|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:18-31 Daniel reads Belshazzar's doom. He had not taken warning by the judgments upon Nebuchadnezzar. And he had insulted God. Sinners are pleased with gods that neither see, nor hear, nor know; but they will be judged by One to whom all things are open. Daniel reads the sentence written on the wall. All this may well be applied to the doom of every sinner. At death, the sinner's days are numbered and finished; after death is the judgment, when he will be weighed in the balance, and found wanting; and after judgment the sinner will be cut asunder, and given as a prey to the devil and his angels. While these things were passing in the palace, it is considered that the army of Cyrus entered the city; and when Belshazzar was slain, a general submission followed. Soon will every impenitent sinner find the writing of God's word brought to pass upon him, whether he is weighed in the balance of the law as a self-righteous Pharisee, or in that of the gospel as a painted hypocrite.
Verse 31. - And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about three score and two years old. It is probable that the Massoretic division of the chapters here is to be preferred. According to it, this verse is assigned to the begining of the next chapter, but most of the more ancient versions, Theodotion, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate, agree with our English arrangement. The Septuagint, like the Massoretic text, assigns this verse to the sixth chapter. Its rendering manifests several striking peculiarities, "And Artaxerxes of the Medes received (παρέλαβε) the kingdom, and Darius was full of days, and reverend (ἔνδοξος) in old age." This is the product of doublets ארְטַחְשַׁשְׁתְ, Artaxerxes, being suggested by some scribe as in his opinion a more probable name than Darius. So the one name begins the first clause, and the other the second. The last clause is evidently due to כְּבַר (kebar), "about" ("as the son of"), being read כַבֵר (kaber), "great," "multiplied" - a meaning this word has in Syriac, but not in Chahlee (Genesis 35:11). Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. The uncertainty as to the name has to be noted. We shall reserve for fuller discussion the question of Darius the Mede, only we would say that the name not improbably was modified from a less-known name to one somewhat like it but well known. We know that "Go-baru," or "Oybaru" - "Gobryas," in Greek - was appointed governor by Cyrus when he conquered Babylon, and that, in the script of the Sindschirli monuments, Gobryas, or . is not unlike Darius. One point to be noted is the fact that the verb used is wrongly translated "took." really means "received." When this is said, we naturally expect some one, either God or man, from whom he has received this honour. If this purported to be a history of Babylonia, then it might be reasoned that the implied source from whom the kingdom was received was God; in such a case קבל would be used of one who succeeded to the kingdom by inheritance; this cannot be the meaning here. In this passage it is merely incidentally mentioned in order to explain the events that immediately follow. The more natural interpretation is that he was put on the throne by another person, his superior. The instance quoted by Professor Bevan, in which this verb is used of the accession of Julian the Apostate, tells really against his contention. Julian expected to have to conquer the empire: but, by the death of his cousin, he received it as an inheritance. Nothing could be more unlike what occurred in Babylon, according to his theory of what the author of Daniel meant. He maintains that the author of Daniel thought Darius conquered Babylon, and so ascended the throne. The example he brings does not show that קבל could be used in that sense.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Darius the Median took the kingdom,.... This was Cyaxares the son of Astyages, and uncle of Cyrus; he is called the Median, to distinguish him from another Darius the Persian, that came after, Ezra 4:5, the same took the kingdom of Babylon from Cyrus who conquered it; he took it with his consent, being the senior prince and his uncle. Darius reigned not long, but two years; and not alone, but Cyrus with him, though he is only mentioned. Xenophon (k) says, that Cyrus, after he took Babylon, set out for Persia, and took Media on his way; and, saluting Cyaxares or Darius, said that there was a choice house and court for him in Babylon, where he might go and live as in his own:
being about threescore and two years old; and so was born in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar, the year in which Jechoniah was carried captive, 2 Kings 24:12, thus God in his counsels and providence took care that a deliverer of his people should be raised up and provided against the appointed time. Darius was older than Cyrus, as appears by several passages in Xenophon; in one place (l) Cyaxares or Darius says,
"since I am present, and am "elder" than Cyrus, it is fit that I should speak first;''
and in another place (m), Cyrus, writing to him, says,
"I give thee counsel, though I am the younger''
and by comparing this account of the age of Darius with a passage in Cicero, which gives the age of Cyrus, we learn how much older than he Darius was; for, out of the books of Dionysius the Persian, he relates (n), that Cyrus dreaming he saw the sun at his feet, which he three times endeavoured to catch and lay hold upon, but in vain, it sliding from him; this, the Magi said, portended that he should reign thirty years, and so he did; for he lived to be seventy years of age, and began to reign when he was forty; which, if reckoned from his reigning with his uncle, then he must be twenty two years younger; or if from the time of his being sole monarch, then the difference of age between them must be twenty four years; though it should be observed that those that make him to reign thirty years begin his reign from the time of his being appointed commander-in-chief of the Medes and Persians by Cyaxares (o), which was twenty three years before he reigned alone, which was but seven years (p); and this account makes but very little difference in their age; and indeed some (q) have taken them to be one and the same, their descent, age, and succession in the Babylonian empire, agreeing.
(k) Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 36. (l) lbid. l. 6. c. 2.((m) lbid. l. 4. c. 21. (n) De Divinatione, l. 1.((o) See the Universal History, vol. 5. p. 181. and vol. 21. p. 64, 65. (p) Xenophon, Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 45. (q) Nicol. Abrami Pharus Vet. Test. l. 12. c. 24. p. 338. Pererius in ib, Graeci Patres apud Theodoret. Orat. 6. in Daniel.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31. Darius the Median—that is, Cyaxares II, the son and successor of Astyages, 569-536 B.C. Though Koresh, or Cyrus, was leader of the assault, yet all was done in the name of Darius; therefore, he alone is mentioned here; but Da 6:28 shows Daniel was not ignorant of Cyrus' share in the capture of Babylon. Isa 13:17; 21:2, confirm Daniel in making the Medes the leading nation in destroying Babylon. So also Jer 51:11, 28. Herodotus, on the other hand, omits mentioning Darius, as that king, being weak and sensual, gave up all the authority to his energetic nephew, Cyrus [Xenophon, Cyropædia, 1.5; 8.7].
threescore and two years old—This agrees with Xenophon [Cyropædia, 8.5,19], as to Cyaxares II.
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