Daniel 6:2
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.
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(2) Three presidents.—See Note on Daniel 5:7. If there had been a triumvirate in Babylon, Darius continued the form of government which he found already existing, and retained Daniel in the official post to which he had been promoted by Belshazzar.

Daniel 6:2-3. And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first —

He had been appointed one of the principal officers of state by Belshazzar, Daniel 5:29. The office to which he was now advanced seems to have been of the same sort with that conferred on Joseph by Pharaoh, Genesis 41:41. Grotius thinks these eparchs were like the præfecti prætorio in the latter part of the Roman empire. That the princes might give accounts unto them — Might lay before them the state of the public accounts. They doubtless also received appeals from the princes, or complaints against them, in case of mal-administration. And the king should have no damage — That he might not sustain any loss in his revenue, and that the power he delegated to the princes might not be abused to the oppression of the subjects; for by that a king, whether he thinks so or not, receives real damage; both as it alienates the affections of his people from him, and provokes the displeasure of God against him. Daniel was preferred, because an excellent spirit was in him — Besides that spirit of uncommon wisdom and sagacity which was in Daniel, he had great experience in public affairs, it being now sixty-five years since he was first advanced by Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 2:48. It is no wonder, therefore, that Darius should have thoughts of putting the chief management of the whole empire into his hands.

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.And over these, three presidents - סרכין sârekı̂yn. This word is found only in the plural. The etymology is uncertain, but its meaning is not doubtful. The word president expresses it with sufficient accuracy, denoting a high officer that presided over others. It is not improbable that these presided over distinct departments, corresponding somewhat to what are now called "secretaries" - as Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of Foreign Affairs, etc., though this is not particularly specified.

Of whom Daniel was first - First in rank. This office he probably held from the rank which he was known to have occupied under the kings of Babylon, and on account of his reputation for ability and integrity.

That the princes might give accounts unto them - Be immediately responsible to them; the accounts of their own administration, and of the state of the empire.

And the king should have no damage - Either in the loss of revenue, or in any maladministration of the affairs. Compare Ezra 4:13. "They pay not toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings." The king was regarded as the source of all power, and as in fact the supreme proprietor of the realm, and any malfeasance or malversation in office was regarded as an injury to him.


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.

Of whom Daniel was first: this was Belshazzar’s promise to Daniel, he should be the third ruler in the kingdom, Daniel 5:7,16,29; the first was general of the army, the second president of the palace, the third of the land and provinces.

And over these three presidents,.... To whom the hundred and twenty princes were accountable for their conduct, and to whom the people might apply for redress of grievances, if oppressed; perhaps the whole empire was divided into three greater parts, and each part had forty provinces in it, and over it a president or deputy of the king; to whom the princes of each province gave in the account of what they received for the king, and what use they made of it:

(of whom Daniel was the first:) or "one" (u), who was now an old man, having been about seventy years in Babylon, and had had a large experience of the affairs of civil government, being advanced in the times of Nebuchadnezzar to high posts; and very probably Darius had heard of the wisdom of Daniel before he came to the kingdom, as well as the king of Tyre, Ezekiel 28:3 and might be informed of his prediction of Belshazzar's death, and the change of the empire: and of Belshazzar's promise to make him the third ruler in the kingdom; and he might also himself observe in him an uncommon sagacity and fitness for business of this sort. Josephus (w) says, that Darius took Daniel with him into Media, and made him one of the three presidents; and indeed no mention is made in this history of the nobles of Babylon, but only of the Medes and Persians:

that the princes might give account unto them, and the king should have no damage: or loss in his revenues, through the fraud and bad management of the princes of the provinces; since they might be discovered and checked by the presidents, who were to audit their accounts: or, "have no trouble" (x); in looking over and passing the accounts of the princes.

(u) Sept.; "unus", V. L. Syr. Ar. Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis. (w) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 11. sect. 4. (x) , Sept.; "ne rex molestia afficeretur", Pagninus; "ut rex illo levaretur gravamine", Munster.

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.
2. three presidents] Aram. sârak, prob. a form derived from the Pers. sâr, ‘head,’ ‘chief,’ ‘prince.’ In the O.T. it is found only in this chap. (Daniel 6:2-4; Daniel 6:6-7): in the Targums it stands often for the Heb. shôṭçr, ‘officer,’ as Exodus 5:6; Exodus 5:10; Deuteronomy 1:15; Deuteronomy 20:5; Joshua 1:10; Proverbs 6:7 (‘overseer’).

was first] was one: so R.V. rightly.

that these satraps might give account unto them] strictly, might be giving account, i.e. might be permanently answerable to them, that the interests and revenues of the king were properly guarded. No such officials are mentioned elsewhere,—except in so far as they may be regarded as the successors of the three Babylonian ministers, presupposed in Daniel 5:7; Daniel 5:16; Daniel 5:29. Darius Hystaspis, as a check upon his satraps, appointed in each satrapy an independent military commandant, and a royal ‘scribe,’ or secretary, whose business it was to report to the king the doings of the satrap (Hdt. iii. 128; Rawl., Anc. Mon.4 iii. 424).

Daniel 6:2(Daniel 5:31-6:9)

Transference of the kingdom to Darius the Mede; appointment of the regency; envy of the satraps against Daniel, and their attempt to destroy him.

The narrative of this chapter is connected by the copula ו with the occurrence recorded in the preceding; yet Daniel 6:1 does not, as in the old versions and with many interpreters, belong to the fifth chapter, but to the sixth, and forms not merely the bond of connection between the events narrated in the fifth and sixth chapters, but furnishes at the same time the historical basis for the following narrative, vv. 2-29 (vv. 1-28). The statement of the verse, that Darius the Mede received the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years old, connects itself essentially with Daniel 5:30, so far as it joins to the fulfilment, there reported, of the first part of the sacred writing interpreted by Daniel to Belshazzar, the fulfilment also the second part of that writing, but not so closely that the designation of time, in that same night (Daniel 5:30), is applicable also to the fact mentioned in Daniel 6:1 (Daniel 5:31), and as warranting the supposition that the transference of the kingdom to Darius the Mede took place on the night in which Belshazzar was slain. Against such a chronological connection of these two verses, Daniel 5:30 and Daniel 6:1 (Daniel 5:31), we adduce in the second half of v. 1((Daniel 5:31) the statement of the age of Darius, in addition to the reasons already adduced. This is not to make it remarkable that, instead of the young mad debauchee (Belshazzar), with whom, according to prophecy, the Chaldean bondage of Israel was brought to an end, a man of mature judgment seized the reigns of government (Delitzsch); for this supposition fails not only with the hypothesis, already confuted, on which it rests, but is quite foreign to the text, for Darius in what follows does not show himself to be a ruler of matured experience. The remark of Kliefoth has much more in its favour, that by the statement of the age it is designed to be made prominent that the government of Darius the Mede did not last long, soon giving place to that of Cyrus the Persian, v. 29 (Daniel 6:28), whereby the divine writing, that the Chaldean kingdom would be given to the Medes and Persians, was fully accomplished. Regarding Darjawesch, Darius, see the preliminary remarks. The addition of מדיא (Kethiv) forms on the one hand a contrast to the expression "the king of the Chaldeans" (Daniel 5:30), and on the other it points forward to פּרסיא, v. 29 (Daniel 6:28); it, however, furnishes no proof that Daniel distinguished the Median kingdom from the Persian; for the kingdom is not called a Median kingdom, but it is only said of Darius that he was of Median descent, and, v. 29 (Daniel 6:28), that Cyrus the Persian succeeded him in the kingdom. In קבּל, he received the kingdom, it is indicated that Darius did not conquer it, but received it from the conqueror. The כ in כבר intimates that the statement of the age rests only on a probable estimate.

