Cambridge Bible Driver
Dan 6:1. an hundred and twenty satraps] see on Dan_3:2. No other notice of this organization has come down to us. The Persian empire was first organised into provinces under ‘satraps’ by Darius Hystaspis (522–485 b.c.); and then the satrapies were only 20 in number (Herod. iii. 89). The statement, upon independent grounds, is not probable; and if it is true that there was no king ‘Darius the Mede,’ some error or confusion must manifestly underlie it. It may have been suggested by the 127 provinces, into which, according to Est_1:1; Est_8:9, the Persian empire was divided under Xerxes.
Cambridge Bible Driver
2. three presidents] Aram. sârak, prob. a form derived from the Pers. sâr, ‘head,’ ‘chief,’ ‘prince.’ In the O.T. it is found only in this chap. (Dan_6:2-4; Dan_6:6-7): in the Targums it stands often for the Heb. shôṭçr, ‘officer,’ as Exo_5:6; Exo_5:10; Deu_1:15; Deu_20:5; Jos_1:10; Pro_6:7 (‘overseer’).
was first] was one: so R.V. rightly.
that these satraps might give account unto them] strictly, might be giving account, i.e. might be permanently answerable to them, that the interests and revenues of the king were properly guarded. No such officials are mentioned elsewhere,—except in so far as they may be regarded as the successors of the three Babylonian ministers, presupposed in Dan_5:7; Dan_5:16; Dan_5:29. Darius Hystaspis, as a check upon his satraps, appointed in each satrapy an independent military commandant, and a royal ‘scribe,’ or secretary, whose business it was to report to the king the doings of the satrap (Hdt. iii. 128; Rawl., Anc. Mon.4 iii. 424).
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 Dan_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.
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel – The word rendered “occasion” (עלה ‛illâh) means a pretext or pretence. “The Arabs use the word of any business or affair which serves as a cause or pretext for neglecting another business.” – Gesenius, Lexicon The meaning is, that they sought to find some plausible pretext or reason in respect to Daniel, by which the contemplated appointment might be prevented, and by which he might be effectually humbled. No one who is acquainted with the intrigues of cabinets and courts can have any doubts as to the probability of what is here stated. Nothing has been more common in the world than intrigues of this kind to humble a rival, and to bring down those who are meritorious to a state of degradation. The cause of the plot here laid seems to have been mere envy and jealousy – and perhaps the consideration that Daniel was a foreigner, and was one of a despised people held in captivity. “Concerning the kingdom.” In respect to the administration of the kingdom. They sought to find evidence of malversation in office, or abuse of power, or attempts at personal aggrandizement, or inattention to the duties of the office. This is literally “from the side of the kingdom;” and the meaning is, that the accusation was sought in that quarter, or in that respect. No other charge would be likely to be effectual, except one which pertained to maladministration in office.
But they could find none occasion nor fault – This is an honorable testimony to the fidelity of Daniel, and to the uprightness of his character. If there had been any malversation in office, it would have been detected by these men.
We shall not find any occasion … – We shall not find any pretext or any cause by which he may be humbled and degraded. They were satisfied of his integrity, and they saw it was vain to hope to accomplish their purposes by any attack on his moral character, or any charge against him in respect to the manner in which he had discharged the duties of his office.
Except we find it against him concerning the law of his God – Unless it be in respect to his religion; unless we can so construe his known conscientiousness in regard to his religion as to make that a proof of his unwillingness to obey the king. It occurred to them that such was his well-understood faithfulness in his religious duties, and his conscientiousness, that they might expect that, whatever should occur, he would be found true to his God, and that this might be a basis of calculation in any measure they might propose for his downfall. His habits seem to have been well understood, and his character was so fixed that they could proceed on this as a settled matter in their plans against him. The only question was, how to construe his conduct in this respect as criminal, or how to make the king listen to any accusation against him on this account, for his religious views were well known when he was appointed to office; the worship of the God of Daniel was not prohibited by the laws of the realm, and it would not be easy to procure a law directly and avowedly prohibiting that.
