Thoughts to Ponder: Chapter 16
Chapter 16: King Darius Regrets His Decree ~ Daniel 6:1-14
Q1 – What does it say about King Darius that he would go along with a decree that people could pray only to him?
A1 – First of all, who was Darius the Mede? Historians have had trouble finding out, and some point to the reference of him in the book of Daniel as an inaccuracy in the Bible. Remember that the scriptures you read today have been translated. Old Testament scriptures were written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. However, at least parts of Ezra, Daniel and Jeremiah were written in Aramaic. (Here’s a short, informative article entitled, “In What Language Was the Bible First Written?”)
What difference does the language make? It’s highly possible that names in one language are different in another language and change upon translation. (Go pull up a map of the world that’s printed in a different language, like German or French, to see how the names of countries differ from English names.) It’s highly possible that Darius was known in secular history by a different name, or even that “Darius” referred to a title rather than a personal name. (Here’s an article that digs back into archaeological writings concerning “Belshazzar and Darius the Mede.”)
So don’t let it throw you when you research Darius and certain references say there is no evidence he existed. This has been said in numerous other circumstances and then later discoveries will surface which support the Biblical documentation. According to information now available, Darius was the same person as the ruler, Gubaru.
Regardless of what he’s called, it’s evident that this new king was pretty egotistical. It’s also evident that he didn’t believe in the true God, or he would never have agreed to allow others to pray to him. He must not have really believed in any of their false gods either, or he would have been fearful of their wrath and retribution. And he certainly wouldn’t have made a good chess player, if the game had been in existence at the time, because he didn’t think beyond the move at hand. He was dazzled by the proposal of the conspiring administrators and failed to consider the possible ramifications of his edict.
Q2 – What does it say about the other officials that they would even suggest such a decree be made?
A2 – Have you ever be subject to a hostile work environment? Maybe there’s a certain clique, the in-crowd, that controls things or manages to take the credit for other people’s work. Maybe you’ve even had others try to sabotage your efforts, make light of your suggestions, or smile to your face and then stab you in the back. Some things really haven’t changed through the centuries, have they?
These officials were mean spirited and obviously held no regard for human life. Of course, putting people to death in creative ways seems to have happened fairly frequently during these times. You lived or died at the pleasure of the king, and the reason for your death didn’t really need to make sense. These officials were simply trying to play to the king’s vulnerabilities in order to eliminate Daniel and get him out of their way.
Q3 – Why do you think the other officials wanted Daniel out of the way? Were they simply trying to advance their own political ambitions by tearing someone else down? Might they have been afraid of what Daniel would uncover about the way they had been handling government assets if he were placed in charge of the whole kingdom?
A3 – It could have been their own selfish ambition that drove these administrators to set this trap for Daniel. Maybe they wanted to be the ones on top. They were obviously not Jewish to have made such a proposal, so cultural conflict could well have played a part in their trying to get him killed.
However, because the scriptures state in verse 2 that the other officials would be accountable to the top three administrators in order to keep the king from being defrauded or suffering loss, it’s highly likely that somebody was helping themselves to the king’s wealth. Things weren’t disappearing solely because of accounting errors or not being used in the most efficient manner. In all probability, wealth was being pilfered, and that’s why the king wanted someone in charge who was honest as well as capable. These conspirators went to great efforts to snare Daniel because they could well have been part of the problem.