Daniel 6:1
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
VI.

(1) Princes.—See Excursus A. The LXX. make the number 127, so as to agree with Esther 1:1.

Daniel 6:1. It pleased Darius — That this Darius was the Cyaxares of Xenophon, as has been observed in note on Daniel 5:31, St. Jerome not only asserts, but proves by the testimony of Josephus, Trogus Pompeius, and other historians; so that it appears to have been the generally received opinion in his time, as it probably was also in the time of Josephus, which was not more than five or six hundred years after Cyrus. He was the son of Astyages, or Ahasuerus, or Assuerus, as he is called Daniel 9:1, and Tob 14:15; namely, that king of Media who concurred with the Assyrian monarch in the destruction of Nineveh. To set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes — According to the number of the provinces, which were subject to the Medo-Persian empire. These were afterward enlarged to a hundred and twenty-seven, by the victories of Cambyses and Darius Hystaspes: see Esther 1:1. Darius acts here as the absolute master of the Babylonish state. He distributes the employments; he divides the kingdom, and orders that an account of the whole should be rendered to three principal officers, to whom he gives the superintendence over the rest. Several writers have thought, that after Darius had conquered Babylon, he returned to Media, and took Daniel with him, and that it was there that the establishments here spoken of were made. But if this was not done at Babylon, it is much more likely to have been done at Shushan than in Media: see Daniel 8:2. See Lowth and Calmet.6:1-5 We notice to the glory of God, that though Daniel was now very old, yet he was able for business, and had continued faithful to his religion. It is for the glory of God, when those who profess religion, conduct themselves so that their most watchful enemies may find no occasion for blaming them, save only in the matters of their God, in which they walk according to their consciences.It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom - Evidently over the kingdom of Babylon, now united to that of Media and Persia. As this was now subject to him, and tributary to him, it would be natural to appoint persons over it in whom he could confide, for the administration of justice, for the collection of revenue, etc. Others however, suppose that this relates to the whole kingdom of Persia, but as the reference here is mainly to what was the kingdom of Babylon, it is rather to be presumed that this is what is particularly alluded to. Besides, it is hardly probable that he would have exalted Daniel, a Jew, and a resident in Babylon, to so important a post as that of the premiership over the whole empire, though from his position and standing in Babylon there is no improbability in supposing that he might have occupied, under the reign of Darius, a place similar to what he had occupied under Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. In dividing the kingdom into provinces, and placing officers over each department, Darius followed the same plan which Xenophon tells us that Cyrus did over the nations conquered by him, Cyrop. viii.: Εδόκει ἀυτῷ σατράπας ἤδη πέμπειν ἐπὶ τά κατεστραμμένα ἔθνη Edokei autō satrapas ēdē pempein epi ta katestrammena ethnē - "It seemed good to him to appoint satraps over the conquered nations." Compare Esther 1:1. Archbishop Usher (Annal.) thinks that the plan was first instituted by Cyrus, and was followed at his suggestion. It was a measure of obvious prudence in order to maintain so extended an empire in subjection.

An hundred and twenty princes - The word here rendered "princes" (אחשׁדרפניא 'ăchashedarepenayā') occurs only in Daniel in the Chaldee form, though in the Hebrew form it is found in the book of Esther Est 3:12; Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3, and in Ezra Ezr 8:36; in Esther and Ezra uniformly rendered lieutenants. In Daniel Dan 3:2-3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:1-4, Daniel 6:6-7 it is as uniformly rendered princes. It is a word of Persian origin, and is probably the Hebrew mode of pronouncing the Persian word satrap, or, as Gesenius supposes, the Persian word was pronounced ksatrap. For the etymology of the word, see Gesenius, Lexicon The word undoubtedly refers to the Persian satraps, or governors, or viceroys in the large provinces of the empire, possessing both civil and military powers. They were officers high in rank, and being the representatives of the sovereign, they rivaled his state and splendor. Single parts, or subdivisions of these provinces, were under inferior officers; the satraps governed whole provinces. The word is rendered satraps in the Greek, and the Latin Vulgate.

CHAPTER 6

Da 6:1-28. Darius' Decree: Daniel's Disobedience, and Consequent Exposure to the Lions: His Deliverance by God, and Darius' Decree.

1. Darius—Grotefend has read it in the cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis, as Darheush, that is, "Lord-King," a name applied to many of the Medo-Persian kings in common. Three of that name occur: Darius Hystaspes, 521 B.C., in whose reign the decree was carried into effect for rebuilding the temple (Ezr 4:5; Hag 1:1); Darius Codomanus, 336 B.C., whom Alexander overcame, called "the Persian" (Ne 12:22), an expression used after the rule of Macedon was set up; and Darius Cyaxares II, between Astyages and Cyrus [ÆSCHYLUS, The Persians, 762, 763].

hundred and twenty—satraps; set over the conquered provinces (including Babylon) by Cyrus [Xenophon, Cyropædia, 8.6.1]. No doubt Cyrus acted under Darius, as in the capture of Babylon; so that Daniel rightly attributes the appointment to Darius.Daniel is made chief of the presidents and princes of the realm, Daniel 6:1-3. They conspire against him, and obtain an insnaring decree, Daniel 6:4-9. Daniel, excused of the breach thereof, against the king’s will is east into the lions’ den, Daniel 6:10-17. The king findeth him miraculously saved, Daniel 6:18-23. His adversaries are cast in and devoured, Daniel 6:24. Darius by a decree magnifieth God, Daniel 6:25-28.

No text from Poole on this verse.

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes,.... This is the same Darius mentioned in the latter part of the preceding chapter; who, as soon as he took the kingdom of Babylon, divided it into a hundred and twenty provinces, as Jacchiades observes; as was the manner of the Medes and Persians. So Darius the son of Hystaspes divided the kingdom of Persia into twenty provinces, and set governors over each, according to Herodotus (r); to these hundred and twenty provinces seven more were afterwards added, through the victories of Cyrus and Cambyses, and Darius Itystaspes, Esther 1:1. Josephus (s), through forgetfulness, makes these princes and provinces three hundred and sixty:

which should be over the whole kingdom; or, "in the whole kingdom" (t); in the several parts of it, and take care of all things relative to the civil government of it, both for the honour and advantage of the king, and the good of the subjects.

(r) Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 89. (s) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 11. sect. 4. (t) "in toto regno", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius; "toti regno", Junius & Tremellius.

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom {a} an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

(a) Read Es 1:1.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. an hundred and twenty satraps] see on Daniel 3:2. No other notice of this organization has come down to us. The Persian empire was first organised into provinces under ‘satraps’ by Darius Hystaspis (522–485 b.c.); and then the satrapies were only 20 in number (Herod. iii. 89[264]). The statement, upon independent grounds, is not probable; and if it is true that there was no king ‘Darius the Mede,’ some error or confusion must manifestly underlie it. It may have been suggested by the 127 provinces, into which, according to Esther 1:1; Esther 8:9, the Persian empire was divided under Xerxes.

[264] The Behistun Inscription; of Darius (col. i. par. 6) enumerates 23 provinces; the later (sepulchral) inscription of Naksh-i-Rustam (l. 7–9), 29: see RP.1 iii, v. 151 f. Darius, in the first of these inscriptions, mentions the ‘satrap’ of Bactria, and the ‘satrap’ of Arachotia (col. iii par. 3 and 9). See further details in Rawl., Anc. Mon.4 iii. 417 ff.

