Daniel - Lesson 10

Daniel and the Lions’ Den

When Darius gave Daniel a position of authority in his government, the administrators underneath him were jealous. They devised a plan to trap Daniel and force Darius to execute him. God rescued Daniel and the administrators suffered the fate that they had planned for Daniel. The story shows that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and it’s important to live a life that is faithful to him.

Lesson 10
Watching Now
Daniel and the Lions’ Den

I. Darius

II. Court Conflict

A. Plot against Daniel

B. Daniel's response

C. Response of Darius

D. God rescues Daniel

E. Second decree

  • Join distinguished scholar and professor emeritus Dr. Tremper Longman for a study of the book of Daniel, a fascinating and inspiring part of the Bible. In this class, you'll explore six stories and four apocalyptic visions that all demonstrate God's control and ultimate victory, even in the face of evil and difficulty. Don't miss this opportunity to be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you study the powerful messages of the book of Daniel with Dr. Longman.

  • Daniel is written in two parts. The first six chapters is history written in the form of a story. Chapters seven through twelve are apocalyptic literature. In the English Bible, it’s with the major prophets. In the Hebrew Bible it’s in the Writings. The Apocalyptic section has similarities to the book of Revelation. One of the main messages in the book of Daniel is that even if you are living in a culture that is toxic to your faith, living by faith can help you not only survive, but thrive.

  • By the time Daniel was written, the nation of the Jewish people was divided into the tribes of Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Assyria conquered Israel in 722 BC. Babylon overthrew Assyria in 612 BC then Judah in 605 BC. Daniel. Daniel and others were taken to Babylon and chosen to be trained as royal advisors.   

  • Daniel and his friends were willing to learn the language, literature and divination practices of the Babylonians even though it was potentially toxic to their faith. They temporarily chose to eat vegetables and water rather than the food and wine that the other officials in training were eating. The performed at the top of their class.

  • Nebuchadnezzar summoned the royal magicians and sorcerers and required them to tell him what his dream was and give him an interpretation of the dream. Daniel is able to do this because of the wisdom God gives him.

  • Daniel reveals the dream and the interpretation because God revealed it to him. The parts of the statue represent different worldly kingdoms. The stone that crushes the statue represents God’s rule over the kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar recognizes Yahweh as being powerful.

  • Daniel and his friends were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment for not worshipping an image of Nebuchadnezzar. God miraculously saved them and Nebuchadnezzar promoted them to positions in the royal court.

  • This is a story of a contest between Daniel and his friends and the Babylonian wise men. A major theme is the pride of Nebuchadnezzar and how that affects the outcome. Some of the story is narrated in by Nebuchadnezzar in the first person. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. The Babylonian wise men don’t give him an interpretation, but Daniel does. Nebuchadnezzar experienced judgment but God restores him.

  • As we read and study the Old Testament, we can gain insights into redemptive history and see examples of how we should live. It can sometimes be a challenge to determine the continuity or discontinuity of a passage. A major theme in Daniel 4 and throughout the Bible is how pride can hinder your relationship with God. 

  • Belshazzar was a ruler in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar died. During a banquet he hosted, he used the goblets from the temple in Jerusalem for his guests to drink out of. In the middle of a banquet, a hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall. Belshazzar called Daniel to interpret the message.

  • When Darius gave Daniel a position of authority in his government, the administrators underneath him were jealous. They devised a plan to trap Daniel and force Darius to execute him. God rescued Daniel and the administrators suffered the fate that they had planned for Daniel. The story shows that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and it’s important to live a life that is faithful to him.

  • Daniel had a vision of four beasts that were frightening in appearance. An angel explained the significance of the beasts in terms of historical kingdoms but didn’t say specifically which ones.

  • Daniel and Jeremiah both had messages from God but the way God communicated to each of them was different. The word “apocalypse” comes from the first word in Greek in the book of Revelation which means to reveal or uncover something. Some characteristics of apocalyptic literature are visions, dreams, a binary point of view, highly figurative language and the theme of hope based in confidence in God’s control over people and events that seem chaotic and overwhelming.

