Psalm 64 and Daniel and the Lion

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
from the throng of evildoers. . . Psalm 64:2

This I found very interesting. It is a commentary on Psalm 64 from Daily Tehillim.

“In this prayer David petitions God to protect him “from the secret of evildoers” (verse 3), the devious plots and schemes of his adversaries. He compares his ruthless conspirators to an archer who hides at a distance and then catches his unsuspecting victim by surprise. David’s enemies, too, hide behind a veneer of innocence and shoot “arrows” in the form of false allegations and slanderous rumors. David prays that God should respond by sending His own “arrows” to destroy them and ensure that the very falsehoods they speak should bring about their own downfall.

“Several commentators cite a Midrashic tradition that interprets this chapter as a prophetic reference to the story of Daniel, who, as Rashi notes, was a descendant of David. (In the Book of Yeshayahu 39:7 the prophet makes reference to descendants of King Hizkiyahu who would serve as officers in the Babylonian government, and the Sages teach that Daniel was among these descendants. Hizkiyahu was a king from the Davidic royal dynasty, and thus Daniel was a descendant of King David.) The Book of Daniel (chapter 6) tells of Daniel’s rise to prominence in the government of the Persian emperor Darius, and Darius’ particular admiration for him. His stature aroused the jealousy of the other officials who sought to discredit him in the king’s eyes. Unable to find any flaws in Daniel’s conduct or indications of disloyalty, the officials deviously persuaded the emperor to enact a decree outlawing prayer to any person or deity other than the emperor for a period of thirty days. Violators of this edict, they recommended, should be cast into a lions’ den. The officials claimed that this provision would help solidify the new emperor’s authority and stature among the people, but in truth, this was a plan designed to kill Daniel, who prayed to God three times each day. Daniel paid no attention to the decree and continued his prayer routine, and the officials reported him to the emperor. Despite his affection for Daniel, Darius had no choice but to obey his own edict and have him cast into the lion’s den; of course, God performed a miracle and Daniel emerged from the den unscathed. The emperor then cast Daniel’s conspirators into the lions’ den, and they were immediately devoured.

“The Sages thus explain that when David speaks here of schemers and conspirators who cast false allegations, he refers to the Persian officers who conspired against Daniel and brought false accusations against him to the emperor – all out of sheer envy and selfish greed.

“Towards the end of this Psalm (verse 10), David prays that after God’s deliverance everybody will fear Him and speak of His praises. Indeed, the Book of Daniel tells (6:27-28) that after Daniel’s miraculous emergence from the lions’ den, Darius decreed that all his subjects must worship the God of Daniel. The miracle of Daniel demonstrated to one and all the Almighty’s unlimited ability to bring deliverance in even the most dire and otherwise helpless situations, and that ultimately justice prevails and retribution is visited upon the wicked.”

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