6. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
6. Tunc satrapæ et provinciarum praesides illi sociati sunt apud regem, et sic locuti sunt ei: Dari rex, in æternum vive.
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.
7. Consilium ceperunt omnes satrapæ regni, proceres et praesides provinciarum, consiliarii, et duces, ut statuatur statutum regis, et sanciatur edictum, ut quisquis petierit petitionem ab ullo deo et homine usque ad dies triginta hos, præterquam a te, rex, projiciatur in speluncam leonum.
The nobles of the kingdom purposely endeavored to ruin the holy Prophet, either by casting him into the lion's den to perish or else by causing him to desist from the outward profession of worshipping God. They knew him to be so really in earnest that he would not redeem his life by so great an act of impiety, and hence they thought him doomed to death. We perceive in them great cunning; but God met them on the other hand and aided his servant, as we shall see. Meanwhile their malice was the more detestable, since they desired to destroy Daniel by this very pretense. Although they did not worship Israel's God, they knew the Prophet's mind to be pious and straightforward, and then they experienced the power of that God who was unknown to them. They did not condemn Daniel, nor blame the religion which he practiced; for, as I have said, their hatred of this man urged them to such cruelty that they rushed against the Almighty. They could not disguise from themselves the duty of worshipping God: they worshipped and adored unknown deities, and did not dare to condemn the worship of Israel's God. We see how the devil fascinated them when they dared to impute this as a crime to the holy Prophet; while we are ignorant of the manner in which their opinion was changed.
Some suppose this was done because Darius could not bear with composure the glory of his son-in-law. For since he was an old man, and his relative in the flower of his age, he thought himself despised. Others think Darius to have been touched by secret emulation, and that he allowed his nobles to approach him for the purpose of deceiving the miserable and doting old man, and thus to throw dust in his eyes. But this conjecture does not seem to me sufficiently valid. Nor need I give myself much trouble in this matter, because it might happen that at the beginning of a new reign they wished to congratulate the king, and they fixed upon something new and unaccustomed, as we see often done by flatterers of royalty. Hence the old man might be deceived in this matter, since the monarchy was newly established. The king had hitherto ruled over none but Medes; now Chaldeans, Assyrians, and many other nations were added to his sway. Such an addition might intoxicate him with vain-glory, and his nobles might think this a plausible reason for offering to him divine honors. This single reason seems to me sufficient; I do not inquire further, but embrace what is probable and obvious at first sight. I defer the remainder till to-morrow.