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8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which 'altereth not.
6 Then these presidents and princes 'as- gave thanks before his God, as he did aforesembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm 'decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber Stoward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees 'three times a day, and prayed, and
1 Or, came tumultuously. Or, interdict. 3 Esther 1. 19, and 8. 8.
13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and
4 Chald. passeth nat. 51 Kings 9. 48.
• Psal. 55. 17.
set his heart on Daniel to deliver him
and shut the lions' mouths, that they have not
23 Then was the king exceeding glad
24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be 'destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were 'instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the 'power of the lions.
21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of 10Cyrus the Persian.
22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath
7 Or, table. 8 Chap. 2. 44, and 4. 3, and 7. 14, 27. Luke 1.33. 9 Heb. hand. 10 Chap. 1. 21.
Verse 1. "Darius."—We have already had occasion to mention this Darius as the Cyaxares of the Greek writers. One of his sisters, married to the king of Persia, was the mother of the great Cyrus, and another, married to the king of Babylon, appears to have been the mother of Belshazzar. In his latter days he was in fact governed by his nephew and heir, Cyrus, "by that ascendancy," says Hales, "which great souls have always over little ones." Their interests were so much identified at this time, and the connection between them was so close, that this alone will sufficiently account for the Medes and Persians being in this book mentioned constantly together. Horne, remarking on the truth with which the characters of kings are drawn in the book of Daniel, observes that Xenophon “represents Cyaxares as weak and pliable, but of a cruel temper, easily managed for the most part, and ferocious in his anger. Is not this Darius ?-the same Darius who allowed his nobles to make laws for him, and then repented-suffered Daniel to be cast into the lions' den, and then spent a night in lamentation for him, and at last, in strict conformity with Xenophon's description, condemned to death, not only his false counsellors, but also their wives and children ?"— Introduction,' iv. 213.
8. "The law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not."-See the note on Esther vi. 1. It is singular that the only law which seems to have limited the royal power of the Median and Persian kings, was one by which that power was most strongly magnified and maintained. The king's word was law; and as the king was thus the fountain of law, and as he was looked up to as something more than man-it was quite natural on these premises, however revolting to common sense, to decree that his purpose once declared should not be altered: because a law ought to be a determined thing, on the one hand; and, on the other, because to have allowed him to yield to the voice of reason and mercy, after his purpose had been declared, would have involved an admission that he had been hasty and mistakenan idea which could not be tolerated under the intense despotisms of Ancient Asia. In the present instance we see the king, in consequence of a declaration, the purpose of which he had not comprehended, compelled to do what he viewed with horror and aversion: and in the Book of Esther, we have seen a king unable to recal an order which he had issued for a massacre of the Jews; all he could do being to issue a counter order, allowing the doomed people to stand upon their defence-that is, they were permitted to do their best to kill those, who were, by his previous order, bound to kill them. Thus the kings sometimes suffered-and their people more-from the infallibility which formed one of the royal prerogatives. This custom has been noticed by ancient heathen authors. The same idea of the inviolability of the royal word has remained in Persia, in a mitigated form, even to modern times. A remarkable example of this is related by Sir John Malcolm of Aga Mahomed Khan, the last but one of the Persian kings. After alluding to
the present case and that in Esther, he observes, "the character of the power of the king of Persia has undergone no change. The late king, Aga Mahomed Khan, when encamped near Shiraz, said he would not move till the snow was off the mountain in the vicinity of his camp. The season proved severe, and the snow remained longer than was expected: the army began to suffer distress and sickness, but the king said, while the snow remained upon the mountain he would not move: and his word was as law, and could not be broken. A multitude of labourers were collected and sent to remove the snow: their efforts, and a few fine days, cleared the mountain, and Aga Mahomed Khan marched. This anecdote was related to me by one of his principal chiefs, and who told it to me with a desire of impressing my mind with a high opinion of Aga Mahomed Khan, who knew, he observed, the sacred nature of a word spoken by the king of Persia."-Hist. of Persia,' i. 268.
FROM PORTER'S TRAVELS.'
16. "Cast him into the den of lions."-This is a new kind of punishment, not previously mentioned in Scripture; and that it first occurs here at Babylon is a remarkable fact showing the accuracy of the sacred writers in their references to the manners and usages of different nations. We are not aware that any ancient writer mentions that the inhabitants of Babylon were in the habit of throwing offenders to be devoured by lions kept in dens for the purpose. But we have the still more conclusive evidence of monuments brought to light by modern travellers, on the sites not only of Babylon but of Susa also, representing lions destroying and preying upon human beings. We will not go so far as the author of an ingenious little work*, as to say that any of these refer to the transaction recorded in the present chapter, being satisfied with the greater certainty with which they demonstrate the point we have mentioned. We give representations of some of the more remarkable of the figures to which we refer. The first was found at Babylon, near the great mass of ruin which is supposed to mark the site of the grand western palace alluded to in a note on ch. iii. It represents a lion standing over the body of a prostrate man, extended on a pedestal which measures nine feet in length by three in breadth. The whole is from a block of stone of the ingredient and texture of granite, the scale colossal, and the sculpture in a very barbarous style. The head has been lately knocked off; but when Mr. Rich saw it, the statue was in a perfect state, and he remarks that "the mouth had a circular aperture into which a man might introduce his fist." The second very curious representation is from an engraved gem, dug from the ruins of Babylon by Captain Mignan. It exhibits a man standing upon two sphinxes and engaged with two fierce animals, possibly intended for lions. If it be not an astronomical representation, it might seem very probably an exhibition, partly symbolical, of some such event as the present. The 'Fellow of several learned Societies,' in adverting to this, directs attention to the great
The Truths of Revelation demonstrated by an Appeal to existing Monuments, Sculptures, Gems, Coins, and Medals. By a Fellow of several learned Societies,' 1831.
