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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

Daniel 6

Verses 1-9

HOMILETICS

SECT. XVIII.—THE PLOT (Chap. Daniel 6:1-9)

Another of the deeply interesting chapters of Daniel. A former one exhibited faith “quenching the violence of fire;” this presents the same faith “stopping the mouths of lions.” The events recorded took place in the reign of a Persian monarch named Darius, generally understood to be the Darius mentioned in the conclusion of the previous chapter, and the same who is called by a Greek historian Cyaxares the Younger or Cyaxares II., the son of Astyages and uncle of Cyrus [142]. We have—

[142] “Darius.” Keil observes that Hitzig confesses that the identity of this Darius of Daniel with the Cyaxares of Xenophon is placed beyond a doubt. How long his reign in Babylon lasted is not stated in this book, or learned from any other direct source; but it is correctly supposed that he reigned two years, his reign giving place to that of Cyrus, by whom the writing on the wall was fully accomplished. The character of Darius fundamentally different from that of Nebuchadnezzar, the latter being distinguished by energy and activity, while Darius was a weak prince, wanting in energy, and allowing himself to be guided and governed by his officers of state. Some, as Mr. Bosanquet, still think that the Darius, under whom Daniel lived and wrote his later prophecies, was Darius Hystaspes, who is mentioned in the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah and in the Book of Ezra (Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 1:1; Ezra 4:24; Ezra 5:6; Ezra 6:1). Dr. Pusey observes that the identification of Cyaxares II. with “Darius the Mede “is only a probable historical conjecture, with which Daniel is in no way concerned.

I. Daniel’s elevation (Daniel 6:1-3). The Medes and Persians were now in possession of Babylon. The first of the four great monarchies had passed away, and the second, indicated by the silver breast and arms of the great image, had succeeded it. Darius, the first ruler of the new empire, had, probably at the suggestion of Cyrus, divided the kingdom into a hundred and twenty provinces or satrapies [143], afterwards increased under Xerxes or Ahasuerus to a hundred and twenty-seven (Esther 1:1). Over each of these provinces was a prince or satrap, and over the whole of the princes were placed three presidents, of whom Daniel was the chief [144], Darius having probably only confirmed him in the office to which he had already been promoted by Belshazzar. Indeed, for the excellent spirit that the king found to be in him, he even thought to place him over the whole empire as his viceroy or khedive, giving him all the power over the several departments of the state “that would have enabled him to enforce obedience and punish dereliction.” [145]

[143] “An hundred and twenty princes.” Keil remarks that when Daniel mentions so large a number of satrapies, it is no argument against the credibility of the narrative, as if, according to Hitzig, the kingdom was too small for so many satrapies in the Persian sense, so that they must be understood rather as Grecian ones. The division of the kingdom, however, by Xerxes (Esther 1:1) into 127 provinces shows that it might have been previously divided by Darius the Mede into 120. The Median Darius might be led to appoint one satrap or prince, i.e., a prefect clothed with military power, over each district, since the kingdom was but newly conquered, that he might be able to suppress every attempt at insurrection among the nations coming under his dominion. Dr. Cox remarks that Xenophon informs us that Cyrus devised the plan of government with regard to conquered nations, which is here ascribed to Darius; and that Archbishop Ussher therefore supposes, with great probability, that it was first devised by Cyrus, and at his suggestion pursued by Darius. Dr. Rule observes that the presidents of the 120 princes, viceroys or satraps, received and administered the revenue, Daniel being First Lord of the Treasury.

[144] “Of whom Daniel was first.” M. Gaussen remarks: “What profound wisdom, vast capacity, and extensive knowledge must he have possessed! But also what decision, integrity, and equanimity, for the princes of the Medes and Persians to think of putting at the head of so powerful an empire a man, a stranger, a Jew, a captive, a servant of their enemies, and, moreover, an old man, now eighty-five years of age at least!”

