, to what everyone assumed would be certain death.
• Daniel experienced God’s faithfulness in an unlikely rescue.
Though from an earthly perspective, Daniel’s situation looked hopeless. He trusted God and was spared. After a night alive in the lions’ den, Daniel emerged unharmed, telling the king: “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him” (Daniel 6:22).
• Daniel’s deliverance resulted in people all over the kingdom hearing about Daniel’s God.
The king was overjoyed that Daniel was unharmed. He had realized that the other administrators had tricked him into making a law that would hurt Daniel, so he put into effect another law telling people to fear Daniel’s God.
And over these three presidents This word is found only in the plural. The etymology is uncertain, but its meaning is not doubtful. The word president expresses it with sufficient accuracy, denoting a high officer that presided over others. It is not improbable that these presided over distinct departments, corresponding somewhat to what are now called “secretaries” – as Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of Foreign Affairs, etc., though this is not particularly specified.
Three presidents (governors) – no non-Biblical sources of this administrative body.
Three presidents. This administrative body is not mentioned in non-Biblical sources. There is a complete lack of contemporary documentary evidence as to the organization of the Persian Empire prior to the reign of Darius I.
Perhaps Darius adopted a tripartite division of authority patterned after the rule of the previous administration under Nabopolassar, Belshazzar, and Daniel [17].
• [17] There is no known parallel to this arrangement of the three presidents. Probably it was an expedient adopted to meet the needs of the existing situation, after the pattern of that which had been used in the days of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:7). This triumvirate, or higher authority of 3, was also no new institution by Darius, but according to Daniel 5:7, already existed in the Chaldean kingdom under Belshazzar, and was only continued by Darius; and the satraps or the district rulers of the several provinces of the kingdom were subordinated to them. Daniel was one of the triumvirate.
“The word for ‘president’ [‘governor’ in the NKJV] (sara?), found only in this Chapter, is unknown as to etymology, but from other considerations it clearly means ‘head’ or ‘chief’”.
Of whom Daniel [was] first. Literally, “Daniel was one”. The word here translated “first” is rendered “one” in (Daniel 2:9; 4:19; 7:5, 16). First in rank. This office he probably held from the rank which he was known to have occupied under the kings of Babylon, and on account of his reputation for ability and integrity. The aged prophet soon distinguished himself by conscientious service.
The Authorized is premature in making Daniel “first” of these presidents – this happens in the next verse (3); all that is asserted is that Daniel was one of these presidents. That the king should have no damage applies most probably to the revenue. The country, in the East, is divided off into small districts for the purpose of tax-collecting, and in the division of the Persian Empire into 20 satrapies, this was greatly the object. The repetition of the word “king” here might imply that Darius was not the king whose loss of revenue was to be guarded against. Although Daniel was not, on the creation of this board, made chief of it, he soon acquired an influence over Darius which gave him, in effect, such a position.
As time passed, Daniel, the aged prophet, distinguished himself above the other commissioners by conscientious service, even though he was 84. Darius purposed to put him in charge of them all, to elevate him to prime minister. Seldom is a prime minister of a conquered kingdom appointed as a high official by the conqueror – usually executed, but Persians valued his abilities and integrity.
Princes were to guard against loss of revenue and other damage (cf. Ezra 4:13-16 with respect to records).
Darius probably knew of Daniel’s previous service in the government of Nebuchadnezzar as well as his role on the night of Babylon’s fall [18]. Instead of being killed or deposed by the new administration, God granted Daniel favour so the Jews would retain an advocate in high-level government [19]. Daniel’s humility and unwillingness to compromise to gain a promotion in Chapter 5 now results in an unsought promotion by divine favour [20].
• [18] Very probably Darius was informed of the previous predictions of Daniel; how the hand appeared upon the wall, how he interpreted the writing, and became a heaven-sent messenger to denounce destruction on king Belshazzar. For unless this rumour held reached Darius, Daniel would never have obtained so much authority under him.
• [19] God wished to stretch forth his hand to the Jews by means of Daniel. And we may deservedly call him God’s hand in sustaining the Jews.
• [20] Whereas [Daniel] rejects man’s promotion in Chapter 5, what immediately happens in Daniel 6? Daniel gets promoted by trusting the Lord.
To whom the hundred and twenty princes were accountable for their conduct, and to whom the people might apply for redress of grievances, if oppressed; perhaps the whole empire was divided into three greater parts, and each part had forty provinces in it, and over it a president or deputy of the king; to whom the princes of each province gave in the account of what they received for the king, and what use they made of it: (of whom Daniel was the first):
or “one”, who was now an elderly man, having been about 66 years in Babylon, and had had a large experience of the affairs of civil government, being advanced in the times of Nebuchadnezzar to high posts; and very probably Darius had heard of the wisdom of Daniel before he came to the kingdom, as well as the king of Tyre, (Ezekiel 28:3) and might be informed of his prediction of Belshazzar’s death, and the change of the empire: and of Belshazzar’s promise to make him the third ruler in the kingdom; and he might also himself observe in him an uncommon sagacity and fitness for business of this sort. Josephus says, that Darius took Daniel with him into Media, and made him one of the three presidents; and indeed no mention is made in this history of the nobles of Babylon, but only of the Medes and Persians: that the princes might give account unto them, and the king should have.
Verses 1 and 2 set the stage for what follows by helping to understand how Darius felt about Daniel.
We could hypothesize that Daniel was still clothed “with scarlet, and [wearing] a chain of gold about his neck” (Daniel 5:29) when the Persians rushed into the great hall crashing Belshazzar’s great feast. Perhaps the fiery letters on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace were still blazing forth. The Persians may even have required Daniel to explain their meaning. If that were the case, we can be sure the interpretation would be pleasing, and extremely reassuring to them.
Hearing the favourable interpretation would also have proved Daniel was not a loyalist to Belshazzar, and knowing that Daniel had been named “third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:29) would have made him an obvious choice to be “first” over the other “presidents” who possibly were former “lords” [21] of Belshazzar’s retinue [22].
• [21] two of the “thousand of his lords?” Daniel 5:1
• [22] other possible ramifications for the reason Daniel was chosen will be investigated in Chapter 8.
Knowing that Darius was “threescore and two years old” (Daniel 5:31) and that he died “within about two years of the fall of Babylon” [23], we can assume his health was poor which could account for his decision that the one hundred twenty princes render their “accounts” to the presidents rather than himself. While he intended such an arrangement to insure he would “have no damage”, it rather guaranteed he was bound to sustain damage if it were not for Daniel.
• [23] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, pages 556, 557
That the princes might give accounts unto them – Be immediately responsible to them; the accounts of their own administration, and of the state of the empire.
The king – Darius the Mede held the office of king, a factor considered when establishing his identity.
And the king should have no damage – Either in the loss of revenue, or in any maladministration of the affairs. Compare Ezra 4:13. “They pay not toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt en-damage the revenue of the kings.” The king was regarded as the source of all power, and as in fact the supreme proprietor of the realm, and any malfeasance or malversation in office was regarded as an injury to him.
And the king should have no damage or loss in his revenues, through the fraud and bad management of the princes of the provinces; since they might be discovered and checked by the presidents, who were to audit their accounts: or, “have no trouble”; in looking over and passing the accounts of the princes.
Should have no damage. An important function of government was the collection and administration of taxes within the king’s realm (see Ezra 4:13) [24]. This provided ample occasion for graft and embezzlement as monies funnelled through levels of government.
• [24] The administrators watched over the satraps so that all tax moneys were properly collected and so that none of these lesser officials could steal from the king. It was not for the purpose of effecting a more adequate administration of justice but rather that the overgrown royal establishments might be amply supplied with revenues.
It appears the king suspected officials were participating in graft and bribery and the revenue stream was compromised. Convinced of Daniel’s integrity, he sought to use him to stem the financial loss. If true, this would fuel opposition by Daniel’s peers who feared exposure.
Proverbs 22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean [men].
1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 2:14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 2:16 As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
No damage. The reason for the elaborate organization of civil service in Persia is here pictured in vivid colours. On precautions taken by the imperial system to guard against loss of revenue and other damage, compare Ezra 4:13–16.
6:3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit [was] in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Chapter 6 accounts Daniel’s rapid rise to power, the threat it posed to his peers, and ultimately to his own life. Verses 1-9 depict a sequence of events which give birth to a conspiracy against Daniel, leading to a law which makes Daniel a criminal and sentences him to the death penalty.
Daniel’s testimony is awesome, his character and ability unsurpassed. His work is such that not even his enemies can bring a charge against him. His flawless faithfulness to the king and his obedience to the laws of the land forces his enemies to pass a new law aimed directly at him and his destruction. The only fault to be found with Daniel is that he is too godly. What Christian would not want to be regarded as highly as Daniel?
Evidently, Daniel had a very good reputation. He was known as a person full of integrity. He was known as a wise, faithful, and loyal leader. The king wanted to find rulers who would protect his interests so that he “might not suffer loss” (verse 2.) Daniel fitted the bill. And thus he served as a top official in at least three administrations spanning 6 decades. Daniel was a good employee with a good testimony.
Daniel kept being promoted because he was a faithful employee and served the interests of the king.
While other officials served their own interests and selfishly pursued personal gain, Daniel would not be corrupted. He was honest with his superiors and told them the cold, hard truth.
A follower of Jesus makes a good employee. It is not a guarantee that you will be promoted like Daniel. And yet, if you are a good employee and work hard and behave with integrity, it is very likely that you will be successful.
Daniel himself was named one of the 3 presidents who would coordinate the work of the 120 princes. Of them, it was required to give financial accounts and protect the king’s interest. They were responsible to prevent loss from military revolts, tax evasion, or fraud. In such a function, an honest and capable administrator familiar with the territory and problems of taxation would undoubtedly be of immeasurable benefit to Darius. For this reason, Daniel, according to verse 3, was preferred above the others and had such “an excellent spirit” that the king thought to put all of the princes under him. All of this makes a great deal of sense and actually sets the stage for the supreme test of Daniel which followed.
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes – That is, he was at their head, or was placed in rank and office over them. “Because an excellent spirit was in him.” This may refer alike to his wisdom and his integrity – both of which would be necessary in such an office. It was an office of great difficulty and responsibility to manage the affairs of the empire in a proper manner, and required the talents of an accomplished statesman, and, at the same time, as it was an office where confidence was reposed by the sovereign, it demanded integrity. The word “excellent” means, properly, what hangs over, or which is abundant, or more than enough, and then anything that is very great, excellent, pre-eminent. Latin Vulgate, Spiritus Dei amplior – “the spirit of God more abundantly.” It is not said here to what trial of his abilities and integrity Daniel was subjected before he was thus exalted, but it is not necessary to suppose that any such trial occurred at once, or immediately on the accession of Darius. Probably, as he was found in office as appointed by Belshazzar, he was continued by Darius, and as a result of his tried integrity was in due time exalted to the premiership. “And the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
The whole kingdom over which he presided, embracing Media, Persia, Babylonia, and all the dependent, conquered provinces. This shows that the princes referred to in Daniel 6:1, were those which were appointed over Babylonia, since Daniel (Daniel 6:2) was already placed at the head of all these princes. Yet, in consequence of his talents and fidelity the king was meditating the important measure of placing him over the whole united kingdom as premier. That he should form such a purpose in regard to an officer so talented and faithful as Daniel was, is by no means improbable. The Greek of Theodotion renders this as if it were actually done. “And the king placed him over all his kingdom.” But the Chaldee indicates rather a purpose or intention to do it; or rather, perhaps, that he was actually making arrangements to do this. Probably it was the fact that this design was perceived, and that the arrangements were actually commenced, that aroused the envy and the ill-will of his fellow-officers, and induced them to determine on his ruin.
An excellent spirit – Daniel’s hallmark of recognition – queen mother had noticed – see 5:11-12.
Excellent spirit. This was not the first time that royal observers had noticed a unique “spirit” in Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar had testified to Daniel’s possession of “the spirit of the holy gods” (Daniel 4:8). The queen mother repeated the expression in her interview with Belshazzar on his last fateful night (Daniel 5:11). On the same occasion she called attention to the “excellent spirit” that had been observed in Daniel (Daniel 5:12). This spirit had no doubt manifested itself, not only in the solving of “hard sentences” (Daniel 5:12), but also in scrupulous integrity, unwavering faithfulness, loyalty to duty, and integrity in words and acts — qualities rarely seen in civil servants of that age. A brief acquaintance with this elderly statesman, a survivor of the golden age of imperial Babylonia, was sufficient to convince Darius that Daniel would be a wise choice as chief administrator of the new empire and counsellor of the crown.
It was in “the first year of Darius” that Daniel was chosen because of the “excellent spirit [that] was in him”, a remark made by Belshazzar’s mother a short time before in Daniel 5:12. Since the takeover of Babylon by the Persians was non-violent, for the most part, it seems possible Belshazzar’s mother may have communicated her feelings about Daniel to the Persians, even to Darius himself. Perhaps the news of Daniel’s interpretation of the hand writing on the wall, which was bad news for Belshazzar and his kingdom, but favourable news to the conquerors, came to be Darius’ ears.
But, Daniel had other things on his mind at this time, for we find him (because the time frame of this Chapter was also “the first year of Darius”) reviewing the prophecy of “Jeremiah the prophet” who predicted God “would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:1, 2). His concern was mounting because 66 years [25] had slipped by since he was captured and taken to Babylon. Only 4 years remained before the 70 years were completed.
• [25] With 605 BC as the beginning point, and 539 BC was Darius’ “first year”, 605 BC – 539 BC = 66 years.
Nevertheless, in spite of Darius’ heathen background, he held Daniel in high esteem in spite of his preoccupation and fully believed him fit to be “set . . . over the whole realm!” Heaven felt the same way because the angel “Gabriel” who talked with him that same year told him “thou art greatly beloved” (Daniel 9:21, 23).
But, being placed “above the [other] presidents and princes” was awkward for him because they were a “dishonest, prevaricating, godless cabinet . . ” [26]. With Daniel obstructing their evil purposes, probably on numerous occasions, they must have found it impossible for them to take advantage of the sickly king.
• [26] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Volume 4, page 1171
Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit [was] in him [27].
• [27] The Old Greek describes Daniel’s spirit as holy.
Daniel’s “excellent spirit” was manifested by the quality of his work and provided a natural testimony that was evident to others. “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men” (Proverbs 22:29).
When one considers his unusual gifts, which are described in Chapter one, his training under such an eminent ruler as Nebuchadnezzar, his experience extending over a period of perhaps sixty years, and the fact that all these advantages were seasoned and balanced by a ripe and strong faith in the Lord, there is hardly any ground for surprise.
Managing upper-level government required considerable skill and gifting:
It was an office of great difficulty and responsibility to manage the affairs of the empire in a proper manner, and required the talents of an accomplished statesman, and, at the same time, as it was an office where confidence was reposed by the sovereign, it demanded integrity.
With patience and impartiality he inquired into all complaints, determined all causes and redressed all wrongs. He dispensed his patronage with justice and equality. His counsels to his sovereign were so wise that only prosperity came from them to the crown. His policy always proved itself sound and good. His management of the revenues was unimpeachable, his accounts correct, his receipts and disbursements transparently honest.
Daniel understood his position within the pagan government was by God’s sovereign design. He served under pagan kings with the same diligence as if serving God.
Believers make their maximum testimony in organizations by showing their spiritual stability; doing a good job, yes, but the one thing that should characterize a believer is that he is reliable, that when given a job to do he does the best that he can do with what he’s got. He may not have as much skill as the man next door; he may not be as high IQ as the next person, you don’t have to worry about that, God doesn’t expect you to do something with things that you don’t have but God does expect you to do everything you can with what you’ve got. And the result is an impact for Jesus Christ. You do your job as unto the Lord; Colossians 3 gives some New Testament counterpart instructions on this; do your job as unto the Lord, not as unto man [Colossians 3:23].
The promotion of a man like Daniel says much for the administration of Darius’ as king. It is a rare thing and a blessing when a king or other high-level leader recognizes and advances truly-qualified individuals, not promoting them in return for bribery or political favours [28].
• [28] Calvin remarks on the sad record of kings in his day: It does not always happen that those who are remarkable for prudence or other endowments obtain greater authority and rank. In the palaces of kings we often see men of brutal dispositions holding high rank, and we need not go back to history for this. In these days kings are often gross and infatuated, and more like horses and asses than men. If any one could enter into the hearts of kings, he would find scarcely one in a hundred who does not despise everything divine.
See Daniel 4:8.
Not only above the princes, but the presidents, being the first of them, as before: or, “he was victorious above them”; he got more credit and applause than they did, being more exact, diligent, and laborious, faithful, and conscientious: because an excellent spirit was in him;
meaning not a spirit of grace, piety, and religion, which the Heathen king was no judge of, nor valued him for it, though it was in him; but a spirit of knowledge of civil affairs, and of prudence in managing them, and of integrity throughout the whole of his conduct: and the king thought to set him over the whole realm;
or, “wherefore the king thought”; because there was such a spirit in him, which so qualified him for public business, he began to think of abolishing his triumvirate of presidents, and making Daniel his viceroy over the whole empire, which very probably they had got some knowledge of; and this, as well as being above them, drew the envy of them on him, and put them upon the following scheme.
Under the Medes and Persians Daniel quickly rose high in rank. What could the phrase “because an excellent spirit was in him” mean?
• Wisdom, insight, knowledge
• Faithfulness and reliability
• Excellent administration and wise leadership
• Knowledge of God and knowledge of human nature
Set him over the whole realm
Although Daniel has been serving in the Royal Courts for a very long time, still he maintained the blameless life he and his friends exhibited in Daniel 1:8. The power and the privileges Daniel enjoyed as an official in the king’s courtroom all these years could not corrupt him, (Daniel 6:1-3). The king intended to promote Daniel further (Daniel 6:3). A sign that God continued to reward Daniel for his faithfulness.
The king undoubtedly noticed a marked difference in the efficiency of government and size of tax revenues under Daniel’s control in comparison with the other two governors — under whose jurisdiction graft and bribery may have flourished. By placing Daniel over the entire government, the losses under the other governors would be curtailed [29].
• [29] He began to think of abolishing his triumvirate of presidents, and making Daniel his viceroy over the whole empire.
This all looked good for Daniel. But the enemy frequently mounts an unexpected attack when things appear to be going well — and such was the case for Daniel.
But watch out, the time to be on your guard is not during a time of adversity because during times of adversity we have a tendency to depend upon God. The time to be on your guard is when things start going well.
Daniel was elevated to a very high position in the kingdom; the other native Babylonian leaders were jealous of his power.
God wanted Daniel in the place of influence to encourage and assist in the Jews’ return to Judah.
Cyrus’ [and therefore Darius’] first year of reign was October 12, 539 BC – October 11, 538 BC. The lions’ den incident occurred between October 12, 539 BC and 27 October, 538 BC; probably early in 538 BC. The proclamation of Cyrus II the Great to rebuild Jerusalem occurred in 537 BC [Ezra 1] and the end of the 70 years of captivity, which had commenced in June – August 605 BC, occurred in the Spring of 536 BC when Zerubbabel [Sheshbazzar], a descendant of Judah’s last king, led an initial migration of about 50,000 Jews back from Babylon to Judah, a 4 month journey [Ezra 2:64-67].
They opposed Daniel for several reasons, including just plain envy; but their main concern was financial. They knew that with Daniel in charge, they wouldn’t be able to use their offices for personal profit and would lose their share of the graft that could go into their pockets. It’s also likely that these younger men resented an older man – and a Jewish exile at that – telling them what to do and checking on their work.
With the help of God, Daniel distinguished himself as a good statesman and “the spirit of God was in him” (verse 3). He became one of the three highest officials under the king. Jealous of his achievement, the other two tried to find problems with him (verse 4). They could not, because he was not corrupt, not negligent, and extremely trustworthy. Legally they could do nothing against him, so they turned to his religion (verse 5), persuading the king to issue a decree that would impact Daniel’s prayer life.
The cream rises to the top!
(1-4) It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so.  They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
Daniel had an ‘extraordinary spirit.’ He was different and the evidence of God’s presence in his life was clear for all to see. As the saying goes, the cream always rises to the top and so Daniel soon found himself in a position of authority within the Medo-Persian kingdom, just as he had been within the Babylonian kingdom. Although this time he had a problem – the green eyed monster called ‘Jealousy’ was rearing its ugly head again, just as it had many times before for God’s people. People often don’t like people who are different, especially if they can’t be controlled. And even more so if they are godly! Daniel met those conditions. Also, King Darius was now thinking of placing Daniel over the whole kingdom. So through no fault of his own, he soon had some pretty powerful enemies. Jealousy was rearing its ugly head! And yet, search as they could,  ‘they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he [was] faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him’  What an awesome testimony!
6:4 ¶ Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he [was] faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
We are to understand that these officials were mainly Babylonians. The official class of the former monarchy would be largely drawn upon to supply the needs of the new government; naturally the native Babylonians would think that the preference in all matters of office ought to be given to them; that, above all, the principal place should not be given to a Jew by Cyrus, or by any one under him, since Cyrus professed to be moved by reverence for the national gods of Babylon in his war against Nabunahid. And the king thought to set him over the whole realm. This really means over the province of Babylon. His object was not to make Daniel satrap instead of himself, but to make him his “vizier.” His knowledge of the business of the province would of necessity be very thorough, dating, as it did, from the days of Nebuchadnezzar. He, as no other, would be acquainted with the various religious beliefs of the different captive communities in Babylonia. Himself belonging to one of these communities, his interest would be excited by all in similar circumstances. His age, the dignity he had enjoyed in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar and Nabunahid, along with his zeal and ability, naturally explain the desire of Darius to make him his vizier.
Reading Chapter 6, we learn that one of Darius’s first responsibilities was to appoint administrators over the entire territory won from the Babylonians (verse 1). The 120 ‘satraps’ chosen by him must have been of lesser rank than the 20 satraps Herodotus mentioned in listing major districts composed of several smaller regions (e.g., the fifth satrapy included Phoenicia, Palestine, Syria, and Cyprus). Here in Daniel the ‘satraps’ must have been in charge of all the smaller subdivisions. But over these 120 there were three commissioners (verse 2), of whom Daniel was chairman (verse 3). In view of Daniel’s successful prediction in Belshazzar’s banquet hall, it was only natural for Darius to select him for so responsible a position, though he was neither a Mede nor a Persian. His long experience and wide acquaintance with Babylonian government made Daniel an exceptionally qualified candidate. But after he had assumed office and turned in a record of exceptional performance, it became obvious that he had superhuman knowledge and skill; and he became a likely choice for prime minister. But just as his three friends had become the target of envy many years before (Daniel 3), so Daniel encountered hostility in the new Persian government. Probably the great majority of his enemies were race-conscious Medes or Persians, and they did not take kindly to the elevation of one of the Jewish captives (verses 1-4). Of course, there is also a natural tendency within administrative structures for people to become jealous when better-qualified individuals among them are promoted above them.
Somewhere a conspiracy is born. First, Daniel’s opponents began to talk about Daniel. Eventually, they conspired to keep Daniel from the promotion the king planned to carry out in the near future. Although Daniel’s enemies were of one heart and purpose, they have a most difficult task ahead of them. Daniel surpassed them in his wisdom, his character, and his standing with the king. Keeping Daniel from rising above them and ruling over them would be no easy task.
Then the presidents and princes sought
Collusion often arises when the ungodly are exposed by the people of God. Daniel had no intention of competing with or discrediting the other officials, but such is the inevitable result of his superior performance. It is impossible to shine for the kingdom of light without exposing the kingdom of darkness. Much like Herod and Pilate at the crucifixion of Jesus, competing leaders temporarily bury their differences to attack a mutual enemy.
Perhaps they were simply jealous of Daniel’s God-given gifts, experience, and performance.
One thing is for sure: When you find yourself the number one man in any position — whether it be in church, in politics, in school, or even in the home — you are the one who will be watched by those who have a jealous spirit.
More likely, their jealousy was amplified by a dislike for righteous behaviour and a view that Daniel was an inappropriate candidate (a foreigner, old) for such an important role in the newly-established government [30].
• [30] Daniel was old and of the Babylonian regime, whereas they probably were much younger and Persians, and thought themselves, accordingly, more properly candidates for all high offices. Undoubtedly the great majority of his enemies were race-conscious Medes or Persians, and they did not take kindly to the elevation of one of the Jewish captives.
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel – The word rendered “occasion” means a pretext or pretence. “The Arabs use the word of any business or affair which serves as a cause or pretext for neglecting another business.” The meaning is, that they sought to find some plausible pretext or reason in respect to Daniel, by which the contemplated appointment might be prevented, and by which he might be effectually humbled. No one who is acquainted with the intrigues of cabinets and courts can have any doubts as to the probability of what is here stated. Nothing has been more common in the world than intrigues of this kind to humble a rival, and to bring down those who are meritorious to a state of degradation. The cause of the plot here laid seems to have been mere envy and jealousy – and perhaps the consideration that Daniel was a foreigner, and was one of a despised people held in captivity. “Concerning the kingdom.” In respect to the administration of the kingdom. They sought to find evidence of malversation in office, or abuse of power, or attempts at personal aggrandizement, or inattention to the duties of the office. This is literally “from the side of the kingdom;” and the meaning is, that the accusation was sought in that quarter, or in that respect. No other charge would be likely to be effectual, except one which pertained to maladministration in office.
The text does not say why 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. Maybe since he was quite old they wanted to eliminate him so someone from a younger generation could take his place. Anti-Semitism appears to have been part of their reason (cf. Daniel 6:13; Daniel 3:12). The text stresses the outstanding personal integrity and professional competence of Daniel.
Against Daniel – While the king elevated Daniel in the interests of crown and empire; a spirit of jealousy naturally arose among Median / Persian dignitaries when a Jew occupied the position that they thought was rightfully theirs – cf. Lucifer in heaven.
Against Daniel. In his plans to elevate Daniel to the highest civil office in the state, the king doubtless acted in the interests of the crown and of the empire. However, he failed to take into account the feelings of jealousy that would naturally be aroused among the Median and Persian dignitaries when a Jew, a former minister of the Babylonians, occupied a position that, according to their expectations, should be theirs.
Since it is likely the princes and presidents had been chosen from among the Babylonians, it is unlikely they were troubled by nationalistic loyalty, but rather considered Darius “the Mede” a foreigner who was fair game for any scheme they could invent.
But, Daniel frustrated all their plans and brought to naught whatever they tried to put over the king. Darius must have sensed their animosity and, in the back of his mind, had a plan to discharge them all and place Daniel in complete charge. Ordinarily, such as in Nebuchadnezzar’s case who enacted decrees on a whim, it was different with Darius. His power was limited in that he could not undo any law what had already been put into effect (see verse 8), and he had to bear in mind the possible effect of unintended consequences that can easily spoil the best of intentions.
Having already chosen 120 princes and 3 presidents to preside “over the whole kingdom”, then contemplating another move to “set [Daniel] over the whole realm” instead of them, also put Darius in an awkward position, for how could he fire them?
Somehow, the “presidents and princes” must have got wind of what the king was thinking and decided they had to do something about it. So, it was more than jealousy that inspired their animosity against Daniel. They felt they had to move quickly or they would be out of a job! They must find some pretext upon which to base a complaint against him.
It would seem, with up to 122 people [probably much less!] all conspiring together to find some “error or fault” in a single individual, something could be hatched up that would be sure to bring him down. Without doubt Daniel could have told stories about the many schemes that were designed to embarrass him in the eyes of the king, but, amazingly, all their efforts were fruitless.
The excellent services and integrity of Daniel soon became a barrier to the ambitions of the princes and presidents with whom he was associated. Daniel’s integrity made impossible any corruption, and his favour with Darius aroused the jealousy of his fellow officials. It was only natural under these circumstances that these men, most of them probably much younger than Daniel and anxious to get ahead, should try to find some means of disposing of Daniel. Daniel’s faithfulness was such that they could not put their finger on any error or fault in the execution of his office. Some other method must be found if Daniel was to be eliminated. The men themselves came to the conclusion that the only way they could trip up Daniel was to provide a conflict between official regulations and Daniel’s conscience and observance of the law of God. Scriptures do not reveal all the machinations which went on behind Daniel’s back, but apparently there were numerous conferences and finally a plot was formed.
The conspiracy against Daniel
Psalm 37:12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. 37:13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
Psalm 37:32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. 37:33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 ¶ Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit.
Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 3:17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
But they could find none occasion (some charge)
It isn’t by accident the Greek title for the Devil is from [dia] (“against”) + [bolos] (“to throw”). He is the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 20:10) and those in his kingdom are eager to follow in his footsteps. Being loath to admit deficiency, they must slander the righteous in an attempt to level the playing field.
It is the nature of the devil to be the accuser of the good and of those who are favoured for their worth ; and all his children have the same family trait.
Intrigues of the Satraps
Intrigues happened constantly at royal courts and still happen today in governments and business. Daniel also became a target. He was being spied on.
Result: it was found that he was innocent and righteous in every respect. His only vulnerability was his religion. Thus Daniel is a remarkable example for believers.
But they could find none occasion nor fault – This is an honourable testimony to the fidelity of Daniel, and to the uprightness of his character. If there had been any malversation in office, it would have been detected by these men.
Any error. Despite his advanced age — he was now 84 years old — Daniel was able to perform his duties of state in such a way that no errors or faults could be charged against him. This accomplishment was due to his personal integrity and to confidence in the unfailing guidance of his heavenly Father. To love and serve God was to him more important than life itself. Scrupulous adherence from his youth to the laws of health doubtless gave him a vigour far beyond what was usual for men of his age.
Any error or fault – Daniel was by now an elderly statesman aged 84 years old (law of health and reliance upon God).
No [Legitimate] Faults
Quite a contrast to almost all of today’s political leaders where corruption is rampant and it is relatively easy to find fault.
Neither was there any error or fault found in him
Daniel was not sinless, but by man’s standards and in regard to his governmental duties, his behaviour was beyond reproach, similar to Job (Job 1:1). Scripture testifies of Daniel’s righteous behaviour by including him, along with Noah and Job, as a righteous triumvirate God responds to with favour [31].
• [31] The righteousness of Noah is emphasized: Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9b).
Ezekiel 14:13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver [but] their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 14:19 ¶ Or [if] I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast: 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
A person might assume that a faultless individual would be favoured or even emulated by others. But such a view would be naive — out-of-touch with the Biblical reality of sin.
Plato was of the opinion that if perfect truth and virtue were to come from heaven and manifest their real glory among men, all would at once bow down and worship them. But he did not understand the depths of human depravity. Perfect truth and virtue did come from heaven in the person of Jesus Christ, and stood before the eyes of men for years and years in untainted beauty and glory; but the children of this world, rulers and mobs, cried, “Away with Him!” and crucified Him.
Concerning the management of the affairs of the kingdom, he being prime minister of state; the presidents and princes joined together in this inquiry; the princes, because Daniel was so strict and exact in looking into their accounts, that no fraudulent measures were taken to cheat the king of his revenue; and the presidents, because he was preferred above them: but they could find none occasion nor fault; or “corruption”, that he had been guilty of any mis-administration, or any corrupt practices: forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault.
No mistake in his accounts; no blunder in his management of things; nothing done amiss, neither wilfully, nor through ignorance, negligence, or inadvertence; so faithful and upright, so prudent and discreet, so exact and careful, that the most watchful observers of him, and these envious, and his most implacable enemies, could find no fault in him, or anything, or the colour of it, to ground an accusation upon.
They could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful: Daniel was such a faithful man that those who looked for a flaw in his actions or his character came up empty.
• Sometimes today a candidate or nominee for political office is set under this kind of scrutiny, but imagine looking as hard as you can at a public servant in office some 50 years and finding nothing wrong. No fraudulent expense accounts. No intern scandals. No questionable business deals. No gifts from lobbyists. No accusations from his subjects.
• Simply, there were no skeletons in Daniel’s closet. His enemies examined his life and found nothing to attack – so they had to make up something.
Nor was there any error or fault found in him: This wasn’t to imply that Daniel was actually sinless, but that he was a man of great integrity. We could also say that Daniel was especially blameless in the conduct of his professional life.
Application – Do not be surprised when you are persecuted for the gospel. Dig your root deep into Christ and His Word so that when persecutions come, you will have a solid foundation. Practising standing up for right in everyday choices will help strengthen you so that you will not compromise when bigger tests come your way.
We know that Daniel publicly was a good and faithful employee with a good testimony. What about his private life? We see a powerful statement about Daniel’s character in verse 4.
Throughout history, political adversaries are very good at bringing out the secret sins of their opponents. Most investigations can turn up plenty of dirt because as the saying goes, “everyone has a skeleton in their closet”. Well, Daniel didn’t.
In Daniel 6, that faithful witness to God experiences both suffering and reward while the pagan kingdom persists. Chapter 6 narrates a conspiratorial threat to Daniel’s life, set in the reign of the Persian monarch Darius the Great (522 BC – 486 BC). Daniel’s competence merited his promotion to ruler over all the new empire, subservient only to the king himself (Daniel 6:3). Then, as now, when someone is chosen to become the boss of his or her former colleagues, those not chosen may feel resentment. We are not told how Daniel handled this awkward situation, but we do see how his former colleagues responded. They tried to catch Daniel at some impropriety so they could report him to the King. Yet even they “could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him.” (Daniel 6:4).
An Unenviable Position. – Daniel’s position was not an enviable one. He stood at the head of a dishonest, prevaricating, godless cabinet, whose members watched him with keen, jealous eyes, to find some flaw in his conduct. They kept spies on his track, to see if they could not in this way find something against him. Satan suggested to these men a plan whereby they might get rid of Daniel. Use his religion as a means of condemning him, the enemy said (YI Nov. 1, 1900).  [4BC 1171.3]
Daniel held the responsible position of prime minister in the kingdom of Babylon, and there were those who were envious of Daniel among the great men of the court, and they wanted to find something against him that they might bring an accusation against him to the king.
6:5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find [it] against him concerning the law of his God.
They would have noticed that Daniel was absent from his work every Sabbath (day of rest). They reasoned that his set time prayers would interfere with the discharge of his official duties.
These conspirators, skilled in political corruption, saw an end to their positions and profits should Daniel be appointed over them. Yet, as hard as they tried to find some basis for accusing Daniel to the king, they could not do so. To achieve their purpose of doing away with Daniel, they must achieve three goals:
• (1) They must discredit Daniel in relationship to his religion and the Law of Moses by which he lived.
• (2) They must discredit Daniel by passing a new law, which was purposely designed to lead to Daniel’s death.
• (3) They must do away with Daniel against the king’s will. They would have to do away with Daniel in a way that forced the king to eliminate Daniel, a way which he could not escape.
Daniel 6 happened when Darius was king. Daniel was an elderly man then. He was 84 years old, but he was still serving the king. Daniel had served the *Babylonians. The army from Media and Persia defeated the *Babylonians and Daniel served them too. This is strange. But it shows that Daniel was loyal and very good at his job. The new rulers could trust him. Darius ruled over a large *kingdom. So he needed help from people that he could trust. He appointed 120 people to help him. Each person ruled over a district of the *kingdom. Darius appointed three superior officials. They watched over the 120 rulers. Daniel was one of these officials. He was much better than the other officials and rulers were. The king wanted to make him the chief official. Then the other officials became jealous. Perhaps they were not as loyal and honest as Daniel was. They watched Daniel to see if he did anything wrong. They watched him, but they could not accuse him. He was always loyal and honest. Then the officials had an idea. Although Daniel was loyal to the king, he was more loyal to God. So perhaps they could make him obey God but not obey the king. They made a plan and then they went to see the king.
Try as they might, they had nothing on Daniel. Imagine such leaders or politicians today! That just doesn’t happen. Today’s politicians only survive because they have enough dirt on each other to make sure no one raises any issues. So Daniel’s enemy’s only option was to change the laws of the land to be in opposition to God’s law. It’s an old trick but quite successfully employed even today, and is also on the increase today, They knew they could get him if they put his devotion to God at odds with his devotion to the king and laws of the land. They would force him to choose what to do. To disobey God would ruin his testimony and integrity. To disobey the laws of the land would get him prosecuted as one who would not be fully loyal to the king. Again this is not just something that happened 2600 years ago. This is the tactic of today as well where Christian businesses and believers are specifically targeted to try and cause persecution and prosecution.
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel
Daniel’s opponents colluded to find supporting evidence of his wrong-doing. They assumed he was like them, participating in some form of graft. To their surprise, his record was as clean as his reputation.
Perhaps initially they figured that Daniel was like many men in high places (and probably like themselves) in that he skimmed a little money off the top for himself, falsified a few records here and there, took a few bribes and made some careless mistakes.
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion … – We shall not find any pretext or any cause by which he may be humbled and degraded. They were satisfied of his integrity, and they saw it was vain to hope to accomplish their purposes by any attack on his moral character, or any charge against him in respect to the manner in which he had discharged the duties of his office.
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel; whom they speak of with great disdain and contempt, calling him this Daniel, this fellow, though in the highest post in the kingdom: except we find it against him concerning the law of his God; about his religion; not that they thought he would be prevailed upon to break the law of his God in any respect; but they knew he was tenacious of the Jewish religion, and of all the laws, rites, and ceremonies of it; if therefore they could get an act passed, and signed by the king, which would any ways affect his religion, or any branch of it, or prohibit the performance of it for any time, they hoped to get an advantage of him, knowing that he would not on any consideration forsake or neglect that; which being said by his enemies was greatly to his honour.
We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God: These men knew Daniel well. They knew he could not be trapped into evil, but they also knew that he would be faithful to his God in all circumstances. Every Christian should consider if others could say the same about them.
• The world may not know the details of doctrine or the intimacies of worship with God, but they can tell a bad temper, selfishness, conceitedness, or dishonesty when they see it.
The accusers’ plan was similar to that of the Babylonian officials who had tried to topple Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Daniel 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 (cf. Daniel 6:10; Acts 5:29).
“These men” were “dishonest, prevaricating” and “godless . . ”. [32] not because they were heathen but because they understood the difference between right and wrong and deliberately chose what they knew was wrong and worked against Daniel on a personal level.
• [32] Youth’s Instructor 11-1-1900
As discussed above, there is reason to believe “these men” may have actually viewed the strange handwriting on the wall of the palace during Belshazzar’s ignominious feast and had even heard Daniel explain it to the terrified king. Now, instead of sharing Darius’ great respect for him, they allowed jealousy and evil ambition to cloud their sense of discrimination. What was once right, now seemed evil and what once seemed evil, now became good.
Even though Darius was an exponent of a heathen religion, he offered no objection to Daniel’s religion, and obviously admired him for consistently living by its principles. King Nebuchadnezzar, although “An idolater by birth and training, and at the head of an idolatrous people . . . nevertheless [had] an innate sense of justice and right, . . ”. [33] After God literally made him to “eat grass as oxen” for seven long years, he finally “blessed the most High, and praised and honoured him” acknowledging His supremacy over all “the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:33-35).
• [33] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, pages 514, 515
Belshazzar failed to learn by his grandfather’s experience. Now, “these men”, who must have served under his rule for a number of years, followed suit. They failed to profit by the marvellous demonstration of God’s power and foresight they had just recently witnessed.
Having set their minds against Daniel but finding no pretext upon which to complain because of his political administration, they looked into his personal life and decided to frame him as a religious nonconformist.
It is possible, because of Belshazzar’s godless influence, they shared the former king’s distain for religion in general. Like Belshazzar who scorned his father’s devotion to the Moon god “Sin” instead of Marduk, and failing to heed his mothers’ council, devoted himself to a thoughtless, and reckless style of life devoted entirely to pleasure and self-gratification, “these men” prospered in that climate and had become accustomed to advantaging themselves with schemes and intrigues of various kinds. If they had held some official office during Belshazzar’s reign, they may have found Daniel an easy mark for their animosity and might even have engineered his exile to Shushan (Daniel 8:2) early in Belshazzar’s reign!
Now, the table was turned, and finding themselves under Daniel’s rule, it was just too much!
The law of his God. A careful scrutiny of Daniel’s habits, a close observation of his dealings with associates and subordinates, and a careful checking of the records, revealed no irregularities to provide a ground for complaints or accusations. However, Daniel’s enemies discovered that he was never to be found worshipping in any of the temples of Babylon, nor did he take part in any heathen religious ceremonies. Undoubtedly they had noticed that he was absent from his office every Sabbath, the day of weekly rest prescribed in “the law of his God”. They doubtless reasoned that his set times for prayer interfered with the discharge of his official duties.
Except we find [it] against him concerning the law of his God
Society-at-large benefits from the righteous behaviour of God’s people in its midst (Matthew 5:13; Luke 14:34; Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1Timothy 5:8). Still, non-believers seek ways to oppose righteousness because righteous behaviour exposes their lawlessness (light exposes darkness, John 1:5, 2 Corinthians 6:14). Being under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19), they contrive to manipulate the laws of the land to entrap the faithful by declaring righteous behaviour as unlawful and unlawful behaviour as commendable (Proverbs 28:4; Psalm 12:8; Isaiah 5:20; Micah 3:2; Malachi 2:17; Romans 1:32; 1 Peter 3:15-16).
Isaiah 5:20 ¶ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
This age-old technique forces the godly to choose between allegiance to God and allegiance to government [34]. Secular materialism, being atheistic in belief, has no higher authority than man-made institutions and ultimately throws in its lot with the government. Believers, answering to a higher authority, are forced to choose God over government whenever the government mandates they act in direct violation of God’s law.
• [34] The only way to get at Daniel was to place him in a position where he had to choose between obedience to his God and obedience to the government. Daniel 6:1-9.
In some cases, the believer is required to abstain from government-mandated behaviour (as in the refusal of Daniel’s companions to bow before the idol in Chapter 3). In other cases, as here, the believer must continue behaviour declared unlawful by the government (continue in prayer and worship of God) [35]. These are the mandates of higher law.
• [35] It is not, as with his three companions in Daniel 3, a question of a positive sin which he will not commit, but of a positive duty which he will not omit.
A common situation develops at this point: jealousy leads men to attack a colleague who is more competent than themselves. In this case the ordinary feelings are sharpened by another factor that is noticed frequently in this  of Daniel. Because a man is of the kingdom of God, therefore the kingdom of this world drives its members to display a bitterness in their assault that surpasses anything that might have been in evidence had the issues been between men outside of God’s kingdom. Speaking more plainly, the devil stirs the fires of natural hatred to a fiercer heat as soon as God’s children are involved. . . . in no case can a man of God live a consistent life in the world without making apparent the fact that his life is separate from what the world does and countenances. And whenever the world becomes aware of this difference she resents it and finds her animosities stirred.
Daniel had a natural testimony: his faith was known by those acquainted with his manner of life [36]. They knew Daniel was monotheistic and committed to following his God. By arranging for his godly commitments to be declared “illegal activities”, they were certain they would trap Daniel in behaviour contrary to the state. Instead of conforming our behaviour under pressure, Scripture instructs the believer to stand firm knowing that good conduct will ultimately prevail in the final judgment.
• [36] The old prophet was not a secret disciple but a man who was not ashamed to let others know that his allegiance was to the God of Israel. He had not hidden his faith in order to keep his office.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
You cannot keep people from talking about you, but you can so live as to make them liars when they do talk about you.
Except we find it against him concerning the law of his God – Unless it be in respect to his religion; unless we can so construe his known conscientiousness in regard to his religion as to make that a proof of his unwillingness to obey the king. It occurred to them that such was his well-understood faithfulness in his religious duties, and his conscientiousness, that they might expect that, whatever should occur, he would be found true to his God, and that this might be a basis of calculation in any measure they might propose for his downfall. His habits seem to have been well understood, and his character was so fixed that they could proceed on this as a settled matter in their plans against him. The only question was, how to construe his conduct in this respect as criminal, or how to make the king listen to any accusation against him on this account, for his religious views were well known when he was appointed to office; the worship of the God of Daniel was not prohibited by the laws of the realm, and it would not be easy to procure a law directly and avowedly prohibiting that.
It is not probable that the king would have consented to pass such a law directly proposed – a law which would have been so likely to produce disturbance, and when no plausible ground could have been alleged for it. There was another method, however, which suggested itself to these crafty counsellors – which was, while they did not seem to aim absolutely and directly to have that worship prohibited, to approach the king with a proposal that would be flattering to his vanity, and that, perhaps, might be suggested as a test question, showing the degree of esteem in which he was held in the empire, and the willingness of his subjects to obey him. By proposing a law that, for a limited period, no one should be allowed to present a petition of any kind to anyone except to the king himself, the object would be accomplished. A vain monarch could be prevailed on to pass such a law, and this could be represented to him as a measure not improper in order to test his subjects as to their willingness to show him respect and obedience; and at the same time it would be certain to effect the purpose against Daniel – for they had no doubt that he would adhere steadfastly to the principles of his religion, and to his well-known habits of worship. This plan was, therefore, crafty in the extreme, and was the highest tribute that could be paid to Daniel. It would be well if the religious character and the fixed habits of all who profess religion were so well understood that it was absolutely certain that no accusation could lie against them on any other ground, but that their adherence to their religious principles could be calculated on as a basis of action, whatever might be the consequences.
Daniel had integrity – (a word derived from “integer” = the whole of anything, a whole number not a fraction – think “whole character” not a fraction of one!). This speaks of the unimpaired state of one’s mind and heart, of moral soundness and purity, of in-corruptness, of uprightness, of honesty. Just as we would talk about a whole number, so also we can talk about a whole person who is undivided. A person of integrity is living rightly, not divided, nor being a different person in different circumstances. A person of integrity is the same person in private that he or she is in public. Integrity has the same root word as does the word integrated. A leader of integrity has taken the principles that govern his life, internalized them, and integrated them into every area of his life. Integrity is not like a weathervane that changes direction with every shift of the social winds, as Daniel will soon dramatically demonstrate.
Although they tried as hard as they could, they could find nothing even remotely shady in Daniel’s personal or professional life. In fact, the only thing they could find to accuse him of was that he was too zealous in his service to God. He was very faithful to God.
Daniel had a shining testimony. It wasn’t an act. It wasn’t faked. He was a righteous person who lived like it no matter where he was or who was watching.
Application – Put yourself in Daniel’s place for a moment. Imagine that a team of detectives investigates your life. Their goal is to dig out your secret sins. They want to expose you. So they dig into every aspect of your life. What will they find? If they were to check your credit card bills and banking account history, what will they find you spend money on? What will they find out about your truthfulness in paying taxes? If they were to look at your internet browsing history, what would they see there? If they were to check out the music you listen to, or books you read when no one else is around, what would they discover? If they were to observe how you treated your family members and recorded a video of it, would you want it played?
Repent. God can help you be righteous. God can help you have a testimony as pure and blameless as Daniel’s. A person of integrity and righteousness can live with no fear of being caught.
Titus 2:7 In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [showing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Lessons from the officials’ interaction with King Darius – From these verses, there are 2 things that we should not do:
From these verses, we are reminded of 2 things that we should not do:
• 1. We should not use flattery and manipulation to achieve what we want as these officials did. Also, we should not let ourselves be manipulated by flattery. You can see a clear difference in this Book between Daniel who talks straight with the kings and these wise men who slant everything to suit their own purposes.
• 2. We should not make promises without thinking through it very carefully. The king made a grave mistake in accepting their deal without taking proper care to consider its ramifications.
6:6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
The conspirators found it necessary to deceive the king. A group come before the king as a delegation, representing themselves as the spokesmen for the entire number of prefects, satraps, officials, and governors. Their deception led the king to conclude that Daniel too agreed with their proposal.
Then these presidents and princes. Not everyone would have assembled before the king concerning this matter – only those heavily laced in jealousy. Doubtless only those appeared who envied Daniel’s position. If all had been called together for the occasion, the king might have become suspicious, especially if Daniel was not among them. The plotters probably calculated that with only a few approaching the king with the request, the chances of deceiving the monarch were greater than if they waited until all the governors from every corner of the empire could be assembled to appear before him.
Then these presidents and princes assembled together – Margin, came tumultuously. The margin expresses the proper meaning of the original word – to run together with tumult. Why they came together in that manner is not stated. Bertholdt suggests that it means that they came in a procession, or in a body, to the king; but there is undoubtedly the idea of their doing it with haste, or with an appearance of great earnestness or excitement. Perhaps they imagined that they would be more likely to carry the measure if proposed as something that demanded immediate action, or something wherein it appeared that the very safety of the king was involved, than if it were proposed in a sedate and calm manner. If it were suggested in such a way as to seem to admit of deliberation, perhaps the suspicion of the king might be aroused, or he might have asked questions as to the ground of the necessity of such a law, which it might not have been easy to answer.
Having consulted the matter, and agreed upon and formed a scheme among themselves, and drawn up a bill or decree in form, ready to be signed by the king, whom they hoped to persuade to it; and for that end they got together, and went in a body to him. The word signifies to assemble in a tumultuous and noisy way; they thought, by their number and noise, their bustle and bluster, to carry their point. Compares this with Psalm 2:2: and said thus unto him, O King Darius, live for ever; this they said as courtiers, professing subjection to him, and affection for him, wishing him health, long life, and happiness.
The phrase “assembled together” is from the Aramaic word “reg-ash’” meaning “to be in tumult” or “to gather tumultuously” [37] suggesting this assembly was deliberately planned to appear spontaneous and unstructured. Since it included all the “presidents (with the exception of Daniel) and princes”, it numbered at least 122 men rushing into the king’s presence all at once.
• [37] From Online Computer Lexicon: #7284 corresponding to #7283 – KJV – assembled, assembled together; to be in tumult. To gather in a tumultuous throng, show tumultuousness, come thronging. The same word is used in verses 11 and 15 suggesting they acted somewhat like a mob in those contexts.
If that were the case, it would have caught Darius off his guard. Their salutation “King Darius, live for ever” at the same time bowing and kneeling prostrate at his feet, would appeal to his ego. He may have thought this was a spontaneous demonstration of approval from his recently appointed staff revealing that his effort to integrate the Babylonians into the Medo-Persian kingdom was far more successful than he could reasonably have hoped.
King Darius, live for ever – The usual way of saluting a monarch. See Daniel 2:4.
6:7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
Under new empire management (Medo-Persian), Daniel is now controls 1/3 of the kingdom – soon to be appointed over the whole kingdom by the new king, Darius (verse 3). However, the rest of the upper-management kingdom personnel (2+120 men) are jealous of this Jewish man having so much authority over them. They conspire to have the king establish a decree declaring that he who worships anyone except the king for 30 days will be thrown into the lions’ den. For a polytheistic society, this decree would still be problematic as they serve more than one god and not just the king as god. However, for Daniel, it’s a career decision, and they know it. Think about the implications here regarding Daniel’s public testimony. He was so faithful to God, his enemies knew that he would choose God over compromise – every time. Darius apparently has no idea he is, in effect, signing a death decree for Daniel.
Not able to catch Daniel at anything real, and knowing his daily habit of prayer to his God, Daniel’s rivals contrived a plan that exploited King Darius’s ego. They convinced the king to decree that for next 30 days, no one could pray to any god or man other than the King. The penalty was death in the lion’s den. The conspirators believed they had found a path to Daniel’s destruction. This offers another lesson for leaders — beware of flattery. Darius, confused by flattery, neglected to consult his legal counsel about the decree before enacting it, leading to a situation he deeply regretted later.
The decree prohibited worship of. and prayer to. their own gods for a month, as well as that of the living and true God; but this they would tolerate. Such was their determination against Daniel. They were obliged to express their petition in a general way, to cover their designs; for had they mentioned a particular deity, such as the God of the Jews, or the God of Daniel, their views would have been known to the king.
Not only religious invocation is here forbidden, but all civil requests are prohibited: servants might not ask anything of their masters, nor children of their parents, nor wives of their husbands, nor one neighbour of another. The petition was not limited just to worship and prayer. All men are excluded, except Darius himself, thereby exalting him above all gods and men.
All – Not Daniel – and doubtless a lie as many probably not consulted.
Notice the first word “all”. With the sudden appearance of this large gathering, it would have been entirely excusable for the king not to notice Daniel’s absence. We are not told if they appointed a spokesmen, but it is possible they all spoke at once. They probably rehearsed this entire scenario many times before coming to the king. So, without knowledge or warning of what was taking place, who wouldn’t be flattered to suddenly be met by a large group all shouting great enthusiastic words of adulation?
But, flattered or not, the king was being trapped into something he was soon to regret.
Here is additional evidence of the corruption among the ringleaders: they lied to the king concerning the consensus of the group [38].
• [38] Evidently to convince the king that their proposal had overwhelming support, the ‘royal administrators’ and ‘satraps’ (cf. verses 4, 6) who stood before Darius falsely claimed that the ‘prefects’, ‘advisers’, and ‘governors’ were party to their proposal. Of course, this was a great exaggeration. Probably the large majority of these rulers were not even in the city of Babylon but were in the outlying areas and would have been totally unaware of the scheme.
The claim that all these leaders were agreed regarding the decree was a lie. Daniel certainly was not, and it is about as sure that satraps scattered far from Babylon were not either, and possibly not even all those near the capital.
Several factors should have tipped the king off that something underhanded was afoot:
• (1) Daniel was not present among the governors; 
• (2) The petition was championed by those in the government who were evidently responsible for financial losses — whom the king was planning to place under Daniel.
The king seems to have overlooked these factors, perhaps due to the blinding influence of pride.
