Daniel 6:6
Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
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(6) Assembled.—See margin. Such conduct was very unusual in Eastern Courts, where, as a rule, the strictest decorum and order was preserved. This breach of etiquette must have prepared the king to expect some terrible crisis in the State.

6:6-10 To forbid prayer for thirty days, is, for so long, to rob God of all the tribute he has from man, and to rob man of all the comfort he has in God. Does not every man's heart direct him, when in want or distress, to call upon God? We could not live a day without God; and can men live thirty days without prayer? Yet it is to be feared that those who, without any decree forbidding them, present no hearty, serious petitions to God for more than thirty days together, are far more numerous than those who serve him continually, with humble, thankful hearts. Persecuting laws are always made on false pretences; but it does not become Christians to make bitter complaints, or to indulge in revilings. It is good to have hours for prayer. Daniel prayed openly and avowedly; and though a man of vast business, he did not think that would excuse him from daily exercises of devotion. How inexcusable are those who have but little to do in the world, yet will not do thus much for their souls! In trying times we must take heed, lest, under pretence of discretion, we are guilty of cowardice in the cause of God. All who throw away their souls, as those certainly do that live without prayer, even if it be to save their lives, at the end will be found to be fools. Nor did Daniel only pray, and not give thanks, cutting off some part of the service to make the time of danger shorter; but he performed the whole. In a word, the duty of prayer is founded upon the sufficiency of God as an almighty Creator and Redeemer, and upon our wants as sinful creatures. To Christ we must turn our eyes. Thither let the Christian look, thither let him pray, in this land of his captivity.Then these presidents and princes assembled together - Margin, came tumultuously. The margin expresses the proper meaning of the original word - רגשׁ râgash - to run together with tumult. Why they came together in that manner is not stated. Bertholdt suggests that it means that they came in a procession, or in a body, to the king; but there is undoubtedly the idea of their doing it with haste, or with an appearance of great earnestness or excitement. Perhaps they imagined that they would be more likely to carry the measure if proposed as something that demanded immediate action, or something wherein it appeared that the very safety of the king was involved, than if it were proposed in a sedate and calm manner. If it were suggested in such a way as to seem to admit of deliberation, perhaps the suspicion of the king might be aroused, or he might have asked questions as to the ground of the necessity of such a law, which it might not have been easy to answer.

King Darius, live for ever - The usual way of saluting a monarch. See the note at Daniel 2:4.

6. assembled together—literally, "assembled hastily and tumultuously." Had they come more deliberately, the king might have refused their grant; but they gave him no time for reflection, representing that their test-decree was necessary for the safety of the king.

live for ever—Arrian [Alexander, 4] records that Cyrus was the first before whom prostration was practised. It is an undesigned mark of genuineness that Daniel should mention no prostration before Nebuchadnezzar or Darius (see on [1092]Da 3:9).

No text from Poole on this verse.

Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king,.... Having consulted the matter, and agreed upon and formed a scheme among themselves, and drawn up a bill or decree in form, ready to be signed by the king, whom they hoped to persuade to it; and for that end they got together, and went in a body to him. The word (b) signifies to assemble in a tumultuous and noisy way; they thought, by their number and noise, their bustle and bluster, to carry their point. Ben Melech compares it with Psalm 2:2,

and said thus unto him, O King Darius, live for ever; this they said as courtiers, professing subjection to him, and affection for him, wishing him health, long life, and happiness.

(b) "tumultuarie convenerunt", Montanus; "cum tumultu accurrerent", De Dieu; "convenerunt gregatim et cum strepitu", Gejerus.

Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
6. assembled together] came thronging (A.V. marg.; R.V. marg. came tumultuously). The word occurs several times in the Aramaic of the Targums, where it corresponds to Heb. words signifying to be in commotion or tumult, as Psalm 46:6, ‘nations were in tumult,’ Ruth 1:9, ‘and all the inhabitants of the city were in commotion on account of them’; and it occurs once in Heb., Psalm 2:1, ‘Why do the nations throng tumultuously?[266]’ The expression is thus a more vivid and graphic one than would be inferred from the rend. of A.V.: the courtiers, in their animosity against Daniel, are represented as flocking tumultuously to the king, for the purpose of gaining his co-operation in their plan.

