Daniel 6 - Outline of Daniel (Book Notes menu page)
I. Daniel's Chronicles of his Times under Gentile Kings (ch. 1-6)
D. Darius' decrees (6:1-28):
  1. For worship of himself...
    Daniel's disregard and deliverance from the lion's den (6:1-24)
  2. For worship of the Living God (6:25-28)
1. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes,
which should be over the whole kingdom;
2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first:
that the princes might give accounts unto them,
and the king should have no damage.
3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes,
because an excellent
{ie., extraordinary} spirit [was] in him;
and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
it pleased Darius...- Darius the Mede (Cyaxares II) has displaced the king of Babylon.
Babylon, the head of gold (in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Dan 2:31-45), has become past history.
The Medo-Persion empire, the torso and arms of silver, has come to power.
Darius the Mede would reign 2 years, to be followed by his nephew Cyrus, who was the son of Darius' sister, Mundane, and her husband Cambyses the Persian. (Through their marriage the Medes and the Persians were joined together.)
...to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes {ie., satraps, governors of provinces}...-
Here we see the dilution of the king's power... the deterioration from gold to silver.
The kings of Babylon had held the reins of power tightly. Their few appointed ministers were in close relationship with the king. In contrast, the kings of Medo-Persia delegated their power broadly to many officers who governed various matters and regions.
...and over these, three presidents {ie., chiefs, overseers}...-
It was the responsibility of these 'presidents' to oversee and audit the affairs of the princes.
...that the king should have no damage {ie., suffer no injury or loss}...-
That is, to prevent embezzlement of the king's resources, and to prevent undermining of the king's political position.
...of whom Daniel was first...- Even after the regime change, Daniel was retained as "prime minister"
because "an excellent spirit was in him." Dan 2:48,49; 5:11,12; Prov 22:29; cp. Joseph Gen 41:38-41
4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion
against Daniel concerning the kingdom;
but they could find none occasion nor fault;
forasmuch as he [was] faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel,
except we find [it] against him concerning the law of his God.
...the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel...
The king's high regard for Daniel (v.3) provoked the jealousy of those who were under him.
...occasion... concerning the kingdom...-
They sought to find fault with the way Daniel conducted the king's business.
...but they could find none {ie., neither} occasion {ie., a questionable affair} nor fault {ie., corruption}...-
...forasmuch as he was faithful {ie., trustworthy}, neither was there any error {ie., negligence} or fault {ie., corruption}.
Daniel was blameless in his service to the king, because he lived to serve his God.
     cp. Php 2:14,15; Titus 2:7,8; 1Pet 2:11-17; Acts 24:16
Knowing this, his enemies sought a way to make a fault out of his faithfulness to God. cp. 1Pet 4:14-16
[No doubt, Daniel's friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Dan 1:7) would also have been targeted by these enemies. However, by this time, Daniel and his peers would have been more than 80 years old. It is likely that his friends had previously retired from government service, or had passed away.]
6. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king,
and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
7 All the presidents of the kingdom,
the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains,
have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree,
that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king,
he shall be cast into the den of lions.
8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing,
that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
...all the presidents... have consulted together...-
They lied, in that the chief president (Daniel) was not consulted.
...that whosoever shall ask... of any god or man... save of thee, O king...-
They flattered the king with their lips. cp. Psa 12:1-3
Wherefore king Darius signed... the decree.-
The king was moved by their flattery. cp. Psa 36:1-4; Prov 26:28; 29:5
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house;
and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem,
he kneeled upon his knees three times a day,
and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
11. Then these men assembled,
and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
...when Daniel knew... he kneeled... and prayed... as he did aforetime.-
Daniel did not allow the laws of men to interrupt his relationship with God. He continued his practice of prayer without change or accommodation to the new situation. cp. Psa 11:1-7; Mat 10:28-33
  • in his house...- He was not making a public display of his devotion,
    but he prayed, according to his previous practice, in private. Mat 6:5,6
  • his windows... open toward Jerusalem...-
    His appeal was to the God of Israel. 1Kin 8:27-30,46-50
  • he kneeled... - His body posture indicated the attitude of his heart:
    reverent humility before God, and complete dependence upon Him.
