Daniel 6:1-28 . DARIUS' DECREE: DANIEL'S DISOBEDIENCE, AND CONSEQUENT EXPOSURE TO THE LION'S: HIS DELIVERANCE BY GOD, AND DARIUS' DECREE.
14. displeased with himself--for having suffered himself to be entrapped into such a hasty decree ( Proverbs 29:20 ). On the one hand he was pressed by the immutability of the law, fear that the princes might conspire against him, and desire to consult for his own reputation, not to seem fickle; on the other, by regard for Daniel, and a desire to save him from the effects of his own rash decree.
till . . . going down of . . . sun--The king took this time to deliberate, thinking that after sunset Daniel would be spared till morning, and that meanwhile some way of escape would turn up. But ( Daniel 6:15 ) the conspirators "assembled tumultuously" (literally) to prevent this delay in the execution, lest the king should meantime change his decree.
16. Thy God . . . will deliver thee--The heathen believed in the interposition of the gods at times in favor of their worshippers. Darius recognized Daniel's God as a god, but not the only true God. He had heard of the deliverance of the three youths in Daniel 3:26 Daniel 3:27 and hence augurs Daniel's deliverance. I am not my own master, and cannot deliver thee, however much I wish it. "Thy God will." Kings are the slaves of their flatterers. Men admire piety to God in others, however disregarding Him themselves.
17. stone . . . sealed--typical of Christ's entombment under a seal ( Matthew 27:66 ). Divinely ordered, that the deliverance might be the more striking.
his own signet, and . . . of his lords--The concurrence of the lords was required for making laws. In this kingly power had fallen since it was in Nebuchadnezzar's hands. The Median king is a puppet in his lords' hands; they take the security of their own seal as well as his, that he should not release Daniel. The king's seal guaranteed Daniel from being killed by them, should he escape the lions.
18. neither were instruments of music, &c.--GESENIUS translates, "concubines." Daniel's mentioning to us as an extraordinary thing of Darius, that he neither approached his table nor his harem, agrees with XENOPHON'S picture of him as devoted to wine and women, vain, and without self-control. He is sorry for the evil which he himself had caused, yet takes no steps to remedy it. There are many such halters between good and bad, who are ill at ease in their sins, yet go forward in them, and are drawn on by others.
19. His grief overcame his fear of the nobles.
20. living God--having life Himself, and able to preserve thy life; contrasted with the lifeless idols. Darius borrowed the phrase from Daniel; God extorting from an idolater a confession of the truth.
thou servest continually--in times of persecution, as well as in times of peace.
is thy God . . . able--the language of doubt, yet hope.
21. Daniel might have indulged in anger at the king, but does not; his sole thought is, God's glory has been set forth in his deliverance.
22. his angel--the instrument, not the author, of his deliverance ( Psalms 91:11 , 34:7 ).
shut . . . lions' mouths--( Hebrews 11:33 ). So spiritually, God will shut the roaring lion's mouth ( 1 Peter 5:8 ) for His servants.
forasmuch as before him innocency--not absolutely (in Daniel 9:7 Daniel 9:18 he disclaims such a plea), but relatively to this case. God has attested the justice of my cause in standing up for His worship, by delivering me. Therefore, the "forasmuch" does not justify Rome's doctrine of works meriting salvation.
before thee--Obedience to God is in strictest compatibility with loyalty to the king ( Matthew 22:21 , 1 Peter 2:17 ). Daniel's disobedience to the king was seeming, not real, because it was not from contempt of the king, but from regard to the King of kings (compare Acts 24:16 ).
23. because he believed--"Faith" is stated in Hebrews 11:33 to have been his actuating principle: a prelude to the Gospel. His belief was not with a view to a miraculous deliverance. He shut his eyes to the event, committing the keeping of his soul to God, in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator ( 1 Peter 4:19 ), sure of deliverance in a better life, if not in this.
24. ( Deuteronomy 19:19 , Proverbs 19:5 ).
accused--literally, "devoured the bones and flesh." It was just that they who had torn Daniel's character, and sought the tearing of his person, should be themselves given to be torn in pieces ( Proverbs 11:8 ).
their children--Among the Persians, all the kindred were involved in the guilt of one culprit. The Mosaic law expressly forbade this ( Deuteronomy 24:16 , 2 Kings 14:6 ).
or ever--that is, "before ever." The lions sparing Daniel could not have been because they were full, as they showed the keenness of their hunger on the accusers.
26. Stronger than the decree ( Daniel 3:29 ). That was negative; this, positive; not merely men must say "nothing amiss of," but must "fear before God."