It is not probable that the king would have consented to pass such a law directly proposed – a law which would have been so likely to produce disturbance, and when no plausible ground could have been alleged for it. There was another method, however, which suggested itself to these crafty counselors – which was, while they did not seem to aim absolutely and directly to have that worship prohibited, to approach the king with a proposal that would be flattering to his vanity, and that, perhaps, might be suggested as a test question, showing the degree of esteem in which he was held in the empire, and the willingness of his subjects to obey him. By proposing a law that, for a limited period, no one should be allowed to present a petition of any kind to anyone except to the king himself, the object would be accomplished. A vain monarch could be prevailed on to pass such a law, and this could be represented to him as a measure not improper in order to test his subjects as to their willingness to show him respect and obedience; and at the same time it would be certain to effect the purpose against Daniel – for they had no doubt that he would adhere steadfastly to the principles of his religion, and to his well-known habits of worship. This plan was, therefore, crafty in the extreme, and was the highest tribute that could be paid to Daniel. It would be well if the religious character and the fixed habits of all who profess religion were so well understood that it was absolutely certain that no accusation could lie against them on any other ground, but that their adherence to their religious principles could be calculated on as a basis of action, whatever might be the consequences.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
Assembled together – literally, ‘assembled hastily and tumultuously’ [ raagash (H7283)], to make a tumult. 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. King Darius, live forever. Arrian (4) records that Cyrus was the first before whom prostration was practiced. It is an undesigned mark of genuineness that Daniel should mention no prostration before Nebuchadnezzar or Darius (see note, Dan_3:9).
Cambridge Bible Driver
7. All the presidents] of course, with the exception of Daniel, who was one of them (Dan_6:2). But the misrepresentation may be meant to be intentional, as though to lead the king to suppose that the proposal had Daniel’s approval.
the governors, and the princes, the counsellers and the captains] the praefects (Dan_2:48), and the satraps, the ministers (Dan_3:24), and the governors (Dan_3:2). Cf. the enumeration of officials in Dan_3:2-3; Dan_3:27.
to establish a royal statute] Of course, indirectly,—by prevailing upon the king to take action. A.V. marg. ‘that the king should establish a statute, and make’ &c., expresses the meaning more distinctly; but it is a less natural rendering of the Aramaic.
and to make a firm decree] and to make a stringent interdict. ‘Interdict’ (so A.V. marg., and R.V.) is lit. a binding, or restraining; and almost the same word is used in Num_30:2-4, &c. of a restraining vow (A.V., R.V., ‘bond’). The passive partic. of the cognate verb is common in the Mishna in the sense of ‘prohibited.’
a petition] The meaning probably is, not any petition absolutely, but any petition of the nature of a prayer, or request addressed formally to a superior. The interdict has been deemed an incredible one; but some allowance must be made for what an oriental despot might prescribe in a freak of humour. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that the king should accede so readily to the proposal made to him, without either consulting the minister whose judgement he specially trusted (Dan_6:3), or reflecting upon the difficulties in which it might involve him.
the den of lions] the reference is “to the custom which existed already among the Assyrians, and from them was passed on to the Persians, of keeping lions for the chase” (Bevan): cf. Eze_19:9. The word rendered ‘den’ means properly a pit or dungeon: see the Targ. of Gen_37:22; Jer_38:6-7; and cf. Dan_6:23 (‘taken up’), and Dan_6:24, end.
All the presidents of the kingdom, the governor … – Several functionaries are enumerated here who are not in the previous verses, as having entered into the conspiracy. It is possible, indeed, that all these different classes of officers had been consulted, and had concurred in asking the enactment of the proposed law; but it is much more probable that the leaders merely represented or affirmed what is here said in order to be more certain of the enactment of the law. If represented as proposed by all the officers of the realm, they appear to have conceived that there would be no hesitation on the part of Darius in granting the request. They could not but be conscious that it was an unusual request, and that it might appear unreasonable, and hence, they seem to have used every precaution to make the passing of the law certain.
Have consulted together to establish a royal statute – Or, that such a statute might be established. They knew that it could be established only by the king himself, but they were in the habit, doubtless, of recommending such laws as they supposed would be for the good of the realm.