  • In this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of the book of Daniel, focusing on its themes, historical context, and preparation for spiritual battles in a challenging cultural environment.
  • You gain a deeper understanding of the Book of Daniel, its historical context, literary features, key themes, and significance within the Old Testament, while focusing on God's warfare against evil.
  • John the Baptist described Jesus coming as a warrior but the ministry of Jesus was different than what he expected. Since we live in phase 4, God gives us the power to fight spiritual battles. The God who led the people of Israel into battle in the Old Testament is the same God described in the New Testament who came as God in human form as Jesus.

  • The vision in Daniel 8 describes animals that represent kingdoms and individuals. While Daniel was seeing the vision, Gabriel came and explained its meaning. Antiochus Epiphanes fits the description of one of the horns in the vision. His persecution of the people of Israel and his desecration of the temple is similar to the way the anti-Christ is described in Revelation.

  • As Daniel is reading Scripture, he comes to the realization that what he is reading in the book of Jeremiah may actually be taking place at the time. His response is to begin by praying. He includes himself in confessing the sins of the people of Israel and appeals for God to rescue them from exile.

  • As Daniel is reading Jeremiah and praying, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel to explain the vision to him. The numbers in the vision are symbolic but demonstrate that God has a plan and a time frame to accomplish it.

  • The final of Daniel’s four visions described in chapters 10-12. There is an introduction to the vision, description of the vision and instructions to Daniel. The answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed because of spiritual warfare.

  • This vision covers the events surrounding the Persian and Greek rulers in the 3rd and 4th century BC. They are described in such detail that some people think it was written after they took place, not as a prophecy.

  • The righteous and the wicked have different fates in the after-life. Throughout Scripture there is progress of revelation. God is in control and he will be victorious. The prophecy that God gave Daniel describes events that will happen in the future. Celestial sources give final words to Daniel that are also addressed to readers of the book of Daniel. A theme that is emphasized throughout the book of Daniel is, in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory.  This is illustrated both in the stories of Daniel and his friends and in the visions of future events that Daniel has.

  • Daniel informs the imagery and message of the book of Revelation. They are the two books of the Bible with primarily apocalyptic themes. Daniel’s encounter with God and angels is similar to what John records in Revelation. Daniel is commanded to seal his prophecy and in Revelation, the seals are opened. The references Revelation to the beasts and three and a half years is also similar to Daniel.

Living in a toxic culture can be dangerous and risky, but when you live by faith, God can give you opportunities to thrive, succeed and be a testimony to God's power and love for people. A primary message of the prophecies of Daniel is that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory. God has not provided us with a precise date on the calendar for when that will happen, but he will accomplish his plan on his timetable.

Dr. Tremper Longman III
Daniel ot666-10
Daniel and the Lions' Den
Lesson Transcript

