Daniel
Introduction 1-3 Darius Wants to Promote Daniel 4-5 Looking for an Accusation 6-9 To Acknowledge Darius as God 10 Daniel Prays to His God 11-13 Charged 14-18 Cast into the Lions’ Den 19-23 Taken up out of the Lions’ Den 24 The Enemies in the Lions’ Den 25-27 Darius’ Decree 28 Prosperity of Daniel
Introduction

Daniel 6 is the last chapter of the historical part of the book. It is a highlight in the prophetic interpretation. Daniel 1-5 take place in the Babylonian realm. Daniel 6 takes place under the rule of the Medes and Persians. The Babylonian empire existed for about seventy years, that of the Medes and Persians will exist for about two hundred and ten years.

In Daniel 3-6 moral characteristics of the ruling pagan forces are shown in various histories. In it we see an increasing hostility to God.

1. In Daniel 3 Nebuchadnezzar belittles God by presenting Him as a God Who cannot deliver (Dan 3:15b15Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, [very well]. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”).
2. In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar ignores God and boasts of his works as the result of his own effort and merit (Dan 4:3030The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’).
3. In Daniel 5, Belshazzar defies and insults God by mocking objects from God’s house and glorifying his own gods (Dan 5:2323but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.).
4. In Daniel 6 we have the height of enmity against God. Here we see a ruler, a man, who bumps God off the throne and takes the place of God (Dan 6:8-108Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.”9Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.10Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.).

This apostasy of God is presented to us in the New Testament as the hallmark of the end of the times of the nations. In the second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul foretells the coming apostasy and relates it to the revelation of “the man of lawlessness …, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2Thes 2:3b-43Let no one in any way deceive you, for [it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.). From Revelation 13 we learn that this man of lawlessness is the second beast, the beast of the earth (Rev 13:12,1512He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.15And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.). Darius’ decree to address every request to him alone is a foreshadowing of the actions of this through and through evil man.

Incidentally, it is good to note that it only concerns the injunction and not the person of Darius. Darius as a person seems to have had a better character than the licentious and self-willed Belshazzar we had before us in the previous chapter. In this chapter he appears sympathetic in his attitude towards Daniel. There is no doubt that he has sincere admiration for Daniel. He even has a sleepless night because of him and is very pleased when he discovers that Daniel is still alive. Like Nebuchadnezzar, he finally comes to the recognition that there is only one God, and that is the God of Daniel.

However, a warning is also appropriate. We have to be careful not to be too impressed by certain characteristics that seem pleasant to us. It will not come as a surprise if it turns out that the man of sin will also be an extraordinarily charming man with a very attractive appearance, someone who comes across as sympathetic. Corruption is in the heart.


Darius Wants to Promote Daniel

1It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, 2and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. 3Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.

The opening verses are the introduction to the injunction that Darius will publish. We indirectly find in this that jealousy is the reason for issuing his royal decree. The area over which Darius is in charge is so large that he divides the kingdom, which is the original Babylonian empire, into one hundred and twenty districts, each with one satrap. Above these one hundred and twenty satraps, he places three commissioners to whom the satraps are accountable. The commissioners must be trusted representatives of the kingdom, because they must ensure that the king is not disadvantaged. He can only give such a task to people he can trust. Daniel is one of the commissioners.

Darius has an eye for it, or maybe he has been told that Daniel possesses an exceptional spirit. In Daniel he sees someone who is of the greatest significance for his kingdom. He is thinking about appointing him as a kind of viceroy. Given the reaction to this, the king will have spoken his mind. It must have been difficult for the commissioners to be held accountable to this exile from Judah. But now that the king intends to put Daniel above his fellow commissioners as well, they will have been filled with jealousy (cf. Ecc 4:4a4I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is [the result of] rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind.). If anyone is caught in envy, no means is too bad and too cruel to use it (Pro 27:44Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood,
But who can stand before jealousy?
). Motivated by envy they all go in search of a possibility to get rid of Daniel.


Looking for an Accusation

4Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or [evidence of] corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was [to be] found in him. 5Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find [it] against him with regard to the law of his God.”

In their search for an accusation they could bring against Daniel to the king, they find nothing. On the contrary, they discover that he is reliable, without negligence or anything he has done wrong. They are forced to admit that Daniel cannot be caught in any error because he does not make any. That is indeed a very remarkable fact in that circle of governors. This is where people often use illicit means to bring in even more than they already have.

The people of the world also take a close look at our lives as Christians, in order to speak evil of us. They will speak evil of us anyway. However, if there is no valid reason, they will be ashamed if they revile our good behavior in Christ (1Pet 3:15-1615but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always [being] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;16and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.). Like Daniel then, we are strange elements in the world today. We are exhorted to do “all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Phil 2:14-16a14Do all things without grumbling or disputing;15so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,16holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.). We may ask ourselves: ‘How do we do our work? How do we behave towards our neighbors?

The only possibility they see is to find something against him in the law of his God. In order to use this option, they must have been familiar with Daniel’s religious customs. But even there they find nothing. Daniel is faithful to the king and he is faithful to his God. Yet now they see an opportunity to get rid of him. They have to come up with something that will make him unfaithful to his God. They go looking for something in his service to God that gives them a weapon to eliminate him.

We too are increasingly faced with such matters. There are more and more laws that are anti-Christian. Not that every law that goes against God’s Word should lead us to action. We have a law that allows abortion, but women in the Netherlands are not (yet) obliged to have an abortion. But when we are faced with a law that forbids us from calling homosexual relationships sin, we do come to the area that demands something of us, where we cannot go along with that law. We cannot obey laws that oblige us to do something that goes against the Word of God.


To Acknowledge Darius as God

6Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever! 7All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. 8Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 9Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.

The hypocrites are of one mind in the evil and go to the king. They greet him with the usual greeting. Then they come up with their proposal, a proposal that is a great flattery of the king. The only reason we can think of that this proposal has a chance of succeeding is the pride of the king. These people must have known that and they respond conveniently. The proposed law does not require a long discussion. Without any enquiry as to why the proposed law is signed by the king, including the sanction in the event of violation.

The real reason for enactment of this law is to eliminate Daniel. The law as such is nonsensical. Even today laws are made for no other purpose than the elimination of Christians. We must be aware that all anti-Christian laws are only intended to eliminate Christians or at least to suppress Christian influence. Everything is ultimately aimed at banning every thought of Christ. The enmity concerns Him.

It is always about laws that are nonsensical. With every law that is intended to eliminate Christian influences, the petitioner commits a suicide attack. Christian influences have always been beneficial to all areas of life. Removing them is foolish and opens the door to all kinds of malicious elements that only hurt society instead of doing well. Such laws instead of increasing happiness only bring more and more plagues to society that ravage and torment the people.

While writing the rules above, I saw an example of this on the opinion site Habakuk.nu. It is an opinion article about sexually transboundary conduct. The author points out that the much-praised legally obtained freedoms blur and erase the boundaries that God has given as protection. He cites as an example the boundaries given by God with regard to sexuality. Take that away and the following is observed, not by a Christian institution, but by a secular research group:

Sexual transboundary conduct, 84% of boys and 66% of girls between the ages of 15 and 25 years of age, has to do with it. The younger you are sexually active and the more changing your contacts, the greater the risk. And then we are almost always talking about a form of physically or psychologically enforced sex, whether or not under the influence of alcohol. And despite all the acquired freedoms of the sexual revolution, the result is still anger, fear, guilt or a distorted attitude towards sexuality. (End of quote; italicization by me, GdK.)

In Darius we see that he is caught in the deceit of flattery to be venerated as the only God for thirty days. This makes him a slave to his subjects. What he does is to enact a law in which he substitutes himself for God (cf. Isa 14:13-1413“But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
). For thirty days he is the only god to whom a man may address himself. It is the supreme form of rebellion against God: the idolization of man.


Daniel Prays to His God

10Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.

When Daniel hears of the injunction, he is not afraid. He does not submit a request for exemption to the king. He also does not seek the conversation with his opponents. He goes home immediately. Back home, he goes to his room chamber to pray according to his habit, leaving the consequences to God. Praying is not something special for him, it is part of his life. For him it is as natural as breathing. Prayer is not something for special events, an escape valve for when the pressure gets too high. It is not a spontaneous religious burp when suddenly a difficulty arises. When Daniel prays here, it is the continuation of something he is used to.

