Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him, and his sleep fled from him. (Daniel 6:18)
If you have you ever made a hasty decision that caused harm to another? You will then, understand how a good king like Darius felt. Imagine that this happened to a close friend. Darius signed a decree that even he could not reverse and Daniel was forced to be thrown into a pit of hungry lions, awaiting their next meal.
As he went to his palace that night, his thoughts distressed him. He was filled with guilt over a decision he hastily made and now, no-one but Daniel’s God, could deliver him from the consequences of this hasty decision. The verse before us describes how Darius spent the night. He refused any type of distraction that would make him forget what was happening. In one way we could say that he was punishing himself by not forgetting and he refused to be comforted in any way until he knew that Daniel was safe. He spent the night without sleep and could not make the morning come soon enough. Such was the great sorrow that king Darius felt that night.
Some may think that it is a sign of weakness when a leader feels compassion for another. We are reminded that the greatest and strongest man of all history wept over his friend Lazarus when he died. “Jesus wept” describes Christ’s response over the death of a friend.
It is always right to face up to our wrong decisions and make amends when possible. The agony that Darius felt was a sign of his true character and strength. May we strive to be like him.