And a stone was brought, and laid on the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sealed it.—This sealing both by the king and his nobles appears to have been due to the fear that the nobles had (Daniel 6:16) of the king’s attempting to rescue Daniel. The nobles also would be unable to put Daniel to death in the event of his escaping the fury of the lions.Daniel 6:17. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den — Because, perhaps, it was seen that the lions did not seize on him immediately; and therefore, that they might have full opportunity to satisfy their rage and hunger, Daniel’s enemies were determined he should be confined all night among them. And the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords — That neither the one nor the other of the parties might separately do any thing for or against Daniel. We may observe here, with Mr. Wintle, that the design of the king and of the nobles was probably different; the latter feared the king, lest he should release Daniel; the former was apprehensive that some other injury might be done to him, beyond the power of the wild beasts. Hence the Vulgate renders the conclusion of the verse, Ne quid fieret contra Danielem, That nothing might be done against Daniel; indicating the king’s desire, that the lions’ den might be closed with a sealed stone, lest the lords should put Daniel to death when they found him not slain by the lions. The king’s sealing the stone, “must naturally remind us of the like circumstances which happened at the interment of our Saviour, of whom Daniel, in this case at least, has by many been considered as a type:” see Matthew 27:60; Matthew 27:66.John 11:38; Matthew 27:60. It would be natural to endeavor to secure this vault or den in the same way - on the one hand so that Daniel could not escape from within, and on the other so that none of his friends could come and rescue him from without.
And the king sealed it with his own signet - With his own seal. That is, he affixed to the stone, probably by means of clay or wax, his seal in such a way that it could not be removed by anyone without breaking it, and consequently without the perpetration of a crime of the highest kind - for no greater offence could be committed against his authority than thus to break his seal, and there could be no greater security that the stone would not be removed. On the manner of sealing a stone in such circumstances, compare the note at Matthew 27:66.
And with the signet of his lords - That it might have all the security which there could be. Perhaps this was at the suggestion of his lords, and the design, on their part, may have been so to guard the den that the king should not release Daniel.
That the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel - By the king. Probably they feared that if there was not this security, the king might release him; but they presumed that he would not violate the seal of the great officers of the realm. It would seem that some sort of concurrence between the king and his nobles was required in making and executing the laws.
his own signet, and … of his lords—The concurrence of the lords was required for making laws. In this kingly power had fallen since it was in Nebuchadnezzar's hands. The Median king is a puppet in his lords' hands; they take the security of their own seal as well as his, that he should not release Daniel. The king's seal guaranteed Daniel from being killed by them, should he escape the lions.Matthew 27:66. So did Herod serve Peter, Acts 12:4, &c. Thus Paul and Silas were made sure, Acts 16:23,24. Thus the heathen persecutors, that thought by variety, cruelty, and universality of persecutions and torments to drive the Christian religion out of the world. And thus antichrist by crusades, massacres, and burnings. In this sealing of the den they took away all power from the king of delivering Daniel, because they knew he favoured him; by which the power and providence of God for his preservation and deliverance was the more signalized, Acts 4:26-28. Thus the Lord gratifies the enemies of his people oftentimes, as if they had a commission from him to do their worst; and they go a great way in it, as far as they have rope, Isaiah 10:6,7 Lu 22:53.
and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of the lords; that none might dare to remove it; so the stone that was laid at the door of Christ's sepulchre was sealed with a seal, Matthew 27:66, the reason of sealing it follows,
that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel: the view the lords had in it was, that the king might not change the sentence passed on Daniel, or take any methods to deliver him; and the view the king had in it might be, that should he be saved from the lions, as he hoped he would, that no other sentence might pass upon him, or he be delivered to any other kind of death.And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. sealed it with his own signet] seals were in common use alike among the Assyrians, Babylonians (cf. Hdt. i. 195, ‘every one has a seal’), and Persians; and numbers, especially from Babylonia and Assyria, have been brought to European museums during the past half century. The signet cylinder of Darius Hystaspis represented the king as engaged in a lion hunt (Rawlinson, Anc. Mon. iii. 226, 227). Cf. (in Israel) 1 Kings 21:8; and (in Persia) Esther 3:12; Esther 8:8; Esther 8:10.