Tremper Longman III [00:00:00] So we come to the final of the six stories. Again, one of the most, if not the most well known story, Daniel in the lion's den. And just like writing on the wall or your days are numbered, the expression in the lion's den comes to mean something in our common culture today. So we start, as I mentioned at the end of the last talk on Daniel five, we come and are introduced to a new character, a man named Darius. It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. Okay, so. So first of all, let's take note of the fact that the Persians have taken over and there's a ruler named Darius who is organizing the kingdom, probably just Babylon, as I'll mentioned a moment, but it could be describing the whole Persian Empire. And Daniel has a significant position with them already, probably because he was perceived as not being closely aligned with the Babylonians, probably because his reputation as an administrator precedes them. But even though the text pointed out because God is in control and he brings Daniel to this position, but it is Darius who's Darius? We know that the conqueror of Babylon is a man named Cyrus. Cyrus the Persian, who's mentioned as in the books of Ezra, Maya at the end of Chronicles, etc.. And so we. Ask who Darius is and begin by saying that Darius is well known Persian name. And there's a later king named Darius, known as Darius the first and then there's Darius the second, etc., etc.. But Darius, the first was a very important Persian king, but he didn't rule until 532 to 5 486 B.C. So there is a question about who is Darius. By the way, some people pronounce Darius as Darius. I think it's kind of a tomato thing, but I'll keep using the pronunciation, Darius, because I'm used to it and because we know, as I said, that Cyrus, the Persian was the one who defeated the Babylonians, and he immediately became the king of the vast Persian Empire, which automatically exceeded the extent of the Babylonian empire, because it now included Cyrus, his other conquests, before he engulfed the Babylonian empire. There are various possibilities. One is that I find kind of attractive is that Darius is actually the throne name for Cyrus in Babylon. And we have examples of this elsewhere where a king will have a different throne name in another part of his kingdom. Now, what you might think would militate against that idea is the very last verse of this chapter of Daniel six, verse 28 that says, So Daniel Prosper during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus, the Persian. But as scholars have pointed out, the Bob there, Bob is a connective that is often translated and but can be translated but and can even be translated. Even so, a possible translation is. So Daniel Prosper during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian, in other words, saying that giving both of this man's name and there are other solutions too. And again, I won't go into the details of it. If you're interested, you can look at my commentary or in the Longman Dillard introduction to the Old Testament and the chapter on Daniel. But some people see Darius as a particular figure who rules on behalf of Cyrus within Babylon. Whichever it is, it doesn't affect the meaning of the story. And so we will now read beginning with Daniel six one through nine, where we hear that there is a plot against Daniel and we immediately recognize that this chapter falls into the pattern of what we've been calling a story of court conflict, where just like in Daniel three, you have some Babylonian administrators trying to undermine, in this case, Daniel's authority. But in Daniel three, it was the authority of the three friends. So the satraps picking it up in verse three, the satraps are made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now, Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and satraps by his exceptional equality qualities that the King planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators in the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs. Okay, so again, their jealousy is fueled by Daniel's rising promotion position within the Persian government. But they were unable to do so. So here is a perfectly non-corrupt official. They couldn't find any evidence against them. They could find no corruption in because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally, these men said, We'll never find any basis for charges against this man, Daniel. This has something to do with the law of his God. So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said, So this going as a group, by the way. Dana Fuel, who I mentioned a few times in her book on Dana called Circle of Sovereignty, mentions that this Aramaic verb raw gas can simply mean going as a group, but may imply and she believes that does conspiracy and even more their emotional state, which is rage. So they went as a group to the king and said, May King Darius live forever. The royal administrators, prefects, satraps advisors and governors have all agreed that the King should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any God or human being during the next 30 days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lion's den. Now, Your Majesty issued the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered in accordance with the law. The Medes and Persians. Which cannot be repealed. So King Darius put the decree in writing. So the. Babylonian administrators are manipulating the king. Appealing to his vanity, probably as in security, to issue this temporary decree, which is kind of unusual. You know, it's like for 30 days, no one can pray to anybody except to you. Now there's a question of what exactly is being decreed here. Is it that they're praying to Darius as if he's some type of God, or is he being presented as a kind of mediator to the gods? It's more in keeping, as John Walton points out in an article, to think that the Persian king is not representing himself as a God as much as a mediator to the gods. But