Daniel and the Lions’ Den
6 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes 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 and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And 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. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken 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. And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
for he is the living God,
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be to the end.
He delivers and rescues;
he works signs and wonders
in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Daniel 6 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Daniel was a man of consistency. Here was a man who was in exile who never wavered in his faith or trust. The seasons changed continually for him and yet he remained steadfast. From the opening chapter of being led into captivity to the difficulty he and his friends faced as Believer’s living in a pagan world, to his being all but forgotten after the torch had been passed from a father to son in kingship, Daniel went quietly about his business. He never allowed the circumstances to dictate his faith. He never faltered in his belief.
The challenge is great and convicting. All too often we allow things to dictate our own responses. When seasons change, unfortunately sometimes so do we, at least initially. We question. We wonder and wander. We allow our mind to run circles around the issues at hand and respond accordingly. What is the key to remaining steadfast?
Probably the most infamous story of Daniel is found in today’s chapter. It’s the well-known story of Daniel. He had distinguished himself among the other servants of the king to the point he was going to be appointed to a higher position within the government. Jealousy from these brought about a plan to have him killed. Knowing there was nothing they could find fault save his commitment to God, these men got the king to sign an edict that anyone not praying to the king himself was to be put to death. The decree went out as law.
“When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.”Daniel 6:10 The Message
Nothing wavered Daniel’s commitment. I love the words “Just as he had always done.” So committed to his God, he made no attempt to hide from his enemies. He went into his house, threw open the windows, knelt down toward Jerusalem and began to intercede. How often do any of us flinch when something puts us in the line of fire because of a stance we hold in faith? How many times do we allow others to dictate our response to matters of our God? How many times do we look toward the situation of crisis rather than the One who is control of that crisis?
The conspirators knew he would do this because Daniel’s integrity shone brightly. Catching him, they immediately went before the king saying they had found one in direct disobedience to his new law. When King Darius learned of who it was, he was sick. He worked throughout the entire day to find a loophole to save him, but the law was the law. That evening Daniel was lowered into a den of lions but not before the king had something to say.
“Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”Daniel 6:16
It was a restless night for the king. At sunrise, he personally went to the opening calling out in anguish.
“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”Daniel 6:20
Daniel not only was alive, but God had also sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions. Pulling him from the pit, not one wound was found because he trusted God. The perpetrators of his demise were rounded up and thrown down into the pit where before they even landed, the lions overpowered them and ripped them apart.
Both haters and respecters of Daniel knew one thing about him – he was unswerving in his faith. The culprits knew this and resented him for it. The king knew this and respected him greatly. The impact Daniel made in the chaos that suddenly surrounded him showed where his reliance and trust rested. Daniel was consistent. What helped him to do so was the absolute commitment to prayer he held. He knew that despite what came his way each day, what season of winter or spring, his strength and wisdom needed were found on his knees.
Daniel 6 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
I am simply in awe when I read these passages about Daniel. It is inspiring to think about what this mentality would look like in our current culture. I am so intrigued by it.
On one hand, you have the version of Daniel who will never compromise on truth. He will stand firm on the Word of God. He will continue to pray. He will not worship other gods. And in doing these things, he will make it very clear and known that anyone who attempts to sway him will never succeed. Under no means of torture or circumstance will he ever compromise on God’s truth. It’s an unrelenting faith.
On the other hand, you have the version of Daniel that’s just an all-around great guy. He works hard and earns his living. He’s a moral and holy man. All the kings who rule over him respect and honor him. He’s a skilled negotiator and a continual overachiever. In this chapter, we see that even the king’s advisers could not dig up one negative aspect of Daniel. This speaks to the consistency of his character.
Now put those two together, and what you get are some of the most powerful characteristics of Jesus our Savior. Now, of course, Daniel was just a man. He was a sinner who struggled just like any of us. But consider how faithfully Daniel served and pursued God, and how much God blessed him.
We’ve all met people who charge full steam ahead with their truth train. These people puff around with their knowledge looking for the next victim they can lay on the tracks and demolish. They may proudly proclaim they don’t compromise on truth, but when it comes to relationships, others just want to tune them out. They are harsh, demeaning, and ultimately end up acting like Pharisees.
We’ve also met those people who see grace and love through tunnel vision. They are fine with compromising a little bit, as long as it’s for the sake of love. Truth is moderately relative in their worldview because they just don’t want to offend anyone. With these, people pleasing is more important than honoring God’s Word.
Over the first 6 chapters thus far, Daniel has found an effective balance of grace and truth. The reason he was thrown into the lion’s den wasn’t because he told someone off, compromised on his faith, or disrespected people. Daniel knew his place and his role, and he served God within that place. He was in exile, and he accepted and made the most of the opportunity. The really convicting part for us is that it didn’t matter the nation, the king, or the people he was around. Daniel was the same person throughout every kingdom and administration!
Daniel’s life flourished before others in the middle of exile and turned out to be a shining example of the coming Messiah. Daniel didn’t even know that much about Jesus yet, but his character was established in both truth and grace.