Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes - That is, he was at their head, or was placed in rank and office over them. “Because an excellent spirit was in him.” This may refer alike to his wisdom and his integrity - both of which would be necessary in such an office. It was an office of great difficulty and responsibility to manage the affairs of the empire in a proper manner, and required the talents of an accomplished statesman, and, at the same time, as it was an office where confidence was reposed by the sovereign, it demanded integrity. The word “excellent” (יתירא yattı̂yrâ' ) means, properly, what hangs over, or which is abundant, or more than enough, and then anything that is very great, excellent, pre-eminent. Latin Vulgate, Spiritus Dei amplior - “the spirit of God more abundantly.” Greek πνεῦμα περισσὸν pneuma perisson It is not said here to what trial of his abilities and integrity Daniel was subjected before he was thus exalted, but it is not necessary to suppose that any such trial occurred at once, or immediately on the accession of Darius. Probably, as he was found in office as appointed by Belshazzar, he was continued by Darius, and as a result of his tried integrity was in due time exalted to the premiership. “And the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
The whole kingdom over which he presided, embracing Media, Persia, Babylonia, and all the dependent, conquered provinces. This shows that the princes referred to in Daniel 6:1, were those which were appointed over Babylonia, since Daniel Daniel 6:2 was already placed at the head of all these princes. Yet, in consequence of his talents and fidelity the king was meditating the important measure of placing him over the whole united kingdom as premier. That he should form such a purpose in regard to an officer so talented and faithful as Daniel was, is by no means improbable. The Greek of Theodotion renders this as if it were actually done - καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς κατέστησεν ἀυτον, κ.τ.λ. kai ho basileus katestēsen auton etc - “And the king placed him over all his kingdom.” But the Chaldee (אשׁית 'ăshı̂yth ) indicates rather a purpose or intention to do it; or rather, perhaps, that he was actually making arrangements to do this. Probably it was the fact that this design was perceived, and that the arrangements were actually commenced, that aroused the envy and the ill-will of his fellow-officers, and induced them to determine on his ruin.
The king thought to set him over the whole realm - Intended to make him grand vizier or emir ul amrim. This partiality of the king made Daniel the object of the other presidents, and the grandees of the kingdom.
God has proclaimed the principles on which alone this co-operation is possible. His glory must be the motive of all who are laborers together with Him. All our work is to be done from love to God and in accordance with His will. COL 350.1
It is just as essential to do the will of God when erecting a building as when taking part in a religious service. And if the workers have brought the right principles into their own character making, then in the erection of every building they will grow in grace and knowledge. COL 350.2
But God will not accept the greatest talents or the most splendid service unless self is laid upon the altar, a living, consuming sacrifice. The root must be holy, else there can be no fruit acceptable to God. COL 350.3Read in context »
The case of Daniel was presented before me. Although he was a man of like passions with ourselves, the pen of inspiration presents him as a faultless character. His life is given us as a bright example of what man may become, even in this life, if he will make God his strength and wisely improve the opportunities and privileges within his reach. Daniel was an intellectual giant; yet he was continually seeking for greater knowledge, for higher attainments. Other young men had the same advantages; but they did not, like him, bend all their energies to seek wisdom—the knowledge of God as revealed in His word and in His works. Although Daniel was one of the world's great men, he was not proud nor self-sufficient. He felt the need of refreshing his soul with prayer, and each day found him in earnest supplication before God. He would not be deprived of this privilege even when a den of lions was opened to receive him if he continued to pray. 4T 569.1
Daniel loved, feared, and obeyed God. Yet he did not flee away from the world to avoid its corrupting influence. In the providence of God he was to be in the world yet not of the world. With all the temptations and fascinations of court life surrounding him, he stood in the integrity of his soul, firm as a rock in his adherence to principle. He made God his strength and was not forsaken of Him in his time of greatest need. 4T 569.2
Daniel was true, noble, and generous. While he was anxious to be at peace with all men, he would not permit any power to turn him aside from the path of duty. He was willing to obey those who had rule over him, as far as he could do so consistently with truth and righteousness; but kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings. Daniel was but eighteen years old when brought into a heathen court in service to the king of Babylon, and because of his youth his noble resistance of wrong and his steadfast adherence to the right are the more admirable. His noble example should bring strength to the tried and tempted, even at the present day. 4T 570.1Read in context »