whichever it is, the point is that, as we'll soon see, Daniel cannot comply with this. It goes against every fiber of his religious beliefs. So. So now we read and verses 10 to 18 about the springing of the trap. And Darius is application reluctantly of the penalty. So in verse ten, it says, But when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows open. Toward Jerusalem. It's interesting observation to see that he's praying toward Jerusalem. And it brings to mind chapter and verse King's aid. On the occasion of Solomon's dedication of the Temple. First King's eight, verse 35. The 36. We read when the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you. And when they prayed toward this place to say they are praying toward Jerusalem and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people. Israel. Teach them the right way to live and send rain on the land that your people for an inheritance. So. So the idea of praying toward Jerusalem pops up on a few occasions in the Old Testament. Now, of course, the temple doesn't exist at this moment, which is interesting. So the land is still considered sacred, which is confirmed if you read and Jeremiah 40 to 45. We read about a group of Jews who are traveling to the destroyed temple in order to worship there. So even though the temple is destroyed, there's still this sense that this is the place where God had made his presence known. Three times a day. He got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. So this is a habitual thing. He's not doing it, just protest and he's just refusing to not follow through on his typical ritual or routine of praying toward Jerusalem three times a day. And there's a there's a reference in some 55 verse 17, which talks about praying morning, evening and evening and noon. So perhaps that's the pattern we're see here. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. Now, notice that they're intentionally seeking him out, just like the Babylonian wise men outdid the three friends of Daniel, whom Nebuchadnezzar had not seen, refusing to bow to the statues. So here these conspirators actually go to the upstairs room where they were Daniel's privately praying he's not making a show of it. He's not making a public protest or anything. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree. Did you not publish a decree that during the next 30 days, anyone who prays to you or anyone who prays to any God or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lion's den. This, of course, is what we call a rhetorical question. They know the answer to that. They're just trapping the king into. Punishing Daniel. The king answered the decree stance accordance with the law, the means and positions which cannot be repealed. Then they said to the King. Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah. Let me remind you again, notice again, we have that phrase, that demeaning phrase from these rivals to Daniel. Pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day. When the king heard this, he was greatly to stress this contrast of never necessary action to the three friends not bowing to the statute where he grew furious. Here the King realizes he's trapped and doesn't want to punish Daniel, whom he has a high regard for. And he goes on to say he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort to save him. So then the man went as a group to King Darius. I said, Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law, the Medes and Persians, no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed. So the king gave the order and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lion's den. The king said to Daniel, May your God whom you serve, continually rescue you. Again, notice the great reluctance of Darius to execute this punishment, the fact that he prays or the fact that he commends Daniel to his God. Shows some hope that maybe God will intervene. A stone was brought placed over the mouth of the Dan when the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of the nobles so that Daniel's situation might not be changed. And the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. Okay, so King's distressed, but the narrator is very careful to describe the way that Dana placed into the lion's den. And it's sealed by a signet ring at the first light of dawn. As we now read the section about Dan's Daniel's rescue and his accusers demise in chapter six, verse 19 through 24, at the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the Lion's den. You know, again, probably communicating to us, the readers, that he's hopeful that Daniel has been spared. When he came near the Dan, he called Daniel in an anguished voice. Daniel, servant of the living God, as you're a God whom you serve, continually been able to rescue you from the lions, Daniel answered, May the king live forever. My God sent his angel again, remembering how God sent his angel, or appeared himself in the blazing furnace, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me because I have. I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done anything wrong before you, Your Majesty. This idea of being found innocent and therefore not killed raises the possibility that there's a the concept of a trial by ordeal lies behind this. No trials, trial by or deals were well known in the ancient Near East when somebody was accused of something typically ordeal would take that person down to the river and they would throw them in it. And if they died and they were guilty and the punishment was applied at the same time. But if they survived and they were innocent, it sounds kind of primitive, but it's only in more recent history that you had an even more kind of problematic trial by ordeal. If you think of the Salem witch trials, the way that worked was that they'd be thrown into the river, and if they survived, they were a witch, because how else could they get out of it? And they burned them at the stake. So that's there's while we're on the topic of the