Daniel 6:1 Index
"It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;"
Research Material


  • The central event of the sixth chapter of Daniel is that of the aged prophet being cast into the den of lions. From his youth to his advanced years Daniel had always been faithful to God and to his responsibilities in his land of exile. Everyone who knew him, knew him to be a man of sterling integrity who could not be moved by anything from a course he regarded right. In his custom of praying three times each day his enemies thought they saw the means of bringing about his downfall. They were wrong. What they did succeed in doing was to reveal their own duplicity and to bring ruin upon themselves [and their families]. Every true child of God may see in this experience another evidence of God's regard for his own, and another telling reason to be true to right whatever the cast may be. (Edwin Thiele, Outline Studies in Daniel, p. 52)

"It pleased Darius..."

  • Babylon was taken by the Persians, and Darius the Median was placed upon the throne in 538 B.C. When Darius died two years later, Cyrus took the throne. Somewhere, therefore, between these two dates the event occurred which is narrated in this chapter.... Daniel was an active leader in the kingdom of Babylon at the height of its glory. From that time until the Medes and Persians took the throne of universal empire, he was at least a resident of the capital city, acquainted with all the affairs of the kingdom. Yet he gave us no consecutive account of events that occurred during his long connection with these kingdoms. He touched upon only an event here and there which would inspire faith, hope, and courage in the hearts of the people of God in every age, and lead them to be steadfast in their adherence to the right. The event narrated in Daniel 6 is alluded to in (Hebrews 11:33), where we read of those who through faith "stopped the mouths of lions." (US 97)
  • The first five chapters of the book of Daniel relate to the history of the kingdom of Babylon. With the close of Daniel 5, the government is transferred to the Medes, of whom Darius, know in history as Darius the Mede, a man of sixty-two years, is king. With him is associated Cyrus, the Persian, the leader of the army, and heir to the throne. The time represented by the golden metal of the image has passed, and a baser metal represents the rising power. The Medes were not, however, a new or unknown power, for they are mentioned in chronology as descendants of Japheth, and as early as the eight century B.C., when Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians, they were scattered through the cities of the Medes. (2 Kings 17:6). This had brought the Medes into contact with the Jews two centuries before the fall of Babylon. To their knowledge of the God of the Jews may be attributed the purity of their worship (Isaiah 43:1-13; Romans 1:19-20, 25), for while they were heathens, they had never fallen into the gross forms of idolatry which were practiced by most of the nations of Western Asia. (SNH 88-89)
  • The habits of both the Medes and the Persians, but more particularly of the Persians, brought them in close touch with nature, and in their worship they took the elements, -- fire, earth, water, and air -- as the highest manifestations of the Deity (2 Kings 12:3: Deuteronomy 12:2). They therefore sought a hill country, and kept a perpetual fire burning. They believed in the struggle between good and evil as represented by light and darkness, and doubtless the words of Isaiah, which are addressed to Cyrus, had this belief in mind, for the Lord says, "I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7). In other words He places Himself above the gods of the Persians, and explains why He called Cyrus to his strange work. (Jeremiah 50:9; 51:11; Isaiah 13:1-5). (SNH 89)
  • The Persians at the time of the overthrow of Babylon were physically strong and rugged, due in great measure to the simplicity of their habits and their temperance in eating. Such were the conditions which made it possible for the Medes and Persians to be the rod in the Lord's hand for the punishment of Babylon. The organization of the kingdom as effected by the Babylonian monarchs is given in the first verse of Daniel 6:1, for Darius immediately placed one hundred and twenty princes over the one hundred and twenty provinces (Proverbs 14:28, 15:22, 24:6). This change in the administration of the government of the provinces is highly important, since the strength of the ruling monarch is in proportion to the sympathy and co-operation of the subject princes. It was impossible to maintain a representative government where there were conquered provinces, and peace depended much upon the strength of the central organization. Over the one hundred and twenty princes were the three presidents, of whom Daniel was the first. (SNH 90)
  • When Darius the Median took the throne formerly occupied by the Babylonian rulers, he at once proceeded to reorganize the government. He “set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes" (Daniel 6:1); "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" (Daniel 6:2). "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” (Daniel 6:3). (PK 539)

"...to set over the kingdom..."

  • Darius set over the kingdom one hundred twenty princes, there being at that time, as is supposed, one hundred twenty provinces in the empire, each one having its prince, or governor. By the victories of Cambyses and Darius Hystaspes, it was afterward enlarged to one hundred twenty-seven provinces. (Esther 1:1). (US 97-98)