Commentary on Daniel: Chapter 5

Daniel 5

In this chapter, Daniel says that Belshazzar was king of Babylon, that Belshazzar was the last Chaldean king, and that Nebuchadnezzar was his father. In fact, Nabonidus was the last king and Belshazzar was his son. Let’s recall what we had to say in our introduction about these questions:

Belshazzar was once thought to be merely a figment of Daniel’s very active imagination.

Then an inscription was found in which Belshazzar was mentioned by name and was said to have been left in charge when the Persians invaded just like Daniel 5 says happened.

By the time of the Greek historian Herodotus (called the father of history), writing about 100 years later, the name of Belshazzar had been completely forgotten except for the mention in the book of Daniel.

The story of Herodotus provides a good example of the bias of historians against the scripture. You have probably heard that the three big pyramids at Giza were built as tombs for Pharaoh’s from the 4th dynasty. How do we know this? After all, no pharaoh has ever been found in one of these pyramids, and no evidence of any royal burial has ever been found. The answer is that some tour guide told Herodotus that this was the case and historians have been repeating it ever since with no other evidence. What if the Bible had said this instead? Would historians have accepted it so readily as the true explanation? I doubt it.

If Daniel had been written in the second century as the liberals suggest then how did the author know about Belshazzar?

To a truly unbiased historian, this mention would be enough evidence to prove the early date for the book of Daniel. But the historians in our universities are hardly unbiased. They will obtain a naturalistic answer no matter what amount of evidence they have to disregard. (I don’t mind their bias as much as I mind their claim that the bias does not exist. I have a bias toward believing God and his word, but I also readily admit that bias.)

QUESTION 1: Why is Nebuchadnezzar called the father of Belshazzar four times in Daniel 5 and Belshazzar is called the son of Nebuchadnezzar once in that chapter when Belshazzar was actually the son of Nabonidus?

The Hebrew use of “father” and “son” can simply mean “ancestor” and “descendent.” It is possible that a genetic relationship existed between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. If Nabonidus married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar in order to legitimize his rule then his son by her would be the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar.

This view is strengthened by the fact that Nabonidus named one of his sons Nebuchadnezzar.

Also, an earlier king (Neriglissar) is known to have married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

A second explanation is that “by ancient usage the term son often referred to a successor in the same office whether or not there was a blood relationship.”

This may have been the usage in Jeremiah 27:7.

All the nations shall serve him [Nebuchadnezzar] and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.

QUESTION 2: Why does Daniel say that Belshazzar was king of Babylon when his father was the actual king?

Archaeology has shown that Nabonidus took up residence at Teman in North Arabia and left his son Belshazzar in charge of the northern frontier of the Babylonian empire. Thus, he became the de facto king of Babylon.

One commentator has written:

Belshazzar then, technically occupied a position subordinate to that of Nabonidus. Nevertheless, since he was the man in regal status with whom the Jews had to do, Daniel calls him king. This cannot justly be charged as an inaccuracy.

Further, tablets dating from 543 B.C. have been found which imply that Belshazzar and his father were on equal footing. Daniel apparently knew what he was talking about!

The radical critics argue that Belshazzar’s authority to appoint anyone he pleased as third ruler in the kingdom in Daniel 5 indicates that he was an absolute ruler, not a sub-king.

Just the opposite is true, however!

Why did Belshazzar only promise the third and not the second ruler? Because he was the second and his father was the first!

How would a Jew writing 400 years later have known this?

One modern scholar has written:

We shall presumably never know how our author learned that the new Babylon was the creation of Nebuchadnezzar, as the excavations have proved, and that Belshazzar was functioning as king when Cyrus took Babylon in 538.

Perhaps we already know!

QUESTION 3: Why not just call him the “son of Nabonidus” since that is what he actually was?

Nabonidus was a very unpopular king. This may explain why he was absent from the city of Babylon for 14 years.

Also, inscriptions have been found that show Nabonidus claimed to have authority from Nebuchadnezzar to administer his kingdom. Thus, it is quite likely that his sons were required to be addressed as sons of Nebuchadnezzar to stress this connection. (Belshazzar and his mother both refer to Belshazzar as the son of Nebuchadnezzar in this chapter.)

This is not unlike presidents who like to stress their connections with Lincoln, FDR, JFK, or Ronald Reagan.

