Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard…
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. In this section Daniel is the principal actor; and as he moves through the successive scenes of this part of the sacred drama, his character shines like the light, and may illumine for us the path of life. We shall, therefore, keep him prominent throughout. Observe Daniel -
I. IN THE SHADE.
1. The position. Although Daniel had been trained for distinguished services, pronounced by the king to excel all the magi (Daniel 1:20), he was forgotten by the king, ignored by his fellows of the magian college through jealousy, only discovered to share a common ruin. This was a picture of the trials of his whole career. Daniel the eminent had to contend with the jealousy of the mean. This spirit begot the attempt to cast his companions into the burning fiery furnace. Years after it throws him to the lions. So now the captain of the king's guard "sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
2. The moral attitude. Daniel was ever animated by a sense of duty, and more by a readiness to serve those who either neglected or opposed him.
3. The providential call. At the critical moment God, in wisdom and love, supervened and intervened; broke the meshes of the confining net; and called the saint out into that ministry for which he was intellectually and spiritually fit, and also morally ready.
II. AT THE KING'S GATE.
1. The calm spirit of Daniel. There was much to exasperate in the whole situation. Cruel death was impending. But Daniel lived high above events in a serene heaven of the soul, and was, therefore, prepared to come down into the incidents of life, and act with the best effect.
2. His use of means. To act well in great emergencies requires the coolness of spiritual wisdom. Daniel:
(1) Had conference with Arioch.
(2) Sent a respectful message to the king. (We understand that Daniel did not go himself, till later, actually into the presence of the king, but sent in the request by the proper officer.)
3. His success. This may be attributed especially to three causes, note specially the last:
(1) The king's remembrance of Daniel.
(2) The awakening of a great hope in the king's breast.
(3) The hearts of men are in the keeping of God.
III. WITH HIS OWN COMPANY.
1. The prayer. Here observe:
(1) Daniel did not delay. He lost no time. He did not go to consult with the magi, whether there was anything in their art, in their books, that might be of use in the matter. With some men prayer is the last resort instead of the first.
(2) Resolved to make the difficulty a matter of prayer.
(3) Fell back into the soul fellowship to which he belonged. (ver. 17).
(4) Seemed the power of united supplication.
In the prayer itself the following specialities are suggestive:
(1) It kept prominent the exalted supremacy of God.
(2) It appealed to his mercies."
(3) It went upon the principle of committing all that troubles us to God.
(4) It concerned a great public interest. But
(5) one in which the private safety of the petitioners was involved.
2. The prevalence. The all-important fact is that the prayer was answered. The answer was revealed either in a dream, or more probably in a waking vision of the night; and the vision was no doubt accompanied by a clear attestation of the truth of it. Can any one doubt the possibility of such revelation, who has realized to himself the nearness of the Eternal to the human mind?
3. The praise. This was:
(1) Instantaneous. Daniel did not wait till he had verified the dream by audience with the king. As soon as ever he received the mercy, he was ready to praise.
(2) Full. Matthew Henry puts it well.
(a) Daniel gives to God the glory of what he is in himself.
(b) Of what he is to the world of mankind.
(c) Of this particular discovery.
(3) Sympathetic. Friends were associated in the praise, as in the prayer.
IV. IN THE KING'S CLOSET. Here we have Daniel, the living representative of what a true prophet should be. He is not only a type of him whom technically we call a prophet, but of every one who is for God the mouthpiece of vital truth to man. Before the king:
1. He sinks himself. (Ver. 30.)
2. He forgives personal adversaries. (Ver. 24.)
3. He is forward to put down all that exalts itself against God. (Ver. 27.)
4. He has a sense of the moment of his message. (Vers. 2:8, 29.)
5. He glorifies God. (Ver. 28.) - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: