After taking over Babylon in 539 B.C., the Persian empire replaced the Chaldean’s and continued the same Babylonian religious political system.
Later when Darius the Mede ascended the throne in 522 B.C. after the death of Cyrus and his son Cambyses 2; Darius organized his kingdom into 120 provinces and made Daniel his prime minister.
Daniel 6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
The kingdom was divided into 120 province with a governor over each one, and three presidents over the governors to serve the king. Daniel was made chief ruler or prime minister under the king.
6:2 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.
6:3 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.
Political intrigue enters and the others conspire against Daniel.
The Fascinating Background to Daniel 6
The Building of the Temple Timeline
- The people went up to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel to build the temple according to the decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C.
- Cyrus appointed Sheshbazzar [the Persian name for Zerubbabel] governor of the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, (Ezra 5:16) under the Persian governor Tatnai.
- Zerubbabel and Joshua went with the people out of Babylon to Jerusalem under the governor and they build the Altar in time to sacrifice during the Feasts of the seventh month.
- Construction of the temple foundation began in the second year, Ezra 3.
- Little progress was made due to the opposition of the local people and lack of support
- Then Haggai and Zechariah began to prophesy and encourage the people and construction resumed
- Then construction was halted by Artaxerxes [Darius] in 522 B.C. due to complaints from the local people [which came during a period of uprisings in the empire], Ezra 5.
- Then Daniel fasted and prayed for Jerusalem and the Daniel 9 prophecy was given.
- Then the Persian governor Tatnai wrote to Darius explaining that Cyrus had ordered the construction of the temple.
- After seeing God’s deliverance of Daniel from the lions (Dan 6) Darius then ordered the construction to resume in 520 B.C. and the temple was completed in 516 B.C. fulfilling the Jeremiah prophecy precisely (Ezra 6).
Ezra Nehemiah Timeline
Restoring true religion and building the city
- Artaxerxes [Ahaseurus Longimanus] put away queen Vashti in his second year (461 B.C.) for her terrible example of rebellion and disobedience.
- He became the husband of Esther in his third year (c 460 B.C.)
- In his seventh year (457 B.C.) king Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus], disposed to hold the Jews in favor due to the influence of queen Esther and Mordachi, sent Ezra to rebuild the city Jerusalem.
- Ezra as the high priest was sent to restore the religion and build the city in 457 B.C., Ezra 7
- In Ezra 9, Ezra learns of the marriages to unconverted spouses and idolatry among the people and separates them calling them to repentance in Ezra 10.
- Ezra concentrates on restoring true religion but does not build the walls.
- In the twelfth year (452 B.C.) of king Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus], the Jews were saved from Haman who was incensed by the favours granted to the Jews and conspired to destroy them.
- In 444 B.C. Nehemiah was appointed governor and is sent to help Ezra the high priest, and as the governor he begins construction of the city walls to protect the city, Nehemiah 3-8, leaving Ezra to fulfill his religious function of teaching the people and restoring true religion as the high priest.
- Nehemiah as Terhasha [governor of the Jews] and the high priest Ezra read the book of the law before all the people at the Fall Festivals, Nehemiah 9
- On the second day after the Feast of the Eighth Day they held a day of fasting and repentance Nehemiah 10, and many people recommitted themselves to the Covenant, Nehemiah 11
- Ezra died in 440 B.C.
- After 12 years as governor, during which he ruled with justice and righteousness, Nehemiah returned to visit king Ahaseurus at Susa in 432 B.C.
- After some time he returned to Jerusalem and was horrified to find that the people had fallen back into their evil ways. Unconverted people were permitted to conduct business with Jews inside Jerusalem on the Sabbath and the Jews did business with them. Greatly angered, he purified the temple and the priests and Levites and again separates them from their unconverted spouses and decries their sins of idolatry and Sabbath breaking, Nehemiah 13.
- The city was completed in 408 B.C.
It was during the 49 year period from 457 B.C. when the original decree was given to build the city, that the city was built under extremely trying circumstances, being completed as the angel had foretold to Daniel in 49 years in 408 B.C. After which another 62 weeks (434 years) would pass before the revealing of the Jesus Christ when his ministry began at the age of 30 in autumn 27 A.D.
In 536 B.C. Cyrus had decreed that the various people could send delegations to their native lands and restore the temples of their gods. Zerubbabel was appointed governor of a delegation which returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. They quickly left off from the work due to extreme poverty and local opposition.
Then about 520 B.C. God sent Haggai and Zechariah to exhort Zerubbabel and the people to resume construction. Inspired they resumed construction which greatly angered the Samaritans and Ammonites who wrote a letter of complaint to king Darius 520 B.C. Thinking the construction unlawful and a rebellious act he ordered it stopped.
Then Tatnai the Persian governor of Palestine wrote king Darius on behalf of Zerubabbel informing Darius that Cyrus had ordered the construction. His letter came just after Daniel was delivered from the den of lions and Darius ordered an urgent search of the archives for the decree of Cyrus.
Deeply impressed by the deliverance of Daniel by God, Darius immediately ordered the construction of the temple to resume as soon as the decree of Cyrus was found.
Based on Ezra 4:24, this decree was issued in 520 B.C., the second year of the solo reign of Darius.
With the hinderances now removed, the temple was completed in the sixth solo year of Darius (516 B.C.) on the third day of the twelfth month, and in the following month they kept the Passover (Ezra 6:15, 19).
Darius went further and made it a capital offense to interfere with the construction and ordered all necessary materials to be supplied. Construction resumed and the temple was completed in 516 B.C., exactly 70 years after it was burned by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.
6:4 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.
They concluded that Daniel was blameless and decided to contrive a cause from his faith in the Eternal.
6:5 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.
