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Daniel and Lions Den  (Daniel Chapter 6)

There was more than one man known as Darius during this time of upheaval as the conquered Babylonian empire was divided and came under a new government.  This student of the Bible has considered several historical accounts and numerous commentaries on this subject and the only conclusion that can be drawn with certainty on who this man was, is to focus less on trying to untangle the conflicting historical accounts and forcing them to agree with the inspired account.  Rather, we will consider the inspired text as being the final authority and will harmonize what we do know of history to conform with what thus saith the Lord in scripture. 

Daniel is a composite book, organized out of chronological order.  However, chapter six does follow as a sequel of recorded events after the fall of the Babylonian empire so it is correctly placed in sequence after chapter five.   One commentator states that the Darius of chapter 5:31 is a different man than the Darius of Chapter 6.  There were two men named Darius at this time in Babylonian history.  One was Gobryas, also known as Ugbaru, the governor of Gutium.  Darius (Gobryas), was slain less than a month after the fall of Babylon and replaced by another man who was known as Darius who's name was Gubaru.

The Nabonidus Chronicle list a series of events after the peaceful conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great. However, the two names generally translated together as Gobryas are actually two separate names in the Chronicle.

(Line 15 of the Nabonidus Chronicle) - "The 16th day, Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Gutium and the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle."

(Line 19 & 20) - "Cyrus sent greetings to all Babylon. Gobryas (Gubaru), his governor, installed (sub)-governors in Babylon."

(Line 22) - "In the month of Arahshamnu, on the night of the 11th day, Gobryas (Ugbaru) died."

Cuneiform materials from 535-525 B.C. all show a Gubaru as governor of Babylon (with no cuneiform material available from the period of Ugbaru's death to 525 B.C.). This either means that Gubaru and Ugbaru are really separate people, as the Nabonidus Chronicle states quite clearly, or Gobryas died in line 22 and was then replaced by someone else with the exact same name, under the same ruler, in the same office within four years. It is more likely that Gubaru and Ugbaru were separate people, and that Gubaru reigned from 539-525 B.C. while Ugbaru died few weeks after the Babylon conquest.  This historical account of the Nabonidus Chronicle aligns with the inspired text perfectly if we assume that Darius (Gobryas) was never mentioned by Daniel.  It is my belief that Darius (Gubaru) is the Darius of chapter 6.  Darius (Gobryas) was not in power long enough to do anything, let alone organize an empire.  His death was so close on the heels of the overthrow of Babylon that Daniel probably didn't bother to mention him.  

We don't know for certain, as the historical accounts get quite confusing when men of the same name are present at the same time in history.  One thing however is certain.  The text of Daniel is inspired scripture, therefore we know it is accurate beyond question.  with that said, we will go to the text. 

We are going to start with verse 31 of chapter 5 since it preambles chapter 6 and is obviously speaking of the same man. 

Daniel 5:31-6:1
And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.  It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom.

Chapter 6 is the continuation of the historical account after the death of Belshazzar, who was co-regent of Babylon under his father, Nabonidus, who was the son of Evil-Merodach (Amal-Marduk) who was the son of Nebuchadnezzar.    Cyrus, the conquering Persian, appointed Darius as a king, or governor, over Babylon.  Cyrus was the first in command with Darius being second beneath him.  Verse 28 of this chapter seems to place the reigns of both Darius and Cyrus at the same time.  Darius was sixty two years old when this happened and he promptly started organizing the empire by appointing a hundred and twenty leaders under him to administrate the affairs of Babylon. 

Daniel 6:2-3
And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.  Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel was almost certainly in his early Eighties when this happened.  The date Babylon fell was October 29, 539 BC.  Nebuchadnezzar assumed the throne in 605 BC sometime after Daniel arrived in Babylon.  Assuming Daniel was at least 13 years old when he was taken captive, the bare minimum age he could be is 79.  

