In the first year on Darius - This is the same Darius the Mede, spoken of before, who succeeded Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans. See Daniel 5:31.
In the first year of Darius - See the notes at Daniel 5:31, and Introuction to Ezra 1:1, this occurred before the close of the seventy years of the captivity.
The son of Ahasuerus - Or the son of Astyages. See Introduction to Daniel 6 Section II. It was no unusual thing for the kings of the East to have several names, and one writer might refer to them under one name, and another under another.
Of the seed of the Medes - Of the race of the Medes. See as above.
Which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans - By conquest. He succeeded Belshazzar, and was the immediate predecessor of Cyrus. Cyaxares II ascended the throne of Media, according to the common chronology, 561 b.c. Babylon was taken by Cyrus, acting under the authority of Cyaxares, 538 b.c., and, of course, the reign of Cyaxares, or Darius, over Babylon commenced at that point, and that would be reckoned as the “first year” of his reign. He died 536 b.c., and Cyrus succeeded him; and as the order to rebuild the temple was in the first year of Cyrus, the time referred to in this chapter, when Daniel represents himself as meditating on the close of the captivity, and offering this prayer, cannot long have preceded that order. He had ascertained that the period of the captivity was near its close, and he naturally inquired in what way the restoration of the Jews to their own land was to be effected, and by what means the temple was to be rebuilt.
THE vision recorded in the preceding chapter was given in the third year of Belshazzar, B. C. 538. In the same year, which was also the first of Darius, the events narrated in this chapter occurred. Consequently, less than one year is passed over between these two chapters. Although Daniel, as prime minister of the foremost kingdom on the face of the earth, was cumbered with cares and burdens, he did not let this deprive him of the privilege of studying into things of higher moment, even the purposes of God as revealed to his prophets. He understood by books, that is, the writings of Jeremiah, that God would accomplish seventy years in the captivity of his people. This prediction is found in Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10. The knowledge of it, and the use that was made of it, shows that Jeremiah was early regarded as a divinely inspired prophet; otherwise his writings would not have been so soon collected, and so extensively copied. Though Daniel was for a time contemporary with him, he had a copy of his works which he carried with him in his captivity; and though he was so great a prophet himself, he was not above studying carefully what God might reveal to others of his servants. Commencing the seventy years B. C. 606, Daniel understood that they were now drawing to their termination; and God had even commenced the fulfillment by overthrowing the kingdom of Babylon.DAR 183.2
These, with the prophecies of the twenty-fifth chapter, are the letters and the records that Daniel the prophet, during “the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede,” prayerfully studied, three-score years and more after they were written (The Review and Herald, March 21, 1907). 4BC 1158.1
11, 12 (chs. 28; 29:14). Punishment in Proportion to Intelligence and Warnings Despised—“In the fourth year of Jehoiakim,” very soon after Daniel was taken to Babylon, Jeremiah predicted the captivity of many of the Jews, as their punishment for not heeding the Word of the Lord. The Chaldeans were to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient people. Their punishment was to be in proportion to their intelligence and to the warnings they had despised. “This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment,” the prophet declared; “and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” 4BC 1158.2Read in context »
Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?” Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, “The vision ... shall be for many days,” he fainted away. “I Daniel fainted,” he records of his experience, “and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Verses 26, 27. PK 554.1
Still burdened in behalf of Israel, Daniel studied anew the prophecies of Jeremiah. They were very plain—so plain that he understood by these testimonies recorded in books “the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2. PK 554.2
With faith founded on the sure word of prophecy, Daniel pleaded with the Lord for the speedy fulfillment of these promises. He pleaded for the honor of God to be preserved. In his petition he identified himself fully with those who had fallen short of the divine purpose, confessing their sins as his own. PK 554.3Read in context »
We do not value as we should the power and efficacy of prayer. “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). God desires us to come to Him in prayer, that He may enlighten our minds. He alone can give clear conceptions of truth. He alone can soften and subdue the heart. He can quicken the understanding to discern truth from error. He can establish the wavering mind and give it a knowledge and a faith that will endure the test. Pray, then; pray without ceasing. The Lord who heard Daniel's prayer will hear yours if you will approach Him as Daniel did. HP 75.3Read in context »
Let men be connected with God's work who will represent His character. They may have much to learn in regard to business management; but if they pray to God as did Daniel, if with true contrition of mind they seek that wisdom which comes from above, the Lord will give them an understanding heart. Read carefully and prayerfully the third chapter of James, especially verses 13-18. The whole chapter is an eye-opener, if men wish to open their eyes.—Letter 55, 1895. PM 127.2Read in context »