Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Kingdom. Josephus, &c., say Darius had returned into Media, where he made these regulations. But if this did not take place at Babylon, it would be rather at Susa, chap. viii. Josephus counts 300 or 360 governments, though when the monarchy was increased there were only 127, Esther i. (Calmet) — He may therefore speak here of large towns, which had each a magistrate. Such regulations easily vary. (Haydock) — Darius acts as master of the whole empire.
Ver. 3. Princes. Th.[Theodotion?], “regulators.” Chaldean sarecin, (Haydock) may be put for (Calmet) seranim, (Haydock) the usual title (Calmet) of the highest officers, the surenas of Persia. (Amminan 30.)
Ver. 4. Kingdom, as prime minister, to whom the three princes should be accountable, as the inferior governors were to them. (Haydock) —The king was now advanced in years, and wished to ease himself of part of the burden, (Calmet) as he could entirely confide in Daniel. (Haydock) — He reigned only one year, chap. xiii. 65. (Worthington) — King. Chaldean, “kingdom,” (Haydock) to accuse him of treason, (Grotius) or to get him removed. (Calmet) — This is an old and malignant trick, to call religion treason, and to get laws made for that purpose. (Worthington) — In him a great proof of integrity! (Menochius)
Ver. 6. Craftily. Chaldean, “came tumultuously to,” &c. (Calmet) — They hoped thus to convince the king, as they were so unanimous. He would not perceive the drift of their petition, adn was flattered with the idea of being like a god. Daniel was not consulted, though on other occasions the king reposed such confidence in him, as the deputies so impudently asserted that the wish was universal! So easily are princes deceived! (Haydock)
Ver. 8. It, when it is confirmed both by the king and his nobility, Esther viii. 8.
Ver. 9. It. Nabuchodonosor of Babylon, and of Ninive, had both pretended to be gods; (Chap. iii. 15; Judith v. 29.) (Calmet) and Curtius (8.) remarks, “that the Persians follow the dictates of prudence as well as of piety, in worshipping their kings among the gods, the majesty of empire being its best protection.” (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Before. He did not open the windows that he might be seen, as that would have been rashness; nor did many perceive what he was doing, (ver. 11.; Worthington) as it was in an upper room, but only those who rushed in. (Haydock) — It was the usual practice of the Jews, (Calmet) to pray turning towards the temple, as Solomon had directed, (3 Kings viii. 48; St. Jerome in Ezechiel viii. 16.) though it was now in ashes. (Haydock) — Daniel observed the third, sixth, and ninth hours, as the Church still does, Acts ii. 15., and x. 9. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 11. Carefully. Chaldean, “came in a tumultuous manner,” as [in] verses 6 & 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Perceiving. Chaldean, “assembled,” (Protestants; Haydock) or “came quickly in a body.” (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Own ring, that none of his enemies might injure Daniel. The nobles also affixed their seal, (Haydock) that the king might not liberate him. (Menochius) — All this shews that aristocracy was mixed with the monarchical form of government. Nothing of importance is done without the nobles.
Ver. 18. Meat. Chaldean, “music,” (Calmet) or “incense.” (De Dieu.) — He was tired of his godship, to which he had unguardedly opened his heart, ver. 6. (Haydock)
Ver. 22. Offence, as I neglected thy decree to obey a higher Master. (Calmet) — The king had sense enough to approve of this distinction. (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Believed, or trusted. (Calmet) — St. Paul alludes to this miracle, Hebrews xi. 33. (Worthington)
Ver. 24. Accused. They were punished as false witnesses; (Calmet) and the king justly made them suffer what they would have inflicted on the innocent, being convinced that Daniel had only acted according to his devotion. (Worthington) — These wretches deserved to perish, though they had spoken nothing but the truth. (Haydock) — Wives. Many examples of such punishments occur, (Calmet) as it was presumed the children and wives were infected by the bad example, and would imitiate it, (Junius) if they had not concurred already. (Menochius) — This must have been the case, to make it just. (Haydock) See Joshua vii. — Abominandœ leges, says Ammianus, (23) speaking of the customs of Persia, per quas ob noxam unius omnis propinquitas perit. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:Daniel is promoted by Darius: his enemies procure a law forbidding prayer: for the transgression of this law, Daniel is cast into the lion’s den: but miraculously delivered.
