“The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing you couldest reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.”
Daniel Chapter 6
Accusers, the Accused, and the Lions
Daniel 6:1-3 “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 spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
Darius - We have just seen in the previous chapter the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Darius was the first king ruling for only two years. During this time, 538 - 536 B.C., the events of this chapter took place.
Over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes - It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 princes, obviously one prince per province of the Medo-Persian kingdom. It wasn’t until the victories of Cambyses and Darius Hystaspes that the kingdom was enlarged to 127 provinces as in the time of Esther. (Esther 1:1)
Over these three presidents - Over these princes was placed three presidents, thus the princes were answerable to the presidents.
Daniel was first - Daniel was placed above all of them as he was the first president.
Princes might give accounts unto them...– These princes of the provinces were to give accounts unto the three presidents so the king would have no damage or loss of revenue. This shows to us the qualities the king must have seen in Daniel, for he would have to have been honest, faithful, and have strict integrity in business matters for the king to entrust to him such a position.
Daniel was preferred above - The reason why Daniel was preferred above the other presidents and princes is given to us here. In him was an excellent spirit, thus the king set him over the whole realm for he saw this in him. We do not need to expand on this matter as we have seen the type of character that Daniel has in previous chapters.
Daniel 6:4-5 “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.”
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against... - It was at this time, when Daniel was promoted above them, their jealousy peaked. So they sought to find a fault in his dealings with the affairs of the kingdom. This was to try and bring him down from his exalted position by the king.
But they could find none occasion nor fault - There was not a single mistake or unfaithfulness found in his work, not the slightest discrepancy, neither was there any error or fault found in his person. His dealings with the kingdoms affairs were perfect and his conduct was blameless. Could this be said of us?
We are instructed in Ecclesiastes 9:10 that “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might”, and 1 Corinthians 10:31 “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Against him concerning the law of his God - They realized that they were not going to find any occasion against Daniel except in one area. This was to make a law which was contrary to the law of Daniel’s God and enforce it. They themselves could see that he was faithful in serving his God. We see this situation also at the end of time when laws are made contrary to God’s and are enforced being punishable by death. (Revelation 13:8, 12, 14-15)
Daniel’s faithfulness is being tested yet again.
Daniel 6:6-9 “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 you, 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.”
Presidents and princes assembled together to the king - Margin reads tumultuously. They all assembled before the king, as if to show that this was an important matter for the king to look over.
All the presidents...have consulted together - The claim here is that all inclusively have discussed and agreed on the matter that is going to be brought before the king. Now this is a lie as Daniel was at the head of them all, but yet not present nor consulted about the matter. It was to deceive the king into thinking that there was no opposition at hand.
Royal statute, and to make a firm decree - Their object was to make a royal statute, that is a firm/mighty decree, that no person was to ask any petition of any God or man for thirty days save of the king. They were willing to go against all their own gods and religious system to secure their object of ridding Daniel.
It generally takes thirty days to form a new habit and break an old one. Thus if Daniel would continually bow to this decree it would be the forming of a new habit.
Cast into the den of lions - If not abided by it was punishable by death, being eaten alive by lions. They had watched Daniel and had seen the faultless character that he had, and seeing there was no fault to be found the only option left was to slay him. (Psalms 37:32)
O king, establish the decree - After appealing to the king’s pride through exalting him, they ask him to sign the writing so it cannot be changed. This is a law of the Medes and Persians that once it has been signed by the king it cannot be altered.
Darius signed the writing - The king was deceived. He saw only that which brought glory and honour to himself, thus he signed the decree without hesitation.
Daniel 6:10 “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.”
When Daniel knew that the writing was signed - When Daniel found out that the decree was signed by the king he did not try to have the decree changed or stopped, but did something that we should do in the time of trial.
Went into his house...windows open...toward Jerusalem - Knowing that it was written against him, he went into his house and opened his windows towards Jerusalem, exposing himself to all that could see. But why toward Jerusalem? Jerusalem was where the temple of God was and by faith they saw the revelation of Jehovah’s glory.
Kneeled upon his knees...three times a day...did aforetime - Then he kneeled down to pray as he usually did three times a day. People may make the remark that it was an act of defiance on the part of Daniel, but we will see otherwise.
When Daniel knew of the decree, it was at that time that he went to send out his prayers and supplications to God. No doubt he was praying for strength to endure the trial. But why not pray where no one could see him? In doing this it would be a denying of his faith, and we shall see why in the following points;
- The decree said to the king only.
- They knew that he prayed like this, thus the decree against him to trap him.
- God must be honoured above kings, for we ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
- To change his practice would be to deny God.
This was customary for Daniel to pray in this fashion three times a day every day, and they knew this. If he were to change it now, after the decree was made known, it would be showing a lack of faith in his God to be able to uphold him in this situation. It would be denying God’s supreme authority in having no other god’s before Him. (Exodus 20:3-6) If he prayed somewhere where no one could see him, it would lead people to believe that he could be praying to the king, thus being a stumbling block to someone else.
Daniel 6:11-15 “Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning the king's decree; Have you not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of you, 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 you, O king, nor the decree that you have 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. 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.”
Then these men assembled - They assemble to wait and see what Daniel would do, as they knew he prayed openly three times a day, thus showing that this decree was written purposely against him. Unsurprisingly they found him praying in his usual way.
Then they came near, and spake before the king - The first thing they do is run to the king as they know they have trapped Daniel.