[145] “Save thee, O king.” The Persian kings were regarded as incarnations of the deity. Gaussen observes that Nebuchadnezzar claimed divine honours. Alexander the Great pretended to be a god, and the son of a god. The Roman emperors required themselves and their images to be worshipped. And in our own day the Pope lays claim to religious homage, being at his consecration fumed with incense and placed on the altar of God, while the people kiss his feet, and all the cardinals cry, Venite adoremus, “Come let us adore him!”

Darius had seen and heard enough of Daniel to convince him that his own interest lay in employing him in the most responsible office in the realm. Wisdom, prudence, disinterestedness, conscientiousness, and fidelity, so combined in his character as to mark him out as the man on whom above all others the king could depend. The resemblance in this, as in some other respects, between Daniel in Persia and Joseph in Egypt, is obvious and striking. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings, and shall not stand before mean men?” “Them that honour me I will honour.”

II. The conspiracy (Daniel 6:4-5). Promotion to honour often the precursor of trouble. The presidents and princes could not see Daniel, a foreigner, a captive, a Jew, a man of an entirely different religion from their own, without the worst feelings of our fallen humanity coming into play. “Wrath is cruel and anger is outrageous; but who can stand before envy?” (Proverbs 27:4). Daniel, too, was a man of uprightness and principle, which the presidents and princes were not. The former, were to receive and examine the revenue accounts of the latter, that the royal exchequer might not be defrauded. But the presidents might be corrupt as well as the princes. Will Daniel connive at their peculation? Daniel was faithful to his sovereign, because faithful to his God. Duty to God secures the faithful discharge of our duty to man. Daniel made his master’s interest his own; and hence kept a strict look-out on both presidents and princes. He aimed, according to his office, not only at doing his own duty to the king, but at keeping others at theirs also. Hence his troubles. In a corrupt world, “he that departeth from evil” too often “maketh himself a prey.” Daniel’s colleagues became his enemies. Like Joseph’s brethren in Egypt, they hated him, and must have him out of the way. The question was how? Accusation against his moral or official conduct they could find none. “Every attempt to find a flaw, to prove a weakness, or to justify a suspicion, either of disloyalty or maladministration, failed.” The only way to entrap him must be in connection with his religion, in which they knew him to be as strict and conscientious as he was in his official duties. A clever and diabolical scheme was concocted that promised complete success. This was by placing his obedience to God in antagonism with his obedience to the king.

III. The decree (Daniel 6:6-9). The scheme was this. Daniel was known to be a man of prayer, and to repair to his chamber at stated times in the day for that purpose. Get the king to sign a decree forbidding any one to present a petition to either God or man for a whole month on pain of being cast in a den of lions. The king will be flattered by the proposal, and Daniel will be caught. They will watch him, whether he will observe the decree and save his life, or go to his knees as usual. In the latter and most likely case, the decree once signed by the king, the representative of the unchanging deity, being irrevocable, Daniel is a lost man, and they are rid of their rival. The decree being accordingly drawn up, was presented to the king for signature. The weak monarch, not perceiving the object of the princes, perhaps flattered with the appearance of their loyalty and devotion, and pleased at the idea of being thus for a time superior to both gods and men, readily complied with the proposal and signed the decree.

“Oh, purblind race of miserable men!
How many among us at this very hour
Do forge a lifelong trouble for ourselves
By taking true for false, or false for true!”

But for divine interference, this would now have been realised in Darius. The presidents and princes, having obtained their desire, returned home triumphant. Daniel’s doom was sealed. Observe from the passage—

1. Godliness no hindrance to greatness, and prayer no obstacle to promotion. Daniel in Babylon and Joseph in Egypt notable examples. In many respects natural. But for prevailing sin in the world, and the influence of him who is its prince and the enemy of all goodness, godliness would be the surest way to greatness, and prayer the certain path to preferment. Godliness and prayer secure the necessary requisites for positions of trust—wisdom, uprightness, and fidelity. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, and it shall be given him.” Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, was pre-eminently a man of prayer. General Havelock, though burdened with the care of the army during the terrible mutiny in India, managed to keep sacred for prayer a considerable time in the morning of every day. Sir Thomas Browne wrote in his journal as an admonition to himself, to be sure to let no day pass without calling upon God in a solemn manner seven times in the course of it.

