Overview of Daniel Chapter Six
Wenstrom Bible Ministries
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Tuesday February 5, 2013
Daniel: Overview of Daniel Chapter Six
Lesson # 170
Please turn in your Bibles to Daniel 5:31.
When approaching Daniel chapter six, we must be aware that the verse numbers for the chapter in the English Bible do not correspond with the Aramaic text of this book.
Daniel 5:31 actually begins chapter 6 since the verse numbers beginning with 5:31 through 6:28 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Aramaic text of Daniel (BHS).
Thus, Daniel 5:31 in the English translations should be Daniel 6:1.
Correspondingly, Daniel 6:1 is Daniel 6:2 in the Aramaic text, Daniel 6:2 is Daniel 6:3 and so on throughout the rest of Daniel chapter 6.
However, the verse numbers in the English Bible beginning with Daniel 7:1, correspond to the Aramaic text of Daniel once again.
Daniel 5:31 So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two. (NASB95)
This chapter has been the subject of much controversy and the object of attacks by the liberal critics of the Bible.
At the heart of this controversy is the identity of Darius since there is no historical evidence for him outside of the Bible.
Pentecost writes “Critics have long questioned the historicity of Daniel. They challenge Daniel’s reference to the accession of Darius (vv. 1, 28; 9:1; called Darius the Mede in 5:31) because there is no historical evidence outside the Bible for his reign. However, several explanations are possible: (1) Darius may have been another name for Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 may be translated, ‘So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian.’ It was common for ancient rulers to use different names in various parts of their realms. Thus Darius may have been a localized name for Cyrus. (This is the view of D. J. Wiseman, “Some Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel,” in Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, pp. 12-14.) (2) A second explanation is that Darius was appointed by Cyrus to rule over Babylon, a comparatively small portion of the vast Medo-Persian Empire. According to Daniel 9:1 Darius ‘was made ruler over the Babylonian Kingdom.’ This suggests that he ruled by appointment, rather than by conquest and thus would have been subordinate to Cyrus, who appointed him. The historical situation leading to this appointment, based on the Nabonidus Chronicle, was that Babylon was conquered by Ugbaru, governor of Gutium, who entered the city of Babylon the night of Belshazzar’s feast. After Ugbaru conquered Babylon on October 12, 539 B.C., Cyrus entered the conquered city on October 29 of that same year. Ugbaru was then appointed by Cyrus to rule on his behalf in Babylon. Eight days after Cyrus’ arrival (Nov. 6) Ugbaru died. If Darius the Mede is another name for Ugbaru, as is entirely possible, the problem is solved. Since Darius was 62 years old when he took over Babylon (5:31), his death a few weeks later would not be unusual. According to this view (presented by William H. Shea, ‘Darius the Mede: An Update,’ Andrews University Seminary Studies 20. Autumn 1982, pp. 229-47), Gubaru is another spelling for Ugbaru, with the name Gobryas being a Greek form of the same name and appearing in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia 4. 6. 1-9; 7. 5. 7-34. (3) A third explanation is that Ugbaru, governor of Gutium, conquered Babylon, and that Gubaru, alias Darius, was the man Cyrus appointed to rule over Babylon. (This is the view of John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Darius the Mede. Nutley, N.J.: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1974.) (4) Still others suggest Darius the Mede should be identified with Cambyses, Cyrus’ son, who ruled Persia 530-522 B.C. (This view is held by Charles Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel. Reprint. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing Co., 1977, pp. 142-55.) Any of these four views may be correct, but perhaps the second one is preferable.
The best solution to the problem is accept the view held that Darius the Mede is the same as Gubaru, who was the governor appointed over Babylon by Cyrus, which is strongly supported by the biblical text because Daniel 5:31 (6:1) and Daniel 9:1 make clear that Darius the Mede was appointed king over Babylon.
The Medo-Persian empire was founded by Cyrus, who started out as the king of Anshan in Persia and fused the Iranian tribes into a great military machine.
He married the daughter of the king of Media and added Media to his empire and then the Medo-Persian army conquered the Babylonians in 539 B.C.
Under Cryus, they defeated the Babylonian army outside the city of Babylon.
According to Babylonian and Persian records, the people of Babylon threw open the gates of the city, welcoming the Persian army as deliverers from the despotic reigns of Nabonidus and Belshazzar.
They gave Cyrus a triumphal entry complete with palm branches.
In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter two, the arms of silver represented two distinct nations, namely, Media and Persia that together defeated Babylon.
Although the Medo-Persia Empire lasted over 200 years (539-330 B.C.) longer than the Neo-Babylonian Empire of 87 years (626-539), the Medo-Persian Empire was inferior to it, as silver is compared with gold.
History confirms that the Medo-Persian Empire, and the empire of Alexander which followed, lacked the central authority and fine organization which characterized the Babylonian Empire, thus the Babylonian Empire was greater.
Daniel 6:1-3 (Aramaic 6:2-4) records that Daniel maintained a prominent status in the Medo-Persian kingdom while living in Babylon.
Daniel 6:1 It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, 2 and 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. 3 Then 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. (NASB95)
Daniel 6:4-9 (Aramaic 6:5-10) records that a conspiracy was formed against Daniel by the other commissioners and satraps in the Medo-Persian kingdom.
Daniel 6:4 Then 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. 5 Then 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.” 6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever! 7 “All 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. 8 “Now, 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.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction. (NASB95)
Daniel 6:10-11 (Aramaic 6:11-12) records Daniel’s prayer to God while in the midst of persecution and underserved suffering.
Daniel 6:10 Now 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. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.
Daniel 6:12-18 (Aramaic 6:13-19) records Daniel being unwillingly executed by Darius the Mede.
Daniel 6:12 Then 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.” 13 Then 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.” 14 Then, 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. 15 Then 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.” 16 Then 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.” 17 A 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. 18 Then 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. (NASB95)
Daniel 6:19-24 (Aramaic 6:20-25) records the God of Israel delivering Daniel from death by shutting the mouths of the lions.
Daniel 6:19 Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. 20 When 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?” 21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! 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; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” 23 Then 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. 24 The 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. (NASB95)
Daniel 6:25-28 (Aramaic 6:26-29) records King Darius issuing a proclamation throughout the Medo-Persian empire which praises the God of Israel.
Daniel 6:25 Then 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! 26 I 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.” 28 So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (NASB95)