All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, … – Several functionaries are enumerated here who are not in the previous verses, as having entered into the conspiracy. It is possible, indeed, that all these different classes of officers had been consulted, and had concurred in asking the enactment of the proposed law; but it is much more probable that the leaders merely represented or affirmed what is here said in order to be more certain of the enactment of the law. If represented as proposed by all the officers of the realm, they appear to have conceived that there would be no hesitation on the part of Darius in granting the request. They could not but be conscious that it was an unusual request, and that it might appear unreasonable, and hence, they seem to have used every precaution to make the passing of the law certain.
There were but 3 presidents, and Daniel was 1 of them, so that these “all” were but “2”; they made the most of it they could; and very probably not all and everyone of the other officers mentioned were present. They were willing to make their request appear as general as they could, in order that it might have the greatest weight with the king.
All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together: Daniel’s enemies also knew that people could be persuaded to do things they wouldn’t normally do if they thought everyone else approved of that thing.
• Of course, they lied when they said all the governors have consulted together. We know it was a lie because Daniel was 1 of the governors and he was not consulted.
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 Daniel. Furthermore, 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 God.
Parsism [the official religion of Persia] did not indeed require men to regard the king as a god in his own proper nature, but to pay him supreme homage as the representative of Ormusd.
The probability is that Darius regarded this act as a pledge of loyalty to himself and a token of their desire to respect his authority to the utmost.
The Babylonians burned criminals alive (Daniel 4), but the Persians, who worshipped fire, threw them to the lions.
All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree
Some among the colluding group knew a royal statute was irrevocable. See Daniel 6:8.
Have consulted together to establish a royal statute – Or, that such a statute might be established. They knew that it could be established only by the king himself, but they were in the habit, doubtless, of recommending such laws as they supposed would be for the good of the realm.
And to make a firm decree – Margin, interdict. The word used – to bind, make fast – means, properly, a binding; then anything which is binding or obligatory – as a prohibition, an interdict, a law.
Whosoever shall ask a petition – A decree of this nature would be entirely alien to the Persians, who won the reputation of being largehearted in matters of religious tolerance. It is unthinkable that a man like Cyrus would have signed such a decree. However, Darius the Mede evidently had a different background. We know little of the thinking of the Medes with respect to religious tolerance. Cyrus, the Persian king, rebuilt temples of nations destroyed by the Babylonians, and thereby showed his spirit of tolerance with regard to other peoples’ religious feelings and practices. Although generalizations are subject to error, we must reckon with the possibility that the Medes, or at least some of their rulers, showed less religious tolerance than the Persians.
That whosoever shall ask – Any one of any rank. The real purpose was to involve Daniel in disgrace, but in order to do this it was necessary to make the prohibition universal – as Herod, in order to be sure that he had cut off the infant king of the Jews, was under a necessity of destroying all the children in the place.
Whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king: If the enemies of Daniel knew him, they also knew Darius. They knew they could appeal to Darius’ pride and his desire for a unified kingdom.
• The suggested mode of compelling every subject in the former Babylonian domain to acknowledge the authority of Persia seemed a statesman-like measure that would contribute to the unification of the Middle and Near East. The time limit of one month seemed reasonable.
• What pretence could they urge for so silly an ordinance? Probably to flatter the ambition of the king, they pretend to make him a god for thirty days; so that the whole empire should make prayer and supplication to him and pay him Divine honours! This was the bait; but their real object was to destroy Daniel.
Whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king
“Petitions to god” refers to prayer. But what should we make of “petitions to man”?
“Prays to any god” is clear enough, but what is the meaning of “prays to any . . . man?”. . . it seems to allude to the priests through whom petitions were mediated to the gods. Thus Darius was to be the only priestly mediator during this period. . . . Darius was not proclaiming himself to be a god but during this thirty-day period was acting as mediator for the gods of all the nations subject to him.
The petitions were prayers, not day-to-day governmental requests—which would have placed an unworkable bottleneck in the function of government, if even only for a short time [39]. Prayers occupied an important place in Persian worship [40].
• [39] The law would be senseless only if the prohibition had related to every petition in common life in the intercourse of civil society. But it only referred to the religious sphere of prayer, as an evidence of worshipping God; and if the king was venerated as an incarnation of the deity, then it was altogether reasonable in its character.
• [40] Prayer was the chief factor in worship; a great part of the holy writings (the Zend-Avesta, etc.) contains only formulas of prayer and a certain type of litanies.
During the period in question, prayers were to be exclusively to the king as the divinely appointed representative of god [41].
• [41] The general idea that the king is a manifestation or representative of deity and a key mediator with deity appears in Persian writings.
Wilson sums up available evidence under this head by saying: “The kings of Egypt were worshipped as such from immemorial times”. Such attitudes naturally passed from one nation to another. He adds: “That kings should be called gods is witnessed by Pharaohs, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Herods, and Cæsars”. What did the ancients mean when they raised what seems to us to be so entirely impossible a claim? In the first place, they had a rather inferior conception of what a god was. Consequently they could conceive of mortals as being sons of the deity, for according to old legends in many a case a god, or at least a demigod appearing as a mortal, had been about on the earth, consorting with the daughters of men.
It is the characteristic feature of every one of these world empires. Nebuchadnezzar and Darius took the lead. In the one which followed, the Graeco-Macedonian, we find Antiochus Epiphanes, who took the same place. In the Roman Empire we have emperors and others, like Herodes, claiming divine honours; in papal Rome the popes claim infallibility. And in apostate Protestantism the deification of man appears likewise.
The state’s usurpation of the place of divinity is an attribute of the kingdom of man characterizing numerous periods of history. It is prevalent in systems of government promoting atheism (e.g., humanism and secular materialism—as in our own country today).
The kingdom of man has a system of conquest or expansion and we can always spot the kingdom of man in history in such movements as communism, socialism and so on, because the kingdom of man always wants to glorify the state. The attraction must always be to the state, to what man has made, to man’s programs, to man’s legislation. So the state receives the glorification.
This is analogous to Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to fall down and worship the gold image in Daniel 3:5. In both cases, enemies of God’s people required behaviour contravening allegiance to God. They attempted to force believers to violate a fundamental commandment: to place an image or person in the position of God (Exodus 20:3-5).
You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God (Exodus 20:3-5a).
This decree is typologically related to the coming worship of Antichrist (Revelation 13:8, 15) [42].
• [42] This all points to the end, when the man of sin, the Son of perdition will appear, the final Anti-Christ ‘who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or worshipped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God’ (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Darius practically put himself into the place that the man of sin, the lawless one, [who] will occupy in the last days. He became a type of the Antichrist, who shall “sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”. And right here, it is of moment to remark that there may be a vast difference between what a man is in himself and the place he occupies in scripture typology. Darius, as a man, was doubtless a very different character to the coming false Messiah. He was kindly and amiable, and as we know, was afterwards deeply repentant for having permitted himself to act so foolishly. But as the king, making himself an object of worship, and denying the liberty of any to offer prayers or adoration to any other God save himself, he fittingly pictures the Antichrist.
To forbid prayer to God, and to demand that the prayer that was offered to God should be offered to himself if at all, only for a certain space of time, was nothing more nor less than the type of him who would take this place in a far more literal and gross and daring way. We have clearly a New Testament proof that these days, spoken of in Daniel and typified then, are yet to come;
The decree goes further than that of Nebuchadnezzar in Chapter 3 demanding worship of an image, yet did not prohibit worship to other idols or gods. This decree prohibited prayer to any except the king as divine representative [43].
• [43] When Nebuchadnezzar commanded his subjects to worship his image, he did not forbid them to worship any other gods; he himself worshipped many gods. But Darius the Mede went far beyond that. He forbade on pain of death petition to the living God; all prayer was to be directed to him. This demanded that the inalienable and inviolable rights of God be given to a lowly man.
Kelly recognizes the typological similarity between the fall of Neo-Babylonia followed by the claim of divine role by Darius and the final fall of Babylon, yet future, prior to the rise and worship of Antichrist.
The hour will have come for man to have the supreme place in the world. When this is achieved, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them”. That this follows the destruction of Babylon is plain. For it says afterwards, “The ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast” (so it ought to be read), “these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked”. This is exactly what answers to the type of Darius, who comes in when Babylon is destroyed, and takes the kingdom immediately; and the next thing is, he is led on by his courtiers to take the place of God Himself. . . . These two types [the destruction of Neo-Babylonia and Darius occupying the place of God] are highly instructive, as closing the general history of the Gentiles. They show, not what had characterized them from the beginning and during their progress, but the main features of evil at the close. There will be destruction falling upon Babylon because of its profaneness in the religious profession of men, and then the height of blasphemous pride to which the head of empire will rise by assuming the honour and glory due only to God Himself. I was anxious to connect the two things together, because we cannot otherwise get the true force of them so well.
The king was baited appropriately: “except you, O king”—blatant flattery designed to appeal to the king’s vanity. This should have served as an important clue to the king concerning the duplicity of this counsel (Psalm 12:2-3; Proverbs 26:23-26), but pride has an insidious ability to blind [44].
• [44] The rivals of Daniel made a very dexterous move to trap the king in his own pride and so to bring a man whom they envied down from his high dignity. Xerxes did things more foolish than what is here attributed to Darius. Instances of this are not wanting.
Once signed, the decree would have consequences reaching far beyond Daniel, affecting all the Jews in the realm.
This law aimed directly at Daniel also affected every Jew. If the law had not been nullified, every Jew would have been prevented from praying legally to the God of Israel. Every faithful Jew could have been charged, convicted, and put to death. The potential evil of this law may have gone farther than even its authors ever conceived.
Of any god or man – This would include all the gods acknowledged in Babylon, and all foreign divinities.
For thirty days
The decree was to be a temporary measure—long enough to trap Daniel—but short enough to minimize possible impact on the general populace [45]. Perhaps the decree found favour with the king as a temporary expedient to quell the possibility of revolt at the beginning of Darius’ reign over Babylon [46].
• [45] The reason for having the decree remain in force only 30 days was that this would be long enough to trap Daniel, and these men probably did not wish to be restricted longer themselves.
• [46] It may have been urged that there was danger of a revolt, and that it would be an effectual way of preventing it to order that whoever should solicit any favour of anyone but the king should be punished, for this would bring all matters at once before him, and secure order. Josephus attributes the decree to providing a period during which the populace was to refrain from prayer. So they came to Darius, and told him, that ‘the princes and governors had thought proper to allow the multitude a relaxation for 30 days, that no one might offer a petition or prayer either to himself, or to the gods, but that he who shall transgress this decree shall be cast into a den of lions, and there perish’. Accordingly, all the [people] took care not to transgress those injunctions, and rested in quiet.
Now arises the temptation of Christian pragmatism [47]. If Daniel would only change his behaviour for one month, the threat could be forestalled. Perhaps close his upper windows, and suppress public evidence of his faithfulness in prayer. But Daniel walked by principle rather than pragmatism, made possible by his high view of God’s sovereignty. Like Daniel, we are called to walk according to God’s principles and leave the results to God. See Daniel 6:10.
• [47] In view of the teachings of Scripture, Christian pragmatism should be considered an oxymoron.
They proposed to make a man a god for thirty days – Their idea was to make Darius a god for 30 days simply by royal decree. Such an idea would have been sure to appeal to Darius’ ego. After all, his loyal subjects clearly adored him so much, that it was only right that he bless them with the opportunity to show their sincere affection.
These officials knew how to manipulate the king by stroking his vanity and ego. Today such a law seems insane and likely to invite immediate revolt. However, in the ancient world it was common for emperors to be worshipped as deities.
The Conspirators Secure a Ban on Prayer
Their petition to the king was to the effect that a decree should be issued that no one could present a petition to any god or man for thirty days except to the king. The penalty for disobedience would be that they would be cast into the den of lions. Under the psychological impact of these officials assembling in such force and presenting such an unusual petition designed to honour Darius and recognize in him divine powers, Darius signed the writing and the decree; and it became a law which could not be changed. The Book of Esther (1:19; 8:8) and Diodorus Siculus (17:30) also establish the fact that Medo-Persian law stipulated that a royal edict could not be revoked. The verb translated “sign” in verses 8, 9, and 10 can be understood to mean “to draw, to draw up, to inscribe, to write”, and hence “to draft”, which would be more comprehensive than merely signing.
As Young and others have pointed out, there is nothing unusual in ascribing to Persian kings worship such as would be afforded the pagan gods. Young observes, “The action of Darius was both foolish and wicked. What led him to yield to the request of the ministers can only be conjectured, but probably he was greatly influenced by the claim of deity which many of the Persian kings made”. Stuart justifies this situation in these words, “Parsism did not indeed require men to regard the king as a god in his own proper nature, but to pay him supreme homage as the representative of Ormusd. Such being the state of the case, it is easy to see that the account of Darius’ behaviour, when he was importuned by his courtiers and nobles, wears no special marks of improbability”. The probability is that Darius regarded this act as a pledge of loyalty to himself and a token of their desire to respect his authority to the utmost.
For thirty days – The object of this limitation of time was perhaps twofold:
• (1) they would be sure to accomplish their purpose in regard to Daniel, for they understood his principles and habits so well that they had no doubt that within that three he would be found engaged in the worship of his God; and
• (2) it would not do to make the law perpetual, and to make it binding longer than thirty days might expose them to the danger of popular tumults. It was easy enough to see that such a law could not be long enforced, yet they seem to have supposed that the people would acquiesce in it for so brief a period as one month. Unreasonable though it might be regarded, yet for so short a space of time it might be expected that it would be patiently observed.
Application – As Jesus told Satan, worship the Lord your God and serve Him only (Luke 4:8). Some governments demand a nearly worship-level of devotion. And in Revelation we learn that is the way the world will be going in the end times. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun. Throughout history, one of Satan’s most tried methods of attack is to get people to replace God with another object of worship: idol, self, money, hobby, evolution, or a person. Is there someone or something in your life vying for your highest allegiance?
Save of thee, O king – Perhaps either directly, or through some minister of the realm.
He shall be cast into the den of lions – The word “den” means, properly, a pit, or cistern; and the idea is that the den was underground, probably a cave constructed for that purpose. It was made with so narrow an entrance that it could be covered with a stone, and made perfectly secure, Daniel 6:17. The enclosures of wild beasts, especially of lions, which the kings of Asia and of North-western Africa formerly had, as they have at the present day, were generally constructed underground, but were ordinarily caves which had been excavated for the purpose, wailed up at the sides, enclosed within a wall through which a door led from the outer wall to the space lying between the walls, within which persons could pass round and contemplate the wild beasts.”
Shall be cast into the den of lions
Under Babylonian rule, capital punishment was by fire (Daniel 3:6). Here, under Medo-Persian rule, criminals are to be devoured by lions [48]. This difference may reflect cultural differences regarding beliefs concerning fire.
• [48] The frieze that surrounds the Palace of Darius I, dating from about 510 BC, is composed of images of lions.
The state religion of Medo-Persia, namely, Zoroastrianism, involved the worship of Atar the fire-god. Thus, for the Medo-Persians to have used a furnace of fire as a means of destroying criminals would have appeared sacrilegious.
[The author] was quite accurate in recording the change from punishment by fire under the Babylonians (Daniel 3:11) to punishment by being thrown to lions under the Persian regime (Daniel 6:7), since fire was sacred to the Zoroastrians of Persia.
The Persians were also known for other gruesome methods of inflicting punishment, including crucifixion [49].
• [49] Such a gruesome death accurately reflects conditions during this period. The Persians employed many forms of execution, some of them ‘almost exquisitely horrible’. A number of references are given in the Greek historian Herodotus regarding the practice of crucifixion by the Persians. For instance, the following indicates a strong propensity toward the practice via a massive display in an honoured city: Thus was Babylon taken for the second time. Darius having become master of the place, destroyed the wall, and tore down all the gates; for Cyrus had done neither the one nor the other when he took Babylon. He then chose out near 3,000 of the leading citizens, and caused them to be crucified, while he allowed the remainder still to inhabit the city.
Den of lions. Contemporary literature and works of art frequently depict kings of antiquity, such as those of Egypt, Assyria, and Persia, engaged in the sport of hunting wild animals. Game consisted chiefly of lions, but included also panthers, wild bulls, and elephants. Reports tell of vassal kings sending captured wild animals to their royal lords in Mesopotamia as tribute. There they were kept in menageries, as symbols of the monarch’s world power and for the amusement of the king and his friends. Although no examples of capital punishment by throwing the culprit before wild animals are known from contemporary records in Persian times, these sources speak of extraordinarily barbaric forms of capital punishment ordered by otherwise humane Persian kings.
6:8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
Under Persian law, the king was bound by the authority of a royal edict (Daniel 6:8; Daniel 6:12; Daniel 6:15; cf. Esther 1:19; Esther 8:8). This made his power less than it was under an absolute dictator such as Nebuchadnezzar (cf. Daniel 2:39).
The action of Darius was both foolish and wicked. What led him to yield to the request of the ministers can only be conjectured, but probably he was greatly influenced by the claim of deity which many of the Persian kings made.
Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing – Ordain, enact, confirm it.
For they had not only agreed upon it among themselves what to propose, as to the substance of it; but they had drawn it up in writing, ready to be signed, which they urge to have done immediately: that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians,
And sign the writing – An act necessary to make it the law of the realm.
That it be not changed – On the irrevocability of the law of “the Medes and Persians” compare Esther 1:19; 8:8. This characteristic is also attested by Greek writers. For example, Diodorus Siculus (xvii. 30) describes the attitude of Darius II toward the sentence of death upon Charidemos. He claims that the king, after pronouncing the death sentence, repented and blamed himself for having greatly erred in judgment; yet it was impossible to undo what had been done by royal authority.
That it be not changed – That, having the sign-manual of the sovereign, it might be so confirmed that it could not be changed. With that sign it became so established, it seems, that even the sovereign himself could not change it.
They urged Darius to pass a law requiring no petition be made in all the land unless it were made to the king. Their proposal seemed to be in the king’s best interest, helping to establish his rule over the former kingdom of Babylon. The proposal is similar in some respects to Nebuchadnezzar’s described in Chapter 3. By fashioning a golden image and requiring every citizen to bow down to it, king Nebuchadnezzar thought he would give unity and cohesiveness to his kingdom. By requiring all men to make their petitions to Darius, they would acknowledge him as the source of their every blessing. The difference between Nebuchadnezzar’s plan in Chapter 3 and this plan in Chapter 6 is that this was not Darius’ idea. This proposal originated with the conspirators.
The law was for a limited time — 30 days, a short enough period that the king might not scrutinize the plan carefully. It would be temporary, setting a precedent. The conspirators insisted the decree be a law of the Medes and the Persians so it could not be revoked. This would prevent the king from reversing the law once he realized Daniel was the victim of this proposed legislation.
This does not prove they were “Medes” or “Persians”, but it does prove they knew their laws. Once they got the king’s signature, they could be sure of their prey. It might seem, with a scribe standing nearby having pen and paper in hand with the decree all nicely written out with a blank space for his name, Darius might have become suspicious. But, like all of us, even kings, we all crave praise and appreciation. Even if we think it might be insincere, we just naturally tend to give it the benefit of the doubt and accept it as being sincere. Darius was no exception.
Note “these men” reminded the king that “the decree” could not be altered under any circumstance. That suggests they were fully aware that the king would do everything he could to undo what he had just done when it dawned on him what they were up to. This suggests they had little, real respect for the king who had it in his power to even the score with them no matter how successful their evil plan turned out to be.
So, as far as they were concerned, their plan was rock solid. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
That it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians: It was an established principle in the Medo-Persian Empire that when a king formally signed and instituted a decree, it was so binding that not even the king himself could change it.
• The decrees of a Persian king were unchangeable because he was thought to speak for the gods, who could never be wrong and thus never needed to change their minds.
That it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
When once signed by the king: mention being made of both the Medes and Persians, shows that these two nations were now united in one government; that Darius and Cyrus were partners in the empire; and it is easy to account for it why the Medes are mentioned first; because Darius was the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian; the one the uncle, the other the nephew; but afterwards, when a Persian only was on the throne, then the Persian is mentioned first, (Esther 1:19).
Medes and Persians – Higher critics frequently pointed to the presence of this expression in the Book of Daniel, used at a time when the Persians were actually more in control of the former empire than the Medes, as proof of the supposed late authorship of the Book. They claimed that such a term would be used only at a time when the real political situation had become hazy in the memory of the people. Contemporary documents, since discovered, have proved this higher critical view incorrect. These documents refer to the Persians as “Medes”, and to “Medes and Persians”, as does the Bible. The cuneiform documents also mention various Persian kings by the title “king of the Medes”, as well as by the customary title “king of Persia”. Since Darius was a “Mede”, it is only natural that any courtier referring in his presence to the law of the land would speak of “the law of the Medes and Persians”.
Darius reigned over Babylon like a conqueror, not observing the laws of the Babylonians, but introducing the immutable laws of the conquering nations, the Medes and Persians (Daniel 6:8, 12, 15). During his reign, the Medes are set before the Persians (Daniel 6:8, 12, 15; 5:28; 8:20), as the Persians were later set before the Medes in the reign of Cyrus and his successors (Esther 1:3, 14, 18, 19; Daniel 10:1, 20; 11:2). This shows that in the reign of Darius the Medes were prominent.
According to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not – Margin, Passeth. Which does not pass away; which is not abrogated. A similar fact in regard to a law of the Medes and Persians is mentioned in Esther 8, in which the king was unable to recall an order which had been given for the massacre of the Jews, and in which he attempted only to counteract it as far as possible by putting the Jews on their guard, and allowing them to defend themselves.
The law of the Medes and Persians
In the of Daniel, the Medes are mentioned before the Persians (cf. Daniel 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15; 8:20) indicating that the events of this Chapter transpired during the early stages of Medo-Persian alliance (539 BC – 537 BC), when the Medes still retained ascendancy over the Persians. By the time the Book of Esther was written (450 BC – 331 BC), the Persians had attained the more prominent role (as predicted by Daniel 8:3; 20) and are mentioned before the Medes (Esther 1:3, 14, 18-19; 10:2) [50].
• [50] The prophecies of Isaiah (Isaiah 13:17; 21:2) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:11, 28) give first place to the Medes in the destruction of Babylon. However, these predictions are more difficult to interpret since they were given in the time of Daniel, but aspects which they reveal concerning the destruction of Babylon were not fulfilled in Daniel’s day—and await future fulfilment. The statement I will stir up against them the Medes (Isaiah 13:17) has caused much discussion among Bible students. Many interpreters, because of the mention of the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 13:19), assume that Isaiah was (in Isaiah 13:17-18) prophesying Babylon’s fall in 539 BC (cf. Daniel 5:30-31) to the Medes and Persians. However, that view has some difficulties. In the Medo-Persian takeover in 539 BC there was very little change in the city; it was not destroyed so it continued on much as it had been. But Isaiah 13:19-22 speaks of the destruction of Babylon. Also the word ‘them’, against whom the Medes were stirred up (verse 17), were the Assyrians (referred to in Isaiah 13:14-16), not the Babylonians. It seems better, then, to understand this section as dealing with events pertaining to the Assyrians’ sack of Babylon in December 689 BC. Jeremiah described the preparations of the armies poised to attack Babylon. This time he identified the attackers as the kings of the Medes (cf. verse 28). This could allude to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC. to the Medo-Persians (cf. Daniel 5:31) or, more probably, it could indicate that one of the future kings who will invade Babylon will come from the area controlled by the Medes (i.e., what is today northern Iran).
When Darius the Mede established his administration he was immediately subject to the “law of the Medes and Persians” (Daniel 6:8, 12, 15), which would not have been the case if Media had been an independent kingdom at the time. . . . According to many critical scholars the author of Daniel followed the erroneous precedent of Isaiah (Isaiah 13:17; 21:2) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:11, 28), according to which the Medes were the sole conquerors of Babylon in 539 BC, as they had been of Nineveh in 612 BC. How this theory could ever have arisen is somewhat of a mystery, since one of the Isaiah references (Isaiah 21:2) speaks explicitly of Elam and Media as the joint-conquerors of Babylon, a point that was conceded by Rawley. Be that as it may, archaeological discoveries have shown that it was quite legitimate for Isaiah and Jeremiah to refer to the Medes as the conquerors of Babylon. . . . While the Medes were prominent in the capture of Babylon, they functioned as one part of the military forces under the command of Cyrus, and not as an independent entity. It would appear, then, that neither Isaiah, Jeremiah, nor Daniel was confused about the chronology of the Median empire, unlike a good many of their later critics.
Which altereth not – irrevocable – cf. Ester 1:19, 8:8 and Darius II.
The Persian law that “laws” couldn’t be changed was ill-conceived – Likely, this law existed because of an incorrect belief that the king was infallible. If the king never made a mistake, then why allow a law to be changed?
The inherent pride and ego in this law are clearly evident. Everyone makes mistakes. It would be wise to allow for some method of repealing a law that is later shown to need changing.
The unchangeable laws of the Medo-Persian Empire is mentioned in the Book of Esther:
Esther 1:19 If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
Esther 8:8 Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal [it] with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
A stable system of law is beneficial to a society [51], but where established upon the sole authority of an individual, law is too easily subject to errant judgment, capriciousness, and abuse.
• [51] When laws are variable, many are necessarily injured, and no private interest is stable unless the law be without variation; besides, when there is a liberty of changing laws, license succeeds in place of justice. For those who possess the supreme power, if corrupted by gifts, promulgate first one edict and then another. Thus justice cannot flourish where change in the laws allows of so much license.
The permanence of the laws of the Medes and Persians was not out of concern to provide a stable legal system for society. As the divine representative, it was inappropriate for the king to admit to faulty judgment [52].
• [52] This remains unchangeable and irrevocable, because the king was regarded and honoured as the incarnation of deity, who is unerring and cannot change. The immutability of royal commands, unique to the Medes and Persians, was due to their considering the king as the infallible representative of [the God] Ormuzd. The reasons seems to have been that, to change a decree once given, was to admit that it had been faulty, which was considered improper in reference to the high monarch.
Some have assailed this aspect of Daniel’s record as being implausible and unhistorical [53]. But the unchangeable law can hardly be considered historically implausible in view of the claims of infallibility attributed to the Roman Catholic Pope in our own era.
• [53] Some have said that the interdict is historically implausible. No king of this period who claimed divine status forbade the worship of other gods. Far more improbable than this material marvel is the alleged edict demanding that no request be made of god or man but of the king for a whole month, an improbability all the greater under the devout Darius.
Nor need we wonder at the enormous wickedness of it when we remember that even in our own day a general council of the highest officials in what claims to be the one only Church of the living God united in solemnly pronouncing a feeble old man in Rome possessed of divine infallibility! And if the pope of Rome is pleased to accept and appropriate such absurd honours in the name of the sublimest truth given for human enlightenment, we need not be surprised that these proposals of Medo-Persia’s “presidents, princes, counsellors, and captains” proved acceptable to the vain-glorious heathen monarch who then occupied the Medo-Persian throne.
There is historic evidence documenting the permanent nature of Persian law. Approximately 100 years after the rule of Darius, the Book of Esther provides further witness to the unchangeable nature Medo-Persian law (Esther 1:19; 8:8). Barnes cites:
Diodorus Siculus refers to this custom where he says that Darius, the last king of Persia, would have pardoned Charidemus after he was condemned to death, but could not reverse what the law had passed against him. When the king of Persia has condemned any one to death, no one dares speak to him to make intercession for him. Were he even drunk when the crime was committed, or were he insane, the command must nevertheless be executed, for the law cannot be countermanded, and the laws cannot contradict themselves. This sentiment prevailed throughout Persia. It may seem singular that such a custom prevailed, and that the king, who was the fountain of law, and whose will was law, could not change a statute at his pleasure.
A remarkable example of this is Aga Mohammed Khan, the last but one of the Persian kings. King Aga Mohammed Khan, when encamped near Shiraz, said that he would not move until the snow was off the mountains in the vicinity of his camp. The season proved severe, and the snow remained longer than was expected; the army began to suffer distress and sickness, but the king said while the snow remained upon the mountain, he would not move; and his word was as law, and could not be broken. A multitude of labourers were collected and sent to remove the snow; their efforts, and a few fine days, cleared the mountains, and Aga Mohammed Khan marched.
Whereas in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon the king reigned supreme, in Medo-Persia the king was subject to previously-established law and could not overturn it. Some commentators see Darius’ inability to change the law — the fact that he was bound by his own law — as one aspect of the inferiority of the Medo-Persian kingdom (represented by silver, Daniel 2:32, 39) in comparison with the Neo-Babylonian kingdom (represented by gold) [54].
• [54] Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian was above law, whereas Darius the Mede was bound by law. This was intimated in the contrast between the gold and the silver in the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:32, 39). Not even the king in Medo-Persia had the power to change a royal decree, and this could sometimes create great frustration, as depicted in the Book of Esther (Esther 8:8). That is the main reason the Medo-Persian form of government was ‘inferior’ to that of Nebuchadnezzar, the absolute dictator over Neo-Babylonia, whose slightest word was law. The head of gold had thus given way to arms of silver.
Because the king was viewed as the inerrant divine representative — whose word was faultless — the laws governing the empire assumed a god-like attribute of immutability.
Wherever the kingdom of man goes, you have to have something to replace God. So the Medes and the Persians took one of God’s divine attributes, which was immutability, and they brought it over into civil law. So they actually made an idol out of the state by making their law immutable, that once an administrative decision has been made it was locked down for eternity, until it was carried out. So this way the state was deified, the state picked up some of the divine attributes.
How are the governors and satraps in verses 4 – 8 depicted?
• Envious, ambitious, egotistic
• They wanted to get rid of Daniel.
• They were cruel and ready to kill anyone who would interfere with their interests.
• They flattered the king and obtained a law that was able to harm Daniel.
• They were hypocritical and conniving.
• They were not interested in whether or not a person was innocent.
• They used Daniel’s different religion to turn against him.
How would we characterize the king?
• He was flattered.
• He did not notice that the proposed decree was directed against Daniel, and may have been quite naïve at this point.
• Because the law of the Medes and Persians was considered to be unchangeable, by creating
a new law the king got Daniel and himself in trouble.
• He was an absolute ruler who may not have cared much about human life.
6:9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
The king should have known better. Nevertheless, he signed the law, little realizing where it would lead, just as the conspirators failed to realize where their deceit would lead. The death planned for Daniel in the lion’s den would be their own. It is a dangerous thing to oppose those who serve the living God.
Wherefore King Darius signed the written decree: Suppose the law of the land were proclaimed, ‘No man shall pray during the remainder of this month, on pain of being cast into a den of lions’, – how many of you would pray? Would there not be a scanty number at the prayer-meeting. Not that the attendance at prayer-meetings is scanty enough now! But if there were the penalty of being cast into a den of lions, I am afraid the prayer-meeting would be postponed for a time, owing to pressing business, and manifold engagements of one kind and another.
The king signed the decree as a binding law. The king made a quick, foolish decision without any consultation with Daniel that he would live to regret very soon. So a foolproof plan was hatched – they thought. It definitely would end with someone doing lunch with lions, but the ‘who’ is still yet to be determined!
Note that he merely “signed the writing” suggesting he did not write it up beforehand. So, “these men” were successful with the first part of their scheme. Now, all they had to do was wait and watch what Daniel, the non-conformist, would do.
According to the Book of Esther, the king’s decree had to be put into writing and sealed before it was considered immutable:
Esther 8:8 Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal [it] with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
It seems the king was easily convinced to sign the decree. It may have appealed to his pride. It was early in his reign over Babylon and the king viewed the decree as a means of asserting his authority over the populace [55].
• [55] Darius may have thought that he could demonstrate that he is the new king and that the populace of Babylon would have to resign themselves to the presence of a new authority. Darius may have looked upon this as an opportunity to get a handle on the religious activities in this new kingdom.
In view of the intimate connection between religious and political loyalty which governed the attitude of the peoples of that ancient culture, it might well have been considered a statesmanlike manoeuvrer to compel all the diverse inhabitants with their heterogeneous tribal and religious loyalties to acknowledge in a very practical way the supremacy of the new Persian empire which had taken over supreme control of their domains. A temporary suspension of worship (at least in the sense of presenting petitions for blessing and aid) was a measure well calculated to convey to the minds of Darius’s subjects the reality of the change in control from the overlordship of the Chaldeans to that of the Medes and Persians. In the light of ancient psychology, therefore, it is unwarrantable to rule out of possibility such a remarkable decree or to condemn it as fabulous or unhistorical, as many critics have done.
Whatever the reason, it seems the king failed to thoughtfully evaluate the situation. “He should have asked himself, ‘Why all this sudden show of loyalty to me? Why isn’t Daniel among those who propose this law? What would the long-term results of this be? Do the officers who propose it have any ulterior motives?’ But flattery was stronger than reflection in this case, and the outrage was committed”.
Moved to it by the number and importunity of his principal men; and chiefly through affectation of deity, which this law gave him; and that he might have an opportunity of ingratiating himself into his new subjects by his munificence and liberality, not being aware of the snare laid for his favourite, Daniel.
The king did not properly think through the ramifications before issuing this new law:
Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth [it], it [is] folly and shame unto him.
Proverbs 20:25 [It is] a snare to the man [who] devoureth [that which is] holy, and after vows to make inquiry.
Application – Do not make rash promises. Do not sign contracts without reading them. Do not make important decisions because of pressure put on you. Take the time to think, pray, and ask counsel first. Many disasters can be avoided by slowing down before making a promise.
Scriptural Support
1 Kings 8:48 And [so] return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
Psalm 34:7 The ANGEL of the LORD ENCAMPETH ROUND ABOUT THEM THAT FEAR HIM, AND DELIVERETH THEM.
Psalm 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
Proverbs 28:10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good [things] in possession.
Isaiah 3:10 Say ye to the righteous, that [it shall be] well [with him]: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
Luke 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Acts 5:29 ¶ Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Hebrews 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
James 4:15 For that ye [ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
It is better not to make guarantees if you can avoid it. Instead, say that you “plan” to do something or will “probably” get it done. Or you can say “if it is the Lord’s will, I will do this or that”.
When the officials and rulers went to see the king, they told him lies. They said that all the important people had agreed. But, of course, Daniel had not agreed with them. They probably had not told him what they were doing. Daniel was not with the other officials when they went to see the king. The king should have thought that this was strange.
The other officials advised the king to make a law. The law would make him feel important. For 30 days, people must not pray to any other man or god. They could only pray to the king. The king must punish anyone who did not obey. He must throw them into a cage that had lions in it.
Perhaps the officials told the king that this law would unite the *kingdom. The people that he had defeated would have to give honour to him.
After the king made a law, nobody could change it. That was the law of the kingdom of the Medes and Persians.
The ageing king had fallen victim to the flattery of these men; later on he would recognise their evil plot.
The devil can even use laws to make bad things happen.
Undeviating Integrity Is Only Safe Course. – It may be a difficult matter for men in high positions to pursue the path of undeviating integrity whether they shall receive praise or censure. Yet this is the only safe course. All the rewards which they might gain by selling their honour would be only as the breath from polluted lips, as dross to be consumed in the fire. Those who have moral courage to stand in opposition to the vices and errors of their fellow men–it may be of those whom the world honour– will receive hatred, insult, and abusive falsehood. They may be thrust down from their high position, because they would not be bought or sold, because they could not be induced by bribes or threats to stain their hands with iniquity. Everything on earth may seem to conspire against them; but God has set His seal upon His own work. They may be regarded by their fellow men as weak, unmanly, unfit to hold office; but how differently does the Most High regard them. Those who despise them are the really ignorant. While the storms of calumny and reviling may pursue the man of integrity through life, and beat upon his grave, God has the “well done” prepared for him. Folly and iniquity will at best yield only a life of unrest and discontent, and at its close a thorny dying pillow. And how many, as they view their course of action and its results, are led to end with their own hands their disgraceful career. And beyond all this waits the judgment, and the final, irrevocable doom, Depart! (ST Feb. 2, 1882)  [4BC 1171.4]
6:10 ¶ Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed
Daniel’s response was measured and with full knowledge of the likely consequences. This is equivalent to the testimony of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego facing the fiery furnace, “Our God is able to deliver . . . , but if not” (Daniel 3:17-18). See Daniel 3:18.
During the fiery furnace incident which befell his three companions, no mention was made of Daniel. Now the three companions go unmentioned. Perhaps, by this time, they were no longer living [56].
• [56] As there was a question as to the whereabouts of Daniel in Chapter 3, there is also a question as to the whereabouts of the three Hebrew children here in Chapter 6. Surely they would have followed Daniel in his obedience to God. Perhaps, since there has been a lapse of time, they are no longer living.
Whereas the refusal by Daniel’s companions to worship the image in Chapter 3 was in obedience to a negative command of God, the refusal by Daniel to leave off praying was in obedience to a positive command.
The contrast between the two Chapters is from a negatively worded command (Daniel 3: do not worship other gods) to a positively worded one in Daniel 6: do worship the true God. . . . this account supplements the message of Daniel 3 by reminding readers that not only is it imperative to avoid idolatry even in the face of persecution, but believers also cannot compromise the one true faith by neglecting the worship of God, even when that worship exposes believers to persecution and death. Neglecting to worship God is as much a denial of the true God as bowing down to idols.
Numerous avenues were available for Daniel to continue worshipping God while potentially avoiding entrapment by the new decree. He could have simply ceased his routine prayer for the duration of the decree — surely God would have understood? Or, he could have continued his customary prayers in secret [57]. These might have been options recommended by many “pragmatic Christians” of our day: Why alienate the culture unnecessarily? If you really want to reach this culture for Christ, lay low and preserve your ministry during this time so you can continue your evangelistic efforts once the coast is clear! Think of those who will remain un-reached if you squander your life by your inflexibility! Don’t forget: it was God who put you in the highly-influential position which could continue to benefit other believers.
• [57] If he should pray elsewhere, those knowing him and his habits, including especially his hostile colleagues, would think that he had ceased, and this would spoil his testimony before them. But was there no way to pray to his God in secret? Could he not enter into some secret chamber in his own home and lock the door, and stuff the keyhole, and close the shutters, and pray inaudibly, so his enemies would have no evidence against him?
Daniel understood that pragmatism and flexibility are often effective tools of temptation employed by the devil and empowered by our own rationalization. To his credit, Daniel chose principle over pragmatism.
He might have compromised his integrity by ceasing to pray to God during the month the decree was in effect — or by praying privately, perhaps in the night, when no one could see him worshipping at his window. To rationalize such compromises to preserve his role in government would have been easy. But Daniel could not compromise.
Any alteration in Daniel’s known habitual practice in the worship of God would have testified of his willingness to please men rather than God.
Now, with respect to the profession of piety, it was necessary to testify before men his perseverance in the worship of God. For if he had altered his habits at all, it would have been a partial abjuration; he would not have said that he openly despised God to please Darius; but that very difference in his conduct would have been a proof of perfidious defection.
Daniel found himself in the position many Christians have faced throughout history: having to distinguish between sin and crime. The culture had now legalized sin and criminalized righteous behaviour.
“A lot of crimes are not sins, and a lot of sins are not crimes”. Our text indicates this is absolutely right. In the sixth Chapter of Daniel, this righteous man is convicted of a crime which is not a sin. Daniel purposefully committed this crime because he did not wish to commit a sin, which was not a crime.
Daniel rightly understood this as an issue of faithfulness to God’s higher law and chose to walk the difficult path of civil disobedience.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before MY FATHER which is in heaven. {Jesus confirms God as His Father in a singular context – no plural God.}
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed – Probably there was some proclamation made in regard to that decree.
He went into his house – Daniel’s house probably had a flat roof, like the majority of both ancient and modern houses in Mesopotamia. Usually on one corner there is an apartment raised above the flat roof that contains latticed windows for ventilation. Such rooms provided ideal places of seclusion for prayer.
He went into his house – That is, he went in in his usual manner. He made no change in his habits on account of the decree.
His windows being open – An identical Aramaic expression is used in an Aramaic papyrus from Elephantine. The papyrus describes a house having “open windows” at the lower end and above. Another papyrus speaks of a house whose one window opens to the two compartments. Daniel’s open windows faced in the direction of Jerusalem, the city he had left as a boy and probably never saw again. On the custom of turning in prayer toward Jerusalem see 1 Kings 8:33, 35; Psalms 5:7; 28:2.
And his windows being open in his chamber
Daniel did not open the windows to make a spectacle of his prayer or to aggressively challenge the decree — his windows were customarily open. Nor did he close them to be more clandestine in his worship in an attempt to avoid detection.
The upper chamber, or attic, receives consideration as being more removed and less liable to be disturbed, hence as being particularly adapted to purposes of devotion; cf. 2 Samuel 19:1; 1 Kings 17:20; Acts 1:13; 10:9.
And his windows being open in his chamber – Open in the usual manner. It does not mean that he took pains to open them for the purpose of ostentation, or to show that he disregarded the decree, but that he took no care to close them with any view to avoid the consequences. In the warm climate of Babylon, the windows probably were commonly open. Houses among the Jews in later times, if not in the time of the exile, were usually constructed with an upper chamber which was a room not in common use, but employed as a guest chamber, where they received company and held feasts, and where at other times they retired for prayer and meditation. See Matthew 9:2. Those “upper rooms” are often the most pleasant and airy part of the house.
Toward Jerusalem – Daniel’s windows faced towards Jerusalem – his boyhood city – probably never revisited.
Cf. 1Kings 8:33, 35 & Psalm 5:7; 28:2 – the holy city, the holy oracle.
Toward Jerusalem
Since Daniel’s prayer for the Jews and Jerusalem took place in the first year of Darius (Daniel 9:1), perhaps Gabriel had already given Daniel the “Seventy Sevens” prophecy confirming the Jews would soon return to rebuild Jerusalem [58]. If so, Daniel faced toward Jerusalem as an act of faith: though the city lay in ruins, he believed God’s revelation that the Jews would return and the city would be rebuilt (Daniel 9:25) [59]. The direction of his prayer demonstrated his faith in God’s word, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure’ ” (Isaiah 46:10).
• [58] Chapter 9 tells us how earnestly Daniel was concerned about the return of the Jewish captives to Jerusalem and their land; Daniel 9:2 refers to his diligent study of the prophecies of Jeremiah concerning the seventy-year limit to the Exile—a study he undertook ‘in the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (Daniel 9:1). This concern for the captives’ return may have been on his prayer list as he knelt at his window.
• [59] It was an act of faith on the part of an exiled Jew to pray toward the land from which he had been taken captive. It was a way to say by one’s very posture, God, I believe Your promise that You will someday return us to our land. The temple had been toppled, and the fact that Daniel was willing to face Jerusalem as he prayed showed faith that God was not finished with Jerusalem. From the human point it looked like God was finished with Jerusalem but not from the prophetic point of view.
Regardless of whether Daniel had received Gabriel’s message concerning Jerusalem, he would still have prayed toward Jerusalem [60] in response to the prayers of Solomon at the dedication of the temple — now in ruins over one thousand miles away. Solomon’s prayer recognized that Israel might descend into apostasy necessitating God’s judgement — that the nation might be taken captive in judgment. Prayer toward Jerusalem was intended to demonstrate humility and recognition of the desire for God to respond and restore the Jews to their city. Daniel found himself in just such a situation.
• [60] The text implies this had been his practice for a long time.
1 Kings 8:46 If they sin against thee, (for [there is] no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 8:47 [Yet] if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 8:48 And [so] return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 8:49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
Jerusalem was the place where God promised to place His name (1 Kings 8:29; 11:36; 2 Kings 23:27; 2 Chronicles 33:4, 7; cf. Daniel 9:19), where His Shekinah glory dwelt between the cherubim, over the mercy seat of the ark situated within the Holy of Holies in the temple [61]. Praying toward the place where God had chosen to place his name (the temple in Jerusalem) is emphasized by repetition in Solomon’s prayer of dedication: 1 Kings 8:33, 38, 42, 44, 48; 2 Chronicles 6:38. Later, Daniel begins his magnificent prayer of repentance in Chapter 9, “Then I set my face toward the Lord God” (Daniel 9:3a) — possibly another reference to praying in the direction of Jerusalem.
• [61] Concerning God’s Shekinah dwelling over the mercy seat with the Holy of Holies: Exodus 25:22; Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 7:89; 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; 1 Kings 7:29; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chronicles 13:6; 2 Chronicles 5:7; 6:41; Psalms 26:8; 74:2; 80:1; 99:1; Isaiah 37:16; Ezekiel 41:18; John 20:12.
When the people had been taken captive, the gesture symbolizing the direction of their hearts’ desire, was even more significant.
Even though this Shekinah cloud had forsaken the temple prior to the Fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC (Ezekiel 11:23), Daniel knew that the Lord had promised to return there (cf. Ezekiel 43:2) and to restore Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29:10, 14)
God had established His presence in the temple and it was the regular procedure for every Jew in the dispensation of Israel to pray facing toward the temple because that was the location of God. Now that’s not true today, we don’t face towards the temple because that is no longer part of the Church Age according to what Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4.
Regarding the centrality of Jerusalem in Scripture and history:
To no city on earth have such titles of glory and honour been divinely given; to no city has been such guilt attached as to it — this city which crucified our Lord. Of no city are such prophecies of tragedy and tribulation uttered; toward this city will the armies of the earth march in hatred of God’s peace. Toward that same city will nations move, seeking the law of the Lord; from that city will flow blessings to the whole earth. Satan hates this city. Christ wept over it. The Holy Spirit descended upon its believers. The nations will be irresistibly drawn to it for war. Christ will there reign [New Jerusalem]. And Heaven will bring to a glorious and eternal fulfilment all the promises relating to it.
Throughout history, devout Jews outside the land of Israel have longed for their Jewish homeland, as did the Jews of Daniel’s day.
It requires no profound theological appraisal to realise that many devout Jews would have reacted against the alien philosophy pervading the culture that surrounded them there. Amid the splendour of the great walled city, they longed for the reinstatement and revival of Jerusalem as their own national capital. Amid the glamour of the worship of the many bejewelled deities their thoughts would have turned to the One God — for them un-representable even as he was then un-represented in any temple there or back home. Amid the clamour of the multi-racial metropolis the exiles must have watched the kings of many nations bring their tribute to Nebuchadrezzar and have envisaged the long-promised Day when the same would be done not for a man but for their God as king of Kings in his new city.
The psalmist expressed this universal Jewish longing:
Psalm 137:1 ¶ By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 137:2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 137:3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us [required of us] mirth, [saying], Sing us [one] of the songs of Zion. 137:4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land? 137:5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [her cunning]. 137:6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
Toward Jerusalem – It is not improbable that the windows were open on each side of the chamber, but this is particularly mentioned, because he turned his face toward Jerusalem when he prayed. This was natural to an exile Hebrew in prayer, because the temple of God had stood at Jerusalem, and that was the place where he abode by a visible symbol. It is probable that the Jews in their own country always in their prayers turned the face toward Jerusalem, and it was anticipated when the temple was dedicated, that this would be the case in whatever lands they might be. Thus in the prayer of Solomon, at the dedication, he says, “If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name,” etc., 1 Kings 8:44. And again 1 Kings 8:46-49, “If they sin against thee, and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent – and pray unto thee toward their land which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name, then hear thou their prayer,” etc..
Compare 1 Kings 8:33, 1 Kings 8:35, 1 Kings 8:38. So in Psalm 5:7 : “As for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.” So in Jonah 2:4 : “Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.” So in the first Book of Esdras (Apocrypha), 4:58 : “Now when this young man was gone forth, he lifted up his face to heaven, toward Jerusalem, and praised the King of heaven.” Daniel, therefore, in turning his face toward Jerusalem when he prayed, was acting in accordance with what Solomon had anticipated as proper in just such a supposed case, and with the prevailing habit of his people when abroad. This was not, indeed, particularly prescribed as a duty, but it was recognized as proper; and it was not only in accordance with the instinctive feelings of love to his country and the temple, but a foundation was laid for this in the fact that Jerusalem was regarded as the peculiar dwelling-place of God on earth.
He kneeled upon his knees – the Bible records various prayer postures:
• sitting – David (2 Samuel 7:18)
• bowing – Eliezer (Genesis 24:26), Elijah (1 Kings 18:42)
• standing – Hannah (1 Samuel 1:26)
• kneeling – Ezra (Ezra 9:5), Jesus (Luke 22:41), Stephen (Acts 7:60). Also see Psalm 95:3-6, PK48 and GW178.
He kneeled upon his knees
Daniel’s posture demonstrated his humility as he approached God with his petitions. Normally the Jews stood when they prayed (cf. 1 Chronicles 23:30; Nehemiah 9; Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13), but they kneeled (and prostrated themselves) when they felt a more urgent need (cf. 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; 20:36; 21:5).  Kneeling is mentioned as the characteristic posture of supplicants in 1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chronicles 6:12; Ezra 9:5; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:59; 9:40; 21:5; Ephesians 3:14.
Although Scripture records prayers offered in a variety of positions, the condition of the heart should always be that of humility (Luke 18:13).
It has been said that the soul is on its knees many times regardless of the position of the body. The posture of the spirit of the man is what is important. However, if you want to select a posture for prayer, it is kneeling, and that is set before us here.
He kneeled upon his knees three times a day – In accordance, doubtless, with his usual custom. The amount of the statement is, that he did not vary his habit on account of the command. He evidently neither assumed a posture of ostentation, nor did he abstain from what he was accustomed to do. To have departed from his usual habit in any way would have been a yielding of principle in the case. It is not mentioned at what time in the day Daniel thus kneeled and prayed, but we may presume that it was evening, and morning, and noon. Thus the Psalmist says: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and he shall hear my voice” Psalm 55:17. No one can doubt the propriety of thus praying to God; and it would be well for all thus to call upon their God.
Three times a day – later Jewish tradition offered prayer at the 3rd, 6th & 9th hours of the day (counted from sunrise). Morning sacrifice – 3rd hour; evening sacrifice – 9th hour. 3 daily prayers became a fixed custom with every orthodox Jew – also adopted into the early church.
Three times a day – In later Jewish tradition the offering of prayer three times a day took place at the third, sixth, and ninth hours of the day (the hours being counted from sunrise). The third and ninth corresponded to the time of the morning and the evening sacrifices. The psalmist followed the same practice (Psalm 55:17). Three daily prayers later became a fixed custom with every orthodox Jew living according to rabbinical regulations (Berakoth iv. 1). This custom of the three daily times of prayer seems also to have been adopted in the early Christian church.
Three times a day
Daniel’s customary practice was to pray three times each day. This may have been in response to David’s psalm, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice”. (Psalm 55:17). Morning and evening prayers may have been considered an expedient substitute for morning and evening sacrifice — no longer possible while the temple stood in ruins [62]. This thrice-daily practice was adopted by some in the Christian church [63].
• [62] The desire to find a regular substitute for the morning and evening sacrifices, which were now interrupted, doubtless contributed towards originating the custom.
• [63] Furthermore, there are three times in the day when we should bow our knees unto God, and the tradition of the Church understands them to be the third hour, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour [i.e., 9:00 A.M., 12:00 M., and 3:00 P.M.]. It was at the third hour that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles (Acts 3). It was at the sixth hour that Peter, purposing to eat, ascended to the upper room for prayer (Acts 10). It was at the ninth hour that Peter and John were on their way to the Temple (Acts 3).
Prayed, and gave thanks before his God
Daniel remained thankful, though he knew obedience to God could cost him his life. Daniel understood an important aspect of prayer “with thanksgiving”—the primary way we guard our heart and mind with the peace of God, especially in times of crisis (Philippians 4:6-7). Daniel had prayed since his youth, but his growing responsibilities within the government of two world-powers would have made prayer all the more important [64]. Daniel’s prayers probably included requests to bless his captors — originally Babylon, but now Medo-Persia under King Darius, in accord with the instructions of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:13-17; 11:1-14; 14:11; 29:4-7) [65].
• [64] The higher the task to which God calls a man, the more does he feel the need of prayer.
• [65] Ironically, we can confidently assume that many of those prayers of petition were for the blessing of the king and kingdom of Babylon (see Jeremiah 7:13-17; 11:1-14; 14:11; 29:4-7).
Daniel understood his daily dependence on communion with God.
We don’t fail to go to bed at night, because we know we need to, and our body reminds us by being tired. We don’t fail to eat, because we know we must. But we really do not sense the desperate need to pray. We fail to grasp our daily dependence on God and His provisions.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime: Daniel didn’t let the decree change his actions one way or another. He didn’t do more praying or less; he simply continued his excellent prayer life.
• There was danger in both directions. It would have been compromise to do less or pride to do more. “This was not the act of a person courting martyrdom but the continuation of a faithful ministry in prayer which had characterized his long life” (Walvoord).
• What was Daniel’s custom in prayer?
• He prayed in his upper room – this was private prayer, made with no intention to impress others.
• He prayed with his windows open toward Jerusalem, remembering the place of sacrifice even when there was no sacrifice.
• He prayed according to Scripture, because in 1 Kings 8:30 Solomon asked God to give special notice to the prayers of His people when they prayed towards Jerusalem and the temple: And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place (1 Kings 8:30).
• He knelt down on his knees, praying just as Jesus did, (Luke 22:41), as Stephen (Acts 7:60), as Peter (Acts 9:40), as Paul and other leaders in the church (Acts 20:36), and as Luke (Acts 21:5). Kneeling is a begging posture and we should all come to God as beggars.
• He prayed three times that day, knowing that though a little prayer is good, much prayer is far better. We also remember that Daniel was one of three governors over an empire – yet still had time to pray. That does not tell you how often he prayed, but how often he was in the posture of prayer. Doubtless he prayed 300 times a day if necessary – his heart was always having commerce with the skies; but thrice a day he prayed formally.
• He prayed and gave thanks, because great prayer is filled with thanksgiving. Prayer and praise should always go up to heaven arm in arm, like twin angels walking up Jacob’s ladder, or like kindred aspirations soaring up to the Most High.
