Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
DANIEL IN THE DEN OF LIONS.
Daniel vi: 1 to 28.
HE lands which has been the Babylonian or Chaldean empire
now became the empire of Persia; and over these Darius
was the king. King Darius gave to Daniel, who was now a
very old man, a high place in honor and in power. Among
all the rulers over the land Daniel stood first, for
the king saw that he was wise, and able to rule. This
made the other princes and rulers very jealous, and
they tried to find something evil in Daniel, so that
they could speak to the king against him.
These men knew that three times every day Daniel went
to his room, and opened the window that was toward the
city of Jerusalem, and looking toward Jerusalem made
his prayer to God. Jerusalem was at that time in ruins,
and the Temple was no longer standing; but Daniel
prayed three times each day with his face toward the
place where the house of God had once stood, although
it was many hundreds of miles away.
These nobles thought that in Daniel's prayers they
could find a chance to do him harm, and perhaps cause
him to be put to death. They came to King Darius, and
said to him:
"All the rulers have agreed together to have a law made
that for thirty days no one shall ask anything of any
god or any man, except from you, O king; and that if
any one shall pray to any god, or shall ask anything
from any man during thirty days, except from you, O
king, he shall be thrown into the den where the lions
are kept. Now, O king, make the law, and sign the
writing, so that it cannot be changed, for no law among
the Medes and Persians can be altered."
The king was not a wise man, and being foolish and
vain, he was pleased with this law which would set him
even above the gods. So, without asking Daniel's
advice, he signed the writing; and the
 law was made, and the word was sent out through the kingdom
that for thirty days no one should pray to any god, or ask a favor
of any man.
Daniel knew that the law had been made, but every day he
went to his room three times, and opened the window that looked
toward Jerusalem, and offered his prayer to the Lord, just as he had
prayed in other times. These rulers were watching near by, and
they saw Daniel kneeling in prayer to God.
Then they came to the
king and said, "O King Darius, have you not made a law that if
any one in thirty days offers a prayer, he shall be thrown into the
den of lions?" "It is true," said the king. "The law has been
made, and it must stand."
They said to the king, "There is one man who does not obey
the law which you have made. It is that Daniel, one of the captive
Jews. Every day Daniel prays to his God three times, just as he
did before you signed the writing of the law."
Then the king was very sorry for what he had done, for he
loved Daniel, and knew that no one could take his place in the kingdom.
All day, until the sun went down, he tried in vain to find
 some way to save Daniel's life; but when evening came these men
again told him of the law that he had made, and said to him that
it must be kept. Very unwillingly the king sent for Daniel, and
gave him order that he should be thrown into the den of lions. He
said to Daniel, "Perhaps your God, whom you serve so faithfully,
will save you from the lions."
They led Daniel to the mouth of the pit where
the lions were
kept, and they threw him in; and over the mouth they placed
a stone; and the king sealed it with his own seal and with the
seals of his nobles, so that no one might take away the stone and let
Daniel out of the den.
DANIEL IN THE DEN OF LIONS
Then the king went again to his palace, but that night he was
so sad that he could not eat, nor did he listen to music as he was
used to listen. He could not sleep, for all through the night he was
thinking of Daniel. Very early in the morning he rose up from his
bed, and went in haste to the den of lions.
He broke the seal, and
took away the stone, and in a voice full of
sorrow he called out,
scarcely hoping to hear any
answer except the roaring of the lions,
"O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God been able to
keep you safe from the lions?"
 And out of the darkness in the den came the voice of
Daniel, saying, "O king, may you live forever! My God
has sent his angel, and has shut the mouths of the
lions. They have not hurt me, because my God saw that I
had done no wrong. And I have done no wrong toward you,
DANIEL ANSWERS THE KING
Then the king was glad. He gave to his servants orders
to take Daniel out of the den. Daniel was brought out
safe and without harm, because he had trusted fully in
the Lord God. Then, by the king's command, they seized
those men who had spoken against Daniel, and with them
their wives and their children, for the king was
exceedingly angry with them. They were all thrown into
the den, and the hungry lions leaped upon them, and
tore them in pieces as soon as they fell upon the floor
of the den.
It was very cruel and unjust to put to death with these
men their wives and children, who had done no wrong,
either to King Darius or to Daniel. But cruel and
unjust as it was, such things were common in all the
lands of that part of the world. The lives of people
were but little cared for, and children often suffered
death for their parent's crime.
After this King Darius wrote to all the lands and the
peoples in the many kingdoms under his rule, "May peace
be given to you all abundantly! I make a law that
everywhere among my kingdoms men fear and worship the
Lord God of Daniel, for he is the living God, above all
other gods, who only can save men."
And Daniel stood beside King Darius unto the end of his
reign, and afterward while Cyrus the Persian was king
over all the lands.
Daniel lived for a number of years after being saved
from the lions. He had several wonderful dreams and
visions, which showed him what would come to pass many
years afterward, and even to the coming of Jesus