|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:18-24 The best way to have a good night, is to keep a good conscience. We are sure of what the king doubted, that the servants of the living God have a Master well able to protect them. See the power of God over the fiercest creatures, and believe his power to restrain the roaring lion that goeth about continually seeking to devour. Daniel was kept perfectly safe, because he believed in his God. Those who boldly and cheerfully trust in God to protect them in the way of duty, shall always find him a present help. Thus the righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead. The short triumph of the wicked will end in their ruin.
Verse 18. - Then the king went to his palace. and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him. In the Massoretic text one of the clauses, "Neither were instruments of music brought before him," has caused great difficulty. The word dahvan, translated "instruments of music," is rendered by Furst, "dancing-girl; "Gesenius, "concubine; "Rosenmuller renders, "odours." The Mediaeval Greek Version translates, "instruments of music." Furst speaks with favour of the Syriac rendering, "food-tables." Han'ayl, the aphel of 'eilal, has to be noted as a sign of antiquity. The version of the Septuagint is very wide from the Massoretic in the latter part of the verse, "Thus the king returned to his palace, and went to bed fasting, being grieved about Daniel." It is evident that the Septuagint translator had before him deheel instead of dohvan - nun in the script of Egyptian Aramaic is very like lamed in the later mode writing, as also yodh and vav. It is possible that the name "Daniel" was read han'eel or, vies versa, as two of the letters are identical If we can accept the Septuagint reading, the difficulty of this mysterious dahoun disappears. Another clause is added here in the Septuagint from ver. 22 (23) Massoretic, though with variations. "Then the God of Daniel, taking thought for him (πρόνοιαν ποιούμενος αὐτοῦ) closed the mouths of the lions, that they did not hurt Daniel." This statement is not inserted in Daniel's answer to the king in the Septuagint, as it is in the Massoretic text. It would almost seem that our present text in both cases is a condensation of a more extended document. This view receives support from the rendering of Theodotion, "And the king departed to his house, and went to bed supperless, and viands were not brought to him, and his sleep went from him, and God closed the mouths of the lions, and they did not hurt Daniel." It will be seen that the last clause here agrees with the concluding clause of the Septuagint. The mysterious word dahvan is rendered here "food" (ἐδέσματα) - a version that is suspicious from the fact that it merely repeats, under another form, the statement that the king went to bed fasting. It is supported by the Peshitta and the Vulgate. This difference can scarcely be due to a various reading. Otherwise the Peshitta and the Vulgate agree with the Massoretic text. The king's sorrow and humiliation could not be better pictured than it is here: even the feast of the palace had no pleasure for him, he was so grieved about Daniel. But we must also bear in mind that fasting had among the Jews, and, indeed, in the East generally, a relationship to prayer (see Esther 4:16, where fasting takes the place of prayer; see also Daniel 10:3). It means also repentance (Jonah 3:6-8). Darius, then, repented his hasty decree, and prayed for the deliverance of Daniel.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the king went to his palace,.... After he had accompanied Daniel to the den, and he was cast into it, the stone was laid to the mouth of it, and that sealed; this was after sunset, for he had laboured till then to serve him, Daniel 6:14, perhaps it was late at night:
and passed the night fasting; vexed for what he had done, in signing the decree; fretting because he could not save Daniel, and his heart full of grief for him, and so had no stomach to eat; went to bed without his supper, lay all night fasting, and would not eat a bit nor drink a drop of anything:
neither were instruments of music brought before him; as used to be after supper, and played upon; his heart was too full, and his mind and thoughts so intent on Daniel's case, that he could not listen to music, or bear the sound of it. Jarchi interprets it a "table", to sit down at, and eat, being furnished and well served, as was usual; but this is implied in the preceding clause. Aben Ezra, Saadiah, and Jacchiades, explain by songs and musical instruments, harps and psalter and Saadiah adds, girls to sing and dance. De Dieu, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, thinks that incense is meant, which was used at feasts, and in the palaces of princes.
And his sleep went from him; while he was up he could take no pleasure in eating and drinking, and hearing music; and when he was in bed, he could not sleep for thinking what he had done, and what was the case of Daniel.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. neither were instruments of music, &c.—Gesenius translates, "concubines." Daniel's mentioning to us as an extraordinary thing of Darius, that he neither approached his table nor his harem, agrees with Xenophon's picture of him as devoted to wine and women, vain, and without self-control. He is sorry for the evil which he himself had caused, yet takes no steps to remedy it. There are many such halters between good and bad, who are ill at ease in their sins, yet go forward in them, and are drawn on by others.
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