6 It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, 2 and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.”
Daniel went from being exiled in a foreign land and learning all of the Babylonian culture and language to now being part of a brand new culture of Persia, the new world empire. But God was still God and still faithful, for His dominion endures from generation to generation. Darius appointed 120 satraps over the kingdom to rule, and 3 were appointed over them as commissioners. This was to help the king rule and keep control of the kingdom. Daniel was one of the three commissioners. Clearly, God’s favor toward Daniel continued even in these tumultuous times. Daniel began to distinguish himself on account of his great wisdom and insight, and Darius was planning to appoint him over the entire kingdom. The other satraps and leaders didn’t like this. Perhaps they were jealous or despised the fact that he was Jewish and not of the Medes and Persians. Thus, they tried to find grounds to bring an accusation against him to thwart his promotion, but there was no trace of corruption or negligence on Daniel’s part. They realized that they couldn’t find any deficiency in Daniel’s work ethic or job performance, so they had to find a way to attack him based upon him following the Law of the Lord.
6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever! 7 All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.
These commissioners and satraps went to the king without Daniel’s approval and said that all of them together (implying Daniel also) had consulted and decided that the king should make a law that anyone who prays to any god or man besides Darius himself for thirty days should be cast into the den of lions. The king believed this to be a good idea, for it had to make him feel really good about himself and his throne. He signed the law. Under the law of the Medes and Persians, the king could not revoke the law once it had been established.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. 12 Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction, “Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?” The king replied, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and spoke before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.”
14 Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”
Daniel knew that the document was signed, but he chose not to change his routine of praying three times a day. Daniel knew he would be caught, but he refused to alter his praying to the Lord and thanking Him. The men conspired against him to catch him in the act, and they reported the matter to the king. They reminded the king of the law, and he was distressed because he liked Daniel. He, after all, was the one who wanted to promote him to a position of authority over the men whom he was speaking with. He realized that he could not change the law, so he kept trying to figure out a way around it, even until sunset, in order to find a way to rescue Daniel. But there was nothing he could do to void the law.
16 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.” 17 A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel. 18 Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.
The king was forced by the law of the land to throw Daniel into the lion’s den. He believed that Daniel’s God would deliver him. He put the king’s seal and that of the nobles on the mouth of the den so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel’s punishment. Darius went back to the palace and fasted the whole night. He refused any entertainment and was unable to sleep out of concern for Daniel.
19 Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. 20 When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” 23 Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
The king rushed as soon as the sun rose to see if Daniel was safe. He asked Daniel in a troubled voice if his God had saved his life from the lions. Daniel responded to him that the angel of God had closed the mouths of the lions and kept him safe, for he had done nothing wrong against God. Furthermore, Daniel made sure to tell the king that he had done nothing wrong against him or his rule either. Daniel was taken out of the den, and he was without injury. He trusted God, and God preserved him (Hebrews 11:33). The king was very happy that Daniel was alright, and he gave orders that those who had conspired against Daniel would be cast into the lions’ den along with their children and their wives. The lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones even before they hit the bottom of the den. This just shows how vicious and hungry the lions were and how miraculous it was that they didn’t harm Daniel at all.
25 Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land: “May your peace abound! 26 I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel;
For He is the living God and enduring forever,
And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed,
And His dominion will be forever.
27 “He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
28 So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Darius made a decree that those in his kingdom should not bow down to him but rather to the God of Daniel, for he acknowledged that Daniel’s God is the living God Who endures forever. His kingdom cannot and will not be destroyed, and He delivers and rescues and intervenes on the earth in miraculous ways. Darius clearly understood that a miracle occurred and that the Lord was responsible for saving Daniel. Obviously, no law can force a person to truly repent and follow the Lord by faith, but the point is that even in a pagan kingdom that did not know God the testimony of one godly man was enough by God’s power and grace to supernaturally intervene and declare Himself to the world. God showed Daniel favor through Darius’s reign and even through that of Cyrus. He even used Cyrus to help some exiles return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1), something Isaiah prophesied concerning Cyrus specifically well before the time came to pass (Isaiah 44:28-45:7). The message of Daniel continues unabated that God’s kingdom is above all and that He is the Most High God. Even as a new world power emerged on the scene, the one true God had not changed and was still on the throne and able to change even the hardest hearts and those which are farthest away from Him. He also is faithful to those who love Him, showing them favor and new mercies each day.