Daniel 6.1 [6.2]-Darius Appoints 120 Satraps Over The Babylonian Kingdom
Wenstrom Bible Ministries
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Thursday February 7, 2013
Daniel: Daniel 6:1 (6:2)-Darius Appoints 120 Satraps Over the Babylonian Kingdom
Lesson # 172
Please turn in your Bibles to Daniel 5:31.
Daniel 5:31 (6:1) Now, Darius the Mede received the kingdom at sixty-two years of age. (My translation)
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. (NASB95)
“It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom” is composed of the third person masculine singular peʿal (Hebrew: qal) active perfect form of the verb šep̄ǎr (שְׁפַר) (shef-ar´), “it seemed good” and then we have the preposition qǒḏām (קֳדָם) (kod-awm´), “to” and its object is the masculine singular proper name dār·yā·wěš (דָּרְיָוֶשׁ) (daw-reh-yaw-vaysh´), “Darius” which is followed by the conjunction wa (וְ) (waw), “to” which is followed by the third person masculine singular hafʿel (Hebrew: hiphil) active perfect form of the verb qûm (קוּם) (koom), “appoint” and then we have the preposition ʿǎl (עַל) (al), “over” and its object is the feminine singular construct form of the noun mǎl∙ḵûṯ (מַלְכוּת) (mal-kooth), “kingdom” which is followed by the preposition lĕ (לְ) (leh) which is not translated and its object is the masculine plural noun ʾǎḥǎš∙dǎr∙pǎn (אֲחַשְׁדַּרְפַּן) (akh-ash-dar-pan´), “satraps” which is modified by the feminine singular noun meʾā(h) (מְאָה) (meh-aw´) and then we have the conjunction wa (וְ) (waw), which is not translated and followed by the masculine plural noun ʿěś·rîn (עֶשְׂרִין) (es-reen´), which altogether mean “120.”
Daniel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is employing the figure of “asyndeton” because He wants the reader to be aware of the fact that there is a topic shift.
It makes the reader aware of the fact that the topic is shifting from Darius the Mede ascending to power over the Babylonian kingdom to his first executive decision that he made.
The verb šep̄ǎr means “to consider a good idea” in the sense of an idea being sound.
Here it denotes that Darius the Mede considered the idea of appointing 120 satraps to be in charge over the Babylonian kingdom so that he might not suffer loss as politically and financially sound.
The word implies that this suggestion was presented to him.
The proper name dār·yā·wěš means “Darius” and it is the object of the preposition qǒḏām, which is used to indicate that something is being described from the perspective of the object of the preposition.
The object of the preposition is of course Darius the Mede.
Thus, this preposition is describing the attitude of Darius toward the idea of appointing 120 satraps to be in charge over the Babylonian kingdom so that he might not suffer loss.
He considered it as politically and financially sound.
The verb qûm means “to establish” in the sense of assigning someone to a particular role or function or position.
Here the word refers to Darius the Mede considering sound politically and financially the idea to “establish” 120 satraps over the Babylonian kingdom who would be accountable to him in order to protect his interests politically and financially.
The noun mǎl∙ḵûṯ means “kingdom” and denotes the sphere of Babylon’s authority or control over various nations, ethnicities and language groups and is used to designate the territorial sphere of Babylon.
The term refers to the political boundaries of authority and control, which were determined by the extent to which Belshazzar and his father Nabonidus exercised their authority.
It is the object of the preposition ʿǎl, which is a marker of authority indicating that Darius the Mede established 120 satraps “over” the Babylonian kingdom to protect and promote his interests.
The noun ʾǎḥǎš∙dǎr∙pǎn is a Persian loan word which means “protector of the kingdom.”
In the Septuagint, the word in Daniel 6:2 is translated with the Greek noun σᾰτράπης which means “satrap.”
This group of officials would be the chief representatives of Darius the Mede.
They were governors of certain types of provinces.
They were the highest officials in his kingdom, which is supported by the statement in Daniel 6:1 (6:2), which records that Darius appointed 120 satraps over his kingdom who would be in charge of the entire kingdom.
“That they would be in charge of the whole kingdom” is composed of the particle dî (דִּי) (dee), “that” which is followed by the then we have the third person masculine plural peʿal (Hebrew: qal) active imperfect form of the verb ḥǎwā(h) (חֲוָה) (khav-aw´), “he had” and then we have the preposition b- (בְּ־) (beh) “in charge of” and it is followed by the singular construct form of the noun kōl (כֹּל) (kole), “all” which is modifying the feminine singular construct form of the noun mǎl∙ḵûṯ (מַלְכוּת) (mal-kooth), “the kingdom.”
