Daniel and The Lions Den

 

 

Daniel, a key figure in the biblical Book of Daniel, is an exemple of faith and devotion in the Hebrew Bible. An Israelite taken into Babylonian captivity, Daniel becomes known for his wisdom and ability to interpret dreams, which earns him a prominent position in the courts of multiple Babylonian and Persian kings.

The story of Daniel in the lions' den, found in Daniel 6:16-23, unfolds during the reign of King Darius of Persia. Daniel, by this time, has distinguished himself above all other high officials and satraps (provincial governors) because of his exceptional qualities, so much so that the king plans to appoint him over the entire kingdom. This provokes jealousy and scheming among the other officials, who seek to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs. However, they are unable to do so because Daniel is trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.

Realizing that Daniel is irreproachable in matters of state, his adversaries decide to use his religious devotion to trap him. They persuade King Darius to issue an edict that for thirty days, anyone who prays to any god or human being except to the king himself shall be thrown into the lions' den.

 

Daniel, who is devoted to his God, continues to pray three times a day as he has always done, not hiding his faith even in the face of the decree.

When Daniel is found praying and seeking help from God, he is arrested and brought before the king. Despite Darius’ personal distress and his attempts to save Daniel, the king is bound by his own irrevocable edict and orders Daniel to be thrown into the lions' den, saying to him, "Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee."

A stone is brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king seals it with his own signet ring and the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.The king spends a sleepless night fasting, without entertainment, and very early the next morning, he hurries to the den.

Upon reaching the den, King Darius calls out anxiously to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?"

Daniel answers from within the den, "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"

The king is overjoyed and orders that Daniel be lifted from the den. No wound is found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

The king then commands that those who had maliciously accused Daniel be thrown into the den along with their families, where they are immediately killed by the lions. King Darius subsequently issues a decree that in every part of his kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel, proclaiming that "He is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end"

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