What does Daniel 6:14 mean?
ESV: Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.
NIV: When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
NASB: Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed, and set his mind on rescuing Daniel; and until sunset he kept exerting himself to save him.
CSB: As soon as the king heard this, he was very displeased; he set his mind on rescuing Daniel and made every effort until sundown to deliver him.
NLT: Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.
KJV: Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
NKJV: And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
Verse Commentary:
Darius, the king (Daniel 5:31) had a high regard for Daniel (Daniel 6:1–3). Yet he agreed to sign an unchangeable law prohibiting prayers other than those directed towards himself. He did not realize it was a jealous trap (Daniel 6:4–9). Daniel, as expected, refused to compromise his faith, and willingly violated the new law (Daniel 6:10–13). In that culture, the king was considered the same as the law, and the law could not be wrong. Therefore, certain royal decrees could not be overturned, even by the king who made them (Esther 8:8; Daniel 6:15).

The pagan king is just as trapped as Daniel, though he desperately seeks a way to prevent tragedy. He knew Daniel was trustworthy and honorable. This verse implies that Daniel's sentence cannot be delayed—it must be carried out that same day. Tossing the ugly situation around his mind until evening showed how the king tried to delay the inevitable. In this way, Darius foreshadows the New Testament figure of Pilate. Both men held an innocent person's fate in their hands (John 19:6), and both tried to avoid carrying out the death sentence (John 19:12). And both men failed to avoid sentencing an innocent man (John 19:16; Daniel 6:16).
Verse Context:
Daniel 6:10–18 relates what Daniel did when he learned about Darius's law outlawing prayer to the Lord. This passage also shows Darius's reaction when he learned Daniel had violated the law, and that he had been trapped by legalism and his own ego. Daniel demonstrates his loyal, faithful character (Acts 5:29) and fearless devotion to God (Daniel 1:8, 17, 20). He maintains this even as he is convicted—correctly—of violating the law and is sealed into a pen with lions.
Chapter Summary:
Babylon's new ruler organizes his territory under 120 satraps and three governors. He intends to make Daniel the most powerful of these, but jealous rivals develop a plot. Knowing Daniel's only "weakness" is loyalty to God, they trick the king into passing an irrevocable law banning prayer. Daniel knows about the law but chooses obedience to God rather than to men. Darius is anguished yet he dutifully follows the law. When Daniel miraculously survives a night in a den full of lions, Darius is elated. He condemns the conspirators to death, and the same lions tear them apart. Darius then proclaims honor on behalf of Daniel's God.
Chapter Context:
At the end of chapter 5, Belshazzar has died and control over Babylon has come to someone identified as "Darius the Mede." Darius organizes his territory under 120 satraps and three governor-level officials. Daniel is identified as one of the three high administrators. After jealous rivals fail to kill Daniel, he continues to prosper in his role. The following chapter begins an extensive record of prophetic visions. The first is a flashback to something Daniel saw during the rule of Belshazzar.
Book Summary:
The book of Daniel contains famous Old Testament stories and prophecies. Daniel was taken from the Israelite people and made an advisor for a conquering empire. He demonstrates faithfulness and wisdom during many years serving in this role. Though Daniel does not deliver a public message, Jesus refers to him as a "prophet" (Matthew 24:15). The first portion of the book mostly describes Daniel's interpretations of dreams and other events. The second portion looks ahead to the end times. Daniel is classified in English Bibles as a "major" prophet, meaning the book is relatively long and the content has broad implications. The book of Revelation echoes and expands on many of the same themes.
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