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The Den of Lions
Darius the Mede divides his kingdom into 120 satrapies, the whole being superintended by three higher officials, of whom Daniel was one (Daniel 6:1-2). Daniel is in special favour, and Darius meditates giving him a still higher office (Daniel 6:3). This rouses the jealousy of his colleagues, who plot his ruin (Daniel 6:4-5). They persuade Darius to make a decree that no one shall ask anything for 30 days from God or man, save from the king, on pain of being cast into the den of lions (Daniel 6:6-9). Daniel, as his enemies expect, disregards this rule, and being accused he is found guilty, and is cast, much against the king’s will, into the den of lions (Daniel 6:10-17). After a sleeplessnight Darius comes to enquire for Daniel, and finds him alive and unhurt (Daniel 6:18-22). Daniel is taken out of the den, and his accusers, with all their families, are thrown to the lions and instantly slain (Daniel 6:23-24). Darius then makes a decree to all the world in honour of Daniel’s God (Daniel 6:25-27). A biographical note is. added in Daniel 6:28).
Teaching. Apart from the question about Darius the Mede (see on Daniel 5:31) this chapter presents other difficulties if taken as literal history. The decree of Darius seems one which even a heathen king would not be likely to make. If, however, the writer’s purpose was to construct a situation for Daniel similar to the circumstances of the pious Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes, and to read them an encouraging lesson by this imaginative use of the past, the chapter well fulfils this object: see especially 1 Maccabees 1:50.
1. Princes] RV ’satraps’: so in Daniel 6:2-3, Daniel 6:4, Daniel 6:6, Daniel 6:7. The division of the Persian empire into 20 satrapies was actually made by Darius Hystaspes. Gobryas, however (see on 531), is said in the inscriptions to have appointed governors in Babylon, and this may have led to the confusion between him and Darius. Cp. the 127 provinces of Esther 1:1; Esther 8:9.
2. Was first] RV ’was one.’ This was the arrangement contemplated by Belshazzar (Daniel 5:7, Daniel 5:16, Daniel 5:29).
7. Governors.. captains] RV ’deputies.. governors.’ Decree] RV ’interdict’: so in Daniel 6:8-9, Daniel 6:12-13, Daniel 6:15. God] RV ’god’: so in Daniel 6:12.
8. Medes and Persians] see on Daniel 5:31.
Which altereth not] cp. Esther 1:19; Esther 8:8.
10. Toward Jerusalem] cp. 1 Kings 8:35; Psalms 5:7; Psalms 28:2, The Talmud says that the Jews in foreign lands turn in prayer towards the land of Israel, those in the land of Israel towards Jerusalem, and those in Jerusalem towards the Temple, The Mohammedans turn in the same way towards Mecca.
11. Praying] RV ’making petition.’
12. Ask a petition of] RV ’make petition unto.’ This exact rendering brings Daniel’s conduct into sharp opposition against the interdict in Daniel 6:7.
14. Displeased with himself] RV ’displeased.’
17. That the purpose might not be changed] RV ’that nothing might be changed.’
18. Instruments of musick] RM ’dancing girls,’
23. Believed] RV ’had trusted.’
25. People] RV ’peoples,’
26. Every dominion] RV ’all the dominion.’
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Daniel 6". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent