Daniel 6

1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, who should be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one; that these satraps might give account to them, and that the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find occasion against Daniel as touching the kingdom; but they could find no occasion nor fault, because he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. 6 Then these presidents and satraps assembled together to the king, and said thus to him, King Darius, live forever. 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the satraps, the counselors and the governors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a strong decree, that whoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except of you, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which doesn’t alter. 9 Therefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. 10 When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his room towards Jerusalem) and he knelt on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before. 11 Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. 12 Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning the king’s decree: Haven’t you signed a decree that every man who makes a petition to any god or man within thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which doesn’t alter. 13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, doesn’t respect you, O king, nor the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day. 14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was very displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored until the going down of the sun to rescue him. 15 Then these men assembled together to the king, and said to the king, Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians, that no decree nor statute which the king establishes may be changed. 16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. The king spoke and said to Daniel, Your God whom you serve continually, he will deliver you. 17 A stone was brought, and laid on the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep fled from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 When he came near to the den to Daniel, he cried with a lamentable voice; the king spoke and said to Daniel, Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whom you serve continually, able to deliver you from the lions? 21 Then Daniel said to the king, O king, live forever. 22 My God has sent his angel, and has shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me; because as before him innocence was found in me; and also before you, O king, I have done no hurt. 23 Then was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 The king commanded, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions mauled them, and broke all their bones in pieces, before they came to the bottom of the den. 25 Then king Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth: peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast forever, His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; and his dominion shall be even to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues, and he works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 11-17

It is no new thing for what is done faithfully, in conscience toward God, to be misrepresented as done obstinately, and in contempt of the civil powers. Through want of due thought, we often do that which afterwards, like Darius, we see cause a thousand times to wish undone again. Daniel, that venerable man, is brought as the vilest of malefactors, and is thrown into the den of lions, to be devoured, only for worshipping his God. No doubt the placing the stone was ordered by the providence of God, that the miracle of Daniel’s deliverance might appear more plain; and the king sealed it with his own signet, probably lest Daniel’s enemies should kill him. Let us commit our lives and souls unto God, in well-doing. We cannot place full confidence even in men whom we faithfully serve; but believers may, in all cases, be sure of the Divine favour and consolation.

Verses 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.

Verses 25-28

If we live in the fear of God, and walk according to that rule, peace shall be upon us. The kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever, are the Lord’s; but many are employed in making known his wonderful works to others, who themselves remain strangers to his saving grace. May we be doers, as well as believers of his word, least at the last we should be found to have deceived ourselves.

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