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8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, 9 that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees Persians, of keeping lions for the chase" (Bevan): cf. Ez. xix. 9. The word rendered 'den means properly a pit or dungeon: see the Targ. of Gen. xxxvii. 22; Jer. xxxviii. 6, 7; and cf. v. 23 (' taken up '), and v. 24, end.
8. decree] interdict.
altereth not] lit. passeth not away. On the unalterableness of the edicts of a Persian king, cf. Est. i. 19 ('let it be written among the laws of the Persians and Medes, that it pass not away'), viii. 8 (a royal edict, properly signed and sealed, 'may no man reverse').
9. decree] interdict.
and his windows, &c.] more exactly, and also more clearly, now he had in his roof-chamber open windows fronting Jerusalem. The clause is parenthetical, and describes the constant and habitual arrangement of Daniel's windows.
roof-chamber] usually rendered upper chamber, which however does not at all suggest to an English reader what is intended. The 'roofchamber' was (and still is) an apartment 'raised above the flat roof of a house at one corner, or upon a tower-like annex to the building, with latticed windows giving free circulation to the air' (Moore on Judg. iii. 20). It was thus cool in summer (Judg. 7. c.), and a part of the house to which anyone would naturally retire if he wished to be undisturbed (cf. 1 Ki. xvii. 19; 2 Ki. i. 2, iv. 10, 11). In the N.T. the roofchamber is mentioned as a place of meeting for prayer (Acts i. 13, xx. 8; cf. x. 9: see also ix. 37, 39). Comp. Thomson's The Land and the Book, ed. 2, 11. 634, 636 (with an illustration).
open] i.e., either without lattices at all, or without fixed lattices (cf. 2 Ki. i. 2, xiii. 17) opp. to 'closed windows' (Ez. xl. 16, xli. 16, 26), or 'windows with closed wood-work' (1 Ki. vi. 4), the lattices of which did not admit of being opened.
toward Jerusalem] To pray, turning towards Jerusalem-or, if in Jerusalem, towards the Temple-became in later times a standing Jewish custom: we do not know how early it began; but it was based doubtless upon 1 Ki. viii. 35, 38, 44, 48 (in this verse with reference to exiles in a foreign land), cf. Ps. v. 7, xxviii. 2. The custom is alluded to in the Mishna (Bĕrächōth, iv. 5, 6); and in Sifrê 71b it is said that those in foreign lands turn in prayer towards the land of Israel, those in the land of Israel towards Jerusalem, and those in Jerusalem towards the Temple. Mohammed at first commanded his disciples to pray towards Jerusalem; but afterwards he altered the kibla ('facing-point') to Mecca.
and he continued kneeling.... and praying, and giving thanks
three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the 12 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. Then answered they 13 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. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and
before his God, forasmuch as he had been wont to do (it) aforetime] inasmuch as it had been his regular custom, he still adhered to it.
three times a day] Cf. Ps. lv. 17 ('at evening, and at morning, and at noonday will I complain and moan'). In later times, the three hours of prayer were not as is often supposed, the third, sixth and ninth hours, but the time when the morning burnt-offering was offered (nan), in the afternoon at the ninth hour (our three o'clock; cf. Acts iii. 1, x. 30), when the evening meal-offering was
.237 .see Schürer, ii : (תפלת הערב) and sunset ,(תפלת מנחה) offered
The custom may well have arisen before the 2nd cent. B.C. On the prayers which, at least in later days, were used at the three times, see Hamburger, Real-Encyclop. vol. ii., arts. MORGEN-, MINCHA-, and ABENDGEBET.
before his God] a usage of the later Jews (as in the Targum constantly), who, from a feeling of greater reverence, said 'to speak, pray, confess, &c. before God,' rather than 'to Him.' Cf. v. 22, end; also ii. 9, with the note. The later Jews even extended the same usage to cases in which God was really the agent: cf. Matt. xi. 26 (ourWS ÈYÉVETо Evdoкíα μπроσlév σov), xviii. 14 (see R.V. marg.); Luke xii. 6 (éπiλeλnoμévov évάTLOV TOû ОEOû); Num. xiv. 8 Onk. ('if there is good pleasure in us before Jehovah'); and see Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, pp. 172-174.
11. assembled came thronging (v. 6),—flocking tumultuously about Daniel's house.
12. before the king] cf. v. 10; and see on ii. 9.
decree (twice)] interdict. So v. 13.
altercth not] lit. passeth not away (v. 8).
13. children of the exile of Judah] ii. 25, V. 13.
14. was sore displeased with himself] was sore displeased (R.V.):
set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured 15 till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 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 16 may be changed. 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 17 thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 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.
'with himself' is incorrect. The expression is the Aram. equivalent of the Heb. phrase found in Jonah iv. 1; Neh. ii. 10, xiii. 8.
laboured] rather, continued striving; Theod. ywvioaтo, Pesh. I WOUND. The idea expressed by the word is that of struggling. to deliver him (second time)] to rescue him (R.V.: so v. 27 A.V.); a different word from the one rendered 'deliver' just before.
15. assembled] came thronging or tumultuously, as v. 6.
Know, O king, &c.] The courtiers, in their violence against Daniel, address Darius, as in v. 12, abruptly and peremptorily, without any respectful words of introduction (v. 6).
16. Now the king spake, &c.] The king answered, &c. The asyndetic construction is characteristic of the Aramaic portion of the book: iii. 19, 24, 26, v. 7, 13, vi. 20 (notice italics in A.V.), al.
he will deliver thee] Rather, may he (emph.) deliver thee! The king hopes, even against hope, that Daniel may by some means or other be spared his fate. Throughout the narrative Darius shews solicitude for Daniel (cf. vv. 14, 18-20). He does not willingly consign him to death: he has been entrapped by his courtiers; and in acting as he has done, he has merely, like Herod (Matth. xiv. 9), yielded to what he supposes to be the necessities of his position.
