28. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
28. Daniel autem ipse prospere egit in regno Darii et in regno Cyri Persae.
The word tslch, tzelech, properly signifies to |pass over,| and the signification is here metaphorical, in the sense of being prosperous. There is no doubt, however, of there being a silent contrast between the kingdom of the Persians and the Chaldean monarchy, that is, to speak more concisely and clearly, between the twofold condition of Daniel. For, as we have said, he was for some time in obscurity under Nebuchadnezzar; when this monarchy was about to perish he became conspicuous; and throughout the whole period of the reign of the Chaldeans he was obscure and contemptible. All indeed had heard of him as a remarkable and illustrious Prophet, but he was rejected from the palace. At one time he was seated at the king's gate, in great honor and respect, and then again he was cast out. During the continuance of the Chaldee monarchy, Daniel was not held in any esteem; but under that of the Medes and Persians he prospered, and was uniformly treated with marked respect, for Cyrus and Darius were not so negligent as instantly to forget the wonderful works of God performed by his hand. Hence the word |passing through,| pleases me, since, as I have said, it is a mark of the continual possession of honor; for not only King Darius, but also Cyrus exalted him and raised him into the number of his nobles, when he heard of his favor. It is clear that he left Babylon and went elsewhere. Very probably he was not long among the Medes, for Darius or Cyaxares died without any heirs, and then his whole power passed to Cyrus alone, who was his nephew, through his sister, and his son-in-law being his daughter's husband. No doubt, Daniel here commends God's favor and kindness towards himself, because this was not the usual solace of exile, to obtain the highest favor among foreign and barbarous nations, or attain the largest share of their honor and reverence. God, therefore, alleviated his sorrow by this consolation in his exile. Hence Daniel here not only regards himself in his private capacity, but also the object of his dignity. For God wished his name to be spread abroad and celebrated over all those regions through which Daniel was known, since no one could behold without remembering the power and glory of Israel's God. Daniel, therefore, wished to mark this. On the other hand also, no doubt, it was a matter of grief to him to be deprived of his country, not like the rest of mankind, but because the land of Canaan was the peculiar inheritance of God's people. When Daniel was snatched away and led off to a distance, as far as Media and Persia, without the slightest hope of return, there is no doubt that he suffered continual distress. Nor was the splendor of his station among the profane of such importance as to induce him to prefer it to that pledge of God's favor and paternal adoption in the land of Canaan. He had doubtless inscribed on his heart that passage of David's,
|I had rather be in the court of the Lord, than in the midst of the greatest riches of the ungodly: then, I had rather be a despised one in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of the unrighteous.| (Psalm 84:10.)
Thus Daniel had been taught. Ezekiel, too, properly includes him among the three most holy men who have lived since the beginning of the world. (Ezekiel 14:14.) This was of the greatest moment; for when he was a youth, or at least but middle aged, he was joined with Job and Noah, and was the third in rare and almost incredible sanctity! Since this was his character, he was no doubt affected with the greatest sorrow when he perceived himself subject to perpetual exile, without the slightest hope of return, and of being able to worship God in his temple and to offer sacrifice with the rest. But lest he should be ungrateful to God, he desires to express his sense of the uncommon benevolence with which, though an exile and a stranger, and subject to reproach among other captives, he was treated and even honored among the Medes and Persians. This, therefore, is the simple meaning of the passage. It is quite clear, as I have lately said, that Cyrus, after the death of Darius, succeeded to the whole monarchy; and we shall afterwards see in its proper place how Daniel dwelt with Cyrus, who reigned almost thirty years longer. Thus, a long time intervened between his death and that of Darius. This, therefore, did not occur without the remarkable counsel of God, since the change in the kingdom did not influence the position of Daniel, as it usually does. For new empires we know to be like turning the world upside down. But Daniel always retained his rank, and thus God's goodness was displayed in him, and wherever he went he carried with him this testimony of God's favor. I shall not proceed further, as we shall discuss a new prophecy to-morrow.