Study Notes

Daniel 6:1-28


As chapter five drew to a close, we saw the Babylonian Empire fall to the armies of Cyrus the king of Persia. Cyrus gave control of the Babylonian territory to Darius the Mede.

The Medo-Persian Empire was the fulfillment of Daniel's previous prophecy regarding the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Dan. 2). The Babylonian Empire as the head of gold was replaced by the breast and arms of silver, that of the Medes and Persians.

In the last verse of chapter five, we were told that Darius received the kingdom at about the age of 62.

6:1-3 Darius' Government

It was up to Darius to formulate a new government over the 120 provinces of Babylon. The system he devised was simple and efficient: He put a satrap, or royal, over each province, 120 in all. Then he appointed three commissioners, one of whom was Daniel, to oversee these satraps. And Darius was the over the three commissioners.

Now, because it was such a new government, there were wrinkles to iron out, more efficient methods of governing. One of the changes that the king was considering was elevating Daniel over the commissioners, placing him in charge over the whole kingdom.

How did Daniel manage to rise above the rest? Was he a man that scrambled his way up the top using politics and maneuverings? By trying to buddy up to the right people? Climbing the corporate ladder by any means necessary? No. Scripture tells us that he advanced in the ranks because he possessed an extraordinary spirit.

What is an extraordinary spirit? In this day and age, it wouldn't be hard to recognize in a man. An extraordinary spirit manifests itself like it did in Daniel in intelligence, wisdom, understanding, and a servant's heart (1:4). When someone has an extraordinary spirit, He Is bold enough to stand on godly principles (1:8), and has discretion and discernment (2:14). It is someone who prays when he or she doesn't have the answers (2:18), and who gives thanks when God answers (2:23). It is someone who watches out for his or her friends (2:49). Someone who is courteous, but no respecter of persons, and doesn't give in to greed or worldly temptation (5:17).

This is what an extraordinary spirit looks like in a person, and this is how Daniel advanced so highly in both the Babylonian and the Medo-Persian empires.

6:4-5 No Ground Of Accusation

It is unfortunate that not all government leaders have gained their positions due to to an excellent spirit. These 122 men didn't like the idea of Daniel being over them, and were actively looking for a way to discredit him. Unfortunately for them, Daniel's life wasn't open to accusation.

I have to wonder: if there were 122 people actively looking to discredit one of us, or expose our wrongdoing, how hard would it be for them to find grounds for accusation? Are we open to exposure, or is there nothing in our lives that would cause us shame? Paul told the Christians in Philippi,

Phil. 2:15 ...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

We as Christians are called to be above any kind of accusation. Peter said,

1Pet. 2:11-12 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe {them,} glorify God in the day of visitation.

This is the kind of life that Daniel lived.

With Regard To The Law Of His God

The commissioners and satraps decided that the only area in which they could accuse him would be in regard to his strict aherance to the Law of God. This was Daniel's reputation - "The only thing this guy puts above vocational and personal integrity is obedience to his God." I would pose the question, "Is that our reptuation? Are we known as people whose Christianity is by far the greatest priority in our lives?"

6:6-9 An Injunction Against Prayer

All 122 of these leaders came in and told the king that it was unanimous among his rulers that he should be honored for thirty days; Sort of a "King's Appreciation Month." They claimed that a law should be passed to forbid prayer to any god or man but Darius.

Now the king figured that if every leader in the land thought this was a good idea, it must be. And, I dare say, in his position, we probably would have agreed as well. Because, you see, we are very succeptible to the idea that the majority always has the right opinion. After all, doesn't the Bible say, "there is wisdom in a multitude of counsellors?" Actually, no, it doesn't. Whether you're reading the King James, the NIV, or the New American Standard, you will not find a verse that says, "there is wisdom in a multitude of counsellors."

A lot of people who read their Bibles disagree. They say, "Now, I know I've read that before." Well, if you're a reader of the Proverbs in the King James version of the Bible, it should sound somewhat familiar. After all, Proverbs 11:14 and 24:6 tell us that, "in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." And Proverbs 15:22 tells us that purposes are established in a multitude of counsellors. But nowhere does it promise wisdom in a multitude of counselors.