As he did aforetime (as was his custom)
In response to the decree, Daniel did not change his customary behaviour, neither to provoke confrontation [66] nor to hide from possible persecution [67].
• [66] As some Christians do in order to trigger a response so as to claim persecution.
• [67] He acts very promptly, not with a desire to court danger, or to tempt God, or to express his contempt of his foes, or to make a boast of his religion.
Observe, it is not said that he opened his windows; it is quite the contrary, “His windows being open”; — to shut them now would be cowardice; whereas to have opened them, if he had previously been in the habit of keeping them closed, would have been to court persecution, — a fool-hardy thing, which the child of God is never called upon to do.
Daniel continued his life-long practice: his prayer was not in response to crisis. His ongoing, customary prayer and study of God’s Word bathed his soul with a spiritual perspective that prepared him for anything that might come his way. When this crisis presented itself, Daniel was already prepared. His ability to calmly continue his normal worship of God depended upon the cultivation of a life-long prayer habit [68].
• [68] The Scriptures make very clear that Daniel did not wait until a crisis came to begin praying to his God.
As he did aforetime – Without making any change. He neither increased nor diminished the number of times each day in which he called upon God; nor did he make any change in the manner of doing it. He did not seek ostentatiously to show that he was a worshipper of God, nor was he deterred by the fear of punishment from doing as he had been accustomed to do.
So, even though Daniel was likely absent from the obsequious crowd, he was not ignorant of the scheme his peers were carrying out. Quite possibly he had considered warning the king, but it would have only been his word against 2+120 others, placing the king in an awkward position. However, it just might have put Darius on his guard, something we will never know.
Nevertheless, Daniel was not the least intimidated nor did he seek to make his supplications more private than usual which would be understandable under the circumstances. He probably felt that any attempt to hide his customary habits of devotion would only make their attempts to convict him even more invasive than ever. Therefore, why not meet the crisis head on and let the consequences be what they may! This was not presumption, it was complete and total faith in God’s power to deliver.
“His windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem” deserves comment. Note that it was also “in the first year of Darius”. The events of Chapter 6 being in the same year as Chapter 9, where Daniel was expressing intense concern about the “seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem”. Perhaps the events of Chapter 9 were taking place around, or shortly after, the events of Chapter 6.
Daniel’s Faithfulness in Testing
The remarkable faithfulness of Daniel in the face of this decree was similar to that of his three companions in Chapter 3 as they faced the fiery furnace. According to the record, although he knew that the writing was signed and that discovery and execution were inevitable, he nevertheless went to his house where his windows were opened in the direction of Jerusalem, which still lay in ruins. The punctuation of the Revised Standard Version of verse 10 is preferable to the American Standard Version and follows the accentuation of the Masoretic text. It carries the implication that his windows were customarily open toward Jerusalem — “he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem”.
Then he knelt in keeping with his schedule of coming to God three times a day in prayer and thanksgiving. Daniel in his prayer life followed the inspired instructions of Jeremiah addressed to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people of the captivity (Jeremiah 29:1). Jeremiah had assured them, “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah29:12). According to Daniel 9:2, the Book of Jeremiah was in Daniel’s hands. The custom of praying toward the temple in Jerusalem was adopted by Solomon (cf. 2 Chronicles 6:34-39) and continued until the new instruction given by Christ to the Samaritan woman in John 4:20-24. Prayer thrice daily is mentioned in a Psalm of David (Psalm 55:16-17). While Daniel’s consistency of life and testimony has been evident throughout the Book of Daniel, here we learn the inner secret. In spite of the pressures of being a busy executive with many demands upon his time, Daniel had retired to his house three times a day to offer his prayers for the peace of Jerusalem as well as for his personal needs. This was not the act of a person courting martyrdom but the continuation of a faithful ministry in prayer which had characterized his long life. The scripture observes that he did this as he had done before.
Of special interest are the details relating to his prayer life. The opening of the windows to Jerusalem was symbolic of his hope that someday the children of Israel would be able to return to this city of God. Later in Chapter 9, Daniel’s effective prayers were the prelude for the return under Zerubbabel. His posture in prayer is also indicative of his dependence upon God as a suppliant. The fact that he did this three times a day, not simply morning and evening or once a day, is also most enlightening. No doubt the thought also had crossed Daniel’s mind concerning having his windows open. Why could not he pray in secret and thus avoid breaking the king’s decree? To Daniel apparently this was subterfuge [deceit used in order to achieve one’s goal], and he did not swerve whatsoever from his usual customs in prayer.
Of great significance is the fact that even his enemies anticipated that this would be Daniel’s response. Quite confidently, they assembled to witness his prayers and to have a basis for charging Daniel before the king. By pre-arrangement, they gathered in a place where they could observe and hear him, according to verse 11. What a testimony Daniel had that even his enemies knew he would be faithful to God although it would cost him his life.
Upon hearing of the new decree, Daniel immediately goes home and purposefully disobeys it! Not because he’s a rebel.. far from it. But God came first in his life and there was nothing that he would let come before his relationship with the Lord. Note also that he doesn’t go home to moan at God about his predicament. No, he kneels and gives thanks to God! He also asks God for His help. We need to remember that Daniel was in his early eighties at this stage and as such he was a man with a lifetime of experiencing the faithfulness of his Lord. We see from this verse where Daniel’s strength lay and who he was when no one was looking. He is unshakeable because of the firm foundation beneath him that held him up and that is the Lord.
Daniel knew that the decree had been signed, either by the relation of others, or by the public proclamation of it through the city; however, he did not know of it till it was signed, or otherwise he might have prevented it by applying to the king, in whom he had great interest; but, now the thing was done, he did not solicit the abrogation of it, knowing it was in vain; nor did he go to the king with complaints against his enemies, showing the design they had in it; but let things take their own course, he being determined to be found in his duty, be it as it would: he went into his house:
• he left the court at the proper time of prayer, and went to his own house to perform it; he did not, in defiance of this law, go to prayer in the court, or in the streets, but retired home, as he was used to do: and his windows being opened;
• not to be seen of men, but that he might have a clear view of the heavens, where his God dwelt, to whom he prayed, and be the more affected with the consideration of his greatness and glory: in his chamber toward Jerusalem;
• it was not in the lower part of the house, nor on the top of the house, in either of which he might be more easily seen; but in his chamber, where he was wont to retire, the windows of which were opened “towards Jerusalem”; not towards the king’s palace, as if he prayed to him, and so eluded the decree; nor towards the east, as the Heathens did; but towards Jerusalem, which lay to the south of Babylon; and that, either because of his remembrance of that city, his affection to it, and concern for its re-edification; or having some respect to the words of Solomon, (1 Kings 8:33) ; and so, according to the Jewish writers, it was the custom of their people. Though they did not pray within the temple, yet they prayed, turning themselves towards it, as much as possibly they could; and even when it was destroyed, as now, yet they in praying turned to the place where it had stood: and chiefly Daniel did this, because the temple was a type of Christ, through whom the persons and prayers of the saints are acceptable unto God: he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed;
• kneeling is a prayer gesture, a token of reverence and humility; this was done three times a day, morning, noon, and evening; (Psalm 55:17) , in the morning, before he went out about the king’s business; at noon, when he returned home to dinner; and at evening, when all his work was done, and he was about to retire to bed; the hours of prayer with the Jews were the third, sixth, and ninth; that is, at nine in the morning, twelve at noon, and three in the afternoon; (Acts 2:1 Acts 2:15) (3:1) (10:9): and gave thanks before his God;
• for the benefits he daily received from him; or he “confessed before him”; the sins he had been guilty of, and owned the favours he partook of: as he aforetime did;
• as it had been his custom from his youth upward, and therefore would not omit it now, on account of this edict.
The new decree did not deter Daniel from continuing to 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 (Daniel 6:10), seems clear since Daniel possessed a copy of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Daniel 9:2; cf. Jeremiah 29:1; Jeremiah 29:7; Jeremiah 29:10). Jeremiah had written that God had promised to hear such prayers, if they were sincere and wholehearted, to restore the fortunes of the Jews, and to re-gather them to the Promised Land (Jeremiah 29:12-14). Cyrus issued his decree allowing the Jews to return from exile in 537 BC (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). The events of Daniel 6 had happened before this great turning point in Israel’s history and undoubtedly played some part in Cyrus’ decision to favour the Jews. Daniel refused to pray to the king, but he willingly prayed to the king’s Sovereign.
It is not a question of a positive sin which he will not commit, but of a positive duty which he will not omit.
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 (2 Chronicles 6:21; 2 Chronicles 6:34-39; cf. Psalm 5:7). Jesus Christ later taught that the place of worship is not as important as truly spiritual worship (John 4:20-24). Daniel’s kneeling posture, reminiscent of Solomon’s at the temple dedication, indicated his dependence on God as a supplicant. Normally the Jews stood when they prayed (cf. 1 Chronicles 23:30; Nehemiah 9; Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11; Luke 18:13), but they kneeled (and prostrated themselves) when they felt a more urgent need (cf. 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; Acts 9:40; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5). Praying three times a day was evidently the practice of godly Jews dating back to David, if not before then (cf. Psalm 55:16-17). The fact that his window was open evidently symbolized for Daniel that his prayers were unhindered. Windows in ancient Near Eastern cities were normally small, high, and had a lattice covering, so Daniel was probably not praying with his window open to be seen by others.
While Daniel’s consistency of life and testimony has been evident throughout the Book of Daniel, here we learn the inner secret. In spite of the pressures of being a busy executive with many demands upon his time, Daniel had retired to his house three times a day to offer his prayers for the peace of Jerusalem as well as for his personal needs. This was not the act of a person courting martyrdom but the continuation of a faithful ministry in prayer which had characterized his long life.
It was this prayer-fellowship with Yahweh that had safeguarded Daniel from the corrupting influences of Babylonian culture.
It is a common observation that those who have no regular habits of prayer very seldom do much praying. It is well for God’s people purposefully and deliberately to set aside and faithfully adhere to a definite prayer schedule. Prayer is thus recognized as an important part of the Christian life and given the place which it deserves.
In times of testing believers need to remain faithful to God. Sometimes this will require:
• Wisdom to seek a creative compromise that enables the believer to meet society’s expectations without violating his or her beliefs (Daniel 1:8-14).
• Courage to be willing to stand up for one’s beliefs when no compromise is possible (Daniel 3:15-18).
• Personal discipline to develop a lifestyle of faithfulness so the right response to a test will come ’naturally’ (Daniel 6:10).”
Consistent Pattern of Prayer
Quite a pattern of disciplined worship and prayer
Daniel in his prayer life followed the inspired instructions of Jeremiah addressed to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people of the captivity (Jeremiah 29:1). The custom of praying toward the temple in Jerusalem was adopted by Solomon (cf. 2 Chronicles 6:34-39) and continued until the new instruction given by Christ to the Samaritan woman in John 4:20-24. Prayer thrice daily is mentioned in a Psalm of David (Psalm 55:16-17).
Daniel 6 sets before us the example of a man who possessed the “invisible means of support,” the “inner resources” that gave purpose to his life, moulded his conduct, and sustained him in adversity. Contemporary man would do well to study again this well-known episode and learn the secrets of living happily in a stress-filled society.
Daniel stands firm – What does Daniel do when he hears about the decree? The same thing he always does! Daniel does not change at all. He doesn’t compromise his faith. He doesn’t hide.
• You always have a choice. No one can make you sin. The message of Daniel proves it is true. Once again it looks like Daniel had no choice. Before, he was a teenager standing up against the most powerful king in the world. Now he is an elderly man once again standing up against the most powerful king in the world. Most people his age would just want to live out the rest of their days in peace.
• Daniel stood firm simply because it was who he was. He wouldn’t and couldn’t change his very nature. He had been praying this way for decades. So for him to do it again was the most normal and natural thing in the world.
Daniel didn’t change his behaviour and then try to justify it – Daniel could have justified changing his routine, just for these thirty days. After all, a person can pray anywhere, right? A person can pray with his eyes open. A person can pray with the door shut. Daniel could have simply gone to bed and shut his eyes and prayed silently before sleeping. No one could have possibly known. No one could have accused him. He could have avoided the wrath of the king. He could have avoided the accusations of the other officials. He could have kept his job and ability to influence people in the future. And it would have been so easy to do that. He certainly knew he could have done these things, but he still prayed in front of an open window facing Jerusalem.
Reflect – Why didn’t Daniel choose a less confrontational way to worship God for these thirty days. Would it have been right for Daniel to change his routine and pray secretly for 30 days until the decree expired? Why or why not?
Daniel was a man of conviction. Changing his routine would have appeared to be compromise because it was. He would have lost his testimony and moral authority. It is likely that Daniel’s influence was instrumental in the decree soon after this allowing the Jews to return to Judah after the seventy-year captivity. While we know God is sovereign we can also see that the decisions we make are important and have far-reaching consequences far beyond what we can even see.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.
We can see three things about Daniel from his actions here:
• (1) He was bold. He did this in front of an open window without letting fear of the consequences stop him.
• (2) He had faith. Every time in the past he took a leap of faith, God had caught him. He had lived his entire life up to this point with faith in God, trusting that God would take care of him. And each time God did. Thus his faith grew stronger and stronger. He knew that God was more powerful than any earthly kings. And he knew that God would be with him again. For you too, when you take a leap of faith, God will show Himself faithful and your faith will be increased for the next time.
• (3) He had conviction. Daniel had a clear sense of right and wrong. He didn’t let the fads or opinions of the day sway him. But he stood straight and firm, unflinching because he knew he was standing on the truth.
Application – Are you a person of conviction? We need to carefully study the Scriptures and build up a foundation of principles on which we will stand no matter what. Many of these convictions will be very different from the world’s opinions. They will be tested and opposed. But a conviction is a strong belief in your heart that you should not compromise no matter what others say.
When Daniel heard about the decree he opened his windows and prayed to God three times a day just like before. He decided not to change (verse 10). Today, we know that continuous worship and prayer is still the key to spiritual success in our life.
Daniel Accused and the King Aghast
From our text, it may seem this new law affected only Daniel. Had Daniel not disobeyed the law and been divinely delivered, things would have been quite different for the Jews held captive in Babylon. This law aimed directly at Daniel also affected every Jew. If the law had not been nullified, every Jew would have been prevented from praying legally to the God of Israel. Every faithful Jew could have been charged, convicted, and put to death. The potential evil of this law may have gone farther than even its authors ever conceived.
Daniel learned about the legislation the king had foolishly signed and executed. What options did he have? Several must have come to mind, all of which he rejected:
• (1) Obey the new law, making his petitions to the king.
• (2) Appeal to the king to change or repeal the law.
• (3) Cease praying altogether, making no petitions for 30 days.
• (4) Limit his prayers to thanksgiving and praise, simply setting aside his petitions for 30 days.
• (5) Simply continue to pray, privately.
Daniel chose none of these options. He could not redirect his prayers to the king. It would do him no good to appeal to the king. The king himself wanted to change the law, but as a law of the Medes and the Persians, it could not be revoked. Daniel knew his needs were daily needs and that he should petition God daily for those needs. Petitions could not be delayed. If Daniel ceased to pray, Daniel would have sinned against his God. He would have broken God’s law in order to obey man’s laws.
Why did Daniel simply not pray out of sight? After all, is not prayer a private matter? Does not our Lord later advocate private prayer and express disdain for public prayer?
Matthew 6:1 ¶ Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 6:2 Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 6:5 ¶ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
We know our Lord was not condemning all public prayer, but rather teaching His disciples not to pray in order to appear pious and gain the praise of men. Daniel’s “public prayer” would surely not bring him praise, but it would result in his prosecution as a law-breaker.
Why then does Daniel pray publicly? What compelled him to pray publicly, knowing it would bring him to the lion’s den? There seem to be several reasons:
• (1) Unlike Chapter 1, Daniel seems to have had no opportunity to protest the law signed by the king and no way to avoid obedience to the law without compromise.
• (2) The issue was a matter of law and of public policy and practice; thus its violation must be public.
• ((3) Private disobedience would have been hypocritical and hindered his testimony. His opponents expected Daniel to disobey the law, publicly.
• (4) It was necessary in order for Daniel to persevere in his normal disciplines of godliness. Daniel had a life-long habit of praying toward Jerusalem three times a day. His enemies knew this and were confident he would continue. Daniel would not set aside those regimens that were normal in pursuing godliness (2 Peter 1:3,4).
• (5) This particular law implied something utterly inconsistent with and contrary to God’s law. To make that point, he had to publicly violate that law.
The last reason seems to be the primary basis for Daniel’s decision to disobey the laws of the land. Consider the following texts in light of the king’s injunction:
Genesis 12:1 ¶ Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 28:10 ¶ And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 28:11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put [them for] his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 28:13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I [am] the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 8:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 28:15 And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of. 28:16 ¶ And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew [it] not. 28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful [is] this place! this [is] none other but the house of God, and this [is] the gate of heaven.
1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? 8:28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: 8:29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, [even] toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. 8:30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.
1 Kings 8:46 If they sin against thee, (for [there is] no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 8:47 [Yet] if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 8:48 And [so] return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 8:49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 8:50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them: 8:51 For they [be] thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron: 8:52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee. 8:53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, [to be] thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD. (cf. also 2 Chronicles 6:20-40).
Psalm 137:1 ¶ By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 137:2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 137:3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us [required of us] mirth, [saying], Sing us [one] of the songs of Zion. 137:4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land? 137:5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [her cunning]. 137:6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. 137:7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze [it], raze [it, even] to the foundation thereof. 137:8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy [shall he be], that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 137:9 Happy [shall he be], that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
God made a promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 known as the Abrahamic covenant. In this covenant, God promised Abraham a land, a seed, and a blessing. Through Abraham, his seed, and his blessing, the nations too would be blessed. When Jacob left the promised land to flee from his brother and to seek a wife among his relatives, he had a vision of a ladder on which angels were ascending and descending. For the first time in his life, he was awe-struck that this land of Canaan was a “holy place”. Even more, somehow it was a place of mediation, a place where heaven and earth met.
The same truth is later affirmed by Solomon at the time of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem. God’s dwelling place was not the temple, Solomon confessed. Even the heavens were not able to contain God, much less a temple in Jerusalem. But Jerusalem was the place where God chose to meet with men and to bless them. Solomon spoke in his prayer of men praying toward Jerusalem, the place where God would meet with men to bless them. He specifically spoke of God’s people praying toward Jerusalem from the lands where they were captives.
One such prayer recorded for us is Psalm 137. There, from Babylon, the psalmist cries out to the God of Israel. The eyes of the psalmist look toward Jerusalem and long to return there to worship God. Jerusalem is in ruins, but the psalmist is not deterred from looking toward that city. It did motivate him to petition God to judge those who brought about the destruction of this city.
Daniel had consistently prayed toward Jerusalem three times a day for the 70 years of his sojourn in Babylon. Ironically, we can confidently assume that many of those prayers of petition were for the blessing of the king and kingdom of Babylon (see Jeremiah 7:13-17; 11:1-14; 14:11; 29:4-7). The conspirators passed a law intended to prevent the very prayers which brought God’s blessings on this nation and its people.
The Jewish captives brought the blessings of God on the kingdom of their captors. The city of Jerusalem not only symbolized the hopes of the Jews, but it is the place their God met with them and heard their prayers. God chose to mediate His blessings through His chosen people, the Jews, and through His chosen place (Jerusalem).
While the king may not have thought through the implications of the injunction which he made law, Daniel did. The law passed by the conspirators, in effect, made Darius the mediator between all “gods” and men. The king was not declaring himself to be a “god”, nor putting himself above all “gods”. But his injunction did make him the link between all those in his kingdom and any “god”.
Here the conflict between Daniel’s faith as a Jew and the injunction of Darius became irresolvable. According to the new law, the king was “mediator for 30 days”. According to Daniel’s Law, the Old Testament Scriptures, the God of Israel is God alone, and those who would be blessed will be blessed through His people, Israel. Their petitions must be directed to God, but through the place of His blessing, Jerusalem. There was no way Daniel could redirect his petitions to the king, rather than to God, by facing Jerusalem.
It does not seem possible for Daniel to pray to God, toward Jerusalem, other than by literally looking in that direction. This meant his window would be open and he would be visible when he prayed. He prayed publicly, in defiance of the law of the Medes and the Persians, because he believed there was no other choice.
Daniel’s prayer life was so consistent they could literally pick the time to gather outside his window to catch him in prayer and breaking their law.
Although, it was no great accomplishment to catch Daniel in prayer, the conspirators approached the king very carefully with this news. Accusing a man of the king’s favour was dangerous. They began by asking the king about the law which had just gone into effect. He reiterated that he had indeed passed the law forbidding any petition be made except to him. He further acknowledged that the penalty for breaking this law was to be cast into the lion’s den. Only at this point did the conspirators shock the king with the announcement that Daniel has been found violating this very law. Their accusation was meant to impress upon the king that Daniel had not merely broken the law once, he was persisting in violating this law, showing in their minds complete disregard for the king and his authority.
King Darius responds to this report very differently than his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar. When told of the refusal of the three Hebrews to bow down to his image (see Daniel 3:13-18), Nebuchadnezzar became furious and intent on putting them to death. Darius was greatly distressed and spent the remaining daylight hours trying to find a way to deliver Daniel from the lion’s den.
The conspirators refused to be put off by the king’s resistance. After spending the day seeking to arrange Daniel’s release, they returned and reminded the king the law Daniel had broken was a “law of the Medes and the Persians” and thus irrevocable. Essentially, they told the king he had no choice. He was bound by the law he had signed and subject to the plot of the conspirators who had convinced him to sign it.
Daniel’s faithfulness to God causes him to be condemned to the lion’s den.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed: Daniel was confronted with a test of loyalties. He was a loyal subject of his king, yet he knew that the King of Kings deserved a higher loyalty. Daniel refused to give to the government the measure of obedience that belonged to God alone.
• Others perhaps considered it risky for Daniel to pray as was his custom. Daniel knew that the safest thing he could do was radically obey God.
• It isn’t hard to see why people are men-pleasers; it seems as if people have the power to hire or fire us, to break our hearts, to slander us, to make our lives generally miserable. The power to obey God and stand for Him comes from a settled understanding that God is really in control.
• Unless you are prepared to be in the minority, and now and then to be called ‘narrow’, ‘fanatic’, and to be laughed at by men because you will not do what they do, but abstain and resist, then there is little chance of your ever making much of your Christian profession.
Daniel’s Reaction
What do we learn from Daniel’s prayer life in the Book of Daniel (Chapters 2, 6, and 9)?
• For Daniel, praying was a necessity. He prayed regularly.
• Even under difficult circumstances Daniel turned to God in prayer with faith.
• For Daniel it was more important to pray than to live.
• Daniel‘s prayer consisted of petition, praise, thanksgiving, confession of sin, and intercession.
• He experienced marvellous fulfilments of prayer.
• In spite of his many duties and all the stress that he may have had, he made time for prayer.
• Prayer may have been the key to his success.
• Daniel prayed regularly and retreated to a special place at specific times.
Why did Daniel continue to pray in such a way that he could be seen?
• It would have been a denial of his faith not to continue praying in the same way he did before.
• It would have recognized the king as the highest authority and lord.
• His connection to God was important to him, especially in a crisis.
• A secret refusal to obey orders would still have been a refusal to obey orders. He had nothing to hide.
Daniel was 84 years old. How does old age relate to faithfulness to God?
• One can be faithful to God regardless of age. The temptations encountered by young people and the frailty of old age do not justify unfaithfulness.
• Daniel had already experienced God’s interventions. They may have helped him to stand on God’s side in the greatest crisis of his life.
Do you know who Satan wants to devour the most? He wants to devour believers who have good testimonies. A good testimony for the Lord is a powerful tool to draw others to Himself. A believer with a good testimony is like a lighthouse bringing ships in through a storm to a safe harbour. Satan wants to put out the light. His first method is often to tempt believers and get them to fall away. We saw this back in Daniel 1 when Daniel and his friends were tempted by unlawful food. When that doesn’t work, his next method is often to get rid of the person to extinguish their light.
6:11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
Then these men assembled – Evidently with a design of finding him at his devotions.
Daniel’s colleagues knew about his prayer habits (cf. Philippians 4:6). They contrived to observe him praying in his own house, somehow, to enable them to give eyewitness testimony that they had seen him violate the king’s order. Did they suppose that Daniel would deny that he had been praying? They expected that the edict would not deter him from his regular devotional habit-even though it might cost him his life! What a testimony Daniel had among his fellow workers!
After Daniel was spied out, he was accused. With the designation “prisoner” Daniel was degraded and made suspect as a rebel.
This was phase two of their well planned scheme. Note that the verb “assembled” is from same Aramaic term for “assembled together” in verse 6 meaning “to gather tumultuously”. The least we can say is that they made no secret of their presence. Perhaps they wanted Daniel to react aggressively against them in order to amplify their charge against him as being openly defiant.
Daniel did nothing of the sort. In fact, he acted as if nothing had happened out of the ordinary even though he knew all about it.
Although they must have been familiar with his routine, they had to confirm the fact that he would not change his habit in spite of the new decree. There must have been some lapse of time between the signing of the decree and when it could be expected everybody in the kingdom would know about it. They surely would not want Daniel pleading ignorance when it came time to accuse him. The “thirty days” included in the law gave them plenty of time to make it known.
So, when they were sure that Daniel knew about the decree, they spent “an entire day” observing him. “Three times they saw him go to his chamber, and three times they heard his voice lifted in earnest intercession to God. The next morning they laid their complaint before the king” [69].
• [69] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 542
“It might, at this day, be called over-righteousness to go, as was his wont, three times a day and kneel before the open window for prayer when he knew that prying eyes were observing him and that his enemies were ready to accuse him of disloyalty to the king; but Daniel would allow no earthly power to come in between him and his God, even with the prospect of death in the den of lions” [70].
• [70] Testimonies for the Church Volume 5 page 527
It would have been futile to attempt concealing his devotion to God, for his enemies were relentless. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who fearlessly faced Nebuchadnezzar, declaring their “God . . . [to be] able to deliver [them] from the burning fiery furnace, and . . . out of thine hand, O king” (Daniel 3:17), Daniel, who was now in the same fix, maintained the same attitude.
Daniel’s enemies knew exactly what to expect — Daniel would continue to honour God as was his custom. And so it should be with regard to our faithful behaviour!
The Septuagint reading is very different, “And they watched Daniel, and found him praying three times a day every day.” It is difficult to decide which is the preferable reading, and almost as difficult to deduce the one reading from the other. Theodotion has a reading akin to that of the Septuagint, “Then those men watched, and found Daniel praying, and. making entreaty to his God.” This is akin to the Septuagint at the beginning, but is close to the Masoretic at the end. The Peshitta is in close agreement with Theodotion. The plan of these presidents was that they should set a watch, and then, when information reached them of Daniel’s habits, act accordingly. Nothing in the narrative makes it probable that there was a general assembling of the governors against Daniel; it was the action of his colleagues in the presidency.
Found Daniel praying. The plotters did not have to wait long to see Daniel disregard the king’s prohibition. Decree or no decree, this man of God felt that he should continue his regular prayer habits. God was to him the source of all his wisdom and success in life. The favour of Heaven was dearer to him than life itself. His conduct was the natural result of his trust in God.
This may have been the very day the decree was signed — we cannot know for certain. Either way, as a man of God, Daniel continued with his regular prayer practice, not knowing exactly when he might face retribution.
Found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God: They found Daniel just as they knew they would – deep in prayer. For Daniel prayer was both communion with God and pleading for His will to be accomplished (supplication).
And making supplication before his God
We can only guess Daniel’s supplication entailed a request similar to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when facing the fiery furnace: either to be delivered from the penalty of faithfulness or granted the ability to face martyrdom with grace — convinced of God’s sovereignty in the matter (Job 13:15; Isaiah 43:2-3).
It may not always please God to deliver from the trial, but He will always preserve in it, and eventually bring His own in peace out of it.
In the “Old Testament hall of faith”, recorded in Hebrews 11, some of the heroes of the faith were delivered from death, among whom Daniel seems to have been numbered (see Hebrews 11:32-34). Others, however, were delivered through death (see Hebrews 11:35-40). We dare not presume that God will always keep the righteous from persecution and death. We can always be certain that God will deliver us, whether in life or in death.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
6:12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask [a petition] of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing [is] true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
This was “the next morning” after spending a whole day watching for Daniel to pray before the open window of his apartment. Perhaps they had huddled together most of that night planning how they would bring their accusation against Daniel to the king. Did any of them consider the possibility of any unanticipated consequences to their action? We wonder. If such were suggested, it must have been immediately dismissed because, as this verse indicates, they lost no time in hesitation before coming to the king. So, this too suggests they had little respect for the king and, having been successful thus far in their scheme, they must have felt certain he would be easy to manipulate.
Perhaps they went immediately from Daniel’s house to the king’s palace, and into the king’s presence; which they could do, either by virtue of their offices, or being admitted by the proper officer in waiting: and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree.
At first they said nothing about Daniel, but about the decree, to get it recognized, and afresh ratified and confirmed; lest, under some pretence or another, the king should change it: hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition.
The accusers first remind Darius of his decree that he had signed and its binding implications. This suggests that a few days had elapsed. They also stipulated that he could not change it and reviewed the penalty for violating it.
The king’s calm answer in the affirmative suggests, up to this point, he suspected no fowl play whatsoever.
This verse marks the point of no return for “these men”. They could have used this final moment to change their minds and suggest to the king that they just wanted to tell him how much they appreciated him and thank him for allowing them to speak to him for a few moments and then go home. They could have saved themselves and their families. But, they were too full of hatred and animosity to consider such a move. They rushed on into a “pit” that they dug for Daniel and fell into it themselves (see Psalms 7:15; 9:15; Proverbs 26:27; 28:10; Ecclesiastes 10:8).
Then they came near – That is, they came near to the king. They had detected Daniel, as they expected and desired to do, in a palpable violation of the law, and they lost no time in apprising the king of it, and in reminding him of the law which he had established. Informers are not apt to lose time.
Hast thou not signed a decree . . . ?
The zealous reminder by Daniel’s enemies may have revealed their true motivation for recommending the decree and the king began to realize his mistake. Especially if they reported Daniel’s violation on the very same day the decree was signed [71].
• [71] That they reminded the king may well have triggered his recognition of the plot which they were carrying out. Pieces of the overall picture may then have fallen into place.
That every man that shall ask [a petition] of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said
They do not say peremptorily that he had signed such a decree, but put the question to him, that they might have it affirmed by himself: the king answered and said, the thing is true, according to the law of the the Medes and Persians.
The king answered and said The thing [is] true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not – It is undeniable, whatever may be the consequences. There is no reason to suppose that he as yet had any suspicion of their design in asking this question. It is not improbable that he apprehended there had been some violation of the law, but it does not appear that his suspicions rested on Daniel.
The thing [is] true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not
it is true that such a decree is made and signed, and it is an unalterable one; such as is every established and signed decree of the Medes and Persians: it is as if he had said, it is very true what you put me in mind of, and I will never recede from it, or nullify and make it void.
According to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not
See Daniel 6:8.
6:13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which [is] of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
The king’s obvious anguish was in stark contrast to the barely hidden glee of his trusted officials. Upon the advice of these men, King Darius had rashly issued a decree forbidding anyone from making petitions to “any god or man for thirty days” (Daniel 6:6-9) except him. The penalty for disobedience was to be a horrifying death in a den of ravenous lions! And now Daniel, his most gifted officer, had been charged with flagrantly violating this irrevocable law.
Reading through Chapter 6 of Daniel leaves Bible students with a vivid picture of an impetuous king manipulated by advisers to destroy a man of God. As we progress through the message, we first see the envy of the king’s advisers, then the folly of the king, followed by the peril to Daniel and the anguish of the king. Finally, we see God’s deliverance of Daniel and His judgment on Daniel’s adversaries.
Most people in the Western world have a passing familiarity with this message, a perennial favourite in collections of Bible events taught to children. However, most people don’t fully grasp the meaning of this confrontation between one of God’s beloved servants (Daniel 9:23) and his enemies.
Then answered they … That Daniel which is of the children of the captivity of Judah – Who is one of the captive Jews. There was art in thus referring to Daniel, instead of mentioning him as sustaining an exalted office. It would serve to aggravate his guilt to remind the king that one who was in fact a foreigner, and a captive, had thus disregarded his solemn commandment. If he had been mentioned as the prime minister, there was at least a possibility that the king would be less disposed to deal with him according to the letter of the statute than if he were mentioned as a captive Jew.
The king’s mouth must have dropped open and his eyes widened in surprise at this unexpected accusation against Daniel, the one he was thinking “to set . . . over the whole realm” in verse 3. Perhaps we could consider Darius a bit naive for not anticipating this. However, it appears he had acted in good faith throughout this scenario up to now and expected to be reciprocated in the same spirit.
They imply Daniel’s disregard for the law was to be expected since he was a Jew [72]. Not only was Daniel a Jew, but he was from among the captives. How dare a lowly slave disregard a royal decree [73].
• [72] They did not refer to him in his high official position in the kingdom, but ignominiously called him one of the ‘sons of the Exile’ showing their anti-Semitic bias.
• [73] He is but a captive and a stranger, a mere slave, and yet he rebels against thee.
[As if to say] “That old foreigner, that Jew, who is no more than a captive and a slave and who is in a position of prominence because of you, is very ungrateful for the power you gave him and the position to which you promoted him. He certainly does not appreciate the favours you bestowed upon him. . . ”.
People who excel are hated; that’s one reason why the Jewish people all down through history have been hated. It’s simple, they’re hard working and they excel. People who excel will be victimized by the equality crowd. It’s true of the French Revolution, it’s true of the Russian Revolution; it’s true of every great movement in history that seeks to equalize “opportunity”.
See Daniel 2:25.
Having obtained what they desired, a ratification of the decree, they open the whole affair to him they came about: that Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah,
That Daniel, which [is] of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king: This was not true. Daniel intended no disrespect for the king, only a higher respect for God.
Of the captivity – The hatred and contempt of the accusers portrayed Daniel as a foreigner, a Jewish exile, rather than refer to his official position. The accusers sought to undermine the king’s credibility through highly honouring Daniel; they aimed to convince Darius that his special friend was ungrateful and traitorous in character.
Of the captivity – The form of the accusation revealed the full hatred and contempt that these men felt toward Daniel. They did not refer to the dignity of his office but characterized him merely as a foreigner, a Jewish exile. They doubtless hoped thereby to bring his conduct under the suspicion of being an act of rebellion against the royal authority. They inquired, in effect, How could a man whom the king had so highly honoured, and who had every reason to demonstrate his gratitude toward the king by strict obedience to royal decrees, be so shameless as to defy the royal orders openly? Their words were calculated to lead Darius to regard Daniel as an ungrateful, if not traitorous, character.
Regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed
When God’s people adhere to God’s priorities, it can be misinterpreted as an intentional slight to secular positions of authority. It is not that we disregard others—Jesus commands us to serve others with humility — but that we consider God (the Creator) to be on an entirely different plane than men (mere creatures).
When our lives reflect God’s priorities we can expect persecution in response. We will never fit in — we are different, by God’s design [74]. This was something Haman despised and emphasized in his complaint concerning the Jews:
• [74] So long as the world remained under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19), neither Israel (Ezekiel 20:32) nor the Church (John 15:19) would ever fit in.
Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. (Esther 3:8)
Our refusal to endorse the world’s ungodly programs and skewed priorities will inevitably be viewed as a threat to secular society.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19)
See Daniel 3:12.
Regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. – Shows open disregard and contempt for the royal authority by making a petition to his God three times a day.
They call him “that Daniel”; by way of contempt; and, to make him the more despicable, represent him not only as a foreigner, but a captive, and therefore ought to have been humble and obedient, as Jacchiades observes; and a Jewish captive too, of all people the most odious; and, though he had been raised from a low estate to great honour and dignity, yet such was his ingratitude, that he made no account of the king, nor of his orders, but despised him: nor the decree that thou hast signed;
the decree concerning making any petition to God or man for a month, which was signed with the king’s own hand, and was firm and stable; and of which Daniel could not be ignorant, and therefore wilfully, and in a contemptuous manner, acted contrary to it: but maketh his petition three times a day;
to whom they say not whether to God or man; but in this general way accuse him which they thought best and safest; they feared, had they mentioned his God, something might have been said in his favour to excuse him; and to aggravate the matter, they observe the frequency of his doing it, three times; so that it was not a single fact he is charged with, but what he had repeated again and again.
But maketh his petition three times a day
The frequency of Daniel’s prayer to God is misinterpreted as greater disregard for the king and the law. See Daniel 6:10.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
The conspirators, with the evidence that Daniel had violated the decree, now crowded once again into the king’s courtroom. The punctuation and translation of verse 12, “concerning the king’s decree”, is better than the Revised Standard Version rendering, “concerning the interdict, ‘O king!’” The Revised Standard Version is based on the theory that the king had to be addressed at the beginning of the sentence. Probably what is recorded in Scripture is, in any case, an abbreviated summary of the conversation. God in the King James Version should probably be rendered “god”, that is, any deity. They began by asking the question whether the decree had been signed. The king assured them that it had been officially executed, and “according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not” the decree was the law of the land. With this assurance, they then proceeded to accuse Daniel, introducing him not as a president in an honoured position, but as “of the children of the captivity of Judah”. They accuse Daniel of disregarding the king and his decree, and doing so three times a day as he offered prayer to his God.
The version of the Septuagint, as usual, differs from the Masoretic text,”Then these men interceded with the king, and said, King Darius, didst thou not confirm a decree that no man should offer prayer or present petition to any god for thirty days, save only to thee, O king, otherwise he should be cast into the den of lions? And the king answered and said, The word is clear, and the decree remaineth. And they said to him, We adjure thee by the laws of the Medes and the Persians that thou change not the commandment, nor be an accepter of persons, nor diminish aught of the thing spoken, but punish the man that abideth not by this decree. And he said, This will I do, according as ye have said, and the thing is confirmed by me. And they said, Behold, we found Daniel, thy friend, praying, and making entreaty before his God three times a day. [And the king, being grieved, spake to cast Daniel into the den of lions, according to the decree which he decreed against him.] Then the king grieved exceedingly concerning Daniel, and laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him out of the hands of the satraps.” One of the verses here seems to have been an addition most probably to the Aramaic text, as the Semitic spirit and construction shine through. There is, further, an obvious instance of doublet; the clause within square brackets has all the appearance of being a marginal note summarizing the contents of the verse.
The words, “out of the hands of the satraps,” have been added as explanatory. Theodotion is in practical agreement with the Masoretic text. The Peshitta differs in some minor points, e.g. inserting the common Eastern mode of addressing royalty, “O king, live for ever.” The clause, “concerning the decree,” is omitted; the other differences are unimportant. The fact that his Jewish origin is put in the front of their accusation of him indicates what Daniel’s great offence was. The Septuagint places the fact that he was the king’s friend in that position. It seems little likely that even to a satrap would any courtier venture to bring forward a taunting reference to his friendships. The king is caught in a trap; but no courtier would venture to press his advantage, lest he himself be taken at unawares. Darius’s efforts to save Daniel are to be noted. His effort would most probably be directed to find some way out of the constitutional dilemma into which he had been entrapped. His subordinate position, occupying the place of King of Babylon merely for a season instead of Cyrus, would make it more difficult for him to override any constitutional maxim. In the Septuagint the presidents seem to compel the king by moral arguments – a thing float seems possible, though also a feature that might very naturally be added. In the Masoretic text there is an endeavour to poison the king against Daniel. Daniel has despised the king and his commandment. This is more natural than the conduct imputed to the presidents in the Septuagint. These efforts were not successful, as probably they scarcely expected they would be; the king is convinced of his own hastiness, and of their treachery also, but not of any failure on the part of Daniel, in due respect to him, as the representative of the great king.
After reminding Darius of his decree, the hostile officials informed the king that his prime minister elect had violated it and was therefore worthy of death. Notice that they described Daniel as “one of the exiles from Judah” (cf. Daniel 2:25; Daniel 5:13), rather than as a royal cabinet minister. They were evidently hoping that Daniel’s Jewish nationality and religion would contribute to Darius’ distaste for him. This was not the result, however. They also used almost the same words that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego’s accusers had used when they charged Daniel with disregarding the king (cf. Daniel 3:12). To them, prayer to Yahweh constituted disrespect for the king, rather than respect for the Most High God. How quickly and persistently humankind reverts to humanism!
Their confidence in making this accusation was probably bolstered by the justification for the decree in the first place. No doubt the Scriptures do not record all the conversation between King Darius and the officials who had asked for the decree. It is probable that they had justified the decree as a means by which all the peoples in the kingdom would be forced to recognize Darius as their ruler and present their petitions to their deities in Darius’ name. There was little in this that would be offensive to a pagan who worshipped many gods, and it could have been a useful device to ascertain any in the kingdom who were still in a state of rebellion against the king.
6:14 Then the king, when he heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself, and set [his] heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
Finally the king was able to notice the intrigue. He tried to save Daniel.
Then the king, when he heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself
The king evidently realizes his entrapment by now. Regardless of how this turns out for Daniel, the collaborators have unwittingly placed themselves in a precarious position under the king’s disfavour.
Here again we are taught how cautiously kings ought to avoid depraved counsels, since they are besieged on every side by perfidious men, whose only object is to gain by their false representations, and to oppress their enemies, and those from whom they hope for booty or who may favour their evil courses. Because so many snares surround kings, they ought to be the more cautious in providing against cunning.
Herod would find himself in a similar position hundreds of years later — regretting his vow to Herodias’ daughter compelling him to reluctantly sever the head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:26).
Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself – That is, for having consented to such a decree without deliberation, or with so much haste – or for having consented to it at all. It is remarkable that it is not said that he was displeased with them for having proposed it; but it is clear that he saw that the guilt was his own for having given his assent to it, and that he had acted foolishly. There is no evidence as yet that he saw that the decree had been proposed for the purpose of securing the degradation and ruin of Daniel – though he ultimately perceived it Daniel 6:24; or if he did perceive it, there was no way of preventing the consequences from coming on Daniel – and that was the point that now engrossed his attention. He was doubtless displeased with himself,
• (1) because he saw that he had done wrong in confirming such a decree, which interfered with what had been tolerated – the free exercise of religion by his subjects;
• (2) because he now saw that it was foolish, and unworthy of a king, thus to assent to a law for which there was no good reason, and the consequences of which he had not foreseen; and
• (3) because he now saw that he had involved the first officer of the realm, and a man of unsullied character, in ruin, unless some way could be devised by which the consequences of the statute could be averted.
It is no uncommon thing for men to be displeased with themselves when they experience the unexpected consequences of their follies and their sins. An instance strongly resembling that here stated, in its main features, occurred at a later period in the history of Persia – an instance showing how the innocent may be involved in a general law, and how much perplexity and regret may be caused by the enactment of such a law. It occurred in Persia, in the persecution of Christians, 344 AD. “An edict appeared, which commanded that all Christians should be thrown into chains and executed. Many belonging to every rank died as martyrs. Among these was an eunuch of the palace, named Azades, a man greatly prized by the king. So much was the latter affected by his death, that he commanded the punishment of death should be inflicted from thenceforth only on the leaders of the Christian sect; that is, only on persons of the clerical order.”
Then the king, when he heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself: There is a lot to like about King Darius, and one of the admirable things about him is that he was displeased with himself. Instead of blaming others, he knew that he was at fault. We can be sure that he wasn’t happy with Daniel’s enemies, but he knew that ultimately he was responsible.
• Like Darius, our foolish decisions often haunt us. Often all we can do is pray and ask God to mercifully and miraculously intervene when we make foolish decisions.
The reaction of this king was most unusual. To acknowledge he had made a mistake and instead of castigating the presidents and princes for causing him great embarrassment, he blamed himself! Being in possession of such great authority, and even if believing himself incapable to changing the law, we would think he could have made things so “hot” for the presidents and princes that he could have cowed them into assisting him in his effort to save Daniel. Perhaps he could have added to the law telling them they were going into the den with Daniel! If that were the case, surely they would have done all they could help the king make the needed change.
But, as it appears, “he laboured” vainly to change the “law” instead of changing “these men” in some way.
So, making laws that are immune to unintended consequences, is tricky business. Very careful thinking must accompany rule-making.
With himself – Or “at it”; or “with him”; with Daniel, not so much for what he had done, but that he had not done it with more caution, or more privately, that it might not have been known: or rather, as we render it, “with himself”, that he should so rashly sign the decree, without considering the consequences of it; for he now found that he was circumvented by his princes, and that their design was not his honour and glory, but the destruction of Daniel: or the sense in general is, that what he heard was very disagreeable, afflictive, and distressing to him: and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him;
he resolved, if possible, to do it; he applied his mind to it; he turned his thoughts wholly that way, and contrived all ways and means to effect it: R. Mattathiah, in Saadiah, interprets the phrase of his offering money as a ransom for his life: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to save him;
from the will of the princes, and from the jaws of the lions: very probably it was early in the morning these princes found Daniel at prayer, who went immediately to the king with their accusation; so that he was all day labouring with all his might and main to find out ways and means to save his favourite; he studied to put such a sense upon his decree, that it might not reach Daniel’s case; he strove to make the princes easy, and to persuade them to drop the affair, and not insist on the execution of the decree.
Daniel had so won the king’s favour that Darius immediately and energetically began trying to rescue his friend. Nebuchadnezzar had become angry with Daniel’s three friends when they refused to idolize him (Daniel 3:19), but Darius became angry with himself for signing the decree (cf. Daniel 2:1; Daniel 3:13; Daniel 5:6; Daniel 5:9). This shows how much he respected and valued Daniel.
Now that the trap was sprung on Daniel, the king immediately saw through the decree. Instead of being angry with Daniel as Nebuchadnezzar had been with Daniel’s companions in Chapter 3, the king realized that he himself had made a mistake and attempted in every legal way to find a loophole by which Daniel could be delivered. His labours, however, were in vain. The officials once again assembling before the king at the evening of the day reminded the king that the law could not be changed according to their customs and beliefs. As the representative of the gods, the king, having decreed, would have to execute the decree. There was no way out but to issue the command that Daniel should be cast into the lions’ den.
And set [his] heart on Daniel to deliver him
The king now realizes Daniel’s motive is not disregard for authority, but regard for a higher, ultimate authority: the God of Israel. Since Daniel’s abilities and performance surpasses his accusers’, the king understands they were motivated by jealousy. At the very least, the king does not want to lose Daniel as an effective resource in his government. He is familiar with Daniel’s personal qualities and is motivated by a genuine concern for Daniel as an individual and, possibly, as a friend.
And set his heart on Daniel to deliver him – In what way he sought to deliver him is not said. It would seem probable from the representation in the following verse, that it was by an inquiry whether the statute might not properly be changed or cancelled, or whether the penalty might not be commuted – for it is said that his counsellors urged as a reason for the strict infliction of the punishment the absolute unchangeableness of the statute. Perhaps he inquired whether a precedent might not be found for the abrogation of a law enacted by a king by the same authority that enacted it; or whether it did not come within the king’s prerogative to change it; or whether the punishment might not be commuted without injury; or whether the evidence of the guilt was perfectly clear; or whether he might not be pardoned without anything being done to maintain the honour of the law. This is one of the most remarkable instances on record of the case of a monarch seeking to deliver a subject from punishment when the monarch had absolute power, and is a striking illustration of the difficulties which often arise in the administration of justice, where the law is absolute, and where justice seems to demand the infliction of the penalty, and yet where there are strong reasons why the penalty should not be inflicted; that is, why an offender should be pardoned. And yet there is no improbability in this statement about the perplexity of the king, for
(1) there were strong reasons, easily conceivable, why the penalty should not be inflicted in this case, because
• (a) the law had been evidently devised by the crafty enemies of Daniel to secure just such a result;
• (b) Daniel had been guilty of no crime – no moral wrong, but had done only what should commend him more to favour and confidence;
• (c) his character was every way upright and pure;
• (d) the very worship which he had been detected in had been up to that period allowed, and there was no reason why it should now be punished, and
• (e) the infliction of the penalty, though strictly according to the letter of the law, would be manifestly a violation of justice and equity; or, in other words, it was every way. desirable that it should not be inflicted.
(2) Yet there was great difficulty in pardoning him who had offended, for
• (a) the law was absolute in the case;
• (b) the evidence was clear that Daniel had done what the law forbade;
• (c) the law of the realm prohibited any change;
• (d) the character and government of the king were involved in the matter. If he interposed and saved Daniel, and thus suffered the law to be violated with impunity, the result would be that there would be a want of stability in his administration, and any other subject could hope that he might violate the law with the same impunity. justice, and the honour of the government, therefore, seemed to demand that the law should be enforced, and the penalty inflicted.
And he labored – He sought to devise some way in which it might be done.
And he labored till the going down of the sun: This means that he worked as long as he could. According to ancient eastern custom, the execution was carried out on the evening of the day that the accusation was made and found valid.
But caught red handed he was none the less, practising that oh so terrible crime of praying to God. The plan had been hatched, the trap had been set, the bait was laid, and it had now sprung on God’s servant Daniel. And although the king now realized that he had now been tricked, there was nothing that he could do about it. A decree was a decree and it must be acted upon. So, even though the king is sorrowful when he realises that the law that he agreed to is now being used to condemn Daniel, the law of the Medes and Persians must be upheld and thus Daniel was thrown into the lions den.
And he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him [75]
• [75] The Old Greek adds the phrase from the hands of the satraps.
The king consulted his advisors to find a way around the unchangeable nature of the law he had signed.
All that the king did in his endeavour to deliver Daniel is difficult to say. He probably worked with lawyers to see if there were any possibility for setting the decree aside. Perhaps he argued that the king, who had made the law, ought to be able to set it aside; or he may have asked if there were no past cases where similar decrees had been rescinded; or he may have inquired if a man might be pardoned by the king and still satisfy legal requirements.
Ironically, the king issues an immutable decree establishing himself as the recipient of all petitions to god, but now finds himself trapped by the immutability of that same decree and with no recourse except petition to the God of Israel [134].
Till the going down of the sun
The king needed to find a solution before sunset — the customary time to carry out judgment upon criminals [76].
• [76] It was their custom to execute sentence upon a criminal on the same day it was pronounced.
Till the going down of the sun – It would seem from the following verse that the king was pressed by his counsellors to carry the decree into execution, and it is probable that the king saw that the case was a perfectly clear one, and that nothing could be hoped for from delay. The law was clear, and it was equally clear that it had been violated. There was no way, then, but to suffer it to take its course.
Deliver him – The ageing king now recognises that he has been trapped and, spending the rest of the day, tries to find a legal loophole so that Daniel and the Median / Persian law are saved.
Deliver him – The monarch saw the snare that had been set for him. When the decree was proposed, the men had resorted to flattery, and the ageing king had agreed without recognizing the plot that underlay the plan of the men whose judgment he had been accustomed to trust. He suddenly realized that the whole matter had ben conceived, not, as he had thought, to bring honour to his reign and person, but to deprive him of a true friend and trustworthy public servant. Despite his almost frantic efforts, the king could find no legal loophole by which to save Daniel and at the same time preserve the basic Median and Persian concept of the inviolability of law.
6:15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is], That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
The corresponding verse in the Septuagint is much shorter, “And he was not able to deliver him from them.” This verse in the Masoretic text has very much the appearance of a doublet mollified to fit a new position. The first clause has occurred already twice before in the sixth verse and the fifteenth. The last portion of the verse is a modification of what is stated in verses 9 and 13. The first clause is omitted by Theodotion, but inserted by the Peshitta. The probability is that this verse, in its Masoretic form, has been inserted to explain the opposition the king strove in vain to overcome.
Then these men assembled unto the king – The Chaldee here is the same as in Daniel 6:6, “they came tumultuously.” They were earnest that the law should be executed, and they probably apprehended that if the king were allowed to dwell upon it, the firmness of his own mind would give way, and that he would release Daniel. Perhaps they dreaded the effect of the compunctious visits which he might have during the silence of the night, and they, therefore, came tumultuously to hasten his decision.
The accusers had left the king for a while to consider of the case; or they departed to consult among themselves about the king’s proposals to them; or went home to their own houses to dinner, and returned in a body; they came in a tumultuous way, as the word signifies; (see Daniel 6:6), they assembled about him, and addressed him in an authoritative and possibly threatening manner: and said unto the king, know O king, that the law of the Medes and
Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king
The king’s frustration grew as the day progressed because Daniel’s accusers, having become aware of the reluctance of the king, continued reminding him of his obligation under the law. In this, the accusers unwittingly sealed their own punishment when Daniel emerges unscathed from the lions’ den.
Throughout the time that the king was working to rescue Daniel from the decree (from the time the officials spoke in Daniel 6:13 until sundown), they kept reminding him that the decree could not be altered. They did not simply crowd around him at the end of the day to state this, but they said it repeatedly, pressing the issue. This would help explain the king’s complete annoyance at them that led to their condemnation (Daniel 6:24).
The king has now realized that the decree he thought was intended to do him honour, was only a snare. He was about to lose the only man he could really trust. Now, all 122 of the others became threats to the security of his kingdom for, without Daniel, what else would they do? Panic began to creep into his mind.
Even while witnessing the king striving desperately to deliver Daniel and seeing how unhappy he was over the situation, no sympathy was forthcoming from “these men”. Instead, it appears they watched with some trepidation lest the king find some means to spare Daniel his fate. Hence, they again thronged the king to impress upon him the importance of adhering to the tradition of the Medes and Persians against changing a law that had been signed by the king. Even the king himself could not change it, they urged!
