|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:25-28 If we live in the fear of God, and walk according to that rule, peace shall be upon us. The kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever, are the Lord's; but many are employed in making known his wonderful works to others, who themselves remain strangers to his saving grace. May we be doers, as well as believers of his word, least at the last we should be found to have deceived ourselves.
Verse 28. - So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. The Septuagint follows a different reading, "And King Darius was gathered to his generation. And Daniel was established in the reign of Darius, and Cyrus the Persian inherited the kingdom" - a reading due to the influence of Xenophon's 'Cyropaedia.' Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. The statement that Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus, does not necessarily imply that they were successive. The reign of Gobryas, a satrap, and perhaps in some way "King of Babylon," would coincide with the reign of Cyrus as "king of nations." Moreover, if Darius (Gobryas) was King of Babylon for two years, then Cyrus would succeed him in this position. Certainly in some of the earlier contract tables of his reign, Cyrus in not called "King of Babil." Excursus on Darius the Mode. There is no character in Scripture who has given rise to more hypotheses than Darius the Mode. Every person whose name has come into prominence in early Persian history may be said to have been pressed into service. The apocryphal addition to Daniel - Bel and the Dragon - identifies Darius the Mede with Cyrus. Josephus implies that Darius is Cyaxares II., as he declares him to be a relative (συγγενής) of Cyrus and son of Astyages. Eusebius ('Chronicon' ad Olym., 54) identifies him with Astyages. Later critical commentators, e.g. Bevan, have assumed that Darius Hystaspis is intended. Still more recently, by Mr. Pinches, it has been suggested that Gobryas (Gobaru), who took possession of Babylon on behalf of Cyrus is Darius the Mede. As a preliminary to discussing the question, we must look at what is said about Darius the Mede in Daniel. He received the kingdom when he was sixty-two years of age. He was the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes. From the fact that only the "first" year of his reign is mentioned, we may deduce that he reigned little more than a year. He appears in the Massoretic text especially as a supreme monarch, who appoints governors under him. We must, however, bear in mind the fact that the evidence from the Book of Daniel is complicated by the proofs of expansion which we find in it. Even when the Septuagint Version coincides with the Massoretic recension, we are not even then quite sure that the work of modification had not begun before the two families of recension were established. Bearing this in mind, let us gather up the information we have concerning Darius here. He is asserted to be an old man when he "received the kingdom." The verb used here is used of legitimate succession; thus in Paulus Tellensis Cyrus is said "to receive," קבל, the kingdom on the death of Darius. From the connection this is out of the question. It must mean that from some higher power he "received" his appointment. His age we may assume to be correctly stated, notwithstanding the Septuagint rendering; this seems to have been drawn from the Massoretic reading by taking כבר is a Syriac sense. This view is confirmed by the fact that the resulting construction is not a natural one. Further, the exactitude of statement gives a presumption of truth, as there is no reason in the narrative why this age should be taken and not another. We are not necessitated to maintain that the governors were satraps in the large sense of the word. The fact that "satraps" were Persian governors would lead that word to be inserted. As to the name, we cannot lay much stress on this, as variation in the matter of names is not uncommon in Hebrew literature, a less common name being replaced by one better known. This is rendered the more likely as in the Septuagint the name Darius is replaced by Artaxerxes in one instance. If we take the Septuagint text, there is nothing that necessitates anything more than that the province of which he might be the governor was affected by his appointing these so-called "satraps." As to the title "king," we must remember that that title was used very loosely. Cyrus claims to have several ancestors who were "great kings" (Cylinder). Darius Hystaspis declares eight of his ancestors to have been "kings." Ansan, of which Cyrus and his ancestors were kings, was a canton under the power of Elam, and Hystaspes remained satrap under his son. Let us now investigate the various hypotheses that have been brought forward, and we shall take them in order of their probable age. The first hypothesis is that Darius is Cyrus. This we find, as we have said, in the second apocryphal addition to Daniel - Bel and the Dragon - as we find it in Theodotion. So far as the letters are concerned, it is not an impossible thing to fancy that Ko'resh