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It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
Darius. Grotefend has read it in the cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis, as Darheush, i:e., Lord-king-a name applied to many of the Medo-Persian kings in common. Three of the name occur; Darius Hystaspis, B.C. 521, in whose reign the decree, originally issued by Cyrus, was carried into effect for rebuilding the temple (Ezra 4:5; Haggai 1:1); Darius Codomanus, 336 BC, whom Alexander overcame, called "the Persian" (Nehemiah 12:22) - an expression used after the rule of Macedon was set up (a striking undesigned proof of the genuineness and authenticity of Nehemiah); and Darius Cyaxares II, between Astyages and Cyrus (Eschylus, 'Persia,' 762, 763), who is the one here meant, the king under whom Cyrus, as the subordinate prince, took Babylon, 538 BC Darius seems to have been a common name of the kings of Medo Persia, just as Pharaoh was common to many kings of Egypt, and Caesar was the common name of many Roman emperors; so that he who is called Darius here, in pagan authors is called Cyaxares II.
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes - i:e., satraps; according to Xenophon, they were set over the conquered provinces (including Babylon) by Cyrus (Xenophon, 'Cyropaedia,'
viii., 6: 1). No doubt Cyrus acted under Darius, as in the capture of Babylon; so that Daniel rightly attributes the appointment to Darius (see my remark, Daniel 5:31). Darius being given up to sensuality (according to Xenophon), probably surrendered his authority mainly to his energetic son-in-law and nephew, Cyrus, so that his reign became merged in that of Cyrus, and so has come to be unnoticed altogether by Herodotus and Ctesias. This answers the objection to Scripture drawn from the silence as to Darius in these two last authors. Daniel's authority, as a contemporary of Darius, is far above that of authors living long subsequent to the times of which they write.
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.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
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.
Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him - probably because of his having so wonderfully foretold the fall of Babylon. Hence, the very expression used by the queen-mother on that occasion (Daniel 5:12) is here used, "because an excellent spirit was in him."
And the king thought to set him over the whole realm - agreeing with Darius' character, weak, and averse to business, which he preferred to delegate to favourites. God overruled this to the good both of Daniel, and, through him, of His people.
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.
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom - "occasion," i:e., pretext for accusation in his administration (Ecclesiastes 4:4, "Again I considered all travail and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbours. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit").
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.
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it ... concerning the law of his God. It is the highest testimony to a godly man's walk, when his most watchful enemies can find no ground of censure, except in that he walks according to the law of God, even where it opposes the ways of the world.
Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
Assembled together - literally, 'assembled hastily and tumultuously' [ raagash (H7283)], to make a tumult. Had they come more deliberately, the king might have refused their grant; but they gave him no time for reflection, representing that their test-decree was necessary for the safety of the king. King Darius, live forever. Arrian (4) records that Cyrus was the first before whom prostration was practiced. It is an undesigned mark of genuineness that Daniel should mention no prostration before Nebuchadnezzar or Darius (see note, Daniel 3:9).
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.
All the presidents of the ... have consulted together to establish a royal statute ... that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king. The Persian king was regarded as the representative of the chief god, Ormuzd; the seven princes near him represented the seven Amshaspands before the throne of Ormuzd; hence, Mordecai (Esther 3:5) refused such homage to Haman, the king's prime minister, as inconsistent with what is due to god alone. A weak despot, like Darius, much under the control of his princes, might easily be persuaded that such a decree would test the obedience of the Chaldeans just conquered, and tame their proud spirits. So absolute is the king in the East, that he is regarded not merely as the ruler, but the owner of the people.
All ... the governors ... the counselors, and the captains. Several functionaries are here specified, not mentioned in Daniel 6:4; Daniel 6:6. They evidently exaggerate the case to the weak king, as if their request was that of all the officers in the empire.
Shall be cast into the den of lions - an underground cave or pit, covered with a stone. It is an undesigned proof of genuineness that the "fiery furnace" is not made the means of punishment here, as in Daniel 3:1-30:; for the Persians were fire-worshippers, which the Babylonians were not.
