Daniel 6:20
And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice to Daniel: and the king spoke and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whom you serve continually, able to deliver you from the lions?
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(20) Is thy God . . . able?—The faith of this king is very weak. In Daniel 6:16 he expressed a vague hope that God would protect His servant. That hope seems now to have died out, though afterwards (Daniel 6:26) it appears stronger than that of Nebuchadnezzar. (Comp. Daniel 4:37.) The phrase “living God” is remarkable, coming as it does from a heathen king. (See 1Samuel 17:36.)

6:18-24 The best way to have a good night, is to keep a good conscience. We are sure of what the king doubted, that the servants of the living God have a Master well able to protect them. See the power of God over the fiercest creatures, and believe his power to restrain the roaring lion that goeth about continually seeking to devour. Daniel was kept perfectly safe, because he believed in his God. Those who boldly and cheerfully trust in God to protect them in the way of duty, shall always find him a present help. Thus the righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead. The short triumph of the wicked will end in their ruin.He cried with a lamentable voice - A voice full of anxious solicitude. Literally, "a voice of grief." Such a cry would be natural on such an occasion.

O Daniel, servant of the living God - The God who has life; who imparts life; and who can preserve life. This was the appellation, probably, which he had heard Daniel use in regard to God, and it is one which he would naturally employ on such an occasion as this; feeling that the question of life was entirely in his hands.

Whom thou servest continually - At all times, and in all circumstances: as a captive in a distant land; in places of honor and power; when surrounded by the great who worship other gods; and when threatened with death for your devotion to the service of God. This had been the character of Daniel, and it was natural to refer to it now.

20. living God—having life Himself, and able to preserve thy life; contrasted with the lifeless idols. Darius borrowed the phrase from Daniel; God extorting from an idolater a confession of the truth.

thou servest continually—in times of persecution, as well as in times of peace.

is thy God … able—the language of doubt, yet hope.

Servant of the living God: this was a commendation both of Daniel and his God, though he served both very coarsely.

Is thy God able to deliver thee? is he omnipotent? surely if ever he will put forth his power, it will be in thy case, for thou servest him continually, thou wilt not be frightened from his service by savage beasts, by ramping and roaring lions; now it will appear what thy God will do for his servant. Ah, poor king, God is a better Master to his servants than thou art, even to Daniel. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel,.... Expressing grief and sorrow his heart was full of; it was rather like howling than speaking; thus he cried before he saw Daniel, or heard him speak:

when he was near to the den (k), as it may be rendered; and he was between hope and fear about Daniel's safety; when within sight of the den, and hearing of Daniel, should he be alive to speak: but when he came nearer and saw him, then

the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God; art thou alive? this is a plain case, that the God whom thou servest is the living God, since he has saved thee; and that thou art a true and faithful servant of his, seeing he has wrought such deliverance for thee:

is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? has he made it to appear that he is able to deliver from them? has he really done the thing? he could scarcely believe for joy, being filled with amazement; for these words are not to be considered as expressive of any doubt or hesitation he had of the power of God to save him; for he had declared he had before, yea; his confidence that he would deliver him; but of his wonder and admiration at it, the thing being so extraordinary and amazing.

(k) "cum appropinquasset ad foveam", Pagninus; "quumque appropinquaret ad foveam", Piscator.

And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, {g} able to deliver thee from the lions?

(g) This declares that Darius was not touched with the true knowledge of God, because he doubted of his power.

20. when he came] as he drew near.

with a lamentable voice] or, with a pained voice. The same expression (with an inappreciable difference of form) occurs in the Targ. (Ps.-Jon.) of Exodus 12:31, and in that of Esther 4:1.

and the king, &c.] the king answered and said.

the living God] The same emphatic and significant title, found in Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; 1 Samuel 17:26; 1 Samuel 17:36; 2 Kings 19:4; 2 Kings 19:16; Jeremiah 10:10; Jeremiah 23:36; Hosea 1:10; Psalm 42:2; Psalm 84:2.In answer to these supplications, the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night-vision. A vision of the night is not necessarily to be identified with a dream. In the case before us, Daniel does not speak of a dream; and the idea that he had dreamed precisely the same dream as Nebuchadnezzar is arbitrarily imported into the text by Hitz. in order to gain a "psychological impossibility," and to be able to cast suspicion on the historical character of the narrative. It is possible, indeed, that dreams may be, as the means of a divine revelation, dream-visions, and as such may be called visions of the night (cf. Daniel 7:1, Daniel 7:13); but in itself a vision of the night is a vision simply which any one receives during the night whilst he is awake.

(Note: "Dream and vision do not constitute two separate categories. The dream-image is a vision, the vision while awake is a dreaming - only that in the latter case the consciousness of the relation between the inner and the outer maintains itself more easily. Intermediate between the two stand the night-visions, which, as in Job 4:13, either having risen up before the spirit, fade away from the mind in after-thought, or, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:29), are an image before the imagination into which the thoughts of the night run out. Zechariah saw a number of visions in one night, Daniel 1:7; Daniel 6:15. Also these which, according to Daniel 1:8, are called visions of the night are not, as Ew. and Hitz. suppose, dream-images, but are waking perceptions in the night. Just because the prophet did not sleep, he says, Daniel 4, 'The angel awaked me as one is awaked out of sleep.'" - Tholuck's Die Propheten, u.s.w., p. 52.)

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