trial by ordeal, it's interesting to think that this concept might also lie in some sense behind, say, the flood waters that Noah survives and the violent evil generation at that time die. It's kind of a trial by ordeal or even the crossing of the sea is sometimes described by scholars as a kind of ordeal. In that way, even though the biblical law doesn't have a trial by water ordeal in it, it does have a trial by ordeal in numbers chapter five, which is a concerning a woman who is suspected of committing adultery. And that woman could be taken by their jealous husband to the tabernacle where the priest would administer a drink to her, which included the dust from the tabernacle floor. And it said if her thigh withered, which is a euphemism for her womb, then she was guilty. And if not, she wasn't. And, you know, there's a lot you could say about that. But, you know, I think if you think that God is, you know, sort of super tending this whole process and it might be seen as redemptive, where you might have jealous husbands who suspect their wife of adultery and are never sure and all that kind of thing. But but this ideal of an ordeal seems to lie behind Dana being thrown in the lion's den. Because he said I survived because I'm innocent, nor have I ever done any wrong before. Your Majesty, the King was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. When Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him because he had trusted his God at the king's command. The men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lion's den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the Lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. It's not because the lions weren't hungry that Daniel survived. And well, then King Darius. And it ends with a second decree in versus 25 through 28, a second decree of Darius. The first one was to mediate all prayers through him. Here we have King Darius writing to all the nations and peoples of every language and all the Earth. May you prosper greatly. I issue a decree in every part of my kingdom. People must fear and reverence the God of Daniel, for He is the living God and He endures forever. His kingdom will not be destroyed. His dominion will never end. He rescues any slaves. He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus. The Persian thus ends the six stories, each of which illustrate, as this one does, that in spite of present difficulties. And Daniel's difficulty is that he has a conspiracy of rivals who out of jealousy. Create a situation where the king must order his execution. In spite of that, in spite of being thrown into the lion's den. God's in control. He is the one, Daniel said, who shut the mouth of the lions. And he will have the final victory. So Daniel survives, and we've seen him thrive throughout the six chapters. As we turn now to the second half of the Book of Daniel, we encounter a different type of literature. No longer stories about Daniel with three friends in a foreign court, but now four visions. Four visions that Daniel receives. And as I said at the beginning, even though this is quite different literature, and I'll talk about the nature of apocalyptic literature before we actually enter into exposition of Daniel. Chapter seven The first Vision. In spite of being a different type of literature, it still echoes and emphasizes the theme that we've been following throughout the book. Was it common in the ancient world to not only kill the individual but all of his family? Yeah, I mean, it was it certainly from what we see elsewhere in the Bible to say again in Judges chapter nine, I think it is or sorry, Joshua, Chapter nine. And it raises ethical problems for us, and I'm not going to minimize those. I have some qualms about it too, and it's not something to sort of flippantly dismiss. First thing I would say about this occasion, though, is that it's not Daniel's decision. It's the King's decision. Maybe at this point We also talk about systemic evil, too. You know, that that that we as Americans tend to think in very individualistic terms and in other cultures, not just ancient cultures, there's a more kind of communal understanding. So I'm not what I'm saying is I don't think we are to understand it as well. We're going to kill your family because of we don't like you or because we disagree with what you did. But it's more like this is a family that is problematic. So it's difficult. But yeah, I think that's true. So it's horrific but normal. Yeah. Yeah. That's a good way of putting it. Yeah. I think the Kings would also think of it as a warning to other people, you know, kind of like, you know, you conspire against me, you try to manipulate me, you may get me. But on the other hand, I'm my punishment is going to be severe so that no one else would do that. Now, whether that works or not is even part of the contemporary debate about capital punishment. Why can't the king reverse his decree? That's a great question. And it's I think when I think of that question and first of all. We don't have a lot of Persian sources, but we have some but none of the Persian sources talk about this. The only the only place where we hear about this idea is in books like Daniel and Esther, where, of course, Daniel, I mean, Socrates issues the decree for the destruction of the Jews. He can't reverse it. But what he does is he issues another decree that allows the Jews to arm themselves and attack their enemies. So why that's the case? I can imagine that it's it might be connect to the idea that if the king reversed law, then it somehow diminished his. What's the right word? His. His almost infallible voice. You know, I changed my mind. What? You changed your mind? This may be a faulty analogy, but I think when the pope today speaks ex cathedra from the seat, you can't come back in six months and say, I don't really, because the pope is speaking infallibly when he speaks x cathedra. As I understand Catholic polity. So something similar that at least in my mind. 