The particle dî is a marker of purpose meaning that it is introducing a clause that presents the purpose of Darius the Mede establishing one hundred twenty satraps over the Babylonian kingdom.
The verb hǎwā(h) means, “to be” in the sense of existing in a particular state.
The third person masculine plural form refers to the one hundred twenty satraps.
Therefore, this verb denotes the purpose of Darius establishing these one hundred twenty satraps was so that they would exist in the state of being in authority over the entire kingdom.
Once again, the noun mǎl∙ḵûṯ means “kingdom” referring to the Babylonian kingdom and this time it is modified by the noun kōl which means “entire” since it denotes totality.
This noun mǎl∙ḵûṯ is the object of the preposition b-, which is a marker of authority indicating these one hundred twenty satraps would have authority “over” the inhabitants of the Babylonian kingdom.
Daniel 6:1 (6:2) It was considered a good idea by Darius to establish one hundred twenty satraps over the kingdom in order that they would be in authority over the entire kingdom. (My translation)
So Daniel 6:1 (6:2) records that upon receiving the Babylonian kingdom from Cyrus the Persian, the Darius the Mede was approached with the sound idea to establish one hundred twenty satraps over the kingdom.
The satrap was virtually a king; he had his own court and absolute civil authority, and he answered directly to the “great king.” To ensure the satrap’s loyalty to the king, other officials who answered directly to the king were appointed to work alongside the satrap: a secretary (who handled all official correspondence), a chief financial officer (who collected taxes), and a commander of the armed forces. In addition, inspectors known as ‘the eyes and ears of the king’ might appear at any time to check on conditions in the provinces.
Wikipedia writes “The satrap was the head of the administration of his province, and found himself surrounded by an all-but-royal court; he collected the taxes, controlled the local officials and the subject tribes and cities, and was the supreme judge of the province before whose ‘chair’ (Nehemiah 3:7) every civil and criminal case could be brought. He was responsible for the safety of the roads (cf. Xenophon), and had to put down brigands and rebels.”
Whitcomb writes “A ‘satrap’ was a Persian official who could rule over a large province or over a small group of people. This would harmonize well with the ‘Nab¬onidus Chronicle,’ which states that Gubaru installed sub-gov¬ernors in Babylon immediately after the fall of the city to the armies of Cyrus. Thus, the statement of Daniel 6:1 has nothing whatsoever to do with the division of the Medo-Persian empire into satrapies or provinces that took place during the later administrations of Darius I and Xerxes.”
Walvoord writes “With the successful conquest of Babylon and the surrounding territory, it now is appropriate for the new kingdom to organize, both from the standpoint of law and order and from the benefit of taxation which this would allow. In such an organization, it would not be unsuitable to use qualified men who had served previously in the Babylonian kingdom. The conquerors did what they could to set up a friendly relationship with the people in their power; and although Belshazzar was slain, his father, Nabonidus, lived for some years afterward. Even some of the gods of Babylon were honored by the conquerors. The organization of the new kingdom is detailed in the opening verses of chapter 6. One hundred and twenty princes or ‘satraps’ were appointed. Some have held that this figure is inaccurate. Montgomery, for instance, says, ‘The 120 satraps (AV ‘princes’) is an exaggeration, or at least an inaccuracy. Her[odotus], iii, 89, records that Darius created 20 satrapies, and that king’s inscriptions give their numbers successively as 21, 23, 29.’ Montgomery goes on, however, to admit that there were 127 provinces according to Esther 1:1 but still insists that Daniel is inaccurate. Montgomery also objects to the ‘three presidents’ as being without parallel. The fact is that the appointment of 120 officials to rule such a vast territory and of three presidents to rule over them was not at all unreasonable. Whether or not there were precisely 120 subdivisions of his territory is not indicated, but the need for this number of officials is obvious. The point of introducing these facts in Daniel’s narrative is to give the setting for Daniel’s place of honor. Daniel himself was named one of the three presidents who would coordinate the work of the 120 princes. Of them, it was required to give financial accounts and protect the king’s interest. In such a function, an honest and capable administrator familiar with the territory and problems of taxation would undoubtedly be of immeasurable benefit to Darius. For this reason, Daniel, according to verse 3, was preferred above the others and had such ‘an excellent spirit’ that the king thought to put all of the princes under him. All of this makes a great deal of sense and actually sets the stage for the supreme test of Daniel which followed.”