Daniel 6


Darius the Median, who succeeded Belshazzar in the kingdom of

Babylon, having heard of Daniel's extraordinary wisdom and

understanding, constitutes him the chief of the three

presidents who were over the whole empire, and purposed also

to make him prime minister or viceroy, 1-3.

This great partiality of the king towards a stranger of Jewish

extraction, and who had been carried captive into Chaldea,

raised up a great many enemies to Daniel; and a scheme was even

contrived by the presidents and princes to ruin him, 4-15;

which succeeded so far that he was cast into a den of lions,

but was miraculously delivered, 16-23.

Darius, who was greatly displeased with himself for having been

entrapped by the governors of the provinces to the prejudice of

his faithful minister, is pleased and astonished at this

deliverance; punished Daniel's enemies with the same kind of

death which they had designed for the prophet; and made a

decree that, throughout his dominions, the God of Daniel should

be had in the greatest veneration, 24-38.


Verse 1. A hundred and twenty princes] A chief or satrap over

every province which belonged to the Medo-Persian empire.

Afterwards we find it enlarged to one hundred and twenty-seven

provinces, by the victories of Cambyses and Darius Hystaspes. See

Es 1:1.

Josephus reckons three hundred and sixty satrapies or lordships;

but this is most probably an exaggeration or mistake.

Verse 2. Three presidents] Each having forty of these presidents

accountable to him for their administration.

Daniel was first] As being established over that part where was

the seat of government. He was confirmed in his offices by Darius.

Verse 3. The king thought to set him over the whole realm]

Intended to make him grand vizier or emir ul amrim. This

partiality of the king made Daniel the object of the other

presidents, and the grandees of the kingdom.

Verse 4. Sought to find occasion against Daniel] But they found

no blemish in his administration, for he was faithful to his king:

this was a virtue. But he was also faithful to his God: this they

hoped to construe into a crime, and make it the cause of his ruin.

Verse 7. Whosoever shall ask a petition] What pretense could

they urge for so silly an ordinance? Probably to flatter the

ambition of the king, they pretend to make him a god for thirty

days; so that the whole empire should make prayer and supplication

to him, and pay him Divine honours! This was the bait; but their

real object was to destroy Daniel.

Verse 8. According to the law of the Medes and Persians] I do

not think that this is to be understood so as to imply that

whatever laws or ordinances the Medes or Persians once enacted,

they never changed them. This would argue extreme folly in

legislators in any country. Nothing more appears to be meant than

that the decree should be enacted, written, and registered,

according to the legal forms among the Medes and Persians; and

this one to be made absolute for thirty days. The laws were such

among this people, that, when once passed with the usual

formalities, the king could not change them at his own will. This

is the utmost that can be meant by the law of the Medes and

Persians that could not be changed.

Verse 10. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed] He

saw what was designed, and he knew whom he served.

His windows being open] He would not shut them to conceal

himself, but "kneeled down with his face turned toward Jerusalem,

and prayed thrice each day, giving thanks to God as usual." When

the Jews were in distant countries, in prayer they turned their

faces towards Jerusalem; and when in Jerusalem, they turned their

faces towards the temple. Solomon, in his prayer at the dedication

of the temple, 1Ki 8:48, had entreated God to hear the prayers of

those who might be in strange lands, or in captivity, when they

should turn their faces towards their own land, which God gave

unto their fathers; and towards the city which he had chosen, and

the house which was dedicated to his name. It was in reference

to this that Daniel turned his face towards Jerusalem when he


Verse 12. Shall be cast into the den of lions] Either this was

the royal menagerie, like that place in the Tower of London, where

wild beasts are kept for the king's pleasure, and the public

amusement; or they were kept for the purpose of devouring certain

criminals, which the laws might consign to that kind of death.

This is most likely, from the case before us.

Verse 14. The king-was sore displeased with himself] And well he

might, when through his excessive folly he passed a law that, for

its ostensible object, would have been a disgrace almost to an


And set his heart on Daniel] He strove by every means to get the

law annulled. He had no doubt spoken to several of his lords in

private, and had gone from one to another till the going down of

the sun.