17. sealed it with his own signet] seals were in common use alike among the Assyrians, Babylonians (cf. Hdt. I. 195, 'every one has a seal'), and Persians; and numbers, especially from Babylonia and Assyria, have been brought to European museums during the past half century. The signet cylinder of Darius Hystaspis represented the king as engaged in a lion hunt (Rawlinson, Anc. Mon. III. 226, 227). Cf. (in Israel) 1 Ki. xxi. 8; and (in Persia) Est. iii. 12, viii. 8, 10.
that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel (R.V.)] i.e. that nothing might be done, either by the king, or by anyone else, to rescue Daniel. The word, meaning properly will, purpose, is here used in the weakened sense of thing, which it has in the Aramaic
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night 18 fasting neither were instruments of musick brought before him and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose 19 very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with 20 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? Then said Daniel unto the king,
of Palmyra (Lidzbarski, Handbuch der Nordsemitischen Epigraphik (1898), p. 464, 1. 6, 'about these things'), as well as constantly in Syriac, as Ecclus. xxxii. 19 (Pesh.)Do not anything without counsel.'
18. instruments of musick] The meaning of the word thus rendered is unknown. The root in Aram. and Heb. means to thrust, overthrow (Ps. xxxvi. 12, cxviii. 13). In Arab. it means further to spread, spread out, and is also used specially in the sense compressit feminam. The ancient translators and commentators conjectured a meaning suited to the context. Theod. (édéσuara), Pesh., Jerome (cibi), render food; Rashi (12 cent.), a table (cf. A.V. marg.); Ibn Ezra, stringed instruments (supposing, improbably, to thrust to be used in the sense of to strike); Saad. (10 cent.), dancing-girls; many moderns (from the Arab. meaning of the root, mentioned above), concubines. But it is very doubtful whether it is legitimate to explain an Aram. word from a sense peculiar to Arabic, and there, moreover, only secondary and derived. By assuming a very small corruption in the text (117 for we should, however, obtain the ordinary Aram. word for concubines (v. 2, 3, 23): so Marti, Prince. But whatever the true meaning, or reading, of the word may be, the general sense of the verse remains the same: the king did not indulge in his usual diversions.
fled (R.V.) from him] lit. fled upon him: in accordance with the idiom explained on ii. 1. For 'fled' cf. Gen. xxxi. 40; Est. vi. 1.
19. Then the king arose at dawn, as soon as it was light] lit. at dawn, in the brightness. The words used imply that day had fully broken. The first word ('dawn') stands in the Targ. for 'morning' in Is. lviii. 8; and the second ('brightness'), in its Heb. form, in Is. lxii. I.
in haste (iii. 24)] So anxious was he to learn how Daniel had fared. 20. when he came] as he drew near.
with a lamentable voice] or, with a pained voice. The same expression (with an inappreciable difference of form) occurs in the Targ. (Ps.-Jon.) of Ex. xii. 31, and in that of Est. iv. I.
and the king, &c.] the king answered and said.
the living God] The same emphatic and significant title, found in Deut. v. 26; Josh. iii. 10; 1 Sam. xvii. 26, 36; 2 Ki. xix. 4, 16; Jer. x. 10, xxiii. 36; Hos. i. 10; Ps. xlii. 2, lxxxiv. 2.
22 O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and 23 also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found 24 upon him, because he believed in his God. 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.
21. O king, live for ever] cf. v. 6.
22. sent his angel] cf. iii. 28.
shut &c.] cf. Heb. xi. 33 (ëøpağav; Theod. here évéøpažev).
because he believed—or (R. V.) trusted-in his God] cf. Heb. xi. 33. 24. The king's vengeance on the men who had maliciously accused Daniel.
accused] see on iii. 8.
their children, and their wives] according to the rough justice—or, to our minds, injustice of antiquity: cf. Josh. vii. 24-25; 2 Sam. xxi. 5—9; Est. ix. 13, 14; Hdt. iii. 119. Cf. Mozley's Ruling Ideas in Early Ages, p. 87 ff., in explanation of the principle involved.
had the mastery of them] or fell upon them-a sense which the Aram. phrase, properly meaning to rule over, has in the Targums (e.g. Judg. xv. 12; 2 Sam. i. 15).
in pieces] These words should be followed by a comma (as in R.V.), the words or ever &c., having reference to both the preceding clauses (the order in the Aram. is 'and they reached not the bottom of the pit, ere the lions' &c.).
or ever] i.e. before; the expression being a pleonastic, reduplicated form of ere (A.S. ær, Germ. cher), frequent in Old English. So Prov. viii. 23 (A.V., R.V.), Ps. liii. 8 (P.B.V.), xc. 2 (P.B.V., A.V., R.V.), Cant. vi. 12 (A.V., R.V.), Acts xxiii. 15 (A.V., R.V.); Is. lxv. 24, in Coverdale's version, 'Or ever they call, I shal answere them'; and several times in Shakespeare. Mr Wright (Bible Word-Book, s.v.) quotes from Latimer's Sermons, 'The great man was gone forth about such affairs as behoved him, or [=ere] I came.'
25-27. The edict of Darius, enjoining all his subjects to dread and fear the God of Daniel. Cf. the decree of Nebuchadnezzar in iii. 29, forbidding men anywhere to speak against Him; and his proclamation in iv. 1-3, 37, declaring to mankind His doings. The thought and phraseology of the edict are strongly Jewish.