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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

Daniel 6

Verses 1-28

6. The deliverance of Daniel from the lion’s den

Dan 6:1-281 [English Bible, Daniel 5:31 to Daniel 6:28]

31Darius the Median took [received] the kingdom, being about three score and two years old [as a son of sixty and two years].

1It pleased [seemed good before] Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes [satraps], which should be over the whole [in all the] kingdom; 2and over2 these [them], three presidents, of whom Daniel was first [one]; that the [these] princes might give accounts [the reasons] unto them, and the king should have no damage [not be damaged].

3Then this Daniel was preferred [made eminent] above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm [all the kingdom]. 4Then the presidents and princes sought [were seeking] to find occasion against [cause as to] Daniel concerning [from the side of] the kingdom; but [and] they could find none occasion nor fault [corrupt thing]; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error [wrong] or fault [corrupt thing] found in him.

5Then said these men, [That] We shall not find any occasion against [cause as to] this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning [in] the law or his God. 6Then those presidents and princes assembled [crowded] together to [upon] the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 7All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains [pashas], have consulted together to establish a royal [or, for the king to establish a] statute [an established act of the king], and to make a firm decree [confirm an interdict], that whosoever [any one that] shall ask a petition of [an asking from] any god or man for [till] thirty days, save of [except from] thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of [the] lions. 8Now, O king, [mayest thou] establish the decree [interdict], and sign the writing, that it be not changed [change not], according to [like] the law of the Medes [Media] and Persians [Persia], 9which altereth not [will not pass away]. Wherefore [Therefore the] king Darius signed the writing and the decree [interdict].

10Now when Daniel [And Daniel, as soon as he] knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and, his [its] windows being [were] open in his [its upper] chamber toward [in front of] Jerusalem, [and] he3 kneeled upon his knees three times a day [in the day], and prayed [was praying], and gave thanks [thanking] before his God, as he did aforetime [because he was doing so from before that time]. 11Then these men assembled [crowded in], and found Daniel praying [asking] and making supplication before his God.

12Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning [upon] the king’s decree [interdict]; Hast thou not signed a decree [an interdict], that every [any] man that shall ask a petition of [from] any god or man within [till] thirty days, save of [except from] thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of [the] lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true [word is firm] according to [like] the law of the Medes [Media] and Persians [Persia], which altereth not [will not pass away]. 13Then answered they, and said before the king, That4 Daniel, which is of [from] the captivity of the children of Judah, regardeth not [has not put attention upon] thee, O king, nor [and] the decree [interdict] that thou hast signed, but [and] maketh his petition [is asking his asking] three times a day [in the day]. 14Then the king, when he heard these words [this word (thing)], was sore displeased with [it greatly offended upon] him-self, and [he] set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he laboured [was exerting himself] till the going down of the sun to deliver [rescue] him.

15Then these men assembled [crowded] unto [upon] the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is [it is a law to Media and Persia], that no decree nor statute [interdict and established act] which the king establisheth [shall establish] may be changed [change]. 16Then the king commanded [said], and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of [the] lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God, whom thou3 servest continually [art serving in continuity], Hebrews 3:0; Hebrews 3:0 will [may he] deliver thee. 17And 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 [(will) matter] might not be changed [change] concerning [in respect to] Daniel.

18Then the king went to his palace, and passed [lodged] the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought [and concubines he did not bring] before him, and his sleep went from [fled upon] him. 19Then the king arose very early in the morning [in the dawn would rise in the early light], and went in haste unto the den of [the] Lamentations 2:0; Lamentations 2:00And when he came [near] to the den, he cried with a lamentable [pained] voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou3 servest continually [art serving in continuity], able5 to deliver thee from the 21lions? Then said [talked] Daniel unto [with] the king, O king, live for eDaniel 6:22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that [and] they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in [to] me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

23Then was the king exceeding glad [it greatly rejoiced] for him [upon himself], and commanded [said] that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So [And] Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon [in] him, because he believed in his God.

24And the king commanded [said], and they brought those men which [who] had accused6 Daniel, and they cast them into the den of [the] lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever [ere] they came at the bottom of the den.7

25Then [the] king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages,8 that 26dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.9 I make10 a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear11 before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that 27which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth [delivering] and rescueth [rescuing], and he worketh [working] signs and wonders in heaven [the heavens] and in [the] earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

28So [And] this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.


Daniel 6:1 [Daniel 5:31]. Transitional introductory observations. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, etc. The copula before דָּרְיָנֶשׁ serves, indeed, to connect the present section closely with the preceding one, and indicates that its subject is more intimately related to the foregoing, than is the case in chapters 3, 4, and 5, which begin without any copulative particle whatever. The וְ however, does not compel the assumption that chapters 5. and 6. were properly a unit in their plan and the time of their composition (Hitzig, Kranichfeld; for (1) chap. 2, although forming a decidedly independent whole, likewise begins with the copula, as do also numerous sections in the historical and prophetical portions of the Old Testament, whose subjects are independent of what precedes them. (2) Kranichfeld’s opinion (p. 210) that chap. 5. ought to conclude with a “theocratic panegyrical closing sentence” similar to Daniel 6:27-28, if it were to rank as an independent and complete section in itself, is apparently confirmed, indeed, by the closing verses of chaps, 2, 3, and 4, but is decidedly opposed by chap. 1, which has no such doxology at the close. (3; Chapters 5 and 6 are distinguished from each other by several unmistakable differences in the mode of expression and representation, which indicate the composition of these sections at different times. Notice especially the character of the descriptions in chap. 6, which are more circumstantial and full of repetitions than those in chap 6. (cf. Daniel 6:2-4 with Daniel 6:23; Daniel 6:7 with Daniel 6:12; Daniel 6:12 with Daniel 6:16; Daniel 6:16 with Daniel 6:7, 29, etc.). (4) The transactions recorded in the two sections are separated by an interval of at least twenty-two years (cf. supra, on Daniel 5:30) since the events of chap. 5. transpired under the fourth reign before the close of the Chaldæan dynasty, while chap. 6. falls in the reign of Darius the Mede,—which covered about two years and a half—and probably not in its opening period (see Daniel 6:15; Daniel 6:17); and chap. 5. creates the impression that it was composed immediately after the events which it records transpired, and that, like all the narratives in the historical part of the book, it originated while they were still fresh in the recollection of the writer (cf. In-trod., § 4, note 2). The connection of the two sections by means of a copulative וְ, despite the difference in the time of their composition, is probably owing to the circumstance that at the close of chap v. only the beginning of the fulfilment of the oracle addressed to Belshazzar had been noticed, while the principal fact, which concludes the fulfilment, is reserved for the narrative in the present section; cf. on Daniel 5:30.—For the view that “Darius the Mede” can only designate Cyaxares, the son of Astyages and father-in-law of Cyrus, see In-trod., § 8, note 4. Perhaps the Sept. also referred to this Cyaxares, when it translated this passage Καὶ Ἀρταξέρξηςτῶν Μήδων παρέλαβεν τὴν βασιλειαν καὶ Δαρεῖος πλήρης τῶν ἡμερῶν καὶ ἔνδοξος ἐν γήρει; by Ἀρταξέρξης they may have intended Astyages, the father of Darius Medus, and by the predicate πλήρης κτλ., which they applied to Darius, they may have attempted to repeat the כְּבַר שְׁנִין of the second half of the verse (cf. Michaelis, Oriental. Bibl., iv. 20). Despite the marked ignorance of history which the Alexandrians occasionally reveal, they can hardly be presumed to have been guilty of the gross anachronism of confounding the Median Darius with Darius Nothus, the son of Artax-erxes 1. Longimanus (against Hävernick).—Ebrard (Die Offenbarung Johannis [in Olshausen’s Bibl. Kommentar], p. 55 et seq., and in a review of Fuller’s Prophet Daniel in the Güters-lohe Allg. literar. Anzeiger, October, 1868, p. 267), attempts, in harmony with his assumption that Belshazzar was identical with Laborasoarchad, to identify Darius the Mede with Nabonidus, whom the conspirators who slew Labora-soarchad elevated to the throne (similarly Syncellus, Scaliger, Petavius and Buddeus). In this way he certainly succeeds in removing every difference between the time of chap. 5 30 and 6:1; but he neglects to notice (1) that Laborasoarchad was a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, instead of being his son, as chap Daniel 5:11 et seq. requires; (2) that Nabonidus, according to the express statement of Berosus, was not of Median, but of Babylonian descent, although not of royal blood; (3) that according to Daniel 6:9; Daniel 6:13; Daniel 6:16 (the “laws of the Medes and Persians”) the administration of the king in question is characterized, in the plainest manner, as modelled and organized after the Medo-Persian code, rather than the Babylonian; (4) that the system of espionage and denunciation (Daniel 6:12; Daniel 6:14; Daniel 6:16), the barbarous custom of executing the families of criminals (Daniel 6:25) together with the culprit, and also the aristocratic constitutional procedure connected with the promulgation of the prohibition and with the sealing of the stone (Daniel 6:8; Daniel 6:18), all likewise refer to specifically Medo-Persian arrangements, such as could not yet have been introduced under Nabonidus. These arguments will also hold good against A. Scheuchzer, of Zurich, who, without reference to Ebrard, and to some extent basing his views on different grounds, has recently likewise attempted to identify Nabonidus with Darius the Mede (Assyrische Forschungen, in Heiden-heim’s Vierteljahrsschrift für engl.-theolog. For-schung, vol. 4., No. 1, p. 17 et seq.).—[“The addition of מָדָיָא (Kethib) forms on the one hand a contrast to the expression, ‘the king of the Chaldæans’ (Daniel 5:30), and on the other hand it points forward to פַּרְסרָא, Daniel 6:29 (Daniel 6:28); it, however, furnishes no proof that Daniel distinguished the Median kingdom from the Persian; for the kingdom is not called a Median kingdom, but it is only said of Darius that he was of Median descent, and, Daniel 6:29 (Daniel 6:28), that Cyrus the Persian succeeded him. In קִבֵּל, he received the kingdom, it is indicated that Darius did not conquer it, but received it from the conqueror” (Keil).]—Being about threescore and two years old. This precise and concrete designation of his age was hardly designed to note that he had overthrown the Chaldæn empire after attaining to old age and when he was no longer competent to the personal conduct of warlike operations (Kranichfeld); for such a purpose is not expressed with sufficient clearness, and moreover, the implied reference to the weakness and defenceless condition of the declining Babylonian empire would involve a historical inaccuracy Which cannot well be charged against the author. The real motive that led him to mention the age of Darius can only consist in the design to refer to the considerably later time of the taking of Babylon, in its relation to the events that had just been described (cf. supra, on Daniel 5:30).12

