Darius thought it would be a good idea to choose one hundred twenty governors who would rule his kingdom. He chose three men as supervisors over those governors, and Daniel was one of the supervisors. The supervisors were to ensure that the governors did not try to cheat the king. Daniel showed that he could do the work better than the other supervisors and governors, so the king planned to put Daniel in charge of the whole kingdom. Because of this, the other supervisors and governors tried to find reasons to accuse Daniel about his work in the government. But they could not find anything wrong with him or any reason to accuse him, because he was trustworthy and not lazy or dishonest. Finally these men said, “We will never find any reason to accuse Daniel unless it is about the law of his God.”
So the supervisors and governors went as a group to the king and said: “King Darius, live forever! The supervisors, assistant governors, governors, the people who advise you, and the captains of the soldiers have all agreed that you should make a new law for everyone to obey: For the next thirty days no one should pray to any god or human except to you, O king. Anyone who doesn’t obey will be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, O king, make the law and sign your name to it so that it cannot be changed, because then it will be a law of the Medes and Persians and cannot be canceled.” So King Darius signed the law.
Even though Daniel knew that the new law had been written, he went to pray in an upstairs room in his house, which had windows that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times each day Daniel would kneel down to pray and thank God, just as he always had done.
Then those men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and talked to him about the law he had made. They said, “Didn’t you sign a law that says no one may pray to any god or human except you, O king? Doesn’t it say that anyone who disobeys during the next thirty days will be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “Yes, that is the law, and the laws of the Medes and Persians cannot be canceled.”
Then they said to the king, “Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is not paying attention to you, O king, or to the law you signed. Daniel still prays to his God three times every day.” The king became very upset when he heard this. He wanted to save Daniel, and he worked hard until sunset trying to think of a way to save him.
Then those men went as a group to the king. They said, “Remember, O king, the law of the Medes and Persians says that no law or command given by the king can be changed.”
So King Darius gave the order, and Daniel was brought in and thrown into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May the God you serve all the time save you!” A big stone was brought and placed over the opening of the lions’ den. Then the king used his signet ring and the rings of his royal officers to put special seals on the rock. This ensured that no one would move the rock and bring Daniel out. Then King Darius went back to his palace. He did not eat that night, he did not have any entertainment brought to him, and he could not sleep.
The next morning King Darius got up at dawn and hurried to the lions’ den. As he came near the den, he was worried. He called out to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Has your God that you always worship been able to save you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel to close the lions’ mouths. They have not hurt me, because my God knows I am innocent. I never did anything wrong to you, O king.”
King Darius was very happy and told his servants to lift Daniel out of the lions’ den. So they lifted him out and did not find any injury on him, because Daniel had trusted in his God.
Then the king commanded that the men who had accused Daniel be brought to the lions’ den. They, their wives, and their children were thrown into the den. The lions grabbed them before they hit the floor of the den and crushed their bones.
Then King Darius wrote a letter to all people and all nations, to those who spoke every language in the world:
I wish you great peace and wealth.
I am making a new law for people in every part of my kingdom. All of you must fear and respect the God of Daniel.
Daniel’s God is the living God;
he lives forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
God rescues and saves people
and does mighty miracles
in heaven and on earth.
He is the one who saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.
So Daniel was successful during the time Darius was king and when Cyrus the Persian was king.
Daniel 6:1-28 (New century version)