Daniel: Chapter 6
Daniel 6:1-28 is one of the most well known chapters in the Bible by Christians and non-Christians alike. Though the fellow captives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, are no longer named in this book after Daniel 3:1-30, there is a strong correlation between their testing and what Daniel is going through in this chapter. All four men had demonstrated faith in the Lord God of Israel, that was immovable, even at the risk of certain physical death. All four remained faithful in every trial thrown at them.
Stepping back from this most familiar passage in scripture, one can observe a common thread with the previous chapter with this chapter in Daniel, which is pride. It is apparent that pride has been the downfall for each of the three kings discussed so far, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius, Proverbs 3:33-35, Proverbs 16:17-18, Proverbs 28:13. Application of all three proverbs is evident in this chapter of Daniel. Aside from Daniel, all of the men who constituted the upper governing circle of King Darius were wicked men, who sought the destruction of Daniel through subtlety by manipulating the king through his vanity, or pride. Daniel maintained his integrity and faith in God from the beginning of his captivity. There was no indication of any fault or diminished faith in God by either Daniel or his three companions, Daniel 1:8-9. An important aspect to consider while examining this chapter is the role of the Christian or tribulation saint when faced with similar circumstances. Within all strata of governments, from local to national, there has been a slow and progressive headway toward building a legal framework to address social agendas, which are contrary to moral principles in scripture. Initial reviews of these bills and laws seem benign, but when refined definitions are used to make judicial decisions, those latter decisions and findings provide the teeth behind the intent of the framers of legislation. Types of legal definitions could include, for example, what qualifies as hate speech, and therefore, what can and cannot be said in a public forum, such as the Internet. Direct teaching out of the Bible and its books such as Leviticus or Romans could, and has in some countries, come under fire. In time, many portions of scripture, or the Bible itself, may become illegal to cite, discuss, or teach in fear of offending someone’s sensitivities, Romans 9:30-33, 1Peter 2:6-8. Christ is a stumbling block and an offense to those who are disobedient or who fail to respond positively to His word. Everyone born into this world has to choose either to accept Christ as their Savior and live, or suffer eternal damnation. These are God’s laws, and not manmade. Consider how you will respond if or when government intrudes on your freedom of worship. Daniel serves as an excellent example of how to have a disciplined life dedicated to God, and how to respond as governmental pressures contrary to God’s word become law.
In Daniel 6:1-3, King Darius is establishing in Babylon under a new government under the rule of the Medes and Persians. One of the steps taken was to assign 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom. Above them were three administrators, one of whom was Daniel. As with all who came into contact with Daniel, King Darius recognized the favor of God about him, and sought to elevate Daniel in his court to a position over the whole kingdom. This is exactly the same occurrence with Joseph, who likewise found favor with those whom he served due to the Lord's Spirit was in him, Genesis 39:3-4, Genesis 39:20-23, and Genesis 41:3-40.
In Daniel 6:4-5, enough of the king's preference for Daniel was seen by the other leaders, that they had become jealous of Daniel, to the point of seeking his demise. They spent time studying him, looking for any occasion to blame him of some serious crime or any infraction, but they found none. Daniel as Joseph in the days of Pharaoh, lived a life that was in keeping with the Lord's commandments, statutes and instructions. All that was left to these evil men was to create a trap that they believed Daniel could not get out of, which was to establish a law that was contrary to the law of God. They studied Daniel so much that they knew the law of God, yet they did not study those same laws to understand God, they just ignored Him in favor of the ill gain that they sought. This is very similar to Balaam who for gain devised a plan that would force the children of Israel to sin in the sight of God. He hoped that through this faulty reasoning, they would be destroyed by the Lord because of the sin, Revelation 2:14. The difference is that some of the people in Israel did fall into sin, Numbers 25:1-3, Numbers 25:6-9, but here Daniel sinned not against the Lord. Rather, he remained faithful to the Lord in every way.
In Daniel 6:6-9, Daniel's enemies began to execute the evil scheme that they had crafted. The administrators (except Daniel) and the satraps met with King Darius and proposed a new decree that would make the king an intercessor between man and God for 30 days. At that time, the presidents and princes assembled together to meet with the king and presumed to speak for all of their peers. They were indeed cleaver, as Satan was in the garden against Eve, Genesis 3:4-6, in that they wanted this decree in writing so that there would be no question as to what the decree said, demanded, nor could it be changed. The king's pride blinded him to the true cost of this vanity, 1John 2:15-17, a price that he was soon to regret greatly once he signed the decree.