For us it is also important to make prayer a habit that we will not allow to be robbed of or forbidden. This approach to prayer is completely different from praying out of routine. No instruction is given to us as to how often we should pray. However, we are told several times that we must persevere in prayer (Lk 18:11Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,; Eph 6:1818With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,; Col 4:22Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with [an attitude of] thanksgiving;; 1Thes 5:1717pray without ceasing;). We are not prescribed an attitude of prayer either. We do find clues. We can kneel, stand or lie down. Our attitude will fit with what is in our hearts to pray for. When we are in great need, it is conceivable that we are kneeling or even lying stretched out on the ground. If there is thankfulness and praise to God that will happen more in standing.

Whatever attitude it is, it will be a respectful attitude. After all, we are approaching the holy God. Certainly, we may call Him Father, be close to Him and speak with Him in a confidential way. But that doesn’t mean we’re dealing with Him in a popular way. Confidentiality does not exclude respect.

Daniel does not only pray, he also gives thanks. He finds reasons to give thanks, despite the very threatening situation. According to Solomon’s prayer he prays, with the windows open, in the direction of Jerusalem (1Kgs 8:4848if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name;). He is used to praying with open windows and did not close them for this occasion. He wants to keep his clear view on heaven, as it were, and he also wants to keep the connection with the heaven open in practical terms.

Through his dealings with God, Daniel comes to do what is forbidden to him. Here he cannot obey the government. He wants “to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:2929But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.). He refuses to address Darius instead of God, because God has said that He does not give His honor to anyone else. For the first commandment is: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exo 20:33“You shall have no other gods before Me.). Daniel has to deal with this in the first place and to be obedient to it, and therefore he refuses the king’s injunction.

Our personal prayer may also be an open and visible matter to all. We do not have to do that secretly. Prayer for eating in a restaurant or at work is a testimony. Even during a business trip it is important to openly show that you are different from the rest. This is evident not only from not participating in wrong talk and activities or not going to wrong places, but also from praying and reading God’s Word. Daniel refused any compromise for himself and we must do so as well.

Daniel gets down on his knees. His attitude is in line with what he does. He could also have done it standing or walking, so that no one would notice that he was praying. He does not adjust his prayer attitude so as not to be noticed. Nor does he change the times of his prayers. As always he prays three times a day, perhaps following the example of David (Psa 55:1818He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle [which is] against me,
For they are many [who strive] with me.
). For example, he will not pray at night during those thirty days, so as not to be seen.

There is another important aspect to Daniel’s prayer and that is that he does not pray before the eyes of the people, but before the eyes of God. People are allowed to see him pray. But he does not do it for the people, but for God. With the Pharisees it is different. They pray to be seen by men (Mt 6:55“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.), ignoring the fact that God does not pay attention to their prayer, yes, their prayer is even an abomination to Him. Instead of praise from people, Daniel is confronted with the enmity of people. This proves the authenticity of his prayer. Any hypocrisy is alien to it. Our serving of God is only proven to be real when it takes place under the pressure of enmity.


Charged

11Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. 12Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction, “Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?” The king replied, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 13Then they answered and spoke before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.”

The men know Daniel’s habit and the times when he prays. They also know his character that he will remain true to it, whatever the consequences. Unanimously in their malicious plan they go to Daniel’s house. They lurk, as it were, and perceive what they expect. There they find a praying and supplicating Daniel. Now they have what they want: a violation of the law enacted, because he is addressing someone other than Darius. Now they can charge and convict him. However, the indictment is not the result of a failure in his service to God, but rather the result of his faithful serving of his God. Their conspiracy succeeds because they rightly count on Daniel’s consistent attitude in serving his God.

Maybe they have heard him pray and beg for mercy. If Daniel has indeed been aware that these people see and hear him, it will have only made his prayer and supplication more fervent. He makes “petition and supplication before his God”. Whatever people can plan against him, above them he sees the face of God. That he makes petition and supplication means that he does not expect any possibility of salvation from himself. Nor does he appeal to any excellence that would be in him. To make petition and supplication means that he expects everything from God alone, without any merit of his own. To make petition and supplication excludes any right to be heard.

When the men have found that Daniel has just continued to pray, they immediately go to the king to have him charged. They don’t waste any time. When they are with Darius, they first remind him by means of a question of the law he promulgated. They also point out the punishment for the offence. The king says that he has enacted that law and adds that the law is irrevocable.

Well, they have an offender. Triumphantly they call the name: Daniel. They add that he is “one of the exiles from Judah”. With this they express their contempt for all who are out of Judah as exiles among them. As an accusation they say to Darius, that Daniel did not heed him, the king, nor the injunction he signed. In this way they try to work on his sense of honor (cf. Dan 3:1212There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, [namely] Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”).


Cast into the Lions’ Den

14Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set [his] mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him. 15Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.” 16Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.” 17A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel. 18Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.

When Darius understands what is happening, how he fell into a trap, he blames himself. He tortures his brain for a solution if something could redeem Daniel. It is about something that can free him from his own laws. But that is impossible. The longer he thinks, the more it becomes clear how much he is a slave to his own laws. That makes the big man very weak at the same time. Nebuchadnezzar did not have such laws.

The men, with some contempt called “these men” (verse 1515Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”), not only keep an eye on Daniel, they also keep an eye on Darius. They know his predilection for Daniel. They notice how much the king is looking for ways to free Daniel from the lions. But that will not happen. Hypocritically, they remind him that nothing should be changed about a law of the Medes and Persians. Then Darius can do nothing but cast Daniel into the lions’ den. Before he lets him be cast into it, he expresses his confidence that the God Who is constantly or persistently honored by Daniel will redeem him. At the same time Darius confirms that Daniel did nothing to deserve the lion’s den. He justifies Daniel before his prosecutors.

When Daniel is cast into the pit, a stone is placed on it that is sealed with the signet ring of the king and with the signet rings of his nobles. Daniel’s’ fate is sealed in several ways and is immutable. Liberation from outside is impossible and inside death is present in all its horror. After this act, the king moves to his palace. The man who has set down that he must function as a god for thirty days has no rest. That is not because he receives so many requests from people, but because his conscience tortures him. He doesn’t want a diversion and he can’t sleep. Thus the night passes for him.

There is a parallel to be drawn between Darius and Pilate. Just as Darius has been manipulated by his commissioners and satraps to kill Daniel, so the Jews manipulated Pilate to condemn and kill the Lord Jesus (Jn 19:12-1612As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out [to be] a king opposes Caesar.”13Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.14Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he *said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”15So they cried out, “Away with [Him], away with [Him], crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”16So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.). Just as Darius seals the stone of the den, the den, which is a grave for Daniel, so Pilate has the grave of the Lord Jesus secured and sealed (Mt 27:65-6665Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it [as] secure as you know how.”66And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.). That Pilate washes his hands in innocence (Mt 27:2424When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see [to that] yourselves.”) does not wash away his sin. We don’t read about Pilate that he had a sleepless night of it, but his wife does. Darius has no rest that night, just like Pilate’s wife (Mt 27:1919While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him [a message], saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”).


Taken up out of the Lions’ Den

19Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. 20When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! 22My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” 23Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

When Darius goes to the den early in the morning, the grave of Daniel, it turns out that Daniel is still alive. Early in the morning it also appears that the Lord Jesus lives. Daniel is here a picture of the Lord Jesus in His resurrection. When the nations become aware of this, they will acknowledge that He has the rule. With Darius we see that in verses 26-2826I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel;
For He is the living God and enduring forever,
And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed,
And His dominion [will be] forever.
27“He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has [also] delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”28So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
.

That Darius goes to the den and speaks to Daniel is quite special. Normally there is no reason to assume that Daniel would be alive. The punishment was not for nothing to be thrown into the lions’ den. It was impossible to imagine a more certain death. Yet Darius must have felt something of the power of the God of Daniel. He can only have this feeling through his contact with Daniel and what he may have learned about him from other sources. He addresses Daniel several times as a worshipper and servant of God. He has seen in the life of Daniel who God is and what He is capable of. Then it is inevitable that this God is also able to redeem Daniel from the lions.

At the king’s request Daniel testifies that his God has sent His angel who has shut the lions’ mouth (cf. Acts 12:1111When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”). We read more about the lion’s mouth in Scripture. David rescued his sheep from the lions’ mouth (1Sam 17:34-3534But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued [it] from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized [him] by his beard and struck him and killed him.). This is a picture of the Lord Jesus who rescues his sheep from the lion’s mouth, that is to say from the power of the devil, for he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1Pet 5:88Be of sober [spirit], be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.). He cares about them (cf. Amos 3:1212Thus says the LORD,
“Just as the shepherd snatches from the lion’s mouth a couple of legs or a piece of an ear,
So will the sons of Israel dwelling in Samaria be snatched away—
With [the] corner of a bed and [the] cover of a couch!
).

The Lord Jesus experienced the lion’s mouth when He hangs on the cross and evil people slander Him: “They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion” (Psa 22:1313They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
). He asked His God to be saved from this: “Save me from the lion’s mouth” (Psa 22:21a21Save me from the lion’s mouth;
From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.
) and was answered: “You answer me” (Psa 22:21c21Save me from the lion’s mouth;
From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.
). “He was heard because of His piety” (Heb 5:77In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.). God has heard Him by raising Him from the dead. This is shown in the sequel to Psalm 22.

The fact that the Lord Jesus experienced the lion’s den means that He entered into the circumstances of His own. He has also experienced what His own experiences, and that is why he can sympathize with them. His attitude in it is our example, for while He experienced the lion’s mouth He relied upon the LORD, as is also said here of Daniel (verse 2424The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.). Paul also speaks about being “rescued out of the lion’s mouth” (2Tim 4:1717But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.). He stands for the world ruler Nero, but is aware that the Lord stands with him. We are also dealing with world rulers who increasingly show the character of tearing lions.

There is another aspect to the salvation of Daniel from the lions. That other aspect is his faith. For we read of a faith by which believers “shut the mouths of lions” (Heb 11:3333who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed [acts of] righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,). In the midst of the lions, he had a rest in his trust in God. In Psalm 57 we read how David sings of his experiences and talks about lying down “among lions” (Psa 57:55Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
[Let] Your glory [be] above all the earth.
). Daniel had that faith and God responded to it by sending His angel. But Daniel does not boast of his faith towards Darius. In front of Darius he honors God Who saved him from the lions’ mouths.

Daniel says that his innocence is the reason why the lions did not inflict any injuries on him. This is also established when he is removed from the pit. This is the same as what has been found with the three friends when they come out of the furnace of blazing fire (Dan 3:2727The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around [and] saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire [even] come upon them.). He has done nothing against the LORD, nor against the king. This testimony of innocence and the being saved from any injury will also be given by the faithful remnant of Israel. They can give it because Christ, the true Innocent, has borne the guilt of the remnant.

Because Daniel was in the lion pit, the requirement of the law has been met. Now he can be freed from it again, taken up out of it. As said, that is a picture of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He is risen because everything that the law demands of man is fulfilled in Him and through Him in His death. Therefore He could be raised up by God.


The Enemies in the Lions’ Den

24The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

When Daniel has been freed from the den, it is time to judge his enemies. They have knowingly sought his downfall. Now will they will be given their just deserts. They are cast into the den they had intended for another person. Here the word becomes true: “The righteous is delivered from trouble, But the wicked takes his place” (Pro 11:88The righteous is delivered from trouble,
But the wicked takes his place.
; 21:1818The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous is in the place of the upright.
). With the prosecutors, their wives and children are also cast before the lions.

Sin often has consequences not only for the perpetrator, but also for his family and relatives. The law states that children may not be executed for the fathers (Deu 24:1616“Fathers shall not be put to death for [their] sons, nor shall sons be put to death for [their] fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.; 2Chr 25:44However, he did not put their children to death, but [did] as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, which the LORD commanded, saying, “Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor sons be put to death for fathers, but each shall be put to death for his own sin.”; Eze 18:2020The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.). However, this is not an event in Israel, but in a pagan country. If in Israel children die with their sinning father, as with Achan (Jos 7:24-2524Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver’, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.25Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.), it seems that somehow they have supported sin, by which they deserve the same judgment. But the father is the main responsible person and by his sin is the cause of the judgment that comes over other family members.

As soon as these people are cast into the lions’ den, the lions attack them and crush them. This happens even before they have hit the ground. It is clear from what is happening here that the lions have not attacked Daniel because they were not hungry. The pure voraciousness of the lions makes the miracle that they have not inflicted any injuries on Daniel even greater. From his enemies the lions don't leave any of the bones in one piece. They crush all their bones.

The saying that whoever digs a pit for someone else falls into it himself (Psa 57:7b7My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
; 7:1616His mischief will return upon his own head,
And his violence will descend upon his own pate.
; Pro 26:2727He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.
; Ecc 10:88He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall.), applies not only to persons, but also to nations. For them it sounds prophetic in Psalm 9: “The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught. The LORD has made Himself known; He has executed judgment. In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared” (Psa 9:15-1615The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16The LORD has made Himself known;
He has executed judgment.
In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared. Higgaion Selah.
). This psalm speaks of the liberation of the God-fearing remnant in the end time. Then the wrath of God is poured out upon the enemies and they die in the trap they set. In the last verse quoted it is also about “the wicked”, that is the antichrist. He also perishes in his own evil works.


Darius’ Decree

25Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language who were living in all the land: “May your peace abound! 26I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel;
For He is the living God and enduring forever,
And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed,
And His dominion [will be] forever.
27“He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has [also] delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

The testimony Darius gives about God and His power goes beyond what Nebuchadnezzar has ever testified. Nebuchadnezzar bears personal witness of Him (Dan 2:4747The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.”; 4:1-21Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and [men of every] language that live in all the earth: “May your peace abound!2It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me.
), and has given his people only the command that no derogatory things should be said about God (Dan 3:2929Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.”). But Darius commands that all peoples in his empire must fear and tremble before God, which means that everyone has to take account of Him in their lives. It is an appropriate testimony at the end of the historical chapters. What Darius says clearly applies to the kingdom of peace. He represents and is the mouth of the nations that will be in the kingdom of peace. They shall proclaim and praise the glory, honor, and majesty of God. Great respect fits against that great and mighty and awesome God.

Again he calls God “the God of Daniel”. Daniel is a picture of Israel’s faithful remnant that will also pass through a time of great distress and will be redeemed from it by God. The peoples and nations will bear witness to this, they will acknowledge that He is the redeeming and saving God, He “Who has [also] delivered Daniel from the power of the lions”. Darius also calls God “the living God”. That is also an expression that goes far for a pagan monarch. Often God is so named to indicate the contrast with the dead idols.

He also acknowledges that the Being of God and His kingship are unchanging and eternally inviolable. No outside power can exercise any influence on His Being or His dominion. His power is so great, that He carries and leads the entire world dominion. In doing so, He does not lose sight of any of His own, not even the little ones and the few, but redeems and saves them.

He does this with means that as signs and wonders refer to Him. He does these signs and wonders both in heaven and on earth. He is the sovereign Lord to Whom all things belong and Who has all things at His disposal to use them for His purpose. That these things are so, He has shown in the delivery of Daniel from the power [lit. hand or claw] of the lions. The first thing a prey has to deal with is the lion’s claws, only then does the lion’s mouth come into play.


Prosperity of Daniel

28So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

The last message in the historical chapters about Daniel is that enjoys success in the reigns of the second world empire. But here too there is a prophetic picture. It is more than just a communication about Daniel’s success. We have seen in the previous verses that Darius in his testimony of the God of Daniel, the living God, represents the hearts of the nations in the realm of peace.

The naming of Cyrus expands that image even further. We can see Cyrus as a picture of the Lord Jesus. What is said of him by the prophet Isaiah, at least reminds us of this. We read that the LORD says of him:
“[It is I] who says of Cyrus, ‘[He is] My shepherd!
And he will perform all My desire.’
And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’
And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid” (Isa 44:2828“[It is I] who says of Cyrus, ‘[He is] My shepherd!
And he will perform all My desire.’
And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’
And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’”
).

Also the next verse about Cyrus strongly reminds us the Lord Jesus:
“Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed,
Whom I have taken by the right hand,
To subdue nations before him
And to loose the loins of kings;
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut” (Isa 45:11Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed,
Whom I have taken by the right hand,
To subdue nations before him
And to loose the loins of kings;
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:
).

Cyrus is called “My shepherd” and “His anointed” in these verses, names that remind us directly of the Lord Jesus. In addition, Cyrus was the tool in God’s hand to free His people from the hand of Babylon. All in all, it seems justified to see in this last verse a picture of the kingdom of peace, where the faithful remnant will live in peace and prosperity under the blessed reign of the Messiah. The peoples will rejoice in their peace and prosperity and share in it. For everything honor and glory will go to God. He is the Processor and Maintainer of it.


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