Tring to find complaints against Daniel (Dan 6:4-6:5)

“Then the presidents,

As well as the satraps,

Tried to find

Grounds

For complaint

Against Daniel,

In connection

With the kingdom.

But they could not find

Any grounds

For complaint

Or any corruption,

Because he was faithful.

No negligence,

No corruption,

Could be found

In him.

Then these men said.

‘We shall not find

Any ground

For complaint

Against this Daniel.

Unless we find it

In connection

With the law

Of his God.’”

Apparently, the other presidents and satraps were not happy about Daniel. They tried to find grounds to complain against Daniel in connection with his rulings in the kingdom. However, they were not able to find any grounds for complaints because of corruption or negligence, because Daniel was a faithful servant of the kingdom. Finally, they said, they might complain about his connection to the law of God, rather than the kingdom.

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The rest of the people agree (Neh 10:28-10:29)

“The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, and the temple servants joined with the leaders. All the people who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, joined with their kin and their nobles. They entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses, the servant of God. They were to observe and do all the commandments of Yahweh our Lord, his ordinances, and his statutes.”

While the leaders had signed and sealed the document, the other priests and Levites, as well as the gatekeepers, singers, and temple servants agreed to the same thing. They would observe the commandments of Yahweh given to Moses, the great servant of God. In fact, all the people who separated themselves from the peoples of the land, with their whole family were to make an oath to walk in God’s Law. They would obey the ordinances and statutes of Yahweh. Thus we have a new community organized around the Law of Moses, Yahweh’s law.

Reading from the book of Moses (Neh 8:4-8:8)

“The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden platform that had made for this purpose. Beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand. Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam stood on his left hand. Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people. He was above all the people. When he opened it all the people stood up. Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God! All the people answered. ‘Amen, Amen!’ They lifted up their hands. Then they bowed their heads as they worshiped Yahweh with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”

Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform or tower so that they could hear and see him. This was similar to the special bronze platform of King Solomon in 2 Chronicles, chapter 6.   He had 6 people on his right side and 7 on his left side. Of the 6 on the right side Maaseiah will be also one of those instructing the people. All the others just appear here although there are numerous other biblical people with the same names. On the left side, Pedaiah, Malchijah, and Meshullam had helped with the wall. Hashum and Zechariah were from important returning families, while very little is known about Mishael and Hashbaddanah. He opened the book, probably the Book of Deuteronomy, but it is not clear. Everyone stood up as he opened the book, much like Roman Catholics stand for the reading of the Gospel of Jesus. There was the great ‘Amen’ at the end of Ezra’s blessing of Yahweh. They lifted up their hands to pray and then bowed their heads to the ground, much like the Muslim prayer position. There was another group who helped the people to understand the law. They seem to be important Levite family members, especially Jeshua, Bani, Azariah, and Hanan. Only Jamin appears here and nowhere else, while Akkub was a gatekeeper. They gave an interpretation of the law so that the people could understand it. Some commentators indicate that this might have been a translation into Aramaic, since the book was written in Hebrew. However, it could have been a commentary also.