1 It seemed good to Darius, and he appointed over the kingdom a hundred and twenty governors, to be over his whole kingdom.
2 And three princes over them, of whom Daniel was one: that the governors might give an account to them, and the king might have no trouble.
3 And Daniel excelled all the princes, and governors: because a greater spirit of God was in him.
4 And the king thought to set him over all the kingdom; whereupon the princes, and the governors, sought to find occasion against Daniel, with regard to the king: and they could find no cause, nor suspicion, because he was faithful, and no fault, nor suspicion was found in him
5 Then these men said: We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, unless perhaps concerning the law of his God.
6 Then the princes, and the governors, craftily suggested to the king, and spoke thus unto him: King Darius, live for ever:
7 All the princes of the kingdom, the magistrates, and governors, the senators, and judges, have consulted together, that an imperial decree, and an edict be published: That whosoever shall ask any petition of any god, or man, for thirty days, but of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.
8 Now, therefore, O king, confirm the sentence, *and sign the decree: that what is decreed by the Medes and Persians may not be altered, nor any man be allowed to transgress it.
9 So king Darius set forth the decree, and established it.
10 Now, when Daniel knew this, that is to say, that the law was made, he went into his house: and opening the windows in his upper chamber towards Jerusalem, he knelt down three times a day, and adored, and gave thanks before his God, as he had been accustomed to do before.
11 Wherefore those men carefully watching him, found Daniel praying and making supplication to his God.
12 And they came and spoke to the king concerning the edict: O king, hast thou not decreed, that every man that should make a request to any of the gods, or men, for thirty days, but to thyself, O king, should be cast into the den of the lions? And the king answered them, saying: The word is true, according to the decree of the Medes and Persians, which it is not lawful to violate.
13 Then they answered, and said before the king: Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Juda, hath not regarded thy law, nor the decree that thou hast made: but three times a day he maketh his prayer.
14 Now when the king had heard these words, he was very much grieved, and in behalf of Daniel he set his heart to deliver him, and even till sun-set he laboured to save him.
15 But those men perceiving the king’s design, said to him: Know thou, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree which the king hath made, may be altered.
16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of the lions. And the king said to Daniel: Thy God, whom thou always servest, he will deliver thee.
17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den: which the king sealed with his own ring, and with the ring of his nobles, that nothing should be done against Daniel.
18 And the king went away to his house, and laid himself down without taking supper, and meat was not set before him, and even sleep departed from him.
19 Then the king rising very early in the morning, went in haste to the lions’ den:
20 And coming near to the den, cried with a lamentable voice to Daniel, and said to him: Daniel, servant of the living God, hath thy God, whom thou servest always, been able, thinkest thou, to deliver thee from the lions?
21 And Daniel answering the king, said: O king, live for ever:
22 *My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut up the mouths of the lions, and they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him justice hath been found in me: yea, and before thee, O king, I have done no offence.
23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and he commanded that Daniel should be taken out of the den: and Daniel was taken out of the den, and no hurt was found in him, because he believed in his God.
24 And by the king’s commandment, those men were brought that had accused Daniel: and they were cast into the lions’ den, they and their children, and their wives: and they did not reach the bottom of the den, before the lions caught them, and broke all their bones in pieces.
25 Then king Darius wrote to all people, tribes, and languages, dwelling in the whole earth: Peace be multiplied unto you.
26 It is decreed by me, that in all my empire and my kingdom all men dread and fear the God of Daniel. For he is the living and eternal God for ever: and his kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his power shall be for ever.
27 He is the deliverer, and saviour, doing signs and wonders in heaven, and in earth: who hath delivered Daniel out of the lions’ den.
28 *Now Daniel continued unto the reign of Darius, and the reign of Cyrus, the Persian.
8: Esther i. 19.
22: 1 Machabees ii. 60.
28: Daniel i. 21.