Now, of course I am not saying that seeking counsel is wrong. Actually, one of the first proverbs says that,

Prov. 1:5 ...a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel...

But it is important that you consider who you are getting counsel from. Isaiah said,

Isa. 19:11(NIV) ...the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice...

A lot of people think they're finding wisdom by talking to a lot of people about their problem or their circumstances. But in reality, the more common result is a majority vote in the flesh, just like the congregation of Israel in the wilderness. It was usually one man saying, "Let's go forward," while three million said, "Let's go back to Egypt." Who always turned out to be right? Not the multitude of counselors. And certainly, we see that wisdom was not found in Darius' multitude of counsellors.

May Not Be Revoked

Notice too, what an interesting system of law they had in the Medo-Persian Empire. While the king of Babylon had been all-powerful, able to change laws at a whim, the king of the Medo-Persian Empire could not change a law once it was put into effect.

I believe that this is part of what Daniel meant when he told Nebuchadnezzar that the kingdom to replace his would be inferior (2:39).

6:10 Daniel Prays

Although Daniel knew that the law had been passed, he continued to pray with his windows open. He was clearly disobeying the law of the goverment that had authority over him, but we've already dealt with the issue of civil disobedience back in chapter three.

Notice instead Daniel's position of prayer. Three times a day, every day, he knelt as he prayed. A lot of us are dogmatic that prayer should be done with eyes closed and hands folded. But Biblically, we see a different story.

When Solomon prayed as he dedicated the temple, he stood...

1Kgs. 8:22 ...and spread out his hands toward heaven.

He mentioned in that prayer that...

1Kgs. 8:38-39 whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man {or} by all Thy people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; then hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place...

Before Solomon, David prayed,

Ps. 141:2 May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

And Paul wrote to Timothy,

1Tim. 2:8 ...I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands...

It sounds like in both the Old Testament days and in the early church, hands were lifted up and spread out as they prayed.

Also, people often knelt when they prayed. Jesus of course followed that method. We read that in the Garden of Gethsemane,

Luke 22:41 ...He knelt down and {began} to pray,

When Peter came to Dorcas' house in Acts 9, he knelt down and prayed (Acts 9:40).

When Paul met with the Ephesian elders in Miletus,

Acts 20:36 ...he knelt down and prayed with them all.

He also led a beachside prayer meeting in Tyre,

Acts 21:5 ...kneeling down on the beach and praying...

Although it is not mandated, it would seem that there is much Scriptural precedence for praying on our knees with hands lifted to God. Daniel did it 21 times a week!

6:11-18 Revocation Forbidden

Daniel was caught praying - guilty as charged. Try as he might, King Darius was powerless to rescue Daniel from the law that he himself had signed. He was forced to obey his own terrible law, and Daniel was cast into the lions' den.

But look at what the king did. He made a statement of faith in Daniel's God, that He would deliver him. Then he went home to spend the night fasting, as I'm sure he was hoping the lions would do as well!

6:19-23 Saved From The Lions

When the king returned to the lion's den, he cried out, hoping that Daniel was still alive. He was. He said,

Dan. 6:22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him...

Do you realize that we are in the lions' den on a daily basis? Peter said

1Pet. 5:8 Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

While we are in this world, we are in the lion's den. We are told that this domain and glory has been handed over to him (Luke 4:6), and he is looking for opportunities to destroy you. In Scripture, satan is called "the accuser of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10). He is watching your life, looking for grounds to accuse you, waiting for the opportunity to eat you alive.

But if you are found innocent, as Daniel was, God shuts the lion's mouth. He will continue to roar, but you will not be devoured.

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Walk in blamelessness and innocence, submitted to God, and thought the devil will roar like a lion, he will end up fleeing like a "scaredy cat."

6:24 The Rest Of The Story

Now, this is the part that they probably didn't tell you in Sunday School as a child! The governmental leaders were thrown into the lions' den, along with their families. The lions were so hungry that they were eaten alive before they hit the ground.

6:25-28 Darius' Decree

Darius proclaimed faith in Daniel's God, advertising the fact to all the nations. And Daniel continued to be successful in all he did.

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