115-107 Daniel Chapter 6
The first order of business for Darius was to establish an administration over the conquered kingdom. He appointed 120 kingdom guardians over which there were three presidents. The purpose of the guardians was to maintain order within the kingdom and to prevent any rebellion. They also collected taxes and were to report to the presidents.
Daniel was appointed as a president. When Darius took the throne of Babylon Daniel was the third in rule as appointed by Belshazzar. Neither did Daniel have particular loyalty to Belshazzar which would have been less a threat to the Persians. It was also Daniel who had predicted the downfall of the Babylonian empire to the Persians. With these qualifications Daniel was a perfect candidate and would be a great help in cementing the Babylonian empire together under the Medo-Persians.
Daniel proved to be a great asset to the new king and this was due to the Spirit of God working through him. His success as a president impressed Darius so much that he considered Daniel to have complete charge beneath himself.
There is no greater arena for treachery that that of politics. A place where men hunger for ways to increase power for themselves at the cost of those who bar their way. As long as Daniel was a fellow president the others were willing to work with him. But as soon as the possibility came that Daniel might have authority over them they decided that they must find a way to illuminate him. They could find no fault of hidden secrets from the past to accuse Daniel with. Daniel was honest and efficient and conducted his affairs to the utmost ability. The king had noticed this in Daniel and this is why he now was a threat to the other presidents of the court.
There was only one area of Daniel’s life that they found a possibility to use against him and that was his unwavering loyalty to his God the King of Heaven. They saw this as his weakness and searched a plan to use this against him.
The presidents came in great deception using the names of all who were in the royal court. “All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the satraps, the counsellors and the governors.” Thus the king would believe that this was a unified effort to bring unity to his kingdom.
This may have been flattering to the king thinking that his popularity was growing within the kingdom. He probably did not see the seriousness of the punishment of death as the degree would only be for thirty days. It was only that all public and religious request be made through him only and this would show to the people that he represented them and was their figurehead. And it was those who he had appointed to keep order in his kingdom that gave the suggestion of such a degree so Darius found no reason not to agree. The degree stated that none could petition a god or man thus limiting the power of the priest as well.
Darius probably did not see that this was a trap for any particular person in his kingdom and it was appealing that the people of his kingdom would want to make him the mediator between the people and the gods. If they were successful in getting Darius to set such a degree it would not be the first time that a monarch was fooled by deceptive means and flattery. Most likely the king saw this as a positive move as there was within the whole of the Persian Empire people who would openly deify their monarchs. Thus, if he advanced this degree it would give him a higher stature in the kingdom.
Once a degree was made by a king it could not be revoked and would stand as law which all would have to abide. (Esther 1:19 Esther 8:8)
Under the advice of his advisers the king signed into law the degree that they had suggested. It was a short term degree and would not have lasting effect which is why the scribes probably did not read it too carefully when writing it into law. Once written the degree would have been presented to the people.
Daniel may or may not have known the full extent of the degree.It is probable that he did not and therefore saw no reason to withdraw from his daily routine of prayer by the window of his dwelling that was opened towards Jerusalem. If he had thought it was a degree against privet devotion then he may not have prayed by the window where he could have been seen. Daniel was in position that if it was restrictive of his devotion he could have approached the king to discuss it.
It is possible that neither the king nor Daniel saw the decree as preventing private devotions, for all Daniel had to do was to avoid his window and then no one would have known what he was doing. He knew that the decree had been signed, and possibly that it was ambiguous, but saw no reason in it why he should alter his religious habits of worship. Otherwise why should he not have approached the king about it?
When Daniel prayed he was facing Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 6:21 Psalm 5:7) It was Daniel’s practice to pray three times a day. (Psalm 55:17) When Daniel prayed he knelt which may suggest the seriousness of his prayers for Jerusalem. The Jewish people usually prayed standing up. (1 Chronicles 23:30 Matthew 6:5 Mark 11:25 Luke 18:11, 13) In very urgent situations the Jewish people would kneel. (1 Kings 8:54 Ezra 9:5 Luke 22:41 Acts 7:60 Acts 9:40 Acts 20:36 Acts 21:5)
Then those who had plotted against Daniel gather to see if he would pray and make petition to his God in violation to the degree of the king.
Then these men followed the protocol to enter into the presence of the king. They acted as those who had the king’s wellbeing in mind and sought a confirmation of the exact meaning and understanding of the degree that the king had signed into law. The king agreed that what they had said was the degree that he had signed and that their understanding was correct. The king also confirmed that it was law and could not be revoked.