And to make a firm decree – Margin, interdict. The word used (אסר ‘ĕsâr – from אסר ‘âsar – to bind, make fast) means, properly, a binding; then anything which is binding or obligatory – as a prohibition, an interdict, a law.
That whosoever shall ask – Any one of any rank. The real purpose was to involve Daniel in disgrace, but in order to do this it was necessary to make the prohibition universal – as Herod, in order to be sure that he had cut off the infant king of the Jews, was under a necessity of destroying all the children in the place.
Of any god or man – This would include all the gods acknowledged in Babylon, and all foreign divinities.
For thirty days – The object of this limitation of time was perhaps twofold:
(1) they would be sure to accomplish their purpose in regard to Daniel, for they understood his principles and habits so well that they had no doubt that within that three he would be found engaged in the worship of his God; and
(2) it would not do to make the law perpetual, and to make it binding longer than thirty days might expose them to the danger of popular tumults. It was easy enough to see that such a law could not be long enforced, yet they seem to have supposed that the people would acquiesce in it for so brief a period as one month. Unreasonable though it might be regarded, yet for so short a space of time it might be expected that it would be patiently submitted to.
Save of thee, O king – Perhaps either directly, or through some minister of the realm.
He shall be cast into the den of lions – The word “den” (גוב gôb) means, properly, a pit, or cistern; and the idea is that the den was underground, probably a cave constructed for that purpose. It was made with so narrow an entrance that it could be covered with a stone, and made perfectly secure, Dan_6:17. “The enclosures of wild beasts,” says Bertholdt, pp. 397, 398, “especially of lions,” which the kings of Asia and of North-western Africa formerly had, as they have at the present day, were generally constructed underground, but were ordinarily caves which had been excavated for the purpose, wailed up at the sides, enclosed within a wall through which a door led from the outer wall to the space lying between the walls, within which persons could pass round and contemplate the wild beasts.” “The emperor of Morocco says Host (Beschreibung von Marokos und Fess, p. 290, as quoted in Rosenmuller’s Morgenland, in loc.), “has a cave for lions,” – Lowengrube – into which men sometimes, and especially, Jews, are cast; but they commonly came up again uninjured, for the overseers of the lions are commonly Jews, and they have a sharp instrument in their hands, and with this they can pass among them, if they are careful to keep their faces toward the lions, for a lion will not allow one to turn his back to him.
The other Jews will not allow their brethren to remain longer in such a cave than one night, for the lions would be too hungry, but they redeem their brethren out of the cave by the payment of money – which, in fact, is the object of the emperor.” In another place (p. 77), he describes one of these caves. “In one end of the enclosure is a place for ostriches and their young ones, and at the other end toward the mountain is a cave for lions, which stands in a large cavern in the earth that has a division wall, in the midst of which is a door, which the Jews who have the charge of the lions can open and close from above, and, by means of food, they entice the lions from one room into another, that they may have the opportunity of cleaning the cage. It is all under the open sky.” Under what pretext the crafty counselors induced the king to ratify this statute is not stated. Some one or all of the following things may have induced the monarch to sign the decree:
(1) The law proposed was in a high degree flattering to the king, and he may have been ready at once to sign a decree which for the time gave him a supremacy over gods and men. If Alexander the Great desired to be adored as a god, then it is not improbable that a proud and weak Persian monarch would be willing to receive a similar tribute. Xerxes did things more foolish than what is here attributed to Darius. Instances of this are not wanting. Of Holofernes, in Judith 3:8, it is said that he “had decreed to destroy all the gods of the land, that all nations should worship Nabuchodonosor only, and that all tongues and tribes should call upon him as god.”
(2) It may have occurred to him, or may have been suggested, that this was an effectual way to test the readiness of his subjects to obey and honor him. Some such test, it may have been urged, was not improper, and this would determine what was the spirit of obedience as well as any other.
(3) More probably, however, it may have been represented that there was some danger of insubordination, or some conspiracy among the people, and that it was necessary that the sovereign should issue some mandate which would at once and effectually quell it. It may have been urged that there was danger of a revolt, and that it would be an effectual way of preventing it to order that whoever should solicit any favor of anyone but the king should be punished, for this would bring all matters at once before him, and secure order. The haste and earnestness with which they urged their request would rather seem to imply that there was a representation that some sudden occasion had arisen which made the enactment of such a statute proper.