 Belshazzar appointed Daniel to the highest station in the kingdom that he could so obviously when Cyrus and Darius arrived on the scene, Daniel was among the leaders of Babylon.  Darius was obviously greatly impressed with Daniel's character and wanted to set him over the whole kingdom.  Without a doubt, Daniel's character exuded honesty and integrity.  That was a quality lacking in most of the people of the time.  It was a time of political upheaval with empires being toppled and divided up amongst the victors.  A wise leader first gathers information, and Darius soon learned about Daniel and the reputation he had for honesty and wisdom, what the KJV calls "an excellent spirit" (Daniel 6:3). It's likely that Daniel was in semi-retirement at this time, but the king appointed him to be 1 of 3 key administrators over the kingdom of which Daniel was the highest in authority.  These 3 men were to manage the affairs of the 120 leaders who ruled over the provinces and to report directly to the king. Daniel proved to be such a superior individual that Darius planned to make him his number-one administrator over the entire kingdom.  A trustworthy individual was a rare commodity indeed and Darius wanted to take advantage of that.  We will see later in this study that Darius had a very high opinion of Daniel and held him in great esteem. 

Daniel 6:4
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Daniel was third in power in Babylon, right under Darius.  And the other two presidents and the leaders were jealous.  They wanted to get rid of Daniel but they couldn't find any fault whatsoever to accuse him of before Darius.  What a testimony to a good and faithful man.  Daniel was an extraordinary man and role model for all Christians today to look to and emulate.   Most government leaders today could benefit from his example as well. 

Daniel 6:5 
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

So they declare among themselves that they cannot defame Daniel legitimately, therefore they are going to hatch a scheme whereby they can use his faithfulness to God against him to entrap him.  Daniel had a personal habit of praying to God at certain times of the day in front of his window in his house which faced Jerusalem.  Obviously enough of the Darius' leaders who desired Daniel's demise knew this and planned to use it against him.  

Daniel 6:6-7
Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.  All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.

What a diabolical plan.  The first thing we need to point out is that this organized opposition to Daniel was substantial.  They lied to Darius to be sure for Daniel was in a position of authority over them and obviously his voice was not present here.  There were three presidents set over the realm of which Daniel was the leader.  It is almost certain here that the other two presidents were leading this conspiracy against Daniel personally. 

They used flattering words to Darius and pretended to honor him in an official capacity  for a period of thirty days and they wanted it made into a law.  They knew Daniel's personal worship habits.  There was no real intent to honor Darius here.  Their sole reason for this entire sham was to dispose of Daniel.  The timeless wisdom of Solomon rings clear upon our consideration of these flattering deceivers:

Proverbs 29:5-6
"A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.  In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare..."

Daniel 6:8 
Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

The authors of this plot were very clever in the way the conceived and presented it. They knew that Darius wanted to unify the kingdom and as quickly as possible transform the Babylonians into loyal Persians. What better way than to focus on the great king himself and make him not just the supreme leader but the only person or god worshipped for an entire month! To emphasize the importance of this law, the officers requested the death sentence for all perpetrators of this decree.  Anyone who didn't obey it would be thrown into a den of lions as a means of execution. 

If interest here is that a lions den as opposed to execution by fire was the official decree.  It should be noted that Persians were worshippers of fire and they did not customarily use fire as a means of executing criminals because they held it as sacred. 

"the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not"

This immutability of the king's commands was special to the Medes and Persians.  We see this reference to the law which cannot be altered in Esther 1:19; 8:8 as well.  From the use of this in Esther we see a national law which extends beyond the reign of a particular king.   The expression "the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not" was a significant characteristic of the Medo-Persian empire.  We see here the first example in history of the high principles of law and order.  A law which governs kings as well as subjects.  We see here the beginnings in history of a national law which the rulers must obey as well as the citizenry and a law which remains in effect from ruler to ruler. 

Darius codified the laws that would govern the empire in a document called the Ordinances of Good Regulations.  Though no copy of the document has been uncovered as yet by archaeologists references to the document have been found in Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions, as well as in several royal documents.  We see here a reference to the "Law of the Medes and Persians, which alters not."  The law was extreme, but it was consistent, and it applied to the king himself as well as to any commoner. 

To enforce the law Darius established a number of judges and held them to a strict standard of impartiality.  Punishments dealt to an unjust judge were uncommonly severe.  This standard had been set earlier during the reign of Cambyses who reigned before Darius.  Under Cambyses a judge once took a bribe to render an unjust ruling.  Cambyses learned of the deed and  had the judge flayed.  His skin was then tanned and cut into strips, which were used to cover the seat of judgment.  This served as a warning to the next judge, who happened to be the son of the previous occupant.  Darius also sentenced an unjust judge to death, this time by crucifixion.  Darius had the man taken of the cross before he died after considering another of the laws which insisted that one wrong deed might be pardoned if it was outweighed by a record of good. 