Daniel 6:10-12 shows the courage, testimony of Daniel's faith in the Lord, and his steadfastness in living a life for God. Upon learning what was done, that the king signed this wicked decree, Daniel continued to follow his custom in honoring the Lord; he went to his house to pray. He did not do this in private, behind closed doors, or in secret, but opened his windows that faced Jerusalem wide, kneeled and gave thanks to the Lord. Daniel continued this practice in his daily living in the Lord's ways without compromise. He provides an example to all who come under such temptation or persecution for their faith in the Lord. This act by Daniel was out of common practice, and not in exercising civil disobedience or an act of bravado. The conspirators counted on Daniel maintaining his integrity and righteous behavior in worshiping God.
It is also important to point out that Daniel exhibited no presumption on his part that the Lord would intervene on his behalf in the execution of the law, which meant Daniel's death, though the Lord Did, Hebrews 11:32-33. The same was true concerning Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, and their trial by fire before King Nebuchadnezzar for not bowing and worshiping his golden image, Daniel 3:16-18. In both instances, these men of faith faced certain death in a natural sense to stand firm in their belief in the God of Israel, and were willing to lay down their life for those things yet to come as promised by the Lord, Hebrews 11:13-16, Daniel 12:1-3. The God of Israel received great glory to His name as a result of the faith of these men in Him, and in the outcome at the beginning of the Gentile age. In both cases, the kings wrote decrees for their entire realm, honoring the God of Israel, and confessing that there is no other god like Him.
Immediately upon seeing Daniel pray to the Lord, his enemies went before the king to declare Daniel a lawbreaker, and deserving of death. Though the king was deceitfully used by the other court members to destroy Daniel, King Darius immediately recognized his fault and sought a way to reverse this dilemma caused by his pride. He even invoked the name of God whom Daniel worshiped for deliverance of Daniel. The king never envisioned this decree would lead to such devastating consequences. Daniel’s enemies considered the matter and crafted the entire scheme to prevent the king from saving Daniel’s life.
Daniel’s accusers were right, Daniel made a practice of worshiping God, praying toward the direction of where the temple had been, and he never hid his faith in God, nor did he alter his practices of worship in the face of adversity. Daniel could not have known that such an event would occur in his lifetime. However, his discipline of daily worship and the number of times he prayed was well-known, and it prepared him for the day of adversity, Psalm 55:16-18, 2Chronicles 6:36-39, Acts 5:27-29, and Philippians 4:4-7.
Daniel 6:13-16 shows that behind this entire episode is Satan. Though the intent of these evil men was self-serving, the impact was being suffered by all obedient Jews to the word of God. For they were never instructed, while in captivity, to seek a mediator to God, as this decree invoked, but were to pray toward the temple in soliciting God’s forgiveness and supplications, 1Kings 8:44-53. In a broad view, this attack was against the entire Israeli host in captivity.
This was also the case back in Daniel 3:1-30 when King Nebuchadnezzar constructed the golden image and charged all to worship it. Though only the upper crust of society was invited to the inauguration of the image, it was intended for the entire kingdom. But the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was publicly demonstrated, and God’s delivery of them was public and dramatic. This same plan has been used repeatedly, as in the days of the apostle Paul, 2Timothy 3:10-17. The hope for the saints of God is to know and rest on His word. It is extremely important to be prepared for these things, as warned about in the writings of the apostles and the words of the Lord. Jesus spoke of persecutions that will be faced by those who believe in Christ as their only Savior, 1Peter 4:1-5, 1Peter 4:12-19, and John 15:17-23.
In Daniel 6:13, the accusers denigrate Daniel in their accusation, saying that he prayed three times a day. At this point the king is devastated, and realized too late of his foolish decree and its consequences, which he never intended. Immediately he made every attempt to save Daniel, but he was pressed by the accusers to abide by the law. This was nothing more than legal accuracy versus righteousness, a scene that has been replayed throughout the millenniums in every courtroom. The king was forced by these wicked men to throw Daniel into the lions' den, but Daniel remained steadfast in his faith in the Lord, 2Timothy 3:12-17, Ephesians 1:11-12.
