Daniel and the Lions
1Darius thought it would be a good idea to choose 120 satraps to rule throughout his kingdom. 2He chose three men to rule over the 120 satraps. Daniel was one of the three supervisors. The king put these men in this position to keep anyone from cheating him. 3Daniel proved himself to be a better supervisor than any of the others. He did this by his good character and great ability. The king was so impressed with Daniel that he planned to make him ruler over the whole kingdom. 4But when the other supervisors and the satraps heard about this, they were very jealous. They tried to find reasons to accuse Daniel. So they watched what Daniel did as he went about doing the business of the government. But they could not find anything wrong with him, so they could not accuse him of doing anything wrong. Daniel was a man people could trust. He did not cheat the king, and he worked very hard.
5Finally, they said, “We will never find any reason to accuse Daniel of doing something wrong. So we must find something to complain about that is connected to the law of his God.”
6So the two supervisors and the satraps went as a group to the king. They said, “King Darius, live forever! 7The supervisors, prefects, satraps, advisors, and governors have all agreed on something. We think that the king should make this law and that everyone must obey it: For the next 30 days, whoever prays to any god or man except you, King, will be thrown into the lions’ den. 8Now, King, make the law and sign the paper it is written on so that it cannot be changed, because the laws of the Medes and Persians cannot be canceled or changed.” 9So King Darius made the law and signed it.
10Daniel always prayed to God three times every day. Three times every day, he bowed down on his knees to pray and praise God. Even though Daniel heard about the new law, he still went to his house to pray. He went up to the upper room of his house and opened the windows that faced toward Jerusalem. Then Daniel bowed down on his knees and prayed just as he always had done.
11Then the supervisors and satraps 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, “King Darius, you signed a law that says, for the next 30 days anyone who prays to any god or man except you, the king, would be thrown into the lions’ den. You did sign that law, didn’t you?”
The king answered, “Yes, I signed that law, and the laws of the Medes and Persians cannot be canceled or changed.”
13Then they said to the king, “That man Daniel is not paying any attention to you. He is one of the captives#6:13 captives People taken away as prisoners. Here, it means the Jewish people who were taken to Babylon. from Judah, and he is not paying attention to the law you signed. Daniel still prays to his God three times every day.”
14The king became very sad and upset when he heard this. He decided to save Daniel. He worked until sunset trying to think of a way to save him. 15Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, “Remember, King, that the law of the Medes and Persians says that no law or command signed by the king can ever be canceled or changed.”
16So King Darius gave the order. They brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May the God you serve save you!” 17A big rock was brought and put over the opening of the lions’ den. Then the king used his ring and put his seal on the rock. He also used the rings of his officials and put their seals on the rock. This showed that no one could move that rock and bring Daniel out of the lion’s den. 18Then King Darius went back to his house. He did not eat that night. He did not want anyone to come and entertain him. He could not sleep all night.
19The next morning, King Darius got up just as it was getting light and ran to the lions’ den. 20He was very worried. When he got to the lions’ den, he called to Daniel. He said, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God been able to save you from the lions? You always serve your God.”
21Daniel answered, “King, live forever! 22My God sent his angel to save me. The angel closed the lions’ mouths. The lions have not hurt me because my God knows I am innocent. I never did anything wrong to you, King.”
23King Darius was very happy. He told his servants to lift Daniel out of the lions’ den. And when Daniel was lifted out of the den, they did not find any injury on his body. The lions did not hurt Daniel because he trusted in his God.
24Then the king gave a command to bring the men who had accused Daniel to the lions’ den. The men and their wives and children were thrown into the lions’ den. The lions grabbed them before they hit the floor. The lions ate their bodies and then chewed on their bones.
25Then King Darius wrote this letter to all the people from other nations and language groups all around the world:
26I am making a new law. This law is 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.
His rule will never end.
27God helps and saves people.
He does amazing miracles in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from the lions.
28So Daniel was successful during the time Darius was king and when Cyrus the Persian was king.