Daniel rises to prominence. His jealous colleagues conspire to have him thrown in the lion’s den. But an angel protects him. King Darius honors Daniel.
VERSE 1. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty local governors, who should be throughout the whole kingdom;
local governors. Some translations say “satraps.” They were regional leaders.
VERSE 2. and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one; that these local governors might give account to them, and that the king should suffer no loss.
three presidents. They were co-administrators. The local governors answered to them.
VERSE 3. Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the local governors, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Daniel was distinguished. Daniel excelled above the others.
VERSE 4. Then the presidents and the local governors sought to find occasion against Daniel as touching the kingdom; but they could find no occasion or fault, because he was faithful. There wasn’t any error or fault found in him.
sought to find occasion against Daniel. Almost predictably, petty jealousy flares up right away. The 120 regional leaders and the two other co-administrators are not at all concerned with having the best-possible leadership of their empire.
Instead, they are obsessed with their own selfish concerns, especially their own careers.
VERSE 5. Then these men said, “We won’t find any occasion against this Daniel, unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
concerning the law of his God. The life and work of Daniel is so exemplary that his critics cannot find fault. So they stoop to persecuting him on religious grounds.
Throughout world history, people often hate the Jewish people and persecute them.
Often the real motive is jealousy over their success.
The LORD God has permanently chosen the Jewish people. He will always favor them and grant them success.
VERSE 6. Then these presidents and local governors assembled together to the king, and said this to him, “King Darius, live forever!
VERSE 7. All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the local governors, the counselors and the governors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a strong decree, that whoever asks a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except of you, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
whoever asks a petition. The two co-administrators and the 120 regional officers don NOT have the moral integrity to be forthright to the king about their hatred of Daniel.
Instead, they sneak around, hiding their motives.
They are the worst of corrupt politicians.
VERSE 8. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which doesn’t alter.”
that it not be changed. The laws of the empire were immutable.
VERSE 9. Therefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
VERSE 10. When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his room toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before.
toward Jerusalem. Since the time of Solomon, the Jewish people had a custom of praying toward the temple:
2 Chronicles 6:21. Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Yes, hear from your dwelling place, even from heaven; and when you hear, forgive.
upon his knees three times a day. Daniel had built habits of prayer into his life. His prayer life went beyond the sporadic and hurried.
Even though he was a busy executive, he calendared three appointments a day for prayer.
as he did aforetime. Daniel is an authentic Man of God. This dismal news is secondary to his relationship with the LORD God.
It does not disrupt his daily life of prayer and thankfulness.
Daniel does not conceal his faith. He walks in the light, even though his enemies hide in the dark.
VERSE 11. Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.
found Daniel making petition. Daniel has knowingly walked into their trap.
VERSE 12. Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning the king’s decree: “Haven’t you signed a decree that every man who makes a petition to any god or man within thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered, “This thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which doesn’t alter.”
VERSE 13. Then they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, doesn’t respect you, O king, nor the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
VERSE 14. Then the king, when he heard these words, was very displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored until the going down of the sun to rescue him.
the king … was very displeased. The king sees that he was set up, too.
VERSE 15. Then these men assembled together to the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians, that no decree nor statute which the king establishes may be changed.”
VERSE 16. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you serve continually, he will deliver you.”
he will deliver you. This is an extraordinary statement from king Darius. Darius sees the situation through the eyes of faith.
That is, through the eyes of Daniel’s Jewish faith. Had Daniel been evangelizing the king?
VERSE 17. A stone was brought, and laid on the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.
the den. The lion’s den was a pit that could not be scaled. The opening was blocked with a stone.
stone … seal. Daniel is locked within the lion’s chamber, in the same way that Jesus Christ was locked within the tomb.
VERSE 18. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting. No musical instruments were brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.
passed the night fasting. King Darius spends the night fasting for Daniel. We imagine Darius learned this from Daniel.
VERSE 19. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste to the den of lions.
VERSE 20. When he came near to the den to Daniel, he cried with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whom you serve continually, able to deliver you from the lions?”
VERSE 21. Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!
VERSE 22. My God has sent his angel, and has shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me; because as before him innocence was found in me; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
My God hath sent his angel. These are words of great victory!
Daniel would have followed the path he did, whether the LORD God delivered him from disaster or not. But it turned out Daniel was indeed given the victory.
VERSE 23. Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
VERSE 24. The king commanded, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions mauled them, and broke all their bones in pieces, before they came to the bottom of the den.
the lions mauled them. In the fullness of time, the LORD God granted justice to Daniel. But only after Daniel’s own trial by fire was complete.
VERSE 25. Then king Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth:
VERSE 26. “I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; “for he is the living God, and steadfast forever. His kingdom is that which will not be destroyed. His dominion will be even to the end.
I make a decree. King Darius evangelizes all the people of the known world, with news about the One God of the Jewish people.
VERSE 27. He delivers and rescues. He works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
He delivers and rescues. Daniel’s ordeal leads to the evangelization of the entire known world.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.