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.
Now, O king, establish the decree - or interdict.
And sign the writing, that it be not changed - (Esther 1:19; Esther 8:8). This immutability of the king's commands was special to the Medes and Persians; it was due to their regarding him infallible as the representative of Ormuzd: it was not so among the Babylonians. Medes and Persians - the order of the names is an undesigned mark of genuineness. Cyrus the Persian reigned subordinate to Darius the Mede as to dignity, though exercising more real power. After Darius' death, the order is, 'Persia and Media,' "the Persians and Medes," (Esther 1:14; Esther 1:19, etc.)
Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
King Darius signed the writing. Such a despotic decree is quite explicable, by remembering that the king, as the incarnation of Ormuzd, might demand such an act of religious obedience as a test of loyalty. Persecuting laws are always made on false pretences. Instead of bitter complaints against men, Daniel prays to God. Though having vast business as a ruler of the empire, he finds time to pray thrice a day. Daniel's three companions (Daniel 3:1-30) are not alluded to here, nor any other Jew who conscientiously may have disregarded the edict, as the conspirators aimed at Daniel alone.
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 - and that, therefore, the power of advising the king against it was taken from him,
He went into his house - withdrawing from the God-dishonouring court.
And, his windows being open - not in vain-glory, but that there might be no obstruction to his view of the direction in which Jerusalem, the earthly seat of Yahweh under the Old Testament, lay, and that the sight of heaven might draw off his mind from earthly thoughts. To Christ in the heavenly temple let us turn our eyes in prayer from this land of our captivity (1 Kings 8:44; 1 Kings 8:48, "If they (thy people) shall bethink themselves in the land where they were carried captive ... and pray unto thee toward their land ... the city and the house which I have built for thy name, then hear thou their prayer;"2 Chronicles 29:34,38; Psalms 5:7).
In his chamber - the upper room where prayer was generally offered by the Jews (Acts 1:13). Not on the house-top (Acts 10:9), where he would be conspicuous.
He kneeled upon his knees - humble attitudes in prayer become humble suppliants. Three times a day - (Psalms 55:17). The three times of prayer were the third, sixth, and ninth hours; our nine, twelve, and three o'clock (Acts 2:15; Acts 10:9; Acts 3:1; Acts 10:30: cf. Daniel 9:21).
Prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime - not from contempt of the king's command, but in accordance with his fixed habit long before it was issued.
Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
Then these men assembled - as in Daniel 6:6, assembled or ran hastily, so as to come upon Daniel suddenly, and detect him in the act.
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.
Then they came near, and spake before the king ... Hast thou not signed a decree? They preface their attack by alleging the king's edict, so as to get him again to confirm it unalterably, before they mention Daniel's name. Not to break a wicked promise is not firmness, but guilty obstinacy: so Herod, though "sorry, nevertheless for his oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, commanded" John's head to be given to Herodias (Matthew 14:9; Mark 6:26).
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.
That Daniel - contemptuously. Of the captivity of Judah - recently a captive among thy servants the Babylonians-one whom humble obedience most becomes. Thus they aggravate his guilt, omitting mention of his being prime minister, which might only remind Darius of Daniel's state-services.
Regardeth not thee - because he regarded God (Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29).
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.
Then the king ... was sore displeased with himself - for having suffered himself to be entrapped into such a hasty decree (Proverbs 29:20). On the one hand he was pressed by the immutability of the law, fear that the princes might conspire against him, and desire to consult for his own reputation, not to seem fickle; on the other, by regard for Daniel, and a desire to save him from the effects of his own rash decree.
And he laboured until the going down of the sun to deliver him. The king took this time to deliberate, thinking that after sunset Daniel would be spared until morning, and that meanwhile some way of escape would turn up. But (Daniel 6:15) then the conspirators assembled tumultuously-literally, to prevent this delay in the execution, lest the king should meantime change his decree.