Daniel 6:2-3 [1, 2]. The new constitution of the empire under Darius, and the position assigned to Daniel. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes. The Sept. increases this number to 127, probably with a reference to Esther 1:1. Josephus Ant. x. 13 multiplies it by three (ἑξήκοντα καὶ τριακόσιοι σατράπαι perhaps because he believed each of the three chief præfects to have been placed over 120 satraps, or because he believed himself obliged to make the number of satrapies equal to that of the days in the year. The number 120 is to be retained, in opposition to both these uncritical attempts to enlarge it, although no other authorities mention so large a number of satrapies or provinces in the Medo-Persian empire at the time of its first organization under Darius-Cyaxares and Cyrus, and although according to both Herodotus and Xenophon their number seems to have been considerably smaller at that period. The former of these authors mentions no definite organization of satrapies by Cyrus whatever, and remarks of Darius Hystaspis that he founded in all only twenty of such provinces for the whole empire (iii. 89); the latter notices satraps under Cyrus as well, but mentions only nine, eight of whom were appointed for Asia Minor and one for Arabia—from which it might be concluded that the aggregate number of such officials did not much exceed twenty, and perhaps, did not even reach that number (Cyrop. vii. 4, 2; viii. 6). The statements of these Greek historians do not, however, compel us to doubt the accuracy of Daniel’s report, or to reduce the number from 120 to 20; for various indications lead to the conclusion that the number and boundaries of the satrapies varied exceedingly in different periods of the Persian empire. The three lists of Persian provinces, for instance, which are found among the inscriptions of Darius (at Persepolis, at Behistun, and at Nakshi Rustam) enumerate on the whole thirty-three satrapies or provinces, without permitting us to regard the number as exhaustively complete. The opinion that such changes among the satrapies actually occurred is further supported by Ezra 8:36, where several satraps beyond the Euphrates are mentioned as holding office under Artaxerxes, while Herodotus, iii. 91, knew of but one; and also by Esther 1:1, where the whole number of the Persian satrapies is fixed at 127, etc. Hence, it must probably be assumed that at different times the arrangement of provinces varied in the Persian empire, and that a subdivision of the realm into numerous smaller sections (whose number, 120, may have been symbolically significant, and relating to astronomical conditions) existed already under Darius-Medus and Cyrus, but in such a manner that in addition a reckoning by larger, and consequently less numerous provinces, was customary. The division into 120 smaller satrapies may have descended to the Medo-Persians from the Chaldæo-Babylonian world-kingdom, in which, according to Daniel 3:2; Daniel 3:27, the title of satrap had long been known, and on account of its almost sacred astronomical importance, they may have gladly admitted it into the constitution of their realm. The enumeration by larger and less numerous (20–30) satrapies may have been chiefly in use in the official language of the court and the arts in the kingdom of the Achæmenidæ, as being a national Medo-Persian institution, and for that reason may have been principally or exclusively observed by the Greeks. The Biblical enumeration, having a Babylonian origin, may therefore be properly designated as the esoteric or hieratic, and the ancient Aryan division, supported by the classics, as the exoteric or demotic. Nor is it a questionable feature that on this explanation the title kshatrapa (shôitrapaiti, achashdarpan) was applied interchangeably to the administrators of both larger and smaller divisions; since this harmonizes well with the fluctuations of later Hellenistic writers in rendering the word and especially with the indecision of the Sept. On this question, and in relation to the origin and significance of the title of satrap, cf. the exeg. Remarks on Daniel 3:2

Daniel 6:3 [21]. And over these three presidents, of whom Daniel was first; rather, “was one.” [The following verse, however, shows that he was the principal one]. The סָרְכִין (in the Targ. equivalent to שׁוֹטְרִים “arrangers, overseers”) were certainly “chief -præfects, princes, ministers,” whether the סרךְ is regarded as related to שַׂר, i.e., as derived, by means of the Pers. particle of derivation ךְ, from the Zend sara (Gr. kápa, Pers. ser), “head,” or as related to the Sanscr. çarana, “protector,” or also to târaka, “steersman” (the former according to Gesenius, the latter, to Hitzig). The dignity of these Sarekin was doubtless identical with that of the Taltaïn or “triumvirs,” who are mentioned in the preceding chapter (Daniel 6:7, Daniel 6:16, 29) as the superior princes of the realm, or heads of the government under Belshazzar. Accordingly, like the 120 satraps, they were a class of dignitaries in the Medo-Persian kingdom, whose office was modelled after the Babylonian precedent, but was discontinued at a later period, or perhaps, was developed into the institution of the seven counsellors of the Persian kings (corresponding to the seven Amshaspands—cf. Esther 1:14; Ezra 7:14; Herod. iii. 31). Daniel owed his elevation to this rank to the circumstance that he had already been raised to the dignity of a triumvir by Belshazzar, and had probably remained in that office until the overthrow of the Chaldæan kingdom; as also Nebuchadnezzar, according to Daniel 2:48-49, had already conferred on him a position of distinguished political and priestly power and eminence.—That the princes (satraps) might give accounts- to them, and the king should have no damage, i.e., not suffer loss in his revenues (cf. נְזַק Ezra 4:13; Ezra 4:15, and נֵזֶק Esther 7:4). The satraps are thus designated more particularly as officers of finance, which doubtless constituted one of their chief functions; cf. Herod. iii. 89 et seq.

