24. Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation.
24. Itaque ingressus est Daniel ad Arioch, quem prefecerat rex ad perdendum sapientes Babylonis, venit ergo, et sic loquutus est ei, Sapientes Babylonis ne perdas, introduc me ad regem et interpretationem regi indicabo.
Before Daniel sent his message to the king, as we saw yesterday, he discharged the duty of piety as he ought, for he testified his gratitude to God for revealing the secret. But he now says, that he came to Arioch, who had been sent by the king to, slay the Magi, and asked him not to kill them, for he had a revelation; of which we shall afterwards treat. Here we must notice that some of the Magi were slain, as I have said. For after Arioch had received the king's mandate, he would never have dared to delay it even a few days; but a delay occurred after Daniel had requested a short space of time, to be afforded him. Then Arioch relaxed from the severity of the king's order against the Magi; and now Daniel asks him to spare the remainder. He seems, indeed, to have done this with little judgment, because we ought to desire the utter abolition of magical arts, for we saw before that they were diabolical sorceries. It may be answered thus, -- although Daniel, saw many faults and corruptions in the Magi and their art, or science, or false pretensions to knowledge, yet, since the principles were true, he was unwilling to allow what had proceeded from God to be blotted out. But; it seems to me that Daniel's object was somewhat different, for although the Magi might have been utterly destroyed without the slightest difficulty, yet he looks rather to the cause, and therefore wished the persons to be spared. It will often happen that wicked men are called in question as well as those who have deserved a tenfold death; but if they are not punished for any just reason, we ought; to spare their persons, not through their worthiness, but through our own habitual sense of equity and rectitude. It is therefore probable that Daniel, when he saw the king's command concerning the slaughter of the Magi to be so tyrannical, went out to meet him, lest; they should all be slain with savage and cruel violence, without; the slightest reason. I therefore think that Daniel spared the Magi, but not through any personal regard; he wished them to be safe, but for another purpose, namely, to await their punishment from God. Their iniquity was not yet ripe for destruction through the indignation of the king. It is not surprising, then, that Daniel wished, as far as possible, to hinder this cruelty. It afterwards follows, --