Then these men leveled the charges against Daniel. First he was a foreigner and one of the captivity of Judah. That he had deliberately violated the degree of the king. And that no only once but continued to violate the degree on a daily bases.
This time the king was not deceived by these men whom he had appointed to administer to his kingdom. The king was able to see full well what the purpose of their plan was and that they had accomplished this by his own folly. He was angry with these men as he had only viewed the whole matter as a formality of the people’s loyalty to him. Now the king set about to find remedy to the situation of the matter that was now law.
The king no doubt consulted the men of the law searching for a way to release Daniel to the punishment for violating the degree. But none was to be found and the degree had been written to advance this very situation. It is possible that during this time of research the layers had informed the king that Daniel’s God had in the past been able to deliver men from such a situation.
The men returned to the king and reminded him that the law could not be changed and that it had to be carried out in the full. We see here that they were relentless in the pursuit of Daniel. Without finding legal recourse and the persistence of the administrators the king had no choice but to carry out the punishment of putting Daniel into the lion’s den.
Once the king had made the order to carry out the punishment against Daniel no time was wasted. Daniel was brought before the king to answer to the charges made against him. Daniel stood boldly and with confidence that his God would deliver him, as his God had delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The king had heard these stories of days ago and this gave him hope that Daniel would be spared. Even so, it was with saddened heart that the king passed the order and Daniel was taken and thrown into the lion’s den. Nebuchadnezzar’s method was trial by fire but not so with Darius. To the Persians fire was sacred and their method was to throw people to the wild beast.
Before Daniel was thrown to the lions the king gave the best encouragement that he could under the circumstances. “Your God Whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” To the king this was only a hopeful statement, but to Daniel this was a true statement.
The stone was rolled against the opening of the pit and sealed in clay with the kings signet mark and that of the high officials. If it had not been Daniel in the den his signet mark may have also been used. Whereas Daniel was a high official now he was a common criminal.
The king himself was distressed about the turn of events. He was grieved that he had to send Daniel to the lion’s den. As a result he took no food and had a night without sleep. The king refused anything that might have given him relief from his sorrow. He did not allow entertainment of other diversions to distract his grief. That he had placed Daniel into the lion’s den was by far the worst, still he had allowed himself to be deceived by those who he trusted. It is hard for a king to know that he has been made the fool. It may be that he spent part of the night planning the fate of those who had deceived him.
When the morning came the king hurriedly went to the lion’s den and called out to Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” A king has few that he can trust and Daniel was one of those whom the king had confidence. There was probably a strong bond between the king and Daniel. As this seen tells us.
The lions in the den would have been kept hungry as this was their purpose to devoir the ones that were thrown into their den. Daniel would have had to survive through the night giving the lions plenty opportunity to do the work they were kept for. The heart of the king was hopeful that the God of Daniel would deliver him. Daniel had told the king that he served a living God and not a man-made god of silver or gold. Now the king came to see if his God was true.
Daniel greeted the king in the proper manner and told him that his God had sent a messenger to close the mouths of the lions. Daniel’s God had found him innocent as the king should have as well. Daniel had been betrayed by an earthly king but upheld by the King of Kings his God.
The king’s heart was filled with joy and immediately ordered that Daniel be removed from the lion’s den. There were no marks or injury to Daniel because his God had delivered him by the faith of Daniel in his God.
Then the king commanded that the accusers of Daniel and their family be thrown into the lion’s den. The lions made short work of them and at the result there was nothing left of them but their broken bones.
It was a common process in those days that the accused and the family of the accused would suffer the same fate. It is thought that the reasoning was the root of evil was removed as well as the offender.
We see here the comparison between deliverance and judgment. To those who are Gods and are faithful to Him there is deliverance and to those who set themselves against God there is judgment.
Darius wrote as most kings of the day in viewing his kingdom as the whole of the world, although it was smaller than the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. His greeting was much the same as we saw in Chapter 4:1.
Darius is telling all his people that they are to honor the God of Daniel. He also states that Daniel’s kingdom shall be everlasting. Darius also testifies that the God of Daniel delivered him form the lion’s den. This Scripture from the hand of Daniel is leading up to what we shall see in Chapter 7. There we will see the kingdoms of the world represented as wild beast which Israel will be delivered from. It is important here for us to learn that God is able to rescue His people and able to perform signs and wonders on their behalf. If God’s people did not know and believe this then the events of Chapter 7 would be absolutely horrifying to them.
It is obvious that Daniel had a hand in writing this decree of Darrius. You can see the similarity in chapter 2:44 and 4:34.
Daniel refers to the king he serves and then the overlord, Cyrus the Persian.