BOOK OF DANIEL – Daniel’s Extraordinary Spirit

Posted by on Oct 30, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Daniel’s Extraordinary Spirit

Based on my previous blog regarding the identity of Darius, I do not intend to return to that debate unless it is absolutely necessary. Suffice it to say that we know there was the historical person of Cyrus the Great who was the king of Persia. Whether Darius was another name for Cyrus we are not told.

Daniel 6:1-4 records for us that, “It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.” (NASB)

We have mentioned that many of the populace of Babylon disliked both Nabonidus and Belshazzar. This may have been why Babylon was taken without a significant battle. Indeed, Herodotus and Xenphon both state that Babylon fell without a fight. If this is true, it certainly does support the opening verses of chapter six. It appears the conquerors of Babylon were happy to work with those whom they now ruled. Darius appoints 120 satraps over the kingdom. Some have even argued that both Cyrus and Darius never appointed more than twenty or thirty-six satraps, respectively and therefore, the number of 120 satraps is not accurate. On the other side of this argument, a perusal of Esther 1:1 reveals that King Ahasuerus reigned over 127 provinces. One would think this supports Daniel 6:1, but not so. Liberal scholars argue that 120 is an exaggeration! When faced with someone who is bent on disagreeing with Scripture, my advice is not to engage in such a fruitless and trivial argument.

The Aramaic word used in Daniel 6:1 is achashdarpan which means governor. Other terms used are princes or lieutenants. In Old Persian, a “satrap” is one who was the “protector of the province”. But what is the significance as to why we are even told about these 120 satraps? Verse two is the clue. It tells us that three commissioners were to be over the 120 satraps. Daniel was one of the three. Commissioner is not exactly the most accurate description of the Aramaic word used. That word is carek, pronounced saw-rake which means, chief or overseer. The purpose of the three overseers was to make the 120 satraps accountable to the overseers so the king would not suffer loss. This likely meant protecting the king’s financial interest in each province and ensuring the proper collection of taxes. Notice what verse three tells us. Daniel possessed an extraordinary spirit that distinguished him over the other two overseers. We should not be surprised in the slightest. God’s providence was at work again to not only honor His faithful servant but to place him at center stage for further revelations. You may recall I said in chapter five that Daniel may have retired or was probably forced out of office during the reign of Nabonidus and Belshazzar. Now, over eighty years of age, he shows himself more capable than all the others. Verse four tells us that the king planned to appoint Daniel over the entire kingdom. If I may, let me pause for a moment. It should not surprise us when we are told of the likes of Moses who became a member of the royal family of Pharaoh. Or of Joseph who became the Vizier or Prime Minister of Egypt. Or Daniel, not only a high ranking official of one world power but two! It should not surprise us when we are told there are no records of such appointments recorded by Egypt, Babylon or the Medo-Persians. They were pagans. They were not interested in supporting the Bible record by accurately recording such appointments. And neither was Satan who will always try and cast doubt and confusion with his attempts to hide the truth.

As far as Daniel’s example, never think that your age is an excuse for not serving God. If God decides to use you, even in the twilight years of your life, He will give you the strength and mental agility to achieve His will. This is why we are told of the 120 satraps and the three overseers. It was to place Daniel in the highest level of authority – not in order for him to serve a pagan ruler but to show the power of God. Daniel did not know it, but these events were going to place him in a severe test of his faithfulness to God.