Daniel 6:4-5 [3, 4]. The ill-will of the other grand officials of the realm against Daniel. Then this Daniel was preferred above (showed himself superior to) the presidents, etc. מִתְנַצַּח, “distinguished himself,-outshone them.” The demonstrative דְּנָח, “this,” which is connected with the name of Daniel only here and in Daniel 6:20, is conceived and spoken from the standpoint of his opponents, who look with envy on him (istum) whom God has hitherto so highly favored with His assistance. In this way the succeeding remark, “because an excellent spirit-was in him” (cf. chap. Daniel 6:12), may likewise be explained without involving any suspicion of self-laudation on the part of the narrator.—And the king I thought to set him over the whole realm, I hence, to promote him to the office of grand-vizier or prime minister—the superior of the “triumvirs” or Sarekin. The Targums always employ the Ithpael for the intransitive עֲשִׁרת, “to be inclined, to purpose.” [“This intention of the king stirred up the envy of the other presidents” (Keil)].

Daniel 6:5 [4]. Then the presidents.… sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom, i.e., they sought to assail his official character; and only after frequent proofs that their efforts in this direction were futile, did they direct their attention to his religious standpoint (Daniel 6:6 et seq.).13But they could find none occasion nor fault. עִלָּח, as before, is an “occasion, opportunity, pretext,” upon which the accusation might be based [“as atria, John 18:38; Matthew 27:37, an occasion for impeachment”(Keil)]. This more general term may be co-ordinated with שְׁחִיתָח, “wickedness,” because it is conceived concretely or objectively; and hence also with the following שָׁלוּ, “fault, inadvertence” (from שׁלח, the probable primitive form for שׁגח, cf. in the Gr. μόλις and μόγις). Fidelity is the leading political virtue of the servant or officer of a government (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:2), in like manner as justice and mercy should be the ornament of rulers (Daniel 4:24).

Daniel 6:6-10 [5–9]. The procuring of a governmental edict pertaining to religion, directed against Daniel.14 We shall not.… against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. דָּת אֱלָחֵהּ, the law of Daniel’s God, is the theocratic law, considered as the rule of his religious life, and especially of his devotional exercises. Cf. דִּת in Ezra 7:6; Ezra 7:12; Ezra 7:14; Ezra 7:21; Ezra 7:25-26; and supra, Daniel 2:9.

Daniel 6:7. Then these presidents (princes) and princes (satraps) assembled together to the king; rather (as marg), “ran in stormy haste.” “These princes and satraps” (cf. “these men,” Daniel 6:6 [5]) were not, of course, all of them, without exception, but only those who envied and sought to calumniate Daniel, since only such are here concerned; cf. Daniel 6:25 [24]. The idea that all the satraps participated is the more improbable, in view of the fact that the possible presénce of all in the metropolis is nowhere indicated (not even in Daniel 6:8 [7]).—On ארגיש, “to rush anywhere in stormy haste, to rush anywhere frequently” [rather, tumultuously] (Luther, “came often”), cf. the German “jemanden die Thüre stürmen” (“to storm somebody’s door”); see infra, Daniel 6:12 [11] and 16 [15].

Daniel 6:8. All the presidents (princes) of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes (satraps), the counsellors, and the captains (prefects) have consulted together; rather, “have considered it advisable.” סָרְכִין seems here to be employed in a more extended sense than heretofore (Daniel 6:3 [2], 5 [4], and 7 [6]), where it designates the chief-præfects who were placed over the satraps;15 for the four classes of officials which follow—the same as in Daniel 3:27, but in a different order—are evidently intended to specialize the prefixed general idea of “princes” or “præfects” (thus Chr. B. Michaelis correctly, against Hitzig and others, who in this place also regard the Sarekin as the chief præfects who were Daniel’s colleagues). In like manner the term Chaldæans was found to be employed above, at one time to designate a special class of wise men, and at another to denote the whole order of magians (see on Daniel 2:2).16 —In relation to אתְיָעַט, “to determine or agree among themselves,” compare the term, יָעֵט, “a counsellor,” consiliarius, as designating one of the principal officers of the Persian king, Ezra 7:14-15.—To establish a royal statute; rather, “that the king should establish a statute.” In view of the accentuation, מַלְכָּא is not to be construed with קְיָם as a genitive (“to establish a royal statute,” etc.), but must be regarded as the subject of the Inf. לִקַתיָּמָח so that the object קְיָם is placed between the infinitive and its noun, as in Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 19:8; Isaiah 20:1 (thus correctly Rosenmüller, Hitzig, Kranichfeld, [Keil], etc., against Theodotion, Vulgate, Luther, Bertholdt, and a majority of moderns).17And make a firm interdict (marg.). The קְיָם which the king was to establish, is at the same time an אֱסָר. “interdict;” in the parallelism of the address it is at first designated generally as a “statute,” and afterwards more especially as an “interdict.” On אָסֵר, “to bind,” in the sense of “to prohibit,” see Numbers 30:10, and also the N.-T. δέειν as the opposite of λύειν Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18.—That whosoever shall ask a petition.… for thirty days; i.e., during the thirty days next ensuing, from that time until the expiration of thirty days. Literally, “unto thirty days.” This number, the triplicate of the ten days in Daniel 1:12-15, is a round number, corresponding to the duration of a month, and employed otherwise also as a general period, during which an interdict was imposed on persons; e.g., by the vows of Nazarites, Acts 21:26; cf. Tract. Nasir, i. 3; Joseph., de B. Jud., ii. 15,1.—The command (or interdict) to pray18 during one month only to the king was in this instance specially aimed at Daniel, the pious worshipper of Jehovah, for the purpose of entrapping him; but it was suggested by a national religious custom of older date among the Medes, by which Divine honors were rendered to the king. Herodotus, i. 199, refers to this custom, when he remarks that Deioces had introduced the περὶ ἑαυτὸν σεμνύειν for himself and his successors, by removing his person from the observation of his subjects, in order to persuade them that he was ἑτεροῖος (cf. also Xenophon, Cyrop., i. 3, 18). The existence of this custom among the Medes is further substantiated by the fact that the Persians, who were intimately related to the Medes, observed it, as did several others of the Oriental nations of antiquity (e.g., the Egyptians and Ethiopians, according to Diodor., Sicul., Dan 1:90; Daniel 3:3; Daniel 3:5)—the former from the peculiar religious reason that they considered the king as the “offspring of the gods” (ἔκγονος θεῶν) and the image of Ormuzd, and even addressed him directly as θεός; cf. Æschylus, Pers.,157, 855; Plutarch, Themist, 27; Curtius, Daniel 8:5; Daniel 8:11; Isocrates, Panegyr., in Brissonius, de Persar. princ, p. 17, and generally, Hengstenberg, Authentie des Daniel, etc., p. 127 et seq.; Delitzsch, Art. Daniel in Herzog’s Real-Encykl, p. 278 et seq. See the Ethico-fund. principles, etc., against the assumption of the modern pseudo-Daniel tendency-criticism, on which the edict of Darius in question is a cunningly invented prototype, and at the same time an exaggerated caricature of the course of Antiochus Epiphanes as described in 1Ma 1:41 et seq.; 2Ma 6:1 et seq.