2. The excellence of true religion. “The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour.” Seen even by a heathen monarch in the case of Daniel. Hence his elevation. His enemies unable to find a flaw in him. His steadfastness in religion the only ground for accusation against him. A godly man firm and fearless in the discharge of his duty. His religion not put on or off to suit the season. Daniel known to prefer fidelity to life, and death to deviation from duty. The part of a truly godly man to act not from expediency but from principle. His inquiry, not what will be most advantageous, but what is right. His concern not to appear, but to be just and good. His aim to please God in the first place, and man in the second. True godliness, symmetrical and all-embracing; extends to principles and practice, to the temper and the tongue, to private and to public conduct, to our duty to God and our duty to man in every relation of life.

3. The depth of human depravity. Seen in the conduct of Daniel’s enemies. Hates the good because they are good, and because their goodness rebukes our evil, and stands in the way of our sinful courses. Contrives their overthrow, and even plots their death. Commits murder in the heart, and then, when it can be done safely, in the act. Practises hypocrisy in order to conceal our wickedness and make others accomplices of our crimes. Steels the heart against pity, and finds pleasure in the torture of the innocent. The character and conduct of Daniel’s enemies shows what man is by nature since the first sin robbed him of his Maker’s image. Left to himself, man exhibits the image of his tempter. It was the testimony of Him who was at once Truth and Love, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” The witness true of unrenewed men, whether Persian princes or pharisaic Jews. History as well as daily observation and experience prove that the Bible picture of man’s depravity is not overdrawn,—“Foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another;” “full of envy, murder, deceit, malignity” (Titus 3:3; Romans 1:29). Verily man needed a Saviour, and, thanks to divine mercy, a Saviour has been found. “Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

4. The certain exposure of the godly to persecution. Moral excellence no shelter from the shafts of malice, but rather their natural butt. Socrates and Aristides examples among the heathen. A natural and necessary antagonism between light and darkness, good and evil. “The world cannot hate you, but me it hateth, because I testify of it that the deeds thereof are evil.” “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” The natural consequence, so long as the world is what it is, “lying in wickedness,” or under the power of the wicked one. Its hatred, opposition, and persecution, in one form and at one time or another, the necessary accompaniment of fidelity to God and conformity to Christ. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you.” “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you.” “All they that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” To possess Daniel’s character, we must be prepared, sooner or later, more or less, to share Daniel’s experience. The experience of Daniel only that of Daniel’s Lord. “The disciple not greater than his Master.”

5. The responsibility of men in power. Darius made the tool of wicked designing men, and virtually the author of a cruel murder. Forgetting the claims of justice, truth, and mercy, and blinded by a foolish ambition, he heedlessly consigned to a dreadful death the best and most faithful subject in his realm. Rulers in a condition either to further or defeat the designs of the wicked. Princes too often allow themselves to be the tool of priests in carrying out their persecuting projects, and so made participators in the death of God’s saints. To this source much of the persecutions of Papal Europe to be ascribed. Men responsible for the evil they might prevent, as well as for the good they might accomplish.