[266] Cf. the cogn. subst. throng, Psalm 55:14 (so R.V.), Psalm 64:2 (R.V. ‘tumult,’ marg. ‘throng’).

live for ever] see on Daniel 2:4.

Verses 6-9 - Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not, Wherefore King Darius signed the writing and the decree. The Septuagint, in regard to those verses, is much briefer, and reveals a better text. "Then those men came and said before the king, We have made a decree and a statute, that any man who offereth prayer or presents petition to any god for the space of thirty days, save only to Darius the king, shall be cast into the den of lions; and thus Darius decreed, and confirmed it." The fact that requests to uther men are not forbidden is to be observed. The long catalogue of officials is omitted; the whole conspiracy is the work of Daniel's co-presidents. Theodotion and the Peshitta are in practical agreement with the Massoretic text. To understand the point of this decree, that seems to us so absurd, and comprehend how any one with sufficient mental vigour left to be placed by Cyrus as governor in Babylon could be led to yield to confirm it, we must recognize the state of matters in Babylon. During the reign of Nabunahid there had been many religious changes. The seclusion of the monarch had led to the neglect of many of the regular rites of the gods of Babil. The policy he pursued of bringing the gods of various provinces to Babylon tended, as did the similar policy in Rome, to draw off from the importance of the national religion by forming rival cults. One of the first acts of Cyrus's reign was to order the replacing of these deities in their ancient shrines. This would necessarily be most distasteful to the worshippers of these imported deities. There would be much murmuring among the huge heterogeneous population; and there would be thus a well-grounded fear of a religious riot. A bold soldier as Gobryas (Darius) was, he probably was but a timid ruler, and nothing would he dread more than a religious riot. Would it not be a plausible way of meeting this difficulty to order for one month all worship to cease? The British Government in India regulates the religion of the inhabitants as summarily, forbidding religious observances that are liable to cause excitement in votaries of rival creeds. Thus Moses assigned, as a reason for refusing to sacrifice in Egypt, the wrath of the Egyptians (Exodus 8:26). The offering of a prayer among heathen peoples generally meant the offering of sacrifices, also accompanied possibly by processions. That the decree was made by Darius in the absence of his favourite minister might have two reasons: either from the fact that the word used (hargishoo) implies that the presidents rushed in tumultuously into the royal presence; that there was an emergency which must be met by instant action; or that, being a weak man, he did not wish his other counsellors to think that he was so under the influence of this Jew that he could do nothing without first consulting him; so, by way of showing his independence, he signed the decree. As for the practical deification of himself required from the subject races, that would not appear to him a matter of importance. It might even seem to him as the surest way of doing away with the rancour of religious rivalries to give these conflicting creeds a common object. He, Gobryas, was the representative of Cyrus, in whom deity was incarnate, therefore let them worship him in his representative capacity. That Daniel should be affected by this decree might easily never occur to Gobryas Jewish worship, now that the temple at Jerusalem was in ruins, must have become very much the synagogue worship of the present day. A worship that had neither idols nor sacrifices, neither temple nor altar, would seem to the Babylonians, and for that matter to the Medians and Persians also, as much the same as atheism. Christianity seemed so to the Roman Government. Darius, then, would readily think that Daniel could make no serious objection to this order That Daniel always spoke of a God in heaven did not matter much, since, to all appearance, he never worshipped him. Some have maintained that the punishment was an impossible one. It is certain that Asshur-bani-pal inflicted a similar punishment on Saulmugina, a rebel King of Babylon, and did it in honour of the gods. The main objection has been urged from the mistaken assumption that the text implies that the lions' den was a bottle shaped dungeon. There is nothing in the narrative that necessitates this. In regard to the decree, there is reference to the "laws of the Medea and Persians," "the Medea" being placed first. It has been attributed to court flattery, as Darius was a Merle; probably, however, there may be another explanation. The small canton of Ansan, over which Cyrus was king, lay between Elam and Media, but belonged more to the former than to the latter of these countries. Both countries bad been overrun by a nomadic race, the Manda, under Astyages, who had overthrown Cyaxarcs the King of Media. Against Astyages Cyrus rebelled, and gathered to him the Medea, Elamites, and other cognate races. Dr. Winckler