Daniel 6:9 [8]. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing; rather, “and record the writing,” for רשם always signifies to record, and not to sign; and moreover, the Persian edicts received their official stamp as laws from the royal seal, instead of the royal signature;19 cf. Esther 3:10 et seq.; Daniel 8:8.—That it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, i.e., according to that law of the united Medo-Persian realm, as is somewhat more fully described in Daniel 6:16 [15], by which every official edict from the king, issued with certain formalities, should possess enduring force as law, hence, “should not be changed” (לָא לְחַשְׁנָרָח, cf. Winer, Gramm., § 46, 3); cf. Esther 1:19; Esther 8:8. Against the opinion of Von Lengerke, that the writer here was guilty of an anachronism, since the phrase “the law of the Medes and Persians” must have originated subsequently to the time of Cyrus, cf. supra. Hitzig also rejects this position of Von Lengerke, inasmuch as he denies, for telling reasons, the presumption on which it rests, that דָּת in that formula designates the whole body of laws of the kingdom.—[Daniel 6:10 (9). the king carried out the proposal. וְאֱסָרָא is explicative: the writing, namely, the prohibition (spoken of); for this was the chief matter, therefore אֱסָרָא alone is here mentioned, and not also קְיָם (edict), Daniel 6:8 (7).”—Keil]

Daniel 6:11-12 [10, 11]. Daniel’s protest, by his conduct, against the royal decree.20 And, his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem; rather, “but he [it21] had open windows,” etc. 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; Acts 10:9.—“Opened windows,”כַּוִּין פְּתִיחָן, are the opposite of such as are covered with lattice-work (כַּוִּין זְתִימָן, Ezekiel 40:16) by which the view is obstructed. These open windows were required to be “toward Jerusalem,” because according to ancient custom the face of the worshipper must be turned towards the temple in that city; for as in Jerusalem the supplicant turned toward the sanctuary (Psalms 5:8; Psalms 28:2 etc.), so he turned when abroad towards the “holy city” (Matthew 4:5) as the site of the(temple. This was the case long prior to the captivity; see 1 Kings 8:33; 1 Kings 8:35; 1 Kings 8:38; 1 Kings 8:44; 1 Kings 8:48; 2Ch 6:29; 2 Chronicles 6:34; 2 Chronicles 6:38. The corresponding custom among the Mahommedans (Kibla) with reference to Mecca, appears thus to be the imitation of a custom developed on the primitive soil of Bible lands; and for the earliest followers of Islam Jerusalem itself was Kibla. On the other hand, the ancient Jewish and the most ancient Christian custom prohibited, on the ground of Ezekiel 8:16-17, the turning of the face in prayer towards the east, i.e., towards the sun (cf. Clement, Strom. vii. 724; Origen, Homil. Daniel 5:0 : in Num.; Tertull. Apol. c. 16), while the later church, standing on the ground of Mal. 3:20; Luke 1:78 et seq., zealously recommended that supplicants and houses for prayer should face towards the east, and introduced it into general use. Cf. Bingham, Origines, 5:275 ss.—He kneeled upon his knees three times a day. 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; Acts 9:40; Acts 21:5; Ephesians 3:14; Clem. Romans 1:0 Cor. 48; Hermas, Pas-tar, Vis. Daniel 1:1, etc. Cf. O. A. Hubnerus, de genuflexione (Halle, 1741); Zöckler, Krit. Geschichtc der Askese ( Frankf. and Erlangen, 1863), p. 350 et seq.—[“Daniel offered prayers not to make an outward show, for only secret spies could ob serve him when so engaged. כָּל־קְכֵל דִּי does not mean altogether so as (Rosenmüller, Von Leng., Maurer, Hitzig), but, as always, on this account that, because. Because he always did thus, so now he continues to do it”—(Keil).]22 The custom of praying three times in a day, which is attested for the first time in this passage, and which, according to the Talmudic tradition was first brought into general use among the Jews by the “men of the great synagogue,” appears to have taken shape during the Babylonian captivity as a usage observed by pious individuals among the Israelites. The fundamental general idea of this custom is already expressed in Psalms 55:18; but the desire to find a regular substitute for the morning and evening sacrifices, which were now interrupted, doubtless contributed towards originating the custom, since the Jews were accustomed, from an early period, to regard prayer as in itself a sacrifice with which God is pleased (Hosea 14:3; Psalms 51:17; Psalms 116:17, etc.), and especially since they associated it in their minds with the evening sacrifice (Psalms 141:2; 1 Kings 18:36 et seq.; Ezra 9:5; cf. Daniel 9:21). The Parsee custom of rendering Divine honors to the three parts of the day themselves, has, of course, nothing in common with the habit of the Jews and primitive Christians (Acts 3:1; Acts 10:9; Acts 10:30; cf. Pusey, Daniel, p. 554); nor has the custom of the Egyptian priests, who, according to Porphyry, de absnent. Daniel 4:8, sang daily four hymns of praise to the sun; nor yet the three daily sacrifices and hymns of the Pythagoreans, as mentioned by Jamblichus, Vit. Pythag. c. 149 ss. Cf. generally, Zöckler, 1. c. p. 329 et seq.

Daniel 6:12 [11]. Then these men assembled (rushed together), and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Here, as in Daniel 6:7 [6], הַרְגִּישׁוּ is not a single rushing together, but a frequent23 hasty gathering; the only difference is that in that passage the design was to obtain the decree from the king, while here it is to watch Daniel in order to denounce him. According to Daniel 6:11, the open windows in Daniel’s upper chamber seem to have enabled them to execute their plan of espionage with success, either because they saw him while engaged in prayer (perhaps from a still more elevated room in the vicinity, cf. 2 Samuel 9:2), or because they heard him from the street. At any rate, a repeated [?] approach and observation in secret must be assumed, instead of a single surprise; hence the question, “At which of his daily prayers was he surprised?” is inappropriate.—Concerning the thoroughly organized system of espionage and denunciation in the Medo-Persian kingdom, of which this passage affords a characteristic proof, see Max Duncker, Geschichte des Alterthums, ii. 648.

Daniel 6:13-15 [12–14]. The denunciation. Then they came near and spake before(“with”) the king, etc., cf. Daniel 3:8, and for what follows, Daniel 3:24.—The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians; rather, “the word is firm, according, etc. יַצִּיבִא מִלְתָּאִ does not affirm that the decree was published, but indicates the certain punishment of any who might transgress it.

Daniel 6:14 [13]. Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah. Cf. chap. Daniel 6:13, and observe that the accusers do not mention the high official station of Daniel and his intimate official relations with the king, but merely refer to his foreign birth, [“in order that they may thereby bring his conduct under the suspicion of being a political act of rebellion against the royal authority.” (Keil.)]