was read into Daravasb, the resh and the shin being present in both words in the same position, and in the Aramaic characters of B.C. 100 daleth and caph were like. There is hardly any reason to lead one to read more readily the one name than the other. Although Darius could not fail to be a well-known name among the Jews, since three of that name successively reigned over the Persian Empire, and still in the East, Dara (Darius) is a name synonymous with "magnificence:" yet to a Jew what monarch of Persia could compare with Cyrus, "the servant of the Lord," his "shepherd," his "anointed," who allowed Judah to return and sacrifices once more to be offered? The fact that he is also called Artaxerxes in the LXX., and the further fact that in the LXX. Version of Bel and the Dragon the name is omitted, are significant. The name must be laid aside as being of no evidential value. If now we look at the men - when we compare Darius, as presented to us by the narrative here, with Cyrus, the skilful, self-contained conqueror, who had broken the power of Asytages, had built up a monarchy from the small cantons of the region east of the Tigris, and increased that monarchy to an empire - we see a vast, irreconcilable difference. Cyrus must have been at the maturity of his power when he gained possession of Babylon. Darius, we are told, was sixty-two years of age. Yet once more, he "received" his kingdom. Cyrus did not claim as inheriting from Nabunahid. We must, then, definitely decide against Cyrus being Darius. The theory that has received the largest amount of support among those who maintain the ancient date of Daniel is that Darius the Mede is Cyaxares II. This is a personage introduced by Xenophon into his historical novel, the 'Cyropaedia.' If his existence could have been proved, the character suited the position admirably. The weaknesses and fussiness with which Xenophon endows him does not contradict anything we see of Darius here. Only Xenophon nowhere says that Cyrus made his uncle king in Babylon. We are in a very different position in regard to many of these events now, than we were forty years ago. We know now that Astyages was not the son of Cyaxares I., the King of the Medes. He Was King of the Manda or Umman-Manda, who overthrew the Median Empire. In Cyrus's revolts against Astyages we have no word of any relationship subsisting between him and his opponent, still less that he was his grandson. There is, further, no reference to any son of Astyages being regarded as monarch under whom Cyrus fought. Yet this must be acknowledged that, though Xenophon is at sea as to the capture of Babylon, he knew that Gobryas took a principal share in it. He associates with him a certain Gadates, which seems to be a word made from "Guti," the province from which Gobryas came. Herodotus, though he knows of a Gobryas who joined with Darius in conspiring against Smerdis, knows nothing of a Gobryas who took a principal part in the capture of Babylon. We are obliged, then, to dismiss Cyaxares II. as non-existent. On the faith of a passage in Herodotus (1:125) it has been supposed that Cyrus preserved Astyages, and may have set him as vice-king over Babylon. This, however, has nothing to support it. A much more plausible theory has been devised by Marcus yon Niebuhr, in his 'Geschichte Assur. u. Babils.' He maintained that Belshazzar was Evil-Merodach, and that he held the blasphemous feast narrated in Daniel, and that he was overthrown by a conspiracy assisted by the help of Astyages the Mede, and that Nergalsharezar (Neriglissar)reigned in Babylon as his subject-king. We know now that Astyages was not a Mede, but the King of the Mantis. We know further that there is no trace in the contract tables of the conquest of the city, so that there should be a foreign overlord. This, however, might not be notified in fixing the dates on the contracts. But if Astyages was for a year actual king in Babylon, then that fact would appear in the tables, and this is part of Baron yon Niebuhr's hypothesis. Further, Astyages does not retain his over-lordship in Babylon so far as we can judge from the proclamation of Nabunahid. We must, therefore, abandon this supposition also. The followers of the critical method, which assumes that there must be something outrageously wrong, take for granted that the Darius here is the well-known Darius Hy-staspis. The only point in him that suits Darius the Mede is that he is called Darius. It is true that Darius Hystaspis, after it had rebelled against him, took Babylon; there is nothing said of Darius the Mede doing anything of the sort, although it may be implied. Darius in Daniel is a Mede, Darius Hystaspis was a Persian; the Biblical Darius is the son of Ahashverosh (Ahasuerus), the other Darius is 'the son of Hystaspes; the Biblical Darius is an old man when he ascends the throne, Darius Hystaspis is young. Further, if we assume the writer of the fifth and sixth chapters of Daniel wrote also the eleventh, then he knew of Darius Hystaspis and of his son Xerxes, as well as of Cyrus and his son Cambyses. If these critics maintain the author of Daniel to be under