Daniel 6:2 (Daniel 6:1)

For the government of the affairs of the kingdom he had received, and especially for regulating the gathering in of the tribute of the different provinces, Darius placed 120 satraps over the whole kingdom, and over these satraps three chiefs, to whom the satraps should give an account. Regarding אחשׁדּרפּניּא (satraps), see at Daniel 3:2. סרכין, plur. of סרך; סרכא has in the Semitic no right etymology, and is derived from the Aryan, from the Zend. sara, ara, head, with the syllable ach. In the Targg., in use for the Hebr. שׁטר, it denotes a president, of whom the three named in Daniel 6:2 (1), by their position over the satraps, held the rank of chief governors or ministers, for which the Targg. use סרכן, while סרכין in Daniel 6:8 denotes all the military and civil prefects of the kingdom.

The modern critics have derived from this arrangement for the government of the kingdom made by Darius an argument against the credibility of the narrative, which Hitzig has thus formulated: - According to Xenophon, Cyrus first appointed satraps over the conquered regions, and in all to the number of six (Cyrop. viii. 6, 1, 7); according to the historian Herodotus, on the contrary (iii. 89ff.), Darius Hystaspes first divided the kingdom into twenty satrapies for the sake of the administration of the taxes. With this statement agrees the number of the peoples mentioned on the Inscription at Bisutun; and if elsewhere (Insc. J. and Nakschi Rustam) at least twenty-four and also twenty-nine are mentioned, we know that several regions or nations might be placed under one satrap (Herod. l.c.). The kingdom was too small for 120 satraps in the Persian sense. On the other hand, one may not appeal to the 127 provinces (מדינות) of king Ahasuerus equals Xerxes (Esther 1:1; Esther 9:30); for the ruler of the מדינה is not the same as (Esther 8:9) the satrap. In Esther 3:12 it is the פּחה, as e.g., of the province of Judah (Haggai 1:1; Malachi 1:8; Nehemiah 5:14). It is true there were also greater provinces, such e.g., as of Media and Babylonia (Ezra 6:2; Daniel 2:49), and perhaps also pecha (פּחה) might be loosely used to designate a satrap (Ezra 5:3; Ezra 6:6); yet the 127 provinces were not such, nor is a satrap interchangeably called a pecha. When Daniel thus mentions so large a number of satraps, it is the Grecian satrapy that is apparently before his mind. Under Seleucus Nicator there were seventy-two of these.

The foundation of this argument, viz., that Darius Hystaspes, "according to the historian Herodotus," first divided the kingdom into satrapies, and, of course, also that the statement by Xenophon of the sending of six satraps into the countries subdued by Cyrus is worthy of no credit, is altogether unhistorical, resting only on the misinterpretation and distortion of the testimonies adduced. Neither Herodotus nor Xenophon represents the appointment of satraps by Cyrus and Darius as an entirely new and hitherto untried method of governing the kingdom; still less does Xenophon say that Cyrus sent in all only six satraps into the subjugated countries. It is true he mentions by name (Daniel 8:6-7) only six satraps, but he mentions also the provinces into which they were sent, viz., one to Arabia, and the other five to Asia Minor, with the exception, however, of Cilicia, Cyprus, and Paphlagonia, to which he did not send any Πέρσας σατράπας, because they had voluntarily joined him in fighting against Babylon. Hence it is clear as noonday that Xenophon speaks only of those satraps whom Cyrus sent to Asia Minor and to Arabia, and says nothing of the satrapies of the other parts of the kingdom, such as Judea, Syria, Babylonia, Assyria, Media, etc., so that no one can affirm that Cyrus sent in all only six satraps into the conquered countries. As little does Herodotus, l.c., say that Darius Hystaspes was the first to introduce the government of the kingdom by satraps: he only says that Darius Hystaspes divided the whole kingdom into twenty ἀρχαί which were called σατραπηΐ́αι, appointed ἄρχοντες, and regulated the tribute; for he numbers these satrapies simply with regard to the tribute with which each was chargeable, while under Cyrus and Cambyses no tribute was imposed, but presents only were contributed. Consequently, Herod. speaks only of a regulation for the administration of the different provinces of the kingdom for the special purpose of the certain payment of the tribute which Darius Hystaspes had appointed. Thus the historian M. Duncker also understands this statement; for he says (Gesch. des Alterth. ii. p. 891) regarding it: - "About the year 515 Darius established fixed government-districts in place of the vice-regencies which Cyrus and Cambyses had appointed and changed according to existing exigencies. He divided the kingdom into twenty satrapies." Then at p. 893 he further shows how this division also of the kingdom by Darius was not fixed unchangeably, but was altered according to circumstances. Hitzig's assertion, that the kingdom was too small for 120 satrapies in the Persian sense, is altogether groundless. From Esther 8:9 and Esther 8:3 :19 it follows not remotely, that not satraps but the פחות represent the מדינות. In Daniel 8:9 satraps, פחות, and המדינות שׂרי are named, and in Daniel 3:12 they are called the king's satraps and מדינה על אשׁר פחות. On Esther 3:12 Bertheau remarks: "The pechas, who are named along with the satraps, are probably the officers of the circles within the separate satrapies;" and in Daniel 8:9 satraps and pechas are named as המדינות שׂרי, i.e., presidents, superintendents of the 127 provinces of the kingdom from India to Ethiopia, from which nothing can be concluded regarding the relation of the satraps to the pechas. Berth. makes the same remark on Ezra 8:36 : - "The relation of the king's satraps to the pachavoth abar nahara (governors on this side the river) we cannot certainly determine; the former were probably chiefly military rulers, and the latter government officials." For the assertion that pecha is perhaps loosely used for satrap, but that interchangeably a satrap cannot be called a pecha, rests, unproved, on the authority of Hitzig.