Daniel 6:15 [14]. Then the king.… was sore displeased.בְּאֵשׁ is impersonal in בְּאֵשׁ עֲלוֹהִי, like יֵרַע in Genesis 21:12, and like טְאֵב below, in Daniel 6:24 [23]. Literally, therefore, it reads, “Then the king, when he heard the word—sorrow came on him” (and similarly Daniel 6:24 [23], “Then … joy came on him”).24And set his heart on Daniel to deliver him. בָּל, “heart,” is not found in the later Chaldee, but occurs in the Syriac and Arabic. Compare, however, the phrase לִבָּא שָׂם ל׳, Targ. Proverbs 22:17.—And he labored till the going down of the sun, etc. On the form מֵעָלֵי (st. constr. plur. of מֵעָלֽא, or also of the Inf. מֵעַל, cf- Hitzig and Kranichfeld on this passage. Instead of אִשְׁתַּדַּר, “he labored” (cf. ἀγωνιζεσθαι, Luke 13:24), the Targums have אשְׁתַּדֵּל, which, however, has a different meaning from that of אִשְׁתַּדַּר.

Daniel 6:16-18 [15–17]. The condemnation and execution. On Daniel 6:16 cf. supra, on Daniel 6:9 b.

Daniel 6:17 [16]. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions; rather, “that they should bring Daniel and cast,” etc. The construction is the same as in chap. Daniel 6:29 [but in neither this nor that passage is this rendering justified by the force of the text, וִחַיְתִין.… וּרְמוֹ]. According to Oriental custom, the execution in this case, as in that under Belshazzar, chap. Daniel 6:29, and in that under Nebuchadnezzar,Daniel 3:19; Daniel 3:19 et seq., was to follow immediately on the sentence. [“This does not, however, imply that it was on the evening in which, at the ninth hour, he had prayed, as Hitzig affirms, in order that he may thereby make the whole matter improbable.” (Keil). The season of prayer at which Daniel was discovered would seem to have been at noon. This will allow ample time for the preparation of the edict the same morning, and the execution the same evening. The accusers were evidently in hot haste].—Thy God, whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee rather, “may thy God.… deliver thee.” Pilate may have solaced himself with a similar confession of his own weakness and cowardice, when he delivered the Saviour into the hands of his mortal enemies (Matthew 27:24; Luke 23:25, etc.); or Herod, when he commanded to bring the head of the Baptist (Matthew 14:9). Daniel 6:19 [18] et seq. shows that the exclamation was by no means intended to be ironical or malicious, as those in Psalms 22:9; Matthew 27:43; but on the other hand, Josephus probably attributes too favorable a disposition to Darius, when he observes: ἐλπίσας δὲΔαρεῖος, ὄτι ῥύσεται τὸ θεῖον αὐτὸς καὶ οὐδὲς μὴ πάθη δεινὸν ὑπὸ τῶν θηρίων, ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν εὐθύμως φέρειν τὰ συμβαίνοντα (similarly also Jerome et al.).

Daniel 6:18 [17]. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den. הֵיתָיִת, a Hebraizing passive form of the Aphel; cf. on Daniel 3:13. שֻׂמַת Hebraizing passive partic. Peal, instead of שִׂימַת (cf. Daniel 6:27 [26]).—It is natural to suppose that the stone was of sufficient size to completely close the mouth of the den, and that it was at hand for that purpose, instead of assuming, with Hitzig, that it was necessary to bring it from a distance. The den itself, corresponding to the sense of &גֻּבָּא גּוּבָא), which is thoroughly identical with that of the Heb. בּוֹי, must not be conceived of as a cistern or funnel-shaped pit (Hitzig); but rather as having a capacity sufficient to hold several lions and permit them to move freely about (which involves no greater difficulty than that the גּוּבָא in the Targ Jeremiah 41:7; Jeremiah 41:9 should have contained the corpses of seventy slain persons; cf. also the Targ. Jeremiah 37:16; Isa. 16:15). In brief, it may be supposed to have been an actual lions’ den, similar to those connected with the Roman amphitheatres, from which it probaby differed simply in having a horizontal opening in the flat or arched roof, through which the ad bestias damnati were thrown to the lions, in addition to the door at the side, by which the beasts were introduced into the den or removed from it. Its construction may therefore have been similar to that of the fiery furnace, upon the whole (see on 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 (Daniel 6:21 et seq.). The two lions’ dens at Fez, belonging to the emperor of Morocco, which Höst describes in his Nachrichten von Fez und Marokko (pp. 77, 290) as being large rectangular and uncovered pits in the earth (whose wide opening was surrounded by a wall one and a half ells in height), were consequently constructed somewhat differently from that of the Medo-Babylonians under consideration, but are still interesting for comparison with the latter.—And the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords. On the custom of sealing cf. Matthew 27:26. The two-fold sealing, with the ring of the king and with that of his grand officers, may have been designed to secure Daniel, for whose deliverance the king still hoped (see Daniel 6:17 [16], 21 [20], against any violent assault, and also against any attempt to liberate him—hence, to insure a strict control of the prisoner. Cf. Jerome: Obsignavit annulo suo lapidem, quo os laci claudebatur, ne quid contra Danielem moliantur inimici.… Obsignat autem et annulo optimatum suorum, ne quid suspicionis contra eos habere videretur.” That the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel; rather, “that the matter,” etc.; that his situation might not be unlawfully altered. צְבוּ here is not “intention, purpose” (v. Leng. etc.)25 but “affair, matter;” cf. the corresponding Syriac word.

Daniel 6:19-23 [18–22]. The king discovers the miraculous preservation of Daniel. Then the king went … and passed the night fasting. טְוָת is properly a substantive with adverbial signification—“with fasting”—i.e., supperless. Luther renders it forcibly, “and remained not eating.”—Neither were instruments of music brought before him; rather “concubines.” Instead of “food,” which is the interpretation assigned by Theodotion, the Peshito, the Vulgate, Luther, etc., the rendering of דַּחֲוָן by “concubines, women of the harem,” is sufficiently supported by closely related terms in the Arabic; and the verb חַנְעֵלֹ in connection with the prep. קֳדָם admits of no other interpretation. The bringing in of inanimate objects would have been expressed by חָיְתֵי cf. Daniel 5:2 with Daniel 2:24-25; Daniel 4:3; Daniel 5:13; Daniel 5:15.—And his sleep went from him; forsook him; cf. on Daniel 2:1.

Daniel 6:20 [19]. Then the king arose very early in the morning; “with the dawn, when it became light.” שְׂפַרְפָּרָא “the dawn” (= שַׁחַר, Targ. Jon. on Isaiah 58:8). The hypothetical rendering of the imperf. יְקוּם, for which Kranichfeld contends, is unnecessary. [“The future or imperfect is used instead of the perfect to place this clause in relation to the following, meaning: the king, as soon as he arose at morning dawn, went hastily by the early light” (Keil).] The Septuagint is [substantially] correct: ὤρθρισε πρωΐ; also Theodotion, the Peshito, etc.—בְּנָגְהָא, “with the twilight, with the dawn or break of day” [“serves for a mere determination of the בִּשְׂפַּרְפְּרָא, at the morning dawn, namely, as soon as the first rays of the rising sun appeared” (Keil)]; cf. לָאוֹר, Job 24:14.—And went in haste. בְּהִתְבְּהָלָה, as in Daniel 2:35, = μετὰ σπουδῆς; cf. Luke 1:39.

