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Who were the satraps in the book of Daniel?

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Question: "Who were the satraps in the book of Daniel?"

Satraps are mentioned in Daniel chapters 3 and 6. These officials were among the eight classes of officials that King Nebuchadnezzar (605—562 BC) appointed in Babylon. Satraps are also mentioned in the books of Ezra and Esther.

The satraps were the chief representatives of the king, and they most likely had charge of the various provinces of the kingdom. Other officials in Babylon were the prefects (military commanders), governors (civil administrators), advisers (counselors to those in governmental authority), treasurers (administrators of the funds of the kingdom), judges (administrators of the law), and magistrates (those who passed judgment in keeping with the law). The “other provincial officials” mentioned in Daniel 3:2 were probably subordinates of the satraps. This list of officers probably included all who served in any official capacity under Nebuchadnezzar. All of these officials, including the satraps, were required to bow down before the king’s golden image. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused.

In Daniel 6, the satraps serving under King Darius had Daniel as one of their overseers: “It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss” (verses 1–2). The satraps were to protect the king’s possessions, and Daniel was responsible to ensure they carried out their duties. God blessed Daniel, and the satraps were not pleased that Daniel could so easily be promoted to administrator of the entire kingdom. The satraps and other officials under Darius devised a plan they were sure would lead to Daniel’s demise. Their devious ploy backfired, however, and, rather than Daniel being eaten in the lions’ den, the satraps and other officials were (Daniel 6:24).

Recommended Resource: The Great Lives from God’s Word Series by Chuck Swindoll

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