1 King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in front of the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought in the golden and silver vessels which had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

It was bad enough when Nebuchadnezzar looted the temple and stole the gold and silver vessels, but now Belshazzar and his friends were using them in a drunken feast while they praised their false gods and idols.

What else was going on while the king was giving this feast? History tells us that this ‘great feast’ was occurring while the Persians and Medes were camped outside of the city!

Belshazzar was no doubt trying to drown his fears with this drunken feast, but as dark as things seemed they were about to get much worse.

The ‘Nabonidus Chronicle,’ which has recently been unearthed, says that Belshazzar’s father Nabonidus had abandoned the city and fled leaving his son (and, as we will see, perhaps his own wife) to face the enemy forces alone.

Looked at in this light, Belshazzar becomes a very pitiable and perhaps even sympathetic character.

The ‘Nabonidus Chronicle’ also says that the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without any battle, which as we will see is precisely the picture we get from Daniel 5.

Verse 1 says that Belshazzar “tasted the wine.”

Some feel that this phrase refers to a ritual that preceded the feast in which the king tasted the wine.

Others think that this is a euphemism for saying that the king was drunk – which seems to fit the context very well.

If alcohol did indeed play a part in the king’s fall, then Belshazzar would join the ranks of many kings and kingdoms that have fallen due to drunkenness – including Alexander the Great, Napoleon at Waterloo, and the French in World War II.

Notice how the vessels mentioned in the first chapter (written in Hebrew) play a prominent role in this story from the fifth chapter (written in Aramaic). It is this type of evidence that causes even liberal scholars to agree that Daniel was written by a single author even though two languages were used.

We might pause at this point and wonder why these temple vessels were so important. After all they themselves like the false gods of the Babylonians were just made of gold and silver.

They were important because they were God’s. They were important because God made them important – and neither Belshazzar nor we have any right to question their importance.

Here is an important lesson for us: No person is in a position to tell God what is important and what is not important.

Most religious division is caused by people who decide all by themselves that God couldn’t possibly think that BLANK is important, where they fill in the BLANK with some clear command of God they don’t want to do.

‘This is what Jesus said that is important and this is what Jesus said that is not important…’

‘This is the part of God’s pattern for proper worship that is important and this is the part that is not important…’

‘This is the part of God’s plan for salvation that is important and this is the part that is not…’

‘This is the part of what Paul said about Christian conduct that is important and this the part that is not…’

Good starting point: Everything that God has to say about anything is of the utmost importance and we should treat it that way.

5 Immediately the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand; and the king saw the hand as it wrote. 6 Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.

No trumpet blast, no earthquake, no fanfare. Just the fingers of a hand that appeared, wrote four words (2 of which were identical), and then vanished – leaving only the words on the wall.

Everything stopped as the king gazed at the words. His color changed, his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.

The ‘color’ or ‘countenance’ in verse 6 literally means ‘brightness.’ That is, his bright looks, his cheerfulness, and his hilarity changed.

One commentator has written:

Belshazzar had as much of power and of drink withal to lead him to bid defiance to God as any ruffian under heaven; and yet when God, as it were, lifted up his finger against him, how poorly did he crouch and shiver. How did his joints loose, and his knees knock together!

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king said to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed; and his lords were perplexed.

Belshazzar promises to make the interpreter the third ruler in the kingdom. Why the third?

Belshazzar could make someone only the third ruler, because he himself was the second ruler, and his father Nabonidus was the first ruler.

It would be helpful if the liberals who see mistakes around every corner in the Bible would bother to read the Bible that they love to attack. If they did they would discover that Daniel knew Belshazzar was not the supreme ruler in Babylon.

The wise men “could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation.”

Why couldn’t the king’s advsiors read and interpret this message?

Many theories have been advanced to explain why the king’s wise men could not read this message or interpret it. (Why they could not interpret it is easier to explain than why they could not read it.)

QUESTION 1: What language were the words written in?

Many think that the words were written in Aramaic since that is the language used in Chapter 5. However, if this were the case then the wise men would have been able to read the words.

Others think that the words were written in Hebrew. This would better explain the facts that we have in this chapter. The wise men might not have been able to read Hebrew, whereas Daniel certainly could have read the message.

Other suggestions include the Phoenician language and an unknown language known only to Daniel. There is very little evidence for such suggestions.

QUESTION 2: If the language was Aramaic, then how can we explain why the wise men were unable to read it?