Daniel 6:21 [20]. And.… cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel. &#מַר עֲצִיב; cf. Isaiah 54:6 with Proverbs 31:6.—O Daniel, servant of the living God. Darius was able to designate the God of Daniel as the living God (cf. v. 27) thus early, before his observation had convinced him of the prophet’s safety, for the simple reason that during the intercourse consequent on their intimate relation, Daniel had instructed him concerning the nature and power of his God as the God of all gods, and also because the pangs of conscience endured by him during the night that had just elapsed, had produced a profound conviction of the truth of the prophet’s testimony to Jehovah.26

Daniel 6:23 [22]. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths. Cf. Daniel 6:28 [27]; Acts 12:7. The summary conciseness of the statement forbids any conclusion as to whether Daniel had seen the angel who wrought his miraculous deliverance, as an objective fact, or whether he merely argued from the effect to the underlying invisible cause (cf. Psalms 34:8; Psalms 91:11 et seq.; Matthew 8:9, etc.). On the expression, “to shut the lions’ mouths,” cf. 2 Timothy 4:17; Hebrews 11:33.—And also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. “Before thee,” קֳדָמָיךְ, i.e., “in thine eyes, according to thy judgment”—a loosely connected supplemental proof of what he has just asserted, viz., that he is innocent. In modern speech the connection might have been, “even as I was likewise found innocent by thee” (which was apparent to him from the king’s anxious inquiries concerning his welfare).27

Daniel 6:24-25 [23, 24]. The deliverance of Daniel and the punishment of his enemies. Then was the king exceeding glad (cf. on Daniel 6:15) for him,28 and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.29 הִנְסָקָה the inf. Aphel of the root סְלֵק compensates for the doubling by נ, similarly to הַנְעֵל in Daniel 6:19 [18] (cf. Daniel 2:25). Cf. הַסִּיק Daniel 3:22.

Daniel 6:25 [24]. And the king commanded, and they brought those men; rather, “that those men should be brought.” The same construction as in Daniel 6:17 [16].30—“Those men” are the same who are mentioned in Daniel 6:6 [5] and 7 [6], viz.: the grand officers who were present in “Babylon itself, and who had taken part in traducing Daniel. A number of them may have been in the king’s train, when he commanded that the seals should be broken and the stone removed (Daniel 6:24 [23]), without venturing to protest, in the presence of the angry monarch, against the violation of the seal which belonged in part to them. The others were brought from their houses by the king’s command. There is consequently nothing in the passage that involves a difficulty or that contradicts Daniel 6:18 [17] (against Hitzig).—Which had accused Daniel. Literally, “who had devoured Daniel’s flesh;” cf. on Daniel 3:8.—And they cast … into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives. Upon this point even Hitzig is compelled to remark: “To execute the familes of criminals together with themselves was eminently the Persian custom (Herod., III. 119; Ammian Marcel., xxiii. 6, 81); Justin, in such an instance, makes especial reference to the wives and children (x. 2); cf. further, Justin, 21:4; Joshua 7:24-25.” On the authority of the statements quoted from Herodotus and Justin (and also influenced by what Curtius, vi. 11, states with reference to the custom among the Macedonians), Hitzig contends that such fearfully bloody justice—whose barbarous severity our prophet seems to allude to when he mentions the children before the wives—was only inflicted on conspirators against the king. But Ammian. (1. c.) states no such limitation; and the malicious plot of these magnates against one of the chief officials of the kingdom, as well as intimate counsellor of the king, was almost equivalent to a conspiracy directed against the royal person.—And the lions had the mastery of them (or “fell upon them”) … or ever they came at the bottom of the den. Literally, “and not came they.…until that,” i.e., when the lions already seized them. On the incident, cf. Daniel 3:22; concerning the form שְׁלִטוּ see Daniel 2:29.

Daniel 6:26-28 [25–27]. The royal proclamation consequent on the miraculous deliverance of Daniel. Then king Darius wrote (commanded to write) unto all people, nations, and languages, etc.; i.e., to all the subjects of his realm, which was a world-kingdom like that of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:31.

Daniel 6:27 [26]. I make a decree. Cf. Daniel 3:29; Daniel 4:3, where the shorter מִנִּי occurs instead of מִן־קְָדָמַי which is found in this place.—That… men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. Cf. chap. Daniel 6:19.—The theocratic phraseology of the royal edict admits of the same explanation as do the similar proclamations of Nebuchadnezzar,Daniel 2:47; Daniel 2:47; Daniel 3:28 et seq.; Dan 3:31 et seq.; Daniel 4:31 et seq. It results in part from the extended intercourse of the king with Daniel, the representative of the theocratic faith of revelation; and in part from the profound influence of the experience of theim-mediate past.—And his kingdom (is one) which shall not be destroyed; a forcible ellipsis, similar, for instance, to that in Daniel 7:14; cf. also Daniel 2:44; and on the thought, Dan 3:33; Daniel 4:31.—And his dominion (shall be even) unto the end; i.e., “to the end of all earthly kingdoms, to the end of the world” (the συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶνος), which coincides with the erection of the completed kingdom of Messiah or God; cf. Daniel 7:14; Daniel 7:26 et seq.

Daniel 6:28 [27]. He delivereth and rescueth; rather, “He is a saviour and deliverer.” Cf. Daniel 3:29 b., and for what follows cf. Dan 3:32; Daniel 4:32.—From the power of the lions: literally, “out of the hand of the lions;” cf. Psalms 22:21, “out of the hand of the dogs.”

Daniel 6:29 [28]. The epilogue. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius. “This Daniel,” as in Daniel 6:4 [3].—הַצְלַח “found prosperity, prospered;” similar to cnap. Daniel 3:30. Ewald’s reading, חָצלַד, which is designed to be equivalent to, “he was reinstated in his office”(?), is unnecessary.—On the subject cf. Daniel 2:48.—And (also) in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. This complementary closing sentence, like that in Daniel 1:21, appears to have been added a considerable time after the preceding facts were recorded, for the purpose of closing the historical part of the book as a whole. But the objection that it is clearly a “bald and labored gloss in its appearance” (Kranichf.), is not therefore justified. The reign of Cyrus is merely mentioned, as having been reached by Daniel, for the same reason that dictated Daniel 1:21.

ethico-fundamental principles related to the history of salvation, apolo getical remarks, and homiletical suggestions

1. The similarity of the facts recorded in this section to those of the third chapter is certainly evident and undeniable; but these analogies do not warrent the disregarding of the important differences between the incidents of the two sections. These differences, on the one hand, affect the disposition and the modes of action of the persons engaged in the various transactions, in which respect the king Darius especially observes from the beginning a more cordial bearing toward the worshipper of Jehovah than does Nebuchadnezzar; and, on the other, they relate to the miracle which forms the end and climax of the entire event. The deliverance of Daniel from the lions’ den was a miracle differing materially in character from that of the deliverance of the three Hebrews from the fiery furnace; while the latter, as was intimated on Daniel 3:22, would admit of a natural explanation. To some extent at least, this is absolutely impossible with the event recorded in this chapter, as may be seen more particularly from the fact, noticed in Daniel 6:25 [24] b, that the same lions who spared Daniel during an entire night immediately seized on his accusers with a ravenous voracity in order to rend them. By this contrast between the subjection of the beasts to the prophet, and the outburst of their savage nature towards the guilty princes—a contrast which evidently constitutes the fundamental characteristic of the incident before us—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 N. T. 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; of. Mark 16:18), and perhaps several incidents of a similar character in the history of the earliest monkish saints and missionaries of the Church down to the times of Columban and Gallus, so far as any faith may be placed on the statements in the generally fancifully distorted biographies of these saints which relate to their friendly intercourse with wild beasts (cf. Montalembert, Les Moines d’ Occident depuis St. Benoit jusqu’d St. Bernard, vol. 2 and for a criticism of the often excessively credulous judgment of this author with reference to such miracles, see the review of his work in the Jahrbücher für deutsche Theologie, 1862, No. 2).—It is, however, precisely because the miraculous incident of this section belongs to the category of such facts, that it must rank as the greatest wonder recorded in the historical part of the book, as the climax in the series of mighty works by which God glorified Himself in His servants in the metropolis of the Chaldæan empire, and which, forming a gradation of miracles in certain aspects, and presenting a constantly-increasing manifestation of the supernatural element in them, from Daniel 1:15 to the close of this chapter, excludes, with steadily-increasing emphasis, the possibility of tracing back the events to natural causes (cf. especially on Daniel 5:5).