Daniel 6:9 
Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree
.

King Darius was not only flattered, he saw this as a sign that his leaders were uniting under him in support.  This was a new empire and Darius wanted to see it settle into their new government as smoothly as possible.    He unwittingly complied with the request of the two presidents and whoever else was in attendance.  We don't know for certain who all was directly involved with the actual presentation of this plot to Darius, but we do know that it was successful.  King Darius signed it into law and, once signed, it was a regulation he had to observe and it could not be rescinded. 

Daniel 6:10 
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

It was Daniel's custom to pray on his knees, three times a day to his God in the upper chamber of his house, the window thereof being open towards Jerusalem. He continued this custom even after the issuing of Darius' foolish decree.  Daniel's enemies counted on this and they intended to catch him in the act.  Daniel's windows were open, not closed with lattice-work in the direction of Jerusalem.  Daniel did not go into his chamber and pray to God as a result of the new law.  Rather he was in the habit of doing this and quite simply refused to alter his worship to God as a result of any manmade law.

The custom of turning in prayer toward Jerusalem originated after the building of the temple at Jerusalem as the dwelling-place of Jehovah.  The offering of prayer three times a day-namely, at the third, sixth, and ninth hour, i.e., at the time of the morning and the evening sacrifices and at mid-day can be traced back to the times of David, for we find the first notice of it in Psalm 55:17.  Jerusalem and the temple lay in ruins at this time.  Daniel, being in his eighties now, would never again in his life be able to attend the temple sacrifices and offer his worship to God in the place where he dwelt among his people.  The best he could do was to offer prayer and supplication to God at the time of day when those sacrifices would have been taking place. 

Let us pause here and reflect on Daniel's prayer life.  If Daniel could find the time to habitually pray three times a day amidst the business of administrating the business of an empire, there is no reason why we today cannot do the same.  Which of us can justly say he is too busy to have time to pray?  let us resolve ourselves to adopt this blessed habit, and commit ourselves to dedicated times of prayer to God.  In so doing we shall find that the blessings from above will manifest themselves in our lives both in helping us in our day to day duties and by procuring for us strength and resolve for the accomplishment of our service to God.  Christians today have priceless blessing in that with Jesus Christ as our mediator, we can lay our petitions at the feet of God almighty on His throne.  And as Christians we are guaranteed that our prayers are heard by the Almighty.  Let us never forget this and let us avail ourselves of the opportunities we have for prayer.  Our lives will be better for it and we will be blessed beyond measure. 

Daniel 6:11 
Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

Daniel's enemies went to Daniel's home with the intent of capturing him in the act.  What a feeling of delight must have come to the minds of the conspirators against Daniel at such an apparent success of their devious plot. They had calculated everything perfectly (so they thought). The king, unaware of their hatred and of their evil purpose had signed the decree. True to what they knew would happen, Daniel went on in the faithful exercise of his service to God without regard to human legislation. They were able to catch Daniel "in the act." Daniel did not even bother to deny the charges. These enemies of Daniel must have thought at that stage of affairs that they had everything under control and they would soon be rid of the man they hated. 

Daniel 6:12 
Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

They wasted no time in going to the king but before they revealed Daniel's transgression of the new law, they secured from Darius an affirmation of the new law and the punishment for breaking it.  They wanted to make sure Darius couldn't back out it.  They obviously were well aware of Darius' feeling towards Daniel and they knew they were manipulating the king into having Daniel executed.  They were being careful to lay the consequences of this on the shoulders of Darius instead of their own.  They knew Darius was going to be unhappy about this and they wanted to make sure Darius knew they were standing on firm legal ground in this deceit.  Their intentions were to hold Darius subject to his own law.  This is the same thing the government officials did with Nebuchadnezzar over his golden statue in an effort to rid themselves of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.  It didn't work then and as we will shortly see, it did not work here either and these conspirators got to enjoy the fate they had contrived for Daniel. 