Daniel 6:17 explains that after Daniel was placed in the lions' den, that a stone placed over the den and then sealed with the king’s ring, and the rings of the nobles to secure the site. A similar situation occurred with a sealed stone over the entrance to the tomb of Jesus Christ after His death on the cross, Matthew 27:62-66. Just as Daniel and his fellow Hebrews suffered at the hands of evil men, they remained faithful to the Lord, even unto death. The same is true for many Christians in the world today who suffer, 1Peter 1:6-8 and 1Peter 4:12-19, but the Christian's refuge is always in the Lord and His deliverance, Psalms 34.
Daniel lived in an idolatrous environment and had to deal with the court intrigue that was all about him. As stated by the psalm, calling upon the Lord is necessary to preserve one from the battles faced by the saints, whether physical, spiritual, or both. The discipline in worship by Daniel prepared him well for the persecution he was to suffer. As a result, there is no indication that Daniel claimed his innocence, nor spoke out against the wrong done to him by a bad law. Instead, King Darius is viewed agonizing the entire night over Daniel's peril in the lions’ den. However, the king was extremely unsettled by all this throughout the night, Daniel 6:18.
What faith the king had was expressed in his statement the first moment that day broke out, so that he could go to the lions’ den to see if Daniel was still alive, Daniel 6:19-20. The king even attributes the possibility of Daniel surviving this dangerous situation as being something only the God of Israel could do. He identified no other god being able to do this miracle, only the Lord.
In Daniel 6:21-23, Daniel’s response to the king's plea acknowledges the Lord’s intervention. Now Daniel reminds the king that he did not do the king any wrong, and that his survival in this den of hungry and vicious lions, as seen in the following verse, was the Lord's endorsement of Daniel's innocence. At that very moment the king had Daniel lifted from the den and then examined for any wounds, just as King Nebuchadnezzar examined Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego upon being taken out of the burning oven after so great of a deliverance. In this case, there were no physical wounds found upon Daniel. This very fact of no physical harm is attributed to the belief of Daniel in the Lord.
In Daniel 6:24, to attest to the miracle of Daniel's deliverance, it is reported that the lions overpowered and killed all of the accusers and their families before they reached the floor of the den. The miracle confirmed that Daniel's enemies used lies and deceptively used the legal system to destroy him. The “false accusers” thus identified were condemned to face the same capitol punishment they devised for Daniel. This action left the law unenforceable for the remaining days of the month. No one dared to bring any accusation against Daniel, which is certain that this extended to every believer who worshiped the Lord as Daniel did.
There are other examples in scripture of entire families being judged and killed over sin if there is no repentance. Such was the case with Achan, who took only a few things from the city of Jericho after God had commanded that there would be no spoiling of any item from the city after God had judged it, and brought victory to children of Israel. Upon being discovered, and after his sin cost the lives of many at the first battle Ai, he with all of his family, goods and livestock were destroyed. There was nothing left of him or his family because of this sin, Joshua 7:20-26. The same was true in the New Testament when Ananias and Sapphira conspired to lie to the Apostles and the Lord immediately took his life, then Sapphira's for testing the Spirit of the Lord, Acts 5:1-11.
When God first called Abraham out from his family in the land of Haran, the Lord promised Abraham that He would bless those who blessed them, and curse those who cursed them. Genesis 12:1-3. God’s word cannot be changed by any act of man, and this promise of God to Abraham has been demonstrated time and time again. Daniel’s conspirators suffered the fate they intended for Daniel. This pattern of hatred, disregard of God's word, and the Lord acting upon His word would be again demonstrated a few generations later in Persian history in dramatic fashion as seen in the book of Esther, Esther 7:3-10.
In Daniel 6:25-28, King Darius, as King Nebuchadnezzar before him in Daniel 4:1-37, gave the credit for the deliverance of Daniel to God, and made a kingdom-wide proclamation. To focus further on the importance of discipline in one’s relationship with Christ in their life, see 2Peter 1:2-10 where Peter lists a number of Christian virtues, which provide the Christian the ability to be partakers of the divine nature. This list Peter writes of include:
- brotherly kindness, and
Daniel serves as a model for all believers on the behavior of a Christian whether in prosperity or in tremendous hardship and persecution. The entire first half of this book was upon the demonstration of God's sovereignty over man and governments as demonstrated through Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. There will now be a shift in the remaining six chapters of this fantastic book. Instead of concentrating on the historical part of these men and the kingdoms that they were exiled to, the emphasis shifts to the prophesies of future events that were given to Daniel.