Verse 15. Then these men assembled] Having got favourable

answers, as we may presume, from many individuals, he called a

parliament; but they now collectively joined to urge the

execution of the law, not its repeal.

Verse 16. Then the king commanded] With a heavy heart he was

obliged to warrant this murderous conspiracy. But when passing

sentence his last words were affecting: "Thy God, whom thou

servest continually, he will deliver thee." He is thy God; thou

servest him, not occasionally, but continually; therefore "he will

deliver thee." Daniel had now the same kind of opportunity of

showing his fidelity to God, as his three Hebrew companions

before. The lions were not less terrible than the fiery furnace.

Verse 17. A stone was brought] All this precaution served the

purposes of the Divine Providence. There could be no trick nor

collusion here; if Daniel be preserved, it must be by the power of

the Supreme God. The same precaution was taken by the Jews, in the

case of the burial of our blessed Lord; and this very thing has

served as one of the strongest proofs of the certainty of his

resurrection and their unmixed wickedness.

Verse 18. Passed the night fasting] He neither ate nor drank,

had no music to solace, nor sweet odours burnt or brought before

him, and he passed the night without sleep. All this points out

his great sincerity; and when it is considered that Darius could

not be less than sixty-two or sixty-three years of age at this

time, it shows more fully the depth of his concern.

Verse 19. The king arose very early] By the break of day.

Verse 20. He cried with a lamentable voice] His heart, full of

grief, affected his speech.

Servant of the living God] The king was convinced that, unless

his God saved him, his destruction was inevitable.

Verse 22. My God hath sent his angel] Such a one as that who

attended Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the fiery furnace,

and blew aside the flames, so that they could not hurt them.

Before him innocency was found in me] Because I was innocent God

has preserved me; and now that I am preserved, my innocence is

fully proved.

Verse 23. No manner of hurt was found upon him] And why? Because

he believed in his God. How mighty is faith? It interests that

power in the behalf of the believer by which the sea is dried up,

the mountains removed, the dead raised to life, sin forgiven, the

heart purified, Satan vanquished, death conquered, and God himself

delighted and glorified! See Heb 11:1-40.

Verse 24. They brought those men] It was perfectly just that

they should suffer that death to which they had endeavoured to

subject the innocent; but it was savage cruelty to destroy the

women and children who had no part in the transgression.

Verse 25. Then king Darius wrote] And the substance of this

decree, which was made by a heathen king, was to point out the

perfections of the true God, and the fidelity of his devoted


Verse 26. I make a decree that-men tremble and fear before the

God of Daniel] As in the case of the three Hebrews, Da 3:29. The

true God was known by his servants, and by the deliverances he

wrought for them. See his characters in this decree. 1. He is the

living God, the Author and Giver of life; all others are dead

gods. 2. He is steadfast for ever. All things change; but he is

unchangeable. 3. He has a kingdom; for as he made all things, so

he governs all things. 4. His kingdom shall not be destroyed. No

human power can prevail against it, because it is upheld by his

omnipotence. 5. His dominion is without end. It is an everlasting

dominion, under an everlasting rule, by an everlasting God. 6. He

delivereth them that are in danger and bondage. 7. He rescueth

those who have fallen into the hands of their enemies, and implore

his succour. 8. He worketh signs in the heavens. 9. And wonders

upon earth; showing that both are under his sway, and are parts of

his dominion. 10. And to complete all, He hath delivered Daniel.

Before our own eyes he has given the fullest proof of his power

and goodness, in rescuing his faithful servant from the teeth of

the lions. What a fine eulogium on the great God and his faithful


Verse 28. So this Daniel prospered] He had served five kings:

Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.

Few courtiers have had so long a reign, served so many masters

without flattering any, been more successful in their management

of public affairs, been so useful to the states where they were in

office, or have been more owned of God, or have left such an

example to posterity.

Where shall we find ministers like Samuel and Daniel? None so

wise, so holy, so disinterested, so useful, have ever since

appeared in the nations of the earth.

Copyright information for Clarke