Daniel 6:13 
Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

As soon as they got Darius' affirmation of the new law, they exposed Daniel to him.  They specifically mentioned that Daniel does this three times a day.  They were making sure that Darius realized Daniel was standing solidly in transgression of the law.  Not only does he pray to God in direct disregard of Darius foolish decree, but he does it three times a day.  This event calls to mind scripture about things which God hates:

Proverbs 6:16-19
"These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

Daniel 6:14 
Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

Darius was upset with himself.  He had been manipulated and he knew it.  He then set out to find a way to deliver Daniel from the sentence of death which the decree demanded.  Darius did not want to have Daniel thrown to the lions.  Obviously Daniel was held in high esteem by Darius, being advanced in age and absolutely trustworthy.  Darius spent the whole day working to find a way he could spare Daniel.  But as we will see, the architects of this plot were not going to give up so easily and give Darius any opportunity to back out of the law. 

This is pure speculation, but this servant of Christ cannot help but to place himself in Darius' shoes and try to imagine what could have been going through his mind during this few hours before sundown while he was trying to save Daniel's life.  If it had have been me in this predicament, the first thing I would have done if I did not want the lions to kill Daniel would be to make sure those lions were well fed before sundown.  It would make no difference whether the lions were bloated or starved if God chose to save Daniel, however, I cannot help but to speculate on Darius' course of action .  I pray for the tolerance of my brothers and sisters in this matter. 

Daniel 6:15 
Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

It was in the evening of the day Daniel was exposed that these conspirators assembled to remind Darius that he was bound by his own law to execute Daniel.  They even quoted the law to him: "no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed".  Darius was bound by the national law of the Persians to have Daniel executed.  Daniel's enemies hatched this plot and they manipulated Darius into signing something into law which would force Darius to do something he would never have done otherwise.  Darius was caught, he knew it and he realized that he had been manipulated into this and he fully well knew who was responsible for it, but he had to abide by the national law. 

We'll pause for a moment here and reflect on the abuse of law which started soon after the establishment of a national law.  Those who would use the law of the land as a tool to further their own desires have been around as long as there has been law.  This is something we see so prevalent in our society today.  Law is used every day to condemn the innocent and vindicate the guilty.  It is a sad testament to mankind's evil ways when laws today which are designed to provide good to the people are twisted and used as an instrument of evil.  What went on that day in the palace of Darius was only the frontrunner of thousands of years of similar abuse of law yet to come.   The story here is to show the benefits of a godly life in the face of death.  Sadly, more people follow the examples of the conspirators in this narrative than of the real hero of this story.  An aged old man who refused to stop serving God no matter what, not even for a period of thirty days.

Daniel 6:16 
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

Darius finally realizing that nothing could prevent Daniel from being thrown to the lions by law, he acquiesced to it and had him cast into the den.  But before he did, he made a remarkable statement to Daniel.  Darius believed in the existence of the God of the Jews. 

It was a common thing among the pagans to believe in the intervention of the gods in favor of the righteous, and particularly in favor of their worshippers.  For this reason, it was that they called on them and that they committed themselves to these gods in battle and in peril and that they sought their aid by sacrifices and by prayers. No one can doubt that such a belief existed and that Darius was being influenced by it.

Darius undoubtedly regarded the God whom Daniel worshipped as a god, though not as exclusively the true God. He had the same kind of confidence in him that he had in any god worshipped by foreigners and probably regarded Him as  as the national god of the Hebrew people.  He probably expressed this belief in reference to any god of any nationality within the realm.  Keeping in mind that these people believed in a host of gods.

Darius had the utmost confidence both in the integrity and the piety of Daniel and since he believed that the gods intervened in human affairs, he in Daniel a worthy candidate for God's protection and he did not doubt that Daniel's God could and probably would intervene and save him from the lions. Like Nebuchadnezzar before him, Darius believed in the existence of God.  He just didn't realize that Daniel's God was the only God. 

Daniel 6:17 
And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

Daniel was placed into the lions den and the opening was sealed with a stone laid upon the opening.  Darius sealed it with his own signet which was the current equivalent of our modern day signatures.  The presidents who contrived this plan were present as well and they added their signets to the stone.  The law which Darius had signed had a purpose to it, and that was to unite the people under one leader.  It was only for a period of 30 days but it was law and it was intended to accomplish the loyalty of those beneath him.  Daniel was placed into the lions den so that this purpose would not be changed.  The national was upheld and as bad as Darius felt about it, he felt he had no choice in the matter. 