Audience Member  [00:27:40] So I found it interesting that rescue shows up as three times sort of as a theme and as opposed to the other kings who were very proud and resisted recognizing God's authority. The king here wants to rescue Daniel Kant, and then right away goes while I hope God will rescue. 

Tremper Longman III [00:27:59] Yeah, I recognize this guy. Yeah. 

Audience Member  [00:28:01] And then after he's rescued, he right away says he has you know, God has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. So there isn't that resistance to. 

Tremper Longman III [00:28:11] Yeah. 

Audience Member  [00:28:11] Recognizing God's sovereignty. 

Tremper Longman III [00:28:13] Yeah. I wonder, too, as you say, that, Paul, how that might fit into other pictures we get of Persian kings related to the Jews and even some evidence outside the Bible for how Persian kings related to other vassal people. And what I mean is this that each of these great empires, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, later Greek and then later Roman, have different ways of dealing with their subject nations. We saw that the Assyrians, when they took the Northern Kingdom, they deported many Israelites out and imported foreigners in the Babylonians deported the upper classes, the elite to Babylon. But they didn't import anybody in, you know, which was interesting. And you can almost think that God's preserving, you know, the distinctive nature of the people, God, not that they're ethnically distinct, by the way, but by the time you come to the Zellick period, the gene pool of Abraham's descendants is quite diverse. I mean, just to give you one early example, remember who Joseph married and had children by an Egyptian woman. So his children are half Egyptian ethnically Manasa and Ephraim and you could give many other examples Uriah the Hittite, Ahab, Ruth and more. So it's not an ethnic purity, but it's a religious purity that's being preserved that wasn't preserved up in the north when it comes to the Persians, the Persians. At least for vassals like the Jews they take a tact of, actually. Trying to rule them by allowing them to have a certain measure of independence, shall we say. I mean, this lies behind Cyrus and the beginning chapters of Ezra commissioning such positions, a room about all the leaders back and rebuild the temple. Now we happened to have extra biblical document called the Cyrus Decree, which Cyrus? The Cyrus Cylinder. It's actually a eight sided cylinder written in Akkadian because Acadians, the lingua franca of the Persian Empire. And in there, Cyrus says, I defeated Babylon, and I allowed all the vassal people to return to their homelands and rebuild their shrines. So this was not a unique gesture of benevolence toward the Jews, though of course, that's highlighted in the Bible. And, you know, the Jews see it as the hand of their good God, allowing them to return to rebuild the rebuild the temple, and then later with Ezra later. KING Our desert seas commissions, commissions Ezra to go back and do what? Reestablish the law of God in Jerusalem. Now we have evidence from another document, a Persian document from the time of Darius, you know, the one who rules after Cyrus with a brief period when a guy named Kam B.C. Cambyses rules where Darius commissions a Egyptian priest to go back and restore Egyptian law in Egypt. And then you have Nehemiah building the wall of Jerusalem at whose encouragement our desert cease again. So. So it. It. It kind of fits in. What I'm saying, Paul, the way that the again, these people are all polytheists by this time, there's something of a debate. They're probably Zoroastrian, the Persians all ready by this time. So but they can acknowledge other gods and they can they're trying to rule their vassal states, particularly those on the border, through benevolent actions that allowed them to have a certain measure of self-government, which I often point out. And I got in trouble with this once with a woman who was Greek, even though it was a little disturbing. I said, you know, the Greeks came in and they were they were very coercive in their rule of the Jewish people. You know, I just heard these epiphanies, whom we'll talk about later, set up an abomination of desolation, namely a meteorite dedicated to Zus and the temple. He forced people not to get circumcised, to, you know, participate in public gymnasiums, which was a problem with Jewish practice. And I pointed that out to my students, that we tend to think of the Greeks as these voices of democracy, and we cheer on the Greeks of Sparta against the despot Xerxes as Xerxes tries to attack the Greeks. But. But it's more complicated than that.