We are not compelled to choose as familiar associates those who reject the love of God that has been expressed in giving His Son to our world, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Those who love God will not choose the enemies of God to be their friends. The question was asked, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them which hate the Lord?” Will you prefer the association of the irreligious and disloyal, to that of those who are obeying the commandments of God? Will you choose to separate yourself from those who love God, and place yourself as far as possible from the channel of light? You want to keep in an atmosphere of purity and faith, and bring into your character principles that will be as solid timbers. Christians will not choose and cultivate the society of non-Christians. If the Lord gives you a special position in the world, as He did Joseph and Daniel, then he will sustain and keep you in the midst of temptation. But you will never be where you will find too much light, in our world. Then how perilous it is to choose the association of those who love darkness rather than light, and will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.—The Review and Herald, January 16, 1894. FE 295.1Read in context »
Men of promise in business lines should develop and perfect their talents by most thorough study and training. They should be encouraged to place themselves where, as students, they can rapidly gain a knowledge of right business principles and methods. Not one business man now connected with the cause needs to be a novice. If men in any line of work ought to improve their opportunities to become wise and efficient, it is those who are using their ability in the work of building up the kingdom of God in our world. In view of the fact that we are living so near the close of this earth's history, there should be greater thoroughness in labor, more vigilant waiting, watching, praying, and working. The human agent should strive to attain perfection, that he may be an ideal Christian, complete in Christ Jesus. 7T 248.1
Those who labor in business lines should take every precaution against falling into error through wrong principles or methods. Their record may be like that of Daniel in the courts of Babylon. When all his business transactions were subjected to the closest scrutiny, not one faulty item could be found. The record of his business life, incomplete though it is, contains lessons worthy of study. It reveals the fact that a businessman is not necessarily a scheming, policy man. He may be a man instructed of God at every step. Daniel, while prime minister of the kingdom of Babylon, was a prophet of God, receiving the light of heavenly inspiration. His life is an illustration of what every Christian businessman may be. 7T 248.2Read in context »
Those who obtain a knowledge of God's will, and practice the teaching of His word, will be found faithful in whatever position of trust they may be placed. Consider this, parents, and place your children where they will be educated in the principles of truth, where every effort will be made to help them to maintain their consecration, if converted, or if unconverted, to influence them to become the children of God, and thus fit them to go forth to win others to the truth. FE 205.1
Let those who have the love of truth in their hearts, estimate the value of a soul for whom Christ has died, in the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. There are many who feel moved by the Spirit of God to go forth into the vineyard of the Lord. They long to seek and save that which is lost. But because of lack of knowledge and discipline, they are not qualified to go forth to the work of elevating and ennobling their fellow men. Those who teach others, must themselves be taught. They need to learn how to deal with human minds. They are to become colaborers with Christ, improving every opportunity to impart to men a knowledge of God. In order to be agents for God in the work of elevating men's minds from the earthly and sensual to the spiritual and heavenly, the workers must be educated and trained. By becoming learners themselves, they will better understand how to instruct others. They must acquire mental discipline, by putting into exercise their God-given ability, bringing the whole heart and mind to the task of acquiring knowledge. With the glory of God in view, they must put their whole energy into the work, learning all they can, and becoming intelligent, that they may impart knowledge to others. FE 205.2
There is a great work to be done in these countries; and the love of Christ, and love for souls for whom He has died, should constrain us to put forth every effort in our power to seek and to save that which was lost. Let everyone stand as a faithful soldier of Christ to work for and with your brethren, that the work may be a success in your hands. Let everyone who enlists in this much-needed enterprise remember that the school is established not merely for the benefit of ourselves and our children; but that the knowledge of the truth may be imparted, and perishing souls saved in the eternal kingdom. Let everyone take hold of this work, determined not to fail nor be discouraged, and the Lord will work wonders among us. If at this time we fail to make a determined effort to enlarge and uplift the work, and draw back because matters are not managed according to our own ideas, the Lord will surely pass us by, and choose other agencies who will take hold of His work in His way, and follow the leadings of His Spirit. O that everyone would do his duty, that our influence might be united to advance the cause of God! FE 206.1Read in context »