the erroneous idea that Darius preceded Cyrus, how do they explain his knowledge that Darius reigned after Cyrus? We need not appeal merely to the eleventh chapter of Daniel. We are told to remark the fact that the names Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael all occur in Ezra and Nehemiah, as names of those who had returned from captivity, and we are expected to believe that from this source these came. If this writer studied Ezra so carefully as to pick out names to suit his purpose, how did he fail to see that Darius came not only after Cyrus, but after his two immediate successors, Cambyses and Smerdis? The critics are very ready to show us the sources of Daniel's knowledge; they forget to harmonize these alleged sources of knowledge with the stupendous ignorance they attribute to him whenever this is required by the necessities of their argument. Whoever Darius the Mede is, he cannot be Darius Hystaspis. Another hypothesis has been started by Mr. Pinches of the British Museum - that Darius the Mede is Gobryas. We have seen that there is an uncertainty about the name. We know that in early Aramaic script the two names are not so very unlike, but that the less-known Gobaru might be read into the better known Darius. The main points known about both personages are in singularly exact historical parallel Darius received the kingdom; Gobaru (Og-baru, Gobryas) was admitted into Esakkil by the Babylonian confederates of Cyrus, and was made by Cyrus governor of Babylon. He exercised a certain amount of authority; for we are told, as above mentioned, that he appointed governors. Darius appointed governors. Darius was a Mede. and Gobryas was governor of the province of Guti or Gutlum, which was adjacent to Media, and therefore was not, improbably, a Mede. In thinking of this period, we are to dismiss from our minds all thought of the "Medes" being conquered by Cyrus and the Persians. Both Medes and Persians were oppressed by the Manda - probably a Scythian horde - and Cyrus commenced the rebellion against the common oppressors, and united as one nation the Medes and the Persians. As to the character of Gobryas as compared with that of Darius. we have no data to go upon either to affirm or deny a resemblance. His age is not at all improbable. Altogether the balance of probability in the mean time points to Darius the Mede being Gobryas the governor of Gutinm. That he is addressed always as "king" does not contradict this, for Media and Persia and all that region had monarchies of the most limited description, and these monarchs retained their titles even under Cyrus's rule; hence, in his Behistun inscription, Darius claims his father to have been a king, and this while Cambyses reigned as king over the empire. After his son Darius had mounted the throne, Hystaspes was satrap in Persia. He would be addressed as "King Hystaspes," since by his son he is called king. Hence, if, as was likely, Gobryas was king of some small town or canton when he became governor of Gutium, he would be always "King Gobryas," or, as it has been written, "Darius." On the whole, then, as we have said, the balance of probability at present indicates Gobryas as Darius the Mede.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius,.... This Daniel, of whom so much has been said all the preceding chapters, and who had been so lately and so wonderfully delivered from the lions' den, the same flourished throughout the reign of Darius the Mede; continued a favourite with the king; retained his honour and dignity; and kept his posts and places of trust and profit. Darius the Mede reigned two years; though Jarchi says he reigned but one, and was slain in war; for which he refers to Joseph ben Gorion, who has not a word of it.
And in the reign of Cyrus the Persian; who, as Jacchiades says, was the son-in-law of Darius, and inherited the kingdom after him; which is true, for he married the daughter of Cyaxares or Darius who was his uncle, and succeeded him as sole monarch of the empire: he reigned with him the two years he had the government of the Babylonish monarchy; and when he died, it solely devolved on him, who reigned seven years after, as Xenophon (s) relates; but the canon of Ptolemy ascribes nine years to his reign, which includes the two years he was partner with Darius. Daniel was in the same favour with this prince as the former, who in the first year of his reign proclaimed liberty to the Jews to return to their country, and build their temple; whether Daniel 54ed throughout his reign is not certain; he was alive in the third year of it, as appears from Daniel 10:1, some take Darius and Cyrus to be one and the same person, and render this last clause as explanative of the former, "even", or, "that is, in the reign of Cyrus the Persian" (t).
(s) Cyropaedia, l. 8. c 45. (t) Vid Nicolai Abram. Pharus Vet. Test. l. 12. c. 24. p. 338.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28. It was in the third year of Cyrus that Daniel's visions (Da 10:1-12:13) were given. Daniel "prospered" because of his prophecies (Ezr 1:1, 2).
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