       1Kin 8:54; Ezr 9:5; Psa 95:6; Luk 22:41; Eph 3:14
    Sadly, the external position of prayer often masks a proud heart, which maintains its stance far from the Lord. Joh 4:21,24
  • three times a day... he prayed... - Psa 55:17; 1The 5:17,18
  • ...and gave thanks...- There was reason to be anxious concerning this new law,
    but even in this situation, Daniel gave thanks. Php 4:6; Heb 13:15
then these men assembled {lit., gathered with tumultuousness}, and found Daniel praying...
Daniel's enemies were familiar with his habitual devotion to his God. They knew where and when to find him, and came ready to arrest him for breaking the law. Psa 37:32,33; 10:9
     They found Daniel "praying" {this HB word is used, in v.7 and v.12, for 'ask a petition'), and "making supplication before" {ie., seeking the favor of} his God. But far from being an enemy of the state, Daniel would have been asking the LORD to bless his people (the Jews) and also the king and nation which held dominion over them at that time. cp. Jer 29:4-7,12-14
12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree;
Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask [a petition]
of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king,
shall be cast into the den of lions?
The king answered and said, The thing [is] true,
according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
13 Then answered they and said before the king,
That Daniel, which [is] of the children of the captivity of Judah,
regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed,
but maketh his petition three times a day.
14 Then the king, when he heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself,
and set [his] heart on Daniel to deliver him:
and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
then they came near, and spake before the king...-
Daniel's enemies presented a formal accusation:
  • identifying the law and its prescribed penalty,
  • identifying the lawbreaker and the details of his infraction.
Of course, their accusation (that Daniel did not respect the king) was false, as the king himself knew.
...then the king... was sore displeased with himself...-
Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, stumbled on his pride. Prov 16:18
But the two men stumbled differently: Nebuchadnezzar had been full of rage when his self-generated scheme for self-exaltation was rejected by others (Dan 3:14,19). Darius was full of regret that he had succumbed to his pride, through the flattery and schemes of others.
...and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him...
Here again, we see the deterioration of power from 'the head of gold' to the succeeding kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar was superior to the law. His word was the law, subject to his every whim. Darius was subject to the law, unable to change his word, even when he understood its error.
15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king,
Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is],
That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
16 Then the king commanded,
and they brought Daniel, and cast [him] into the den of lions.
[Now] the king spake and said unto Daniel,
Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den;
and the king sealed it with his own signet,
and with the signet of his lords;
{cp. Mat 27:64-66}
that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
18. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting:
neither were instruments of musick brought before him:
and his sleep went from him.
then the king commanded...-
The king had no choice but to exercise his ill begotten decree, executing its penalty upon Daniel.
the king spake unto Daniel... Thy God, whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.-
The king had observed Daniel's devotion to his God. The king may also have heard of how God had delivered Daniel's three friends from the fiery furnace, perhaps 50 years earlier (Daniel ch. 3). But was that story believable? Without a personal knowledge of the God, whom he refers to as "thy God," his words of encouragement must have sounded hollow to his own ears. He wished it could be true for Daniel's sake.
then the king... passed the night fasting...-
He prayed earnestly, but could find no peace. For lacking a personal knowledge of Daniel's God, he could not approach Him "with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb 10:22). His was an uncertain hope that 'wished for the day,' while God's servant rested confidently in His unfailing Word (cp. Acts 27:25,29; Isa 41:10; Heb 13:5).
19 Then the king arose very early in the morning,
and went in haste unto the den of lions.
20 And when he came to the den,
he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel:
[and] the king spake and said to Daniel,
O Daniel, servant of the living God,
is thy God, whom thou servest continually,
able to deliver thee from the lions?
21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths,
that they have not hurt
{ie., destroyed} me:
forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me;
and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt
{ie., crime, wrong}.
...the king... cried with a lamentable {ie., pained, grieved} voice...-
Though he called out to Daniel, he was already grieving over his death, for which he held himself to blame.
...is thy God... able to deliver thee...? - (cf. Nebuchadnezzar's boastful question, in Dan 3:15)
Daniel's experience, like that of his friends, foreshadows...