over] in, i.e. (R.V.) throughout.Verses 1-28. - DANIEL IN THE LIONS' DEN. Verses 1-3. - It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes. which should be over the whole kingdom; 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. 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. The variations from the Massoretic text in the Septuagint are, in regard to the verses before us, very considerable. It assumes the last verse of the preceding chapter, and begins, "And he set up a hundred and twenty and seven satraps over all his kingdom. And over them he set three men as presidents (ἡγουμένους), and Daniel was one of the three men [and had authority over all men in the kingdom. And Daniel was clothed in purple, and was great and honourable (ἔνδοξος) before Darius the king, because he was honourable (ἔνδοξος) and understanding and prudent, and there was an holy spirit in him, and he prospered in the affairs of the kingdom which he did]. Then the king thought (ἐβουλεύσατο) to place Daniel over all his kingdom [(and the two men who stood with him and the hundred and twenty-seven satraps) when the king thought to place Daniel over his whole kingdom]." The passages within brackets, we think, are additions to amplify the description, and to connect it with the honor given Daniel by Belshazzar. The bracketed parts are easily separable from the rest, and then what remains forms a continuous narrative. Theodotion differs, though slightly, from the Massoretic text, Darius "set (κατεστήσεν) Daniel over the kingdom" - did not merely take counsel to do it. The Peshitta agrees also very closely with the Massoretic, only the word for "princes" is not, as in the Massoretic text, ahashdarpnayya, but rabu heel. This is the common rendering in the Peshitta of this word, and points to the Massoretic term being an adaptation. the use of the word "satrap" here has led to the idea that this is derived from the hundred and twenty-seven provinces (Esther 1:1). This identification is supported certainly by the LXX., which gives a hundred and twenty-seven as the number of the satraps set up by Darius. Josephus, it may be noted ('Ant.,' 10:11.4), mentions the satrapies as three hundred and sixty - a reading that seems scarcely to be drawn by any conceivable mistake from the Massoretie text, nor any tradition of the actual number of satrapis under the Persian rule. The probability is that there has been some early corruption of the number. On the supposition that Darius is Gobryas, these satraps would really be governors of cities and small districts in the populous province of Babylon. We have in the inscriptions of the Assyrian monarchs who intervened in the affairs of Babylon and Chaldea, notices of a large number of small kingships: each of these would require a special governor. In harmony with this, we are informed by Mr. Pinches that Gobryas appointed subordinate governors in the territory of Babylon. The phrase which states this occurs in the Annals of Nabunahid (col. 3. line 20), "And Gobryas his governor appointed governors in Babylon." Delitzsch ('Beitrage zur Assyriologie,' 2. p. 256) points out that the sign of the plural after the second occurrence of the word "governor" proves that we cannot translate as if "Cyrus" were the nominative to the sentence, and "Gobryas," who was governor of Gutium or Guti, was object. From the fact that the text of Daniel was not protected by being regularly read in the synagogues, as was the Law, the Prophets, the Megilloth, the Psalms, and some other books, it was more at the mercy of scribes. The change of "Gobryas" into "Darius" led easily to other modifications. Probably medeena, "province," was the word in the original text, but it was modified to malcoutha, "kingdom," and "governors" of cities became "satraps" over provinces. After having appointed these subordinate governors, that a board of three should be set over them was a necessary arrangement. The name given to them, sarekeen, is asserted by some to be of Persian origin. On the other hand, the fact that the first syllable is sar, the Assyrian for "king," one is tempted to think of a Semitic etymology. The Authorized is wrong in making Daniel "first" of these presidents; all that is asserted is that Daniel was one of these presidents. That the king should have no damage applies most probably to the revenue. The country, in the East, is divided off into small districts for the purpose of tax-collecting, and in the division of the Persian Empire into twenty satrapies, this was greatly the object. The repetition of the word "king" here might imply that Darius was not the king whose loss of revenue was to be guarded against; but we weald not be held as pressing this. Although Daniel was not, on the creation of this board, made chief of it, he soon acquired an influence over Darius which gave him, in effect, such a position. We arc to understand that these officials were mainly Babylonians. We learn now that the capture of Babylonia by Cyrus was not accomplished by a skilful diverting of the waters of the Euphrates, so that the Persian troops were enabled to wade in by the bed of the stream, nor to the fact that in the revelry of a feast the river-gates were left open, and the sentinels were careless; but to the fact that the whole official class were at enmity with the court, and so treachery opened the gates to Gobryas, the governor of Gutium, the name given to Mesopotamia as a Persian province, and when morning broke one day, the sixteenth of Tammuz, the inhabitants of Babylon saw the shields of Gutium guarding the citadel and the temple Esakkil. This being the case. naturally the official class of the former monarchy would be largely drawn upon to supply the needs of the new government; naturally the native Babylonians would think that the preference in all matters of office ought to be given to them; that, above all, the principal place should not be given to a Jew by Cyrus, or by any one under him, since Cyrus professed to be moved by reverence for the national gods of Babylon in his war against Nabunahid. And the king thought to set him over the whole realm. This really means over the province of Babylon, malcoutha being written instead of medeena. His object was not to make Daniel satrap instead of himself, but to make him his "vizier." His knowledge of the business of the province would of necessity be very thorough, dating, as it did, from the days of Nebuchadnezzar. He, as no other, would be acquainted with the various religious beliefs of the different captive communities in Babylonia. Himself belonging to one of these communities, his interest would be excited by all in similar circumstances. His age, the dignity he had enjoyed in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar and Nabunahid, along with his zeal and ability, naturally explain the desire of Darius (Gobryas) to make him his vizier. In Daniel 1:21 the introduction to the book is concluded with a general statement as to the period of Daniel's continuance in the office appointed to him by God. The difficulty which the explanation of ויהי offers is not removed by a change of the reading into ויחי, since Daniel, according to Daniel 10:1, lived beyond the first year of Cyrus and received divine revelations. עד marks the terminus ad quem in a wide sense, i.e., it denotes a termination without reference to that which came after it. The first year of king Cyrus is, according to 2 Chronicles 36:22; Ezra 1:1; Ezra 6:3, the end of the Babylonish exile, and the date, "to the first year of king Cyrus," stands in close relation to the date in Daniel 1:1, Nebuchadnezzar's advance against Jerusalem and the first taking of the city, which forms the commencement of the exile; so that the statement, "Daniel continued unto the first year of king Cyrus," means only that he lived and acted during the whole period of the exile in Babylon, without reference to the fact that his work continued after the termination of the exile. Cf. The analogous statement, Jeremiah 1:2., that Jeremiah prophesied in the days of Josiah and Jehoiakim to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, although his book contains prophecies also of a date subsequent to the taking of Jerusalem. ויהי stands neither for ויחי, he lived, nor absolutely in the sense of he existed, was present; for though היה means existere, to be, yet it is never used absolutely in this sense, as חיּה, to live, but always only so that the "how" or "where" of the being or existence is either expressly stated, or at least is implied in the connection. Thus here also the qualification of the "being" must be supplied from the context. The expression will then mean, not that he lived at the court, or in Babylon, or in high esteem with the king, but more generally, in the place to which God had raised him in Babylon by his wonderful endowments.
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