Daniel 6:17
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.
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(17) 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.

6:11-17 It is no new thing for what is done faithfully, in conscience toward God, to be misrepresented as done obstinately, and in contempt of the civil powers. Through want of due thought, we often do that which afterwards, like Darius, we see cause a thousand times to wish undone again. Daniel, that venerable man, is brought as the vilest of malefactors, and is thrown into the den of lions, to be devoured, only for worshipping his God. No doubt the placing the stone was ordered by the providence of God, that the miracle of Daniel's deliverance might appear more plain; and the king sealed it with his own signet, probably lest Daniel's enemies should kill him. Let us commit our lives and souls unto God, in well-doing. We cannot place full confidence even in men whom we faithfully serve; but believers may, in all cases, be sure of the Divine favour and consolation.And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den - Probably a large flat stone sufficient to cover the mouth of the cave, and so heavy that Daniel could not remove it from within and escape. It was usual then, as it is now, to close up the entrance to sepulchres with a large stone. See 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.

17. stone … sealed—typical of Christ's entombment under a seal (Mt 27:66). Divinely ordered, that the deliverance might be the more striking.

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.

They are resolved to make all fast and sure. So did the enemies of the three young men, by the hellish heat of the fiery furnace. So did the enemies of Christ, 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 a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den,.... Not a heap of stones, but a single one, a very large one, sufficient to stop up the mouth of the den, that nothing might enter in at it, or be cast into it: this stone was brought by proper persons, and a sufficient number of them, according the order of the king, or his princes, or both; for what Jarchi says, of there being no stones in Babylon, only bricks, and of the angels bringing this stone out of the land of Israel, is all fabulous: but for what end it should be brought and laid is not easy to say; if it was laid here by the order of the princes, it could not surely be to keep any of his friends from going in to deliver him, for who would venture himself there? nor to keep Daniel in it, since it might be concluded, that, as soon as ever he was cast in, he would be seized upon by the lions and devoured at once; unless it can be thought, that these men saw, that when he was thrown in, the lions did not meddle with him; which they might attribute to their having been lately fed, and therefore, that he might be reserved till they were hungry, they did this: if it was by the order of the king, which is very likely, the reason might be, he believed, or at least hoped, that God would deliver him from the lions; but lest his enemies, seeing this, should throw in stones or arrows, and kill him, the mouth of the den was stopped, so Jarchi and Saadiah: no doubt but this was so ordered by the providence of God, as well as the sealing of it, that the miracle of the deliverance might appear the more manifest:

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.
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 6:17After Daniel had been thrown into the lions' den, its mouth was covered with a flat stone, and the stone was sealed with the king's seal and that of the great officers of state, that nothing might change or be changed (בּּדּניּאל צבוּ) concerning Daniel (צבוּ, affair, matter), not that the device against Daniel might not be frustrated (Hv., v. Leng., Maur., Klief.). This thought required the stat. emphat. צנוּתא, and also does not correspond with the application of a double seal. The old translator Theodot. is correct in his rendering: ὅπως μὴ ἀλλοιωθῇ πρᾶγμα ἐν τῷ Δανιήλ, and the lxx paraphrasing: ὅπως μὴ απ ̓αὐτῶν (μεγιστάνων) αρθῇ ὁ Δανιήλ, ἤ ὁ βασιλεύς αὐτὸν ἀνασπάσῃ ἐκ τοῦ λακκοῦ. Similarly also Ephr. Syr. and others.

The den of lions is designated by גּבּא, which the Targg. use for the Hebr. בור, a cistern. From this v. Leng., Maur., and Hitzig infer that the writer had in view a funnel-shaped cistern dug out in the ground, with a moderately small opening or mouth from above, which could be covered with a stone, so that for this one night the lions had to be shut in, while generally no stone lay on the opening. The pit also into which Joseph, the type of Daniel, was let down was a cistern (Genesis 37:24), and the mouth of the cistern was usually covered with a stone (Genesis 29:3; Lamentations 3:53). It can hence scarcely be conceived how the lions, over which no angel watched, could have remained in such a subterranean cavern covered with a stone. "The den must certainly have been very capacious if, as it appears, 122 men with their wives and children could have been thrown into it immediately after one another (v. 25 [Daniel 6:24]); but this statement itself only shows again the deficiency of every view of the matter," - and thus the whole history is a fiction fabricated after the type of the history of Joseph! But these critics who speak thus have themselves fabricated the idea of the throwing into the den of 122 men with women and children - for the text states no number - in order that they might make the whole narrative appear absurd.

