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(1) Princes.—See Excursus A. The LXX. make the number 127, so as to agree with Esther 1:1.
(2) Three presidents.—See Note on Daniel 5:7. If there had been a triumvirate in Babylon, Darius continued the form of government which he found already existing, and retained Daniel in the official post to which he had been promoted by Belshazzar.
(3) Was preferred.—Literally, he outshone the others. The pronoun “this” is prefixed to Daniel’s. name so as to point him out as the favoured one already mentioned. (Comp. Daniel 6:5; Daniel 6:28.)
(4) Concerning the kingdom—i.e., in his official capacity. The plan of the conspirators was to place Daniel in such a situation that his civil and religious duties might be forced to clash with each other.
(5) This conspiracy was evidently the result of jealousy on the part of the other officers at the advancement of Daniel.
(6) Assembled.—See margin. Such conduct was very unusual in Eastern Courts, where, as a rule, the strictest decorum and order was preserved. This breach of etiquette must have prepared the king to expect some terrible crisis in the State.
(7) All the presidents.—Observe the order in which the State officers are mentioned—civil rulers, legal advisers, military governors—and comp. Note on Daniel 3:2. The spokesman represents all these officers to have come to a fixed determination after due deliberation. This was false, as it is plain from Daniel 6:24 that all were not involved in the conspiracy. The object of the decree was political, as well as hostile towards Daniel. By consenting to the plan proposed, Darius would acknowledge the Babylonian system of theology, according to which the king was “the living manifestation of all the gods,” while, at the same time, his subjects would have an opportunity of doing him religious homage. Probably this prevented the king from perceiving any plot against Daniel. We see from this history the antiquity of espionage in political matters.
(8) Sign the writing.—Literally, record the decree, so that there might be no possibility of its being recalled. (Comp. Esther 8:8.)
(10) Toward Jerusalem.—On the custom of praying thus see 1 Kings 8:33; 1 Kings 8:35; Psalms 5:7; Psalms 28:2; and on prayer at the intervals mentioned here, see Psalms 55:17. There is nothing ostentatious in Daniel’s prayer. He removed the lattices (see Ezekiel 40:16) from his window, that he might see as far as possible in the direction of Jerusalem, and then continued his devotions just as though the king’s decree had not been recorded. The prophet must by this time have been close upon ninety years of age, but still his faith is as firm and unwavering as that of his three companions many years before.
(13) Which is of the children.—By adding this to the charge of disobedience to the king’s commandment, they hoped to incense him still further against the prophet. Here was a foreigner, who had received the highest favours from the Court, setting himself up in antagonism to the laws of the kingdom.
(16) They brought Daniel.—According to Eastern custom, the sentence was generally executed on the day when it was pronounced. This explains why the king’s efforts to commute the sentence were prolonged till sunset (Daniel 6:14). The lions were probably kept here for sporting purposes. The form of the den is unknown, but the etymology suggests a vaulted chamber.
(17) Sealed it.—This sealing both by the king and his nobles appears to have been due to the fear that the nobles had (Daniel 6:16) of the king’s attempting to rescue Daniel. The nobles also would be unable to put Daniel to death in the event of his escaping the fury of the lions.
(18) Instruments of musick.—A word of very doubtful meaning. The root whence it is derived means to rejoice, but what is signified cannot be exactly ascertained.
(20) Is thy God . . . able?—The faith of this king is very weak. In Daniel 6:16 he expressed a vague hope that God would protect His servant. That hope seems now to have died out, though afterwards (Daniel 6:26) it appears stronger than that of Nebuchadnezzar. (Comp. Daniel 4:37.) The phrase “living God” is remarkable, coming as it does from a heathen king. (See 1 Samuel 17:36.)
(22) His angel.—Comp. Psalms 34:7; Psalms 34:10; Daniel 3:28.
Before thee—i.e., thou knowest full well.
(26) Unto the end.—The language of this decree is remarkably Scriptural. This is due, no doubt, to the share which Daniel had in the composition of it. By the “end” is meant the end of all the heathen kingdoms which shall arise upon the earth, or, in other words, the setting up of the kingdom of the Messiah.
(28) So this Daniel.—The first part of the book, which terminates here, concludes with a notice similar to that in Daniel 2:48; Daniel 3:30. The history of Daniel and of the three holy children has thus far been traced in its relation to their work amongst the people in the midst of whom they were living as exiles. We have seen the purpose of the miracles which God wrought in behalf of His servants, all tending to exalt Him in the eyes of the Gentiles. The second part of the book, which begins with Daniel 7:0, speaks of the future destinies of the kingdoms of the world in relation to the kingdom of God. The whole of this remaining section presents to us a series of revelations supplementary to that which was recorded in Dan. Ii.
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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Daniel 6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28