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.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
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.
Now the king ... said unto Daniel, Thy God, whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. The pagan believed in the interposition of the gods at times in favour of their worshippers. Darius recognized Daniel's God as a god, but not the only true God. He had heard of the deliverance of the three youths in Daniel 3:1-30, and hence augurs Daniel's deliverance. I am not my own master, and cannot deliver thee, however much I wish it. "Thy God will." Kings are the slaves of their flatterers. Men admire piety to God in others, however they disregard Him themselves.
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.
And a stone was brought ... and the king sealed it with his own signet - typical of Christ's entombment under a seal (Matthew 27:66). divinely ordered, that the deliverance might be the more striking.
With his own signet, and with the signet of his lords - the concurrence of the lords was required for making laws. In this respect kingly power had fallen since it was in Nebuchadnezzar's hands. The Median king is a puppet in his lords' hands; they take the security of their own seals, as well as his, that he should not release Daniel. The king's seal guaranteed Daniel from being killed by them, should he escape the lions.
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
Neither were instruments of music brought before him. Gesenius translates [ dachªwaan (H1761)], 'concubines.' Daniel's mentioning it as an extraordinary thing of Darius that he neither approached his table nor his harem, agrees with Xenophon's picture of him as devoted to wine and women, vain, and without self-control. He is sorry for the evil which he himself had caused, yet takes no steps to remedy it. There are many such halters between good and bad, who are ill at ease in their sins, yet go forward in them, and are drawn on by others.
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions - his grief overcame his fear of the nobles.
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?
O Daniel, servant of the living God - having life Himself, and able to preserve thy life; contrasted with the lifeless idols (cf. Daniel 5:23, "the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know"). Darius borrowed the phrase from Daniel; God extorting from an idolater a confession of the truth.
Whom thou servest continually - in times of persecution as well as times of peace.
Is thy God ... able to deliver thee from the lions? - the language of doubt, yet hope.
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever. Daniel might have indulged in anger at the king, but does not; his sole thought is, God's glory has been set forth in his deliverance.
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.
My God hath sent his angel - the instrument, not the author of his deliverance (Psalms 91:11; Psalms 34:7).
And hath shut the lions' mouths - (Hebrews 11:33). So, spiritually, God will shut the roaring lion's mouth (1 Peter 5:8) for His servants, so that he cannot "devour" them.
Forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me - not absolutely before God (in Daniel 9:7; Daniel 9:18 he disclaims such a plea), but relatively to this case. God has attested the justice of my cause, in standing up for His worship, by delivering me. Therefore, the "forasmuch" does not justify Rome's doctrine of works meriting salvation.
And also before thee. Obedience to God is in strictest compatibility with loyalty to the king (Matthew 22:21; 1 Peter 2:17). Daniel's disobedience to the king was seeming, not real, because it was not from contempt of the king, but from regard to the King of kings (cf. Acts 24:16).
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.
No manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. "Faith is stated in Hebrews 11:33 to have been his actuating principle: a prelude to the Gospel ("Who through faith stopped the mouths of lions"). His belief was not with a view to a miraculous deliverance. He shut his eyes to the event, committing the keeping of his soul to God, in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19), sure of deliverance in a better life, if not in this.
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.
The king commanded, and they brought those men - (Deuteronomy 19:19; Proverbs 19:5, "A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape").
Which had accused Daniel - literally, 'devoured the bones and flesh of Daniel.' It was just that they who had torn Daniel's character, and sought the tearing of his person, should be themselves given to be torn in pieces (Proverbs 11:8).
And they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives. Among the Persians, the whole kindred were involved in the guilt of one culprit. The Mosaic law expressly forbade this (Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6).
And the lions ... brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. - i:e., before And the lions ... brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. - i:e., before ever. The lions' sparing Daniel could not have been because they were full, as they showed the keenness of their hunger on the accusers.
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
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.
I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. Stronger than the decree, Daniel 3:29. That was negative; this, positive: not merely men must "speak nothing amiss against," but must "fear before the God" of the Jews.