So, the audacity and arrogance of “these men” is quite amazing. It seems they held no more respect for the king himself than for Daniel! But, while the king was in agony over Daniel’s fate, he had even more to worry about for himself! If Daniel were gone, these evil, scheming men would be the only ones left to assist him in the rule of his new kingdom. Without Daniel, not only would his work-load increase, even his own life would be in continual jeopardy!
Assembled – Daniel’s enemies returned to the king in the evening – to claim their prey, knowing they had a legal right to demand his execution.
Assembled – For the second time on that fateful day Daniel’s enemies came to the king, this time in the evening. For many hours they had waited for the execution of the verdict, and when nothing happened they resorted again to the king and impudently claimed their prey. They knew they had a legal right to demand Daniel’s execution, and that there was no loophole in the law by which he could escape.
Know, O king, that the law … – That is a settled matter about which there can be no debate or difference of opinion. It would seem that this was a point so well settled that no question could be raised in regard to it, and, to their minds, it was equally clear that if this were so, it was necessary that the sentence should be executed without delay.
Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is], That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed
See Daniel 6:8.
They perceived that he was desirous of altering or nullifying the decree he had made, which to have done would have been to his reputation. To this they oppose a fundamental law of the realm, that no decree ratified by the king could be altered; to attempt to do this would be a breach of their constitution, and have dangerous consequences. It would lessen the king’s authority, and be a means of his subjects rising up in rebellion against him. Thus they urged him to sign.
The governors pressured the king to have Daniel executed, arguing with the indissolubility of the law.
This law was bad news for Daniel. He gave honour to the real God and he prayed to him. He would not pray to anyone else. He could not obey the king’s new law and so the king would have to punish him. But Daniel continued to do what he always did. He trusted God and loved him. And so he wanted to talk to him. So he prayed three times every day in front of his window. Daniel did not pray in secret. He probably had many servants in his house. They would know what he was doing. It was not hard for his enemies to accuse him. They could see that he did not obey the king’s new law.
So Daniel’s enemies went to the king. They reminded him about the law that he had made. They reminded him about the punishment. The king knew that nobody could change the law.
Then the men told the king about Daniel, but they told lies again. It was true that Daniel prayed to God. He did not pray to the king. But they said that Daniel did not obey the king. Daniel was loyal to the king and he did obey him. But he could not obey the new law that the king had made. It was more important to obey God than to obey the new law.
This news made the king very sad. He realised what the officials had done. They had forced him to punish Daniel. They wanted Daniel to die. The king tried all day to save Daniel. He could not find a way. Daniel’s enemies reminded him that nobody could change the law. Even the king could not change the law.
When the conspirators reported Daniel’s disobedience, the king was very displeased with himself (verse 14). By now the real reason for the decree had dawned on him. He probably realized that he had been manipulated by Daniel’s enemies, and he regretted his failure to consult Daniel before putting the decree in writing. Undoubtedly Darius respected Daniel for his consistent piety to his God. Throughout the day he tried his best to save Daniel’s life. He may have thought of ways of protecting him from the lions, perhaps by overfeeding them or by covering Daniel with armour. Such schemes would have been interpreted as subterfuges undermining the king’s own law. A miracle was Daniel’s only hope. Darius undoubtedly respected Daniel’s God — the God who had enabled him to interpret the letters on Belshazzar’s wall and who had made Daniel the most able administrator in the court. Could it be that this God might save him? In all probability Darius had also heard of the deliverance of Daniel’s three comrades from Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace. By sunset, therefore, the king had resigned himself to comply with the conspirators’ desire; and when they again reminded him of his irrevocable decree (verse 15), he was ready to go ahead with the penalty. Yet to show his personal concern for his cherished minister, Darius went with Daniel to the very mouth of the pit where the lions were kept.
6:16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast [him] into the den of lions. [Now] the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
The Septuagint Version here is not so likely to represent the original text, as there are symptoms of displacement, “Then Darius the king called out and said to Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually three times a day, he will deliver thee out of the power of the lions; till the morning be of good cheer.” The opening clause of the next verse in the Septuagint really represents the first clause of the verse before us, “And the king was grieved, and spake to cast Daniel into the den of lions.” Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Masoretic text. The circumstances cannot fail to remind the reader of Herod with John the Baptist, and the still greater crime wrought by weakness – Pilate and our Lord. Darius had failed to overbear the opposition of the legalists who had determined on Daniel’s death; he is obliged, therefore, to give the order that the sentence be executed. In doing so he commends his friend to the God, or the gods, if we take the K’thib instead of the Q’ri. Darius probably knew nothing of Daniel’s religious beliefs, and therefore would be prone to imagine that he worshipped several gods, and to them he commends him. The addition of the Septuagint is picturesque, “Be of good cheer until the morning.” Moreover, it fits in to what follows, and at the same time it is not of such a nature as that it should suggest itself to the ordinary interpolator.
Reluctantly, the king gave the order for Daniel to be brought in and thrown into the lion’s den. Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, who defied any god to deliver the three Hebrews from death in the fiery furnace, Darius speaks words of encouragement to Daniel. He assures Daniel that His God would most certainly deliver him. Is it possible that this king, unlike Belshazzar, had read the historical records of Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom and come to believe in the God of the Hebrews? It certainly seems so. The king’s final words to Daniel are a commendation of this man’s faithful and constant obedience to his God. Having spoken words of faith and hope to Daniel, he had Daniel lowered into the lion’s den, the stone cover put in place and sealed. No man dared tamper with the stone to deliver Daniel.
In keeping with the decree which he had signed, Darius then issued the formal command to cast Daniel into the lions’ den. Prior to its execution, however, it is most remarkable that the king said to Daniel, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee”. This may be translated, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he must deliver thee”. This is more accurate than the Revised Standard Version rendering, “May your God… deliver you”. The idea is that the king is saying, “I have tried to save you but have failed. Now your God must save you”. Observable in this assurance of Darius is the deep impression that Daniel’s personal piety and faithfulness to God had made upon the king and that this impression had brought about Darius’ own conviction that Daniel’s God would come to his rescue in Daniel’s extremity.
The decree, however, is executed. Daniel is cast into the den of lions and a stone is brought upon the mouth of the den sealed with the king’s signet as a token of execution and fulfilment of the decree. No human hand could interfere, not even that of Darius himself.
So, the sun had set following an agonizing, fruitless day of soul searching on the part of the king who was obstructed at every turn by the relentless stubbornness of “these men” who were filled with a jealous hatred that gave no quarter.
In spite of his fears, Darius reluctantly commanded to bring Daniel. But, before he was cast into the den, the king spoke these encouraging words. But, what made him say, in a way that expressed certainty, “his God would deliver him?”
44 or 43 years before [77], during the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar when Darius himself was 18 or 19 years of age, a decree had gone out from the king to “every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (Daniel 3:29). Doubtless, Darius, the uncle of Cyrus, had read that decree, wondered about it and made certain he found out all the details.
• [77] 583 BC or 582 BC – 539 BC = 44 or 43 years; based on Darius age being 62 (Daniel 5:31) at the time of this incident.
That last phrase “no other God can deliver after this sort” could well have found a permanent place in Darius’ heart. It is also quite possible he knew about Daniel as well as his three friends who were cast into the furnace. Now he expresses faith that God would do the same thing for Daniel that He did for his friends.
Then the king commanded
Unable to set aside or overrule his immutable decree, the king was forced to enact the prescribed sentence. In this, we see an admirable aspect of the king’s character: he recognizes his legal obligation, though it runs counter to his great personal desire. As friend and admirer of Daniel he would release him, but as king of Medo-Persia he must enforce the law.
The execution of the sentence was carried out, according to Oriental custom, on the evening of the day in which the accusation was made; this does not, however, imply that it was on the evening in which, at the ninth hour, he had prayed.
Then the king commanded … – See Daniel 6:7. Some recent discoveries among the ruins of Babylon have shown that the mode of punishment by throwing offenders against the laws to lions was actually practised there, and these discoveries may be classed among the numerous instances in which modern investigations have tended to confirm the statements in the Bible.
God did not forsake Daniel – Daniel was forsaken by the king who felt he had no choice but to follow the law and have Daniel thrown to the lions. However, he was never abandoned by God. These were lions that were purposefully starved in order to make them as ravenous as possible. Yet they didn’t open their mouths to kill Daniel.
Being overawed by his princes and fearing they would conspire against him, and stir up the people to rebel; and consulting his own credit lest he should be thought fickle and inconstant; he ordered the decree to be put in execution against Daniel, and delivered his favourite into their hands: and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions;
not the princes but proper officers employed by them: according to the additions to this Book of Daniel, there were seven lions in this den, in the Apocrypha: ”And in the den there were seven lions, and they had given them every day two carcases, and two sheep: which then were not given to them, to the intent they might devour Daniel.” (Bel and the Dragon 1:32) but, according to Joseph ben Gorion, there were ten, who used to devour ten sheep, and as many human bodies every day; but this day they had no food, and ate nothing, that they might be more greedy, and devour Daniel the sooner: now the king spake and said unto Daniel;
being brought into his presence, in his palace, before he was cast into the den; or at the mouth of the den whither the king accompanied him: thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee;
he calls the Lord Daniel’s God, not his own, as he was not, he served other gods; yet he suggests that Daniel was right in serving him continually, in praying to him daily, the very thing for which he was cast to the lions; and expresses his confidence that his God he served would deliver him from being devoured by them; which he might conclude, from, the innocency, integrity, and faithfulness of Daniel, and from his being such a peculiar favourite of God as to be indulged with the knowledge of future things; and perhaps he might have heard of the deliverance of his three companions from the fiery furnace: though the words may be rendered, as they are by some, as a wish or prayer, “may thy God … deliver thee”; I cannot, I pray he would; it is my hearty desire that so it might be.
And they brought Daniel, and cast [him] into the den of lions
Daniel was cast into the den of lions and sealed within. People today often imagine a young, vigorous Daniel in the pit with the ferocious beasts. But the prophet was an elderly man, aged 84. All his life God had proved faithful. This night would be no exception.
At this time in history, lions were hunted by royalty of Babylonia and Persia [78]. Lions were captured alive and placed within royal zoos [79].
• [78] The committal of Daniel himself to a den of lions is not an improbable one in that lions from cages were hunted, as a trial of royal prowess, in the royal parklands from the days of Tilgathpileser I onwards. The lion at Babylon was a major  symbol of the god Marduk.
• [79] Even though the specific location of the lions’ den has not been found, it is evident that various rulers of the ancient Near East did have zoos. For example, there are 8 different cuneiform texts which refer to the feeding of lions kept by a king of Ur named Shu-Sin who reigned just before 2000 BC.
Over the years, various artists have depicted Daniel’s ordeal in the lions’ den. Although inspirational, some suffer from historical inaccuracies: Daniel is depicted as being a young or middle-aged man (he was 84 years of age) [80], and the conditions in the den are not depicted as dire and offensive as they must have been [81].
• [80] Daniel is about 84 years old when these events happen.
• [81] The den was a like a cesspool; you had decaying human flesh in this place; it was an execution chamber and that is where Daniel spent his evening.
There is considerable discussion among commentators regarding the construction and arrangement of the den. Some suggest, like the fiery furnace of Chapter 3 [82], the den had two openings: one at the top where the victim was lowered into the midst of the lions, and another at the side where the animals found entry, were fed, and their premises maintained.
• [82] Its construction may therefore have been similar to that of the fiery furnace, upon the whole (see Daniel 3:6) — an opinion which seems to derive additional support from the manner in which Darius was enabled to converse with Daniel while in the den, even before the stone was removed from its opening (verses 21 etc.).
The den likely had both a side and a top opening. The opening covered by this stone was probably at the side. The verse reveals that the stone was placed for reasons of security; and a side entrance, on a level with the inside floor, would have called for this more than one above. This entrance was likely covered normally by some type of grating, with the prepared stone at hand when special security was needed. Ventilation may have been solely through the top opening when the stone was in place.
We have no account by the ancients of the construction of lions’ dens. We only have the description of the lions’ dens as they have been found in Morocco. These consist of a large square cavern under the earth, having a partition-wall in the middle of it, which is furnished with a door, which the keeper can open and close from above. By throwing in food they can entice the lions from the one chamber into the other, and then, having shut the door, they enter the vacant space for the purpose of cleaning it. The cavern is open above, its mouth being surrounded by a wall of a yard and a half high, over which one can look down into the den. The mouth of the den is not its free opening above by which one may look down into it, but an opening made in its side, through which not only the lions were brought into it, but by which also the keepers entered for the purpose of cleansing the den and of attending to the beasts, and could reach the door in the partition-wall. This description agrees perfectly with that which is here given in the text regarding the lions’ den”. That through this door in the wall surrounding the cavern, both the keepers and the lions could enter, except for when the stone was in place. This accounts for the fact that Darius was able to converse freely with Daniel before the stone was removed from the door.
The lions’ den was a large pit divided by a moveable wall that could be pulled up to allow the lions to go from one side to the other. The keeper would put food in the empty side and lift up the wall so the lions would cross over and eat. He would quickly lower the wall and clean the safe side of the pit. The animals weren’t fed often or great amounts of food so that their appetites would be keen in case there was to be an execution.
With an underground den, a side entrance would have been provided as a means to prevent flooding by rain [83].
• [83] The word for den can denote a well — perhaps the den was a repurposed cistern. It may also have had a side entrance or drain since if it did not, rain could have filled the den and drowned the lions. Some commentators reject the need of a side entrance: the mouth, or entrance, may have been on a lower level, as in the case of bear-pits in our zoological gardens. Why, then, a stone and not the regular gate, and why was Daniel hauled up, (Daniel 6:24)? There is no need to suppose that the pit would have a door in the side, like the furnace of Chapter 3.
The details of the den’s construction are not of great importance in relation to the peril posed by the lions and the great miracle attested by Daniel’s preservation.
The earlier account of Daniel’s companions in the fiery furnace is intentionally similar to Daniel in the den of lions [84].
• [84] Purposeful, by God’s design in history which saw to it that these two real historical events exhibited remarkable and intentional similarities.
The two accounts are clearly parallel in many ways. Both are narratives of faith in the face of persecution and of miraculous deliverance by God’s almighty power to save his people. Both narratives present accusations by pagan officials against Judeans who refuse to compromise their faith and worship of Yahweh alone. Both even employ the same Aramaic idiom, “to eat pieces of” someone, signifying malicious accusations, and these are the only two times this expression occurs in Daniel (Daniel 3:8; 6:24). Both accounts end with a decree of the king to all peoples, nations, and languages in all the earth, proclaiming God’s power and commanding respect for the God of the Judeans (Daniel 3:29-30; 6:25-27).
Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God … – What is here stated is in accordance with what is said in Daniel 6:14, that the king sought earnestly to deliver Daniel from the punishment. He had entire confidence in him, and he expressed that to the last.
[Now] the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee
What the king meant by the phrase, “He will deliver thee” is not entirely clear. Did the king assume Daniel’s God must deliver him—in response to Daniel’s faithfulness (“whom you serve continually”)? Or had the king come to understand, in God’s providence, even if Daniel were to perish, “not a hair of his head” would be lost since “by his patience” his soul would be preserved (Luke 21:18-19)? I find myself in agreement with Miller and Jerome who find evidence in the king’s statement of a budding faith in Daniel’s God.
Nor does he use the language of doubt, so as to say, “If He be able to deliver thee”; but rather he speaks with boldness and confidence and says, “The God whom thou dost ever serve shall Himself deliver thee”. He had heard, of course, that three youths who were of a lower rank than Daniel himself had triumphed over the flames of Babylon.
The KJV and NASB construe this statement as a prediction that God “will rescue” Daniel, whereas the NIV and NRSV consider the declaration to be a wish on Darius’s part that God “may . . . rescue” him. The verb may be translated in either manner. Since Darius was an unbeliever, the king would not have had sufficient faith in Yahweh to affirm that Daniel would certainly be delivered, and verse 20 indicates that the king was not positive Daniel would be saved. The words express the king’s hope.
Having reached the end of his own resources, the king has nowhere to turn but to appeal to Daniel’s God.
Now the beautiful thing about this is Darius is forced into the position of having to trust the Lord. See how effective and efficient God works; the whole situation looks like it’s messed up; everything is falling apart, and what happens? In the end Darius has to trust the Lord; a tremendously efficient teaching system.
Daniel’s life provided testimony of an unwavering and lengthy service of God. This was not a contrived or “flash-in-a-pan performance” designed to gain attention and prove his dedication, but the fruit a life well-lived in accord with God’s principles and priorities.
Darius’ parting words to Daniel are significant. One could render them, “Thy God whom you serve continually, He will deliver thee.” The idea is that Darius had tried to save Daniel and had failed. Now Yahweh must save him. We do not know, of course, if Darius knew about Yahweh’s deliverance of Daniel’s three friends. Again, we see that God did not preserve His servant from difficulty, but brought him though it safely – His normal way of dealing with His own.
Observable in this assurance of Darius is the deep impression that Daniel’s personal piety and faithfulness to God had made upon the king and that this impression had brought about Darius’ own conviction that Daniel’s God would come to his rescue in Daniel’s extremity.
Deliver thee – cf. Daniel 3:15 where Nebuchadnezzar had uttered such words under similar conditions. God had performed miracles in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Darius now trusts that Daniel’s God will deliver him.
Deliver thee –The king’s words were in striking contrast with those of Nebuchadnezzar uttered on another occasion that was in some respects similar (Daniel 3:15). Darius may have been acquainted with the miracles that God had performed in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar.
Although Daniel is the one wrongly accused and in the process of his own execution, the focus is upon the king. The king abstains from entertainment that night and sleep eludes him. The king orders Daniel to be lowered into the lion’s den. The king speaks words of encouragement to Daniel.
It appears the king suffered more than Daniel. The angel of the Lord was there with Daniel, much as He was present with the three Hebrews in the furnace. The mouths of the lions were stopped, preventing any harm to Daniel.
Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee: Darius had faith, and it was faith born out of Daniel’s trust in the Lord. The idea was, “I tried my best to save you Daniel, but I failed. Now it is up to your God”.
Thou servest continually: This made Daniel’s testimony. Many of us occasionally display godly character and wisdom before the world, but counter-act the good by then being bad. Daniel’s testimony was made by continual service.
6:17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
The Septuagint text begins, according to Tischendorf, with a passage elsewhere considered, “And the king was grieved, and commanded to cast Daniel into the den of lions, according to the decree which he had made concerning him.” This is repeated from the fourteenth verse, where it appears alike in the Chisian Manuscript and in the version of Paul of Tella, “Then Daniel was cast into the den of lions, and a stone was brought and placed at the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signets of his lords, in order that Daniel might not be raised by them or delivered by the king out of the den.” The reason assigned for the double sealing of the stone, while a very probable one, is from its very probability to be suspected; it is most likely an explanatory marginal remark, that has slipped into the text. It will be observed that the clause with which the Septuagint Version of this verse begins is the equivalent of the opening clause of the preceding verse. Theodotion’s rendering does not differ from the Masoretic reading. From the similarity of the dialects, the resemblance of the Peshitta to the Masoretic is even closer. There are few criticisms of Daniel more unfair than that founded on the assumption that the writer had a bottle-shaped dungeon in his mind, that might be covered over as a well by one large stone. Nothing in the words used implies this. While gob certainly means a “pit” or a “cistern,” it was by no means necessarily of small size or covered over with one stone, so that within it would be darkness. There were probably walls rising from the sides of the pit which formed the den; in that wall there would be naturally an aperture through which food could be passed to the lions. Through this door was Daniel cast, and when he had been so cast in, a stone was rolled up to the aperture and sealed. There is no necessity for arguing, as Hitzig and von Lengerke do, against this incident.
The passage the former refers to in Xenophon’s ‘Anabasis’ (verse 5.25) applies to dwellings of human beings, and even if we could transfer its description to the present case, it would not damage our argument. In these dwellings Xenophon tells us “were goats, sheep, oxen, birds, and their young; all the cattle are fed within with green fodder.” These critics forget that lions’ dens were in use not only among the Assyrians and Babylonians, but also among the Greek monarchs, and so, even if the writer was of the late date attributed to him by critics, still he would not speak nonsense about what he could not fail to know something. Hitzig sees in Daniel being let down into the den of lions an imitation of what befell Joseph at the hands of his brethren. Certainly the same word is used in the Targum of Onkelos, Genesis 37:22, but identity of name does not prove identity of thing. No one could argue that the pit of a theatre was necessarily dark, dirty, and damp, because a coal-pit is. That Reuben persuaded his brethren to put Joseph in the pit in order to save him alive, and the rulers had Daniel put in the lions’ den in order to destroy him, is nothing to the purpose, it would seem; that there were lions in the pit or den in which Daniel was placed, and no venomous beast in that into which Joseph was let down, is also of no moment. The further fact that this letting down into the pit occurs in the beginning of Joseph’s career, and in Daniel’s case it is near the end of a long and prosperous life, is not noticed. The life of Daniel must be proved to be written in imitation of the life of Joseph, so any means are good enough to secure this predetermined conclusion. While this resemblance is only superficial, there is another resemblance that is, at all events, full of interest. In later history there was another sealing of the stone that was rolled to the mouth of a grave – it may be noted that gob is used for a “grave” also – and fear here also was lest the innocently condemned might be taken away.
A stone was brought. No ancient lions’ den has yet been excavated, and it is thus impossible to reconstruct an accurate picture of such a place.
And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den – Probably a large flat stone sufficient to cover the mouth of the cave, and so heavy that Daniel could not remove it from within and escape. It was usual then, as it is now, to close up the entrance to sepulchres with a large stone. See John 11:38; Matthew 27:60. It would be natural to endeavour to secure this vault or den in the same way – on the one hand so that Daniel could not escape from within, and on the other so that none of his friends could come and rescue him from without.
And the king sealed it with his own signet – With his own seal. That is, he affixed to the stone, probably by means of clay or wax, his seal in such a way that it could not be removed by anyone without breaking it, and consequently without the perpetration of a crime of the highest kind – for no greater offence could be committed against his authority than thus to break his seal, and there could be no greater security that the stone would not be removed. On the manner of sealing a stone in such circumstances, compare Matthew 27:66.
The king sealed it: This may have been to protect Daniel as much as to make sure someone didn’t rescue Daniel. Darius knew that Daniel had powerful enemies who might kill him if the lions didn’t.
Sealed it – Totally unnecessary as the wild animals would swiftly tear to pieces their prey.
Cautionary act only when lions would not harm Daniel.
Official sealing by king and his lords served:
• as guarantee to Darius that Daniel would not be killed by any other means
• to assure Daniel’s enemies that no attempt could be made to save him.
Sealed Egyptian tombs – may provide clue to method used for sealing an opening:
• door closed
• plaster covered and while still wet
• seals stamped all over wet plaster
Cylindrical roll seals used in lieu – numerous examples excavated in Mesopotamia –
• common among Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians.
Sealed it. The official sealing by the king and his lords had a twofold purpose. It served as a guarantee to the king that Daniel would not be killed by any other means, in case he was not harmed by the lions. Because Darius hoped that Daniel’s God would save His faithful servant from the lions, he would naturally want to take precautions against any interference on the part of the men who were determined to take Daniel’s life. On the other hand the seal provided assurance to Daniel’s enemies that no attempt could be made to save him, in the event he was not immediately torn to pieces by the wild animals. Darius’ counsellors may have feared that such an attempt to save Daniel from the pit would be made by Daniel’s friends or by the king as soon as everyone had withdrawn from the place of execution. Hence, their seal, as well as that of the king, was used to make sure that the stone would not be tampered with during the night.
Sealed Egyptian tombs may serve to illustrate the technique of sealing an opening. After the door had been closed for the last time, it was covered with plaster, and either seals were stamped all over the wet plaster or roll seals were rolled over it. A similar procedure may have been followed in the case of the closing and sealing of the lions’ den. The sealing was most probably carried out by means of cylinder seals, which were common among the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. Every excavation in Mesopotamia brings to light numerous examples of such seals.
And with the signet of his lords – That it might have all the security which there could be. Perhaps this was at the suggestion of his lords, and the design, on their part, may have been so to guard the den that the king should not release Daniel.
Note the den was sealed, not only with the “signet” of the king, but of his evil “lords” as well. While there must have been tears in the eyes of the king, there must have been expressions of mirth and triumph with his “lords”.
“God did not prevent Daniel’s enemies from casting him into the lion’s den; He permitted evil angels and wicked men thus far to accomplish their purpose; but it was that He might make the deliverance of his servant more marked, and the defeat of the enemies of truth and righteousness more complete. Through the courage of this one man who chose to follow right rather than policy, Satan was to be defeated, and the name of God was to be exalted and honoured” [85]. It most certainly confirmed Darius’ faith that God would deliver Daniel.
• [85] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, pages 543- 544.
But, whether the “lords” noticed it or not, there was no scream of fear and pain, neither did they hear roars from the lions whom they expected would be attacking their prey. Perhaps that is why they insisted on placing “signets” or “seals” on the “stone” that was placed over the “mouth of the den”.
Not a heap of stones, but a single one, a very large one, sufficient to stop up the mouth of the den, that nothing might enter in at it, or be cast into it: this stone was brought by proper persons, and a sufficient number of them, according the order of the king, or his princes, or both.
The lions’ den probably was a large pit in the ground with an opening above that a large stone would seal, 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 (Daniel 6:23), and others when thrown into it fell down toward its bottom (Daniel 6:24). It would also have had a side entrance or drain since if it did not, rain could have filled the den and drowned the lions. The king and his nobles sealed the stone that covered the openings to make sure no one would release Daniel (cf. the sealing of Jesus’ tomb).
A large, heavy stone was sealed by signet rings:
Soft clay was attached to the chains draped over the stone, and the king and his nobles made their personal marks (seals) by pressing their rings into the clay. After the clay hardened, the chains could not be removed without breaking the seals.
In the sovereignty of God, the stone was sealed to vouch the miraculous nature of Daniel’s preservation [86].
• [86] There could be no trick or collusion here: if Daniel be preserved, it must be by the power of Jehovah the God of Israel.
There is no doubt that God’s counsel provided that the nobles should seal the stone with their own rings, and thus close the mouth of the cave, and render the miracle more illustrious. For when the king approached on the morrow, the rings were all entire, and the seals all unbroken. Thus the preservation of this servant of God was manifestly by the aid of heaven and not by the art of men.
That the purpose might not be changed. Sealing had a double purpose:
• (1) The king wanted to prevent Daniel from being killed in a manner other than by lions.
• (2) The administrators of the kingdom wanted to prevent the king from saving Daniel.
That the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel – By the king. Probably they feared that if there was not this security, the king might release him; but they presumed that he would not violate the seal of the great officers of the realm. It would seem that some sort of concurrence between the king and his nobles was required in making and executing the laws.
The decree ensnared Daniel, who continued to pray to God (Daniel 6:26-27). To his great distress, Darius could not rescind the order since, according to tradition, “the law of the Medes and the Persians…cannot be revoked” (Daniel 6:13). Darius, although the most powerful man of his day, tied his own hands, making it impossible to rescue his favoured administrator. The king conceded to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” (Daniel 6:16). And the Lord’s angel performed what the king asked but could not perform. Daniel was thrown in the lions’ den overnight, but emerged in the morning unwounded (Daniel 6:17-23). This led the king to issue an edict of reverence for Daniel’s God and to remove the threat of annihilation for the Jews as they continued to worship God (Daniel 6:26-27). Not even the implacable laws of the Medes and Persians could insure the end of God’s people. God’s power overcame human deceit and royal dictate.
Nonetheless, Daniel did experience what most of us would call suffering along the way. Being the target of a government-sponsored character assassination attempt (Daniel 6:4-6) must have been a gruelling experience, even if he was eventually cleared. Likewise, openly defying the king’s edict for conscience’ sake (Daniel 6:10-12) was a dangerous, if courageous, act. Daniel suffered immediate arrest and was thrown into a den of lions (Daniel 6:16-17). We should not let Daniel’s eventual deliverance (Daniel 6:21-23) lead us to imagine that the experience wasn’t painful and disturbing, to say the least.
Daniel did not limit himself to tasks he was certain he could accomplish on his own steam. There is no way to practice being thrown into a lion’s den! Rather, he did his work on a daily basis in dependence on God. Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10). He acknowledged God in every tough issue he faced. We, too, have to recognize we cannot fulfil our callings on our own.
That none might dare to remove the stone. Likewise, the stone that was laid at the door of Christ’s sepulchre was sealed with a seal, (Matthew 27:66), the reason of sealing it follows, that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel:
the view the lords had in it was, that the king might not change the sentence passed on Daniel, or take any methods to deliver him; and the view the king had in it might be, that should he be saved from the lions, as he hoped he would, that no other sentence might pass upon him, or he be delivered to any other kind of death.
Note the parallels between the assumed finality of Daniel’s destiny in the den, “pit, excavated hole, den” and that of Jesus in the tomb [87] [88]. Like Pilate, hundreds of years later (Matthew 27:65-66), a stone was laid over the entrance and the king officially authorized the securing of the chamber so interlopers could not affect the seemingly certain outcome: neither Daniel or Jesus would ever be seen again. Daniel’s night in the den and his raising from peril serve as an analogy, or type for the death and resurrection of Jesus.
• [87] Like all Old Testament miracles, this one is a foretaste of the great miracle of the resurrection of Christ (cf. Daniel 6:17 with Matthew 27:60-66). Daniel is cast into the lions’ den as our blessed Lord was given to the lion (Psalm 22:21), and a stone is laid upon the mouth of the den and it is sealed with the King’s signet. He is so to speak in a grave, as good as dead in the eyes of the world, for who has ever heard of hungry lions not devouring a man. Likewise, the tomb in the garden, where He was laid and the stone before it,which bore the seal of the Roman world power. But as Daniel could not be hurt by the lions, so He who went into the jaws of death could not be holden by death. The tomb is empty and He is victor over death and the grave. All this is blessedly fore-shadowed in this experience of God’s prophet. There is a beautiful spiritual lesson in Daniel’s deliverance. The ‘Den of Lions’ prefigures the ‘Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea’ in which our Lord was laid, and before which a stone was rolled, and sealed, and marked with the King’s signet. But as the lions could not harm Daniel, so Jesus, who went into the ‘jaws of Death’, could not be ‘holden of Death’, and was delivered, like Daniel, by resurrection from his prison house. When Daniel was liberated from the ‘Lions’ Den’, he could not be thrown in again, he was free from that ‘Law’, for he had paid its penalty. So when we accept Jesus as our personal Saviour we are free from the Law of ‘Sin and Death’, because Jesus our Saviour paid its penalty on the Cross, and His deliverance from the ‘Tomb’ by resurrection shows that He had fulfilled His sentence of three days, and the ‘Tomb’ could no longer hold Him, any more than the criminal who has served his term can any longer be kept behind prison bars.
• [88] The Christian reader of Daniel 6 may notice a number of parallels between Daniel and the life of Jesus Christ. Both prayed regularly (Daniel 6:10; Luke 5:16). Malicious accusers sought to entrap each by means of his worship practice and fidelity to God’s Word (Daniel 6:5; Matthew 4:6-10; 22:15-46). An unruly crowd brings him to a pagan ruler and accuses him of violating the law (Daniel 6:11-13; Matthew 26:47-50; 27:1-2, 11-14; John 18:1-19:15). The ruler, deeming him innocent, seeks to set him free, but eventually gives in to the crowd’s desire and condemns him to death (Daniel 6:14-16; Matthew 27:18-26; John 19:8-16). Both Daniel and Jesus are said to have ‘trusted in (his) God’ (Daniel 6:23; Matthew 27:43). A rock is placed over the opening of the pit or tomb and sealed with a royal seal (Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:66). At dawn the king hurries to the pit (Daniel 6:19), as the women did to the tomb on Easter dawn (Matthew 28:1). Both emerge alive: Daniel, who served ‘the living God’ (Daniel 6:20, 26]; cf. Matthew 26:63), and the risen Jesus, who is himself ‘the living one’ (Luke 24:5).
[The king’s] law demands that Daniel be cast before the lions, his heart filled with love towards Daniel demands that he be saved. . . . Well may we think here of another Law and another Love.
Similarities Between Daniel and Jesus
Daniel
• • • • Jesus
Found innocent before God and man (Daniel 6:5, 22)
• • • • Found innocent before God and man (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:23)
Prayed regularly (Daniel 6:10)
• • • • Prayed regularly (Luke 5:16)
Trusted in God (Daniel 6:23)
• • • • Trusted in God (Matthew 27:43)
Malicious accusers (Daniel 6:5)
• • • • Malicious accusers (Matthew 4:6-10; 22:15-46).
Must accuse by the Law of his God (Daniel 6:5)
• • • • Must accuse by the Law of God (John 8:46; Matthew 5:17-19)
Darius manipulated by his officials (Daniel 6:6-7, 12-13, 15)
• • • • Pilate manipulated by the Jews (Matthew 27:20-26)
Darius seeks to save Daniel (Daniel 6:14-16)
• • • • Pilate seeks to save Jesus (Matthew 27:18-26)
Darius powerless to save Daniel (Daniel 6:14)
• • • • Pilate powerless to save Jesus (Matthew 27:24)
Faithful in his practice (Daniel 6:3, 23)
• • • • Faithful in the Father’s plan (John 4:34) [89]
• [89] Jesus does the will of the Father: Psalm 40:7; Matthew 4:3; 6:10; 26:39; Luke 4:3; 11:2; 22:42; John 4:34; 5:19, 30;  6:38; 8:28; 10:18; 12:49-50; Hebrews 10:7-9
Cast into the Lions’ den (Daniel 6:16)
• • • • Nailed to the cross (Matthew 27:35)
The den is sealed by a stone (Daniel 6:17)
• • • • The grave is sealed by a stone (Matthew 27:66)
Another hurries to the den early next morning (Daniel 6:19)
• • • • Others hurry to the tomb early next morning (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2)
Victory over death by divine intervention (Daniel 6:22)
• • • • Victory over death by divine intervention (resurrection, John 2:19) [90]
• [90] Jesus divinely raised: John 2:19; 10:17-18; Acts 2:24; 4:10; 13:30; Romans 4:24; 6:4; 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:15; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 3:18
Paid the penalty for the breaking of Medo-Persian law (Daniel 6:16)
• • • • Paid the penalty for the breaking of God’s law (Isaiah 53:8; Romans 5:12-15; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 3:9; 1 Peter 3:18)
Committed no crime (Daniel 6:22)
• • • • Committed no sin (Isaiah 53:9; John 8:46) [91]
• [91] Jesus committed no sin: Isaiah 53:9; John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5
Taken up out of the pit (Daniel 6:23)
• • • • Taken up out of the grave (Mark 16:6)
King acknowledges God (Daniel 6:25-27)
• • • • Kings acknowledge God (Psalm 72:11; Isaiah 49:7; 52:15)
Servant of the Living God (Daniel 6:20)
• • • • Servant of the Living God (Matthew 12:28)
6:18 ¶ Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
In the Masoretic text one of the clauses, “Neither were instruments of music brought before him,” has caused great difficulty. The word dahvan, translated “instruments of music,” is rendered by Furst, “dancing-girl; “Gesenius, “concubine; “Rosenmuller renders, “odours.” The Mediaeval Greek Version translates, “instruments of music.” Furst speaks with favour of the Syriac rendering, “food-tables”. This is to be noted as a sign of antiquity. The version of the Septuagint is very wide from the Masoretic in the latter part of the verse, “Thus the king returned to his palace, and went to bed fasting, being grieved about Daniel.” It is evident that the Septuagint translator had before him deheel instead of dohvan – nun in the script of Egyptian Aramaic is very like lamed in the later mode writing, as also yodh and vav. It is possible that the name “Daniel” was read han’eel or, vies versa, as two of the letters are identical If we can accept the Septuagint reading, the difficulty of this mysterious dahoun disappears. Another clause is added here in the Septuagint from verse 22 (23) Masoretic, though with variations. “Then the God of Daniel, taking thought for him closed the mouths of the lions, that they did not hurt Daniel.”
This statement is not inserted in Daniel’s answer to the king in the Septuagint, as it is in the Masoretic text. It would almost seem that our present text in both cases is a condensation of a more extended document. This view receives support from the rendering of Theodotion, “And the king departed to his house, and went to bed supperless, and viands were not brought to him, and his sleep went from him, and God closed the mouths of the lions, and they did not hurt Daniel.” It will be seen that the last clause here agrees with the concluding clause of the Septuagint. The mysterious word dahvan is rendered here “food” – a version that is suspicious from the fact that it merely repeats, under another form, the statement that the king went to bed fasting. It is supported by the Peshitta and the Vulgate. This difference can scarcely be due to a various reading. Otherwise the Peshitta and the Vulgate agree with the Masoretic text. The king’s sorrow and humiliation could not be better pictured than it is here: even the feast of the palace had no pleasure for him, he was so grieved about Daniel. But we must also bear in mind that fasting had among the Jews, and, indeed, in the East generally, a relationship to prayer (see Esther 4:16, where fasting takes the place of prayer; see also Daniel 10:3). It means also repentance (Jonah 3:6-8). Darius, then, repented his hasty decree, and prayed for the deliverance of Daniel.
Why does God bother people? Why does God agitate people? Because He loves people, He wants people, men and women, to enter into a right relationship with Him. And if a person is not in a right relationship with Him He pursues what we would call the hounds of heaven on that person and just keeps annoying them over and over again until they reach a point where they trust in what Jesus has done for them and they become saved at that point. Aren’t you glad that God loves us enough to bother us?
The contrast between the night experienced by the most powerful man in the land and Daniel, as a condemned criminal, could not have been greater.
Now verse 18 is the most beautiful illustration of two men, two different situations, one with the Word, one without the Word. Over here you have Darius; here you have Daniel. Darius is in a palace, Darius in his environment has wealth, power, Darius has all the means for human enjoyment. Darius has everything that most people could want. Daniel is in a dirty den, a den of lions, full of manure, full of dead bodies that have been thrown down there, the flies are eating the skin off the people that had been thrown down there before. It is not just the sweet little den that you see in your Sabbath School material. Artists never did read the Word very carefully and when they come to these scenes they don’t present them in all their gore. Now the Holy Spirit, when He writes Scripture He lets it all hang out, so you’ll get the point.
He [Daniel] may even have enjoyed a better night’s rest than the king.
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting – Daniel was probably cast into the den soon after the going down of the sun, Daniel 6:14. It was not unusual to have suppers then late at night, as it is now in many places. The great anxiety of the king, however, on account of what had occurred, prevented him from participating in the usual evening meal. As to the probability of what is here affirmed, no one can have any doubt who credits the previous statements. In the consciousness of wrong done to a worthy officer of the government; in the deep anxiety which he had to deliver him; in the excitement which must have existed against the cunning and wicked authors of the plot to deceive the king and to ruin Daniel; and in his solicitude and hope that after all Daniel might escape, there is a satisfactory reason for the facts stated that he had no desire for food; that instruments of music were not brought before him; and that he passed a sleepless night.
There are two schools of thought as to why the king refused food and entertainment that night.
Those who believe Darius remained an unbeliever throughout the events in this Chapter take his refusal of food and entertainment as the side effects of the stress and embarrassment he felt over having been duped by his governors, the poor decision he made, and his concern over losing Daniel as a valuable aid in his government [92]. In their view, instead of choosing to fast, Darius lost his appetite due to stress [93].
• [92] He probably also was ashamed at having been tricked so easily through flattery.
• [93] Not ‘fasting’ in a religious sense.
Those, like us, who believe Daniel’s earlier friendship and testimony were being used by God to draw Darius to faith, see the king’s motivations differently. Perhaps the king was engaged in all-night intercession on behalf of Daniel, in whatever incomplete and imperfect form it may have taken due to his fledgling faith? Here we find a principle the Apostle would later declare: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). It is our belief that both Daniel and the king were among God’s elect — called according to His purpose. Daniel, already saved, was being matured — undergoing the ultimate test of faithfulness — potential Christian martyrdom (Matthew 10:28; Luke 21:10; Revelation 2:10; 12:11). The king, on the path to salvation, was learning valuable lessons concerning the trustworthiness, interpersonal nature, and faithfulness of Daniel’s God.
After he had accompanied Daniel to the den, and he was cast into it, the stone was laid to the mouth of it, and that sealed; this was after sunset, for he had laboured till then to serve him, (Daniel 6:14), perhaps it was late at night: and passed the night fasting;
vexed for what he had done, in signing the decree; fretting because he could not save Daniel, and his heart full of grief for him, and so had no stomach to eat; went to bed without his supper, lay all night fasting, and would not eat a bit nor drink a drop of anything: neither were instruments of music brought before him;
as used to be after supper, and played upon; his heart was too full, and his mind and thoughts so intent on Daniel’s case, that he could not listen to music, or bear the sound of it. Jarchi interprets it a “table”, to sit down at, and eat, being furnished and well served, as was usual; but this is implied in the preceding clause. Aben Ezra, Saadiah, and Jacchiades explain by songs and musical instruments, harps and psalter, and Saadiah adds girls to sing and dance. De Dieu, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, thinks that incense is meant, which was used at feasts, and in the palaces of princes. And his sleep went from him;
while he was up he could take no pleasure in eating and drinking, and hearing music; and when he was in bed, he could not sleep for thinking what he had done, and what was the case of Daniel.
The king was obviously really concerned for Daniel, and, as someone has once said, fasted for the night hoping the lions would do likewise! There is a very real sense in which this is a picture for us. The New Testament tells us that ‘ your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.’ We, like Daniel, need to remain strong in our faith in the midst of our difficulties. It is also important to not give the enemy reason to justifiably condemn us.
The king spent the night fasting (verse 18). Whether he just couldn’t eat, or refused to as a form of penance, or was actually trying to seek Daniel’s God is not clear. But the next morning, he rushed to the lion’s den and called out to Daniel, “servant of the living God” (verse 20). And Daniel answered back, “O king, live forever!” Though this is a standard way of greeting a king (see Daniel 2:4; Daniel 3:9; Daniel 5:10; Daniel 6:6), it is ironic here because Daniel, who has just been made alive by the God whom even Darius confesses as ‘the living God’ (verse 20), blesses the king with the wish that he should live forever. That is literally possible for the king, of course, only if he comes to know Daniel’s God who is the source of life, as the lion’s den episode shows so clearly.
Neither were instruments of music brought before him – It was usual among the ancients to have music at their meals. This custom prevailed among the Greeks and Romans, and doubtless was common in the Oriental world. It should be observed, however, that there is considerable variety in the interpretation of the word here rendered instruments of music. The margin is table. The word does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures.
Instruments of music – Aramaic dachawan. The word is obscure. In the Bible it occurs only here. The medieval Jewish commentator Rashi explained it to mean “tables”. Ibn Ezra, another Jewish scholar, interpreted the word to mean “musical instruments”. His interpretation may have influenced the translators of the KJV. Among the many other interpretations found in translations and commentaries, all of which are conjectural, the following may be listed: “foods”, “musicians”, “dancing women”, “perfumes”, “entertainers”, and “concubines”. The translation of the RSV, “diversions”, appears to aim at a non-committal reading.
Quite in contrast to Nebuchadnezzar who showed no compassion for Daniel’s three companions when they were cast into the fiery furnace, Darius manifests unusual concern. Although he was accustomed to brutality and execution of criminals and ordinarily did not give the matter a second thought, in this case there was something about Daniel that had involved the king emotionally. While the king had stated to Daniel in verse 16, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee”, it is quite clear that he did not have any real faith in Daniel’s deliverance but only a remote superstition perhaps arising out of stories which had come to him of the escape of Daniel’s companions earlier in Babylonian history as well as of other phenomenal deliverances of the people of Israel. In keeping with his grief for Daniel, the Scriptures record that the king fasted, did not have the usual entertainment of music, and was unable to sleep. The expression instruments of music is in doubt because the meaning of the word is uncertain. Rosenthal suggests as a translation the word table, supported by the Arabian translation and Rashi (commentary). The meaning would be tables on which to serve food. In the present state of knowledge, the Revised Standard Version rendering “no diversions”, although indefinite, is the best that can be done. In any case it was most unusual for the king to spend a night in this fashion. Probably never before in his entire life had the king had such an experience.
So, it was a sleepless night for Darius. He was in no mood for entertainment and had no appetite for food. The future loomed dark as he thought upon the wicked treachery of the men who hated Daniel. The fact that their services would now be forced upon him, at least for a while, drove him to near despair.
But, Daniel says something very interesting later on in his accounts. He quotes the angel Gabriel who said “Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him” (Daniel 11:1). It seems very likely this is the incident he was referring to. In that case, the “angel” God had “sent” in verse 21 to protect Daniel, could be the same one that stood by the king that night, namely Gabriel himself. Can a angel be in two places at once? Probably not but he could surely keep the lion’s mouth’s closed even if he were not immediately present.
And his sleep went from him.
The king spent a sleepless night harassed by the “hounds of heaven”. Without any resources to save Daniel, the king was put in a hard place — forcing him to turn to the only remaining resource: Daniel’s God. No one knows exactly what the king was thinking during the long evening and night while Daniel was in peril, but we believe he offered up prayers and petitions to God — imperfect and ill-informed as they may have been. But isn’t this how God deals with many of us on the path to salvation? God brings us to a place where we reach out to trust in whatever we know of God and He, in turn, promises to respond to seeking hearts and provide greater revelation [94]. Genuineness of need and heart — rather than theological depth and accuracy — are the characteristics of early faith.
• [94] God responds to those who seek Him: Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Psalms 9:10; 24:6; Proverbs 28:5; Isaiah 51:1; 45:19; 55:6; 64:4-5; 66:10; Jeremiah 29:13; John 14:26; 15:15; Acts 10:2-4; 17:27; Hebrews 11:1, 6; James 4:8
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)
The king found himself in a “divine squeeze” with only one place to turn.
The king could not change the law. So he could not save Daniel. Daniel had not obeyed the law, so the king had to punish him. He had to throw him to the lions, because the law said that he must. We can see that the king liked Daniel. He did not want to hurt Daniel. The king hoped that Daniel’s God would rescue him. He knew that Daniel was loyal to his God. That is why Daniel did not obey the king’s new law. The king even had to mark the stone with his ring of authority. Nobody could move the stone in order to rescue Daniel. Even the king himself could not move the stone. Daniel had to spend the whole night in the cage with the lions.
The king was very unhappy. He hoped that God would rescue Daniel. But he did not know if God would save Daniel. The king was worried and he could not sleep.
His sleep went from him: Undoubtedly, Daniel had a better night’s rest than Darius. We can be sure that Daniel prayed in the lions’ den, because it was simply his habit to pray. He did not need to start praying on this remarkable occasion because the habit of prayer was well ingrained in his life.
• When our lives are centred in God, we can ever afford to leave circumstances to the compulsion of the One in Whom we trust. The occasional is always affected by the habitual.
• Perhaps Daniel prayed Psalm 22:21-22: Save Me from the lion’s mouth… I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
• In any case he must have had a glorious night. What with the lions, and with angels all night to keep him company, he was spending the night-watches in grander style than Darius.
Finally, the enemy had their wildest dreams come true. Daniel had been thrown into Lion’s den. At last, the wicked administrators and the satraps thought that they had got rid of Daniel forever. (Daniel 6:19-23)
6:19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
Very early in the morning: Since he could not sleep, Darius could rise very early. We imagine him waiting for the first glimmer of dawn so he could see how Daniel fared.
Very early in the morning. Aramaic shepharpar, “dawn”. “Very early” is really “the glimmer of day;” (shapharpara). The word used occurs in the Targums. The meaning of the passage is clearly revealed in a translation: “The king as soon as he arose at morning dawn, went hastily by the early light”.
Dawn, or, “in the morning with light” as soon as ever light appeared, or the day broke: the word in the Aramaic for morning is doubled, and one of the letters in it is larger than usual. This denotes not only his very great earliness in rising, but his earnestness and solicitude for Daniel, to know whether he was alive or not: and went in haste unto the den of lions;
Perhaps it wasn’t even daylight, but it didn’t matter to Darius because he wasn’t sleeping anyway. We can see him running to see whether or not Daniel’s God really HAD delivered him, for no other way than Divine intervention could possibly save his life. Gabriel, of course, already knew.
The king had not slept well that night, if at all. He had been deceived by his ministers, and his most trusted servant had been set up, falsely accused, and cast into the lion’s den. As powerful as this ruler of the greatest kingdom on earth was, he was powerless to deliver Daniel. Dawn must have welcomed the end of a fitful night. Quickly, he made his way to the lion’s den, calling out to Daniel. The king had every hope that Daniel was divinely delivered.
Evidently, one night in the lions’ den was the minimum sentence the law required, because early the next morning Darius set out to free Daniel – if he had survived. Uncertain about the prophet’s fate, the king called to Daniel, whom he could not see, hoping that he might still be alive. Daniel had apparently told Darius previously that he worshipped the living God. Now Darius wanted to know if this God had been able to save His servant from the lions (cf. Daniel 6:16; Daniel 3:17).
Then the king arose very early in the morning … – No one can doubt the probability of what is here said, if the previous account be true. His deep anxiety; his wakeful-night; the remorse which he endured, and his hope that Daniel would be after all preserved, all would prompt to an early visit to the place of his confinement, and to his earnestness in ascertaining whether he were still alive.
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions
Darius hoped that God would save His servant through a miracle. In some way, Darius recognized God.
The whole action of the king demonstrates faith, however deficient. Had Darius no thought of the possibility of Daniel’s deliverance, he never would have made a trip to the lions’ den, especially not “very early”, probably before dawn.
Darius did not send a servant, but went in person, and with as much expedition as possible, though a king, and an elderly man; this shows the great love and strong affection he had for Daniel, and his concern for his good and welfare.
The liberation of Daniel from the lions’ den was at the same time that of his enemies’ doom.
This topic is also found in Revelation 13–18: God’s people are about to be killed (Revelation 13:15).
However, symbolic Babylon is being judged (Revelation 18:6–7).
6:20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: [and] the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of THE LIVING GOD, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
And when he came to the den, he cried
The language suggests that he did not take time for the stone to be removed from the side entrance, which means that his voice was heard by Daniel through the top opening.
He cried with a lamentable voice – A voice full of anxious solicitude. Literally, “a voice of grief.” Such a cry would be natural on such an occasion.
With a lamentable voice unto Daniel: [and] the king spake and said to Daniel
Lamenting is from “grieving, sorrowfully . . . with a possible implication of regret”. The king cried in a troubled voice from the safety of the perimeter of the pit; Daniel responded in a calm voice from the very centre of danger (verses 20-21).
On the one hand, the king’s actions during the night betray a belief in the possibility, against all odds, that God would intervene to preserve Daniel. Why else would the king rise early to see if Daniel were alive. This is the germination of the king’s faith. On the other hand, it was possible that the natural course of events would take place such that Daniel, like all others previously cast into the den of lions, would be no more. If so, the king would have played a direct and very regrettable part in the demise of his esteemed and valued servant. No doubt, the lament in the king’s voice betrayed all these thoughts swirling in the king’s mind as he rushed to the den.
Lamentable – full of anxiety – the voice betrayed Darius’ inner restlessness, anxiety and bitter remorse.
Lamentable – Aramaic ‘asib, “sad”, “pained”, “full of anxiety”. The voice is an index to the emotions, and it is difficult for people to hide their inner feelings. The king had gone through the ordeal of seeing his most faithful servant thrown to the lions. This dreadful experience was followed by a long, sleepless night. Little wonder that his voice betrayed his inner restlessness, anxiety, and bitter remorse!
Expressing grief and sorrow his heart was full of; it was rather like howling than speaking; thus he cried before he saw Daniel, or heard him speak: when he was at the den.
As the day was dawning and in the dim light of early morning, the king went in haste unto the den of lions. Probably being unable to see because of the early morning light and the shadows of the lions’ den, the king called out to Daniel. The form of address is also most remarkable. He describes Daniel as the “servant of the living God” and raises the question once again, “is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” That the king thought that there was a possibility of it is substantiated by the fact that he came to the den of lions early in the morning and called Daniel. That he had little actual faith, however, is shown in the “lamentable voice” in which he called Daniel. The Aramaic for “lamentable” means “sad”, hence the Revised Standard Version reads “tone of anguish”. He feared that there would be nothing but silence and the growl of the lions in response to his call.
The king shouted very specific words into the lion’s den. Just as he had not wished Daniel “good luck” as he left him the previous evening, his first words to Daniel were pointed: “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
O Daniel, servant of THE LIVING GOD – The God who has life; who imparts life; and who can preserve life. This was the appellation, probably, which he had heard Daniel use in regard to God, and it is one which he would naturally employ on such an occasion as this; feeling that the question of life was entirely in his hands.
O Daniel, servant of THE LIVING GOD, is thy God
Perhaps this is the moment when the king comes fully to faith in the God of Daniel, the God of the Jews (Ruth 1:16), the Holy one of Israel [95].
• [95] Concerning God as the Holy One of Israel: 2 Kings 19:22; Psalms 71:22; 78:41; 89:18; Isaiah 1:4; 5:19, 24; 10:20;  12:6; 17:7; 29:19; 30:11-12, 15; 31:1; 37:23; 41:14, 16, 20; 43:3, 14; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9, 14; Jeremiah 50:29; 51:5; Acts 13:35
The king had probably heard Daniel previously refer to God as “the living God” [96]. This title contrasts the One True God with the lifeless idols of the nations — which are not god [97]. Unlike the idols (and the god of Deism), our God is intimately involved in the everyday matters of life. He numbers the hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7; Luke 21:18), knows when seemingly insignificant creatures perish (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6), and hears those who call out to Him [98]. He is both living and active in the affairs of this world, His world. By preserving Daniel all night amidst the lions, God had demonstrated His active intervention, preventing the mauling and death of Daniel. Daniel’s miraculous preservation in the midst of voracious beasts provided undeniable evidence that the God of Israel is indeed the living God!