that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel (R.V.)] i.e. that nothing might be done, either by the king, or by anyone else, to rescue Daniel. The word, meaning properly will, purpose, is here used in the weakened sense of thing, which it has in the Aramaic of Palmyra (Lidzbarski, Handbuch der Nordsemitischen Epigraphik (1898), p. 464, l. 6, ‘about these things’), as well as constantly in Syriac, as Sir 32:19 (Pesh.) ‘Do not anything without counsel.’Verse 17. - And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. The Septuagint text begins, according to Tischendorf, with a passage elsewhere considered, "And the king was grieved, and commanded to cast Daniel into the den of lions, according to the decree which he had made concerning him." This is repeated from the fourteenth verse, where it appears alike in the Chisian Manuscript and in the version of Paul of Tella, "Then Daniel was cast into the den of lions, and a stone was brought and placed at the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signets of his lords, in order that Daniel might not be raised by them or delivered by the king out of the den." The reason assigned for the double sealing of the stone, while a very probable one, is from its very probability to be suspected; it is most likely an explanatory marginal remark, that has slipped into the text. It will be observed that the clause with which the Septuagint Version of this verse begins is the equivalent of the opening clause of the preceding verse. Theodotion's rendering does not differ from the Massoretic reading. From the similarity of the dialects, the resemblance of the Peshitta to the Massoretic is even closer. There are few criticisms of Daniel more unfair than that founded on the assumption that the writer had a bottle-shaped dungeon in his mind, that might be covered over as a well by one large stone. Nothing in the words used implies this. While gob certainly means a "pit" or a "cistern," it was by no means necessarily of small size or covered over with one stone, so that within it would be darkness. There were probably walls rising from the sides of the pit which formed the den; in that wall there would be naturally an aperture through which food could be passed to the lions. Through this door was Daniel cast, and when he had been so cast in, a stone was rolled up to the aperture and sealed. There is no necessity for arguing, as Hitzig and von Lengerke do, against this incident. The passage the former refers to in Xenophon's 'Anabasis' (v. 5.25) applies to dwellings of human beings, and even if we could transfer its description to the present case, it would not damage our argument. In these dwellings Xenophon tells us "were goats, sheep, oxen, birds, and their young; all the cattle are fed within with green fodder." These critics forget that lions' dens were in use not only among the Assyrians and Babylonians, but also among the Greek monarchs, and so, even if the writer was of the late date attributed to him by critics, still he would not speak nonsense about what he could not fail to know something. Hitzig sees in Daniel being let down into the den of lions an imitation of what befell Joseph at the hands of his brethren. Certainly the same word is used in the Targum of Onkelos, Genesis 37:22, but identity of name does not prove identity of thing. No one could argue that the pit of a theatre was necessarily dark, dirty, and damp, because a coal-pit is. That Reuben persuaded his brethren to put Joseph in the pit in order to save him alive, and the rulers had Daniel put in the lions' den in order to destroy him, is nothing to the purpose, it would seem; that there were lions in the pit or den in which Daniel was placed, and no venomous beast in that into which Joseph was let down, is also of no moment. The further fact that this letting down into the pit occurs in the beginning of Joseph's career, and in Daniel's case it is near the end of a long and prosperous life, is not noticed. The life of Daniel must be proved to be written in imitation of the life of Joseph, so any means are good enough to secure this predetermined conclusion. While this resemblance is only superficial, there is another resemblance that is, at all events, full of interest. In later history there was another sealing of the stone that was rolled to the mouth of a grave - it may be noted that gob is used for a "grave" also - and fear here also was lest the innocently condemned might be taken away. Daniel 2:25. show, to be here explained (as in Daniel 2:24) as arising from the brevity of the narrative. For the same reason it is not said that the king granted the quest, but Daniel 2:17. immediately shows what Daniel did after the granting of his request. He went into his own house and showed the matter to his companions, that they might entreat God of His mercy for this secret, so that they might not perish along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
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