2. So far as the general situation is similar to that described in Daniel 3:0 : it accords well with the conditions of the captivity, “in which the aim was not, as afterwards under Antiochus Epiphanes, to extirpate the Jewish worship, but where we find merely certain very natural and intelligible displays of grudging selfishness and envy on the part of individual native officials, as against a captive foreigner who was preferred above them in official stations; while the general condition of the captives was very tolerable, as a natural result of the lax administration of government which was usual among Oriental conquerors” (Kranichfeld). The assertion of the modern “tendency-critics” (Hitzig, p. 89 et seq.; Bleek, p. 604, etc.), that the edict of Darius which prohibited the rendering of Divine honors during one month to any but the king (Daniel 6:8 [7]) was invented for the purpose of exaggerating or caricaturing the proclamation of Antiochus Epiphanes, which prohibited the Jews from observing the Divine law and their worship of Jehovah (1Ma 1:41; 2Ma 6:1-9), in order to incite them to steadfast endurance and to patient trust in God,—this assertion is decidedly nugatory, since the raging fanaticism of the Syrian king, which aimed at the total destruction of the Jewish worship and nationality, had nothing in common with the far milder disposition of Darius, and since the latter was merely concerned to bring about a temporary suspension of the religious observances in vogue, rather than to definitely extirpate the current systems of religion. Nor would it have been possible for the pious Jews of the Maccabæan period to recognize an edict, which amounted directly to the deifying of the king, as a proto-type of the manifesto of the Syrian king, which differed materially from it, in respect both to its language and its character. For this reason Von Lengerke, more cautious than his compeers, rejects the assumption that the edict of Daniel 6:8 [7] was a conventional fiction framed on the model of that mentioned in the Maccabæan books, as being too artificial and unsupported a hypothesis, and contents himself with observing that “the proclamation of Darius on the religious question corresponds in general to that persecuting spirit which produced the measures of Antiochus.” But it will be seen that even this is not correct, since the deportment of Darius towards Daniel, manifesting in every respect a mild, friendly, and benevolent spirit (Daniel 6:14-15 et seq.; 21 et seq.), presents the sharpest contrast to the senseless rage and blood-thirsty spirit of persecution displayed by the intolerant Syrian tyrant; and, moreover, since no reason whatever can be discovered that could induce the alleged Maccabæan-tendency writer to invent so weak, and in all respects so inappropriate, a counterfeit of Antiochus at the last, after having furnished in Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar far more suitable and tangible types of that despot. Nor does it appear why he should desire to conceal the person of Antiochus behind that of a jealous and scheming official under the Median king (Daniel 6:4-5 et seq.).—How much more simple and intelligible, in comparison with such hypercritical assumptions, does the narrative appear when its characteristic peculiarities are regarded as historical facts, such as were naturally to be expected in the scenes of a politico-religious drama that transpired on the soil of the newly-founded Medo-Persian world-kingdom! The 120 satrapies instead of the former division of the kingdom into differently constituted provinces (cf. Daniel 6:2 with Daniel 3:2); the exceedingly independent course of the royal counsellors and officers, without whose consent no edict could be promulgated nor the royal seal affixed (Daniel 6:8 [7], 18 [17]); the temporary deifying of the king as the son and image of the supreme God (Daniel 6:8 et seq.), so surprisingly in harmony with the fundamental principles of the Old-Persian state religion; the cruel procedure connected with the punishment of the offenders (Daniel 6:25 [24]) which bears, in an equal degree, the stamp of specifically Persian legal usage; and finally, the repeated reference to the “law of the Medes and Persians,” as the original source and inviolable authority for the measures proposed and put in force—all these point, with all possible force and internal congruity, to a well-defined historical condition with which the writer was familiarly acquainted, an actual condition which was distinguished from the state existing in the Chaldæo-Babylonian kingdom in a manner that corresponds fully with numerous extra-biblical testimonies, and which indicates that the experience and personal observation of the author formed the only source of his descriptions. Cf. the observations made above on the several passages.

3. The homiletical treatment of this section will vary, according as the conduct and fate of Daniel, the man of God, receive attention, or as those of the other agents, viz.: of the good-natured but weak king and of the jealous accusers, are prominently considered. In the former case, the theme for the treatment of the subject as a whole might be: “We should obey God, rather than men”(cf. Daniel 6:5 with Daniel 6:11 et seq.); or, “Fidelity to God is a more precious virtue, and secures a more certain and precious reward, than fidelity to human authority;” or, “It is better to be the friend of God, even if the foe of the whole world.” In the latter case: “Who so digs a pit for others, shall fall into it himself;” or, “God knows how to use the plans by which men seek to destroy his faithful servants, for their deliverance and honor;” or “God has converted many a ruler, from being a persecutor of His church into its forwarder and zealous protector!”

In connection with the former class of meditations, cf. the following extracts from older practical expositors: Jerome, (on Daniel 6:11-12): “Daniel, regis jussa contemnens et in Deo habens fiduciam, non orat in humili loco, sed in excelso, et fenestras aperit contra Jerusalem, ubi erat visio pacis. Orat autem secundum prœceptum Dei dictaque Salomonis, qui contra templum oran-dum esse admonuit.” Melancthon (on Daniel 6:19 et seq.): “Periculum Danielis pingit robur et violentiam hostium Christi. Sicut Daniel imbecillis objicitur leonibus, sic tota Ecclesia habet hostes validissimos, diabolum, reges, potentes, superbos, prœstantes auctoritate et opibus in mundo. Liberatio Danielis est testimonium, quod Deus adsit Sanctis et servet eos suo judicio, alias corpore, alias spiritu.” Starke (on Daniel 6:29 [28]): “Whosoever does not permit himself to be driven by persecution and danger, either from the upright fear of God, nor, on the other hand, from his lawful obedience to earthly authorities, shall find at last that honor and glory follow upon fidelity” (1 Samuel 24:11; 1 Samuel 24:21).

With the second class of themes, cf.: Melancthon (on Daniel 6:5 [4]): “Tales habet diabolus ministros, qui captatis occasionibus regum animos astute a tieritate avertunt, ubi summa officii et virtutis specie insidiœ struuntur. Ita hic … bonus senex … non videt quantum admittat sceleris, quod in edicto etiam Dei invocatio prohibetur. Monet igitur hoc exemplum, ut cauti sint principes in observandis talibus insidiis, ac præsertim in legibus et edictis condendis.” Id. (on Daniel 6:15 et seq.): “Quamquam igitur peccavit Darius, tamen infirmitate lapsus est et contra furorem accusa-torum sustentat se quadam scintilla fidei, quœ ostendit non ipsum, sed principes esse supplicii auctores, etiamsi ipsi non satis fortiter eos represserat.… Tales infirmos sublevat Deus, ut hic apparet. Sequitur enim statim acerbissima pœni-tentia regis, ac deinde tantum fidei robur, tanta animi magnitudo, ut puniat etiam accusatores.” Geier (on Daniel 6:21 [20]): “Hoc sensu Darium ex animi sui sententia adeoque ex vera fide compel-lasse Danielis Deum, verosimile non est; sic namque omnia Persarum Medorumque improbasset et abnegasset numina.… immo non vocat Deum suum, sed Danielis, neque ait se ipsum colere, sed: quem tu colis.” Joh. Gerhard (Weim. Bib., on Daniel 6:24 et seq.): “God is able to promote and extend the true faith by means of the very persecutions and other methods by which its enemies seek to destroy it.”