• [96] Concerning God’s title as the living God: Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; 1 Samuel 17:26, 36; 2 Kings 19:4, 16; Psalms 42:2; 84:2; Isaiah 37:4, 17; Jeremiah 10:10; 23:36; Daniel 6:20, 26; Hosea 1:10; Matthew 16:16; 26:63; John 6:69; Acts 14:15; Romans 9:26; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 6:16; 1Ti. 3:15; 4:10; 6:17; Hebrews 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; Revelation 7:2.
• [97] Concerning lifeless idols: Deuteronomy 4:28; 32:38; 1 Kings 18:29; 2 Kings 19:18; Psalms 115:4-8; 135:15-17; Isaiah 37:19; 41:25; 44:9; 45:20; 46:7; Jeremiah 2:28; 10:5, 8, 15; 16:20; 51:17; Daniel 5:23; Habakkuk 2:18-19; Acts 19:26; Revelation 9:20; 13:15.
• [98] Concerning God hearing prayer: Genesis 18:21; Exodus 3:7; Deuteronomy 15:9; Judges 6:7; 1 Samuel 7:9; Job 7:9;  Job 22:27; 34:15, 17, 28; Psalms 4:3; 6:8-9; 65:2; 77:1; 102:17; 138:3; 116:1-2; Proverbs 15:29; Acts 9:11; Acts 10:4, 31; 1 Peter 3:12
Servant of the living God – Darius was acquainted with Daniel’s God.
Servant of the living God. The words of Darius reveal a degree of acquaintance with the God and religion of Daniel. The fact that the king spoke of Daniel’s God as the “living God” suggests that Daniel had instructed him concerning the nature and power of the true God.
Is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
The king’s question concerned God’s sovereignty not merely his ability [99].
• [99] Although the peal form of appears here with the meaning able in most translations, a secondary meaning of the root is overpower, overwhelm, subdue (Daniel 7:21). Perhaps the king’s question could be construed as asking whether God  overpowered to deliver — whether He chose to intervene.
That Darius should thus hasten in the semi-darkness of the first glimmer of dawn to the lions’ den to see whether Daniel were yet alive, was but natural. As the sealing of the lions’ den suggested the sealing of the holy sepulchre, so the hastening of Darius to the den in the earliest dawn suggests the action of the women who got up “a great while before day.” When Darius calls Daniel the “servant of the living God,” there is no necessary confession of faith in him on the part of the king. It is for him simply an act of politeness to a Deity who, if this were neglected, might resent. It is to be noted that this attribute “living” is omitted in the Septuagint.
Whom thou servest continually – At all times, and in all circumstances: as a captive in a distant land; in places of honour and power; when surrounded by the great who worship other gods; and when threatened with death for your devotion to the service of God. This had been the character of Daniel, and it was natural to refer to it now. See Daniel 6:16.
The king was now able to ask the agonizing question that had been haunting him throughout the past, sleepless night. His “lamentable” or grief stricken “voice” speaks volumes about the depth of his concern for his faithful servant. At this point in Darius’ career, not only his personal welfare, but the welfare of the whole kingdom trembled in the balance. Without Daniel’s services then being victimized again and again by his scheming, dishonest, and godless administrators and satraps, it would not be long before his nephew Cyrus would be forced to re-invade the city and wrest it again from the hand of the treacherous Babylonians.
Notice the king’s assessment of Daniel’s character. He portrayed him as a consistent, faithful servant, not of the king himself, but of “the living God”. Note the adverb “continually” indicative of consistency which the king much appreciated, especially in view of the gross inconstancy of the other members of his cabinet.
His reference to “the living God” suggests he was beginning to doubt that the “god” he himself was accustomed to serving was not real, let alone “alive”.
Then, the next fundamental question naturally followed: “is he able to do the impossible?” The answer he was about to receive was a profound YES!
Even though this happened more than two thousand years ago, the same God that saved Daniel is still alive and fully able to spare His faithful servants today.
Daniel’s preservation among the beasts foreshadows the preservation of believers and the Jewish nation during the Great Tribulation, when the beasts revealed to the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation hold sway over the world (Revelation 13:1, 11).
Verses 16, 20 What do these verses reveal about Daniel?
• Daniel was highly esteemed by the king.
• The king recognized Daniel as a servant of God and expected from this God’s help and Daniel’s salvation.
• The king did not feel that Daniel‘s faith was a crime against his kingdom. Indirectly he praised him for his religion.
• Daniel did not serve God sporadically but constantly.
6:21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
Then said Daniel unto the king
The word for “spoke” has not been used in the Book before, but always the less expressive “say”. The significance seems to be to emphasize that Daniel actually voiced words to the king; that is, that he was really able to do so [because he was still alive].
Then said Daniel unto the king: When Darius heard Daniel’s voice he knew that he had survived through the night. The lions would not or could not touch this servant of God.
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever – There might be more than mere form in this salutation, for Daniel may have been aware of the true source of the calamities that had come upon him, and of the innocence of the king in the matter; and he doubtless recalled the interest which the king had shown in him when about to be cast into the den of lions, and his expression of confidence that his God would be able to deliver him Daniel 6:16, and he could not but have been favourably impressed by the solicitude which the monarch now showed for his welfare in thus early visiting him, and by his anxiety to know whether he were still alive.
O king, live for ever. The common form of salutation in addressing the king / royalty. See Daniel 2:4.
It is probable that Darius could not see Daniel because of the darkness in the great hole that housed the lions. All he could do was shout and wait for an answer. When it came, what a surge of relief must have swept over him, such was his utter joy.
The king knew the voice, he does not reproach him for delivering him into the hands of his enemies, and suffering him to be cast into that place, which he might have prevented, had he had more resolution; he knew it was done with reluctance, though with weakness; which he does not upbraid him with, but freely forgives him, and wishes him health, long life, and prosperity.
Daniel’s voice was untroubled. He even sermonized a bit from his unlikely chapel amid his subdued animal companions. After greeting the king courteously, he explained that his God had sent His angel who had shut the lions’ mouths (cf. Hebrews 11:33). This may have been the same angel, or the Angel of the Lord, who had visited Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:28). Daniel believed that God had had mercy on him because he had not sinned against God or Darius in what he had done. True, he had violated the king’s edict, but he had not done anything that really harmed the king. God had rewarded Daniel’s trust (Daniel 6:23), which Daniel demonstrated by obeying God’s will. Darius had Daniel extracted from the den, and undoubtedly marvelled that he had sustained no injuries whatsoever (cf. Daniel 3:27). Compare the accounts of Peter and Paul’s releases from prison in Acts 12, 16.
Daniel knew that any defence beforehand was useless. The law couldn’t be changed. He was not going to apologize or make any excuses. Afterward, he was vindicated and took the opportunity to use his influence to reach out to the king, preach God’s saving power, and remind the king of his loyalty to him and even more to God.
In response to the king’s inquiry and to his astounded ears, the calm voice of Daniel arose from the lions’ den with the usual courteous greeting, “O king, live for ever”. Most people in Daniel’s predicament would have immediately cried out for deliverance from the lions. But Daniel, after his greeting, informs the king that the lions’ mouths have been shut by an angel sent by God so that the lions were not able to hurt him. Daniel attributes this not only to the power of God but to the fact that Daniel was innocent of any crime either to God or to the king.
Daniel’s initial response, “O king, live for ever”, seems to indicate more concern for the king than for himself. The “angel” he referred to, who “shut the lions’ mouths”, could well be the same one that “stood to confirm and to strengthen” Darius that same night. That doesn’t mean he had to be in two places at once. Surely, once the angel “shut the lions’ mouths”, they stayed shut whether he remained there or not!
Note, this is the first time on record that Daniel said anything to the king to defend himself. The only One he talked to before being cast into the den was God. We are not told whether or not Darius had quizzed Daniel the previous day while desperately searching for a way to deliver him, but, the king himself may have often witnessed Daniel praying before his open window and knew for certain that the accusation brought against him was true. That could be one more reason he “was sore displeased with himself” (verse 14) when the accusation was brought against Daniel.
6:22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
Daniel does not sound the least surprised. And why should he be? God is in the business of doing miracles. He miraculously caused Daniel and his friends to look healthier after only 10 days in Chapter 1. He miraculously gave Daniel the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s 2 dreams in Chapters 2 and 4. He miraculously delivered Daniel’s friends from the fiery furnace in Chapter 3. And he miraculously wrote on the wall and prophesied the downfall of the Babylonian kingdom in Chapter 5. What are a few lions to God?
The lions’ den was not a scene from a children’s storybook. Some pictures portray the lion’s den as a pretty little place with light streaming in and Daniel pleasantly conversing with the lions or using them as a pillow. The lions’ den was not that pleasant. It was meant to be a place of torture and death. It was likely dark, rank, and filled with human bones. It was designed to be frightening. The text describes a stone rolled over and placed on top. So very likely there were no windows.
The scene makes us recall the words of David hundreds of years before in Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”.
The Scriptures record that the king was overjoyed at the deliverance of his favourite counsellor and immediately gave order that Daniel should be taken up out of the den of lions. Although the Scriptures are not explicit, it may be that by this is meant that Daniel was lifted by means of ropes out of the den directly, without taking time to remove the stone with the necessary prelude of enticing the lions to another part of the cavern first so that they would not escape. To the unbelieving eyes of the king and his servants, Daniel was found to have no hurt whatever because of his faith in God (Hebrews 11:33). Just as the flames had not been able even to bring the smell of fire upon Daniel’s companions in Chapter 3, the lions were not permitted to touch the prophet of God.
What joy must have filled the king’s heart when Daniel responded to his call. Daniel gave glory to God for delivering him through His angel. He also reiterated his innocence of any wrong-doing, linking this to his deliverance.
My God hath sent his angel – It was common among the Hebrews to attribute any remarkable preservation from danger to the intervention of an angel sent from God, and no one can demonstrate that it did not occur as they supposed. There is no more absurdity in supposing that God employs an angelic being to defend His people, or to impart blessings to them, than there is in supposing that He employs one human being to render important aid, and to convey important blessings, to another. Few are the favours which God bestows upon men are conveyed to them directly from Himself, but they are mostly imparted by the instrumentality of others. So it is in the blessings of liberty, in deliverance from bondage, in the provision made for our wants, in the favour bestowed on us in infancy and childhood. As this principle prevails everywhere on the earth, it is not absurd to suppose that it may prevail elsewhere, and that on important occasions, and in instances above the rank of human intervention, God may employ the instrumentality of higher beings to defend his people in trouble, and rescue them from danger. Compare Psalm 34:7; Psalm 91:11; Daniel 9:21; Matthew 18:10; Luke 16:22; Hebrew 1:14. Daniel does not say whether the angel was visible or not, but it is rather to be presumed that he was, as in this way it would be more certainly known to him that he owed his deliverance to the intervention of an angel; this would be to him a manifest token of the favour and protection of God.
My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me
As was the case with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, God sent an angel to safeguard Daniel [100].
• [100] It was Christ Himself that walked with his three faithful servants, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace (3:28). Jesus manifested Himself to John when he was banished to the Isle of Patmos for his faithfulness. It is possible that the ‘angel’ here in (Daniel 6:22) might be the pre-incarnate Christ, who sometimes appears in the Old Testament as ‘the Angel of Yahweh / the Lord’. However, we know from Daniel 10:1 – Daniel 11:1. that it was the angel Gabriel who was visiting Daniel on these occasions. Also it was Gabriel that came to Daniel in Daniel 9:21-23 and told him that he was “greatly beloved”. Therefore, it is almost certain that the “angel” God had “sent” to protect Daniel in the lion’s den was again Gabriel. On many occasions Gabriel, on behalf of Jesus, the Son of God, has come to God’s people at their times of trial.
A teacher once asked a Sunday school class if they thought Daniel was afraid, and one little girl answered, “I don’t think he was scared, ‘cause one of the lions was the Lion of the tribe of Judah who was in there with him”. That child knew her Bible.
See Daniel 3:25.
Daniel takes up the king’s expression, and confirms it; he asserts God to be his God, of which he had given him a proof in sending his angel to him that night; either one of the ministering spirits about him, or the Angel of the covenant, the same with him, said to be like the Son of God, that was seen in the fiery furnace, even the Messiah in human form: and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me;
by taking away hunger from them, or by striking terror into them; so that they had either no inclination to hurt him, or were afraid of him: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me;
either before God, or before his Angel, Daniel appeared to be an innocent and righteous person; therefore the Lord pleaded his cause, and made it to appear that he was just, and his cause good; for this is not to be understood of the merits of his works, and the causality of them to justify and save; for here he is speaking not of the righteousness of his person, but of his cause; and not of eternal, but temporal salvation: and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt:
either to his person or government; nothing that was criminal and sinful, but what was just and right, serving daily his God; and this was plain to the king, what he knew and owned; and though he had acted contrary to the decree the lords had craftily obtained, yet it was not out of disrespect to the king, but in obedience to his God; and in doing of which he had done nothing prejudicial to the king’s interest.
My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths: We don’t know if Daniel saw the angel or not, but he certainly knew that God sent His angel to rescue him. Hebrews 1:14 says angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation. God sent an angel to serve Daniel’s need.
• How the angel stopped the lions’ mouths, whether by the brightness of his presence, or threatening them with his finger (Numbers 22:27, 33), or by presenting unto them a light fire (which things lions are said to be terrified with), or by causing in them a satiety, we need not inquire.
And hath shut the lions’ mouths – It is clear that Daniel supposed that this was accomplished by a miracle; and this is the only satisfactory solution of what had occurred. There is, moreover, no more objection to the supposition that this was a miracle than there is to any miracle whatever, for
• (a) there is no more fitting occasion for the Divine intervention than when a good man is in danger, and
• (b) the object to be accomplished on the mind of the king, and through him on the minds of the people at large, was worthy of such an interposition.
The design was evidently to impress the mind of the monarch with the belief of the existence of the true God, and to furnish in the court of Babylon proof that should be convincing that he is the only God.
Shut the lions’ mouths [101]. Paul, the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews refers to this experience of Daniel and attributes the deliverance of the prophet to the power of faith (Hebrews 11:33).
• [101] Note, for example, the reference to Daniel 6:23 in Hebrews 11:33. Although, Paul, the author of Hebrews is otherwise heavily dependent on the ‘Septuagint’ or the Old Greek, this passage reflects Theodotion’s rendering ‘[God] shut the mouths of the lions’, rather than the Old Greek, which says, ‘God saved me from the lions’. This phenomenon led to speculation about the existence of a ‘Proto-Theodotion’, and recent discoveries have confirmed the view that, for at least parts of the Hebrew Bible, a translation very similar to Theodotion’s was already in use in the first century BC. It may also be noted that in verse 22, where the statement is made that the angel ‘shut’ the lions’ mouth, the Aramaic verb for shut is seghar. It was this fact that gave a name to an angel found in the letter of Hermas, namely ‘Segri’.
Hath shut the lions’ mouths
• (1) He was innocent in the matter
• (2) He trusted in his God. As Psalm 34:7 tells us “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them”.
On two separate occasions, Peter was rescued from prison by an angel (Acts 5:19; 12:7-10). An angel was sent to minister to Paul on a ship in the midst of a storm in response to his intercessory prayer on behalf of the crew (Acts 27:23).
Forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me
Daniel is not claiming to be without sin, but that he consistently lived according to God’s principles. God sent His angel because Daniel’s prayers were heard and Daniel’s prayers were heard because he was living righteously. God’s ear is attentive to the prayers of the righteous [102].
• [102] God hears and responds to the righteous: Job 22:23-27; Psalms 18:19-24; 34:17; 66:18-19; Proverbs 15:29; 1 Peter 3:12
Psalm 18:19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 18:20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 18:22 For all his judgments [were] before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. 18:23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. 18:24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
Conversely, iniquity inhibits God’s response to prayer [103].
• [103] Concerning prayer inhibited due to unrighteous behaviour: Deuteronomy 1:45; 31:18; 1 Samuel 8:18; 28:6, 15; 2S. 12:16; 2 Chronicles 7:13; Psalms 18:41; 66:18; 80:4; Proverbs 1:28; 15:29; 21:13; Isaiah 1:15; 58:3-9; 59:2; Jeremiah 7:16; 11:11, 14; 14:11-13; Lam. 3:8, 44; Ezekiel 8:18; 14:3-5, 14-20; 20:3, 31; Hosea 5:6-7; 11:7; Zechariah 7:13; Malachi 2:14; John 9:31; 1 Peter 3:7, 12.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. (Psalm 66:18)
See Daniel 6:4.
Forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me
• (1) Absolute innocency in reference to the question of guilt on the point in which he had been condemned – he having done only what God approved; and
• (2) general integrity and uprightness of character. We need not suppose that Daniel claimed to be absolutely perfect (compare Daniel 9), but we may suppose that he means to say that God saw that he was what he professed to be, and that his life was such as he approved.
Innocency was found in me – Before being thrown to lions, Daniel’s enemies would have taken any defence as a sign of weakness or fear; now Daniel declares his innocence.
Innocency was found in me – Presumably Daniel had not defended himself or his actions before he was thrown to the lions. Any word spoken at that time might have been interpreted by his enemies as weakness or a sign of fear. Now, however, after God had seen fit to save his life, Daniel chose to declare his innocence.
And also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt – That is, he had in no manner violated his duty to the king; he had done nothing that tended to overthrow his government, or to spread disaffection among his subjects.
And also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt
Daniel had transgressed the king’s decree, yet he had done no wrong because the decree transgressed God’s Higher Law. See Daniel 6:10 and Civil Disobedience and the Christian.
Early in the morning the king hurried to the cage. He called out in an anxious voice. So he may not have expected Daniel to answer. But the king hoped that God had been able to save Daniel. Daniel answered the king. He told him what had happened. God had rescued him, but he had done something more. He had sent his *angel to be with Daniel. The angel did not allow the lions to hurt Daniel. The angel was Gabriel, who was representing Jesus, the Son of God. The king’s unhappy night was worse than Daniel’s, who was with Gabriel and the lions.
Daniel had not obeyed the king’s law. But he told the king that he was innocent. He was loyal to the king. He had obeyed God and God had rescued him.
I done no hurt: Daniel did break the king’s law, but he did not go against the king or against the king’s best interests. Daniel is an example of obedient disobedience.
Because he believed in his God: Daniel was preserved through faith. Though his cause was righteous and he was unjustly accused, those things alone did not protect him before the lions. Daniel needed a living, abiding faith in God, even in the most difficult circumstances.
• Though they were savage and hunger-starved, yet Daniel was kept from the paws and jaws of these many fierce and fell lions by the power of God through faith.
• There is an instructive order here. The power of God sent an angel to protect Daniel in response to a prayer of faith coming from a consistent, abiding walk.
• Because of this faith, Daniel is recognized in Hebrews 11:33 as one who by faith stopped the mouths of lions.
Why did Daniel claim to be innocent only after his salvation?
• If he had claimed innocence before his execution, it could have been interpreted as fear and cowardice.
• It would not have helped anyway because he had transgressed the law.
• Attempts to justify oneself in such a situation create more problems. Jesus did not justify himself either.
We can see that faith can shut the mouths of lions. What lions are you faced with at the moment? What is it that causes you to worry and fear? Sooner or later we will face the lions whether they come in the form of health problems, opposition and slander, financial concerns, or persecution. May we learn as Paul did that even if all else falls around our side, the Lord will still stand with us. No doubt the apostle Paul had Daniel 6 in mind when we wrote:
2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.
God can shut the lion’s mouth, in whatever form it comes. Stand firm in your faith. We look forward to the days in God’s Kingdom; when: The lion, we should much dread and fear here, will then lie down with the lamb, and everything in the New Earth will be peace and harmony.–The trees of the New Earth will be straight and lofty, without deformity. {YI, October 1, 1852 par. 7}
Daniel’s miraculous deliverance from the lions demonstrated God’s power over fallen nature and ability to restore the peaceful relationship originally prevailing between man and animal, and in the age to come [104].
• [104] You wonder how Daniel could have had such courage in this time. You know how he did it? He wasn’t thinking about the lions; he was thinking about the God who made the lions.
Not only were the lions’ mouths shut by the Lord, but their very natures may have been subdued, as during the Flood in Noah’s ark and as during the coming Kingdom, when “the lion will eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11:7; 65:25; cf. Ezekiel 34:25; Hosea 2:18).
This miracle takes its position among that series of marvellous events in Old and New Testament history in which the life and work of isolated distinguished messengers of revelation appear, by virtue of Divine grace, to have restored the paradisaical dominion of man over nature, so that the beasts of the desert yield him a ready obedience as their rightful lord. We class here, prior to the time of Daniel, the ravens of Elijah (1 Kings 17:4) and the bears of Elisha (2 Kings 2:24); and in New Testament times, the sojourning of the Saviour with the beasts of the desert, immediately subsequent to his temptation (Mark 1:13), Paul’s escape from injury by the viper on the island of Malta (Acts 28:5; cf. Mark 16:18).
The miracles in Daniel, as elsewhere, are not merely ‘contrary to nature’ or ‘above nature’. They are primarily ‘contrary to evil’ and the powers of darkness. They are expressions of ‘the powers of the coming era when all evil will be vanquished.
In the same way the preservation of Daniel and his companions demonstrated God’s faithfulness to Israel under Babylonian rule, so too He demonstrates His faithfulness to them under Medo-Persian rule [105]. His preservation of Israel will outlast all the kingdoms of history:
• [105] They communicate God’s faithfulness to His covenant through the preservation of a remnant is still applicable under the Medo-Persian government just as it was in effect during the preceding Babylonian government.
Jeremiah 31:35 ¶ Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, [and] the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts [is] his name: 31:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, [then] the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
The preservation of Daniel amidst the lions (beasts) typifies the preservation of Israel during the reign of the beast during the tribulation (Daniel 7:7; Revelation 13:1-8).
Application – As God did not abandon Daniel to the lions, He will not abandon you either. God is still doing miracles. He still intervenes on the behalf of His people. No matter what dark valley you need to go through, God is there with you. No matter how lonely and abandoned you feel, God will never leave you or forsake you. No matter who stops loving you, God will never stop loving you.
6:23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
The verse that occupies the same place in the Septuagint is not a translation of the present verse at all, but looks as if it had been a sentence in the original longer documents which followed the above Masoretic verse, “Then all the powers gathered together, and saw Daniel, that the lions had not hurt him.” It is possible that the first clause here represents Aramaic text that might have been misread into the Masoretic text. Although it is supported by the later versions, the Masoretic text has a suspicions appearance. The last clause is a moral reflection, unlike anything else in the Book of Daniel, and is omitted, as we saw, from the Septuagint. The assertion of the king’s gladness, too, differs in colour from the other statements in the Book, Compare the language concerning Nebuchadnezzar when the three Hebrew youths who were delivered from the fiery furnace. At the same time, it is to be observed that the use of the hophal form in the verb hoosaq is an evidence of the antiquity of this portion of the verse.
What a contrast! Only a few hours before, Darius had been “sore displeased with himself”, now he became “exceeding glad for” Daniel who was roughly “cast . . . into” the den some hours before by soldiers who thought they would never see him again. Now, perhaps, he was rescued by the same soldiers using a rope, or rope ladder of some kind. Nobody, of course would dare go down to assist him with his escape from the dark hole where the hungry, savage beasts lurked close at hand.
Then was the king exceeding glad for him – On account of Daniel. That is, he was rejoiced for the sake of Daniel that he had received no hurt, and that he might be restored to his place, and be useful again in the government.
Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den
Probably because the king does not wish to wait to have the stone removed, he has Daniel lifted up through the entrance in the roof of the den.
Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den
For Daniel, because of his safety, because he was alive, and in health, and unhurt; and the speech he made was very acceptable to him, agreeable to his sentiments, and which he was satisfied was just and true: or “with”, or “for himself”; being now eased of a guilty and distracted conscience: and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den;
that is, he ordered those that were with him, his servants that attended him, either to roll away the stone, and so let him out; or to let down ropes, and draw him out, or ladders by which he might ascend; for one would think it would not have been safe for them to have gone down into it, to take him up: these orders the king gave without the consent of his lords, being animated to it by the miracle wrought: so Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found
Take Daniel up – the requirements of the royal decree now enacted – to cast Daniel into the den of lions (Daniel 6:7) implied the death sentence rather than the act of execution. Now, no constitutional restrictions prevent the king from removing Daniel from the lions’ den.
So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him
As with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego within the fiery furnace, God’s miraculous intervention was completely effective, “the fire had no power . . . the smell of fire was not on them”. See Daniel 3:27.
So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
No bruises by throwing him into the den, no wound was made by the lions, nor his flesh in the least torn by them: because he believed in his God;
served and worshipped him; of which service and worship faith is a particular branch, and is put for the whole, and without which it is not pleasing and acceptable to God; he trusted the Lord, he committed himself to his power and providence; he left himself wholly in the hands of the Lord, to dispose of him, whether for life or death, as he pleased; he believed he was able to deliver him, but he was not anxious about it: for this seems not to design any particular act of faith, with respect to this miracle wrought for him, but his general trust and confidence in God; and the apostle seems to have reference to this, when among other things he ascribes to faith the stopping of the mouths of lions, (Hebrews 11:33).
However, it must be pointed out that not every faithful servant of the Lord is delivered from trial and death in some miraculous way (See Hebrews 11:1-36).
Because he believed in his God
Daniel’s faith is held up as an example in the  of Hebrews:
And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (Hebrews 11:32-34)
“Faith looks away from earthly circumstance to an omnipotent Lord”.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him. (Psalm 37:39-40)
Daniel’s trust was rewarded. He was able to leave the lions’ den, because the law did not demand death but the lions’ den.
Not only would serious wounds be expected from fang and claw, but, when he was cast into the dungeon, no telling how far he would have fallen, one would expect bruises and contusions, if not broken bones. But, upon examination, no sign of injury of any kind was found. Why? Daniel answers as he writes the account: “because [I] believed in [my] God.
His experience was similar to his three friends who upon emerging from the “burning fiery furnace”, it was seen “the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” in Daniel 3:27.
Why did God allow Daniel to be thrown into the lions’ den and not save him right away?
Possible answers:
• It should help the king to get to know the true God.
• Maybe God wanted to let Daniel have a new experience of His power.
• It happened so that we would be encouraged (1 Corinthians 10:6).
6:24 ¶ And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast [them] into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
Here the Septuagint text is superior to the Masoretic, as briefer, “Then those two men who had borne witness against Daniel, they, their wives, and their children, were east to the lions, and the lions slew them, and brake their bones.” In this account of the punishment meted out to the accusers of Daniel, the victims are only 2, with their wives and children. The phrase “or ever they came at the bottom of the den,” is an intensification of the narrative. In the Masoretic text it is “all their bones;” in the LXX. it is simply “their bones.” Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Masoretic text. The slaughter of the wives and children of offenders, with the guilty persons themselves, was the common practice.
And the king commanded: No one had to ask Darius to do this. He was ready and willing to bring justice to those who plotted against Daniel, and also to their children, and their wives.
• This was obviously severe, but it was also according to ancient customs among the Persians. An ancient writer named Ammianus Marcellinus wrote of the Persians, “The laws among them are formidable… by which, on account of the guilt of one, all the kindred perish”.
• Darius was not happy with these men. He probably would have cast these accusers to the lions even if Daniel had perished in the lion’s den.
And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel [106].
• [106] The Septuagint [Old Greek] makes the victims only the 2 men who were presidents with Daniel, and, therefore, his principal accusers. The 2 fellow-commissioners and their families were cast to the hungry lions.
Accused is from an Aramaic word meaning, “ ‘had eaten the pieces of’. The Aramaic expression is ironic, in that the accusers who had figuratively ‘eaten the pieces of Daniel’ are themselves literally devoured by the lions”.
And the king commanded, and they brought those men, which had accused Daniel … – It would seem probable that the king had been aware of their wicked designs against Daniel, and had been satisfied that the whole was the result of a conspiracy, but he felt himself under a necessity of allowing the law to take its course on him whom he believed to be really innocent. That had been done. All that the law could be construed as requiring had been accomplished. It could not be pretended that the law required that any other punishment should be inflicted on Daniel, and the way was now clear to deal with the authors of the malicious plot as they deserved. No one can reasonably doubt the probability of what is here said in regard to the conspirators against Daniel. The king had arbitrary power. He was convinced of their guilt. His wrath had been with difficulty restrained when he understood the nature of the plot against Daniel. Nothing, therefore, was more natural than that he should subject the guilty to the same punishment which they had sought to bring upon the innocent; nothing more natural than that a proud despot, who saw that, by the force of a law which he could not control, he had been made a tool in subjecting the highest officer of the realm, and the best man in it, to peril of death, should, without any delay, wreak his vengeance on those who had thus made use of him to gratify their own malignant passions.
With much pleasure, the king gave orders to remove Daniel from the lion’s den. With great indignation, the king also gave orders to arrest those who had maliciously accused Daniel, along with their families, and had them cast into the den of lions. While they could not harm Daniel, they would perform as expected with anyone else. God not only delivers His people from their enemies, He also delivers their enemies to the judgment they deserve for oppressing His people.
‘May you prosper greatly! I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. ‘For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves;  he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.’
The king then issues a new order. “Without any judicial hearing or trial, King Darius, absolute monarch that he was, ordered Daniel’s accusers to be haled before him and then cast with their families into the pit they had conspired to have Daniel thrown into. Presumably Darius considered them guilty of devising the decree that could have deprived the king of his most able counsellor. Furthermore, they had lied to the king when they had averred that ‘all agreed’ (verse 7) to recommend this decree, when Daniel (the foremost of the administrators) had not even been consulted in the matter”. Yet what of the families? “What Darius did seems arbitrary and unjust. But ancient pagan despots had no regard for the provision in the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 24:16): ‘Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin’. Perhaps Darius acted as he did to minimize the danger of revenge against the executioner by the family of those who were put to death”.
The king applied the law of retaliation (Latin: lex talionis) and cast his friend’s accusers into the very den in which they had placed Daniel (cf. Genesis 12:3; Esther 7:9-10; Galatians 6:7). Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered and crushed them.
What Darius did seems arbitrary and unjust. But ancient pagan despots had no regard for the provision in the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 24:16): ’Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin’. (Even in Israel this humanitarian rule had been flouted, as when Abimelech ben Gideon had nearly all his father’s sons massacred, or when Queen Athaliah nearly exterminated the Davidic royal line and Jehu had all Ahab’s sons decapitated.)
The effects of people’s sins touch others beside themselves. The execution of the evildoers’ family members seems unfair and cruel, but it reflects the principle of corporate solidarity that was common in the biblical world.
The punishment meted out conforms to the injunction about the treatment of false witnesses in the law (Deuteronomy 19:16-21). This principle of the law of retaliation (Latin: lex talionis) is also illustrated in the case of Haman (Esther 7:9-10).
The judgment of God was also an important detail in the miracle, lest some critic suggest the lions were tame or toothless or not hungry.
Take note of an important rule of biblical interpretation. Recording the historical narrative of what happened is not an endorsement. The Mosaic law specifically forbids children from being punished for their parent’s sins and vice-versa.
The king was happy that Daniel was miraculously rescued. But he knew his ministers deceived him into condemning Daniel to death. His fury burned against all of them. In his fury, he ordered not only the conspirators but their wives and children also to be thrown into the Den of Lions. They perished in the same trap they set for Daniel. (Daniel 6:24)
So, since “those men” had to be “brought”, it is unlikely they were standing by. Rather, they were probably sleeping comfortably dreaming of the plans they had in mind now that Daniel was out of the way. What a terrifying surprise awaited them when soldiers entered their homes, seized the whole family, and ushered them to the same hole in the ground where they had thrust Daniel.
the number cast – probably much less than 122 (Daniel 6:1&2) – not everyone was involved with the plot.
They cast them. The angry king acted in the fashion typical of despots of his day. Ancient history gives many examples of such actions. Some critical commentators have tried to show that the narrative is unhistorical by claiming that the den in which the lions were kept could not have been large enough to receive 122 men with their families; further, that there could not have been enough lions in Babylon to eat so many victims. However, the Bible nowhere states that this was the number condemned to death. These critical scholars have drawn the unnecessary conclusion that every one of the 120 princes and the two presidents of verses 1, 2 were involved in the unfortunate experience. It is pure speculation to say how many were involved in the matter.
Daniel’s enemies are punished – The ones who conspired against Daniel were punished in exactly the same way they had desired for Daniel. The outcome reinforces the Biblical principles that you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:8, Proverbs 28:10).
Certainly, it was good for the kingdom to get these officials out of leadership who so opposed God. He also had their families killed.
And they cast [them] into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives
Here we meet with another aspect of the Chapter critics claim as unhistorical: that all 120 satraps and their families were cast into the den — a number too big to commit to the den [107]. But this is an assumption on their part — the text doesn’t state how many families were executed [108]. It seems likely only a subset of Daniel’s peers were executed [109].
• [107] It is difficult to envisage a pit big enough to contain the five hundred or more people apparently envisaged by Daniel 6:25.
• [108] That the entire body of 120 satraps was cast into the den is a purely gratuitous assumption. The accusers were only a small group of special enemies of Daniel, Daniel 6:25.
• [109] The Septuagint translates the passage so that only the 2 other men who were overseers or presidents with Daniel, and thus his principal and basically responsible accusers, were the victims.
As we’ve already noted, it is certain that not all governmental leaders mentioned in the Chapter were party to the plot — some, like Daniel, were likely absent [110]. Among those who were present in the city, there were only a few ringleaders responsible for pushing through the decree, watching Daniel’s house, and turning him in [111].
• [110] Since they lied about the full support of the commissioners it is highly probable that many if not most of the 120 satraps were likewise ignorant of this cunning plot.
• [111] Not all the 120 princes, and the 2 presidents; but the chief of them, who were most busy in getting the decree signed; watched Daniel’s house, and what he did there; brought the charge against him to the king. By the accusers we are not to think of the 120 satraps together with the two chief presidents, but only of a small number of the special enemies of Daniel who had concerned themselves with the matter. The Scriptures do not say that all the princes and presidents were cast into the den of lions, but only those who accused Daniel, that is, the ringleaders. This served notice on the rest, if they had any further inclination to plot against Daniel, that they too might experience the wrath of the king as well as the judgment of God. The experience of the false accusers of Daniel is another illustration of God’s faithfulness to the basic Abrahamic Covenant where God promised to bless them who blessed Abraham’s seed and to curse him who curseth them (Genesis 12:3). No one who interprets the account reasonably would venture to assert that all the 120 satraps plus their wives and their children are to be thought of as having perished so miserably. Perhaps the active agents numbered only a handful, and they were recognized as the prime movers of the assault upon Daniel.
Them, their children, and their wives – This was in accordance with Oriental notions of justice, and was often done. It is said expressly by Ammianus Marcellinus, to have been a custom among the Persians: “The laws among them (the Persians) are formidable; among which those which are enacted against the ungrateful and deserters, and similar abominable crimes, surpass others in cruelty, by which, on account of the guilt of one, all the kindred perish”. So Curtius says of the Macedonians: “It is enacted by law that the kindred of those who conspire against the king shall be put to death with them.” Instances of this kind of punishment are found among the Hebrews (Joshua 7:24; 2 Samuel 21:5 and following), though it was forbidden by the law of Moses, in judicial transactions, Deuteronomy 24:16. Compare also Ezekiel 18.
The king then punished Daniel’s enemies. He punished their families too. That was the law of the *Medes and *Persians. The king’s servants threw the evil men and their families to the lions. The lions killed them before they reached the bottom of the deep cage. This shows that the lions were hungry. Although the lions were hungry, they had not hurt Daniel. God really had saved him.
Their children. Both Herodotus (iii. 119) and Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiii. 6, 81) testify that consigning to death the wives and children along with condemned men was in accordance with Persian custom.
While they richly deserved to be “cast . . . into the den”, we cringe to hear “their children, and . . . wives” shared the same fate. Such barbaric cruelty is horrifying and difficult to even imagine.
Children is “their sons”. “ ‘Children’ literally is ‘sons’ and may indicate that only the sons were executed, although the term often includes daughters as well (e.g., ‘sons of Israel’)”. Since the wives were killed, it seems the daughters were included. Otherwise, the issue arises of caring for the orphaned daughters.
Exacting judgment against an entire family appears to have been a practice of ancient Persia. “Although cruel, executing wives and children with the guilty man was the practice according to Persian custom, a policy that must have been carried out in part to prohibit retaliation from family members”. “It is said expressly by Ammianus Marcellinus (23, 6, 81), to have been a custom among the Persians: ‘The laws among them (the Persians) are formidable; among which those which are enacted against the ungrateful and deserters, and similar abominable crimes, surpass others in cruelty, by which, on account of the guilt of one, all the kindred perish’”. Herodotus describes the case of another Persian king who executed family members of the guilty man [112] [113].
• [112] [Darius I] seized Intaphrenes with his sons and all his household — for he strongly suspected that the man was plotting a rebellion with his kinsmen — and imprisoned them with the intention of putting them to death. Then Intaphrenes’ wife began coming to the palace gates, weeping and lamenting; and by continuing to do this same thing she persuaded Darius to pity her. For her sake he released the one for whom she had asked [her brother], and the eldest of her sons as well; he put to death all the rest.
• [113] Bardiya, the son of Cyrus II the Great and brother of Cambyses II, remains one of the most controversial kings of Persia. On his deathbed, Cyrus made Bardiya satrap of the eastern provinces, while Cambyses II became king. According to later sources, shortly before his own death in 522 BC, Cambyses II had Bardiya executed out of jealousy but kept it secret. While Cambyses was still away in Egypt, Bardiya, or a Median Magi named Gaumata pretending to be Bardiya, began a revolt in Media which soon spread to other parts of the empire. Since Cambyses II had been a despot, and this Bardiya promised to remit all taxes for 3 years he was greeted with open arms. Before Cambyses II could act he died of an infected wound [he received a wound to the thigh, which was soon affected by gangrene. Cambyses died three weeks later at a location called Agbatana, which is most likely the modern city of Hama] and Bardiya became undisputed King of Persia.
However, a group of seven Persian noblemen decided to overthrow him as they felt he favoured the Medes too highly, having transferred the seat of government to Media, and claimed he was an imposter named Gaumata. The seven conspirators —Otanes, Intaphrenes, Gobryas, Hydarnes, Megabyzus, Aspathines, and Darius — murdered Bardiya at one of his fortresses in Media in 522 BC..
Some see this as an overly-harsh response on the part of Darius — the natural result of a culture uninformed by the Law of Moses: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16) [114].
• [114] This savage act accorded with the customs of those times; contrary to the Divine law which enacted that ‘the fathers should not be put to death for the children, nor the children for the fathers’ (Deuteronomy 24:16).
Ancient pagan despots had no regard for the provision in the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 24:16): “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin”. (Even in Israel this humanitarian rule had been flouted, as when Abimelech ben Gideon had nearly all his father’s sons massacred [Judges 9:5], or when Queen Athaliah nearly exterminated the Davidic royal line [2 Kings 11:1] and Jehu had all Ahab’s sons decapitated [1 Kings 19:17; 2 Chronicles. 22:7-8]).
We can agree that ancient despots did not follow the Mosaic Law [115], but there’s more to this issue than ignorance of Deuteronomy 24:16 — as can be seen from the last example Archer has given above: Jehu exacted judgment upon the sons of Ahab in accord with God’s will (1 Kings 19:16-17; 2 Kings 9:2-10). The Bible records numerous examples of judgment involving families or entire cultures:
• [115] Most ancient kings would have no knowledge of the Law of Moses.
• At the time of Noah’s flood, all families, with the exception of those of Noah and his sons, were killed.
• When Abimelech took Abraham’s wife Sarah, God told Abimelech that if she were not restored to Abraham that “you shall surely die, you and all who are yours” (Genesis 20:7).
• When Achan violated God’s command, his entire family was taken in judgment (Joshua 7:24-25).
• When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against Moses, their families were taken in judgment (Numbers 16:27-33).
• When the children of Israel refused to enter the Promised Land, their children suffered, “Your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness” (Numbers 14:33).
• When Haman was killed for plotting against Esther and her fellow Jews, the ten sons of Haman were killed (Esther 9:10-14) [116].
• [116] In the case of Haman’s sons, they may been guilty of planning or participating in the plot of their father.
The children of the son’s of Anathoth who threatened Jeremiah lost their lives due to famine when God’s judgment fell upon their fathers (Jeremiah 11:22).
When Israel entered the promised land, there were numerous cases where God commanded the destruction of women and children (Numbers 31:17; Deuteronomy 2:34; 3:6; 7:16; 20:16; Joshua 6:21; 8:25; 10:28-40; 11:8-14; 1S. 15:3; 22:19; 27:9; Ezekiel 9:6).
How could God give instructions upholding individual responsibility (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18) while sanctioning judgment of entire families and people groups? The answer is found in God’s omniscience.
The instructions given by God through Moses in Deuteronomy 24:16 pertain to judicial action by human representatives enforcing the Law of Moses. They place limits upon who bears responsibility for lawless deeds: namely, the individual. In other situations, like those listed above, it is God who directly initiates judgment. His omniscience provides a divine perspective we lack. His judgment may seem harsh—even unjust from our perspective—especially where women and children are involved. But God knows the heart of each individual and their destiny. Unlike us, He knows what children will grow up to be.
Though Darius was not instructed by God to destroy the families along with the men, the situation may have been similar to the Canaanites whom God instructed Israel to purge from the Promised Land.
What kind of parents do we have here displayed in Persia? Manipulators, liars, murderers, unchecked and unhinged; do you know what those kids would have become? Manipulators, liars, murderers because as the saying goes, “the apple does not fall far from the tree”. You think the wives are innocent? Show me the woman behind the man and I’ll show you the man. Wives have far more influence over their husbands, for good or bad, than they could possibly fathom. And this is why God saw, I believe, this whole picture, these people were gone. I mean, there was no opportunity for a change of life, they were just as guilty as their husbands, they were just as guilty as their parents and so the whole crowd there is thrown into the lions’ den, because the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Was that the case here? Only God knows. But it does help us reconcile the seemingly mixed-message within Scripture concerning judgment of individuals verses families and people groups. Judgment of families and people groups does not violate the principle of individual responsibility if their judgment is sanctioned by God. In such cases, God’s divine foreknowledge concerning the destiny of individuals within the group necessitates and justifies their judgment: He remains a just and perfect God.
The wives and children were probably innocent. But they died too because Daniel’s enemies did an evil thing.
They were killed for intentionally manipulating and misleading the king with false intentions, not to mention attempted manslaughter [117]. Kings like Nebuchadnezzar and Darius were sovereign in imposing the death penalty (Daniel 5:19). Daniel’s accusers now reaped what they had sown (Psalms 7:15; 9:15-16) [118].
• [117] From the standpoint of plain justice it can hardly be denied that the death penalty is in many cases just retribution for those who are guilty of attempted manslaughter.
• [118] The same principle appears in Psalm 7:15, ‘He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made’. ‘The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made; in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. Jehovah is known by the judgment which He executeth; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands’ (Psalm 9:15-16).
When accusing Daniel before the king, his accusers had singled out his nationality as a Jew (Daniel 6:13). Now, like Haman in Esther’s time, they find themselves on the receiving end of God’s solemn promise to the Jews, beginning with Abraham (Genesis 12:3) and extending through Isaiah and Jacob (Genesis 27:29; Isaiah 49:26), not only to “bless those who bless you”, but to “curse those who curse you” [119]. As with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Daniel’s preservation is evidence of God’s ongoing promise to preserve Israel.
• [119] Illustration of God’s faithfulness to the basic Abrahamic Covenant where God promised to bless them who blessed Abraham’s seed and to curse him who curseth them (Genesis 12:3). The incident is one of many in Scripture that illustrates God’s fidelity to the Abrahamic Covenant, where blessing is promised those who bless Abraham’s posterity, with cursing for those who mistreat them (Genesis 12:3). Concerning God’s promise to bless those who bless and curse those who curse the descendants of Abraham, Isaiah, and Jacob: Genesis 12:3; 27:29; Exodus 23:22; Numbers 22:12; 23:8; 24:9; Esther 9:5, 10-14, 16; Isaiah 41:11-12; 49:25-26; 51:22-23; 54:15-17; Jeremiah 2:3; 30:16; 51:5, 24, 49; Ezekiel 25:3-8; 35:5, 12-13, 15; 36:5-7, 16; Joel 3:1-2, 7; Obadiah 1:10-14; Matthew 25:40-41, 45.
Their children, and their wives – It is not necessary to conclude they were all thrown in at once.
And the lions had the mastery of them – As the Divine restraint furnished for the protection of Daniel was withdrawn, they acted out their proper nature.
And the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den
The contrast between the fate of Daniel and of his accusers illustrates the miraculous nature of God’s intervention on Daniel’s behalf. The voraciousness of the lions undercuts natural explanations for Daniel’s survival in their midst.
The sad end of Daniel’s accusers is recorded as an act of divine justice upon the enemies of the prophet of God. According to the Scriptures, Daniel’s accusers with their wives and children are cast into the lions’ den and immediately devoured by the lions. Such barbarity is common in the ancient world, and not without parallel even in God’s divine judgment upon the wicked as illustrated in the judgment of the Lord upon Dathan, Abiram, and Korah when they and their families were swallowed up in an earthquake (Numbers 16). The punishment meted out conforms to the injunction about the treatment of false witnesses in the law (Deuteronomy 19:16-21). This principle of lex talionis is also illustrated in the case of Haman (Esther 7:9-10).
And the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
The lions seized them at once; and though they did all they could to defend themselves, fighting with them; yet the lions were too powerful for them, and overcame them, and not only tore off their flesh, but broke their bones in pieces, and that as they were falling, before they came to the bottom, or the lower part of the den. This was plain proof that it was not through fulness, or want of appetite, that the lions did not fall upon Daniel and devour him: this affair happened in the first year of Darius, 538 BC.
The lions had the mastery of them before they ever came to the bottom of the den: This proved that it was genuinely angelic protection that saved Daniel. It proves there was no natural reason why the lions did not eat Daniel. Daniel’s accusers perished in the same trap they set for Daniel.
• This illustrates the work of the cross in reverse: the guilty were punished in the place of the innocent.
• This also illustrates a principle of spiritual warfare. God will cause our enemy to be impaled on the same snare set for us (Psalm 7:14-16).
And brake all their bones in pieces or ever … – literally, “they did not come to the bottom of the den until the lions had the master of them, and brake all their bones.” They seized upon them as they fell, and destroyed them.
Not all the hundred and twenty princes, and the two presidents; but the chief of them, who were most busy in getting the decree signed; watched Daniel’s house, and what he did there; brought the charge against him to the king, and were most solicitous and urgent to have the decree put in execution against him: and they cast them into the den of lions;
the servants of the king, who were sent to fetch them, and who brought these by the king’s orders, cast them into the same den of lions that Daniel had been in: thus often the pit wicked men dig for others, they fall into themselves; so Haman man was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai: them, their children, and their wives;
which might be according to the laws of this monarchy in capital offences, relating to affairs of state, as this was for an accusation of a prime minister of state, to take away his life; though such things were common with arbitrary princes, for the terror of others; so Haman and his sons were hanged up by Ahasuerus: this may seem cruel and inhuman, though it might be that the wives and children of these men advised them to do what they did, and were encouragers and approvers of it. Josephus relates, that the enemies of Daniel, when they saw no hurt came to him, would not ascribe it to the providence of God, but to the lions being full of food; upon which the king ordered much meat to be given them, and then the men to be cast in to them, to see whether because of their fulness they would come unto them or not: and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces.
Application – Sow the right types of seeds in your family, work, church, and neighbourhood and you will reap a blessed and fruitful harvest.
6:25 ¶ Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
Then king Darius wrote: The Book of Daniel follows a familiar pattern. God’s people stand firm in their convictions, God honours and protects them, and the testimony of God’s work makes the ungodly see and tell of the greatness of God.
• Daniel and his three friends stood firm and Nebuchadnezzar saw the fruit of it (Daniel 1:20).
• Daniel boldly and wisely interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the king honoured Daniel and his God (Daniel 2:46-47).
• Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego stood firm and Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to God (Daniel 3:28-30).
• Daniel boldly told Nebuchadnezzar the truth and the king humbled himself and gave glory to God (Daniel 4:34-37).
• Daniel stood firm and boldly told Belshazzar the truth and the king honoured Daniel (Daniel 5:29).
• The point is plain: when we stand firm in godly convictions and honour God even when it costs something, others will see the testimony and be impressed.
Then king Darius wrote unto all people. He ordered them to give honour to Daniel’s God. Now Darius knew that Daniel’s God was the real God. One day Darius and Daniel would die, but God will never die. One day Darius’s *kingdom would end. God’s *kingdom will never end. Darius gave honour to the real God. He knew that God had saved Daniel from the lions. Nobody else could have done that.
Then king Darius wrote unto all people … – Compare Daniel 2:47; Daniel 3:29; Daniel 4:1. If there is a probability that Nebuchadnezzar would make such a proclamation as he did, there is no less probability that the same thing would be done by Darius. Indeed, it is manifest on the face of the whole narrative that one great design of all that occurred was to proclaim the knowledge of the true God, and to secure his recognition. That object was worthy of the Divine interposition, and the facts in the case show that God has power to induce princes and rulers to recognize his existence and perfections, and his government over the earth.
Being thoroughly convinced of the miracle, and of the powerful interposition of divine Providence in it, and of the omnipotence of God, and of his concern in the government of the world; that all might be acquainted with the same, wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages
The phrase encompasses all within the influence of the regime and was also employed within Nebuchadnezzar’s edicts (Daniel 3:4, 7, 29; 4:1; 5:19). See Daniel 4:1.
Keep in mind that Darius’ nationality was Mede while he was ruler of the defeated Babylonians. Since the 120 princes and 2 presidents had been selected from among the Babylonians, their execution could have been misconstrued by the Babylonians, as well as all the other “people, nations, and languages” of the then-known world, to mean the king was now going to take vengeance on the rest of them by instituting a rule of fear and oppression. Hence the need for a reassuring message that the king bore them no animosity. In fact, according to verse 14, he took the blame for the whole thing upon himself. No wonder “the reign of Darius was honoured of God!” [120].
• [120] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 556
That dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you
Earth is from a word meaning “nation, land of a socio-political group” (Daniel 6:26).
It should be pointed out that the Aramaic word, like the Hebrew equivalent, may signify only “land or country”, rather than having the wider significance. So construed, the term presents no difficulty at all. Yet it should also be pointed out that part of the ancient titulary of the king of Babylon ever since the time of Hammurabi was the phrase “king of the universe” (“king of all”). In his decree, therefore, Darius the Mede may simply have been following ancient custom in using terminology which implied a theoretical claim to universal dominion.
When in Chapter 6:25, Darius made a decree for “all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth he may have meant merely for that part of the Persian empire over which he ruled.
That dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you
Darius was the head of the Babylonish monarchy, which included many nations and people of various languages; and which was increased, and still increasing, by the victories of Cyrus, who was partner with him in the empire; see (Daniel 3:4 Daniel 3:29) : peace be multiplied unto you; an increase of all kind of prosperity; an usual salutation or wish with the eastern people.
6:26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he [is] THE LIVING GOD, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end.
Only days before this king had proudly declared himself to be a god. He demanded prayer from his subjects and forbade prayer to anyone or anything else. And yet now he does a complete 180-degree turn, commanding his subjects to fear and revere the “God of Daniel”. He proclaims that Daniel’s God is the “living God” and that His kingdom will last forever, unlike his own kingdom which he knew was temporary. He ascribes miracles to God. Not only was the king himself convinced of this. But he issues a decree proclaiming this for circulation throughout the whole kingdom.
Because of one man’s conviction and refusal to compromise, a beacon of light is shown for the entire kingdom to see. How many lives were touched and changed because of Daniels’ firm faith? It’s almost countless.
Not only were many lives changed then, but lives are also still being changed now almost 2600 years later. Many scholars believe that the magi who went to visit Jesus after His birth were familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures and Yahweh largely because of Daniel’s influence in the Persian kingdom.
I make a decree. After the wonderful deliverance of Daniel’s friends from the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar had issued an edict to all the nations of his kingdom forbidding them, on pain of death, from saying anything against the God of these Hebrews (Daniel 3:29). In similar manner, in consequence of the miraculous preservation of Daniel in the den of lions, Darius gave out an edict commanding all the nations of his realm to fear and reverence Daniel’s God. We need not necessarily conclude from this that the king personally departed from the polytheism of the Medes. Darius acknowledged the God of Daniel as the living God, whose kingdom and dominion are everlasting, but it is not stated that he acknowledged Him as the only true God.
Note that Darius’ “decree” was far less threatening than Nebuchadnezzar’s which warned “That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill” (Daniel 3:29). While Nebuchadnezzar’s decree mandated annihilation, Darius’ did not go that far. He toned it down considerably by only recommending, rather than mandating great respect for Daniel’s God.