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.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and ... Cyrus. It was in the third year of Cyrus, Daniel's visions (Daniel 10:1-21; Daniel 11:1-45; Daniel 12:1-13) were given, Daniel "prospered" because of his prophecies (Ezra 1:1-2).
(1) Though Daniel had escaped the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, he was not to escape the ordeal of persecution. It was the gracious and wise design of God that his servant should be sorely tried, in order to test his faith, and to discipline him in the school of affliction; and, finally, that in his deliverance the glory of God might be set forth before the whole pagan world. Such an "excellent spirit" was found in him that the king of the great world-empire of that day advanced him to the highest rank and authority in the realm. It is to the honour of religion when its professors conduct themselves so in earthly relations as to win the esteem and confidence of even worldly men. Darius, sensual, weak, and averse to business himself, had yet the sagacity to discern moral and intellectual excellence in this servant of God; and Providence overruled the king's very incapacity to the good of not merely Daniel, but also of the Jews, the covenant-people, through the commanding influence of Daniel with the king.
(2) But high office and rank, though so much coveted by most men, is the position most of all exposed to envy, malice, and calumny. Daniel, therefore, was eyed by many of the Medo-Persian presidents and princes with jealousy and hatred. And when once these bad passions take possession of men they are not long in finding some pretext for giving vent to their dislike, and assailing the innocent object of it. After watching long and narrowly for some flaw in Daniel's conduct in his administration, the Medo-Persian nobles could find no occasion against him, except concerning the law of his God (Daniel 6:5). How much it tends to the glory of God, when the enemies of His people can find no other handle for censure except that the latter walk according to the law of God, even where it is in opposition to the course of the world!
(3) The princes, knowing the weakness of Darius' character, hit upon an expedient most likely to succeed in entrapping him into becoming the instrument in their hands for the destruction of Daniel. Assembling in tumultuous haste (Daniel 6:6, margin), they flock together to the king, in order to take him by surprise, and leave him no time for calm reflection. They doubtlessly represented to him the insecurity of his dynasty through the recency of its establishment, upon the fall of the Babylonian empire, and the need which therefore existed of some test-act to put to the proof the loyalty of his conquered subjects. As being reputed the representative of Ormuzd, the chief Persian god, the king was regarded as entitled to religious homage. They accordingly propose, as if it were the request of all the counselors of the empire, in their solicitude for the safety of their beloved king, that he will establish a royal statute, in his own name and theirs, that whosoever shall ask any petition of God or man for thirty days, except of himself, shall be cast into the den of lions (Daniel 6:7). Persecuting laws are generally made on false pretences; as, for instance, on the ground of political expediency, the safety of the reigning dynasty, or so-called state necessity. Flattery and cruelty often go hand in hand. "A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet" (Proverbs 29:5). How much we should be on our guard against the "flattering mouth" that "worketh ruin"! (Proverbs 26:28.) Let us avoid hasty counsels and rash words, easily spoken in a moment of weakness, but impossible to recall and undo, and sure to entail on us unavailing remorse and bitter self-reproach in the end. When worldly men flatter us, let us beware of being tempted aside into a wrong course by self-love, which swallows eagerly their praises. To "seek the honour which cometh from God only" (John 5:44) is the only antidote against being ensnared by the love of men's hollow praises. (4) Instead of venting loud reproaches against his malicious accusers, Daniel goes at once to God, and spreads his whole case in prayer before him. Withdrawing from the agitations of court, with the full knowledge of the decree that had been signed, and the penal consequences of violating it, Daniel went into his chamber, and his windows being open toward Jerusalem, the established place of God's manifestation on earth, "he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime" (Daniel 6:10). If Daniel could find time habitually to pray three times a day amidst the business of a vast empire devolving on him, which of us can justly say he is too busy to have time to pray? We are the creatures of habit: let us systematically adopt this blessed habit, and have fixed hours of prayer, and, so far from retarding, we shall find that it much advances our worldly business, by procuring for us strength from above for the discharge of every duty, whether great or small. As Daniel, in exile, looked toward the earthly temple, so let us lift up our eyes toward Christ, our heavenly temple, from this earthly scene of our captivity. As Daniel prayed openly and avowedly, so let us do as God and conscience would have us to do, and not as the fear of man's anger, or love of his praise, might suggest: and this, not as aiming at an ostentatious singularity, but as a fixed principle and settled habit. And as Daniel, even when earthly prospects were dark, and destruction seemed impending, still "gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime," so have we, in our highly favoured position, still more cause to thank God at all times, and to have "His praise continually in our mouth" (Psalms 34:1).
