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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Daniel 6

 

 

Verses 1-28

Daniel 6:2. Three presidents, of whom Daniel was the first. His former celebrity had spread through the east. Ezekiel 14. It being now sixty five years since Daniel was first promoted by Nebuchadnezzar, he is supposed at this time to be about ninety years of age, and at the same time the most able state minister in the empire. The king therefore made no secret of his design to make him premier of all the satraps, and place him in power next to the king at the foot of the throne.

Daniel 6:8. Now, oh king, establish the decree— according to the law (lex custorum) of the Medes and Persians, that it be not changed. Oriental monarchs were regarded as invisible divinities, who could not err in council, nor fail in decree. So the Pope who assumed the title, vice Deo, is just as infallible as Darius.

Daniel 6:10. When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he opened his window that looked towards Jerusalem, and prayed as usual three times a day. With him, the path of duty was the path of safety. The Lord having put his great name in Jerusalem, the jews usually turned their faces toward the holy temple, when in distant lands, or in the city. So king Hezekiah turned his face towards the wall of the temple, and the Lord heard him out of his holy habitation. Daniel prayed in the morning. He also prayed, like Elijah, at the time of the evening sacrifice, or as it is called, “the hour of prayer.” Acts 3:1. Daniel prayed also at night, before he retired from the duties of the day.

Daniel 6:12. The den of lions. A spacious subterranean range, connected with a lake of water, as the word legob is sometimes taken. In ancient monarchies, lions were kept for the diversion of the people; and criminals were given them for fights and for food. This it would seem was the case in Persia, and in Babylon. A hundred lions were once exhibited at a show in Rome.

Daniel 6:22. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths. This phrase, as in Psalms 2., designates the person of Christ, where it is said, that the kings of the earth took counsel against the Lord, and against his Anointed; that is, against his Messiah.

Daniel 6:24. The king commanded—and they cast those men into the den— and their children, and their wives. The law of Moses says, The fathers shall not be put to death for their children, neither the children for their fathers. Deuteronomy 24:16. Yet the gentile nations destroy the families of those who commit high treason. Yea, the christian Spaniards have done it in the darker ages of the church. Though Darius acted now to the extent of his law, yet he was a weak prince. Xenophon says that Cyrus once reproved him for drunkenness, by observing that he, his courtiers and his cup-bearers were all kings together, when lying on the floor, vanquished with wine.

REFLECTIONS.

After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel’s sun was eclipsed for a course of years; but now, under the Persian kings, it emerged with brighter beams, and so as to excite the envy of the nobles of Persia. They could not brook to see a jewish prince wear laurels to which they thought themselves entitled.—Oh envy, thou foul offspring of the serpent! Why conspire against a holy man, who wore virgin laurels, the fair rewards of superior wisdom and virtue. Oh envy, thou fiend, clothed with the garb of loyalty, as an angel of light. Those are the foulest deeds which wear the mask of virtuous actions, to hate with politeness, and love with dissimulation.

Among Daniel’s virtues, integrity of professional character shone with a lustre which commanded applause, even from those who sought his life. We shall not find any thing against Daniel, except it be concerning his religion. Think of this, oh ye professors of the present age. Your enemies are tracing your character; they are studying your habits to deprive you of bread, or even to take away your life. The friendship of this world is enmity with God.

But go on; fear not; relax in no duty; it is only flesh and blood which is against you, while hosts of angels surround your path. God will be with you in the water and in the fire; he will break the head of leviathan, and shut the mouths of lions. And why, oh infidel, dost thou affect to doubt of revelation, because of those special interpositions of his arm? Would it not have been a greater cause of doubt, if heaven had not interfered when religion was come to a crisis? He will not allow the final spark of piety to become extinct. But how instructive is the end, the tragic end of those insidious courtiers. Their scheme was profound; they flattered the royal ear. Their malice against Daniel was not perceived; their aims at wealth and power were not to appear till Daniel’s high offices were to be filled up. Oh the depths of the human heart! Yet there was one eye that saw; there was one tribunal which from the crimes of men, would reveal the righteousness of heaven, by sending them, and alas, their families to the dreadful death they had blindly devised for Daniel. And is it thus, that thou, Lord, wilt judge and develope the deep labyrinths of the heart in the day of retribution? Lead us then, from the devices of men, to the simplicity of a little child.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Daniel 6:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/daniel-6.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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