He reversed the mandate of the previous ruling that he negligently signed by redirecting all worshipful petitions from himself to “the God of Daniel”, confirming Him to be “the living God” whose rule will never end. What a declaration from a man, who, for all we know, was heathen from birth! He seems to have much in common, character wise, with Nebuchadnezzar who had an “innate sense of justice and right”. [121]
• [121] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 556
Much as Nebuchadnezzar had done in Chapter 3 and again in Chapter 4, Darius issued a decree to be sent throughout his entire domain calling on men everywhere to fear the God of Daniel. The inscription in which the decree is addressed to “all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth” is quite similar to Daniel 4:1. It may be in both instances that Daniel was the actual penman acting under command for the king, or it may be that the unknown penman is following the usual form of letter writing. In both cases, the king took for granted that the world was at his feet, and he used extravagant language including the entire world in his address. The expression “Peace be multiplied unto you” is identical to that found in Daniel 4:1, and almost reminds one of the letters of Paul in the New Testament.
The decree was short and to the point calling on men everywhere in the kingdom of Darius to “tremble and fear before the God of Daniel”. Daniel’s God is described as the living God, One who is steadfast, whose kingdom shall not be destroyed and whose dominion continues to the end. The Revised Standard Version rendering “enduring forever” is probably more explicit than “stedfast for ever”. The point is that in a rapidly changing situation — that is, the Medo-Persians overcoming the Babylonians — God does not change. Again, this is remarkably similar to Daniel 4:3. In substantiation of this ascription of sovereignty and power, God is described as One who is able to deliver and rescue, who is able to work signs and wonders both in heaven and in earth, and who has confirmed this by delivering Daniel from the power of the lions. Verses 26-27 are in the form of a hymn in the original. Once again throughout the world of Daniel’s day, the tidings were carried of the great God who is living, powerful, everlasting, and greater than the gods of the pagans.
This decree has a resemblance to the decrees of Nebuchadnezzar. In the Septuagint there is less magniloquence, though the divergence is too great to be the result merely of difference of reading, “Then Darius wrote to all nations and tongues and countries dwelling in all his land, saying, Let all men who are in my kingdom stand and worship, and serve the God of Daniel, for he alone abideth, and liveth to generations of generations for ever. I Darius will worship and serve him all my days, for none of the idols that are made with hands are able to deliver as the God of Daniel did Daniel.” It is to be observed that it is only to the inhabitants of his own land that Darius writes, and further, it is “all men in his kingdom” he commands, not “every dominion in his kingdom.” There is no notice taken of the kingdom of God; it is God himself who liveth and abideth for ever.
The last verse, again, in the Septuagint, in which Darius professes his faith in Jehovah, is evidently spurious. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Masoretic text. Removing the exaggerations from it, the decree of Darius does not mean any more than we found in the decrees of Nebuchadnezzar; it is simply a warning against showing any disrespect to a Deity with such formidable powers as Jehovah.
It may be regarded as connected with the dualistic view of the universe, that deliverance from lions is spoken of with such awe. The lion was one of the beasts specially representative of the evil principle, as we see in Persepolis. There was evidence given that the God of the Jews was supreme over the powers of evil; therefore, without forbidding any subject of Babylonia from worshipping his own ancestral divinity. Darius yet commanded him, in so doing, to watch his conduct, so that nothing disrespectful to the powerful God of the Hebrews should be done by him.
The king’s decree is similar to that of his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar. It sounds something like the Hallelujah chorus! How can such words come from anyone other than a true believer in the God of the Jews? The decree, like that of Nebuchadnezzar, is addressed to all the people of his kingdom, and perhaps anyone else who would hear and heed it.
It acknowledges the God of Daniel as sovereign. Darius declares that Daniel’s God is a far greater king than he, and that God’s kingdom is much greater than his earthly kingdom. He is the one who delivered Daniel. By inference, He is also the One to whom men should rightly address their petitions. Since God had done what the king could not do in delivering Daniel, God is the One whom men should worship and the One to whom their petitions in prayer should be made.
That in every dominion of my kingdom. This explains who are meant by all people, nations before mentioned; namely, such as were within his dominions; for to no other could his decree reach: this decree is very different from that he had made a few days before, forbidding any man to ask anything of any god or man for the space of a month; but now his order is, that men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel;
that they would serve with fear and trembling, and reverence and adore the God that Daniel served and worshipped; and who manifestly appeared to be his God, and to be the true God, by his wonderful deliverance of him: for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever;
that has life in himself, and is the author and giver of life to others, and ever remains so, without any variation or shadow of turning; he is everlasting and unchangeable, permanent and immutable in his nature; steady and steadfast in his purposes and promises, in his conduct in the government of the world, and in the course of his providence: and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion
I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel
Scripture instructs us to “Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling” (Psalms 2:11). Not only is the fear of the Lord an essential foundation for knowledge and wisdom (Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33), but a disincentive to sin [122].
• [122] Concerning the fear of God: Genesis 31:42, 53; Exodus 1:17; 15:11; 20:20; Deuteronomy 5:5; Deuteronomy 8:6;  31:12-13; Joshua 4:24; 2S. 23:3; 1 Kings 18:3; 1 Chronicles 13:12; 2 Chronicles 19:7, 9; Nehemiah 5:15; Job 1:1; 9:34;  23:15-16; 25:1; 28:28; Psalms 5:7; 25:12-14; 33:18; 34:7-9; 72:5; 76:11; 89:7; 115:13; 119:38; 111:10; 119:120; 128:4;  145:19; 147:11; Proverbs 1:7; 2:5; 3:7; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17; 24:21; 31:30; Ecclesiastes 5:7; 8:12; 12:13; Isaiah 8:13; 11:3; 33:5; 50:10; 57:11; 59:19; Jeremiah 5:22-24; Habakkuk 3:16; Luke 12:5; Acts 9:31; 10:2,  35; 2 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Peter 3:15; Revelation 19:5.
Exodus 20:18 ¶ And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off. 20:19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20:20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
That in every dominion of my kingdom – Every department or province. The entire kingdom or empire was made up of several kingdoms, as Media, Persia, Babylonia, etc.. The meaning is, that he wished the God of Daniel to be honoured and reverenced throughout the whole empire.
Men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel – That they honour and reverence him as God. There is no certain evidence that he meant that he should be honoured as the only God; but the probability is, that he meant that he should be recognized as a God of great power and glory, and as worthy of universal reverence. How far this pagan monarch might still regard the other deities worshipped in the empire as gods, or how far his own heart might be disposed to honour the God of Daniel, there are no means of ascertaining. It was much, however, that so great a monarch should be led to make a proclamation acknowledging the God of Daniel as having a real existence, and as entitled to universal reverence.
The God of Daniel: In a small way, this helps us diagnose Darius’ spiritual condition. It isn’t enough to say, “the God of Daniel”. Saving faith says, “the God of Darius”.
Darius then issues a new decree that Daniel’s God, the living God, be honoured. Perhaps this was after the original 30-day decree had expired. As for Daniel, his position as prime minister was now secure, and he apparently continued in it until his retirement a few years later.
For He [is] THE LIVING GOD
“Daniel’s God is alive and shows that he lives by the way he acts in history, responding, like a real person, to the requirements of justice and the needs of his people” “He calls him ‘the living God’, not only because he has life in himself, but out of himself, and is also the origin and fountain of life. This epithet ought to be taken actively, for God not only lives but has life in himself; and he is also the source of life, since there is no life independent of him”. See Daniel 6:20.
How familiar was Darius with “the living God” of Israel?
Some see this statement merely as evidence Daniel helped compose the decree — believing the phrase too Scriptural to be found in the mouth of the king. For them, the testimony of Daniel’s life, along with his miraculous preservation amidst the lions, was insufficient to turn the heart of the king in faith.
Expositors have pointed out that the king did not disown the gods of Babylon in the decree, nor speak of himself as rendering worship to Daniel’s God. While this is true, it is likely, from his desire to issue the decree, that Darius did experience a personal conversion; something which may have been true with respect to Nebuchadnezzar.
Both of these kings, it is true, raised the God of Judea above all other gods, and praised the everlasting duration of His dominion (see Daniel 3:29, 32 [4:2], and Daniel 4:31 [28], 6:27 [26]).
This passage does not prove the real conversion of King Darius, and his sincere adoption of true piety. He may have continued to worship his own idols, but thought it sufficient if he raised the God of Israel to the highest rank. This would imply that Darius was never truly converted, and never distinctly acknowledged the true and only God, but was seized with a blind fear, compelling him to attribute the supreme honour to Israel’s God.
The king now makes public what he had previously confessed after having come to faith when finding Daniel alive amidst the lions.
This king had every hope that Daniel was divinely delivered. His subsequent actions show that he was now a true believer in the God of the Jews.
Would Darius, this pagan king, now a good king that wanted to do right, have ever come to a faith in God / Yahweh / Christ, had he not seen God tangibly demonstrated through a very weakened and infirm Daniel? It is doubtful that Darius would have come to a saving faith.
Daniel 6:25 we read, “Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.” Now Darius hasn’t learned the principle that you can’t force a conversion but he’s going to try to force a conversion. He was probably converted at this point and like some people, wanted to go out and make everybody else trust God.
For he is the living God – An appellation often given to God in the Scriptures, and probably learned by Darius from Daniel. Darius would not have attached all the ideas to these phrases as Daniel did, nor which we would. The attributes here ascribed to God are correct and the views expressed go far beyond any that prevailed by Darius at that moment.
And stedfast for ever
Steadfast is from a word meaning “enduring, abiding; pertaining to exist and so remain in a (sure) state”.
God is not capricious: Malachi 3.6 For I [am] the LORD, I CHANGE NOT; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
And stedfast for ever – That is, he is always the same. He ever lives; he has power overall; his kingdom is on an immovable foundation. He is not, in his government, to cease to exist, and to be succeeded by another who shall occupy his throne.
And his kingdom what shall not be destroyed … – See the Daniel 4:3 and Daniel 4:34. The similarity between the language used here, and that employed by Nebuchadnezzar, shows that it was probably derived from the same source. It is to be presumed that both monarchs expressed the views which they had learned from Daniel.
And his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed
This phrase is supplied by the translators and not in the original, but the concept is clearly in the passage. God’s kingdom is the one-and-only one that will last — all other kingdoms will pass away, “be destroyed”.
The enduring nature of God’s kingdom is one of the main themes in the  of Daniel (Daniel 2:44; 4:3; 7:14, 18, 24) in contrast with the impermanent kingdoms of man. The “kingdoms of this world” rise, rule for a period, and then fall, in a recurring cycle throughout history. But this dismal record will one day end when the kingdom of God eclipses all other kingdoms.
Daniel 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he {Jesus} shall reign for ever and ever.
{kingdoms: God and Jesus, as reigning kings, in their time-frame, each have a kingdom.}
And so we continue to pray, Matthew 6:10, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.
Darius’ proclamation joins the chorus of other Old Testament passages which find non-Jews extolling Israel’s God: Rahab (Canaanite, Joshua 2:11), Ruth (Moabitess, Ruth 1:16) the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:9; 2 Chronicles. 9:8), Naaman (Syrian, 2 Kings 5:15), Hiram (of Tyre, 2 Chronicles. 2:12), and Nebuchadnezzar (Babylonian, Daniel 2:47; 3:28-29; 4:2-3, 37).
And his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed
Unto the end of time, other kingdoms will he destroyed. His will not; all other rule, dominion and authority will be at an end but his will continue for ever; his kingdom is an everlasting one This doctrine Darius had learned from Daniel, as Nebuchadnezzar before had done. See Daniel 2:44 and Daniel 4:3.
Application – When you make a stand for God, it will also make a difference. Firstly, it will help you to grow in your own spiritual journey. Beyond that, it will be a light to the people around you. Small actions of obedience to God can make a great difference in His kingdom. In what area do you need to make a stand for God?
6:27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
He delivereth and rescueth
Up to this point in the Book of Daniel, God has rescued:
• Daniel and his companions from the possible disfavour of the steward of the chief of the eunuchs (Daniel 1:9-16)
• Daniel, his companions, and the wise men from destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:19-23)
• Daniel’s companions from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:23-27)
• Nebuchadnezzar from madness (Daniel 4:36-37)
• Daniel through a change of regimes from Babylon to Persia (Daniel 5:31) [123].
• [123] It was commonplace for high-ranking officials of a former regime to be deposed along with the ruler.
• Daniel from the lions’ den (Daniel 6:20-22)
He delivereth and rescueth – As in the case of Daniel. This attribute would of course be prominent in the view of Darius, since so remarkable an instance of his power had been recently manifested in rescuing Daniel.
And he worketh signs and wonders … – Performs miracles far above all human power. If he had done it on earth in the case of Daniel, it was fair to infer that he did it also in heaven. Compare the notes at Daniel 4:2-3.
And he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth
Among His signs and wonders found on earth in Daniel’s lifetime, we find the miraculous preservation of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego amidst the fiery furnace and Daniel amidst the lions.
Who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions
From the power of the lions is “from the hand of the lion”. David used the equivalent Hebrew phrase in his testimony to Saul concerning how God had delivered him from the paw of the lion when defending his sheep (1 Samuel 17:37).
Paul appears to allude to this Chapter in his letter to young Timothy: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Timothy 4:17).
The power of the lions – Margin, hand. The hand is the instrument of power. The word paw would express the idea here, and would accord with the meaning, as it is usually with the paw that the lion strikes down his prey before he devours it.
The “signs and wonders in heaven” Darius mentions suggests familiarity with God’s workings in many other instances that he was familiar with other than Daniel’s current deliverance from the lion’s den. The strong possibility of his knowledge of Nebuchadnezzar’s decrees some 44 years earlier, suggest he must have known much about other happenings of that great king’s experience as well. And thus, because he was a believer in the true God long before, he was challenged with this most recent crisis.
As he did the three companions of Daniel from the fiery furnace, and now Daniel himself from the lions’ den: and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth;
which are out of the common course of nature, and not according to the laws of it; such as hindering the natural force of fire from burning, as in the case of the three children; and stopping the mouths of lions from devouring Daniel as follows: who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions;
or “from the hand” of them; from their destroying paws, and devouring jaws; which was nothing less than a miracle, and a proof of the divine omnipotence and of his power of doing wonders.
6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
The Septuagint follows a different reading, “And King Darius was gathered to his generation. And Daniel was established in the reign of Darius, and Cyrus the Persian inherited the kingdom” – a reading due to the influence of Xenophon’s ‘Cyropaedia’. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Masoretic text. There is no character in Scripture who has given rise to more hypotheses than Darius the Mode. Josephus implies that Darius is Cyaxares II, as he declares him to be a relative of Cyrus and son of Astyages. Eusebius identifies him with Astyages. We must look at what is said about Darius the Mede in Daniel. He received the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years of age. He was the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes. From the fact that only the “first” year of his reign is mentioned, we may deduce that he reigned little more than a year. He appears in the Masoretic text especially as a supreme monarch, who appoints governors under him.
Chapter 1 closed with the observation, “Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus” (Daniel 1:21). Daniel’s consistent living, in accord with God’s principles, gave him favour. It preserved his life through multiple regime changes during the Babylonian empire and during the reigns of both Darius and Cyrus during the Medo-Persian empire. This is all-the-more exceptional given his role as a high-ranking advisor to several rulers. See Daniel 1:21.
This last verse 28 notes that Daniel continued to enjoy success during the reign of Darius [Darius died naturally on 27 October 538 BC] and the reign of Cyrus. Cyrus’ first full year as king of Babylon was 537 BC, and this is when Daniel’s career in government service ended (Daniel 1:21). This was the same year that Cyrus issued his decree permitting the Jews to return to their homeland. Daniel received the revelations of Chapters 10-12 in the third year of Cyrus’ reign (Daniel 10:1), but he was no longer in government service then.
Although historical and to be accepted in its literal portrayal of an event, this Chapter 6 is also parabolic like Chapter 3 and is a foreshadowing of the ultimate deliverance of the people of Israel from their persecutors in the time of the great tribulation at the end of the times of the Gentiles. When the power of God is finally demonstrated at the second coming of Christ, the persecutors of Israel and the enemies of God will be judged and destroyed much like the enemies of Daniel. Like Daniel, however, the people of God in persecution must remain true regardless of the cost.
The first 6 Chapters of Daniel contain his “court tales.” Rationalistic critics of the Book are quicker to grant them a sixth-century date of composition than they are the remaining 6 Chapters, which are more explicitly prophetic. Conservative scholars agree that there is ample historical, linguistic, and literary evidence for a sixth-century date for these Chapters.
In the first part of this Book, Daniel presents the situations out of which his theology has grown, and the lessons are plain for all to see. But from the very fact that his God is in control of time and circumstances in heaven as well as earth, any experience of His deeds, is valid for all time and even for eternity (Daniel 6:26). It is on this firm theological understanding that the revelations of the second part of the Book are made.
So this Daniel prospered: This is the last link in a long chain set through this Chapter. We can see Daniel progressing along this path:
• Plotted against.
• Praying.
• Praising.
• Persistently serving.
• Persecuted.
• Protected.
• Preserved.
• Preferred.
• Prospered.
So this Daniel prospered: One of the greatest blessings to come from Daniel 6 is to see the events unfold and point to Jesus Christ. Consider this:
• A man without blame, faithful to God in all his ways, a man noted for prayer, was sent to his death because of the jealousy of those who wanted to prevent his exaltation.
• He was condemned to death by plotting of his enemies and the law of the land, and thrown into a stone room meant to be his tomb.
• A stone was rolled over the opening[s]. But in all its power and ferocity, death couldn’t touch him.
• On a morning the stone was rolled away, and Daniel was raised up out of the den; he glorified God, the king gave honour to God and decreed that his subjects do likewise, and Daniel’s accusers were judged.
• That’s a pretty good message – the message of both Daniel 6 and Jesus the Messiah.
This Daniel, of whom so much has been said in all the preceding Chapters, and who had been so lately and so wonderfully delivered from the lions’ den, the same flourished throughout the reign of Darius the Mede. He continued as a favourite with the king; retained his honour and dignity; and kept his posts and places of trust and profit. Darius the Mede reigned two years. Then reigned Cyrus II the Great, the Persian;
who was the son-in-law of Darius, and inherited the kingdom after Darius had died; which is true, for he married the daughter of Cyaxares II / Darius the Mede who was his uncle, and succeeded him as sole monarch of the empire, Darius reigned with him for about two years. Darius the Mede had the government of the Babylon-ish monarchy; and when he died [27 October 538 BC], it solely devolved to Cyrus II the Great, who then reigned for eight years [Cyrus died 4 December 530 BC]. Daniel was in the same favour with this prince as the former, who in the first year of his reign proclaimed liberty to the Jews to return to their country, and build their temple; whether Daniel lived throughout his reign is not certain; he was alive in the third year of it, as appears from (Daniel 10:1).
In the reign. The repetition of these words does not indicate a separation of the Persian kingdom from the Median, but merely a distinction of rulers, one being a Mede and the other a Persian. The sentence construction allows interpretations that make Cyrus either a co-ruler with, or successor to, Darius.
Darius did not live long after witnessing Daniel’s deliverance for he died “within about two years of the fall of Babylon” after which “Cyrus succeeded to the throne” [124].
• [124] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 557
We can be sure that many exciting episodes transpired in the life of Daniel other than what he chose to describe during the Darius’ “first year”. However, Daniel, being a modest person, chose to leave the rest to our imagination. An important point to recognize is that the year “Cyrus succeeded to the throne . . . marked the completion of the seventy years since the first company of Hebrews had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar from their Judean home to Babylon” [125].
• [125] Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, pages 556-557.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius – That is, to the end of his reign. It is fairly implied here that he was restored to his honours.
Daniel ‘prospered’ apparently means that he was elevated to the second highest position in the land under Darius, received great honour among the people, and was blessed in material ways.
Few courtiers have had so long a reign, served so many masters without flattering any, been more successful in their management of public affairs, been so useful to the states where they were in office, or have been more owned of God, or have left such an example to posterity. Where shall we find ministers like Samuel and Daniel? None so wise, so holy, so disinterested, so useful, have ever since appeared in the nations of the earth.
Daniel lived beyond the rule of Darius, at least until the third year of Cyrus (Daniel 10:1) in 534 BC.
Most likely, God used Daniel as a significant influence in the life of Cyrus, leading to the Decree of Cyrus in 536 BC, ending the captivity of Jews in Babylon and allowing them to return to Jerusalem. See Daniel 10:1.
As for Daniel, the record says, he prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. How much his influence had to do with the issuing of the decree later on, permitting the Jews to return to Jerusalem, we know not, but there can be little doubt that his voice would be heard by Cyrus in the matter.
And in the reign of Cyrus the Persian – Cyrus the Great, the nephew and successor of Darius. For an account of Cyrus, see Isa 41:2. How long during the reign of Cyrus Daniel “prospered” or lived is not said. During a part of the reign of Darius or Cyaxares, he was occupied busily in securing by his influence the welfare of his own people, and making arrangements for their return to their land; and his high post in the nation to which, under Divine Providence, he had doubtless been raised for this purpose, enabled him to render essential and invaluable service at the court. In the third year of Cyrus, we are informed Daniel 10-12, he had a series of visions respecting the future history and sufferings of his nation to the period of their true redemption through the Messiah, as also a consolatory direction to himself to proceed calmly and peaceably to the end of his days, and then await patiently the resurrection of the dead, Daniel 12:12-13. From that period the accounts respecting him are vague, confused, and even strange, and little or nothing is known of the time or circumstances of his death.
These closing words in Chapter 6 inform us that while the careers of Daniel’s enemies came to an abrupt halt, Daniel’s life was preserved. His effective ministry continued, not only throughout the administration of Darius, but also into the reign of Cyrus, through whom God would deliver the captive Jews back to their land to rebuild the temple.
This message ends, as previous ones in the Book did, with the king praising and promoting Yahweh. This expression of praise, however, surpasses the others (cf. Daniel 3:28-29; Daniel 4:3; Daniel 4:34-35; Daniel 4:37). Not only did Darius personally praise God, but he ordered his subjects to do the same thing (cf. Daniel 3:29; Daniel 4:1). It is as though God was giving two witnesses to His people Israel: Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. Both monarchs testified to the living and eternal God’s unshakable sovereignty, grace, and power in heaven and on earth (cf. Daniel 4:3; Daniel 4:34-35). These testimonies certainly would have encouraged the Israelites to trust Him in spite of the circumstances of the exile.
Once again, during this time of Israel’s helplessness with her survival in doubt, Yahweh of hosts acted redemptively to strengthen his people’s faith in him. On the eve of their return to the Land of Promise under the leadership of Zerubbabel, God reassured them that he was still the same as in the days of Moses and was able to take them back to Canaan, where they could establish a new commonwealth in covenant fellowship with him.
The Chapter closes with a brief historical note that Daniel continued to prosper in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Here again critics have attempted to claim an inaccuracy. The probable explanation is, as has been previously pointed out, that either Darius was a governor under Cyrus and later delivered the kingdom to him, possibly at his death, or that Darius and Cyrus were the same person with the word and understood as meaning “even”.
Daniel epitomized the call Jesus would later give to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) in our workplaces. Even Daniel’s enemies had to admit, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God” (Daniel 6:5). This meant that he was able to confront difficult situations with truth, and actually bring about change. This happens several times when Daniel and his friends take a careful stand for the truth and it leads to a new decree by the king (Daniel 2:46-49; 3:28-30; 4:36-37; 5:29; 6:25-28).
Daniel’s success in bringing about change demonstrates that God cares about the everyday issues of governance in a broken society. Just because God intends to replace the current regime eventually, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about making it more just, more fruitful, more liveable now. Sometimes we don’t engage with God in our work because we believe that our work doesn’t seem important to God. But each decision is important to our God, and every worker needs to know this. The question that the theology of Daniel presents the worker is, “Whose kingdom are you building?” Daniel excelled in his occupation labouring on behalf of the world’s kingdoms, and he maintained his integrity as a citizen of God’s kingdom. His service to the pagan kings was his service for the purposes of God. Christian workers must labour well in the here and now, knowing that the significance of our labour both resides in and transcends the here and now.
The next 6 Chapters revert back from Darius’ first year time frame of this Chapter, to “the first year of Belshazzar” in Chapter 7, then the “third year” of Belshazzar in Chapter 8, then to the “first year of Darius” in Chapter 9 (the same in this Chapter), then ahead to “the third year of Cyrus” in Chapter 10.
They all deal primarily with the wonderful encounters Daniel experienced with the angel Gabriel and the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ. The phenomenal wonders related have transfixed the attention of Bible scholars for more than 2500 years ever since they were written.
Rather than becoming outdated and obsolete, the passage of time has continued to substantiate the fact that God, who knows the “end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10) is the real author of these dreams and visions. We all do well to pay close attention to what Daniel put to writing in the 6 following Chapters of the wonderful Book of Daniel. Not only does it outline past history with wonderful precision, we can be fully confident that the many things it outlines for the future, are equally reliable.
In the meantime: “Stand like Daniel, that faithful statesman, a man whom no temptation could corrupt. Do not disappoint Him who so loved you that He gave His own life to cancel your sins. He says. ‘Without Me ye can do nothing’. Remember this, If you have made mistakes, you certainly gain a victory if you see these mistakes and regard them as beacons of warning. Thus you turn defeat into victory, disappointing the enemy and honouring your Redeemer” [126].
• [126] Christ Object Lessons by Ellen G. White page 332
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON CHAPTER 6
Darius the Mede was Cyaxares II, the son of Astyages. Compare the statements in PK 523, 556, 557 concerning Cyrus as the nephew and general of Darius with Xenophon’s claim that:
• (1) Cyrus, Astyages’ grandson through his mother Mandane, had become acquainted with his uncle Cyaxares during the years Cyrus spent at the court of his Median grandfather;
• (2) that Cyaxares followed his father on the throne as king of Media, after the latter’s death;
• (3) that when Cyrus had conquered Babylon he visited his uncle with gifts and offered him a palace in Babylon; that Cyaxares accepted the presents, and gave Cyrus his daughter as well as the kingdom.
The following is a summary of Scripture statements concerning Darius:
• 1. Darius was a Mede by descent (Daniel 5:31; 9:1; 11:1).
• 2. He was “the son of Ahasuerus” (Daniel 9:1).
• 3. He was “made king over the realm of the Chaldeans” (Daniel 9:1), hence, “took [or ”received“ (RSV)] the kingdom” (Daniel 5:31).
• 4. He was “about” 62 years old at the time Babylon was captured (Daniel 5:30, 31).
• 5. Only his first regnal year is noted (Daniel 9:1; 11:1).
• 6. He appointed “an hundred and twenty princes” (literally “satraps”) over the whole kingdom, with “three presidents” as their superiors (Daniel 6:1, 2).
7. Cyrus II the Great either followed Darius or reigned at the same time (Daniel 6:28).
From this evidence the following picture of Darius emerges: After Babylon’s fall the Babylonian Empire was ruled by Darius, perhaps during the first part of the reign of Cyrus, as counted in Babylon. Darius, a son of Ahasuerus (Greek, Xerxes), is called a Mede in contrast with Cyrus, who is called a Persian (Daniel 6:28). He was already 62 years of age when Babylon was conquered, and died shortly afterward.
No known non-Biblical sources except those based on Daniel, such as Josephus, mention a Darius as ruler of the conquered Babylonian Empire prior to Darius I (522 BC – 486 BC). Future finds may bring to light direct references to Darius the Mede. Josephus claims that the Darius of the Book of Daniel “had another name among the Greeks” (Antiquities x. 11. 4).
It seems that the Greek writer, Xenophon, has preserved correctly the fact that Cyaxares was the last Median ruler, and that he was Cyrus’ father-in-law as well as an intimate friend of the great Persian. Accepting these points as historical facts, we see that Cyrus, upon rebelling against Astyages, permitted Cyaxares to rule as a shadow king to please the Medes. At the same time everyone in the kingdom would know that the actual sovereign was Cyrus, and that Cyaxares was a mere figurehead. In that case Darius the Mede may be identified with Cyaxares II, who, presumably, had come to Babylon at Cyrus’ invitation to act in an honorary capacity as king.
Daniel’s statement that Darius was the “son” of Ahasuerus should be understood as meaning that he was the “grandson” of Ahasuerus. That the Hebrew word for “son” may mean “grandson”, or an even more remote descendant, can be abundantly demonstrated (see 2 Kings 8:26). The English form Ahasuerus is from the Hebrew ’Achashwerosh, which might possibly be a rendering of Uvaxshtrah, the Old Persian spelling of Cyaxares I, but not of Astyages.
Assuming that after his arrival at Babylon, Darius became a special friend of Daniel’s, it is understandable that the prophet would date the visions received during this brief reign in terms of Darius’ regnal years (Daniel 9:1; 11:1), rather than of the regnal years of Cyrus II. However, after the one year credited to Darius, Daniel dated events in terms of the years of Cyrus’ reign (Daniel 1:21; 10:1).
Summary of Chapter 6: This Chapter, depicting Daniel’s harrowing experience in the den of lions because of his refusal to comply with a decree making it illegal to worship his God, is another example of the test and trials of God’s people throughout time, but particularly during the final hours of earth’s history. Daniel’s brave adherence to the worship of God and his integrity in doing the business of administration in the midst of those who wished him harm is not only awesome, but is a demonstration of the possibilities existing for any who love and serve God with all their heart. King Darius himself, in spite of his weakness when he succumbed to what we could call a Satanic “rushed job”, exhibited a mind set similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s in that he did the best he could to accommodate his rule to God’s expectations.
At this point, we come to the end of the narrative portion of the Book of Daniel. While we could say that Chapter 2 is partly narrative and partly prophetic, it is clear that the remaining 6 Chapters are prophetic and that they follow the basic outline of history laid out in Nebuchadnezzar’s image dream of Chapter 2. In the meantime, Chapter 6 completes the description of four basic categories of human character and behaviour patterns:
• (1) Daniel and his three friends represent the first pattern of those who love and serve God regardless of consequences.
• (2) King Jehoiakim and Daniel’s fellow captors who were supposed to be followers of God, were really apostate hypocrites who misrepresented God.
• (3) King Nebuchadnezzar and king Darius, as well as Melzar and perhaps even Arioch, and Cyrus represent heathen or pagan men who seek the truth wherever they can find it and live up to it to the best of their abilities. God deals with them in mercy in spite of their backgrounds.
• (4) King Belshazzar and his father Nabonidus, as well as the magicians, sorcerers and astrologers, represents the last group who despise God and His righteousness altogether.
We will see these four character and behaviour patterns illustrated both symbolically and literally in the remaining Chapters of Daniel and even more graphically in the Book of Revelation.
Lessons from Chapter 6
Chapter 6 of Daniel contains numerous lessons we can apply in our own lives.
Timeless Principles for Living: The Chapter closes with the words, “Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (Daniel 6:28). Daniel had previously prospered within the Babylonian empire (Daniel 1:9, 19-20; 5:29). During his lifetime, numerous kings came and went — yet he remained alive, even obtaining favour with each new ruler [127]. As God’s children, we can rest knowing if we live according to God’s principles, He will show Himself faithful to guide and provide for us. This will not always be according to our expectations, but we needn’t get caught up in re-arranging our priorities or way of life to appease the powers that come and go during the times in which God has placed us. This is part of what it means to build one’s house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-25; Luke 6:48). This way of life requires a high view of (and trust in) God’s sovereignty, but the rewards are great: including stability and the peace of God (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7). “The Book of Daniel is a book of wisdom; it is a book that is designed to equip us with principles for living in the kingdom of man. The kingdom of man is the structure that sinful men try to erect in society.
• [127] Daniel prospered living under 7 successive rulers: Nebuchadnezzar, Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach), Neriglissar, Labashi-Marduk, Nabonidus, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus.
There are certain things to recall about the kingdom of man. First of all, that it promises men the opposite of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is promising men an eternal destiny in God’s presence forever. The kingdom of man is promising man independence from God; that man can be free, free of God’s laws, free of God’s judgment. We shall find no better defence against the envious and the slanderous than to conduct ourselves righteously and innocently. 
From early youth Daniel gave himself to God, and was very strict not to defile himself with anything questionable or contrary to God’s law. Here was the first and grand planting for a true and successful life. There is nothing like an early rooting and grounding in the truth and in the fear and love of God. This was the spring of Daniel’s greatness. This was his shield and buckler in the midst of his adverse surroundings. This steadied him for one of the sublimest careers that ever was run by mortal man. Nor can a young man or woman possibly do a better or a wiser thing for the successful running of the race of life, wherever or whatever it may be, than to give the heart to God, to live and die cleaving always and above all to His Word and laws.
Favour with God and Man – “Daniel distinguished himself . . . because an excellent spirit was in him” (Daniel 6:3). Daniel obtained favour from others while faithfully serving God. He did not strive to distinguish Himself, but obtained favour by his godly character and God’s design. Those who follow Christ’s example will naturally be recognized as model citizens and productive employees. Daniel focused on following God’s principles and obtained favour as a result. We can too.
A Natural Testimony – In convincing the king to establish the new law, the government officials knew exactly how to entrap Daniel. Afterward, they knew what they would find: Daniel continuing to pray “as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel did not compromise, but neither did he change his behaviour to provoke his critics. Daniel was neither a “closet” nor “in-your-face” Christian. Instead, his consistent faithfulness provided a natural testimony. And so it should be with us!
Faithfulness will be Attacked – The uncompromising faithfulness of believers to God becomes the one “fault” God’s enemies can reliably leverage against them — once society-at-large accepts the skewed morality of God’s critics. “We are taught, also, by this example, how snares are prepared for the sons of God, however circumspectly they act, and however soberly they conduct themselves”. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Pragmatism verses Principle – As Christians, we are frequently faced with temptation to compromise. An appeal to pragmatism is a common strategy of our adversary. We can learn from how Daniel responded to similar pressure. The law prohibiting prayer to any god or man except Darius was enacted for a limited time period — 30 days (Daniel 6:7, 12).
How easy it would have been for Daniel to change his customary behaviour and avoid publicly transgressing the law, perhaps by shuttering his upper windows during his times of prayer. Daniel’s high view of God’s sovereignty allowed him to walk by principle over pragmatism, resulting in an effective witness before a pagan king and culture. This was only possible because Daniel placed his ultimate destiny entirely in God’s hands. Like Daniel, believers are to walk according to God’s principles and leave the results to God. 
It’s the Word of God first, promotion second. This is where a lot of men in business make a big mistake, and you get yourselves promoted into a situation and because you compromised to get the promotion now you’re really in a mess because now you’re in a situation where you’ve got to compromise more to keep your position. When somebody offers you an advance or a promotion and it’s conditioned, you cut it off right there; that is part of your testimony and you goof if you don’t make your stand at that point. The more and the longer you compromise the worse it gets to dig yourself out from the mess that you get yourself into. So make it clear, put your cards on the table at the very beginning or just part company. 
We are to ascertain what is right and proper; and then we are modestly and firmly to do it, no matter what may be the consequences. Daniel’s life serves as a text example of consecration to God first and foremost while trusting in Him to resolve the remaining issues.
Importance of Prayer – Daniel found himself from dawn to dusk busy with the affairs of administrating the largest kingdom the world had ever seen. Remember how big the Medo-Persian Empire was, stretching all the way to Thrace in the West, all the way to the Indus River in the east, all the way south to the border of Egypt; can you imagine the administrative tasks.
Imagine the trade and its income alone; imagine the deployment of military soldiers; imagine all the logistics needed; imagine the patrols that had to be sent out to make sure that things were okay in all the thousands and thousands of miles of frontier.
Think of all that, and that was what preoccupied Daniel, yet in spite of all the preoccupations of his job, Daniel demonstrated something else: he was never too busy for the Word, and he had no place to go to learn the Word unless he learned it from Ezekiel, he had to pick it up on his own, he didn’t use the excuse a lot of men do, oh, you don’t know my job, my job is so demanding, I just don’t have time for anything.
Daniel gives a pretty good argument; Daniel would say, “You think you’re busy, you ought to have been in my job”. Remember Psalm 55 isn’t just written by any believer, it was written by one of the busiest believers in the Old Testament. David had to administer his kingdom and yet these ‘busy’ men do find time daily, every 8 hours, to take a break and get in the Word.
Life-long Service to God – One principle is that there is really no such thing as retirement for the believer; not in terms of your spiritual life. There may be a time to step back and to change your responsibilities and to change your role in relationship to whatever energy, talents and abilities you have as you get older but in Daniel’s case God clearly brought him out of retirement and God promoted him.
Daniel has been out of the public eye for 23 years. When Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 BC Daniel probably retired at that point. Whenever a new administration comes in they normally bring in new people, and Daniel is out of the public eye from 562 BC until 539 BC. So for a period of 23 years Daniel has been in semi-retirement. We don’t know what he did, he’s been silent, we know there were a few times in there when God gave him a special revelation regarding the flow of human history, but he’s out of the picture, he’s in retirement and all of a sudden God is going to come along and bring this 84 year old man out of retirement and put him back in an incredible position.
As long as there is breath in your lungs and your heart is beating, it doesn’t matter what your age is, God has something He wants to do in and through your life. You never disqualify yourself from usability by God simply because of age. You might retire from a job but all that does is free your time and resources up to be used elsewhere. So there is no such thing as retirement in God.
The way to deal with the crises of life is to establish godly disciplines in the routine times of life, and then to refuse to depart from them in times of crisis. We know little of the godly discipline evident in the life of Daniel. Some believe men do extraordinary things at times of crises. There may be some truth in this perspective, but times of crisis are those times when great men continue to persist in the good things they have practiced all along.
Christian Balance – Daniel didn’t just pray, pray, pray, but he served. You know some people are like that; they have this mindset it’s just me and God, I’m in prayer, all I need is God and my Bible and I’ll sit under a tree and I’ll just cut myself off from the body of Christ. That’s not the life of Daniel. Daniel was a prayer warrior but he was also a servant. Other people are like this: they serve to the point of exhaustion, and yet they never get into communion with God where they need their batteries recharged. If you’re not getting into communion with God through prayer, getting your batteries recharged, you will exhaust yourself serving the Lord — the balance in the Christian life. Daniel was a man of intimacy with God but not just that, he vigorously served God.
Chapter 6: Questions and Answers
• (1) How did the king feel about Daniel and why? How does this explain his rise to power under this Median king, when he had formerly served the Babylonian kings?
The king held Daniel in very high regard. It seems likely that the king learned of Daniel through past dealings with him, or by means of some of the historical records of Babylon. Daniel did not rise to power solely on the basis of his past accomplishments, however. Because of the extraordinary spirit (“Spirit” ?) within him, he continued to distinguish himself above all of his associates. Both in character (honesty, trustworthiness, and loyalty) and in practical skill and wisdom, Daniel overshadowed his peers and thus gained the king’s respect and trust. It seems as though Daniel had become a friend to the king and not just an employee.
Daniel was submissive to the government under whose authority God placed him. Thus, he could as easily be a loyal supporter of Darius as he had been of Nebuchadnezzar.
• (2) How did Daniel’s peers feel about him, and why?
Daniel’s peers may have respected him at first. They may have looked down on him because he was a Jew. But once Daniel rose to power, they quickly began to fear him and regard him as their enemy. This was because Daniel was not only more capable, and about to be put in authority over them, but also because he was a man of honesty and integrity. For this reason, they knew that Daniel would not tolerate the corruption which had become their practice. Their corrupt administration would end soon after Daniel’s promotion, and they knew it.
• (3) How were Daniel’s enemies able to get him in trouble?
To their dismay, Daniel’s enemies learned there was no basis for any accusation against Daniel. He was diligent and faithful in the execution of his duties — far more than they! He was also free from corruption. They concluded the only way they could accuse Daniel would be to pass a law which contradicted the Old Testament law Daniel faithfully observed. They knew that if Daniel had to choose between God’s law and the law of the land, Daniel would disobey human law.
They proposed this new law to the king as though all of the officials, including Daniel, had been consulted and approved. They persuaded the king to think the law would serve his best interests, without revealing to him their true motivation. Because it was proposed as a “law of the Medes and the Persians”, it could not be revoked or reversed. Since it was a law in effect for only 30 days, the king may not have considered this legislation very carefully.
• (4) How did the king respond to the news that Daniel had broken the new law he had just signed? Why?
The king was surprised and greatly upset. He seems to have known he was deceived and used by his officials, and that he had made a foolish decision in signing the proposed law. He appears convinced that Daniel was innocent of any real crime. He probably recognizes by this time that the whole matter was a scheme cooked up by some of his other officials, so that Daniel’s promotion could be aborted. The one man in whom the king had complete confidence was now charged with a crime. Perhaps worst of all was the king’s growing realization that there was nothing he could do to stop Daniel’s execution.
• (5) Why was the king unable to help save Daniel?
The king was bound by the law of the Medes and the Persians. It would seem that the Medo-Persian empire, like today’s nations, was a government of laws, and not of men. Signing this injunction into law as one of the “laws of the Medes and the Persians” was to make the law irrevocable. The king was powerless to save Daniel, in spite of his strong desire to do so.
• (6) What happened to Daniel?
Daniel was cast into the den of lions, just as the law required. But God sent His angel, Gabriel, who not only shut the lions’ mouths but kept them from hurting him in any way. Daniel was kept safe through the night. Having paid the penalty of the law, he was released.
• (7) What happened to Daniel’s enemies?
The destruction Daniel’s enemies had planned for him became their destiny. By the king’s orders, those who falsely accused Daniel of wrong-doing were cast into the lions’ den, along with their families. They were immediately destroyed, which only underscores the miracle God performed on Daniel’s behalf.
• (8) Why was Daniel spared from death, when many Old Testament saints were not? Does God spare everyone who is godly and has faith from danger or death?
We are not told why God chose to deliver Daniel, while He allows others to suffer persecution and death and their oppressors to apparently prosper. In Hebrews 11 we find two kinds of saints:
• (a) those who were delivered from danger or death, and
• (b) those who were delivered through danger or death (see Hebrews 11:32-40).
We should remember that our Lord was without sin, and yet God did not spare Him, but delivered Him up to suffer and to die. We can at best say that God purposes for some to suffer and even die to accomplish His purposes, and others He delivers for His purposes. It would seem in Daniel’s case that God delivered him as a reminder to the Jews that as He delivered Daniel, so He would deliver Israel from her captivity. Furthermore, Daniel’s life may also have been prolonged because God still had prophecies to reveal to him and through him (see Daniel 10:1).
• (9) What was the king’s response to Daniel’s deliverance?
The king believed that God not only could but would deliver Daniel, and so he encouraged him before unwillingly casting him into the den of lions. When the king came out to the den of lions, he called to Daniel, asking him if his God had delivered him. He most happily ordered Daniel removed from the lion’s den and his enemies thrown inside.
• (10) Compare Darius with Nebuchadnezzar.
Both kings appear to have come to a genuine faith in the God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar seems to have been more stubborn in his resistance, while Darius seems to have believed more quickly. Nebuchadnezzar set up his golden image on his own initiative; Darius passed his law at the initiative of his officials. Nebuchadnezzar was fiercely angered when the three Hebrews refused to bow down to his image, defying any god to deliver them from the death he threatened. Darius was greatly distressed to find Daniel accused of disregarding his new law, taking every possible measure to deliver him from the lions’ den. Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, Darius assured Daniel that his God would deliver him. The decrees which both kings sent throughout their kingdoms after coming to faith were very similar.
• (11) What is the meaning and significance of Darius’ decree?
The decree was the king’s public testimony that God had delivered Daniel from the “curse of the law” which he had passed. It was a witness to his personal faith. It was also an implied warning to anyone in his kingdom who would be tempted to resist Daniel, to persecute the Jews, or to try to accuse anyone else of breaking the 30 day injunction he had wrongly signed.
• (12) Do you think king Darius was a true believer? What evidence is there for your conclusion?
Darius seems to have been a true believer, like Nebuchadnezzar. This is consistent with the prophetic significance of the Book of Daniel and other prophecies that Israel’s disobedience would not only result in the discipline of God’s people but also in the salvation of the Gentiles. Darius not only regretted signing the 30 day law, he sought to reverse it or at least to arrange for Daniel’s release. He encouraged Daniel that his God would deliver him. He fasted and perhaps prayed for Daniel’s release that night Daniel was in the lion’s den. He came to the lion’s den early the next morning, expecting Daniel to have been delivered. He sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, praising the God of Israel as the sovereign God. Such praise does not come from the lips of an unbeliever.
• (13) What can we learn from this Chapter?
This Chapter helps us understand why Christians will be persecuted for their faith, and how such persecution can even become a part of public policy, forcing saints to break those laws which oppose the law of God. It also teaches us that God is able to deliver His people, even when men are powerless to do so. He may deliver them from death, or through it. It is a reminder of the importance of prayer, and of a disciplined life, making the pursuit of godliness a habit, which will not be broken, especially by danger or panic. It is also an illustration of sin and temptation, as the self-seeking, self-serving officials oppose Daniel and deceive the king into passing an evil law. Lastly, it is an illustration of the gospel, for it was by being delivered through the curse of the law of the Medes and the Persians that Daniel was saved. He bore the penalty and came out alive, so that he no longer was subject to the law or its penalty.
Analysis of the Chapter
Daniel 6 contains the history of Daniel under the government, or during the reign of Darius the Mede / Cyaxares II. A period soon after the accession of Darius to the throne in Babylon until his death. The events of Chapter 6 occurred between October 12, 539 BC and 27 October, 538 BC; probably early in 538 BC. The narrative would lead us to suppose that it was soon after the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus II the Great, acting under the authority of Cyaxares II. By then, Daniel, on account of the disclosure made to Belshazzar of the meaning of the handwriting on the wall, had been exalted to high honour at the close of the life of Belshazzar (Daniel 5), and it is probable that he was called to a similar station under the reign of Darius. It is unlikely that Darius would appoint new / different Medes and Persians to fill the high offices of the realm owing to Cyrus’ aim to maintain public acceptability. Chapter 6 contains a record of the following events:
• (1) The arrangement of the government after the conquest of Babylon, consisting of 120 officers over the kingdom, so divided as to be placed under the care of 3 superior officers, or “presidents,” of whom Daniel held the first place (Daniel 6:1-3).
• (2) The dissatisfaction or envy of the officers so appointed against Daniel, for causes now unknown, and their conspiracy to remove him from office, or to bring him into disgrace with the king (Daniel 6:4).
• (3) The plan which they formed to secure this, derived from the known piety and integrity of Daniel, and their conviction that, at any hazard, he would remain firm to his religious principles, and would conscientiously maintain the worship of God. Convinced that they could find no fault in his administration; that he could not be convicted of malversation or infidelity in office; that there was nothing in his private or public character that was contrary to justice and integrity, they resolved to take advantage of his well-known piety, and to make that the occasion of his downfall and ruin (Daniel 6:5).
• (4) The plan that was artfully proposed was, to induce the king to sign a decree that if anyone for thirty days should ask any petition for anything of God or man, he should be thrown into a den of lions – that is, should be, as they supposed, certainly put to death. This proposed decree they apprehended they could induce the king to sign, perhaps because it was flattering to the monarch, or perhaps because it would test the disposition of his new subjects to obey him, or perhaps because they knew he was a weak and effeminate prince, and that he was accustomed to sign papers presented to him by his counsellors without much reflection or hesitation (Daniel 6:6-9).
• (5) Daniel, when he was apprised of the contents of the decree, though he saw its bearing, and perhaps its design, yet continued his devotions as usual – praying, as he was known to do, three times a day, with his face toward Jerusalem, with his windows open. The case was one where he felt, undoubtedly, that it was a matter of principle that he should worship God in his usual manner, and not allow himself to be driven from the acknowledgment of his God by the fear of death (Daniel 6:10).
• (6) they who had laid the plan made report of this to the king, and demanded the execution of the decree. The case was a plain one, for though it had not been intended or expected by the king that Daniel would have been found a violator of the law, yet as the decree was positive, and there had been no concealment on the part of Daniel, the counsellors urged that it was necessary that the decree should be executed (Daniel 6:11-13).
• (7) The king, displeased with himself, and evidently enraged against these crafty counsellors, desirous of sparing Daniel, and yet feeling the necessity of maintaining a law positively enacted, sought some way by which Daniel might be saved, and the honour and majesty of the law preserved. No method, however, occurring to him of securing both objects, he was constrained to submit to the execution of the decree, and ordered Daniel to be cast into the den of lions (Daniel 6:14-17).
• (8) The king returned to his palace, and passed the night fasting, and overwhelmed with sadness (Daniel 6:18).
• (9) in the morning he came with deep anxiety to the place where Daniel had been thrown, and called to see if he were alive (Daniel 6:19-20).
• (10) The reply of Daniel, that he had been preserved by the intervention of an angel, who had closed the mouths of the lions, and had kept him alive (Daniel 6:21-22).
• (11) The release of Daniel from the den, and the command to cast those in who had thus accused Daniel, and who had sought his ruin (Daniel 6:23-24).
• (12) an appropriate proclamation from the king to all men to honour that God who had thus preserved his servant (Daniel 6:25-27).
• (13) a statement of the prosperity of Daniel, extending to the reign of Cyrus (Daniel 6:28).
Daniel’s message encourages those who follow God to focus more on what says about them than what others say about them. Daniel’s deliverance shows believers that God is able to rescue us even from the most impossible circumstances. We can trust that sometimes, those very impossible circumstances may be the means by which God’s name is made known to others. There are many other things to know from Daniel’s message, which is recorded over 12 Chapters. The whole Book is edifying reading for anyone who wants to be faithful in their own work and wants to grow in their trust of God’s faithfulness toward those who serve Him.
Practical Lessons
God often overrules the malice of men to make Himself known, and constrains the wicked to acknowledge Him, (Daniel 6:25-27). Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, was constrained to acknowledge him as the true God, and to make proclamation of this throughout his vast empire. So often, by His providence, God constrains the wicked to acknowledge Him as the true God, and as ruling in the affairs of men. His interpositions are so apparent; His works are so vast; the proofs of His administration are so clear; and He so defeats the counsels of the wicked, that they cannot but feel that He rules, and they cannot but acknowledge and proclaim it. It is in this way that throughout history God has / is raising up a great number of witnesses even among the wicked to acknowledge His existence, and to proclaim the great truths of His government; and it is in this way, among others, that He is constraining the intellect of the world to bow before him. Ultimately all this will be so clear, that the intellect of the world will acknowledge it, and all kings and people will see, as Darius did, that “He [is] THE LIVING GOD, and stedfast for ever, and His kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion [shall be even] unto the end” (Daniel 6:26).
What should we learn from the account of Daniel in the lions’ den?
One of the chief lessons we learn from this message is gleaned from the confession of King Darius himself: “For He [is] THE LIVING GOD, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end” (Daniel 6:26). For only by faith in such a God could any man have “shut the mouths of lions” (Hebrews 11:33). As with Daniel, the faithful Christian must understand that God is sovereign and omnipotent and His will permeates and supersedes every aspect of life. It is God’s will that takes precedence over everything and everyone. The psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). If God’s ways are “perfect”, then we can trust that whatever He does — and whatever He allows — is also perfect. This may not seem possible to us, but our minds are not God’s mind. It is true that we can’t expect to understand His mind perfectly, as He reminds us in Isaiah 55:8-9. Nevertheless, our responsibility to God is to obey Him, to trust Him, and to submit to His will and believe that whatever He ordains will be for our benefit and His glory (Romans 8:28). In Daniel’s case, “no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God” (Daniel 6:23). Joseph, too, understood that sometimes evil men plan things for evil, but God means them for good (Genesis 50:20).
There is more to learn from this remarkable message that makes it relevant to our postmodern culture. Peter tells us to “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him” (1 Peter 2:13-14). Daniel not only followed this principle, he exceeded it by distinguishing himself as one with “exceptional qualities” (Daniel 6:2-3). Taking this lesson further, we read that submission to our political authorities “is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). Daniel’s faithfulness, his outstanding work ethic, and integrity made it next to impossible for his adversaries to find “grounds for charges against him” (Daniel 6:4). Instead, they found that “he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent”. The world now, as it did then, judges us not by our faith but by our conduct (James 2:18). How many today could stand such a scrutiny as did Daniel on this occasion?
The message ends badly for Daniel’s accusers, just as it will for those who accuse and persecute Christians today. King Darius, on the other hand, recognized the power of the God of Daniel, turned to Him in faith, and commanded the people of his kingdom to worship Him (Daniel 6:25–27). Through the witness of Daniel, his faith, and the faithfulness and power of God, an entire nation came to know and reverence the Lord. “For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end”.
Application
• Religious liberty is an important right. It is indirectly mentioned in the Old and New Testaments (see Acts 5:29). In many countries it is one of the basic human rights.
• However, religious liberty was and is seldom granted (as seen in human history from ancient Rome to the present day). It is limited or non-existent in many countries.
• According to the Book of Revelation religious liberty and personal freedom will again be threatened, and humanity will experience a situation similar to Daniel 6. This Chapter provides guidelines for Christian behaviour.
• Some of us still enjoy liberty. Therefore we can freely pray (6:10), serve God and fellow humans (6:16, 20), witness about God (6:22), and study Scripture (9:2). We should take advantage of this situation.
Conclusions
In Chapter 6 we see that God is able to accomplish miracles in delivering His servants from death. This Chapter is a profound illustration of how God cares for His people. Although historical, and to be accepted in its literal portrayal of an event, it is also parabolic like Chapter 3 and is a foreshadowing of the ultimate deliverance of the people of Israel from their persecutors in the time of the great tribulation at the end of the times of the Gentiles. Then, the power of God will finally be demonstrated at the second coming of Christ. The persecutors of Israel and the enemies of God will be judged and destroyed much like the enemies of Daniel. Like Daniel, however, the people of God in persecution must remain true regardless of the cost.