Verses 10-11

HOMILETICS

SECT. XIX.—DANIEL A MAN OF PRAYER (Chap. Daniel 6:10-11)

Daniel’s enemies had so far gained their object. The royal decree that was to remove him out of the way was already signed. It only remained to be put into execution. How was Daniel employed in the meantime? Just as usual. Fidelity to God forbade him to yield obedience to the decree; faith in God led him as usual to his closet. With his window open towards Jerusalem, reminding him of the promises of God to His praying people (1 Kings 8:40-49), he kneeled down and prayed with thanksgiving three times a day, “as he did aforetime.” A fine exhibition of the man of God here presented. “When Daniel knew that the writing was signed.” “He knew too that it was aimed at him, and that it was a compound of malignity and absurdity; but he uttered no reproach, and made no remonstrance either with his persecutors for their injustice, or against them in appeal to the misguided sovereign. ‘He went into his house.’ And for what purpose? Not to devise a counterplot; not to indulge in bitter lamentations over his hard lot, or secret repinings at the conduct of Providence; but to pray. This was his habit ‘three times a day,’ and he continues the practice as before. The Holy City with its Temple was now desolate, but he prayed with his window ‘open in his chamber toward Jerusalem;’ the Temple being regarded by the pious Jews as a type of Christ, while the circumstances of its dedication filled their minds with sentiments of the profoundest awe and solemnity. ‘He gave thanks before his God;’ a devout heart finding reasons for gratitude when others can perceive nothing but occasions of lamentation.”—Cox.

Daniel as a man of prayer was—

1. Constant. He prayed as he was wont. Prayer had been his habit, and that habit was not likely to be suspended now when it was most needed, though its exercise might cost him his life. A truly godly man prays at all seasons, in the gloom of adversity as well as in the sunshine of prosperity. Daniel had prayed in the midst of public business under Nebuchadnezzar, as one of his councillors of state; he had prayed in the quiet retirement of private life under Belshazzar, when his godliness removed him from the court; he had prayed again under Darius, as ruler over a third part of the empire and First Lord of the Treasury. He prays now in the prospect of a horrible death which he knows his prayers will cost him. “Will he always call upon God?” is asked by Job as the test that distinguishes a true servant of God from a hypocrite. Daniel known in Babylon and at court as the man that served God “continually” (Daniel 6:16; Daniel 6:20).

2. Regular. Daniel, like the Psalmist, had his regular seasons for prayer, three times a day. “Evening, morning, and at noon will I pray and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalms 55:17). The rule not suspended even now when his enemies were watching to find him in the act. Prayer with Daniel, as with every truly godly man, more than his necessary food. Morning saw him on his knees giving thanks for the mercies of the night, and craving guidance, help, protection, and blessing during the day. Noon saw him returning to the exercise, seeking refreshment in communion with his God, and a mind kept above earthly things. Evening found him again in his closet, giving thanks for the mercies of the day, and seeking pardon for shortcomings, a blessing on his labours, and the divine presence and protection during the night. Daniel prayed without ceasing, carrying ever with him a prayerful spirit, and, like Nebemiah, lifting up his heart to God repeatedly during the day as occasion suggested. But he felt the need of meeting with God more freely and fully at stated times. “Unless we fix certain hours in the day for prayer it easily slips from our memory; and therefore, although Daniel was constant in pouring forth prayers, yet he enjoined upon himself the customary rite of prostrating himself before God three times a day.”—Calvin. How much may be lost by omitting the prayer “at noon!”

3. Believing. “His windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem.” Expressive of his belief in the promise made by God at the dedication of the Temple, in regard to those who should in any place pray towards that house (1 Kings 8:0.) So David lifted up his hands towards God’s “holy oracle” and worshipped “toward His holy Temple” (Psalms 5:7; Psalms 28:2). Thus Daniel prayed, believing the promise. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Believing prayer that which is made in God’s own way and in dependence on His promise. The eye to be now directed in prayer, not to Jerusalem, but to Jesus at God’s right hand, the true Temple with its ark and mercy-seat. The promise is now, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you” (John 15:16; John 16:23). “Seeing that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we many obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). Our Propitiation or mercy-seat, for whose sake God can be propitious, pardon our sins, and hear our prayers, is “Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:2-3). “What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering” (Mark 11:24; James 1:6).