similarity which he finds between the features and dress of the man, and those of the captive Jews in Egypt, in that representation which we have copied from the source to which he refers under 2 Chron. xxxv. On comparing them, considerable resemblance may certainly be found about the head and its attire. The third subject is from a block of white marble found near the tomb of Daniel at Susa, and thus described by Sir R. K. Porter in his 'Travels' (vol. ii. 416). "It does not exceed ten inches in width and depth, measures twenty in length, and is hollow within, as if to receive some deposit. Three of its sides are cut in bas relief, two of them with similar representations of a man appaently naked, except a sash round his waist and a sort of cap on his head. His hands are bound behind him. corner of the stone forms the neck of the figure, so that its head forms one of its ends. Two lions in sitting postures appear on either side at the top, each having a paw on the head of the man." These are certainly satisfactory illustrations of the custom in question, as existing at Babylon and Susa, and others might be adduced from Babylonian coins. As to the punishment itself, opinions will be divided. But it is remarkable that Dr. Paley thought that something similar would, as a capital punishment, be preferable to public executions, which he considered to have rather a hardening than a corrective effect upon the public mind.
6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: 'thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
15 ¶ I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my 'body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse "from all
4 Or, it raised up one dominion. 5 Revel. 5. 11. Revel. 20. 12.
10 Chald. high ones, that is, things or places.
the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
dom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all "dominions shall serve and obey him.
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.
24 And the ten horns out of this king
18 Luke 1. 33.
13 Or, rulers.
Verse 1. "Visions."-In going through the visions which follow, we shall be constrained by a regard to our limits to remember that the interpretation of prophecy is no part of the duty we have undertaken. Our notes therefore will be few and brief; the necessity for which we the less regret, inasmuch as Daniel is, to a very great extent, his own interpreter; and the reader who compares the visions with each other, and who possesses the slightest acquaintance with history, cannot fail to discover the subjects to which they refer, and the remarkable and literal fulfilment they have all received-with the exception of those concluding ones which are left for the time yet future to reveal. So clear are these prophecies, and so definite even in their dates, that it is impossible for the boldest unbelief to deny the divine inspiration of the prophet, without at the same time asserting that the prophecies were written after the events to which they refer. But that they were not so, is demonstrable by the completest proof that ever was brought to bear on any historical or literary question; and for this reason, as well as from the circumstance that nearly all the events which form the subjects of prediction are the most conspicuous events in general history, and with the details of which we are amply informed by heathen or infidel historians, we have always been of opinion that the book of Daniel furnishes such powerful and unanswerable evidence of the divine authority of the sacred writers, that it is rather surprising that so powerful a weapon as this might be, in skilful and blessed hands, has not been wielded for the overthrow of unbelief.
Although we are restricted with respect to notes on this portion of Scripture, it may be desirable to prefix a few observations for the guidance of the less instructed reader.
If the visions in ch. vii., viii., and xi., be attentively considered, and compared with each other and with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, it will clearly appear that they all refer to the same subject, and all describe the same things under a variety of figures. The object, as briefly intimated under ch. ii. 31, is to furnish a prophetic sketch of general history to the end of time; yet so that each sketch contains some particulars which are not to be found in the others; and in some cases one sketch expatiates on one branch of the subject, which the others pass over slightly. To obtain therefore a full view of the information which the prophecies contain, the student of Scripture finds it necessary to collate them with one another. The following hints may be useful.
THE GENERAL SUBJECT is proposed in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, under the similitude of a compound image of four metals-gold, silver, brass, and iron; and in the present vision by four wild beasts rising from the sea: both denoting four great sovereignties.
THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE is represented, in ch. ii., by the head of gold; and in the present vision, by a lion with eagle's wings. There is great propriety in this representation when we recollect that this empire has been described by other prophets under the figures of a lion and an eagle-a long-winged and full-feathered eagle in Ezekiel (Jer. iv. 7; xlviii. 40; Ezek. xvii. 2).
THE MEDO-PERSIAN EMPIRE-denoted in Nebuchadnezzar's dream by the breast and arms of silver; in the present vision, by a bear with three ribs between his teeth; and in the next (viii. 3, 4), by a ram with enequal horns, the last higher than the others, pushing (extending its conquests) to the west, the north, and the south. This last explains what is meant by the three ribs in the bear's mouth, and by the breast and two arms (three portions) of silver. In all these chapters the reader will not fail to recollect that the horn was the common symbol of sovereign power.
THE MACEDO-GRECIAN EMPIRE, by which the preceding was overthrown. These prophecies, which relate to it, are exceedingly remarkable; and the reader, in tracing this empire in the dream and visions, cannot fail to observe that they became progressively more definite, till at last the "king of Grecia" (Alexander) is distinctly mentioned. This is first represented by the belly and thighs of brass (ii. 39); a leopard with four wings and four heads (vii. 6); a swift he-goat from the west, with a great horn, afterwards broken into four smaller ones, to the four winds, or towards every point of the compass (viii. 5-8); and this is explained in xi. 2-4, to mean a mighty king of Grecia (Alexander) who should overthrow the king of Persia; his kingdom to be divided into four inferior kingdoms, to the four winds-but not to his posterity. How all this was fulfilled every body knows. The last clause is most remarkable for its definite reference to 2 H 233