THE STORY OF DANIEL IN THE LIONS’ DEN


Daniel in lions den
Daniel in lions den

The lands which had been the Babylonian or Chaldean empire, now became the empire of
Persia; and over these Darius was the king. King Darius gave to Daniel, who was now a
very old man, a high place in honor and in power. Among all the rulers over the land,
Daniel stood first, for the king saw that he was wise and able to rule. This made the other
princes and rulers very jealous, and they tried to find something evil in Daniel, so that
they could speak to the king against him.



These men saw that three times every day Daniel went to his room and opened the
window that was toward the city of Jerusalem, and looking toward Jerusalem, made his
prayer to God. Jerusalem was at that time in ruins, and the Temple was no longer
standing; but Daniel prayed three times each day with his face toward the place where the
house of God had once stood, although it was many hundreds of miles away.
These nobles thought that in Daniel’s prayers they could find a chance to do him harm,
and perhaps cause him to be put to death. They came to King Darius, and said to him:
“All the rulers have agreed together to have a law made that for thirty days no one shall
ask anything of any god or of any man, except from you, O king; and that if any one shall
pray to any god, or shall ask anything from any man during the thirty days, except from
you, O king, he shall be thrown into the den where the lions are kept. Now, O king, make
the law, and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, for no law among the Medes
and the Persians can be altered.”
The king was not a wise man; and being foolish and vain, he was pleased with this law
which would set him even above the gods. So without asking Daniel’s advice, he signed
the writing; and the law was made, and the word was sent out through the kingdom, that
for thirty days no one should pray to any god.
Daniel knew that the law had been made, but every day he went to his room three times,
and opened the window that looked toward Jerusalem, and offered his prayers to the Lord,
just as he had prayed in other times. These rulers were watching near by, and they saw
Daniel kneeling in prayer to God. Then they came to the king, and said:
“O King Darius, have you not made a law, that if any one in thirty days offers a prayer, he
shall be thrown into the den of lions?”
“It is true,” said the king. “The law has been made, and it must stand.”
They said to the king: “There is one man who does not obey the law which you have
made. It is that Daniel, one of the captive Jews. Every day Daniel prays to his God three
times, just as he did before you signed the writing of the law.”
Then the king was very sorry for what he had done, for he loved Daniel, and knew that no
one could take his place in the kingdom. All day, until the sun went down, he tried in vain
to find some way to save Daniel’s life; but when evening came, these men again told him
of the law that he had made, and said to him that it must be kept. Very unwillingly the
king sent for Daniel, and gave an order that he should be thrown into the den of lions. He
said to Daniel: “Perhaps your God, whom you serve so faithfully, will save you from the
lions.”
They led Daniel to the mouth of the pit where the lions were kept, and they threw him in;
and over the mouth they placed a stone; and the king sealed it with his own seal, and with
the seals of his nobles; so that no one might take away the stone and let Daniel out of the
den.
Then the king went again to his palace; but that night he was so sad that he could not eat,
nor did he listen to music as he was used to listen. He could not sleep, for all through the
night he was thinking of Daniel. Very early in the morning he rose up from his bed and
went in haste to the den of lions. He broke the seal and took away the stone, and in a
voice full of sorrow he called out, scarcely hoping to have an answer:
“O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God been able to save you from the lions?”
And out of the darkness in the den came the voice of Daniel, saying:
“O king, may you live forever! My God has sent his angel and has shut the mouths of the
lions. They have not hurt me, because my God saw that I had done no wrong. And I have
done no wrong toward you, O king!” “Then said Daniel unto the King, O
King, live forever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they
have not hurt me.”--(Daniel 6: 21-22.)]
Then the king was glad. He gave to his servants orders to take Daniel out of the den.
Daniel was brought out safe and without harm, because he had trusted fully in the Lord
God. Then by the king’s command, they brought those men who had spoken against
Daniel, and with them their wives and their children, for the king was exceedingly angry
with them. They were all thrown into the den, and the hungry lions leaped upon them,
and tore them in pieces, so soon as they fell upon the floor of the den.
After this king Darius wrote to all the lands and the peoples in the many kingdoms under
his rule:
“May peace be given to you all abundantly! I make a law that everywhere among my
kingdoms men fear and worship the Lord God of Daniel; for he is the living God, above
all other gods, who only can save men.”
And Daniel stood beside king Darius until the end of his reign, and afterward while Cyrus
the Persian was king over all the lands.

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