Daniel 6:3
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
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(3) Was preferred.—Literally, he outshone the others. The pronoun “this” is prefixed to Daniel’s. name so as to point him out as the favoured one already mentioned. (Comp. Daniel 6:5; Daniel 6:28.)

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.Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes - That is, he was at their head, or was placed in rank and office over them. "Because an excellent spirit was in him." This may refer alike to his wisdom and his integrity - both of which would be necessary in such an office. It was an office of great difficulty and responsibility to manage the affairs of the empire in a proper manner, and required the talents of an accomplished statesman, and, at the same time, as it was an office where confidence was reposed by the sovereign, it demanded integrity. The word "excellent" (יתירא yattı̂yrâ') means, properly, what hangs over, or which is abundant, or more than enough, and then anything that is very great, excellent, pre-eminent. Latin Vulgate, Spiritus Dei amplior - "the spirit of God more abundantly." Greek πνεῦμα περισσὸν pneuma perisson. It is not said here to what trial of his abilities and integrity Daniel was subjected before he was thus exalted, but it is not necessary to suppose that any such trial occurred at once, or immediately on the accession of Darius. Probably, as he was found in office as appointed by Belshazzar, he was continued by Darius, and as a result of his tried integrity was in due time exalted to the premiership. "And the king thought to set him over the whole realm."

The whole kingdom over which he presided, embracing Media, Persia, Babylonia, and all the dependent, conquered provinces. This shows that the princes referred to in Daniel 6:1, were those which were appointed over Babylonia, since Daniel Dan 6:2 was already placed at the head of all these princes. Yet, in consequence of his talents and fidelity the king was meditating the important measure of placing him over the whole united kingdom as premier. That he should form such a purpose in regard to an officer so talented and faithful as Daniel was, is by no means improbable. The Greek of Theodotion renders this as if it were actually done - καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς κατέστησεν ἀυτον, κ.τ.λ. kai ho basileus katestēsen auton, etc. - "And the king placed him over all his kingdom." But the Chaldee (אשׁית 'ăshı̂yth) indicates rather a purpose or intention to do it; or rather, perhaps, that he was actually making arrangements to do this. Probably it was the fact that this design was perceived, and that the arrangements were actually commenced, that aroused the envy and the ill-will of his fellow-officers, and induced them to determine on his ruin.

3. Daniel was preferred—probably because of his having so wonderfully foretold the fall of Babylon. Hence the very expression used by the queen mother on that occasion (Da 5:12) is here used, "because an excellent spirit was in him."

king thought to set him over the whole realm—Agreeing with Darius' character, weak and averse to business, which he preferred to delegate to favorites. God overruled this to the good both of Daniel, and, through him, of His people.

There were three things that made Darius greatly favour Daniel.

1. Because he prophesied the destruction of Belshazzar and his reign, for which cause the king of Babylon favoured Jeremiah the prophet, Jeremiah 39:11, &c.

2. Because he saw so noble a spirit in him, the spirit of the holy gods.

3. Because Darius himself was old and unfit for government, and therefore took Daniel with him into Media, Joseph. Antiq. 10. 12, whereby the Lord by advancing Daniel made careful provision for his church. This was an act of great wisdom in Darius, to prefer men for their parts and merit, and to make them that have most of God in them to be their chief favourites; a thing rarely minded by the princes of the world, who usually favour them most that do most gratify their lusts.

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes,.... Not only above the princes, but the presidents, being the first of them, as before: or, "he was victorious above them" (y); he got more credit and applause than they did, being more exact, diligent, and laborious, faithful, and conscientious:

because an excellent spirit was in him; meaning not a spirit of grace, piety, and religion, which the Heathen king was no judge of, nor valued him for it, though it was in him; but a spirit of knowledge of civil affairs, and of prudence in managing them, and of integrity throughout the whole of his conduct:

and the king thought to set him over the whole realm; or, "wherefore the king thought" (z), &c.; because there was such a spirit in him, which so qualified him for public business, he began to think of abolishing his triumvirate of presidents, and making Daniel his viceroy over the whole empire, which very probably they had got some knowledge of; and this, as well as being above them, drew the envy of them on him, and put them upon the following scheme.

(y) "victorem se gerebat", Piscator, Michaelis. (z) "ideo rex", Gejerus, Michaelis.

Then this Daniel {b} was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

(b) This heathen king preferred Daniel a stranger to all his nobles and those he was familiar with, because the graces of God were more excellent in him than in others.

3. was preferred] distinguished himself, or (R.V.) was distinguished. The root idea of the word is to shine, hence to be illustrious. It is common in Syriac in the sense of praeclare se gessit, representing for instance the Greek διαλάμπειν, εὐδοκιμεῖν, εὐδοξεῖν (Payne Smit[265] col. 2438). ‘Was preferred’ means here was advanced or promoted, in accordance with the old sense of ‘prefer,’ preserved now only in ‘preferment’; see Esther 2:9; John 1:15; John 1:27; and the Bible Word-Book.

[265] yne Smith R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus.

princes] satraps. Song of Solomon vv4, 6, 7.

an excellent spirit] a surpassing spirit, as Daniel 5:12.

Daniel 6:3In this situation Daniel excelled all the presidents and satraps. אתנצּח, to show one's self prominent. Regarding his excellent spirit, cf. Daniel 5:12. On that account the king thought to set him over the whole kingdom, i.e., to make him chief ruler of the kingdom, to make him למּלך משׁנה (Esther 10:3). עשׁית for עשׁת, intrans. form of the Peal, to think, to consider about anything. This intention of the king stirred up the envy of the other presidents and of the satraps, so that they sought to find an occasion against Daniel, that he might be cast down. עלּה, an occasion; here, as αἰτία, John 18:38; Matthew 27:37, an occasion for impeachment, מלוּתא מצּד, on the part of the kingdom, i.e., not merely in a political sense, but with regard to his holding a public office in the kingdom, with reference to his service. But since they could find no occasion against Daniel in this respect, for he was מהימן, faithful, to be relied on, and no fault could be charged against him, they sought occasion against him on the side of his particular religion, in the matter of the law of his God, i.e., in his worship of God.
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