4. Fearless. Daniel went to his chamber—the upper chamber, chosen for quietness and freedom from interruption, like the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 1:13-14; Acts 2:1-2). The window of lattice-work open, as usual on such occasions, toward Jerusalem. This now done by Daniel at the peril of his life. Carnal prudence might have suggested a different course for the present. This, however, would have appeared only cowardice and deceit. Daniel acted in the spirit of Nehemiah, who, when tempted by his enemies to shut himself up in the Temple to save his life, said, “Should such a man as I flee?” (Nehemiah 6:11). So Jesus, when some of the Pharisees tempted Him to flee for His life,—“Get thee out and depart hence, for Herod will kill thee,”—said, “Go ye and tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils, I do cures to-day and to-morrow.” The fear of God raises us above the fear of man. True faith makes men heroes. “Fear not them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The lions’ den could be but a shorter way to paradise. The fearlessness of faith not to be confounded with foolhardiness. One thing to put oneself in the way of danger, and another not to go out of the way of duty. Prayer to God as usual was Daniel’s duty, though the passage to his chamber was the passage to the lions’ den. “It was necessary to testify before men his perseverance in the worship of God; to have altered his habit at all would have been a partial abjuration, and proof of perfidious defection. God not only requires faith in the heart and the inward affections, but also the witness and confession of our piety.”—Calvin.

5. Cheerful. Daniel not only prayed but “gave thanks” to God. Thanksgiving naturally a cheerful thing. “I will praise the name of the Lord with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalms 69:30). Daniel went to his chamber not only to pray but to give thanks. Went, therefore, with a cheerful, not a downcast countenance. Realised how much he had to give God thanks for. That he had been made to know Him, and to know Him as his God and Father, and the Hearer of prayer; that He had been his help and deliverer hitherto; and that even now he was honoured to confess Him before men, and perhaps to suffer for His sake. All these sufficient causes for thankfulness, and therefore for cheerfulness. Daniel solemn in the prospect of death, but not sad. Stephen’s face, in similar circumstances, like the face of an angel. Thanksgiving accompanying prayer makes prayer cheerful and joyous. Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” Remembrance of God’s mercies gives brightness, not only to the past, but to the present and the future. “Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” With the Lord for his God and Saviour, why should Daniel not give thanks and rejoice? “Though the fig-tree shall not blossom, &c., yet will I rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation.” Prayer, resting on the promise, cannot but be cheerful; prayer, accompanied with thanksgiving, must be still more so. Hence thanksgiving always to accompany prayer. “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks.” “By prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; Philippians 4:6). Grace enabled Daniel to give thanks and rejoice in the prospect of a painful death. Faith sings a joyous pæan where Nature offers only a doleful dirge. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” So Paul and Silas not only prayed but sang praises to God in the prison. Daniel gave thanks “to his God.” That God was “his God” in itself a sufficient ground for thankfulness, whether in life or in death. The expression indicative of the holy joy with which this aged saint poured out his heart before God, even now in the prospect of a lion’s den.

6. Earnest. Daniel not only prayed, but “made supplication” (Daniel 6:11). Supplication is prayer intensified, a beseeching or pleading for special and needed mercies; entreaty. Prayer always to take this form, or to have supplication connected with it. Hence the two generally conjoined. “With prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God.” “Praying always, with all prayer and supplication.” “So Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). The Holy Spirit a “Spirit of grace and supplication;” and makes intercession for us “with groanings that cannot be uttered.” The more there is of the spirit of prayer and of felt need, the more there will be of supplication in our prayers. The fervent prayer the effectual one. “Elias prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not,” &c. So Daniel employed entreaty in his prayer. That entreaty not necessarily merely for himself. The cause of God, of his brethren, and of his fellow-men, probably more on Daniel’s heart at that hour than his own. His prayer that of a burdened spirit, but burdened more for others than himself (chap. 9.) Daniel’s prayer always with supplication, but probably now more than usual. “Shall not God avenge His own elect, who cry day and night unto Him continually?” For himself he now needed special strength to endure the fiery trial that was to try him; grace to be faithful unto death, and to glorify God in the fire by patience and serenity; the comfort of the Divine presence, if called to suffer the threatened penalty, according to the promise, “When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee;” “Fear not, for I am with thee” (Isaiah 43:2; Isaiah 43:5).

Verses 24-28

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXI.—THE JUDGMENT IN BABYLON (Chap. Daniel 6:24-28)

The deliverance of Daniel was a signal display of the power of Jehovah and His presence with His people. Even the king, who seemed to have some idea that God might possibly interpose on His servant’s behalf, was probably taken by surprise; like the believers in Mary’s house when Peter, released in answer to their prayer, stood before the door. No sooner was Daniel taken up out of the den than judgment began on his enemies. “The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.” Sooner or later “judgment taketh hold of the wicked.” Conspicuous reward also awaited God’s faithful servant. The whole scene exhibits one of judgment, and affords a picture of another on a larger scale yet to come. We notice separately—

I. The judgment on Daniel’s enemies (Daniel 6:24). That judgment was not long in following Daniel’s deliverance. According to the king’s command, they are immediately taken and cast into the den from which Daniel had been taken. Digging a pit for their friend, they fall into it themselves. Virtually guilty of murder, they suffer the murderer’s doom. Though hand joined in hand, they were not allowed to escape. Their rank and their number no screen from justice. Showing no mercy themselves, they receive none. Haman must be hung on his own gallows. The extension of the punishment to the wives and children, who were innocent, according to the custom of the time and people [148]. Great crimes sometimes made, by special command of God, to involve a man’s house and family as well as himself, even among the early Israelites (Numbers 16:27-33; Joshua 7:24-25). Forbidden, however, by the law of Moses that children should suffer for the sins of fathers (Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6). Tradition relates, what is probable enough in itself, that these princes would not believe that any miracle had been wrought in Daniel’s favour, the lions having been abundantly fed before he was thrown in. To convince them of the contrary, “the lions brake all their bones before even they reached the bottom of the den.” Infidelity will believe in nothing supernatural till it finds itself in the hands of Him who says, “Consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver” (Psalms 50:22).

[148] “Them, their children, and their wives.” Keil observes: By the accusers, we are not (with Hitzig) to think of the 120 satraps, together with the two chief presidents, but only of a small number of the special enemies of Daniel, who had concerned themselves with the matter. The condemning to death of the wives and children along with the men was in accordance with Persian custom, as is testified by Herodotus, 3:119, Amm. Marcell. 23:6, 81, and also with the custom of the Macedonians in the case of treason (Curtius, Daniel 6:2), but was forbidden in the law of Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 24:16).

II. The royal decree (Daniel 6:25-27). The deliverance of Daniel was followed by a decree similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar on the return of his reason. The decree was in honour of the true God, who had delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. He is declared to be the living God and steadfast for ever, the Ruler of a kingdom that shall not be destroyed, and the possessor of an everlasting dominion; a God that rescueth and delivereth, and who worketh signs and wonders in heaven and earth. Men were to tremble and fear before Him in every part of his realm, which at least implied that they were to treat His name, worship, and religion with reverence and respect. This exaltation of Jehovah one of the objects of this as well as the other miracles recorded in the book, tending, at the same time, to the welfare of the people in general, and to that of the Jews in particular, as well in providing full toleration for their religion during their dispersion, as in preparing the way for their restoration to their own land. The great object of all God’s dealings in providence that men may fear Him, that fear being at once their excellence and their happiness. Such the final issue of the judgments yet to be displayed. “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest” (Revelation 15:4). The deliverance of Daniel as a faithful servant of Jehovah proclaimed in the decree, as a testimony at once to His power and faithfulness, and an encouragement to all to make Him their trust in like manner, as the God that delivers and rescues those who serve and trust in Him. Thus Daniel himself was honoured through all the widely-extended realm of Persia. “Them that honour me I will honour.” So at last in reference to those who fear the Lord and think upon His name in a God-forgetting age. “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not” (Malachi 3:17-18).