(5) Now that the envious presidents had gotten Daniel into their power, they lose no time in hurrying forward the execution of the iniquitous decree against him, with the same precipitate haste with which they had procured its enaction. Like all weak-minded despots, as Darius previously had been yielding where he ought to have been firm, so now he was obstinate where he ought to have been merciful. An innocent man's life was surely of more consequence than adherence to his word of honour. A decree, obtained from him by misrepresentation, for the destruction of his faithful servant, would have been more honoured in its breach than in its observance. But often men who are reckless about the laws of God are very scrupulous and punctilious in maintaining the world's spurious code of honour. Regard for his own imaginary reputation, and fear of his princes, prevailed over his regard for Daniel and his distress at being entrapped into a plot which now he saw through; so that he gave up his loyal servant to the will of his enemies, with the poor salvo to his own conscience of a faint hope that God would counteract the fatal effects of his unjust decree and condemnation of the innocent. "Thy God whom thou servest continually," he said to Daniel (Daniel 6:16). "He will deliver thee," as I cannot. Men admire piety in others, but set at nought its precepts in their own practice. It is hypocrisy far us to do willfully a wrong act, and then to hope or pray that God will undo the mischief which we ourselves have been the cause of!
(6) The sealing of the stone on the mouth of the den was divinely ordered, both as a type of the sealing of the Saviour's tomb, and in order that the reality of the miracle in the deliverance of Daniel might be the more unanswerably manifested. The king passed a sad night, the result of his own vanity, weakness, and want of self-control. How many such there are, who know enough of religion to make them unhappy in their disregard of it, but not enough of it to make them to withdraw from their sins, and from the evil influence of those around them! Darius was sorry for the evil which he had occasioned, but took no step to undo it.
(7) Love for his servant prevailing over every other feeling led him at early dawn to the mouth of the den where Daniel was; and what words can picture the joy and relief of the king's mind when he found that the angel of that God whom Daniel served continually, alike in prosperity and in persecution, had shut the lions' mouths, and vindicated his innocency in respect to the king, and his uncompromising faith and piety before his God whom he worshipped at all costs (Daniel 6:20-23). Faith is the secret of consistency in all times of trial (Hebrews 11:32-33). Fearing God, we have none else to fear. Loyalty to Him to whom we owe the highest allegiance is not only compatible with, but will produce the truest loyalty to our earthly rulers. Duties are ours, and events are God's. Let each simply ask, in every case, What would God have me to do? not, What will be the earthly consequences? and so God, if He does not deliver us always, as He did Daniel, from temporal suffering, will surely deliver us from the "adversary," who goeth about "as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
(8) The accusers of Daniel were given over to the fate which they had plotted against Daniel (Daniel 6:24). It was just that they who had aspersed the just, and sought the destruction of his life by the lions, should be themselves the victims of their own plot. Daniel was promoted to honour, and the God of Daniel was confessed by the head of the world-power to be the living God, whom all should fear, and whose "dominion shall be even unto the end" (Daniel 6:25-26). Herein we have a pledge given of the coming day, when every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, and every knee shall bow at His name (Philippians 2:10-11): when, in righteous recompence, His people shall be glorified with Him, and their enemies shall be given to everlasting destruction from His presence (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany