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Daniel 6:1

ESV It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom;
NIV It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom,
NASB It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, to be in charge of the whole kingdom,
CSB Darius decided to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, stationed throughout the realm,
NLT Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province.
KJV It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

What does Daniel 6:1 mean?

In the prior chapter, Daniel predicted the demise of Belshazzar, which came almost immediately afterward (Daniel 5:30). Eventually, the rule over Babylon fell to a man identified as Darius. In his new role, Darius organized his kingdom of Medo-Persia by setting 120 leaders over various aspects of his kingdom. These were titled "satraps," from a word referring to a governor, high officer, or prince.

Scholars debate the exact identity of the man here named "Darius the Mede" (Daniel 5:31). Some skeptics suggest that there was no such person. Others believe this text was written centuries later and the author mistakenly refers to the Persian king Darius I. However, several passages in Scripture have been met with skepticism, only to be proven correct later (2 Timothy 3:16).

One candidate, referred to in ancient texts, is a man appointed governor over Babylonian territory by Cyrus the Great. This man's name is listed as Gubaru, Gobryas, or Ugbaru, a general under Cyrus. If this man led the armies who conquered Babylon and was then given control over them by his king, it would explain how he "received the kingdom" (Daniel 5:31) and was "made king" (Daniel 9:1). Further, the name "Darius," or Darayavesh, literally means "possessing" or "kingly" or "lord;" it might have been used here as a title instead of a proper name. Other kingdoms in the Ancient Middle East used the same name for multiple rulers (Genesis 21:22; 26:1, 26; 50:4; Exodus 1:8, 11).

If Gubaru is the "Darius" referred to in Daniel, he only reigned for two years, dying in 536 BC. Yet he played a key role in the life of Daniel, as this chapter reveals.
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