III. Daniel’s prosperity and extended life (Daniel 6:28). Externally Daniel had seen the last of his trials. He lived to see the end of the short reign of Darius—how much is uncertain—and a portion, at least, of the longer reign of Cyrus, his successor [149]. During the whole of that last period of his life he prospered. He continued probably in his high office as chief of the three great presidents of the empire. At the accession of Cyrus, his influence at court was such that Cyrus, doubtless as the result of it, issued the decree recorded in the end of 2 Chronicles and the beginning of Ezra, giving permission to the Jews to return to their own land and rebuild their Temple at Jerusalem. It is said that the aged minister pointed the king to the passage in Isaiah, where he is mentioned by name as the conqueror of Babylon and the chosen deliverer of Jehovah’s covenant people (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1). The prosperity of Daniel to be noted in connection with the fiery trial which had tried him and the death which had threatened him. “This Daniel;” the same whom his enemies had nearly swallowed up; the same who had been faithful unto death, and had been only delivered from the mouths of the lions by a divine interposition. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” The happiness of believers to be able to say with Paul, “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Observe among the lessons of the passage—

[149] “In the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” בְּמַלְכּוּת (bemalcuth), “in the reign,” the word denoting both reign and kingdom. From the repetition of the word before Cyrus, observes Keil, it does not follow that Daniel separates the Persian kingdom from the Median; for מַלְכּוּת here does not mean kingdom, but dominion, i.e., reign. The succession of the reign of Cyrus the Persian to that of Darius the Median does not show the diversity of the two kingdoms, but only that the rulers of the kingdoms were of different races. From this verse, taken in connection with the last of the preceding chapter, it appears that the Chaldean kingdom, after its overthrow by the Medes and Persians, did not immediately pass into the hands of Cyrus; but that between the last of the Chaldean kings and the reign of Cyrus, Darius, descended from a Median family, a son of Ahasuerus (Daniel 11:1), held the reins of government. This Darius and his reign are not distinctly noticed by profane historians; and hence modern critics have called in question his existence, and thence derived a supposed argument against the historical veracity of the whole narrative. The account given by Xenophon in his Cyropedia, differing somewhat from that of Herodotus, shows that this Darius the Mede is the same person whom he calls Cyaxares II. According to him, the Median king Astyages, son of Cyaxares I., gave his daughter Mandane in marriage to Cambyses, king of Persia, who was under the Median supremacy, of which marriage Cyrus was born. When Cyrus arrived at man’s estate, Astyages died and was succeeded by his son Cyaxares II., the brother of Mandane and uncle of Cyrus. When, after this, Crœsus, king of Lydia, concluded a treaty with the king of the Assyrians (Babylonians), with a view to the overthrow of the Medes and Persians, Cyrus received the command of the Medo-Persian army; and when, after a victorious battle, Cyaxares was unwilling to proceed farther, Cyrus carried forward the war by his permission, and destroyed the host of Crœsus and the Assyrians; at the report of which Cyaxares fell into a passion, and in a threatening letter to Cyrus, ordered the Medes to be recalled. These declaring their desire to remain with Cyrus, the latter entered on the war against Babylon independently of Cyaxares. Having driven the Babylonian king back upon his capital, he sent a message to Cyaxares, desiring him to come and decide regarding the vanquished and the continuance of the war. Cyaxares accordingly came to the camp, where Cyrus exhibited to him his power by reviewing his army before him, treated him kindly, and gave him a large share of the plunder. After this, the war against Babylon was carried on in such a way that Cyaxares, sitting on the Median throne, presided over the councils of war, while Cyrus, as general, had the conduct of it. After conquering Sardis and taking Crœsus prisoner, Cyrus returned to Babylon, and during a nocturnal festival of the Babylonians took the city, upon which the king of Babylon was slain. After the conquest of Babylon the army regarded Cyrus as king, and he began to conduct his affairs as if he were so. He went, however, to Media to present himself before Cyaxares, brought presents to him, and showed him that there was a house and palace ready for him in Babylon, where he might reside when he went thither. Cyrus now went to Persia and arranged that his father, Cambyses, should retain the sovereignty of it so long as he lived, and that then it should fall to him. He then returned to Media and married the daughter of Cyaxares, receiving with her the whole of Media as her dowry, Cyaxares having no son. He next went to Babylon, and placed satraps over the subjugated peoples; and so arranged that he spent the winter in Babylon, the spring in Susa, and the summer in Ecbatana. “This account given by Xenophon regarding Cyaxares,” says Keil, “so fully agrees with the narrative of Daniel regarding Darius the Mede, that, as Hitzig confesses, ‘the identity of the two is beyond a doubt.’ ”