The Lord does not leave His people alone, even at the end of time when they have to go through “lions’ dens” and suffer the loss of religious liberty. They remain faithful in prayer and witnessing.
Something usually missing from the Sabbath School versions of this message is the judgement that was carried out upon the men (and their families!) who had falsely accused Daniel. They got to spend a little bit of time with the lions themselves. There were no angels to guard and protect those that didn’t fear the Lord! They had been snared in their own trap.
Of course, the greatest example of this came one day as Jesus was nailed to a cross. How Satan must have rejoiced as he turned the masses against Jesus. He would have been beside himself as darkness covered the land and the son of God died a slow and agonizing death upon that cross! ‘I’ve done it’ he would have proclaimed. ‘I have killed the Son of God! My plan has worked. I have stopped God!’ And yet as Jesus breathed His last, the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom! The way into the Holy of Holies was opened to all and Satan’s plan had backfired! That cross, the same cross that was meant to seal the Son of God’s fate, would be the very thing that God used to seal Satan’s fate and set the captives free! What a plan – what a magnificent plan of God!
But look also at the result of this trial from a personal point of view. We can see that the strength of a person’s testimony is proportional to the depth of the trial and the extent of the deliverance. God knows what He is doing if we are asked to endure such a trial. Daniel, as we have read above, was required to go through such a trial. But what a result! Not only had Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon issued an earlier personal testimony to all of the then known world praising the God of Israel (see Daniel 4), but now king Darius of the Medo-Persian kingdom has also issued a decree to all peoples that the God of Daniel must be feared and revered! When we are down and are wondering what is happening, let us remember these words of Darius. For he reminds us, as does this whole Chapter, that:
• God is a LIVING God.
• God endures FOREVER.
• God RESCUES and SAVES.
• God PERFORMS WONDERS on our behalf.
Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den is a great message which wears well, even with repetition. What can we learn from this text as we conclude?
• (1) This text suggests that Christians who would live holy lives should expect persecution; it also explains why. Daniel was persecuted by his peers because he was godly. Daniel’s godliness posed a serious threat to his peers, who used their positions corruptly to benefit at the expense of both their king and those under their authority. Whenever holy living threatens the sinful lifestyle of others, persecution may be expected. The New Testament confirms the lesson we learn from Daniel.
2 Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of [them] all the Lord delivered me. 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
1 Peter 4:1 ¶ Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 4:3 For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you]: 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 4:16 Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the HOUSE OF GOD: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God? 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
The Scriptures instruct us to expect persecution for living in a way that pleases God. Beyond this, the Scriptures also indicate there have been and will be times of official persecution, when human governments and the laws of the land will be used to oppose and oppress the saints. So it was, for a short time, in Daniel’s life. So it will also be as the last days draw near. The Book of Revelation especially speaks of such times of persecution and oppression, but so do the latter Chapters of the Book of Daniel. Most of the world today has never known official opposition and persecution to the gospel and to the practice of our faith, but, in these end times, we now see the beginnings of this severe restraint.
Christians have always thought of themselves as “law-abiding Christians” But when official opposition to our faith and service to God come about, we must be prepared, like Daniel, to disobey those laws which directly conflict with God’s law, and we must be willing to suffer the consequences. Saints in some other parts of the world know what this is like. In time, we may be able to better identify with Daniel and his three Hebrew friends. May God give us the grace to respond in the way Daniel did, to His glory.
• (2) Our text assures us of divine deliverance when we serve God faithfully and are persecuted for doing so. It also assures us that God will judge those who persecute us. In the closing Chapters of Deuteronomy (and in the life of Moses), God told the Jews they would be unfaithful to Him, and He would discipline them by giving them over to those nations which would take them into captivity in foreign lands. He also promised to bring them to repentance, to rescue them, and to restore their nation. In addition, God promised to punish their enemies, who so cruelly oppressed them as His chastening rod. The deliverance of Daniel in Chapter 6 is an example of divine deliverance and retribution on the enemies of God and His people.
Daniel’s persecution did not come about due to his sin, but rather because of his righteousness. He suffered because he was godly. When Daniel was found guilty under the law of the Medes and the Persians, the king was unable to save him. But God’s hand was not hindered. Darius believed God would deliver Daniel; he assured him of God’s protection as he went to the lion’s den. God sent His angel, Gabriel, and shut the lion’s mouths. He also brought about the destruction of Daniel’s enemies.
The account of Daniel’s deliverance was written to assure the saints of every age that God is able to deliver His people, even when men are unable to do so. What the king of the most powerful kingdom on earth could not do, God did. God knows how to deliver his own from judgment and how to deliver His enemies to judgment:
2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell, and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 2:8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed [his] righteous soul from day to day with [their] unlawful deeds;) 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
While we may be confident that God will deliver the righteous and destroy the wicked, we may not be certain how and when He will do so. There are many times when God allows the wicked to prosper in this life, leaving their day of judgment for eternity (see Psalm 73). There are many times when God allows His saints to suffer persecution and death, to deliver them through death, rather than from it. While Paul was assured of his ultimate deliverance, he was ready and willing to be delivered either from death or through it, as we can see in Philippians 1 (especially verses 12-26).
In the “Old Testament hall of faith”, recorded in Hebrews 11, some of the heroes of the faith were delivered from death, among whom Daniel seems to have been numbered (see Hebrews 11:32-34). Others, however, were delivered through death (see Hebrews 11:35-40). We dare not presume that God will always keep the righteous from persecution and death. We can always be certain that God will deliver us, whether in life or in death. Since our hope is not for earthly pleasure or success, but rather on that heavenly city and God’s eternal blessings, we can face either life or death with joy and confidence. God will deliver His people, and He will also deliver the wicked to judgment.
The same God who delivered Daniel from the lion’s mouths will also deliver us, in His way, and in His time.
2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
• (3) This account of Daniel and the lion’s den is a lesson in dealing with the crises of life. We often fail to concentrate on the important things when confronted by such crises which appear urgent. The “urgent” matters of life keep us from the “important” things. Daniel is an example of a man who knew the difference between the “urgent” and the “important”. When times of “crisis” confronted him, he refused to panic and to change his priorities and practices. He persisted in seeking first God’s kingdom, trusting Him to provide the rest. The king and the conspirators could agree on one thing: Daniel was consistent and persistent.
The way to deal with the crises of life is to establish godly disciplines in the routine times of life, and then to refuse to depart from them in times of crisis. We know little of the godly discipline evident in the life of Daniel and our events in life often set aside our spiritual disciplines. Daniel would not forsake his regimen even when men passed a law against it.
Some believe men do extraordinary things at times of crises. There may be some truth in this perspective, but times of crisis are those times when great men continue to persist in the good things they have practised all along, when it was easier to do so.
• (4) Daniel’s prayer life should serve as both a rebuke and an encouragement to Christians today. Daniel had a life-long pattern of praying toward Jerusalem three times a day. Anyone who knew anything about Daniel knew this. How many of us could claim to be as faithful in our prayer life as was Daniel? What a rebuke!
What missing ingredient explains the difference between Daniel’s consistency and our lackadaisical attitude toward prayer? There are probably many answers. According to our text, Daniel’s prayers consisted of thanksgiving and petition (6:10; see also 9:4-19). Daniel was aware that every provision, every circumstance, every event (including those which came from his enemies), came from the hand of His sovereign God, for his good, and for God’s glory. God’s blessings were so full, so frequent, and so gracious Daniel could not possibly cease praying for 30 days.
Daniel also saw himself as continually dependent upon God for his every need. He saw himself as powerless, without the provisions God gave to him daily. He saw himself as unable to please God and his earthly superiors, apart from God’s grace. He prayed because he was aware of how great his needs were, and because he knew that only God could meet them.
This is why our prayer life is so weak, so anaemic, so sporadic and undisciplined. We don’t fail to go to bed at night, because we know we need to, and our body reminds us by being tired. We don’t fail to eat, because we know we must. But we really do not sense the desperate need to pray. We fail to grasp our daily dependence on God and His provisions. All too often we forget it is only God who can meet our fundamental needs. When we do sense the need for help, we usually begin by going to others first, and God last. Daniel knew he had needs; he knew only God could meet them, and thus he made daily prayer a priority in his life.
• (5) The events of Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den in our text is an illustration of the gospel. This Chapter illustrates what men dislike about God which causes them to oppose Him. What bothered Daniel’s peers and turned them against him was precisely the same thing which bothered the Jewish religious leaders about Jesus. They were petrified at the thought of our Lord’s authority because of His holiness.
For fallen, sinful, men, power and authority is the opportunity to use people for our own selfish gain. The satraps and governors used their position and power for personal gain. They sought to enhance themselves through the abuse of their power at the expense of their king who was in authority over them, and at the expense of those under their authority. This is why the king appointed the 3 commissioners over the satraps. He knew that they were causing him to suffer loss as they sought to add to their gain.
When word got out that the king planned to promote Daniel over all of them, they were petrified. A godly man in authority is a threat to every ungodly man under his authority (see Proverbs 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 death.
The lordship of our God is not a threat to those who want to be forgiven and delivered from their sins. It is only dreaded by those who wish to remain in their sins. Instead of using His power and authority to profit at man’s expense, Jesus gave Himself sacrificially, dying for our sins, so that we might gain at His expense. Here is the Christian perspective on leadership and authority. Here is the model for Christian leaders, in marriage, in the home, and in our every other walk through life.
Daniel’s enemies sought to use the law to bring about Daniel’s demise. They abused the irreversible law of the Medes and the Persians to bring Daniel under condemnation. No one, they thought, including the king, could rescue Daniel from the law and its condemnation.
What the king could not do, God did, not by keeping Daniel from death or by casting the law aside. Daniel was condemned according to the law, but the mouths of the lions were shut. Daniel paid the penalty of the law, and now he was free to serve God. In New Testament terms, Daniel “died to the law”.
This is what the gospel is all about. God gave us His law. It is a perfect standard of holiness. It too is unchangeable and irreversible. Because we are sinners, we have violated the law, fallen short of God’s standard of holiness, and come under the sentence of death. Jesus took on human flesh and died in the sinner’s place. He died to sin and the law, and then rose from the dead. Those who are in Christ by faith have been set free from the condemnation of the law and are free to serve the living God.
Have you experienced the freedom from the condemnation of the law which God has provided in Jesus Christ? All you need do is admit you are a sinner, condemned by God’s law, and to trust in the Lord Jesus as the One whom God sent to die in your place. He not only died to sin and the law’s condemnation, He also rose from the dead in newness of life.
If you have never received God’s gift of salvation in Christ, then this is the most important thing that you can do in your life – to accept and trust in Him today.
Spirit of Prophecy
Those who STUDY the BIBLE, counsel with GOD, and rely upon CHRIST will be enabled to act wisely at all times and under all circumstances. Good principles will be illustrated in actual life. Only let the truth for this time be cordially received and become the basis of character, and it will produce steadfastness of purpose, which the allurements of pleasure, the fickleness of custom, the contempt of the world-loving, and the heart’s own clamors for self-indulgence are powerless to influence. Conscience must be first enlightened, the will must be brought into subjection. The love of truth and righteousness must reign in the soul, and a character will appear which heaven can approve. {5T 43.1}
We have marked illustrations of the sustaining power of firm, religious principle. Even the fear of death could not make the fainting David drink of the water of Bethlehem, to obtain which, valiant men had risked their lives. The gaping LIONS’ DEN could not keep Daniel from his DAILY PRAYERS, nor could the fiery furnace induce Shadrach and his companions to fall down before the idol which Nebuchadnezzar set up. Young men who have firm principles will eschew pleasure, defy pain, and brave even the LIONS’ DEN and the heated fiery furnace rather than be found untrue to GOD. Mark the character of Joseph. Virtue was severely tested, but its triumph was complete. At every point the noble youth endured the test. The same lofty, unbending principle appeared at every trial. The LORD was with him, and HIS WORD was law. {5T 43.2}
The commandments of finite, sinful men are to sink into insignificance beside the WORD of the ETERNAL GOD. Truth is to be obeyed at any cost, even tho gaping prisons, chain-gangs, and banishment stare us in the face. If you are loyal and true, that GOD who walked with the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, who protected Daniel in the LIONS’ DEN, who manifested himself to John on the lonely island, will go with you wherever you go. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain you; and you will realize the fulfilment of the promise, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my FATHER will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” {ST, May 6, 1897 par. 18}
Darius reigned over Medo-Persia two years after the fall of Babylon. During this time, Daniel was cast into the LIONS’ DEN and came out unharmed. This deliverance led Darius to write “unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion in my kingdom men tremble and fear before the GOD of Daniel: for He is the LIVING GOD, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the LIONS. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” {RH, March 21, 1907 par. 10}
How often those who trusted the WORD of GOD, though in themselves utterly helpless, have withstood the power of the whole world–Enoch, pure in heart, holy in life, holding fast his FAITH in the triumph of righteousness against a corrupt and scoffing generation; Noah and his household against the men of his time, men of the greatest physical and mental strength and the most debased in morals; the children of Israel at the Red Sea, a helpless, terrified multitude of slaves, against the mightiest army of the mightiest nation on the globe; David, a shepherd lad, having GOD’S PROMISE of the throne, against Saul, the established monarch, bent on holding fast his power; Shadrach and his companions in the fire, and Nebuchadnezzar on the throne; Daniel among the LIONS, his enemies in the high places of the kingdom; JESUS on the cross, and the Jewish priests and rulers forcing even the Roman governor to work their will; Paul in chains led to a criminal’s death, Nero the despot of a world empire. {Ed 254.2}
Such examples are not found in the BIBLE only. They abound in every record of human progress. The Vaudois and the Huguenots, Wycliffe and Huss, Jerome and Luther, Tyndale and Knox, Zinzendorf and Wesley, with multitudes of others, have witnessed to the POWER of GOD’S WORD against human power and policy in support of evil. These are the world’s true nobility. This is its royal line. In this line the youth of today are called to take their places. {Ed 254.3}
FAITH is needed in the smaller no less than in the greater affairs of life. In all our daily interests and occupations the sustaining strength of GOD becomes real to us through an abiding trust. {Ed 255.1}
In their labor the under-shepherds must closely follow the directions and manifest the SPIRIT of the CHIEF SHEPHERD. Skepticism and apostasy are met everywhere. GOD wants men to labor in his cause who have hearts as true as steel, and who will stand steadfast in integrity, undaunted by circumstances. Amid trial and gloom they are just what they were when their prospects were brightened by hope, and when their outward surroundings were all that they could desire. Daniel in the LIONS’ DEN is the same Daniel who stood before the king, encircled by the light of GOD. Paul in the dark dungeon, awaiting the sentence which he knew was to come from the cruel Nero, is the same Paul who addressed the court of the Areopagus. A man whose heart is stayed upon GOD in the hour of his most afflicting trials and most discouraging surroundings, is just what he was in prosperity, when the light and favor of GOD seemed to be upon him. FAITH reaches to the unseen, and grasps eternal things. . . . {GW92 140.1}
ANGELS are sent on missions of mercy to the children of GOD. To Abraham, with promises of blessing; to the gates of Sodom, to rescue righteous Lot from its fiery doom; to Elijah, as he was about to perish from weariness and hunger in the desert; to Elisha, with chariots and horses of fire surrounding the little town where he was shut in by his foes; to Daniel, while seeking divine wisdom in the court of a heathen king, or abandoned to become the LIONS’ PREY; to Peter, doomed to death in Herod’s dungeon; to the prisoners at Philippi; to Paul and his companions in the night of tempest on the sea; to open the mind of Cornelius to receive the gospel; to dispatch Peter, with the message of salvation to the Gentile stranger,—thus HOLY ANGELS have, in all ages, ministered to GOD’S PEOPLE. {GC88 512.1}
A GUARDIAN ANGEL is appointed to every follower of CHRIST. These HEAVENLY WATCHERS shield the righteous from the power of the wicked one. This Satan himself recognized when he said, “Doth Job fear GOD for naught? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?” [Job 1:9, 10.] The agency by which GOD protects his people is presented in the words of the psalmist, “The ANGEL of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” [Psalm 34:7.] Said the Saviour, speaking of those that believe in him, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in Heaven their ANGELS do always behold the face of my FATHER.” [Matthew 18:10.] The ANGELS appointed to minister to the children of GOD have at all times access to His presence. {GC88 512.2}
“Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my LORD hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” Isaiah 49:14-16. The LORD of HOSTS has said: “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.” Zechariah 2:8. {GC 626.3}
Though enemies may thrust them into prison, yet dungeon walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and CHRIST. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and ANGELS will come to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven. The prison will be as a palace; for the rich in FAITH dwell there, and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light as when Paul and Silas PRAYED and sang praises at midnight in the Philippian dungeon. {GC 627.1}
Again, when wicked men, inspired by envy and hatred, sought to remove him from the favor of King Darius, they could find no occasion against him except “concerning the LAW of HIS GOD.” Therefore they laid a snare for him by prevailing upon the king to decree that whosoever asked a petition of any GOD or man for thirty days, save of the king, should be cast into the DEN OF LIONS. But the firm adherence to principle which Daniel had cultivated from a youth does not fail him now. Notwithstanding the decree of the king, he goes to his chamber THREE TIMES A DAY, as is his custom, and with his windows open toward Jerusalem, PRAYS to the GOD of HEAVEN. Because of his FAITHFULNESS to GOD, he is cast into the DEN OF LIONS, according to the king’s decree; but does GOD forsake him? No, indeed. HOLY ANGELS are sent to minister unto him, and to close the LIONS’ MOUTHS that they shall do him no harm. {HS 153.2}
Daniel was cast into the LION’S DEN because of his firm adherence to principle and his loyalty to GOD, but he triumphed in the end, and GOD was glorified through His servant whom He permitted to be humbled. Job was stripped of his earthly treasures, bereaved of his children, and made a spectacle of loathing to his friends, but in GOD’S TIME He showed He had not forsaken His servant. . . . {HP 271.4}
Watch and Pray
“Take ye heed, watch and PRAY” [Mark 13:33] were the words of our Saviour spoken in reference to the time of the end, and His second coming to take His FAITHFUL children home. {LHU 368.2}
Daniel is an example to believers as to what it means to confess CHRIST. He held the responsible position of prime minister in the kingdom of Babylon, and there were those who were envious of Daniel among the great men of the court, and they wanted to find something against him that they might bring an accusation against him to the king. But he was a FAITHFUL STATESMAN, and they could find no flaw in his character or life. . . . So they agreed together to ask the king to make a decree that no one should ask any petition of any GOD or man for thirty days save of the king, and if any disobeyed this decree, he was to be cast into the DEN OF LIONS. {OHC 357.2}
We may know that if our life is hid with CHRIST in GOD, when we are brought into TRIAL because of our FAITH, JESUS WILL BE WITH US. When we are brought before rulers and dignitaries to answer for our FAITH, the SPIRIT of the LORD will illuminate our understanding, and we shall be able to bear a testimony to the GLORY of GOD. And if we are called to suffer for CHRIST’S SAKE, we shall be able to go to prison TRUSTING in Him as a little child trusts in its parents. Now is the time to cultivate FAITH in GOD. {OHC 357.4}
Chap. 44 – In the Lions’ Den
The honors bestowed upon Daniel excited the jealousy of the leading men of the kingdom, and they sought for occasion of complaint against him. But they could find none, “forasmuch as he was FAITHFUL, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” {PK 539.2}
Daniel’s blameless conduct excited still further the jealousy of his enemies. “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel,” they were constrained to acknowledge, “except we find it against him concerning the LAW of HIS GOD.” {PK 539.3}
Thereupon the presidents and princes, counseling together, devised a scheme whereby they hoped to accomplish the prophet’s destruction. They determined to ask the king to sign a decree which they should prepare, forbidding any person in the realm to ask anything of GOD or man, except of Darius the king, for the space of thirty days. A violation of this decree should be punished by casting the offender into a DEN OF LIONS. {PK 540.1}
Accordingly, the princes prepared such a decree, and presented it to Darius for his signature. Appealing to his vanity, they persuaded him that the carrying out of this edict would add greatly to his honor and authority. Ignorant of the subtle purpose of the princes, the king did not discern their animosity as revealed in the decree, and, yielding to their flattery, he signed it. {PK 540.2}
The enemies of Daniel left the presence of Darius, rejoicing over the snare now securely laid for the servant of JEHOVAH. In the conspiracy thus formed, Satan had played an important part. The prophet was high in command in the kingdom, and evil angels feared that his influence would weaken their control over its rulers. It was these satanic agencies who had stirred the princes to envy and jealousy; it was they who had inspired the plan for Daniel’s destruction; and the princes, yielding themselves as instruments of evil, carried it into effect. {PK 540.3}
The prophet’s enemies counted on Daniel’s firm adherence to principle for the success of their plan. And they were not mistaken in their estimate of his character. He quickly read their malignant purpose in framing the decree, but he did not change his course in a single particular. Why should he cease to PRAY now, when he most needed to PRAY? Rather would he relinquish life itself, than his hope of help in GOD. With calmness he performed his duties as chief of the princes; and at the HOUR of PRAYER he went to his chamber, and with his windows open toward Jerusalem, in accordance with his usual custom, he offered his petition to the GOD of HEAVEN. He did not try to conceal his act. Although he knew full well the consequences of his fidelity to GOD, HIS SPIRIT faltered not. Before those who were plotting his ruin, he would not allow it even to appear that his connection with Heaven was severed. In all cases where the king had a right to command, Daniel would obey; but neither the king nor his decree could make him swerve from allegiance to the King of kings. {PK 540.4}
Thus the prophet boldly yet quietly and humbly declared that no earthly power has a right to interpose between the soul and GOD. Surrounded by idolaters, he was a FAITHFUL WITNESS to this truth. His dauntless adherence to right was a bright light in the moral darkness of that heathen court. Daniel stands before the world today a worthy example of Christian fearlessness and fidelity. {PK 542.1}
For an entire day the princes watched Daniel. Three times they saw him go to his chamber, and three times they heard his voice lifted in earnest intercession to GOD. The next morning they laid their complaint before the king. Daniel, his most honored and FAITHFUL STATESMAN, had set the royal decree at defiance. “Hast thou not signed a decree,” they reminded him, “that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the DEN OF LIONS?” {PK 542.2}
“The thing is true,” the king answered, “according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.” {PK 542.3}
Exultantly they now informed Darius of the conduct of his most trusted adviser. “That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah,” they exclaimed, “regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition THREE TIMES A DAY.” {PK 542.4}
When the monarch heard these words, he saw at once the snare that had been set for his FAITHFUL SERVANT. He saw that it was not zeal for kingly glory and honor, but jealousy against Daniel, that had led to the proposal for a royal decree. “Sore displeased with himself” for his part in the evil that had been wrought, he “LABORED TILL THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN” to deliver his friend. The princes, anticipating this effort on the part of the king, came to him with the words, “Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” The decree, though rashly made, was unalterable and must be carried into effect. {PK 543.1}
“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the DEN OF LIONS. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, THY GOD WHOM THOU SERVEST CONTINUALLY, HE WILL DELIVER THEE.” A stone was laid on the mouth of the den, and the king himself “sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then THE KING WENT TO HIS PALACE, AND PASSED THE NIGHT FASTING: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.” {PK 543.2}
GOD did not prevent Daniel’s enemies from casting him into the LIONS’ DEN; He permitted evil angels and wicked men thus far to accomplish their purpose; but it was that He might make the deliverance of His servant more marked, and the defeat of the enemies of truth and righteousness more complete. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee” (Psalm 76:10), the psalmist has testified. Through the courage of this one man who chose to follow right rather than policy, Satan was to be defeated, and the NAME of GOD was to be exalted and honored. {PK 543.3}
Early the next morning King Darius hastened to the den and “cried with a lamentable voice,” “O Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD, IS THY GOD, whom thou servest continually, ABLE TO DELIVER THEE from the LIONS?” {PK 544.1}
The voice of the prophet replied: “O king, live forever. My GOD hath sent HIS ANGEL, and hath shut the LIONS’ MOUTHS, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. {PK 544.2}
“Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his GOD. {PK 544.3}
“And the king commanded, and they brought those MEN which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the DEN OF LIONS, them, THEIR CHILDREN, and THEIR WIVES; and the LIONS had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.” {PK 544.4}
Once more a proclamation was issued by a heathen ruler, exalting the GOD of Daniel as the TRUE GOD. “King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the GOD of Daniel: for HE is the LIVING GOD, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the LIONS.” {PK 544.5}
The wicked opposition to GOD’S SERVANT was now completely broken. “Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” And through association with him, these heathen monarchs were constrained to acknowledge his GOD as “the LIVING GOD, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” {PK 545.1}
From the story of Daniel’s deliverance we may learn that in seasons of trial and gloom GOD’S CHILDREN should be just what they were when their prospects were bright with hope and their surroundings all that they could desire. Daniel in the LIONS’ DEN was the same Daniel who stood before the king as chief among the ministers of state and as a prophet of the MOST HIGH. A man whose heart is stayed upon GOD will be the same in the hour of his greatest trial as he is in prosperity, when the light and favor of GOD and of man beam upon him. FAITH reaches to the unseen, and grasps eternal realities. {PK 545.2}
Heaven is very near those who suffer for righteousness’ sake. CHRIST identifies His interests with the interests of His FAITHFUL people; He suffers in the person of His saints, and whoever touches His chosen ones touches Him. The power that is near to deliver from physical harm or distress is also near to save from the greater evil, making it possible for the servant of GOD to maintain his integrity under all circumstances, and to triumph through divine grace. {PK 545.3}
The DELIVERANCE of DANIEL from the DEN OF LIONS had been used of GOD to CREATE a FAVORABLE IMPRESSION upon the MIND of CYRUS the GREAT. The sterling qualities of the man of GOD as a statesman of farseeing ability led the Persian ruler to show him marked respect and to honor his judgment. And now, just at the time GOD had said He would cause His temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt, He moved upon Cyrus as His agent to discern the PROPHECIES concerning himself, with which Daniel was so familiar, and to GRANT the JEWISH PEOPLE their LIBERTY. {PK 557.1}
In all ages, GOD’S appointed witnesses have exposed themselves to reproach and persecution for the truth’s sake. Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he preserved his virtue and integrity. David, the chosen messenger of GOD, was hunted like a beast of prey by his enemies. Daniel was cast into a DEN OF LIONS because he was true to his allegiance to heaven. Job was deprived of his worldly possessions, and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives and friends; yet he maintained his integrity. Jeremiah could not be deterred from speaking the words that GOD had given him to speak; and his testimony so enraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit. Stephen was stoned because he preached CHRIST and Him crucified. Paul was imprisoned, beaten with rods, stoned, and finally put to death because he was a FAITHFUL messenger for GOD to the Gentiles. And John was banished to the isle of Patmos “for the WORD of GOD, and for the testimony of JESUS CHRIST.” {RY 177.1}
Chap. 5 – Daniel in the Lions’ Den
When Darius took possession of the throne of Babylon, he at once proceeded to reorganize the government. He “set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes . . . ; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first” (Daniel 6:1, 2). And “Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm” (verse 3). The honors bestowed upon Daniel excited the jealousy of the leading men of the kingdom. The presidents and princes sought to find occasion for complaint against him. “But they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was FAITHFUL, neither was there any error or fault found in him” (verse 4). {SL 42.1}
What a lesson is here presented for all Christians. The keen eyes of jealousy were fixed upon Daniel day after day; their watchings were sharpened by hatred; yet not a word or act of his life could they make appear wrong. And still he made no claim to sanctification, but he did that which was infinitely better–he LIVED a LIFE of FAITHFULNESS and CONSECRATION. {SL 42.2}
The more blameless the conduct of Daniel, the greater was the hatred excited against him by his enemies. They were filled with madness, because they could find nothing in his moral character or in the discharge of his duties upon which to base a complaint against him. “Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the LAW of HIS GOD” (verse 5). Three times a day Daniel PRAYED to the GOD of HEAVEN. This was the only accusation that could be brought against him. {SL 43.1}
A scheme was now devised to accomplish his destruction. His enemies assembled at the palace and besought the king to pass a decree that no person in the whole realm should ask anything of either GOD or man, except of Darius the king, for the space of thirty days, and that any violation of this edict should be punished by casting the offender into the DEN OF LIONS. The king knew nothing of the hatred of these men toward Daniel, and did not suspect that the decree would in any way injure him. Through flattery they made the monarch believe it would be greatly to his honor to pass such an edict. With a smile of satanic triumph upon their faces, they come forth from the presence of the king, and rejoice together over the snare which they have laid for the servant of GOD. {SL 43.2}
An Example of Boldness and Fidelity
The decree goes forth from the king. Daniel is acquainted with the purpose of his enemies to ruin him. But he does not change his course in a single particular. With calmness he performs his accustomed duties, and at the HOUR of PRAYER he goes to his chamber, and with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he offers his petitions to the GOD of HEAVEN. By his course of action he fearlessly declares that no earthly power has the right to come between him and his GOD and tell him to whom he should or should not PRAY. Noble man of principle! he stands before the world today a praiseworthy example of Christian boldness and fidelity. He turns to GOD with all his heart, although he knows that death is the penalty for his devotion. {SL 43.3}
His adversaries watch him an entire day. Three times he has repaired to his chamber, and three times the voice of earnest intercession has been heard. The next morning the complaint is made to the king that Daniel, one of the captives of Judah, has set at defiance his decree. When the monarch heard these words, his eyes were at once opened to see the snare that had been set. He was sorely displeased with himself for having passed such a decree, and LABORED TILL THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN to devise a plan by which Daniel might be delivered. But the prophet’s enemies had anticipated this, and they came before the king with these words: “Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. {SL 44.1}
“My GOD Hath Sent HIS ANGEL”
Early in the morning the monarch hastened to the DEN OF LIONS, and cried, “Daniel, Oh Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD, IS THY GOD, whom thou servest continually, ABLE TO DELIVER THEE from the LIONS?” (verse 20). The voice of the prophet was heard in reply, “Oh king, live for ever. My GOD hath sent HIS ANGEL, and hath shut the LIONS’ MOUTHS, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, Oh king, have I done no hurt. {SL 45.1}
“Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his GOD” (verses 22, 23). Thus was the servant of GOD delivered. And the snare which his enemies had laid for his destruction proved to be their own ruin. At the command of the king they were cast into the den, and instantly devoured by the wild beasts. {SL 45.2}
Daniel’s Prayers
As the time approached for the CLOSE of the SEVENTY YEARS’ CAPTIVITY, Daniel’s mind became greatly exercised upon the PROPHECIES of Jeremiah. He saw that the time was at hand when GOD would give His chosen people another trial; and with FASTING, HUMILIATION, AND PRAYER, he importuned the GOD of HEAVEN in behalf of Israel, in these words: “Oh LORD, the great and dreadful GOD, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep HIS COMMANDMENTS; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments; neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land” (Daniel 9:4-6). {SL 46.1}
Daniel does not proclaim his own fidelity before the LORD. Instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet humbly identifies himself with the really sinful of Israel. The wisdom which GOD had imparted to him was as far superior to the wisdom of the great men of the world as the light of the sun shining in the heavens at noonday is brighter than the feeblest star. Yet ponder the PRAYER from the lips of this man so highly favored of Heaven. With deep humiliation, with tears and rending of heart, he pleads for himself and for his people. He lays his soul open before GOD, confessing his own unworthiness and acknowledging the LORD’S GREATNESS and MAJESTY. {SL 46.2}
Earnestness and Fervor
What earnestness and fervor characterize his supplications! The hand of FAITH is reached upward to grasp the never-failing promises of the MOST HIGH. His soul is wrestling in agony. And he has the evidence that his PRAYER is heard. He knows that victory is his. If we as a people would PRAY as Daniel PRAYED, and wrestle as he wrestled, humbling our souls before GOD, we should realize as marked answers to our petitions as were granted to Daniel. Hear how he presses his case at the court of heaven: {SL 47.1}
“Oh my GOD, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy NAME; for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. Oh LORD, hear; Oh LORD, forgive; Oh LORD, hearken and do; defer not; for thine own sake, Oh my GOD: for thy city and thy people are called by thy NAME” (verses 18, 19). {SL 47.2}
The man of GOD was PRAYING for the blessing of Heaven upon his people and for a clearer knowledge of the divine will. The burden of his heart was for Israel, who were not, in the strictest sense, keeping the LAW of GOD. He acknowledges that all their misfortunes have come upon them in consequence of their transgressions of that holy law. He says, “We have sinned, we have done wickedly. . . . Because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us” (verses 15, 16). THE JEWS HAD LOST THEIR PECULIAR, HOLY CHARACTER AS GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE. “Now therefore, O our GOD, hear the PRAYER of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate” (verse 17). Daniel’s heart turns with intense longing to the desolate sanctuary of GOD. He knows that its prosperity can be restored only as Israel shall repent of their transgressions of GOD’S law, and become humble, FAITHFUL, and obedient. {SL 47.3}
The Heavenly Messenger
As Daniel’s PRAYER is going forth, the ANGEL GABRIEL comes sweeping down from the heavenly courts to tell him that his petitions are heard and answered. This MIGHTY ANGEL has been commissioned to give him skill and understanding–to open before him the mysteries of future ages. Thus, WHILE EARNESTLY SEEKING TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH, DANIEL WAS BROUGHT INTO COMMUNION WITH HEAVEN’S DELEGATED MESSENGER. {SL 48.1}
In answer to his petition, Daniel received not only the light and truth which he and his people most needed, but a view of the great events of the future, even to the advent of the world’s Redeemer. Those who claim to be sanctified, while they have no desire to SEARCH the SCRIPTURES or to wrestle with GOD in PRAYER for a clearer understanding of BIBLE TRUTH, know not what true sanctification is. {SL 48.2}
Daniel talked with GOD. Heaven was opened before him. But the high honors granted him were the result of humiliation and earnest seeking. All who believe with the heart the WORD of GOD will hunger and thirst for a knowledge of His will. GOD is the AUTHOR of TRUTH. He enlightens the darkened understanding and gives to the human mind power to grasp and comprehend the truths which He has revealed. {SL 49.1}
Seeking Wisdom From GOD
Upon the occasion just described, the ANGEL GABRIEL imparted to Daniel all the instruction which he was then able to receive. A few years afterward, however, the prophet desired to learn more of subjects not yet fully explained, and again set himself to seek light and wisdom from GOD. “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all. . . . Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (Daniel 10:2-6). {SL 49.2}
This description is similar to that given by John when CHRIST was revealed to him upon the Isle of Patmos. No less a PERSONAGE than the SON OF GOD appeared to Daniel. Our LORD comes with ANOTHER HEAVENLY MESSENGER to teach Daniel what would take place in the latter days. {SL 49.3}
The great truths revealed by the world’s Redeemer are for those who SEARCH FOR TRUTH AS FOR HID TREASURES. Daniel was an aged man. His life had been passed amid the fascinations of a heathen court, his mind cumbered with the affairs of a great empire. Yet he turns aside from all these to afflict his soul before GOD, and seek a knowledge of the purposes of the MOST HIGH. And in response to his supplications, light from the heavenly courts was communicated for those who should live in the latter days. With what earnestness, then, should we seek GOD, that He may open our understanding to comprehend the truths brought to us from heaven. {SL 50.1}
“I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. . . . And there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength” (verses 7, 8). All who are truly sanctified will have a similar experience. The clearer their views of the greatness, glory, and perfection of CHRIST, the more vividly will they see their own weakness and imperfection. They will have no disposition to claim a sinless character; that which has appeared right and comely in themselves will, in contrast with CHRIST’S PURITY and GLORY, appear only as unworthy and corruptible. It is when men are separated from GOD, when they have very indistinct views of CHRIST, that they say, “I am sinless; I am sanctified.” {SL 50.2}
GABRIEL now appeared to the prophet, and thus addressed him: “Oh Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy GOD, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words” (verses 11, 12). {SL 51.1}
Royal Honor to Daniel
What great honor is shown to Daniel by the MAJESTY of HEAVEN! He comforts His trembling servant and assures him that his PRAYER has been heard in heaven. In answer to that fervent petition the ANGEL GABRIEL was sent to affect the heart of the Persian king. The monarch had resisted the impressions of the SPIRIT of GOD during the three weeks while Daniel was FASTING and PRAYING, but HEAVEN’S PRINCE, THE ARCHANGEL, MICHAEL, was sent to turn the heart of the stubborn king to take some decided action to answer the PRAYER of Daniel. {SL 51.2}
“And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips. . . . And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me” (verses 15-19). So great was the divine glory revealed to Daniel that he could not endure the sight. Then the messenger of heaven veiled the brightness of his presence and appeared to the prophet as “one like the similitude of the sons of men” (verse 16). By his divine power he strengthened this man of integrity and of FAITH, to hear the message sent to him from GOD. {SL 51.3}
Daniel was a devoted servant of the MOST HIGH. His long life was filled up with noble deeds of service for his Master. His purity of character and unwavering fidelity are equaled only by his humility of heart and his contrition before GOD. We repeat, The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of true sanctification. {SL 52.1}
Says John, in speaking of the deceiver that doeth great wonders: He shall make an image to the beast, and shall cause all to receive his mark. Will you please to consider this matter? SEARCH the SCRIPTURES, and see. There is a wonder-working power to appear: and it will be when men are claiming sanctification, and holiness, lifting themselves up higher and higher and boasting of themselves. {3SM 353.1}
Daniel, the Hebrew captive, the prime minister of a royal realm, encountered great obstacles to a life of fidelity to GOD. But at the very beginning of his career, he determined that whatever might oppose, he would make the LAW of GOD his rule of action. As he maintained his steadfastness amid the lesser trials which he daily met in the court of a heathen king, his FAITH, courage, and firmness grew stronger; and when the royal decree went forth forbidding him to offer supplication to his GOD, he was able, with the DEN OF LIONS open before him, to stand true to principle and to GOD. {LP 297.3}
Let the truth for this time be cordially received and become the basis of character, and it will produce steadfastness of purpose, which the allurements of pleasure, the fickleness of custom, the contempt of the world-loving and the heart’s own clamors of self-indulgence are powerless to influence. . . . We have marked illustrations of the sustaining power of firm, religious principle. Even the fear of death could not make the fainting David drink of the water of Bethlehem, to obtain which, valiant men had risked their lives. The gaping LIONS’ DEN could not keep Daniel from his DAILY PRAYERS, nor could the fiery furnace induce Shadrach and his companions to fall down before the idol which Nebuchadnezzar set up. Young men who have firm principles will eschew pleasure, defy pain, and brave even the LIONS’ DEN and the heated fiery furnace rather than be found untrue to GOD. {SD 215.4}
Let it be written upon the conscience as with a pen of iron upon the rock, that real success, whether for this life or for the life to come, can be secured only by FAITHFUL adherence to the eternal principles of right. {SD 215.5}
Will the LORD forget his people in this trying hour? Did he forget FAITHFUL Noah when judgments were visited upon the antediluvian world? Did he forget Lot when the fire came down from heaven to consume the cities of the plain? Did he forget Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did he forget Elijah when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the Baal prophets? Did he forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal pit of his prison-house? Did he forget the three worthies in the fiery furnace? or Daniel in the DEN OF LIONS? CHRIST cannot forsake those who are as the apple of his eye, the purchase of his precious blood. {4SP 445.2}
Though the people of GOD endure privation, and even suffer for want of food, they are not left to perish. While GOD’S JUDGMENTS are visited upon the earth, and the wicked are dying from hunger and thirst, ANGELS provide the righteous with food and water. Said JESUS, in his lessons of FAITH to his disciples: “Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and GOD feedeth them; how much more are ye better than the fowls?” [Luke 12:24.] “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your FATHER. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” [Matthew 10:29-31.] {4SP 446.1}
It will serve his purpose well if we neglect the exercise of PRAYER, for then his lying wonders are more readily received. Satan accomplishes his object in setting his deceitful temptations before man, that which he failed to accomplish in tempting CHRIST. He sometimes comes in the form of a lovely young person, or in a beautiful shadow. He works cures, and is worshiped by deceived mortals as a benefactor of our race. Phrenology and mesmerism are very much exalted. They are good in their place, but they are seized upon by Satan as his most powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. The detector, the BIBLE, is destroyed in the minds of thousands, and Satan uses his arts and devices, which are received as from Heaven. And Satan here receives the worship which suits his Satanic majesty. Thousands are conversing with and receiving instructions from this demon-god, and acting according to his teachings. The world, which is considered to be benefitted so much by phrenology and animal magnetism, never was so corrupt. Satan uses these very things to destroy virtue and lay the foundation of Spiritualism. {4bSG 86.1}
The king was ignorant of the subtle mischief purposed against Daniel. With full knowledge of the king’s decree, Daniel still bows before his GOD, “his windows being open.” He considers supplication to GOD of so great importance that he would rather sacrifice his life than relinquish it. On account of his PRAYING to GOD, he is cast into the LIONS’ DEN. Evil angels thus far accomplish their purpose. But Daniel continues to PRAY, even in the DEN OF LIONS. Was he suffered to be consumed? Did GOD forget him there? Oh, no; JESUS, the MIGHTY COMMANDER of the hosts of heaven, sent HIS ANGEL to close the mouths of those hungry LIONS that they should not hurt the PRAYING man of GOD; and all was peace in that terrible den. The king witnessed his preservation and brought him out with honors. Satan and HIS ANGELS were defeated and enraged. The agents he had employed were doomed to perish in the same terrible manner in which they had plotted to destroy Daniel. {1T 295.2}
Those who closely connect with GOD may not be prosperous in the things of this life; they may often be sorely tried and afflicted. Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he preserved his virtue and integrity. David, that chosen messenger of GOD, was hunted like a beast of prey by his wicked enemies. Daniel was cast into a DEN OF LIONS because he was true and unyielding in his allegiance to GOD. Job was deprived of his worldly possessions and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives and friends, yet he preserved his integrity and FAITHFULNESS to GOD. Jeremiah would speak the words which GOD had put into his mouth, and his plain testimony so enraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit. Stephen was stoned because he would preach CHRIST and Him crucified. Paul was imprisoned, beaten with rods, stoned, and finally put to death because he was a FAITHFUL messenger to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. The beloved John was banished to the Isle of Patmos “for the WORD of GOD, and for the testimony of JESUS CHRIST.” {4T 525.1}
These examples of human steadfastness, in the might of divine power, are a witness to the world of the FAITHFULNESS of GOD’S PROMISES–of His abiding presence and sustaining grace. As the world looks upon these humble men, it cannot discern their moral value with GOD. It is a work of FAITH to calmly repose in GOD in the darkest hour– however severely tried and tempest-tossed, to feel that our FATHER is at the helm. The eye of FAITH alone can look beyond the things of time and sense to estimate the worth of eternal riches. {4T 525.2}
The great military commander conquers nations and shakes the armies of half the world, but he dies of disappointment and in exile. The philosopher who ranges through the universe, everywhere tracing the manifestations of GOD’S POWER and delighting in their harmony, often fails to behold in these marvelous wonders the Hand that formed them all. “Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” No hope of glorious immortality lights up the future of the enemies of GOD. But those heroes of FAITH have the promise of an inheritance of greater value than any earthly riches–an inheritance that will satisfy the longings of the soul. They may be unknown and unacknowledged of the world, but they are enrolled as citizens in the RECORD BOOKS of HEAVEN. An exalted greatness, an enduring, eternal weight of glory, will be the final reward of those whom GOD has made heirs of all things. {4T 526.1}
The case of Daniel was presented before me. Although he was a man of like passions with ourselves, the pen of inspiration presents him as a faultless character. His life is given us as a bright example of what man may become, even in this life, if he will make GOD his strength and wisely improve the opportunities and privileges within his reach. Daniel was an intellectual giant; yet he was continually seeking for greater knowledge, for higher attainments. Other young men had the same advantages; but they did not, like him, bend all their energies to seek wisdom–the knowledge of GOD as revealed in HIS WORD and in HIS WORKS. Although Daniel was one of the world’s great men, he was not proud nor self-sufficient. He felt the need of refreshing his soul with PRAYER, and each day found him in earnest supplication before GOD. He would not be deprived of this privilege even when a DEN OF LIONS was opened to receive him if he continued to PRAY. {4T 569.1}
Daniel loved, feared, and obeyed GOD. Yet he did not flee away from the world to avoid its corrupting influence. In the providence of GOD he was to be in the world yet not of the world. With all the temptations and fascinations of court life surrounding him, he stood in the integrity of his soul, firm as a rock in his adherence to principle. He made GOD his strength and was not forsaken of Him in his time of greatest need. {4T 569.2}
Daniel was true, noble, and generous. While he was anxious to be at peace with all men, he would not permit any power to turn him aside from the path of duty. He was willing to obey those who had rule over him, as far as he could do so consistently with truth and righteousness; but kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings. Daniel was but eighteen years old when brought into a heathen court in service to the king of Babylon, and because of his youth his noble resistance of wrong and his steadfast adherence to the right are the more admirable. His noble example should bring strength to the tried and tempted, even at the present day. {4T 570.1}
So when the decree went forth forbidding PRAYER to any god save the king. As Daniel, according to his custom, made his supplications THREE TIMES A DAY to the GOD of HEAVEN, the attention of the princes and rulers was called to his case. He had an opportunity to speak for himself, to show who is the TRUE GOD, and to present the reason why He alone should receive worship, and the duty of rendering Him praise and homage. And the deliverance of Daniel from the DEN OF LIONS was another evidence that the Being whom he worshiped was the TRUE and LIVING GOD. {5T 453.3}
Daniel’s history is a remarkable one. He carried out his FAITH and principles against great opposition. He was condemned to death because he would not abate one jot of his allegiance to GOD even in the face of the king’s decree. It might, at this day, be called overrighteousness to go, as was his wont, THREE TIMES A DAY and kneel before the open window for PRAYER while he knew that prying eyes were observing him and that his enemies were ready to accuse him of disloyalty to the king; but Daniel would allow no earthly power to come in between him and his GOD, even with the prospect of death in the DEN OF LIONS. Although GOD did not prevent Daniel from being cast into a DEN OF LIONS, an ANGEL went in with him and closed their mouths, so that no harm befell him; and in the morning, when the king called him, he responded: “My GOD hath sent HIS ANGEL, and hath shut the LIONS’ MOUTHS, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” He was a noble, steadfast servant of GOD. {5T 527.1}
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Daniel PRAYED unto his GOD THREE TIMES A DAY. Satan is enraged at the sound of fervent PRAYER, for he knows that he will suffer loss. Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him. Fallen angels feared his influence would weaken their control over the rulers of the kingdom. . . . The accusing host of evil angels stirred up the presidents and princes to envy and jealousy, and they watched Daniel closely to find some occasion against him that they might report him to the king, but they failed. Then these agents of Satan sought to make his FAITHFULNESS to GOD the cause of his destruction. Evil angels laid out the plan for them, and these agents readily carried it into effect. The king was ignorant of the subtle mischief purposed against Daniel. {TA 141.2}
With the full knowledge of the king’s decree he [Daniel] still bows before his GOD, “his windows being open.” He considers supplication to GOD of sufficient importance to sacrifice his life rather than to relinquish it. On account of his PRAYING to GOD he was cast into the LIONS’ DEN. Evil angels accomplished their purpose thus far. But Daniel continues to PRAY, even in the DEN OF LIONS. . . . Did GOD forget him there? Oh no; JESUS the MIGHTY COMMANDER of the host of heaven, sent HIS ANGEL to close the mouths of those hungry LIONS that they should not hurt the PRAYING man of GOD, and all was peace in that terrible den. The king witnessed his preservation, and brought him out with honors. Satan and HIS ANGELS were defeated and enraged. The agents Satan had employed were doomed to perish in the terrible manner they had plotted to destroy Daniel.—4bSG 85, 86. {TA 141.3}
When Daniel was cast into the DEN OF LIONS because of his fidelity to GOD, the LORD sent HIS ANGEL to deliver him; and He will deliver us if we put our trust in Him and obey Him. Heaven is very much nearer to us than we think. When we place ourselves in the right relation to GOD, ANGELS of heaven are beside us. We are to hide in JESUS, and he that touches you, he that harms or distresses you, touches CHRIST; for CHRIST identifies his interest with that of his people. CHRIST suffers in the person of his saints. We must remember that the GOD of Daniel is our GOD, and that we can be FAITHFUL under all circumstances. We can go to Him in confidence, and through his grace preserve our integrity. {BEcho, January 15, 1893 par. 7}
I was pointed to the fervent, effectual PRAYERS of his people anciently. “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he PRAYED earnestly.” Daniel PRAYED unto his GOD THREE TIMES A DAY. Satan is enraged at the sound of fervent PRAYER, for he knows that he will suffer loss. Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes because an excellent spirit was in him. Fallen angels feared his influence would weaken their control over the rulers of the kingdom, for Daniel was high in command. The accusing host of evil angels stirred up the presidents and princes to envy and jealousy, and they watched Daniel closely to find some occasion against him that they might report him to the king, but they failed. Then these agents of Satan sought to make his FAITHFULNESS to GOD the cause of his destruction. Evil angels laid out the plan for them, and these agents readily carried it into effect. The king was ignorant of the subtle mischief purposed against Daniel. With the full knowledge of the king’s decree he still bows before his GOD, “his windows being open.” He considers supplication to GOD of sufficient importance to sacrifice his life rather than to relinquish it. On account of his PRAYING to GOD he was cast into the LION’S DEN. Evil angels accomplished their purpose thus far. But Daniel continues to PRAY, even in the DEN OF LIONS. Was Daniel suffered to be consumed? Did GOD forget him there? O, no; JESUS, the MIGHTY COMMANDER of the host of heaven, sent HIS ANGEL to close the mouths of those hungry LIONS that they should not hurt the PRAYING man of GOD, and all was peace in that terrible den. The king witnessed his preservation, and brought him out with honors. Satan and HIS ANGELS were defeated and enraged. The agents Satan had employed were doomed to perish in the terrible manner they had plotted to destroy Daniel. The PRAYER of FAITH is the great strength of the Christian, and will assuredly prevail against Satan. This is why he insinuates that we have no need of PRAYER. The of JESUS our ADVOCATE he detests, and when we earnestly come to him for help, Satan’s host is alarmed. {RH, February 18, 1862 par. 12}
Thus it has been in the past history of GOD’S PEOPLE. For refusing to worship the great golden image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the three Hebrews were cast into the fiery furnace. But GOD preserved his servants in the midst of the flames, and the attempt to enforce idolatry resulted in bringing the knowledge of the TRUE GOD before the assembled princes and great men of the vast kingdom of Babylon. So it was when the decree went forth forbidding PRAYER to any god save the king. As Daniel, according to his custom, made his supplications THREE TIMES A DAY to the GOD of HEAVEN, the attention of the princes and rulers was called to his case. He had an opportunity to speak for himself, to show who is the TRUE GOD, and to present the reason why he alone should receive worship, and the duty of rendering him praise and homage. And the deliverance of Daniel from the DEN OF LIONS was another evidence that the Being whom he worshiped was the TRUE and LIVING GOD. {RH, December 11, 1888 par. 10}
A confession of CHRIST means something more than bearing testimony in social meeting. Daniel is an example to believers as to what it means to confess CHRIST. He held the responsible position of prime minister in the kingdom of Babylon, and there were those who were envious of Daniel among the great men of the court, and they wanted to find something against him that they might bring an accusation against him to the king. But he was a FAITHFUL STATESMAN, and they could find no flaw in his character or life. “Then said these men, we shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the LAW of HIS GOD.” So they agreed together to ask the king to make a decree that no one should ask any petition of any GOD or man for thirty days save of the king, and if any disobeyed this decree, he was to be cast into the DEN OF LIONS. But did Daniel cease to PRAY because this decree was to go into force!–No, that was just the time when he needed to PRAY. “When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and, his window being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees THREE TIMES A DAY, and PRAYED, and gave thanks before his GOD, as he did aforetime.” Daniel did not seek to hide his loyalty to GOD. He did not PRAY in his heart, but with his voice, aloud, with his window open toward Jerusalem, he offered up his petition to heaven. Then his enemies made their complaint to the king, and Daniel was thrown into the DEN OF LIONS. But the SON OF GOD was there. The ANGEL of the LORD encamped round about the servant of the LORD, and when the king came in the morning, and called, “O Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD, IS THY GOD, whom thou servest continually, ABLE TO DELIVER THEE from the LIONS? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever. My GOD hath sent HIS ANGEL, and hath shut the LIONS’ MOUTHS, that they have not hurt me.” No harm had come to him, and he magnified the LORD GOD of HEAVEN. {RH, May 3, 1892 par. 11}
Thus, while those who had remained LOYAL to GOD in the midst of Babylon were seeking the LORD and STUDYING the PROPHECIES foretelling their deliverance, GOD was preparing the hearts of kings to show favor to his repentant people. {RH, March 21, 1907 par. 11}
“How often those who trusted the WORD of GOD, though in themselves utterly helpless, have withstood the power of the whole world,–Enoch, pure in heart, holy in life, holding fast his FAITH in the triumph of righteousness against a corrupt and scoffing generation; Noah and his household against the men of his time, men of the greatest physical and mental strength and the most debased in morals; the children of Israel at the Red Sea, a helpless, terrified multitude of slaves, against the mightiest army of the mightiest nation on the globe; David, a shepherd lad, having GOD’S PROMISE of the throne, against Saul, the established monarch, bent on holding fast his power; Shadrach and his companions in the fire, and Nebuchadnezzar on the throne; Daniel among the LIONS, his enemies in the high places of the kingdom; JESUS on the cross, and the Jewish priests and rulers forcing even the Roman governor to work their will; Paul in chains led to a criminal’s death, Nero the despot of a world empire. {RH, November 11, 1915 par. 7}
Daniel was a man of PRAYER; and GOD gave him wisdom and firmness to resist every influence that conspired to draw him into the snare of intemperance. Even in his youth he was a moral giant in the strength of the MIGHTY ONE. Afterward, when a decree was made that if for thirty days any one should ask a petition of any GOD or man, save of the king, he should be cast into a DEN OF LIONS, Daniel, with firm, undaunted step, made his way to his chamber, and with his windows open PRAYED aloud THREE TIMES A DAY, as he had done before. He was cast into the LIONS’ DEN; but GOD sent HOLY ANGELS to guard his servant. {ST, August 14, 1884 par. 6}
November 4, 1886 Daniel an Example of FAITHFULNESS.
