It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
A few things stood out for me reading this chapter, the first being that under Darius’s rule, Daniel rose higher in the King’s service, just about highest rank he could get without becoming King himself. I’m reminded a lot of Joseph when it’s considered the favor Daniel has with not only Darius, but previously with Nebuchadnezzar, and later with Cyrus. It shows Daniel’s trustworthiness. He was trust worthy mostly because of his unyielding faith to his God, and unwillingness to tell people what they wanted to hear to get in their good graces, but to tell them the truth. Faith and trust in God, even though he and the others were still in exile was something that God took notice of and looked upon Daniel with favor, which is similar to what Joseph had experienced after being sold into slavery to Egypt.
After reading this chapter, I was pretty quick to judge Darius for signing off on a ridiculous “peace of legislature” that his other presidents and princes brought to him. If you really look at what these jealous men thought up, you can see that decreeing something like that for only 30 days is absolutely pointless. But, Darius signed it, and of course that sealed the deal which could not be unbroken according to the law. But thinking in Darius’s defense, I can only imagine these men as devious as they were, came to the King at a time when he was most likely distracted or busy with other matters, and while giving them a hearing, signed off before he could realize how stupid it was. And he seemed genuinely grieved when he realized what he had done, when these men spied on Daniel and reported his prayer time to the king.
It’s interesting that the scripture says, Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went…. instead of saying, Daniel went as was his custom, to pray. It’s important to note that he knew of the decree and the consequences, but still obeyed the Lord and gave thanks to God in prayer. And was caught.
The story of Daniel in the lion’s den is one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible, and one of the most memorable for anyone who has heard of the Bible Hero stories. But it’s actually the king that has my attention this time, especially his reaction and realization of what he’s done- knowing that he couldn’t undo the decree, he must have felt physically sick, as it’s clear that he has a high regard for Daniel and cares much about him. How much he cares is evident in his behavior that night after sealing Daniel in the den.
He obviously couldn’t sleep, but notice how scripture says he fasted. One usually does that when in deep spiritual distress, along with prayer. Which isn’t mentioned, however there were no calls for music to comfort him, so maybe he was alone and praying. I wonder, it’s not beyond imagination to think he was- something like, “If you are Daniel’s God, and you are real, please save Daniel! If you save him, not only will I know you are truly a great God, but so will all of my kingdom….”
The king was distressed for sure, and must have been extremely anxious for the night to be over. It’s no wonder that he made haste, probably before the sun had risen, to find out if he had sealed Daniel’s death, or if Daniel’s God had saved him. He cried with a lamentable voice… another indication of how hard he was taking this course of action, but one can only imagine his absolute joy and wonderment when Daniel answered, O king, live for ever.
He made it clear that the Lord had delivered him in his innocence and that he never meant harm to the king by his innocence either.
No manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
Kind of like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego not even having a smell of smoke on them after the fiery furnace.
If Darius had prayed that night, he sure made good on his promise to proclaim the glory of God throughout his kingdom with the decree he wrote. With the truth and witness, a genuine fear of God he made certain that God was given all honor throughout the empire.
This story reminds of the fact that what others mean for evil, God can make something amazing out of it. Just as with Joseph, and so many other event in the Bible remind us- God knows the heart of each person. Reading the genealogies and historical contexts of each person in the Bible, in the ways He moves in lives shows that He knows our hearts before we’re even born.
That’s an amazing thing when you really think about it. And gives a new light to Romans 5:10- For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
No matter what we’ve done, He can do more if we trust in Him. Jesus died for us, knowing everything that we all have done or would do!
God knows, and changes hearts. He’s changed mine, and he can change yours too.
Have a wonderful day all.