Some men speak to the king against Daniel
6:1Daniel was an old man then, but he was still working for the king.
1 King Darius decided to choose 120 men to rule the regions of his nation. Together, they would rule the whole kingdom. 2 He also chose three other men to be his officers. He gave them authority over the 120 rulers. The king wanted to be sure that they were working well. Daniel was one of the three officers. 3 Daniel did his work much better than the other officers and rulers. He was very good at his job. Daniel was so good that the king wanted to make him ruler over the whole kingdom.
4 The other officers and rulers were jealous. They wanted to find something bad about Daniel so that they could tell the king. They watched how Daniel worked to serve the king. But they could not find that he did any wrong thing. That was because Daniel was good and honest. He always did everything properly. 5 Then these men said to each other, ‘We cannot find anything that Daniel does wrong in his work. We must find something that he does to obey the laws of his God.’
6 So the officers and rulers agreed together what they would do. They went to the king and they said, ‘King Darius, live for ever! 7 All the officers in the kingdom have decided on a good idea. All the rulers, the judges, the wise people, and the leaders in the different regions agree. We think that the king should make a strong law. For 30 days, people must pray only to you, the king. If they pray to any other person or god, you must punish them. Your servants must throw them into the cave where your lions live. 8 You should write down this law and then you should write your name on it, as king. Then it will be a law of the Medes and the Persians which nobody can change.’
9 King Darius agreed. He wrote his name on this new law.
6:9After the king made a law, nobody could change it. That was the law of the Medes and Persians.
Daniel refuses to obey the king's new law
10 Daniel heard that the king had written this new law. Then he went home. He went upstairs to his room where the windows opened in the direction of Jerusalem. He bent down on his knees and he prayed to God, and he thanked God. He did that three times every day, in the same way that he had always done before.
11 Then the officers and rulers who were jealous of Daniel went to see what he would do. They saw that Daniel was praying to God and he was asking God for help. 12 So they went to tell the king about this. They said, ‘Remember that you wrote a new law. You commanded that for 30 days, nobody must pray to any god or person, except to you, the king. If anyone prays to someone else, your servants must throw them into the cave where your lions live.’
The king answered them, ‘It is true. It is a law of the Medes and the Persians and nobody can change it.’
13 Then the officers said to the king, ‘But Daniel does not obey your new law. He is one of the men that they brought here from Judah. He does not respect you or your law. He still prays three times every day to his God.’
14 When the king heard this, he was very sad. He tried to think of a way to save Daniel. Until sunset, the king thought about what he could do to save Daniel. 15 Then the officers agreed together and they went back to the king. They said, ‘Remember, sir, that nobody can change a law that the king has made. It is a law of the Medes and the Persians.’
6:14The king knew that Daniel was a good, honest person. He realized that his officers had deceived him. So he did not want to punish Daniel.
16 So the king sent his servants to fetch Daniel. Then they threw Daniel into the cave where the lions lived. The king said to Daniel, ‘You have always continued to serve your God. I am sure that he will save you.’ 17 They took a big stone and they covered the top of the lions' cave. The king put a mark on the stone with his ring of authority. He also marked it with the rings of his important men. This meant that nobody could move the big stone to save Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace. He ate no food. Nobody brought anything to him to give him pleasure. He was unable to sleep.
God shuts the lions' mouths
19 The king got up very early in the morning, at sunrise. He hurried to the cave where the lions were. 20 When he got near to the cave, he was very upset. He shouted to Daniel, ‘Daniel, you have continued to worship the living God, as his servant. Was your God able to save you from the lions?’
21 Then Daniel said to the king, ‘King, live for ever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the lions' mouths. So the lions have not hurt me. God knows that I have done no wrong thing. I have not done anything to hurt you, the king, either.’
23 The king was very happy when he heard Daniel's voice. He told his servants that they must pull Daniel up out of the lions' cave. So they lifted him out. When they looked at him, they saw that the lions had not hurt him at all. Daniel had trusted in his God, so God had kept him safe.
King Darius punishes the jealous men
24 Then the king gave a command to his servants. They brought the jealous men who had said bad things against Daniel. They threw them into the lions' cave, together with their wives and their children. Before they reached the floor of the cave, the lions attacked them. They broke all their bones into pieces.
25 After that, King Darius wrote to all the people of every nation, who spoke all languages. He wrote:
‘I hope that you all have good and happy lives.
26 I have made a law for every part of my kingdom. All people must respect the God that Daniel serves. They must respect him with fear.
He is the God who always lives.
He will continue for ever.
Nobody will ever destroy his kingdom.
He will rule for ever.
27 He rescues his people and he keeps them safe.
He does powerful miracles in the heavens and on the earth.
He has saved Daniel from the lions' power!’
28 So Daniel continued to have authority while Darius was king, and also when Cyrus from Persia became king.
6:28Persia was the country that we call Iran today.