1. The certainty of divine judgments. “Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.” Daniel’s enemies in fancied security after the king had affixed his seal to the stone over the mouth of the den. The night probably spent in pleasure and mutual congratulations. So on the slaughter of the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:7-11). But “the triumphing of the wicked is short.” The wicked sometimes punished in this world, that men may know there is a God that judgeth; only sometimes, that they may know there is a judgment to come.

2. The godly ultimately delivered out of trouble. Daniel delivered a second time from imminent death when no human power could rescue him. “In six troubles He shall deliver thee, and in seven no evil shall befall thee.” Trouble and deliverance the common experience in the way to the kingdom. “Thou knowest what persecutions I endured; but out of them all the Lord delivered me” (2 Timothy 3:10-11). “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribulation) ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). The angel that redeemed Jacob from all evil, the Angel of the covenant, stands engaged to deliver the Israel of God from every evil work, and to preserve them to His heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18).

3. Events in providence made to promote the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. “The Lord hath made all things for Himself.” The course of the world is but the course of divine providence, and divine providence is only God’s government of the world He has made, and His conducting it to the end for which He made it. In that providence He makes the wrath of man to praise Him, while the remainder of wrath He restrains. The decree of Darius a foreshadowing of the time when the kingdoms of the world shall become “the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). All things made to tend to this ultimate consummation. This the Redeemer’s reward, as it is the result of His redeeming work. “He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.” Adequate power provided for the object. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.” What was done at Pentecost at the commencement of the Christian dispensation, only an earnest and pledge of what shall be done at its close. “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.”

4. The power and preciousness of divine grace. That grace seen in Daniel to be able to preserve the godly in a course of high-toned morality and religion during the course of a long life, in the midst of diversified temptations and in the most unfavourable circumstances. Daniel an example of Psalms 92:12-15. “As perseverance is the one final touchstone of man, so these scattered notices combine in a grand outline of one, an alien, a captive, of that misused class (the eunuchs) who are proverbially the intriguers, favourites, pests of Oriental courts, who revenge on man their ill treatment at the hand of man; yet himself in uniform integrity, outliving envy, jealousy, dynasties; surviving in untarnished, uncorrupting greatness; the seventy years of the captivity; honoured during the forty-three years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign; doing the king’s business under the insolent and sensual boy Belshazzar; owned by the conquering Medo-Persians; the stay, doubtless, and human protector of his people during those long years of exile.… Such undeviating integrity beyond the ordinary life of man, a worshipper of the one God in the most dissolute and degraded of the merchant cities of old, first minister in the first of the world-monarchies, was in itself a great fulfilment of the purpose of God in converting the chastisement of His people into the riches of the Gentiles.”—Pusey.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Daniel 6". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/daniel-6.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.