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 alters not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
The king answered and said, The thing is true ... - It is undeniable, whatever may be the consequences. There is no reason to suppose that he as yet had any suspicion of their design in asking this question. It is not improbable that he apprehended there had been some violation of the law, but it does not appear that his suspicions rested on Daniel.
and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; at first they said nothing about Daniel, but about the decree, to get it recognized, and afresh ratified and confirmed; lest, under some pretence or another, the king should change it:
hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? they do not say peremptorily that he had signed such a decree, but put the question to him, that they might have it affirmed by himself:
the king answered and said, the thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not; it is true that such a decree is made and signed, and it is an unalterable one; such as is every established and signed decree of the Medes and Persians: it is as if he had said, it is very true what you put me in mind of, and I will never recede from it, or nullify and make it void.Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. before the king] cf. Daniel 6:10; and see on Daniel 2:9.
decree (twice)] interdict. So Daniel 6:13.
altereth not] lit. passeth not away (Daniel 6:8).Verses 12-14. - Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, 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, Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. 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. The version of the Septuagint, as usual, differs from the Massoretic text," Then these men interceded (ἐνέτυχον) with the king, and said, King Darius, didst thou not confirm a decree that no man should offer prayer or present petition to any god for thirty days, save only to thee, O king, otherwise he should be cast into the den of lions? And the king answered and said, The word is clear, and the decree remaineth. And they said to him, We adjure thee by the laws of the Medes and the Persians that thou change not the commandment, nor be an accepter of persons (μηδὲ θαυμάσῃς προσῶπον), nor diminish aught of the thing spoken, but punish the man that abideth not by this decree. And he said, This will I do, according as ye have said, and the thing is con- firmed (ἔστηκε) by me. And they said, Behold, we found Daniel, thy friend, praying, and making entreaty before his God three times a day. [And the king, being grieved, spake to cast Daniel into the den of lions, according to the decree which he decreed against him.] Then the king grieved exceedingly concerning Daniel, and laboured (ἐβοήθει) till the going down of the sun to deliver him out of the hands of the satraps." One of the verses here seems to have been an addition most probably to the Aramaic text, as the Semitic spirit and construction shine through. There is, further, an obvious instance of doublet; the clause within square brackets has all the appearance of being a marginal note summarizing the contents of the verse. The words, "out of the hands of the satraps," have been added as explanatory. Theodotion is in practical agreement with the Massoretictext. The Peshitta differs in some minor points, e.g. inserting the common Eastern mode of addressing royalty, "O king, live for ever." The clause, "concerning the decree," is omitted; the other differences are unimportant. The fact that his Jewish origin is put in the front of their accusation of him indicates what Daniel's great offence was. The Septuagint places the fact that he was the king's friend in that position. It seems little likely that even to a satrap would any courtier venture to bring forward a taunting reference to his friendships. The king is caught in a trap; but no courtier would venture to press his advantage, lest he himself be taken at unawares. Darius's efforts to save Daniel are to be noted. His effort would most probably be directed to find some way out of the constitutional dilemma into which he had been entrapped. His subordinate position, occupying the place of King of Babylon merely for a season instead of Cyrus, would make it more difficult for him to override any constitutional maxim. In the Septuagint the presidents seem to compel the king by moral arguments - a thing float seems possible, though also a feature that might very naturally be added to the story. In the Massoretic text there is an endeavor to poison the king against Daniel. Daniel has despised the king and his commandment. This is more natural than the conduct imputed to the presidents in the Septuagint. These efforts were not successful, as probably they scarcely expected they would be; the king is convinced of his own hastiness, and of their treachery also, but not of any failure on the part of Daniel, in due respect to him, as the representative of the great king. Daniel 2:6. In the words, whose dwelling is not with flesh, there lies neither the idea of higher and of inferior gods, nor the thought that the gods only act among men in certain events (Hv.), but only the simple thought of the essential distinction between gods and men, so that one may not demand anything from weak mortals which could be granted only by the gods as celestial beings. בּשׂרא, flesh, in opposition to רוּח, marks the human nature according to its weakness and infirmity; cf. Isaiah 31:3; Psalm 56:5. The king, however, does not admit this excuse, but falls into a violent passion, and gives a formal command that the wise men, in whom he sees deceivers abandoned by the gods, should be put to death. This was a dreadful command; but there are illustrations of even greater cruelty perpetrated by Oriental despots benore him as well as after him. The edict (דּתא) is carried out, but not fully. Not "all the wise men," according to the terms of the decree, were put to death, but מתקטּלין חכּימיּא, i.e., The wise men were put to death.
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