The new decree (Dan 6:7-6:9)

“All the presidents

Of the kingdom,

The prefects,

The satraps,

The counselors,

The governors,

All agreed.

The king

Should establish

An ordinance.

He should enforce

An interdict.

‘Whoever prays

To anyone,

Divine,

Or human,

For thirty days,

Except to you,

O king!

Shall be cast

Into a den of lions.

Now,

O king!

Establish the interdict!

Sign the document!

Thus,

It cannot be changed,

According to the law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians.

It cannot be revoked.’

Therefore,

King Darius signed

The document.

He signed

The interdict.”

Thus, the two other presidents of the kingdom, with the prefects, the satraps, the counselors, and the governors all agreed that the king should establish an ordinance to be enforced as an interdict. This ordinance would say that anyone who prayed to any divine or human for the next 30 days, except to the king himself, should be cast into a den of lions. Then the king established this interdict and signed the document that could not be changed, according to the laws of Medes and Persia. This is somewhat reminiscent of the story of the king in Book of Esther, chapters 3-4 and 8-9, against the Jews.

Praise for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan 3:27-3:28)

“The satraps,

The prefects,

The governors,

The king’s counselors,

Gathered together.

They saw

That the fire

Had not had any power

Over the bodies

Of these men.

The hair

Of their heads

Was not singed.

Their tunics were

Not harmed.

Not even the smell of fire

Came from them.

King Nebuchadnezzar said.

‘Blessed be the God

Of Shadrach,

Of Meshach,

Of Abednego,

Who has sent

His angel!

He has delivered

His servants,

Who trusted in him.

They disobeyed

The king’s command.

They yielded up

Their bodies

Rather than serve,

Rather than worship,

Any god

Except their own God.’”

All the important people of the Babylonian kingdom were gathered together, including the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors. They all marveled that the 3 men had survived the fire unscathed. Their hair was not even singed and their clothes were not harmed. They did not even smell like smoke from the fire. King Nebuchadnezzar then praised them and their God. He blessed God, just as they had done in the fiery furnace. The king noted that an angel of God had saved the 3 of them. They had trusted in their God by disobeying the king’s command. Then they suffering the consequences. They gave up their bodies, rather than serve and worship another god. They were truly blessed by their God.

The invitation (Dan 3:2-3:2)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar

Sent for

The satraps,

The prefects,

The governors,

The counselors,

The treasurers,

The justices,

The magistrates,

All the officials

Of the provinces

To assemble.

They were to come

To the dedication

Of the statue

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Had set up.”

As was the usual ancient Middle Eastern costume, King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have a big inauguration party for the dedication of his new statue. He invited all the important officials of the Babylonian provinces to this event, including the satraps, the prefects, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, and the magistrates. Satraps was a Greek term for governors, while prefect was a Latin term for governors. Thus, one can see the later influence of the Greek and Roman empire on this story. The king wanted all these officials to come.

The attackers of Jerusalem (Ezek 23:23-23:24)

“The Babylonians,

All the Chaldeans,

With Pekod,

Shoa,

Koa,

Will come.

All the Assyrians

Will be with them.

The handsome young men,

The governors,

The commanders

All of them,

Officers,

Warriors,

All of them

Riding on horses

Will come.

They shall come

Against you

From the north

With chariots,

With wagons,

With a host of people.

They shall set themselves

Against you

On every side

With buckler,

With shield,

With helmet.

I will commit

The judgment

To them.

They shall judge you

According to their ordinances.”

The Babylonians, all the Chaldeans, including their mercenaries from Pekod, Shoa, and Koa would come against Jerusalem. All the Assyrians would be with them, including those handsome young men, the governors, and the commanders. All the officers, warriors, and those riding on horses would come against Jerusalem from the north with their chariots, wagons, and a whole army of people. They would be on every side of Jerusalem with their hand shields or bucklers, large shields, and helmets. Yahweh was going to leave the judgment of Jerusalem up to them. They would judge Jerusalem according to their own laws.

Oholibah lusts after the Assyrian men also (Ezek 23:12-23:13)

“Oholibah lusted after
The Assyrians,
The governors,
The commanders,
The warriors,
Clothed in full armor,
Mounted horsemen.
All of them were
Desirable young men.
I saw
That she was defiled.
They both took
The same way.”
Now Oholibah, Jerusalem, also lusted after the Assyrians just like her older sister, Samaria, had done. She lusted after these desirable young Assyrians. They were the governors, the commanders, and the warriors. They were clothed in full armor, mounted on their horses. Yahweh could see that the two sisters were both alike in their lust for the Assyrian men.

The great day of execution arrives (Esth 9:1-9:4)

“In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the king’s command and edict were about to be executed. On the very day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to gain power over them. However, it had been changed to a day when the Jews would gain power over their foes. That day, the Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Artaxerxes to lay hands on those who had sought their ruin. No one could withstand them because the fear of them had fallen upon all the people. All the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and the royal officials were supporting the Jews because the fear of Mordecai had fallen upon them. Mordecai was powerful in the king’s house. His fame spread throughout all the provinces. The man Mordecai grew more and more powerful.”

When the 13th day of Adar arrived, the edict and decree of the king was to be executed. Originally, this was to have been a day set up by Haman to exterminate all the Jews. There must have been some hostility towards the Jews to make this seem plausible. Now, however, it had been changed to a day when the Jews would retaliate against their enemies. There must have been some real enemies of the Jews. Earlier a great fear had spread among the Jews. Now all the people were afraid of the Jews. Moreover, the royal and provincial officials were also afraid of Mordecai as he became more powerful in the Persian kingdom. These satraps were like ambassadors of the king.

The title of the decree for the extermination of the Jews (Greek text only)

“This is a copy of the letter. ‘The Great King, Artaxerxes, writes the following to the governors of the one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia and to the officials under them.”

Once again, this appears only in the Greek text and not in the Hebrew text at all. The king is clearly writing to the 127 governors of the various provinces form India to Ethiopia, the great Persian Empire that had been established by King Cyrus the Great. King Cyrus had issued a decree to let the Jewish people return to Jerusalem as in 539 BCE as in Ezra, chapter 1. This would have been around the year 452 BCE, about a hundred years later about 8 years before the time of Nehemiah.