(4) Or the king may have been in the habit of signing the decrees proposed by his counselors with little hesitation, and, lost in ease and sensuality, and perceiving only that this proposed law was flattering to himself, and not deliberating on what might be its possible result, he may have signed it at once.
Cambridge Bible Driver
10. and his windows, &c.] more exactly, and also more clearly, now he had in his roof-chamber open windows fronting Jerusalem. The clause is parenthetical, and describes the constant and habitual arrangement of Daniel’s windows.
roof-chamber] usually rendered upper chamber, which however does not at all suggest to an English reader what is intended. The ‘roof-chamber’ was (and still is) an apartment ‘raised above the flat roof of a house at one corner, or upon a tower like annex to the building, with latticed windows giving free circulation to the air’ (Moore on Jdg_3:20). It was thus cool in summer (Judg. l. c.), and a part of the house to which anyone would naturally retire if he wished to be undisturbed (cf. 1Ki_17:19; 2Ki_1:2; 2Ki_4:10-11). In the N.T. the roof-chamber is mentioned as a place of meeting for prayer (Act_1:13; Act_20:8; cf. Act_10:9 : see also Act_9:37; Act_9:39). Comp. Thomson’s The Land and the Book, ed. 2, ii. 634, 636 (with an illustration).
open] i.e., either without lattices at all, or without fixed lattices (cf. 2Ki_1:2; 2Ki_13:17) opp. to ‘closed windows’ (Eze_40:16; Eze_41:16; Eze_41:26), or ‘windows with closed wood-work’ (1Ki_6:4), the lattices of which did not admit of being opened.
toward Jerusalem] To pray, turning towards Jerusalem—or, if in Jerusalem, towards the Temple—became in later times a standing Jewish custom: we do not know how early it began; but it was based doubtless upon 1Ki_8:35; 1Ki_8:38; 1Ki_8:44; 1Ki_8:48 (in this verse with reference to exiles in a foreign land), cf. Psa_5:7; Psa_28:2. The custom is alluded to in the Mishna (Běrâchôth, iv. 5, 6); and in Sifrê 71b it is said that those in foreign lands turn in prayer towards the land of Israel, those in the land of Israel towards Jerusalem, and those in Jerusalem towards the Temple. Mohammed at first commanded his disciples to pray towards Jerusalem; but afterwards he altered the ḳibla (‘facing-point’) to Mecca.
and he continued kneeling.… and praying, and giving thanks before his God, forasmuch as he had been wont to do (it) aforetime] inasmuch as it had been his regular custom, he still adhered to it.
three times a day] Cf. Psa_55:17 (‘at evening, and at morning, and at noonday will I complain and moan’). In later times, the three hours of prayer were—not as is often supposed, the third, sixth and ninth hours, but—the time when the morning burnt-offering was offered (תפלת שחר), in the afternoon at the ninth hour (our three o’clock; cf. Act_3:1; Act_10:30), when the evening meal-offering was offered (תפלת מנחה), and sunset (תפלת הערב) see Schürer, ii. 237. The custom may well have arisen before the 2nd cent. b.c. On the prayers which, at least in later days, were used at the three times, see Hamburger, Real-Encyclop. vol. vii., arts. Morgen-, Mincha-, and Abendgebet.
before his God] a usage of the later Jews (as in the Targum constantly), who, from a feeling of greater reverence, said ‘to speak, pray, confess, &c. before God,’ rather than ‘to Him.’ Cf. Dan_6:22, end; also Dan_2:9, with the note. The later Jews even extended the same usage to cases in which God was really the agent: cf. Mat_11:26 (οὔτως ἐγένετο εὐδοκία ἔηπροσθέν σου) Mat_18:14 (see R.V. marg.); Luk_12:6 (ἐπιλελησμένον ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ); Num_14:8 Onk. (‘if there is good pleasure in us before Jehovah’); and see Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, pp. 172–174.