The words may have been written using just consonants and no vowels. Thus, in interpreting the message, Daniel completed the words by filling in the appropriate vowels.

Some suggest that the wise men were stricken with blindness, but the king was apparently unable to read the message as well.

The Jews believe that the words were written vertically forming an anagram. If this were true then the message would be unintelligible if read horizontally.

Others think only the first letters of the words may have been given, or the words may have been jumbled.

The simplest explanation seems to be that the words were written in Hebrew, and Daniel was the only person around who could read Hebrew.

10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall; and the queen said, “O king, live for ever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. 11 There is in your kingdom a man in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”

The queen in verse 10 was probably the wife of Nabonidus, Belshazzar’s mother, since verse 2 tells us that Belshazzar’s ‘wives’ were present at the feast and this queen was not at the feast, but came in when she heard the trouble.

Herodotus tells us that Nabonidus’ wife was named Nitocris.

Whoever this queen was, she was not at the drunken feast. This suggests that she may have been the real power here since someone was presumably worrying about the Persians who were camped outside.

We have said earlier that it is quite likely that Nabonidus married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar to secure his claim to the throne.

These verses support that claim. This queen seems to have known a lot about Daniel and his dealings with Nebuchadnezzar. This would be easy to explain if Nebuchadnezzar were her father.

Notice that even the queen herself refers to Nebuchadnezzar as the father of Belshazzar.

How did Belshazzar know about the temple vessels in the first place? Perhaps his mother told him about the items that her father had brought back from Jerusalem.

Further, note in verse 10 that the queen entered the king’s presence unbidden.

According to Esther 4:11 she could have been put to death for this under the Persian system. Perhaps a similar system was used by the Chaldeans.

The translators of the Septuagint thought so because they felt this behavior was so odd that they added the phrase ‘The king called the queen on account of the mystery’ to explain it.

But is this really that odd if this queen is Belshazzar’s mother and the wife of the king?

Again we are faced with question of why Daniel was called last and not first.

Since this happens each time he is called, I am inclined to believe that God was behind it and arranged things so that it would happen this way each time. He seems to have wanted all of the other wise men to be proved incapable before Daniel was called – and this is just what happened each time.

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. 14 I have heard of you that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation; but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple, and have a chain of gold about your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Belshazzar, apparently meeting Daniel for the first time, relays the story of what has happened and offers Daniel the same rewards as he offered the others if he can interpret the writing. (“You are that Daniel” in verse 13 can be translated “Are you that Daniel?” which would further suggest that the king did not know who Daniel was.)

Daniel had apparently lost his power and was living in obscurity. When did he lose his power and position? No doubt he lost it when Nebuchadnezzar died.

In verse 13 Belshazzar refers to ‘the king my father.’

He is not speaking of Nabonidus but of Nebuchadnezzar. Even Belshazzar himself referred to Nebuchadnezzar as his father. It was apparently very important to Nabonidus and Belshazzar that they legitimize their rule at every opportunity.

Also, by mentioning Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar gave Daniel an opportunity to give him a little history lesson, which Daniel proceeds to do.

17 Then Daniel answered before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty; 19 and because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him; whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; whom he would he raised up, and whom he would he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him; 21 he was driven from among men, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; he was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of men, and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven; and the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. 24 “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed.

Why did Daniel refuse the king’s gifts?

It would not have been wrong to accept them, since he had earlier accepted the gifts and favors of Nebuchadnezzar, as had his three friends on two occasions.

Perhaps Daniel felt that he was too old to get back into government service, which would have been required had he assumed the position that Belshazzar offered. (However, he did serve a role in the Persian government, which took over the very next day!)

The best explanation, however, may be that Daniel knew that Belshazzar’s rule (and indeed the Chaldean kingdom) was not going to last much longer. Indeed, Belshazzar was killed that very night.

As mentioned above, before Daniel interprets the message, he gives the king a history lesson.

In verse 19 Daniel reminds Belshazzar that Nebuchadnezzar was an absolute sovereign. He could dispense life and death at his whim – unlike Belshazzar who seems to be much less powerful and mighty.

Would Nebuchadnezzar have spent the night in a drunken feast with the enemy camped just outside the city?

Daniel is telling the king: “I knew Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Nebuchadnezzar!”

The “but” in verse 20 is the turning point in the story. Nebuchadnezzar was great, but…

He was filled with pride and refused to give the glory to God.

