It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;…
Men have to pay for all exaltation; a sense of responsibility comes with it where it is honest and worthy, and men do not ascend to the primary positions instantly, but gradually, and as they ascend they become accustomed to the air, so that when they do reach the throne it seems as if they had but a step to take from the common earth to the great altitude. Thus we are trained, graduated, perfected, not by suddenness, abruptness, not by any vulgarity of government, but by that fine shading and graduation which is all but imperceptible, and which only makes itself known in all the fulness of its reality and value when we are prepared to accept the throne, the crown, the sceptre, humbly, modestly. How could Daniel bear all this exaltation? Because it was nothing to him: He had been in prayer. The man who prays three times a day, really prays, whose window opens upon heaven, cannot receive any honour; he cannot be flattered. If Darius had asked him to take the throne it would have been but a trifle to Daniel. A man who has been closeted with God cannot be befooled by earthly baubles and temporal vanities. It is with these things as with miracles. So with this greatness of such men as Daniel; it is not greatness to them: it is but a new responsibility, another opportunity for doing good, a larger opening for higher usefulness. The man should always be greater than his office; the author should always be greater than his book; the picture should be nothing compared with the picture the artist wanted to paint. The musician does well to set aside his thousand-voiced organ because it is useless when he wants to express the ineffable. If we prayed aright, if we loved God truly, then all honour would be accepted with an easy condescension, and every gift and recognition and promotion would be used with modesty, and every honour given by men would not be despised, but would be used to the promotion of the highest ends of being. It is thus the Daniels of the world sit upon their thrones; verily, they sit upon them; they use them, they are mere temporary conveniences and symbols to them; the real king is intellectual, spiritual, moral, sympathetic, invisible, divine. It is useless for us to wish to be what Daniel was; we shall be what Daniel was, and where he was, when we have the same qualifications. The universe is not being built by an unskilled carpenter; it is being constructed — I mean that inward and spiritual universe of which all other universes are but the scaffolding — by a divine Builder; and He will not put the top stone in the foundation, or the foundation stone in the pinnacle; He will put us just where we ought to be. Daniel and Paul, Peter and John, the seraph all aflame, the cherub all contemplation, each will have his place. O foolish soul, do not build thyself into God's wall; let the Builder handle thee, and be glad that thou hast any place in the spiritual masonry.
(Joseph Parker, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;