Cambridge Bible Driver
16. Now the king spake, &c.] The king answered, &c. The asyndetic construction is characteristic of the Aramaic portion of the book: Dan_3:19; Dan_3:24; Dan_3:26, Dan_5:7; Dan_5:13, Dan_6:20 (notice italics in A.V.), al.
he will deliver thee] Rather, may he (emph.) deliver thee! The king hopes, even against hope, that Daniel may by some means or other be spared his fate. Throughout the narrative Darius shews solicitude for Daniel (cf. Dan_6:14; Dan_6:18-20). He does not willingly consign him to death: he has been entrapped by his courtiers; and in acting as he has done, he has merely, like Herod (Mat_14:9), yielded to what he supposes to be the necessities of his position.
….Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God … – What is here stated is in accordance with what is said in Dan_6:14, that the king sought earnestly to deliver Daniel from the punishment. He had entire confidence in him, and he expressed that to the last. As to the question of probability whether Darius, a pagan, would attempt to comfort Daniel with the hope that he would be delivered, and would express the belief that this would be done by that God whom he served, and in whose cause he was about to be exposed to peril, it may be remarked,
(1) That it was a common thing among the pagan to believe in the interposition of the gods in favor of the righteous, and particularly in favor of their worshippers. See Homer, passim. Hence, it was that they called on them; that they committed themselves to them in battle and in peril; that they sought their aid by sacrifices and by prayers. No one can doubt that such a belief prevailed, and that the mind of Darius, in accordance with the prevalent custom, might be under its influence.
(2) Darius, undoubtedly, in accordance with the prevailing belief, regarded the God whom Daniel worshipped as a god, though not as exclusively the true God. He had the same kind of confidence in him that he had in any god worshipped by foreigners – and probably regarded him as the tutelary divinity of the land of Palestine, and of the Hebrew people. As he might consistently express this belief in reference to any foreign divinity, there is no improbability that he would in reference to the God worshipped by Daniel.
(3) He had the utmost confidence both in the integrity and the piety of Daniel; and as he believed that the gods interposed in human affairs, and as he saw in Daniel an eminent instance of devotedness to his God, he did not doubt that in such a case it might be hoped that he would save him.
Cambridge Bible Driver
17. sealed it with his own signet] seals were in common use alike among the Assyrians, Babylonians (cf. Hdt. i. 195, ‘every one has a seal’), and Persians; and numbers, especially from Babylonia and Assyria, have been brought to European museums during the past half century. The signet cylinder of Darius Hystaspis represented the king as engaged in a lion hunt (Rawlinson, Anc. Mon. iii. 226, 227). Cf. (in Israel) 1Ki_21:8; and (in Persia) Est_3:12; Est_8:8; Est_8:10.
that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel (R.V.)] i.e. that nothing might be done, either by the king, or by anyone else, to rescue Daniel. The word, meaning properly will, purpose, is here used in the weakened sense of thing, which it has in the Aramaic of Palmyra (Lidzbarski, Handbuch der Nordsemitischen Epigraphik (1898), p. 464, l. 6, ‘about these things’), as well as constantly in Syriac, as Sir_32:19 (Pesh.) ‘Do not anything without counsel.’
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting – Daniel was probably cast into the den soon after the going down of the sun, Dan_6:14. It was not unusual to have suppers then late at night, as it is now in many places. The great anxiety of the king, however, on account of what had occurred, prevented him from participating in the usual evening meal. As to the probability of what is here affirmed, no one can have any doubt who credits the previous statements. In the consciousness of wrong done to a worthy officer of the government; in the deep anxiety which he had to deliver him; in the excitement which must have existed against the cunning and wicked authors of the plot to deceive the king and to ruin Daniel; and in his solicitude and hope that after all Daniel might escape, there is a satisfactory reason for the facts stated that he had no desire for food; that instruments of music were not brought before him; and that he passed a sleepless night.
