Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” Daniel 6:13-15 (NIV).
Don’t you hate it when someone tries to use your words against you? The satraps of “New Babylon” are trying to do just that to Darius the Mede. It was the legal custom of that empire that no royal edict could be changed. The only way an order from the king could be voided was for the king to issue a new order in its place. In a way, this is still the practice in most countries where monarchy is the form of government.
The satraps had engineered this scheme to trap both Daniel and Darius under their control. Daniel was the predictable one: the schemers predicted he would stay true to the Lord and violate the royal edict. Darius, on the other hand, was more elusive. He was, after all, the conquering king, whose forces had overthrown Babylon in a day. Back then, Darius probably had few choices when it came to appointing overseers for the new conquest. He most likely didn’t have enough Median or Persian officials in whom he could place trust. And, neither he nor his army were familiar with where things were in Babylon, how to effectively manage the city without, first, killing every one of its inhabitants; that wouldn’t have done them much good.
So, Darius had appointed local administrators to oversee the management of the city, and now they were trying to ensnare him in their scheme by misusing both the trust he placed in them and his own royal, legal customs.
Sounds a lot like Darius had to trust the American Congress. Or, perhaps, one of our political parties. Maybe a school board, or HOA. That’s because little has changed in the many centuries since the time of these events. People are still sinful. People still scheme. With high rank and much power come great temptations to misuse the power and position. Unless someone is grounded through faith in the Almighty, evil quickly tries to take hold It happened to the satraps; it happens still today. Here’s to hoping our faith stops temptation when it comes for each of us.
For further reading: Esther 3:8, Esther 8:8, Ezekiel 14:14, Mark 6:26, Daniel 6:16
Lord, teach me today to overcome temptation, to resist the Devil so he will flee.
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