These top leaders then conspired against Daniel and appealed to king Darius using flattery to establish a foolish decree.
6:6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
The king’s vanity was appealed to, and he approved the decree.
6:7 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.
6:8 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.
Then Darius approved the decree which could not afterwards be altered.
6:9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
What did Daniel do? He put God first!
He put God first and does so openly! Daniel does not hide in a closet, NO he opens his window shutters and sets an example for those folks, for us and for all humanity; for all eternity of godly courage based on a profound faith!
Who has a Bible and has not heard of the faith and courage of Daniel?
Let all the called of God: Dare to be like Daniel, and Dare to take a stand for what is godly and right!
Daniel made known his faith and fealty to the Eternal above the word of any man, even the emperor of the known world!
The Eternal is the Mighty God and King of our salvation ;not any man! To follow men and not the Word of God is IDOLATRY, and NO idolater will be in the resurrection to spirit!
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Daniel 6:10 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.
It is interesting that these rulers KNEW that Daniel would do this! They knew Daniel and his love and passion for the Eternal, so they knew that they could trap him in this way; they KNEW that Daniel was faithful to God and chose to make no secret of it. Indeed he opened his windows and openly flaunted his zeal for the Eternal Almighty God as an example for all!
When an elder asks you to take part in polluting God’s Sabbath by taking part in some catered meal or inappropriate activity on God’s Sabbath or Holy Days: Do you refuse to sin like Daniel did? Do you dare to be like Daniel and serve the Eternal God with all your heart regardless of what men may say or do?
6:11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
Just as they foresaw these people found Daniel praying to God and reported the matter to the king as breaking the command of the king.
When you are zealous for the whole Word of God, God’s weekly Sabbath and his Holy Days; do you fear being reported for your zeal, or are you ready to give an answer from the Word of God and courageously declare that you will obey the Word of God like Daniel did?
6:12 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.
6:13 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.
Then king Darius repented of his law because he loved Daniel, but it could not be undone in his kingdom.
6:14 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.
6:15 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.
This king Darius also had hope that God would deliver his faithful servant.
6:16 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.
This unconverted emperor had more faith than the called out of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia!
Yes, Darius spoke the truth; and if we are zealous for our Mighty One; even if we are rejected by our friends or die in HIS service; HE WILL RAISE US UP ON THAT DAY!
The lion’s den was sealed so that no friend could come and rescue Daniel.
Brethren, if we are ostracized and made friendless, God is testing us and teaching us to trust in God alone for our salvation!
If we are rejected for our zeal to learn and keep the whole Word of God; then “Bury yourself in the Book!” Run to HIM! For God alone is worthy of our trust and obedience!
6:17 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.
Darius spent the night fasting, sleepless for his friend Daniel.
6:18 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.
The king rushed to Daniel as soon as he could see in the morning.
6:19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
6:20 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?
Daniel answered the king, and was released. God defends his faithful because they are innocent before him.
Brethren this deliverance of Daniel from the lions and death; was an example that Almighty God will deliver his beloved passionately faithful [faithful as Daniel was faithful] from the “Roaring Lion” Satan himself, and from the grave of certain death.
Daniel 6:21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
6:22 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.
Daniel was faithful in all things before God and the king
6:23 Then was the king exceedingly 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, because he believed in [and obeyed the Eternal] his God.
Then the leaders who had sinned against God’s faithful were themselves punished.
It is one thing for professing Christians to say they do not agree with our zeal; and it is quite another thing to take on the role of Satan and actively persecute those zealous for God.
Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The humble and sincerely repentant who eagerly follow the Eternal will be in the resurrection to eternal life; and those who receive [accept] such a spiritual childlike brother full of love and zeal for the word of God, does good to Christ.
18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
Anyone who rejects or persecutes the zealous to learn and to keep the whole word of God; offends Jesus Christ!
18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones [any brethren faithfully submissive to live by Every Word of God] which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
Daniel 6:24 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.
Then Darius made a decree to all of his kingdom.
This decree is a prophecy that when Messiah the King of kings comes and establishes the kingdom of God over all the earth; all people will sincerely repent and worship the Eternal, turning to live by every Word of God!
6:25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
6:26 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.
6:27 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.
May all of God’s called out, be as faithful, as bold and courageous, as zealous as Daniel!
Let us all stand wholeheartedly on every Word of God, without any compromise; forever!
6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Daniel’s faith and courage led to the decree of Darius to resume rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem and so fulfill the 70 Years Prophecy of Jeremiah.
Isaiah records that God had appointed Cyrus for this task. Isaiah 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
And in Jeremiah 29:10, God had promised, After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
The decree of Cyrus is found and re-issued by Darius
Based on Ezra 4:24, this decree was issued in 520 B.C., the second year of the solo reign of Darius.
Ezra 6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. 6:2 And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:
The 70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel used the decree to build the City Jerusalem as its starting point, This Decree of Cyrus was about building the temple only.
6:3 In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits;
6:4 With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house:
6:5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.
Darius instructed the construction to resume and ordered the surrounding peoples NOT to interfere with the king’s command. The king then ordered these people to support the work by paying tribute for its furtherance.
God the great King will intervene to help his people who are building themselves into a fit Spiritual Temple for God and his Spirit, by internalizing the whole Word of God!
6:6 Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:
6:7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.6:8 Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.
Darius then commanded these people to supply animals for sacrifice on the altar.
6:9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: 6:10 That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
The king adds the pain of death for any disobedience.
6:11 Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
Then, undoubtedly because of Daniel, Darius goes even further and curses anyone who interferes with the temple construction with destruction. Spiritually, if we are faithful to internalize and keep the whole Word of God; things many seem difficult; but the Eternal goes before us!
6:12 And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.