Neither were instruments of music brought before him – It was usual among the ancients to have music at their meals. This custom prevailed among the Greeks and Romans, and doubtless was common in the Oriental world. It should be observed, however, that there is considerable variety in the interpretation of the word here rendered instruments of music – דחון dachăvân. The margin is table. The Latin Vulgate, “He slept supperless, neither was food brought before him.” The Greek renders it “food,” ἐδέσματα edesmata. So the Syriac. Bertholdt and Gesenius render it concubines, and Saadias dancing girls. Any of these significations would be appropriate; but it is impossible to determine which is the most correct. The word does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures.
Cambridge Bible Driver
19. Then the king arose at dawn, as soon as it was light] lit. at dawn, in the brightness. The words used imply that day had fully broken. The first word (‘dawn’) stands in the Targ. for ‘morning’ in Isa_48:8; and the second (‘brightness’), in its Heb. form, in Isa_52:1.
in haste (Dan_3:24)] So anxious was he to learn how Daniel had fared.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
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, able to deliver thee from the lions?
O Daniel, servant of the living God – having life Himself, and able to preserve thy life; contrasted with the lifeless idols (cf. Dan_5:23, “the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know”). Darius borrowed the phrase from Daniel; God extorting from an idolater a confession of the truth.
Whom thou servest continually – in times of persecution as well as times of peace.
Is thy God … able to deliver thee from the lions? – the language of doubt, yet hope.
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever – The common form of salutation in addressing the king. See the note at Dan_2:4. There might be more than mere form in this, for Daniel may have been aware of the true source of the calamities that had come upon him, and of the innocence of the king in the matter; and he doubtless recalled the interest which the king had shown in him when about to be cast into the den of lions, and his expression of confidence that his God would be able to deliver him Dan_6:16, and he could not but have been favorably impressed by the solicitude which the monarch now showed for his welfare in thus early visiting him, and by his anxiety to know whether he were still alive.
My God hath sent his angel – It was common among the Hebrews to attribute any remarkable preservation from danger to the intervention of an angel sent from God, and no one can demonstrate that it did not occur as they supposed. There is no more absurdity in supposing that God employs an angelic being to defend his people, or to impart blessings to them, than there is in supposing that he employs one human being to render important aid, and to convey important blessings, to another. As a matter of fact, few of the favors which God bestows upon men are conveyed to them directly from himself, but they are mostly imparted by the instrumentality of others. So it is in the blessings of liberty, in deliverance from bondage, in the provision made for our wants, in the favor bestowed on us in infancy and childhood. As this principle prevails everywhere on the earth, it is not absurd to suppose that it may prevail elsewhere, and that on important occasions, and in instances above the rank of human intervention, God may employ the instrumentality of higher beings to defend his people in trouble, and rescue them from danger. Compare Psa_34:7; Psa_91:11; Dan_9:21; Mat_18:10; Luk_16:22; Heb_1:14. Daniel does not say whether the angel was visible or not, but it is rather to be presumed that he was, as in this way it would be more certainly known to him that he owed his deliverance to the intervention of an angel, and as this would be to him a manifest token of the favor and protection of God.
And hath shut the lions’ mouths – It is clear that Daniel supposed that this was accomplished by a miracle; and this is the only satisfactory solution of what had occurred. There is, moreover, no more objection to the supposition that this was a miracle than there is to any miracle whatever, for
(a) there is no more fitting occasion for the Divine intervention than when a good man is in danger, and
(b) the object to be accomplished on the mind of the king, and through him on the minds of the people at large, was worthy of such an interposition.
The design was evidently to impress the mind of the monarch with the belief of the existence of the true God, and to furnish in the court of Babylon proof that should be convincing that he is the only God.
Forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me –
(1) Absolute innocency in reference to the question of guilt on the point in which he had been condemned – he having done only what God approved; and
(2) general integrity and uprightness of character. We need not suppose that Daniel claimed to be absolutely perfect (compare Dan. 9), but we may suppose that he means to say that God saw that he was what he professed to be, and that his life was such as he approved.
And also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt – That is, he had in no manner violated his duty to the king; he had done nothing that tended to overthrow his government, or to spread disaffection among his subjects.
Then was the king exceeding glad for him – On account of Daniel. That is, he was rejoiced for the sake of Daniel that he had received no hurt, and that he might be restored to his place, and be useful again in the government.