We have no account by the ancients of the construction of lions' dens. Ge. Hst, in his work on Fez and Morocco, p. 77, describes the lions' dens as they have been found in Morocco. According to his account, they consist of a large square cavern under the earth, having a partition-wall in the middle of it, which is furnished with a door, which the keeper can open and close from above. By throwing in food they can entice the lions from the one chamber into the other, and then, having shut the door, they enter the vacant space for the purpose of cleaning it. The cavern is open above, its mouth being surrounded by a wall of a yard and a half high, over which one can look down into the den. This description agrees perfectly with that which is here given in the text regarding the lions' den. Finally, גּבּא does not denote common cisterns. In Jeremiah 41:7, Jeremiah 41:9, גּוּבא (Hebr. בור) is a subterranean chamber into which seventy dead bodies were cast; in Isaiah 14:15, the place of Sheol is called גּוב. No reason, therefore, exists for supposing that it is a funnel-formed cistern. The mouth (פּוּם) of the den is not its free opening above by which one may look down into it, but an opening made in its side, through which not only the lions were brought into it, but by which also the keepers entered for the purpose of cleansing the den and of attending to the beasts, and could reach the door in the partition-wall (cf. Hst, p. 270). This opening was covered with a great flat stone, which was sealed, the free air entering to the lions from above. This also explains how, according to Daniel 6:20 ff., the king was able to converse with Daniel before the removal of the stone (namely, by the opening above).

Daniel 6:19-21 (Daniel 6:18-20)

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were any of his concubines brought before him; and this sleep went from him. The king spent a sleepless night in sorrow on account of Daniel. טות, used adverbially, in fasting, i.e., without partaking of food in the evening. דּחוה, concubina; cf. The Arab. dahâ and dahâ equals , subigere faeminam, and Gesen. Thes. p. 333. On the following morning (v. 20 [Daniel 6:19]) the king rose early, at the dawn of day, and went to the den of lions, and with lamentable voice called to him feebly hoping that Daniel might be delivered by his God whom he continually served. Daniel answered the king, thereby showing that he had been preserved; whereupon the king was exceeding glad. The future or imperf. יקוּם (Daniel 6:19) is not to be interpreted with Kranichfeld hypothetically, he thought to rise early, seeing he did actually rise early, but is used instead of the perf. to place the clause in relation to the following, meaning: the king, as soon as he arose at morning dawn, went hastily by the early light. בּנגהא, at the shining of the light, serves for a nearer determination of the בּשׁפרפּרא, at the morning dawn, namely, as soon as the first rays of the rising sun appeared. The predicate the living God is occasioned by the preservation of life, which the king regarded as possible, and probably was made known to the king in previous conversations with Daniel; cf. Psalm 42:3; Psalm 84:3; 1 Samuel 17:36, etc.

Daniel 6:22-24 (Daniel 6:21-23)

In his answer Daniel declares his innocence, which God had recognised, and on that account had sent His angel (cf. Psalm 34:8; Psalm 91:11.) to shut the mouths of the lions; cf. Hebrews 10:33. ואף, and also (concluding from the innocence actually testified to by God) before the king, i.e., according to the king's judgment, he had done nothing wrong or hurtful. By his transgression of the edict he had not done evil against the king's person. This Daniel could the more certainly say, the more he perceived how the king was troubled and concerned about his preservation, because in Daniel's transgression he himself had seen no conspiracy against his person, but only fidelity toward his own God. The king hereupon immediately gave command that he should be brought out of the den of lions. The Aph. הנסקה and the Hoph. הסּק, to not come from נסק, but from סלק; the נis merely compensative. סלק, to mount up, Aph. to bring out; by which, however, we are not to understand a being drawn up by ropes through the opening of the den from above. The bringing out was by the opened passage in the side of the den, for which purpose the stone with the seals was removed. To make the miracle of his preservation manifest, and to show the reason of it, v. 24 (Daniel 6:23) states that Daniel was found without any injury, because he had trusted in his God.

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