Daniel 6:12

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.

12. Tunc accesserunt et dixerunt 1 coram rege super edicto regio, An non edictum obsignasti, ne quisquam homo peteret ab ullo deo vel homine, usque ad triginta dies hos, praeterquam abs te, rex, 2 projiceretur in speluncam leonum? Respondit rex et dixit, Firmus est sermo secundum legem Medorum et Persarum, quae non transit.


Now the king's nobles approach the king as conquerors, but they do so cunningly; for they do not openly say anything about Daniel, whom they knew to be a favorite with the king; but they repeat their previous assertion concerning the impossibility of changing the edict, since the law of the Medes and Persians is inviolable and cannot be rendered void. Again, therefore, as far as they possibly can, they sanction that edict, lest the king should afterwards be free, or dare to retract what he had once commanded. We must mark the cunning with which they indirectly circumvent the king, and entangle him, by preventing the change of a single word; They come, therefore, and discourse concerning the royal edict. They do not mention the name of Daniel, but dwell upon the royal decree, so as to bind the king more firmly. It follows -- The king answered, The discourse is true. We here see how kings desire praise for consistency, but they do not perceive the difference between consistency and obstinacy. For kings ought to reflect upon their own decrees, to avoid the disgrace of retracting what they have hastily promulgated. If anything has escaped them without consideration, both prudence and equity require them to correct their errors; but when they have trampled upon all regard for justice, they desire every inconsiderate command to be strictly obeyed! This is the height of folly, and we ought not to sanction a perseverance in such obstinacy, as we have already said. But the rest to-morrow.


Grant, Almighty God, since thou hast reconciled us to thyself by the precious blood of thy Son, that we may not be our own, but devoted to thee in perfect obedience, and may consecrate ourselves entirely to thee: May we offer our bodies and souls in sacrifice, and be rather prepared to suffer a hundred deaths than to decline from thy true and sincere worship. Grant us, especially, to exercise ourselves in prayer, to fly to thee every moment, and to commit ourselves to thy Fatherly care, that thy Spirit may govern us to the end. Do thou defend and sustain us, until we are collected into that heavenly kingdom which thy only-begotten Son has prepared for us by his blood. -- Amen.

Lecture Twenty-ninth.

WE began yesterday to explain Daniel's narrative of the calumny invented against him before King Darius. The nobles of the kingdom, as we have said, used cunning in their interview with the king; because if they had begun with Daniel, the king might have broken his word. But, they dwell upon the royal decree; they shew the imminence of the danger, unless the authority of all the king's decrees was upheld. By this artifice we see how they obtained their object; for the king confirms their assertion respecting the wickedness of rendering abortive what had been promulgated in the king's name. For kings are pleased with their own greatness, and wish their own pleasure to be treated as an oracle. That edict was detestable and impious by which Darius forbade entreaties to be offered to any deity; yet he wished it to remain in force, lest his majesty should be despised by his subjects. Meanwhile, he does not perceive the consequences which must ensue. Hence we are taught by this example, that no virtue is so rare in kings as moderation, and yet none is more necessary; for the more they have in their power, the more it becomes them to be cautious lest they indulge their lusts, while they think it lawful to desire whatever pleases them. It now follows:

1 And they have said. -- Calvin.

2 It is preferable to translate it "that any man should ask from any god or man, for thirty days, except of thee, O king." -- Calvin.