The Word Made Fresh
1At the pleasure of Darius, the empire was divided into one hundred twenty areas, called satraps, spread across the entire kingdom. 2Three leaders, including Daniel, were over them, and the satraps reported to them, and they kept the king from suffering a loss. 3Daniel soon distinguished himself above the others because he had exceptional abilities, and the king was planning to elevate him over the entire kingdom. 4So, the leaders and satraps sought for reasons to complain against Daniel and his position in the kingdom. But they were unable to find any ground for complaint or any evidence of corruption or negligence on his part. 5They concluded that they would not be able to find any grounds for complaint against him unless it had to do with the law of his God.
6So, the leaders and satraps decided on a plan and came to the king. They said, “King Darius, live forever! 7All the leaders, prefects, and satraps, along with the counselors and governors, are in agreement that the king should issue a decree and enforce an ordinance that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, will be thrown into a den of lions. 8Issue the decree and sign it so that it can’t be changed. It will be the law of the Medes and Persians, and cannot be revoked.”
9King Darius signed the document.
10Daniel knew the document had been signed, but he continued to go to the upstairs room of his house, which had windows that opened toward Jerusalem, and he would kneel three times a day and pray to and praise his God. 11His enemies came and witnessed Daniel praying to his God. 12They went to the king and told him, “O king! Did you not sign a document forbidding anyone to pray to anyone, divine or human, other than you, for the next thirty days? And whoever does so will be thrown into a den of lions?”
The king said, “Yes, and it is in effect under the law of the Medes and Persians and cannot be revoked.”
13Then they said, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the law you have signed. He says his prayers three times a day.”
14When the king heard this he was very distressed. He was determined to protect Daniel, and made every effort to rescue him. Until sundown. 15That is when the conspirators came to him and said, “You know, O king, that it is the law for the Medes and Persians that no rule the king endorses can be changed.”
16Then the king ordered that Daniel be thrown into the lions’ den. He said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve faithfully, deliver you!” 17A stone was rolled across the entrance to the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signets of his lords, so that nothing could be changed concerning Daniel. 18The king withdrew to his palace and fasted the whole night. He ate no food, and was unable to sleep.
19At daybreak the king arose and hurried to the lions’ den. 20As he approached he called out, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you have faithfully served been able to rescue you from the lions?”
21Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22My God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions so that they could not harm me. I was blameless before my God and also before you, O king, for I have done nothing wrong.”
23Then the king was very glad, and ordered that Daniel be taken up out of the den. They did so, and found that he had not been harmed because he had trusted in his God. 24The king gave an order, and the men who had accused Daniel were brought to the lions’ den and thrown inside along with their wives and children. Before they hit the bottom of the den the lions overwhelmed them and tore them to pieces.
25Then King Darius wrote to all the people in the world in every language: “May you prosper abundantly! 26I have made a decree that in all my dominion everyone should be in fear of the God of Daniel:
“Daniel’s God is the living God who lives forever,
whose kingdom has no end and will never be destroyed.
27His God is a savior and a rescuer
who establishes signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,
and who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”
28So, Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and during the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
1-5: Now Darius is on the throne. Daniel is one of three leaders watching over the affairs of the empire, and true to form the other presidents and officials become jealous of him because he’s such a great guy.
6-9: They persuade the king to issue an edict that everybody must worship him and only him for a whole month, knowing that Daniel won’t.
10-13: Daniel doesn’t. They catch him in the act of worshiping God and make charges against him. As in the book of Esther, it is imagined that once an edict is signed it cannot be revoked even by the king who signed it.
14-15: Darius wants to save Daniel but can’t figure out how to do it.
16-18: Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den, but not before the king violates his own edict by praying to Daniel’s God to save him!
19-24: Next morning Daniel is still alive. The king has Daniel set free and his accusers thrown into the lion’s den along with their families, and the lions make short work of them.
25-27: Darius issues another decree telling everybody to worship Daniel’s God, acknowledging the sovereignty of the LORD.
28: Cyrus ruled before Darius. The book of Daniel has covered about eight decades so far.
The body can be killed, but not the soul. The body is nourished with food; the soul is nourished with faith.