Daniel and the Lions
1Darius thought it would be a good idea to choose one hundred twenty governors who would rule his kingdom. 2He chose three men as supervisors over those governors, and Daniel was one of the supervisors. The supervisors were to ensure that the governors did not try to cheat the king. 3Daniel showed that he could do the work better than the other supervisors and governors, so the king planned to put Daniel in charge of the whole kingdom. 4Because of this, the other supervisors and governors tried to find reasons to accuse Daniel about his work in the government. But they could not find anything wrong with him or any reason to accuse him, because he was trustworthy and not lazy or dishonest. 5Finally these men said, “We will never find any reason to accuse Daniel unless it is about the law of his God.”
6So the supervisors and governors went as a group to the king and said: “King Darius, live forever! 7The supervisors, assistant governors, governors, the people who advise you, and the captains of the soldiers have all agreed that you should make a new law for everyone to obey: For the next thirty days no one should pray to any god or human except to you, O king. Anyone who doesn’t obey will be thrown into the lions’ den. 8Now, O king, make the law and sign your name to it so that it cannot be changed, because then it will be a law of the Medes and Persians and cannot be canceled.” 9So King Darius signed the law.
10Even though Daniel knew that the new law had been written, he went to pray in an upstairs room in his house, which had windows that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times each day Daniel would kneel down to pray and thank God, just as he always had done.
11Then those men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12So they went to the king and talked to him about the law he had made. They said, “Didn’t you sign a law that says no one may pray to any god or human except you, O king? Doesn’t it say that anyone who disobeys during the next thirty days will be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “Yes, that is the law, and the laws of the Medes and Persians cannot be canceled.”
13Then they said to the king, “Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is not paying attention to you, O king, or to the law you signed. Daniel still prays to his God three times every day.” 14The king became very upset when he heard this. He wanted to save Daniel, and he worked hard until sunset trying to think of a way to save him.
15Then those men went as a group to the king. They said, “Remember, O king, the law of the Medes and Persians says that no law or command given by the king can be changed.”
16So King Darius gave the order, and Daniel was brought in and thrown into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May the God you serve all the time save you!” 17A big stone was brought and placed over the opening of the lions’ den. Then the king used his signet ring and the rings of his royal officers to put special seals on the rock. This ensured that no one would move the rock and bring Daniel out. 18Then King Darius went back to his palace. He did not eat that night, he did not have any entertainment brought to him, and he could not sleep.
19The next morning King Darius got up at dawn and hurried to the lions’ den. 20As he came near the den, he was worried. He called out to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Has your God that you always worship been able to save you from the lions?”
21Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22My God sent his angel to close the lions’ mouths. They have not hurt me, because my God knows I am innocent. I never did anything wrong to you, O king.”
23King Darius was very happy and told his servants to lift Daniel out of the lions’ den. So they lifted him out and did not find any injury on him, because Daniel had trusted in his God.
24Then the king commanded that the men who had accused Daniel be brought to the lions’ den. They, their wives, and their children were thrown into the den. The lions grabbed them before they hit the floor of the den and crushed their bones.
25Then King Darius wrote a letter to all people and all nations, to those who spoke every language in the world:
I wish you great peace and wealth.
26I am making a new law for people in every part of my kingdom. All of you must fear and respect the God of Daniel.
Daniel’s God is the living God;
he lives forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
27God rescues and saves people
and does mighty miracles
in heaven and on earth.
He is the one who saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.
28So Daniel was successful during the time Darius was king and when Cyrus the Persian was king.