As bad as Nebuchadnezzar’s punishment was, Belshazzar’s punishment was going to be worse.

Finally, like any good history teacher, Daniel reminds the king in verse 22 that he already knew all of this but he had not learned from the past.

25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; 28 PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Daniel next translates (perhaps) and interprets the four words (three different words) on the wall.

Even if the king could have read the words they would have been hard to understand. Literally they mean “Number, Number, Weight, Division.” The meaning is hardly clear. Daniel will need to tell the king what they mean.

The first word ‘MENE’ (mene) was repeated twice.

This word means numbered, counted out, or measured.

It meant that the years of Belshazzar’s reign had been counted out to their very last one.

Both his days and the days of his kingdom were numbered – that is, they were both coming to a swift end.

The second distinct word was ‘TEKEL’ (tekel).

This word meant ‘weighed’ and Daniel explained that Belshazzar had been weighed and found wanting.

He did not measure up.

The third distinct word was ‘PARSIN.’

(The ‘U’ in ‘UPHARSIN’ in the King James Version means ‘and.’ Thus, the final word on the wall was ‘PARSIN.’)

The word means ‘to divide’ and Daniel says that Belshazzar’s kingdom had been divided or separated from him and given instead to the Medes and the Persians who were at that time besieging the city.

The ‘divided’ or ‘shared’ or ‘fragmented’ may also refer to the sharing of power by the Medes and Persians. This would further discredit the liberal contention that Daniel thought a separate Median kingdom ruled before the Persians.

There is a double word play at work with this word.

This word also points to the word ‘Persian,’ which means that Daniel knew that the kingdom that defeated the Chaldeans was the Persians operating with the Medes – and not the Medes all by themselves as the liberals suggest.

These three words can also be translated to mean three different measures of weights.

This may also explain why the king’s advisors were unable to tell the king what the words referred to.

Liberals have latched onto this and have suggested that instead of being written by God, the words were really written by a waiter at the feast who was trying to remember how much food to serve. (This would be funny if it were not so sad…)

29 Then Belshazzar commanded, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put about his neck, and proclamation was made concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Belshazzar was true to his word even though Daniel had given him very bad news. He made Daniel ‘king for day’ – literally.

One might have though that Belshazzar would have had Daniel killed on the spot for his effrontery. Why didn’t he?

He may not have wanted to appear untrue to his word in front of his guests. If he had lived, Daniel might not have fared well after the guests were gone.

He may also have thought that God would spare him if he bestowed his gifts on Daniel and made him his prime minister.

30 That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

While the king and his friends had been having their drunken feast, the Medes and the Persians were camped outside.

History tells us that the Medes and the Persians diverted the river Euphrates to expose a dry river bed leading into the city under the wall.

The historian Xenophon in telling the story confirms several of the details that we see here in Chapter 5.

He wrote that “the whole city that night seemed to be given up to revelry.”

He also said that the king was killed the night the city was taken.

The historian Herodotus, writing about 80 years after these events, explained what happened on that night:

Hereupon the Persians who had been left for the purpose at Babylon by the river-side, entered the stream, which had now sunk so as to reach about midway up a man’s thigh, and thus got into the town. Had the Babylonians been apprised of what Cyrus was about, or had they noticed their danger, they would never have allowed the Persians to enter the city, but would have destroyed them utterly; for they would have made fast all the street-gates which gave upon the river, and mounting upon the walls along both sides of the stream, would so have caught the enemy as it were in a trap. But, as it was, the Persians came upon them by surprise and took the city. Owing to vast size of the place, the inhabitants of the central parts (as the residents at Babylon declare), long after the outer portions of the town were taken, knew nothing about what had chanced, but as they were engaged in a festival, continued dancing and revelling until they learnt the capture but too certainly.

Verse 30 tells us that Belshazzar was killed that very night and verse 31 tells us that Darius the Mede took over after Belshazzar. Who was Darius the Mede? Recall our earlier comments on this subject:

One critic (Professor H. H. Rowley of England) has written:

The references to Darius the Mede in the Book of Daniel have long been recognized as providing the most serious historical problem of the book. … The claim of the Book of Daniel to be a work of history, written by a well-informed contemporary, is shattered beyond repair by this fiction of Darius the Mede. … So far as Darius the Mede is concerned, we have seen that there is no way of reconciling the Book of Daniel with assured history, and all the efforts of the apologists, of whom the present century has seen a new and plentiful crop, definitely fail.

The truth of the matter is that this learned professor is dead wrong. (In fact, later work has shown that much of his supposed evidence was flawed.) Listen to what he had to say about this supposed historical inaccuracy in Daniel.

Its very historical mistakes add to the fulness of its religious message to our hearts, for the God Who maketh the wrath of men to praise Him can also convert the mistakes of His servants, whose hearts are consecrated to His service, to rich use.

If the book of Daniel has no historical reliability then it has no religious message at all.

What does Jesus think about the historical reliability of Daniel?

O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25)

In any event, Darius the Mede presents no difficulty at all.

Daniel never claims that the Medes conquered the Chaldeans all by themselves – in fact he said just the opposite in Daniel 6:12.

Darius was a governor who was subject to Cyrus, the king. In fact, in Daniel 9:1, we read explicitly that Darius ruled the kingdom of the Chaldeans – that is, Cyrus gave him that specific newly conquered territory to govern. (Notice Daniel does not say that Darius ruled the kingdom of the Medes!)

It is interesting to note that Daniel gives far more information about the personal background of Darius than he does for Belshazzar or even Nebuchadnezzar .

Daniel 5:30 says that Darius was 62 when he began to reign. (This use of a very particular detail does not sound like a vague recollection about a forgotten or imagined king.)

Daniel 5:30 also tells us his nationality – Darius was a Mede.

Daniel 9:1 says that Darius was the son of Ahasuerus.

Thus, unlike even Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel tells us the age, the nationality, and the parentage of Darius.

The late-date proponents claim that:

The author of Daniel believed that a Median kingdom, under Darius, conquered Babylon and subsequently gave way to the Persian empire under Cyrus.

Darius the Mede never actually existed but was a confused reflection of a later Persian ruler, Darius I (Hystaspes).

The four kingdoms in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are thus Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece.

Five reasons why this view is wrong:

(1) The book of Daniel never claims that Darius was the king of Media but only that he was of Median descent.

(2) The author of Daniel says that Darius and Cyrus had different ancestries (Cyrus the Persian and Darius the Mede), NOT that they ruled separate kingdoms.

(3) Daniel 6:12 says that Darius was subject to the law of the Medes and Persians. If Darius ruled an independent kingdom of Media then why was he subject to the law of the Persians?

(4) Daniel’s interpretation of the handwriting on the wall in this chapter indicates that the Persians would be the main element of the empire that succeeded the Babylonians.

(5) The vision in chapter 8 depicts a combined Medo-Persian empire as a single ram with two horns. The horn depicting Persia comes up last, but BEFORE the ram sets out to conquer.

But couldn’t the author of Daniel have been referring to Darius I, a later Persian king? No, for the following five reasons:

1. Darius I was Persian (a cousin of Cyrus) and not a Mede.

2. Darius I was in his 20’s when he began to reign, not 62.

3. Darius I began to reign 7 years after the death of Cyrus, whereas Darius the Mede and Cyrus were both in power when the Chaldeans were conquered.

4. In Daniel 5:31 we read that Darius received the kingdom and in Daniel 9:1 we read that he was made king. These passages imply that Darius’ power to rule came from a higher earthly authority (Cyrus). This was not true of Darius I who took control after the death of Cambyses.

5. The liberals would have us believe that Daniel was written in the second century BC and that Daniel mistakenly thought Darius I preceded Cyrus.

Any such author would have been laughed to scorn. Every schoolboy of the time would have read the Greek historians and would have known that such was not the case.

The Jews would never have let enter the canon a book containing such a grievous error.

Just because the name ‘Darius the Mede’ has not been found in any ancient inscriptions does not mean that he did not exist.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The critics made similar claims about Belshazzar and archaeology later proved them wrong. (We wait in vain for their apology…)

Who then was Darius? We suggested in our introductory comments that Darius the Mede was an early governor of Babylon under Cyrus.

The references to Darius in Daniel do not say that he ruled the Persian empire – only that he took control of the conquered Chaldean empire.

It was a well known practice of Cyrus to appoint Medes to high positions in order to foster goodwill and loyalty.

Which governor was he? John Whitcomb in his book Darius the Mede wrote the following:

Gubaru the Governor of Babylon fits the Biblical description of Darius the Mede so remarkably that the writer believes he will be recognized in due time as the monarch who played such an important role in the life of Daniel and the fall of Babylon.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)