Daniel 6

There have been two proposed structures on Daniel 6. While both chiasms centre on the King’s belief in God, the breakdowns of the outer sections are quite different. The first draws attention to Daniel’s faith and the power of prayer; the second structure focuses more on the King and his spiritual journey.

 It may also be useful to consider this rough breakdown of the chapter:

 vs 1-5 Daniel is preferred in the kingdom and the jealousy of the presidents/princes

vs 6-9 The King writes and signs the decree

vs 10-13 Daniel prays to God and is accused for it

vs 14-15 The King attempts to deliver Daniel but fails

vs 16-17 Daniel is cast into the lion’s den

vs 18-22 God delivers Daniel

vs 23-24 Daniel restored and the accusers executed

vs 25-27 The King writes about the living God

vs 28 Daniel prospers

1st suggestion

A  (1-3)  Daniel preferred

a. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom (H4437); (2) And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

b. (3) Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him;

a’. and the king thought to set him over the whole realm (H4437).

B  (4-5)   Rivals look to accuse Daniel.

a. (4) Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom;

b. but they could find none occasion nor fault;

c. forasmuch as he was faithful,

b’. neither was there any error or fault found in him.

a’. (5)Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

C  (6-9)  The unchangeable law of the Medes and Persians.

a. Then these presidents and princes assembled 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 counsellers, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, thatwhosoever shall ask a petition of any Godor man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. (8) Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing,

b. that it be not changed,

c. according to the law of the Medes and Persians,

b’. which altereth not.

a’.(9) Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

D  (10-13)  Daniel’s prayers in the face of threat.

a. (10) 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 three times a day,and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. (11) Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

b. (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.

a’. (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.

E  (14)  The king’s concern

(14) Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

F  (15-16a)  The decree carried out

(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.

G  (16b)  Faith

Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 

F’  (17)  The decree carried out

(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.

E’  (18)  The King’s concern

(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.

D’  (19-20)  Do Daniel’s prayers work?

(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?

C’  (21-23)   The  laws nullified by faith in Daniel’s God

a. (21)Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. (22) My God hath sent his angel,

b. and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me:

c. forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me;and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

b’. (23)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 upon him,

a’. because he believed in his God.

B’  (24)  Accusers destroyed

(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.

A’  (25-28)  The God of Daniel preferred

(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.(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. (28) So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian

2nd suggestion

A  (1-5)  Daniel preferred and envied

(1)  It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; (2)  And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. (3)  Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (4) Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. (5)  Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

B  (6-9)  The King signs the writing/decree of the Medes and Persians

(6)  Then these presidents and princes assembled 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. (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. (9)  Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

C  (10-13)  Daniel prays – the Presidents/Princes accuse.

(10)  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 three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. (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. (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.

D  (14a)  The King’s reaction

(14a)  Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself,

E  (14b)  The King is concerned and attempts to deliver Daniel

(14b)  and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

F  (15)  The law of the Medes and Persians

(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.

X  (16)  The King’s belief

(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.

F’  (17)  The law carried out

(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.

E’  (18-22) The King is concerned but learns that God has the power to deliver

(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? (21)  Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. (22)  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 also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

D’  (23a)  The King’s reaction

(23a)  Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.

C’  (23b-24)  Daniel is restored – the Presidents/Princes are executed.

So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. (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.

B’  (25-27)  The King writes about the living God of Daniel.

(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. (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.

A’  (28)  Daniel prospers

(28)  So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

Notes: The 2nd suggestion highlights the King’s experiences throughout this story and ultimately concludes with his acceptance and promotion of the living God of Daniel. The King’s signing of the decree in B is in contrast to his written commandment to fear God in B’; in B we read that everyone is subject to the law of the Medes and Persians and all the authorities of the Kingdom come together to make this decree – similarly in B’ Darius’ judgement is that everyone in the whole kingdom must obey this new statute to fear God.

In C’ we read of the outcomes of Daniel and his accusers – Daniel is saved alive because of his faith and the accusers are executed because of their treachery. Both the accusation and evidence of Daniel’s faithful relationship with God take place in C where again we have a contrast – Daniel prays and thanks God daily and the Presidents make their accusation.

After realising he has been tricked, a concerned Darius attempts to deliver Daniel in E. This concern is seen again in E’ where we read that he passed the night fasting, arose very early, went in haste etc. Whereas the King sets his heart to deliver Daniel in E, it is in E’ where the King learns that only God delivers – confirming his statement of belief in X – the turning point of the account.