Daniel 6:18-19
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

Darius was greatly upset.  We see here in this accounting that he refused to eat and he could not sleep all night.  Daniel had made quite an impression on Darius and there is strong evidence here that they were friends.  And why not?  Daniel was his top president.  Doubtless they spent much time together in the administration of the affairs of the kingdom.  A bond of friendship and trust had developed between them and Darius obviously admired Daniel's steadfastness because he made specific mention of the fact that he served his God continually. 

Early before the normal activities of the palace commenced, Darius gave up trying to sleep and went to the lion's den to check on Daniel personally.  He could have sent a servant to do this but chose to go himself, which testifies of his affection toward Daniel.  We notice here that he went in haste.  Daniel and his fate in the lion's den was obviously the highest priority for the king at this point. 

Daniel 6:20 
And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Darius cried with a lamentable voice, one full of concern and anxiety.  He was really upset about this chain of events and he genuinely worried about Daniel's welfare.  There can be no doubt the king's concern went far beyond that of a man over a trusted servant.  Darius loved Daniel and it shows plainly in his conduct towards him over this despicable turn of events they were embroiled in.  Darius knew he had been manipulated.  He knew the presidents who came to him with this sugar coated scheme of theirs only did it to rid themselves of Daniel and he was upset with himself over this.  And as we shall soon see, Darius disgust and anger with himself was directed toward the architects of the devious plot that manipulated him into placing Daniel within the lion's den in the first place. 

Daniel 6:21 
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

How relieved and surpised Darius must have been to hear Daniel's voice.  We need to note here that Daniel recognized Darius' voice, even though he was upset.  These men had spent enough time together that they knew each other from the sounds of their voices.  Daniel greeted Darius' voice with the customary greeting of respect given to all the rulers of the time when they were addressed.  There was no malice nor hint of anger in Daniel's demeanor.     

Daniel 6:22 
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.

There is no reason not to believe that this angel is the same one that came to the rescue of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego that day in the fiery furnace.  A case can be made that this angel, this messenger from God, was none other than the pre-incarnate form of the word of God which in flesh was Jesus Christ Himself.  And if this is indeed the case, then Daniel was privileged to spend an entire night in the presence of God.  And that is where shelter from all earthly troubles is found.  Oh to be able to be in God's protective presence.  Such is the hope we all hold dear to some day be in the presence of the almighty and be under His umbrella of love and protection. 

Notice Daniel's words next: " forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me".  Daniel was found innocent before the angel of the Lord and because of this, Daniel was protected.  This statement by Daniel reinforces the belief that it was indeed the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ who was there with Daniel that night.  Daniel was found innocent before Him and because of that, He was protected.  The application for us is that all who are found innocent before God shall be protected in the end. 

Daniel also said "and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt".  Daniel and the other two presidents were specifically chosen to be in authority over the one hundred and twenty government officials under them so that they could prevent and damage to the king through misdealing.  Daniel's job was to see that the king was "done no hurt".  And in the nicest and most polite way imaginable, Daniel reminded Darius that such was the case.  He had been thrown into a den of lions, to be executed and he did nothing whatsoever to bring harm, to the king in any way.  Daniel was innocent and he informed Darius of that in a kind and gentle spirited manner.  One is reminded of the words of Peter about the value God places on a "meek and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4).  Daniel had such a spirit about him and it served him well throughout his life.  It should be the goal of us all to aspire to that same meek and quiet spirit that Daniel exhibited even in the circumstances surrounding his deliverance from the lions in the den. 

Daniel 6:23 
Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

Darius was overjoyed that Daniel was alive and well.  Daniel was taken from the den and inspected for damage and to the amazement of Darius and doubtless to everyone present, Daniel was utterly untouched or unharmed by the lions in any way.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego did not even have a singed hair, Daniel did not even have a scratch upon him.  Call to mind that the stone set over the mouth of the lion's den was on top of it.  there was likely a drop of some distance involved with being placed into such a place.  Daniel was an old man in his early eighties at best.  There was no harm found on him in any way.  God's protection for those in His favor is absolute.  Another term for God's favor is His grace.  Those who are found innocent and living in God's grace look forward to the same protection. 