When Darius set over the provinces of his kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, and over these, three presidents, to whom the princes where to give account, we read that “Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was found in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” But evil angels, fearing the influence of this good man over the king and in the affairs of the kingdom, stirred up the presidents and princes to envy. These wicked men watched Daniel closely, that they might find some fault in him which they could report to the king; but they failed. “He was FAITHFUL, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 1}
Then Satan sought to make Daniel’s FAITHFULNESS to GOD the cause of his destruction. The presidents and princes came tumultuously together unto the king, and said, “All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors and the princes, the counselors and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any GOD or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the DEN OF LIONS.” The king’s pride was flattered. He was ignorant of the mischief purposed against Daniel, and he granted their request. The decree was signed, and became one of the unalterable laws of the Medes and Persians. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 2}
These envious men did not believe that Daniel would be untrue to his GOD, or that he would falter in his firm adherence to principle; and they were not mistaken in their estimate of his character. Daniel knew the value of communion with GOD. With full knowledge of the king’s decree, he still bowed in PRAYER THREE TIMES A DAY, “his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem.” He did not seek to conceal his act, although he knew full well the consequences of his fidelity to GOD. He saw the dangers that beset his path; but his steps faltered not. Before those who were plotting his ruin, he would not allow even the appearance that his connection with Heaven was severed. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 3}
In all cases where the king had a right to command, Daniel would obey. He was willing to obey so far as he could do so consistently with truth and righteousness; but kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings. He knew that no man, not even his king, had a right to come between his conscience and his GOD, and interfere with the worship due to his Maker. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 4}
On account of his PRAYING to GOD, Daniel was cast into the LION’S DEN. Envious and wicked men thus far accomplished their purpose. But Daniel continued to PRAY, even among the LIONS. Did GOD forget his FAITHFUL SERVANT, and suffer him to be destroyed? Oh, no; JESUS, the MIGHTY COMMANDER of the HOSTS of HEAVEN, sent HIS ANGELS to close the mouths of those hungry LIONS, that they should not hurt the PRAYING man of GOD; and all was peace in that terrible den. The king witnessed the miraculous preservation of Daniel, and brought him out with honors; while those who had plotted his destruction were utterly destroyed, with their wives and children, in the terrible manner in which they had planned to destroy Daniel. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 6}
Through the moral courage of this one man who chose, even in the face of death, to take a right course rather than a politic one, Satan was defeated, and GOD honored. For the deliverance of Daniel from the power of the LIONS was a striking evidence that the Being whom he worshiped was the TRUE and LIVING GOD. And the king wrote unto “all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth:” “I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the GOD of Daniel; for he is the LIVING GOD, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 7}
Daniel was sorely tried; but he overcame because he was of a humble and prayerful spirit. Although he was surrounded with distrust and suspicion, and his enemies laid a snare for his life, yet he maintained a serene and cheerful trust in GOD, never once deviating from principle. Although Daniel was a man of like passions with ourselves, the pen of inspiration presents him as a faultless character. His life is given us as a bright example of what man may become, even in this life, if he will make GOD his strength, and wisely improve the privileges and opportunities within his reach. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 8}
Daniel was a moral and intellectual giant; yet he did not reach this pre-eminence all at once and without effort. He was continually seeking for greater knowledge, for higher attainments. Other young men had the same advantages, but they did not, like him, bend all their energies to seek wisdom,–the knowledge of GOD as revealed in his word and in his works. Daniel was but a youth when he was brought into a heathen court in service to the king of Babylon; and because of his extreme youth when he was exposed to all the temptations of an Eastern court, his noble resistance of wrong and his steadfast adherence to the right, throughout his long career, are the more admirable. His example should be a source of strength to the tried and tempted, even at the present day. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 9}
From the history of Daniel we may learn that a strict compliance with the requirements of GOD will prove a blessing, not only in the future, immortal life, but also in the present life. Through religious principles, men may triumph over the temptations of Satan and the devices of wicked men, even though it costs them a great sacrifice. What if Daniel had made a compromise with those heathen rulers, and had denied his GOD? What if, on first entering the court, he had yielded to the pressure of temptation, by eating and drinking as was customary among the Babylonians? That one wrong step would probably have led to others, until, his connection with Heaven being severed, he would have been borne away by the power of temptation. But while he clung to GOD with unwavering, PRAYERFUL TRUST, he could not be forsaken. The divine protection is pledged to those who thus seek it, and GOD cannot forget His Word. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 11}
It was through PRAYER and ADHERENCE to right principles that Daniel was enabled to stand firm in the hour of trial and temptation. The PRAYER of FAITH is the great strength of the Christian, and will assuredly prevail against the devices of the hosts of darkness. Satan well knows how needful are meditation and PRAYER to keep CHRIST’S FOLLOWERS aroused to understand his devices, and resist his temptations; so he tries to lead men to believe that PRAYER is useless, and but a mere form. If he can divert the mind from these important exercises, so that the soul will not lean for help on the MIGHTY ONE, and obtain divine strength to resist his attacks, he knows full well that he has gained a decided advantage. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 12}
We are living in the most solemn period of this world’s history, when the last conflict between truth and error is raging; and we need courage and firmness for the right, and a PRAYERFUL TRUST in GOD no less than Daniel did. The destiny of earth’s teeming millions is about to be decided; and our own future well-being, and the salvation of other souls, depend upon the course which we pursue. If we possess the same unwavering integrity that characterized the prophet of old, GOD will be honored through our course, and souls will be saved to shine as stars in the crown of our rejoicing. {ST, November 4, 1886 par. 13}
We are told that Elijah “was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he PRAYED earnestly,” and his PRAYER was answered. A royal decree was signed in the courts of Babylon, that if for thirty days any man asked a petition of any GOD or man, save of Darius the king, he should be cast into the LIONS’ DEN; but Daniel, notwithstanding he knew of the decree, failed not to PRAY THREE TIMES A DAY, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, as he had done before the decree was made; and the GOD whom he served continually, delivered him out of the power of the LIONS. These holy men knew the value of communion with GOD. {ST, November 18, 1886 par. 2}
When Daniel had been exalted in the court of Babylon, he was not free from trial and temptation. The wise men of the court were filled with envy, and plotted for his destruction. {ST, November 4, 1889 par. 6}
How earnestly the enemies of Daniel watched for an opportunity to accuse him before the king, but they decided that they could find nothing against him, except in his fidelity to his GOD. They induced the king to frame a decree, according to the custom of the Medes and Persians, that could not be changed, to the effect that if any man for thirty days offered PRAYER to anyone except the king, he should be thrown into the DEN OF LIONS. The king was flattered by this proposition, and as he did not understand the motive that prompted it, he signed the desired decree, and made it a law. Did these men think because they had deceived Darius that they had deceived the LORD also? Daniel knew all about the decree, but when the time came for PRAYER, “he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees THREE TIMES A DAY, and PRAYED, and gave thanks before his GOD, as he did aforetime.” {ST, November 4, 1889 par. 7}
The report was quickly carried to the king, and too late he saw that the decree had been proposed and carried into effect through the envy and jealousy of his court. Daniel had determined that he would be true to GOD. He would let the world know that no king, prince, or power, had a right to come between his soul and GOD. GOD did not forsake him, for though he was cast into the DEN OF LIONS, the ANGELS of heaven were with him, and he suffered no harm. The king, filled with sorrow, spent a restless night in his chamber, and at early light he came to the den, and cried, “O Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD, IS THY GOD, whom thou servest continually, ABLE TO DELIVER THEE from the LIONS?” Then Daniel said to the king, “My GOD hath sent HIS ANGEL, and hath shut the LIONS’ MOUTHS, that they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” {ST, November 4, 1889 par. 8}
Daniel was soon delivered from the DEN OF LIONS, and his enemies who had plotted his ruin were themselves destroyed. {ST, November 4, 1889 par. 9}
Through the trial that was permitted to come upon Daniel, great good resulted to the nation; for it gave opportunity to call the attention of great and small to the fact that GOD was able and willing to save him who trusted in him. Daniel showed to the nation that JEHOVAH was a LIVING GOD. He brought out chapters in his experience showing that GOD had manifested himself to his servant in a remarkable manner. He told them how he had stood before them as a prophet of the MOST HIGH GOD, and that no earthly power had the right to interfere with a man’s personal relation to his GOD. Thus GOD was manifested above every king, emperor, or statesman, as the one to be honored and obeyed. {ST, November 4, 1889 par. 10}
Daniel was counted peculiar, and every man who makes GOD his counselor, and who seeks him in simplicity of heart, will be counted peculiar by the world. But this is the FAITH we need, this is the experience that we must have; for CHRIST has died to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. We should live with an eye single to his glory, and then we shall be able to gain the victory over the world. We must come out from the world and be separate, if we would be the sons of GOD, the heirs of heaven. If we do this, we shall enter in through the gates into the city, we shall have a right to the tree of life, and we shall see the King in his beauty. {ST, November 4, 1889 par. 11}
We need to grow in the knowledge of our LORD and Saviour JESUS CHRIST. We must educate ourselves to talk FAITH, to PRAY in FAITH, and to abstain from dropping one seed of doubt and discouragement. We desire that young men shall go forth from this conference to become experienced workers in the cause of GOD. Let the older ministers take heed that they make straight paths for their feet, that the lame be not turned out of the way. Let no watchman or shepherd of the flock place himself on the judgment-seat, to criticise others, to pick flaws and find fault with the brethren. Oh, that everyone at this meeting would take his position on the LORD’S SIDE! We must have light in ourselves. Do not believe anything simply because others say it is truth. Take your BIBLES, and SEARCH them for yourselves. Plead with GOD that he will put HIS SPIRIT upon you, that you may know the truth and understand its principles. If you gain an experience of this kind, there is nothing that will turn you from the truth. You will be like Daniel in the LIONS’ DEN, and like Joseph in Pharaoh’s prison. {ST, November 11, 1889 par. 10}
From the light that GOD has given me, I can say that not half of those who profess to believe the present truth have a thorough understanding of the THIRD ANGEL’S MESSAGE. Many believe the truth because they have heard it preached by someone in whom they had confidence. When our people SEARCH the WORD of GOD for themselves, we shall hear less murmuring than we hear today. We need that FAITH that will lead us to STUDY the BIBLE for ourselves, and take GOD at His word. {ST, November 11, 1889 par. 11}
Through trial GOD leads His children to perfect trust. “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” CHRIST says; “but in Me ye shall have peace.” It is through much tribulation that we are to enter the kingdom of GOD. The followers of CHRIST will often be sorely tried and afflicted. Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he was determined to preserve his virtue and integrity. David, GOD’S CHOSEN MESSENGER, was hunted like a beast of prey by wicked enemies. Daniel was cast into a DEN OF LIONS because he would not yield his allegiance to GOD. Jeremiah spoke the word that GOD gave him, and his plain testimony so enraged the king and the princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit. Stephen was stoned for preaching CHRIST and Him crucified. Paul was imprisoned, and finally put to death, because he obeyed CHRIST’S command to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. John, the beloved disciple, was banished to the Isle of Patmos for the WORD of GOD and the testimony of JESUS CHRIST. {ST, February 5, 1902 par. 2}
No cross, no crown. How can we be strong in the LORD without trial? To have physical strength, we must have exercise. To have strong FAITH, we must be placed in circumstances where our FAITH will be tried. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience, and advances us in the work of character building. Our Saviour was tried in every way, yet He triumphed in GOD constantly. It is our privilege under all circumstances to be strong in the strength of GOD, and to glory in the cross of CHRIST. {ST, February 5, 1902 par. 3}
October 1, 1855 Watch and Pray.
Take ye heed, watch and PRAY,” were the words of our Saviour spoken in reference to the time of the end, and his second coming to take his FAITHFUL children home. {YI, October 1, 1855 par. 1}
First, you are to watch. Watch, lest you should speak hastily, fretfully and impatiently. Watch, lest pride should find a place in your heart. Watch, lest evil passions should overcome you, instead of your subduing them. Watch, lest a careless, indifferent spirit comes upon you, and you neglect your duty and become light and trifling, and your influence savor of death, rather than life. {YI, October 1, 1855 par. 2}
Second, you are to PRAY. JESUS would not have enjoined this upon you, unless there was actual necessity for it. It is well known to him that of yourself you cannot overcome the many temptations of the Enemy, and the many snares laid for your feet. He has not left you alone to do this; but has provided a way that you can obtain help. Therefore he has bid you to PRAY. {YI, October 1, 1855 par. 3}
To PRAY aright, is to ask GOD in FAITH for the very things you need. Go to your chamber, or in some retired place, and ask your FATHER for JESUS’ sake to help you. There is power in that PRAYER that is sent up from a heart convinced of its own weakness, yet earnestly longing for that strength that comes from GOD. The earnest, fervent PRAYER will be heard and answered. Go to your GOD who is strong, and who loves to hear children PRAY, and, although you may feel very weak, and find yourself at times overcome by the Enemy, because you have neglected the first command of our Saviour, to watch, yet do not give up the struggle. Make stronger efforts yourself than before. Faint not. Cast yourself at the feet of JESUS, who has been tempted, and knows how to help such as are tempted. Confess your faults, your weakness, and that you must have help to overcome, or you perish. And as you ask, you must believe that GOD hears you. Plead your case before GOD, through JESUS, until your soul can with confidence rely upon him for strength, and you feel that you are not left to do the work of overcoming alone. GOD will help you. ANGELS will watch over you. {YI, October 1, 1855 par. 4}
Children, you cannot live without food; you would soon feel the cravings of hunger, and your bodies would pine and die. You need spiritual food just as much, and often, as your body needs temporal food. Three times a day is none to often to draw strength from heaven, or sap and nourishment from CHRIST, the living vine. Read the words of our Saviour in Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” {YI, October 1, 1855 par. 6}
“For the LORD is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” “O fear the LORD, ye his saints; for there is no want to them that fear him. The young LIONS do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Here are promises, rich and abundant, upon conditions that you cease to do evil and learn to do well. Then set your aim in life high, as did Joseph and Daniel and Moses; and take into consideration the cost of character-building, and then build for time and for eternity. Satan will oppose your efforts to advance. Your path will not always be smooth, but there are encouragements in GOD’S RICH PROMISES. {YI, September 1, 1886 par. 5A}
The LORD has pledged his word that in every effort toward righteousness he will help us. We are weak and without wisdom, but GOD has said: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of GOD, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Only learn to be thorough, never to let go your hold upon GOD, to persevere in his service, and you will be an overcomer through the BLOOD of the LAMB. In doing this work for yourself you are having an influence on many others whom you associate with. Words spoken in season, how good are they! How much strength a word of hope, courage, and determination in a right course will give one who is inclined to slide into habits that are demoralizing! The firm purpose you may possess in carrying out good principles, will have an influence to balance souls in the right direction. There is no limit to the good you may do. If you make the WORD of GOD the rule of your life, and govern your actions by its precepts, making all your purposes and exertions in the fulfilling of your duty a blessing and not a curse to others, success will crown your efforts. You have placed yourself in connection with GOD; you have become a channel of light to others. You are honored by becoming co-laborers with JESUS; and no higher honor can you receive than the blessed benediction from the lips of the Saviour: “Well done, good and FAITHFUL SERVANT, enter thou into the joy of thy LORD.” {YI, September 1, 1886 par. 5B}
GOD’S Care for His Children
Under the reign of Darius, Daniel was exalted to a position of great honor, because the king saw in him an “excellent spirit.” But when the leading men of the kingdom saw Daniel thus favored, they became jealous of him, and soon envied and hated him. His course of unbending integrity was in marked contrast to their own lives. The more upright and righteous he was, the more they hated him. Long they sought to find something whereby he might be condemned. It angered them to think that they could lay nothing to his charge. But he was prime minister of the kingdom, and they knew they would have to prove any charge they brought against him. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 1}
Daniel’s position was not an enviable one. He stood at the head of a dishonest, prevaricating, godless cabinet, whose members watched him with keen, jealous eyes, to find some flaw in his conduct. They kept spies on his track, to see if they could not in this way find something against him. Satan suggested to these men a plan whereby they might get rid of Daniel. Use his religion as a means of condemning him, the enemy said. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 2}
Daniel was a man of PRAYER. Three times a day he knelt before the LORD; and Satan told his enemies that his destruction must be compassed on this ground. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 3}
A large number of the princes and nobles were in the secret, but the king was kept in ignorance of their purpose, they went to him, and asked him, in honor of his kingly dignity, to pass a decree commanding that for thirty days no one in the kingdom should ask anything of any god save Darius. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 4}
“All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counselors, and the captains have consulted together,” they said, “to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the DEN OF LIONS. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.” {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 5}
The king’s vanity was flattered. Not for a moment did he think that Daniel, his beloved and honored servant, would in any way be affected by the law. He signed the decree, and with it in their possession, the presidents and princes went forth from his presence, evil triumph depicted on their countenances. They deemed that the man they hated was now in their power. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 6}
Daniel heard of what had been done, but he made no protest. He could see the design of his enemies. He knew that they would watch closely his going out and his coming in, but he calmly attended to his duties, and at the HOUR of PRAYER he went to his chamber, and kneeling by the open window, with his face toward Jerusalem, he PRAYED to his GOD. From his youth he had been taught that in PRAYER his face should be turned toward the temple, where by FAITH he saw the revelation of JEHOVAH’S GLORY. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 7}
Daniel PRAYED more fervently than was his wont, that He who understands the secret working of Satan and his agents would not leave his servant, but would care for him. He PRAYED for strength to endure the trial. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 8}
Some may ask, Why did not Daniel lift his soul to GOD in secret PRAYER? Would not the LORD, knowing the situation, have excused his servant from kneeling openly before him? Or why did he not kneel before GOD in some secret place, where his enemies could not see him? {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 9}
Daniel knew that the GOD of Israel must be honored before the Babylonian nation. He knew that neither kings nor nobles had any right to come between him and his duty to his GOD. He must bravely maintain his religious principles before all men; for he was GOD’S WITNESS. Therefore he PRAYED as was his wont, as if no decree had been made. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 10}
“Then these men assembled, and found Daniel PRAYING and making supplication before his GOD.” {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 11}
Eagerly they hastened to Darius, concealing their cruel joy under a cloak of regret that they were obliged to inform against Daniel. But they declared that by Daniel’s act the king’s position as sovereign of the land was endangered, and his authority despised. “That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition THREE TIMES A DAY.” {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 12}
“Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself.” {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 13}
Too late he understood the snare that had been laid for the destruction of HIS FAVORITE SERVANT. Sorely troubled, he tried in every way to rescue Daniel. Till the going down of the sun he labored to deliver him. But Daniel’s accusers had managed the matter so well that there was no way of escape. “Know, O king,” they said, “that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 14}
Daniel was brought before the king and his princes to answer the accusation brought against him. He had opportunity to speak for himself, and he boldly acknowledged his belief in the LIVING GOD, the maker of heaven and earth. He made a noble confession of FAITH, relating his experience from his first connection with the kingdom. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 15}
In his perplexity and distress, Darius said to Daniel, I have done all I can to save you. I can do no more. “Thy GOD, whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee,” he added, as he bade him a sorrowful farewell. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 16}
Daniel was cast into the DEN OF LIONS. “And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords, that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.” Full of satanic exultation, Daniel’s enemies returned to their homes. They drank freely of wine, and congratulated themselves on their success in putting out of the way one whom they could not bribe to forsake the path of integrity. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 17}
Not so did Darius pass the night. Daniel’s testimony had made a deep impression on his mind. He had some knowledge of the dealing of GOD with the people of Israel, and Daniel’s conduct sent home to his heart the conviction, that the GOD of the HEBREWS was the TRUE GOD. He was filled with remorse for having signed the decree brought to him. His conscience was awakened, and he passed a sleepless and troubled night. The chamber of royalty was one of sorrow and PRAYER. All music was hushed. All amusements were laid aside. No comforters were admitted. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 18}
During that sleepless night the king thought as he had never thought before. Early the next morning, hoping and yet despairing, condemning himself, and PRAYING to him whom he began to recognize as the TRUE GOD, Darius went to the LIONS’ DEN, and cried aloud: “O Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD, IS THY GOD, whom thou servest continually, ABLE TO DELIVER THEE from the LIONS?” {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 19}
With intense anxiety he waited for an answer, and unspeakable thankfulness filled his heart as a voice came up from below: “O king, live forever. My GOD hath sent HIS ANGEL, and hath shut the LIONS’ MOUTHS, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 20}
Thus the LORD cared for his FAITHFUL SERVANT, and thus will he care for all who put their trust in him. “The ANGEL of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” {YI, November 1, 1900 par. 22}
The controversy between the two great powers of good and evil is soon to be ended; but to the time of its close, there will be continual and sharp contests. We should now purpose, as did Daniel and his fellows in Babylon, that we will be true to principle, come what may. The flaming fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated, did not cause these FAITHFUL SERVANTS of GOD to turn aside from allegiance to the truth. They stood firm in the time of trial, and were cast into the furnace; and they were not forsaken of GOD. The form of the Fourth was seen walking with them in the flames, and they came forth not having even the smell of fire upon their garments. {PH133 13.1}
Daniel was true, noble and generous. While he was anxious to be at peace with all men, he would not permit any power to turn him aside from the path of duty. He was willing to obey those who had rule over him as far as he could do so consistently with truth and righteousness, but kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings. Daniel was but eighteen years old when brought into a heathen court in service to the king of Babylon. And because of his youth, his noble resistance of wrong and his steadfast adherence to the right are the more admirable. His noble example should bring strength to the tried and tempted, even at the present day. {PH100 51.1}
A strict compliance with the BIBLE requirements will be a blessing, not only to the soul, but to the body. The fruit of the SPIRIT is not only love, joy, and peace, but temperance also. We are enjoined not to defile our bodies, for they are the temples of the HOLY GHOST. The case of Daniel shows us, that, through religious principle, young men may triumph over the lust of the flesh, and remain true to GOD’S REQUIREMENTS, even though it cost them a great sacrifice. What if he had made a compromise with those heathen officers, and had yielded to the pressure of the occasion by eating and drinking as was customary with the Babylonians? That one wrong step would probably have led to others, until, his connection with Heaven being severed, he would have been borne away by temptation. But while he clung to GOD with unwavering trust, the spirit of prophetic power came upon him. While he was instructed of man in the duties of court life, he was taught of GOD to read the mysteries of future ages. {PH100 51.2}
All that GOD has in prophetic history specified to be fulfilled in the past, has been, and all that is yet to come in its order will be. Daniel, GOD’S PROPHET, stands in his place. John stands in his place. In the Revelation, the LION of the TRIBE of JUDAH has opened to the students of PROPHECY the Book of Daniel, and thus is Daniel standing in his place. He bears his testimony, that which the LORD revealed to him in vision of the great and solemn events which we must know as we stand on the very threshold of their fulfillment. {1MR 47.2}
In history and PROPHECY the WORD of GOD portrays the long continued conflict between truth and error. That conflict is yet in progress. Those things which have been will be repeated. Old controversies will be revived, and new theories will be continually arising. But GOD’S PEOPLE, who in their belief and fulfillment of PROPHECY have acted a part in the proclamation of the FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD ANGELS’ MESSAGES, know where they stand. They have an experience that is more precious than fine gold. They are to stand firm as a rock, holding the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end. {1MR 47.3}
Daniel was brought to a test and he purposed in his heart that he would worship the TRUE GOD, notwithstanding the decree. He here saw that principle was at stake and because of integrity he was cast into the LIONS’ DEN. But here GOD did not forget him. All heaven had been watching his case, to see if he would be FAITHFUL to his GOD. When the trial came ANGELS were his companions. They stopped the LIONS’ MOUTHS and delivered him. When the king saw the real object of the wise men, to rid Daniel of his power, then the king was wroth, and destroyed the enemies of Daniel. {3MR 95.3}
The great controversy between the two great powers is soon to be ended, and up to the time of its close there will be a wonderful, sharp contest. It is the time now to purpose, as did Daniel and his fellows in the courts of Babylon, that you will be true to principle. The flaming fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than it was wont did not swerve [the three Hebrews] from their principles. They held firm, and were cast into the furnace of fire. The form of the Fourth was with them, and even the smell of fire was not upon their garments. The gaping DEN OF LIONS was open to receive the FAITHFUL, PRAYING Daniel, but did he hide his purpose? Did he haul down his colors? Three times a day, as was his wont, he sought his LORD in his chamber with his window open toward Jerusalem. GOD delivered Daniel. {1888 943.2}
Let us look at the case of Elijah. He meets his mortal enemy, the king, the despotic ruler, an apostate from true religion. The king accuses Elijah, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” 1 Kings 18:17. Does Elijah excuse himself? Does he resort to flattery? Does he betray sacred trusts because Israel has perverted her FAITH and disowned her allegiance to her GOD? Does he prophesy smooth things to please and pacify the king and secure his favor? No, no! Will he evade the issue? Will he conceal from the king the true cause of the JUDGMENTS of GOD that are falling upon the whole land of Israel? No, no! Elijah is a man who proclaims the truth, just such truth as the occasion demands. He carries a weight, a great burden and sorrow for apostate Israel. He must hold up before them their defection that they may humble themselves before GOD that He may turn away His fierce anger from them. The answer came from Elijah, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the COMMANDMENTS of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.” 1 Kings 18:18. {1888 944.1}
Joseph was virtuous and his character was marked for true goodness and strength of purpose, yet he was maligned, persecuted, and dealt with as a criminal. But GOD had signal victories for Joseph, even as he appeared to suffer because of his rightdoing. {Lt10-1879}
Job was stripped of his earthly treasures, bereaved of his children, and made a spectacle of loathing to his friends, but in GOD’S TIME He showed He had not forsaken His servant. He lifted him up and showed him more favor than He had done at any previous time. {Lt10-1879}
Jeremiah, for his FAITHFUL integrity, was cast into a pit, but GOD wrought to have him brought up out of the pit and his cause find favor with princes. A TRUE AND FAITHFUL STEPHEN WAS STONED TO DEATH by the enemies of CHRIST. Surely it did not appear that GOD was strengthening His cause in the earth by thus permitting wicked men to triumph. BUT FROM THIS very circumstance, PAUL WAS CONVERTED TO THE FAITH, and through his word thousands were brought to the light of the gospel. {Lt10-1879}
A precious, affectionate John was an exile on the lonely isle of Patmos. But here JESUS met with him and revealed to him events to transpire in the last days, which are as a bright light shining upon the future, stretching over the ages to the coming of CHRIST, and making known the counsel of the LORD for future ages. The attractive glories of the heavenly home were made known to him. He was permitted to look upon the throne of GOD and to behold the white-robed redeemed ones who had come out of great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the BLOOD of the LAMB. He heard the lofty song of ANGELS and the victorious songs of triumph from those who had overcome by the BLOOD of the LAMB and the word of their testimony. {Lt10-1879}
Look at Moses and the prophets; look at Daniel and Joseph and Elijah. Look at these men, and find me one sentence where they ever claimed to be sinless. The very soul that is in close relation to CHRIST, beholding His purity and excellency, will fall before Him with shamefacedness. {Ms5-1885}
Daniel was a man to whom GOD had given great skill and learning, and when he fasted the ANGEL came to him and said, “Thou art greatly beloved.” And he fell prostrate before the ANGEL. He did not say, “LORD, I have been very FAITHFUL to [You], and I have done everything to honor You and defend Your WORD and . LORD, You know how FAITHFUL I was at the king’s table, and how I maintained my integrity when they cast me into the DEN OF LIONS.” Was that the way Daniel PRAYED to GOD? No; he PRAYED and CONFESSED his SINS, and said, “Hear O LORD, and deliver; we have departed from Thy WORD and have sinned.” And when he saw the ANGEL, he said, “My comeliness was turned into corruption.” He could not look upon the ANGEL’S FACE, and he had no strength; [it] was all gone. So the ANGEL came to him and set him upon his knees. He could not behold him then; and then the ANGEL came to him with the appearance of a man. Then he could bear the sight. {Ms5-1885}
All through the ages GOD’S SERVANTS have met this question and have refused to barter heaven for the things of this world. “Moses … refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of GOD than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” Daniel, when told that he must choose between his life and his WORSHIP of GOD, did not hesitate, but THREE TIMES A DAY, as had been his wont, offered his petition to JEHOVAH. Death in the LIONS’ DEN confronted him, but he counted it better to lose this present life than to lose eternal life. The three Hebrew worthies, when told that they must either worship the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, or be cast into the fiery furnace, declared, “Our GOD whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:17, 18. They were willing to lose this life, but they could not afford to lose the life to come. {Ms10-1885}
GOD reigns, and notwithstanding His majesty, He loves the most helpless, the most suffering ones among His children. GOD is showing us evidences of His power, and truth will triumph. GOD will uproot every error in doctrine. Every truth will be immortal. Commit thy keeping of your soul to GOD as unto a FAITHFUL Creator. The ANGELS of GOD are round about you. Have FAITH in GOD. Remember JESUS your Redeemer, and see what He endured. When the apostles of CHRIST were thrust into prison, ANGELS of GOD came within the prison walls and ministered unto them. Oh, the tenderness, the compassion of GOD. He says, “Can a woman forget her sucking child? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” {Lt49-1886}
Daniel was placed in the DEN OF LIONS, the three worthies were cast into a burning fiery furnace, but JESUS was with them and the flames could not harm them. Oh, trust in GOD. You are guilty of no crime, only that of seeking to make men kind, and obedient, truthful, and loyal, and with this consciousness you can lift up holy hands without doubting. Wherever GOD has an obedient child, there is an element of power wielded for GOD and the truth. Because men are misjudged and condemned and cast into the silent prison, it is no evidence that GOD does not reign. He says that those who believe on Him shall suffer persecution. The greater the opposition of right and righteousness, the more will the LORD let His precious light shine forth. {Lt49-1886}
Just put your trust in JESUS, and remember that you are suffering for His sake and that He will not leave nor forsake you. Have FAITH in GOD. Our PRAYERS are going up daily to GOD in your behalf. We will have special care for your wife and child. Those who have put you in prison have done an unjust thing. Instead of enclosing you in prison walls, if they had known you and been acquainted with your work, they would have sent you two throughout the length and breadth of the domain, telling you to proclaim to all people, to all subjects and to all tongues, that there is a LIVING GOD, that there is salvation for the sinner. {Lt49-1886}
The truth cannot be advanced by force. The weapons of our warfare are mighty because they are not carnal. May the LORD give you grace to bear with meekness anything that men may do unto you. {Lt49-1886}
Says Paul, “Who shall separate us from the love of CHRIST? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor ANGELS, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of GOD, which is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.” {Lt49-1886}
We may expect, from the history that is given us of Daniel, that GOD would work for us as He did for Daniel. Daniel purposed in his mind that he would not comply with any condition that would in any way weaken his physical powers so that he could not give GLORY to GOD. Now if he had yielded to that very first test—to have eaten at the king’s table—then he would have yielded to the second test. Had he said, It is a very small matter whether I PRAY in secret or whether I PRAY openly to GOD, and it is convenient for me to obey the command, then the LORD could not have let His blessing rest upon him in such a remarkable degree. But here is wherein Daniel saw GOD could be honored; that he as a representative of GOD must keep the LIVING GOD exalted above all as the One who could give wisdom and power. Here was an opportunity for him to show to all from whence came his strength, and that man could not come in between him and his GOD; therefore he did not accommodate himself to the circumstances at all, but he placed himself in that position, that he would lose his life rather than dishonor the GOD of HEAVEN in any way. And we see that GOD honored Daniel with wisdom and understanding more than all the astrologers and magicians that were in the king’s palace. And notwithstanding a gaping LION’S DEN was open before him, yet he would repair to his tent and worship GOD there. {Ms7-1886}
Now here is where the test is coming to every one who will enter the CITY of GOD—whether they will keep GOD’S COMMANDMENTS and His honor before them, or whether they will serve the powers that be. And if our people shall take the position their FAITH is a convenient FAITH, and that it can be manipulated according to their convenience, why, they will throw themselves on the side of the enemy. {Ms7-1886}
We must have the same integrity and principle that were found in Joseph and Daniel. Joseph was so established in principle that he could resist the great temptation that was brought upon him, because he had determined to obey GOD. Daniel was brought to a test, and he purposed in his heart that he would worship the TRUE GOD, notwithstanding the decree. He here saw that principle was at stake, and because of integrity he was cast into the LIONS’ DEN. But here GOD did not forget him. All heaven had been watching his case, to see if he would be FAITHFUL to his GOD. When the trial came, ANGELS were his companions. They stopped the LIONS’ MOUTHS and delivered him. When the king saw the real object of the wise men, to rid Daniel of his power, then the king was wroth and destroyed the enemies of Daniel. {Ms44-1886}
So it was with his three companions. They were tested in refusing to worship the great image that the king had set up. Those three youths did not fear the king and told him plainly that they could not violate their consciences by worshiping a false god. This caused the king to be furious, and he ordered that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be made and ordered those GOD-fearing children to be cast into it. But GOD did not forsake them, and those whom the king had called to execute his demands in order to set before them the penalty of disobedience were consumed by the fire. Here in full view of the king he saw in that furnace those whom he had cast in, walking in the midst of the fire, and he also saw the fourth form like the SON OF GOD. So you can see that the king was not ignorant of GOD and of HIS SON. These three Hebrew children had been a shining light in Babylon. This had its weight and influence, and when the king saw that the GOD they had worshiped was able to preserve them even in such an heated furnace, he called them forth, and not a smell of fire was upon their garments. Then they told the king how their deliverance came. {Ms44-1886}
When the decree went forth that no one should offer any PRAYER except to the king, Daniel attended to his business FAITHFULLY, but when his time for worship came, he went to his chamber and there bowed before GOD THREE TIMES A DAY and would let no man come between him and his GOD. Here was something to be immortalized and handed down to succeeding generations. And what was the result of Daniel’s integrity and earnestness? GOD did not leave him. Although he was cast into the LION’S DEN, there was not a stain upon his character, and THE ANGELS OF GOD WERE CAST INTO THAT DEN WITH HIM TO CARE FOR HIM. And they closed the LIONS’ MOUTHS so they did not hurt him. Now we see what those before us have suffered for the truth’s sake. The worthies who refused to bow to the golden image were cast into a burning fiery furnace, but CHRIST was with them there, and the fire did not consume them. There was not even the smell of fire upon their garments. {Ms83-1886}
The controversy between the two great powers of good and evil is soon to be ended. But up to the time of its close there will be continual and sharp contests. We should now purpose, as did Daniel and his fellows in Babylon, that we will be TRUE TO PRINCIPLE, let come what may. The flaming, fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated, did not cause these FAITHFUL SERVANTS of GOD to turn aside from allegiance to the truth. They stood firm in the time of trial and were cast into the furnace. And they were not forsaken of GOD. The form of the FOURTH was seen walking with them in the flames, and they came forth, not having even the smell of fire upon their garments. {Ms40a-1890}
The gaping DEN OF LIONS did not deter Daniel from a steady adherence to duty. He did not hide his purpose, or lower his colors because death threatened him if he stood FAITHFUL to his GOD. Three times a day, in the face of the king’s decree, he sought his LORD in his chamber, with his windows open toward Jerusalem. He was cast into the DEN OF LIONS, but GOD delivered him. {Ms40a-1890}
Let us look at the case of Elijah. The time has come when he must meet his mortal enemy, the cruel Ahab, the despot of Israel, the apostate from the religion of his fathers. In anger the king inquires, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” Does Elijah weaken before the king? Does he cringe and cower, and resort to flattery in order to soothe the feelings of the enraged ruler? {Ms40a-1890}
Israel has perverted her way, and forsaken the path of allegiance to GOD, and now shall the prophet, to preserve his life, betray sacred, holy trusts? Does he PROPHECY smooth things to please the king, and to obtain his favor? Will he evade the issue? Will he conceal from the king the true reason why the judgments of GOD are falling upon the land of Israel? No, as the messenger of GOD, he must proclaim the truth—just such truth as the occasion demands. He carries a great weight of sorrow on account of the apostasy of Israel. He must hold up before them their defection that they may humble themselves in the sight of the LORD, that His fierce anger may be turned away from them. Elijah faces the enraged king and answers, “I have not troubled Israel, but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the COMMANDMENTS of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.” {Ms40a-1890}
Today the world is full of flatterers and dissemblers. But GOD forbid that those who claim to be guardians of sacred trusts shall betray the interests of GOD’S CAUSE through the insinuating suggestions and devices of the enemy of all righteousness. {Ms40a-1890}
There is no time now to range ourselves on the side of the transgressors of GOD’S LAW, to see with their eyes, to hear with their ears, and to understand with their perverted senses. We must press together. We must labor to become a unit, to be holy in life and pure in character. Let those who profess to be servants of the LIVING GOD no longer bow down to the idol of men’s opinions, no longer be slaves to any shameful lusts, no longer bring a polluted offering to the LORD, a sin- stained soul. {Ms61-1890}
GOD gave Daniel true education and knowledge and understanding and wisdom, for he was closely connected with the LIVING GOD; and if you are, you will have the same current running through your veins that is in the living Vine. [CHRIST says,] It is My FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE that ye bear much fruit. See if you are on CHRIST’S SIDE. Inquire, “Am I on the LORD’S SIDE? Am I doing the work of MY HEAVENLY FATHER? Am I becoming rooted and grounded and established in the present truth?” {Ms14-1894}
Now the wind is to blow and the tempest beat upon the house, our spiritual house, and it remains to be seen whether it is founded [upon] and riveted to the ETERNAL ROCK, or whether it is where the tempest of opposition will come right in and sweep your foundation away. You cannot afford [that]. You want to be written in the BOOKS of HEAVEN. GOD help us to cling to the MIGHTY ONE. We want a rounded character and not a one-sided one; a character after the similitude of CHRIST. Daniel obtained this, and when the enemy searched to find a fault in his management they could not find one; therefore in order to hurt him they had to devise that his PRAYERS be all offered to the king, and the king, being flattered, consented to it. Daniel was cast into the DEN OF LIONS; but GOD’S ANGELS were there. May GOD help us. {Ms14-1894}
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by Books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish SEVENTY YEARS in the desolation of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the LORD GOD to seek by PRAYER and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” Daniel 9:1-3. {Ms129-1908}
Here we have the source of Daniel’s wisdom. He sought the LORD. He could not confine himself to the king’s business, but he was speaking with the King of kings and LORD of lords. Daniel had communion with GOD. The address of Daniel to GOD was in the LORD’S KEEPING before he was cast into the LION’S DEN. The one special duty of Daniel was to keep close to his duty in PRAYER, although under the decree that if any man made a PRAYER to GOD, he should be cast into the LION’S DEN. A promise had been made, “After SEVENTY YEARS … I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you.” Jeremiah 29:10. {Ms129-1908}
Though Daniel was himself a prophet, yet he consulted the scriptural record found in the Books. He understood by Books that SEVENTY YEARS was the time fixed for the continuance of the desolation of Jerusalem. The Book was the PROPHECIES of Jeremiah. GOD had said, “I will visit you and perform My good word toward you.” Though Daniel himself was a great prophet, well acquainted with the visions of GOD, yet he was a diligent searcher of the SCRIPTURES. He thought it wise to consult Jeremiah’s PROPHECIES. And he PRAYED to GOD aloud most earnestly. {Ms129-1908}
We are to learn the lessons GOD has given us and to seek the LORD and to understand. Great things are before us. And if the enemy can obtain access to minds, to undermine the testimonies GOD has given me in my youth, he will make every word the ministers shall speak as a voice to create doubt. Unless they shall seek the LORD and become sanctified in speech and in their hearts, they will be left in darkness. (Daniel 10): hear this. Take notice of verses 20, 21. Here are the heavenly powers in connection with the earthly. “Then said he, Knowest thou whereof I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but MICHAEL your Prince.” There are heavenly agencies communing with the earthly to reveal that which shall take place. {Ms129-1908}
“And whiles I was speaking, and PRAYING, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my GOD …; yea, whiles I was speaking in PRAYER, even the man GABRIEL, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Daniel 9:20-22. {Ms129-1908}
“And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me…. Then said he, knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will show thee what is noted in the Scripture of truth, and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but MICHAEL your prince.” {Lt59-1896}
A wonderful connection is here seen between the universe of heaven and this world. The things revealed to Daniel were afterward complimented by the revelation made to John on the isle of Patmos. These two Books should be carefully perused. Twice Daniel inquired, How long shall it be to the end of time? “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my LORD, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand…. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” {Lt59-1896}
It was the LION of the TRIBE of JUDAH who unsealed the Book and gave to John the revelation of what should be in these last days. Daniel stood in his lot to bear his testimony, which was sealed until the time of the end, when the FIRST ANGEL’S MESSAGE should be proclaimed to our world. These matters are of infinite importance in these last days, but while “many shall be purified, and made white, and tried,” “the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand.” How true this is. Sin is the transgression of the LAW of GOD, and those in the denominational churches who will not accept the light in regard to the LAW of GOD, will not understand the proclamation of the FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD ANGEL’S MESSAGES. The Book of Daniel is unsealed in the revelation to John, and carries us forward to the last scenes of this earth’s history. {Lt59-1896}
The case of Daniel reveals to us the fact that the LORD is always ready to hear the PRAYERS of the contrite soul, and when we seek the LORD with all our hearts, He will answer our petitions. Here is revealed where Daniel obtained his skill and understanding;d and if we will only ask of GOD wisdom, we may be blessed with increased ability, and with power from heaven. If we will come to GOD just as we are, and PRAY to Him in FAITH as did Daniel, we shall see of the salvation of GOD. We need to PRAY as we never PRAYED before. Even our PRAYERS are indited by the HOLY SPIRIT. {Lt59-1896}
Now some of us may be brought to just as severe a test. Will we obey the commandments of men, or will we obey the COMMANDMENTS of GOD? This is a question that will be asked of many. The best thing for us is to come into close connection with GOD; and if He would have us MARTYRS for the TRUTH’S SAKE, it may be the means of bringing many more into the truth. {Ms83-1886}
Daniel—An Example of a Sanctified Life
The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. It presents a lesson for all, and especially for the young. A strict compliance with the requirements of GOD is beneficial to the health of body and mind. In order to reach the highest standard of moral and intellectual attainments, it is necessary to seek wisdom and strength from GOD and to observe strict temperance in all the habits of life. 19 {CCh 52.3}
The Christian should not array before his imagination all the trials which may occur before the end of the race. He has but to begin to serve GOD, and each day live and labor for the GLORY of GOD that day, and obstacles which appeared insurmountable will gradually grow less and less; or, should he encounter all that he has feared, the grace of CHRIST will be imparted to him according to his need. Strength increases with the difficulties met and overcome. {LP 297.2}
He whose heart is fixed to serve GOD, will find opportunity to serve him. He will PRAY, he will read the WORD of GOD, he will seek virtue and forsake vice. He can brave contempt and derision while looking unto JESUS, the author and finisher of our FAITH, who endured the contradiction of sinners against himself. Help and grace are promised by Him whose words are truth. GOD will not fail to fulfill his promise to all who trust in him. {LP 298.1}
Satan leads many to believe that PRAYER to GOD is useless and but a form. He well knows how needful are meditation and PRAYER to keep CHRIST’S FOLLOWERS aroused to resist his cunning and deception. By his devices he would divert the mind from these important exercises, that the soul may not lean for help upon the MIGHTY ONE and obtain strength from Him to resist his attacks. I was pointed to the FERVENT, EFFECTUAL PRAYERS of GOD’S PEOPLE anciently. “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he PRAYED earnestly.” Daniel PRAYED unto his GOD THREE TIMES A DAY. SATAN IS ENRAGED AT THE SOUND OF FERVENT PRAYER, FOR HE KNOWS THAT HE WILL SUFFER LOSS. Daniel was preferred above the presidents and the princes because an excellent spirit was in him. Fallen angels feared that his influence would weaken their control over the rulers of the kingdom, for Daniel was high in command. The accusing host of evil angels stirred up the presidents and princes to envy and jealousy, and they watched Daniel closely to find some occasion against him that they might report him to the king; but they failed. Then these agents of Satan sought to make his FAITHFULNESS to GOD the cause of his destruction. Evil angels laid out the plan for them, and these agents readily carried it into effect. {1T 295.1}
The PRAYER of FAITH is the great strength of the Christian and will assuredly prevail against Satan. This is why he insinuates that we have no need of PRAYER. The of JESUS, our ADVOCATE, he detests; and when we earnestly come to Him for help, Satan’s host is alarmed. It serves his purpose well if we neglect the exercise of PRAYER, for then his lying wonders are more readily received. That which he failed to accomplish in tempting CHRIST, he accomplishes by setting his deceitful temptations before man. He sometimes comes in the form of a lovely young person, or of a beautiful shadow. He works cures, and is worshiped by deceived mortals as a benefactor of our race. Phrenology and mesmerism are very much exalted. They are good in their place, but they are seized upon by Satan as his most powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. His arts and devices are received as from heaven, and FAITH in the detector, the BIBLE, is destroyed in the minds of thousands. Satan here receives the worship which suits his Satanic majesty. Thousands are conversing with, and receiving instructions from, this demon-god and acting according to his teachings. The world which is supposed to be benefited so much by phrenology and animal magnetism, never was so corrupt. Satan uses these very things to destroy virtue and lay the foundation of spiritualism. {1T 296.1}
“The wrath of man shall praise Thee,” says the psalmist; “the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” GOD means that testing truth shall be brought to the front and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander, will be GOD’S MEANS of provoking inquiry and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber. {5T 453.1}
Heaven has been made accessible to all who will come, and we need not walk stumblingly or in uncertainty. If we ask guidance of the LORD, the promise is, “Ye shall receive.” The promises of GOD are yea and amen in CHRIST JESUS. “Seek, and ye shall find.” This is what we need to do every hour of our lives; for if we seek for the right way in sincerity, we shall find it. Feeling the need of help from the LORD, we shall seek for it in humble PRAYER. He who realizes his dependence upon GOD will realize that without CHRIST he can do nothing, and will esteem the privilege of communion with GOD above everything else. {BEcho, March 1, 1893 par. 4}
Daniel appreciated the privilege of PRAYING to the GOD of HEAVEN, and he so valued the opportunity of PRAYER that he would allow nothing to come between his soul and GOD. When the decree went forth that no man should ask a petition of any man or of any god save of the king for the space of thirty days, Daniel went to his chamber, and with his windows open towards Jerusalem as was his custom, he PRAYED THREE TIMES A DAY to the GOD of HEAVEN. For his loyalty to GOD, Daniel was thrust into the DEN OF LIONS. The king mourned for the calamity that had befallen Daniel, and, discerning the device through which he had come into trial as a plan of his enemies, he regretted that the decree had been made. He sought earnestly to deliver Daniel from death; but it was even beyond his power, for Daniel was cast into the DEN OF LIONS. But he had good company in that den of wild beasts; for the “ANGEL of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” GOD sent HIS ANGEL, and closed the mouths of the hungry LIONS, that they should not hurt him. The king passed a sleepless night, and in the early morning, he went in haste to the DEN OF LIONS. “And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel, and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD, IS THY GOD, whom thou servest continually, ABLE TO DELIVER THEE from the LIONS? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever. My GOD hath sent HIS ANGEL, and hath shut the LIONS’ MOUTHS, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him because he believed in his GOD.” {BEcho, March 1, 1893 par. 5}
Divine Law v. Human Law
The LAW of GOD is the only rule of rectitude. Those who are loyal to that law will not be found transgressors of the law of their country, unless the law-makers shall exceed their rights, and enact laws in opposition to the LAW of GOD; then GOD must be obeyed. “If ye love Me,” says CHRIST, “KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.” The world may set up its standards and maxims, and governments may enact laws; but if they are counter to the LAW of JEHOVAH, the Christian must necessarily be LOYAL to GOD, whatever may be the consequences. {BEcho, August 5, 1895 par. 1}
The Christian is in the world, but not of the world. He is to represent the character of GOD in obedience to His HOLY, JUST, and GOOD LAW. Daniel was a noble statesman; but his best service to Babylon was his unswerving integrity in the WORSHIP of GOD. In spite of the king’s decree, he PRAYED THREE TIMES A DAY with his window open towards Jerusalem, and made no compromise with an idolatrous nation. {BEcho, August 5, 1895 par. 2}
But before you can expect this help, you must do what you can on your part. Watch and PRAY. Let your PRAYERS be fervent. Let this be the language of your heart, “I will not let thee go unless thou bless me.” Have a set time, a special season for PRAYER at least THREE TIMES A DAY. MORNING, NOON, and at NIGHT Daniel PRAYED to his GOD, notwithstanding the king’s decree, and the fearful DEN OF LIONS. He was not ashamed, or afraid to PRAY, but with his windows opened he PRAYED THREE TIMES A DAY. Did GOD forget his FAITHFUL SERVANT when he was cast into the LION’S DEN? O, No. He was with him there all night. He closed the mouths of these hungry LIONS, and they could not hurt the PRAYING man of GOD. {YI, March 1, 1856 par. 5}
We are engaged in a sacred work; and if we make our petitions to GOD daily, as did the prophet Daniel, we shall receive the assurance and power that were given to Daniel. ANGELS of GOD communicated to the prophet strength and wisdom. When, because of his FAITHFULNESS, he was cast into the DEN OF LIONS, these heavenly messengers exercised a restraining influence over the ferocious beasts. {Lt46-1907}
We greatly need the POWER of GOD. If we humble ourselves under His mighty hand, we shall realize the presence of the LORD of HOSTS. We need less of human devising and much more of the divine counsel. In the NAME of the LORD, we are to come to Him as His little children. “Ask, and ye shall receive,” He says, “seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” May we not cultivate the art of taking GOD at HIS WORD? FAITH, LIVING, ACTIVE FAITH will do wonderful things. {Lt46-1907}
In the epistle of Jude, the works of evildoers are portrayed, just as they are manifested in this period of earth’s history. We must make the LORD our helper. He will be our sufficiency, and will give us success, if we will trust in Him. After pointing out the character of the ungodly men and the “mockers” who shall be in the “last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts,” the subject changes, and words of encouragement are spoken to GOD’S FAITHFUL PEOPLE: {Lt46-1907}
You will see the accidents that are befalling us in our world, those that are on the cars, and the games, and that are on the water, and the flame and the fire, and the blood, and the volcanoes, and all these things. They are perishing. Why? The SPIRIT of GOD is being withdrawn from the earth. {Ms229-1902}
CHRIST is soon to come with power and great glory, and we want to tell you, we do not want that the LORD in heaven shall find a people that are in rebellion to the laws of His kingdom. We want you to become acquainted with Him. {Ms229-1902}
When we go to a country, we want to know all about it. We want to understand all about that country. Had we not better learn and teach our children about the heavenly country? Had we not better educate and train them to prepare for the future life? Had we better not educate them to prepare for that life that measures with what? The life of GOD; to stand in the CITY of GOD; to live through the ceaseless ages in the CITY of GOD. {Ms229-1902}
And yet your business here in this world, and the amusements, and the visiting, and all these things that take your mind, is of such consequence in the little period of your lifetime that you cannot begin at the very commencement of your family relation to educate your family to love and to serve GOD. The husband and the wife are to unite together, and say, We will PRAY; we will PRAY at MORNING, we will PRAY at NOON, as did Daniel, and the ANGELS of GOD will protect us, as they protected Daniel in that emergency when he was cast into the DEN OF LIONS because he PRAYED. We want to prepare for what is coming upon our world. {Ms229-1902}
Well now, every preparation has been made for us that could be made. {Ms229-1902}
Our LORD JESUS CHRIST was given to our world, and He came—why did He not come in such power and splendor and importance as the kings from place to place and from country to country, so as to show their superiority? Why did not the LAMB of GOD come in that way? Why did not the KING of GLORY, that created the world, and created the human beings through GOD, and populated the world—I ask you, why did He not come with the whole train of the heavenly host? {Ms229-1902}
Oh, He had taken humanity. He could not die unless He had taken humanity; and He came to yield up His life for your transgression. He bore the sins of the whole world, that the world should believe on Him, that He could come and take away their sin, and in its place what would He put? Oh, He would put His righteousness; He would put His salvation; He would put His peace. Oh, He would give them to drink of the waters of life. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Now they can come; they can drink if they will. The choice is given them, that they may have life, everlasting life, in the kingdom of glory. {Ms229-1902}
You may drink of that water of life and never thirst, because it never dries up. The water is constantly flowing in the richest streams, and if at any time your soul is barren, if at any time you are thirsty, it is because you have lost sight of the living spring. Now will you find it? Will you find it? {Ms229-1902}
GOD grant that we accept the enormous sacrifice that was made by the SON OF GOD who laid off His royal crown, stepped down from the throne and His high command, laid off His royal robe, and clothed Himself with humanity, that humanity might touch divinity. With His long human arm He encircles the race, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. {Ms229-1902}