From the book of Esther it cannot certainly be proved that so many satraps were placed over the 127 provinces into which Xerxes divided the kingdom, but only that these provinces were ruled by satraps and pechas. But the division of the whole kingdom into 127 provinces nevertheless shows that the kingdom might have been previously divided under Darius the Mede into 120 provinces, whose prefects might be called in this verse אחשׁדּרפּנין, i.e., kschatrapavan, protectors of the kingdom or of the provinces, since this title is derived from the Sanscrit and Old Persian, and is not for the first time used under Darius Hystaspes of Cyrus. The Median Darius might be led to appoint one satrap, i.e., a prefect clothed with military power, over each district of his kingdom, since the kingdom was but newly conquered, that he might be able at once to suppress every attempt at insurrection among the nations coming under his dominion. The separation of the civil government, particularly in the matter of the raising of tribute, from the military government, or the appointment of satraps οἱ τὸν δασμὸν λαμβάνοντες κ.τ.λ., along with the φρούραρχοι and the χιλίαρχοι, for the protection of the boundaries of the kingdom, was first adopted, according to Xenophon l.c., by Cyrus, who next appointed satraps for the provinces of Asia Minor and of Arabia, which were newly brought under his sceptre; while in the older provinces which had formed the Babylonian kingdom, satrapies which were under civil and military rulers already existed from the time of Nebuchadnezzar; cf. Daniel 2:32. This arrangement, then, did not originate with Darius Hystaspes in the dividing of the whole kingdom into twenty satrapies mentioned by Herodotus. Thus the statements of Herodotus and Xenophon harmonize perfectly with those of the Scriptures, and every reason for regarding with suspicion the testimony of Daniel wholly fails.Daniel 6:2-3 (Daniel 6:1-2)

According to v. 2, Darius not only appointed 120 satraps for all the provinces and districts of his kingdom, but he also placed the whole body of the satraps under a government consisting of three presidents, who should reckon with the individual satraps. עלּא, in the Targg. עילא, the height, with the adverb מן, higher than, above. טעמא יהב, to give reckoning, to account. נזק, part. of נזק, to suffer loss, particularly with reference to the revenue. This triumvirate, or higher authority of three, was also no new institution by Darius, but according to Daniel 5:7, already existed in the Chaldean kingdom under Belshazzar, and was only continued by Darius; and the satraps or the district rulers of the several provinces of the kingdom were subordinated to them. Daniel was one of the triumvirate. Since it is not mentioned that Darius first appointed him to this office, we may certainly conclude that he only confirmed him in the office to which Belshazzar had promoted him.

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