Daniel was saved "because he believed in his God".  This phrase is by no means saying that Daniel was saved by belief or faith alone.  In verse 22 Daniel said that the lion's were restrained because innocency was found in him before the Angel of the Lord.  If Daniel had not been found innocent before the Angel of the Lord, the outcome would have been much different than it was without regard to whether Daniel believed in God or not.   Obviously there is more to belief here than a mental acknowledgement of the existence of God.  James said it best when he wrote by inspiration that faith without works is dead (James 2:20; 26).  Even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).  If Daniel had have not lived the kind of life he did in service to God, he would not have been saved from those lions.  James said that faith or belief without works is dead.  Daniel was not saved by a dead faith and neither is anybody else, then or now. 

Daniel 6:24 
And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

These are the men who came to Darius with a bogus scheme of flattery aimed at the destruction of a single man.  These are the men who when Darius realized what was going on appealed to an authority higher than Darius in order to get what they wanted.  These are the men who connived and planned the execution of king Darius' most trusted president and friend.  These are the men who paid for that attempted deception with their lives, the lives of the their wives and of their children.  They suffered the fate they had contrived for Daniel.  The words of the Psalmist here are most appropriate, "The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.  The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.  The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.  Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.", (Psalms 37:12-15).

How awful it must have been to see one's wife and children thrust into the maw of the lion's den. How hard it must have been to look in the eyes of one's children who are about to be killed knowing it was because of their actions this was happening.  How horrific it must have been for these men to watch their children and loved ones torn apart and devoured because of something they did.    The text indicates that their deaths were rapid.  I hope for the sakes of the innocent that it was and that their suffering was brief. 

Darius was a king living and ruling during the fledgling stages of higher law, but he was still living in an age where the rulers could inflict horrific punishments upon their subjects.  And indeed the punishment for treason under Persian law was the death of one's entire family aimed at the eradication of one's entire lineage from the face of the earth.  No doubt this incident was well publicized in the kingdom.  This was in all probability the last attempt at such treachery perpetrated against Daniel by any of the remaining government officials during the remainder of his life.

Daniel 6:25 
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

This is not the first time we have seen a king under which Daniel served make this official statement.  King Nebuchadnezzar just a few years earlier used almost these exact words to address the people of the Babylonian empire with a very similar message: "Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you" (Daniel 4:1).

Daniel 4:26-27 
I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 
He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Just like Nebuchadnezzar before him, Darius made it official throughout his kingdom that the God of the Israelites was to be feared and honored.  His power and majesty was to be recognized and honored.  Conspicuously absent from this testimony and from the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar were the words, "God is the ONLY God".  Nebuchadnezzar never stated that, nor did Darius in their public decrees.  While we'll never know this side of judgment whether these men died righteous or not, we can know for certain that both of their lives were influenced greatly by Daniel and his unswerving faithfulness and loyal service to the one true and living God.  And this influence that Daniel had on these rulers manifested itself in the providential care of God for his children in captivity in a foreign land.  God may have allowed them to be carried away into captivity for their sins, but He never abandoned them, not even for a second.  His divine hand was at work throughout their ordeal and they were preserved to fulfill the promise God made to Abraham and to David.  And when their captivity was over and they returned to Jerusalem, they were finished with idolatry.  It had been completely expunged from them. 

Daniel 6:28 
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel chapter 1 and verse 21 states that Daniel "continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus".  Looking back at verse 20 we saw that Daniel entered into public service at the end his initial three year training period in Babylon.  Daniel continued in public service until the the first year of Cyrus the Persian, but he lived for some years after this.  Daniel authored the last chapter of the book bearing his name in the third year of king Cyrus (Daniel 11:1), providing he wrote the chapter the same year he received the vision.  We do not know exactly when Daniel died, but if he were twelve years old when he was taken from Jerusalem, then he was in his nineties at this time.   Daniel would never in his life get to worship God from the temple again.  But he did live until the decree went forth from Cyrus to end the Babylonian captivity and release the Jews from their bondage to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple. 

 

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Matt 11:28-29
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."