Hast thou not signed a decree - Immediately they question the king about the decree he has signed and the punishment of certain death by the lions, reinforcing into his mind what it entailed and to leave no way of escape for him to make any excuses. The same as the wise men did to Nebuchadnezzar in chapter three. The king acknowledges that this is true and that it is according to the law of the Medes and Persians which altereth not, that is it cannot be change by any man.
They answered...that Daniel - Now the whole of the matter is dropped upon the king. They say, ‘that Daniel, the one of the captivity of Judah’, him it is, making no mistake of who they are speaking of. ‘He doesn’t regard you nor the decree that thou hast signed, but makes his petition three times a day.’ Trying to emphasis that he is in total rebellion to the authority of the king, but also showing that he is to be thrown to the lions.
The king...sore displeased with himself - The king now knew that he had been done in by his own pride and was very displeased with himself for allowing this to happen.
Set his heart on Daniel to deliver him - Even though the king knew that the law could not be changed, he set his heart on delivering Daniel from a certain death. He laboured until the going down of the sun. In this we see that the king would have agonized for a number of hours to try and deliver Daniel, but knowing all the time in the back of his mind that all attempts were useless. Here the king’s love and respect for Daniel is shown.
These men assembled unto the king - The men came back to the king and reminded him that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. This must have struck a low note in the king’s heart.
Daniel 6:16-18 “Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spoke and said unto Daniel, Your God whom you servest continually, he will deliver you. 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; 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.”
The king commanded - The king gave the command that he laboured over doing. Daniel is brought and then thrown into the lions den.
King spake and said unto Daniel - In these words of the king we find a seed of faith germinating in his heart for Daniel’s God to deliver him. Darius admits that Daniel served his [Daniel’s] God continually. This was shown in the way Daniel lived his life, being faithful in serving his God even in the face of death as shown in the current situation. What a witness this was to the idolatrous king. This shows that Daniel lived the truth and not just professed it.
King sealed it...that the purpose might not be changed - Darius sealed the stone that lay over the mouth of the den with his signet and with the signet of his lords. This was so the purpose could not be changed concerning Daniel, or in other words, so that he could not be killed another way nor be taken out without the king’s knowledge.
King went to his palace... - Darius was not a happy man that night. He did not eat, no music was played, and he could not sleep. This shows the genuine interest the king had for Daniel.
Daniel 6:19-23 “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 spoke and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whom you servest continually, able to deliver you from the lions? 21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22 My God has sent his angel, and has shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before you, O king, have I done no hurt. 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.”
King arose very early...went in haste - Darius was up very early in the morning for the purpose of making his way quickly to the den of lions. The man was eager to see if all was well.
Lamentable voice - A sorrowful voice or voice of displeasure.
Servant of the living God...whom thou servest continually - Darius calls to Daniel and calls him the servant of the living God and states that Daniel serves Him [God] continually. He asks if this God is able to deliver him from the lions.
A servant is one that does whatever his master bids. This is true of Christ Himself. He came in the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-7) and showed in His life the true sense of the word. Not only toward others was He like this, but to his Father’s will He showed the true form of a servant doing and saying only those things that pleased Him. (John 8:29; 12:49-50) We are instructed to allow the mind of Christ to be in us, (Philippians 2:5) and as Christ is our example (1 Peter 2:21) we to should surrender our wills over to the Father in heaven and do His biddings, by His power and strength, as Christ did whilst upon this earth. We cannot serve two masters, for to whomsoever we yield ourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey. (Matthew 6:24, Romans 6:16)
Daniel showed in his life that he continually served the God of heaven and it was noticed by those around him. Can this be said about you and me?
Then said Daniel - Daniel’s reply was one of respect to the king. He informs the king that God hath sent His angel and shut the lions mouths, that they have not hurt him. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them. (Psalms 34:7) What a promise this was that was fulfilled in Daniel’s case.
Before Him innocency was found in me... - Before God Daniel was found innocent of any crime committed. He had remained faithful to Him every step of the way. Also he pronounces his innocence in that he had done no hurt to the king.
King exceeding glad - The king was extremely glad to hear that Daniel was still alive. He commanded them to take Daniel out of the den of lions, for the law had been obeyed, Daniel had been thrown in but nothing was written to stop him being taken out. Upon his exit, there was found no manner of hurt. God had protected him because he believed/had faith in Him, we see a reference to this in Hebrews 11:33.
Daniel 6:24 “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 the bottom of the den.”
The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead. (Proverbs 11:8) But [as for them] whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 11:21)
Daniel’s accusers were cast into the den of lions and their bones were broken even before they hit the ground. What they tried to do to the righteous Daniel came back on their own heads, with them, their wives and children following. God vindicated His servant and reigned vengeance upon the accusers.
Daniel 6:25-28 “Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
Darius here acknowledges the superiority of Daniel’s God as we shall see in the following points;
- Living God - All others therefore are dead.
- Steadfast forever - All other gods must therefore be changeable.
- Kingdom not destroyed - All others must come to an end.
- His dominion shall be even unto the end - No human power can prevail against it.
- Delivers those in bondage and is able to rescue those that call upon Him.
- He is the God that worketh signs and wonders.
- He delivered Daniel before our own eyes - Manifestation of God’s power right in front of their faces.
Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee (Psalms 76:10) as was the case here. They tried to have Daniel put to death, but it only caused the advancement of the truth and the glorification of God. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. (2 Corinthians 13:8)
Daniel chapter 6 comes to a close with the following words, Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
We have now come to the end of the historical part of the book of Daniel. From here to the end of the book we look at prophecy that has already been fulfilled and will be fulfilled very shortly.