thinks that, on his victory over Astyages, Cyrus assumed the name Persian, Parsu, from his race. The name Parsua appears in connection with the Medea in an inscription of Shalmaneser, where it seems to indicate a small kingdom occupying much the same geographical posit;on as Ansan. By taking this old name, not impossibly Cyrus avoided making the Medea feel themselves subject to the Elamites, or the Elamites to the Medea, or either to the little kingdom of Ansan. The Median had comparatively recently been an imperial power, therefore its laws and constitution would be placed before the more recently prominent Persian. One thing that must be observed is that, while the writer of Daniel mentions Medea separate from Persians, he mentions them conjointly. Had the writer been under the delusion attributed to him by all critical interpreters, that the Median Empire came between the Babylonian and the Persian, he would not have represented the Median courtiers as saying anything about the Persians or their laws; the Medes, and the Medea alone, would be considered. According to the Greek account, from which it is alleged Daniel drew his information, Persia was a small, undeveloped country before Cyrus raised it to empire. What right, then, would it have to have its laws mentioned in the same breath with those of imperial Media? If, however, Cyrus had been raised to such power, so as to be able to encounter successfully Astyages and his Scythian hordes by the adhesion to his cause of the Medea, the laws of the Medea might well get a preference, as the Medea were, in all probability, more numerous than the Persians, though the laws of the Persians would be mentioned. The claim that these laws were immutable must be regarded as on a par with several other Eastern exaggerations. Signed the writing and the decree. The reading of the Septuagint seems superior, "And so King Darius decreed (ἔστησε), and confirmed it." At the same time, the verb resham, translated "sign," really means "engrave," and therefore might naturally enough be used for affixing a seal to a clay tablet; only hetham is the word usually used for "sealing" a document. Behrmann thinks it does not refer to the signature of the sovereign, but to the engraving the decree on the clay. If we imagine yeqeem to have fallen out before "sara, we have a reading not unlike the LXX. In the seventh verse there is a list of officials omitted from the Septuagint; it is almost identical in members with that which we find in ch. 3, but in a slightly different order, only the sareqeen are added and the edargazereen omitted. Daniel 6:6For this end they induced the king to sanction and ratify with all the forms of law a decree, which they contrived as the result of the common consultation of all the high officers, that for thirty days no man in the kingdom should offer a prayer to any god or man except to the king, on pain of being cast into the den of lions, and to issue this command as a law of the Medes and Persians, i.e., as an irrevocable law. הרגּשׁ, from רגשׁ to make a noise, to rage, in Aphel c. על, to assail one in a tumultuous manner, i.e., to assault him. "These presidents and satraps (princes)," v. 7 (Daniel 6:6), in v. 6 (Daniel 6:5) designated "these men," and not the whole body of the presidents and satraps, are, according to v. 5 (Daniel 6:4), the special enemies of Daniel, who wished to overthrow him. It was only a definite number of them who may have had occasion to be dissatisfied with Daniel's service. The words of the text do not by any means justify the supposition that the whole council of state assembled, and in corpore presented themselves before the king (Hvernick); for neither in v. 5 (Daniel 6:4) nor in v. 7 (Daniel 6:6) is mention made of all (כּל) the presidents and satraps. From the fact also that these accusers of Daniel, v. 25 (Daniel 6:24), represent to the king that the decree they had framed was the result of a consultation of all the prefects of the kingdom, it does not follow that all the satraps and chief officers of the whole kingdom had come to Babylon in order, as Dereser thinks, to lay before the three overseers the annual account of their management of the affairs of their respective provinces, on which occasion they took counsel together against Daniel; from which circumstance Hitzig and others derive an argument against the historical veracity of the narrative. The whole connection of the narrative plainly shows that the authors of the accusation deceived the king. The council of state, or the chief court, to which all the satraps had to render an account, consisted of three men, of whom Daniel was one. But Daniel certainly was not called to this consultation; therefore their pretence, that all "presidents of the kingdom" had consulted on the matter, was false. Besides, they deceived the king in this, that they concealed from him the intention of the decree, or misled him regarding it. אתיעט means not merely that they consulted together, but it includes the result of the consultation: they were of one mind (Hitz.).
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