  1. God's preservation, during the Great Tribulation, of believers...
  2. The perils of believers who stand for the Lord...
then said Daniel... O king, live for ever...-
Daniel replied respectfully to the man whose weakness had placed him in danger. He testified, from personal experience, of God's power to save (He "shut the lions' mouths") and of His righteous judgment ("before Him innocency was found in me") which superseded the injustice wrought by his enemies. Heb 11:33; Psa 7:1-5; 18:19-24
23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him,
and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.
So Daniel was taken up out of the den,
and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
24 And the king commanded,
and they brought those men which had accused Daniel,
and they cast [them] into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives;
and the lions had the mastery of them,
and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at
{ie., so quickly that they had not yet reached} the bottom of the den.
...the king... commanded...-
The decree of Darius (v.7-9) produced three commands:
  1. The command to cast Daniel to the lions (v.16).
    Daniel suffered the consequence of violating man's unjust law.
  2. The command to take Daniel out of the lions' den (v.23).
    God had overruled man's law. cp. Dan 3:28; 2Tim 4:16-18
  3. The command to cast Daniel's accusers to the lions (v.24).
    Their crime was entrapment and false accusation of a man whom God declared to be innocent (Deu 19:18-20; Prov 11:8). Unlike the justice of God, Darius' judgment was merciless, extending beyond the perpetrators to their children (Deu 24:16).
...and the lions had the mastery of them...-
The appetite and destructive power of the lions, demonstrated by their effect upon Daniel's enemies, undermines any suggestion that Daniel's preservation was due to sick or toothless lions.
25. Then king Darius wrote
unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth;
Peace be multiplied unto you.
{cp. Nebuchadnezzar's letter of testimony, Dan 4:1-f}
26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom
men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:
{Psa 99:1-3; Isa 66:2}
for he [is] the living God, and stedfast
{ie., enduring} for ever,
and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed,
and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end.
{cp. Dan 2:44; 4:34; Psa 145:13}
27 He delivereth and rescueth,
and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth,
{cp. Dan 4:3}
who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
{cp. Psa 32:7; 2Cor 1:8-10; 2Tim 4:17,18}
I make a decree...- This is the second decree of Darius in this chapter.
The first decree (v.7-9) required that all men honor him above all gods.
This second decree required that all men honor "the living God."
...for He is the living God...- Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, came to faith in the one true God,
through the faithful testimony of true believers, and through the powerful demonstration of God's working in their behalf.
He delivereth and rescueth {ie., extricates out of peril}...-
  • This HB word for 'delivereth' applies to deflecting the harm intended by wicked men.
    v.14 (first occurrence of 'deliver' in the verse), v.16,20. Daniel's God made a way of escape which the king could not find, though he sought it with all his heart.
    (Also see 'deliver' in Dan 3:17.)
  • The HB word for 'rescueth' applies to undoing the harm inflicted by wicked men.
    v.14 (the second occurrence of 'deliver' in the verse). Daniel's God accomplished what the king could not do, though he labored with all his resources.
    (Also see 'deliver' in Dan 3:29.)
28 So this Daniel prospered {ie., was advanced, was successful}
in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Cyrus the Persian...-
During the first year of his reign, king Cyrus would issue the decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem (2Chr 36:22,23; Ezr 1:1-11). This was in fulfillment of God's prophetic Word, which had called Cyrus by name, 200 years earlier (Isa 44:28- 45:1-6), and which had limited the Babylonian captivity, of Jerusalem, to 70 years (Jer 29:10).
     Thus, Cyrus also, like the gentile kings Darius and Nebuchadnezzar before him, would acknowledge the supreme and enduring dominion of the LORD God of Israel, who reveals Himself to the nations through His dealings with Israel, both in discipline and in deliverance. He will continue to make Himself known in this way, until the close of the Times of the Gentiles (Eze 38:23).
so this Daniel prospered...-
Daniel's lifetime, as God's faithful servant in service to gentile kings, spanned the entire seventy year period of captivity, foretold by Jeremiah.
Verse 28 concludes the historical section of the book of Daniel, which chronicled the author's life and times under gentile dominion. In the second half of the book, Daniel records several visions, which he received near the end of his long life, in which the LORD reveals further details concerning the course of the Times of the Gentiles.

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