[1]As Chap. 6 in the original begins with Daniel 5:31 of the A. V., there is a difference of one in numbering the verses of this section.—

[2]The form עֵלָא, followed by מִן, seems like a noun in the emphatic state, and may not inaptly be rendered, “as the chief above.”—

[3]The pronoun, being expressed, is emphatic.—

[4]דִּי here=ὅτι on expletive.—

[5]The order of words is emphatic: Thy God. … has He been able.

[6]Literally, that ate his pieces of, i. e., backbit, as in Daniel 3:8

[7]The order and style of the original are very emphatic: and they did not reach to the earth of the den till that (before) the lions ruled over them, etc.—

[8]The terms in the original are the same as in Daniel 3:4 the nations, the peoples, and the tongues.

[9]Literally, May your peace be great.

[10]From me is made.

[11]They shall be trembling and fearing from.]

[12][Rather it may have been as a premonition of the short Interval during Darius’s rule before the full assumption of dominion by Cyrus in person at Babylon.]

[13][“Such a model of excellence, so far surpassing and so uncomfortably eclipsing themselves, was keenly cutting to these corrupt officers, and aroused their bitterest hostility.”—Cowles.]

[14][“With Satanic cunning the princes shaped this proposed law to take with the king by a bait for his low vanity, and to entrap Daniel through his known decision and firmness in the worship of his God. It was the best compliment they could pay to Daniel that they assumed so confidently that he would pray to God none the less for this monstrous law. It was the keenest reproach to their king that they should anticipate his ready assent to such a law under the impulses of his excessive vanity. Darius was a weak and vain king, else he would have asked. What can be the motive of these men in proposing such a law? Plainly the appended exception, ‘Save of thee, O king,’ was so grateful to his vanity that it blinded his dull eye to the monstrous nature and possible bearings of this law.”—Cowles.]

[15][“If we compare the list of the four official classes here mentioned with that of the great officers of state under Nebuchadnezzar,Daniel 3:2; Daniel 3:2, the naming of the סִגְנַיָּא before the אֲחַשְׁדַּרְפְּנַיָּא (satraps, while in Daniel 3:2 they are named after them) shows that the סִגְנַיָּא are here great officers to whom the satraps were subordinate, and that only the three סָרְכִין could be meant to whom the satraps had to render an account. Moreover, the list of four names is divided by the copula ו into two classes. To the first class belong the סָגְנַיָּא and the satraps; to the second the חַדָּֽבְרִין, state councillors, and the פַּחֲוָתָא, civil prœfects of the provinces. Accordingly, we will scarcely err if by סִגְנַיָּא we understand the members of the highest council of state, by חַדָּֽבְרַיָּא the ministers or members of the (lower) state council, and by the satraps and pechas the military and civil rulers of the provinces. This grouping of the names confirms, consequently, the general interpretation of the כּל סָרְכֵי מַלְכוּתָא, for the four classes named constitute the entire chief præfecture of the kingdom. This interpretation is not made questionable by the fact that the סָרְכִין had in the kingdom of Darius a different position from that they held in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar; for in this respect each kingdom had its own particular arrangement, which underwent manifold changes according to the times.”—Keil.]

[16][“The whole connection of the narrative plainly shows that the authors of the accusation deceived the king. The council of state, or chief court, to which all the satraps had to render an account, consisted of three men, of whom Daniel was one. But Daniel certainly was not called to this consultation; therefore their pretence that all ‘presidents of the kingdom’ had consulted on the matter, was false. Besides, they deceived the king in this, that they concealed from him the intention of the decree, or misled him regarding it.”—Keil.]

[17][But this construction is extremely harsh, and, as Len -gerke remarks, opposed to the usage of אֱסָר מַלְכָּא in Daniel 6:13. Even Rosenmüller renders (apparently by inadvertence, however) decreto regio. The passages adduced by the author from Isaiah (Isaiah 19:8 is not correct) are not altogether in point, as the preposition there is not לְ, but כְּ or בְּ. Had the writer intended such a construction he would naturally have used דִּי with the fut. The Masoretic interpunction, however, undeniably favors it.]

[18][The term “בָּעוּ is here not any kind of request or supplication, but prayer, as the phrase, Daniel 6:14 (13), &בָּעוּתֵהּ בָּעֵא. directing his prayer, shows. The word וָאֱנָשׁ does not prove the contrary, for the heathen prayed also to men (cf. Daniel 2:46), and here the clause, except to the king, places together god and man, so that the king might not observe that the prohibition was specially directed against Daniel.”—Keil.

[19]This distinction is rather over-nice; for it was not the engrossing of the edict, surely, that the magnates desired, and this of course would not have been done by the royal hand, but his official approval and sanction, such as a signature—whether by writing or stamping the name—only could confer.]

[20][“The satraps did not wait long for Daniel’s expected disregard of the king’s prohibition. … He continued this custom (of prayer) even after the issuing of the edict; for a discontinuance of it on account of that law would have been a denying of the faith and a sinning against God. On this his enemies had reckoned. They secretly watched him, and immediately reported his disregard of the king’s command. In Daniel 6:11 (10), the place where he was wont to pray is more particularly described in order that it might be shown how they could observe him.”—Keil

[21][“לֵהּ does not refer to Daniel (‘he had opened windows’), but to לְבַיְתֵהּ, his house had open windows. If לֵהּ referred to Daniel, then the הוּא following would be superfluous.”—Keil. The same remark of course will apply to בְּעִלִּיתֵהּ following.]

[22][“Blessed man! How quietly, how calmly, how peacefully did thy heart repose on the enduring love and faith fulness of the never-failing power of thy fathers’ God”—Cowles.]

[23][The idea of frequency insisted upon by the author as residing in הַרְגִּישׁ seems to have no good support. The sense is rather rushed forward, made their way in a body and eagerly.]

[24][“The king is chagrined and ashamed of himself that he allowed himself to be caught in this snare. Now for the first time he sees the enmity and mean spirit of his officers in obtaining from him that decree, and bites his lips in shame that he could have been so beguiled and entrapped. No doubt he heartily esteemed Daniel, and probably loved him, and felt therefore the bitterest grief and shame that be should be made unwillingly the author of his destruction.”—Cowles. He also felt intensely anxious for his fate, and doubtless cast about in his mind some method of extricating him, and at the same time of exposing and punishing his accusers.]

[25][“This thought (would have) required the Stat, emphat. צְבוּתָא, and also does not correspond with the application of a double seal.”—Keil.]

[26][“The predicate the living God is occasioned by the preservation of life which the king regarded as possible, and probably was made known to the king in previous conversations with Daniel; cf. Psalms 42:3; Psalms 84:3; 1 Samuel 17:36, etc.”—Keil.]

[27][“Daniel casts no severe reproach upon the king. Indeed the original rather expresses a genial and kindly feeling: Daniel ‘talked with the king.’ With beautiful modesty he ascribes his deliverance to God’s own hand alone through his angel, and very properly asserts his innocence of any wrong in this matter.—We may suppose Daniel to have had a sweet sense of the presence of God by his angel while spending the night in the den with these hungry lions.”—Cowles.]

[28][עֲלוֹהִ־ does not refer to Daniel, but to the king himself. It denotes the reflexive sense of טְאֵב which is here used impersonally: gladness came over him.]

[29][“By this, however, we are not to understand a being drawn up by ropes through the opening of the den from above. The bringing out was by the opened passage in the side of the den, for which purpose the stone with the seals was removed.”—Keil.]

[30][But the rendering proposed by the author is equally inadmissible here.]

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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Daniel 6". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.