1. What was the only way the enemies of Daniel could come after him?
Concerning the law of his God: “(1) It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; (2) 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. (3) 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. (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. (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” (Daniel 6:1-5).
- Now Darius is the king (Daniel 5:30-31).
- 120 princes and three presidents shows how vast the kingdom was.
- Daniel’s preeminence continues (Daniel 2:48-49 and Daniel 5:16-29).
- These appointments were made so no damage came to the king. From other contexts, it would appear this about protecting the financial matters of the kingdom (Ezra 4:13).
- Daniel’s preeminence was for a reason (Proverbs 3:3-4 and Proverbs 22:29).
- His faithfulness drew enemies (Psalms 37:12-13, Psalms 37:32-33, Psalms 38:12, Proverbs 26:24-28, Proverbs 29:27, Jeremiah 20:10, Luke 11:53-54, and Luke 20:19-26).
- While they looked, they could find no fault in him (Titus 2:7-8 and I Peter 2:11-4:17).
- Think about the great statement of Daniel’s character (Proverbs 22:1) that the only attack that could be made upon him was to attack him through his faithfulness to God.
2. What did the presidents and princes assemble together and do?
They brought a suggestion before Darius that stated if any petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions: “(6) Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. (7) 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. (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” (Daniel 6:6-8).
- This sounds familiar (Psalms 56:5-6, Psalms 71:10, and Matthew 26:1-5).
- They knew Daniel would pray and thus used this against him (Psalms 55:17).
3. Did Darius take the counsel of the presidents and princes?
Yes: “Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree” (Daniel 6:9).
- This puts Daniel in a really bad spot (Proverbs 20:2). It puts Darius in a bad spot too seeing as how his counselors are wicked (Proverbs 25:5).
4. Did Darius’ decree alter Daniel’s actions towards God?
No: “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” (Daniel 6:10).
- Daniel counted the cost (Luke 14:25-33).
- He kept his windows open, not hiding (John 18:20).
- Faithful men do not allow their righteous manners of doing things to be altered by the physical threats of man (Acts 17:1-10).
- Daniel’s actions were essentially, “you know where to find me and you know what I’ll be doing” (Acts 4:1-5:42).
5. What did the presidents and princes assemble and do next?
They found Daniel praying to God and brought the matter to the king as a charge of civil disobedience: “(11) Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. (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. (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” (Daniel 6:11-13).
- Paul and Silas faced like things (Acts 16:16-40) as did others in the Scriptures (Esther 3:8-9 and Matthew 10:16-20).
6. Was the king hesitant in punishing Daniel?
Yes: “(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. (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. (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” (Daniel 6:14-16).
- He, like Pilate with Jesus (Matthew 27:17-24), knew this was not right.
- He was sore displeased with himself and laboured to deliver [free] Daniel. In other words, he sought a way out of this (i.e. John 19:1-12).
- After pressure, Darius put this in God’s hands. However, had he truly trusted in God himself, he would have changed his decree instead of taking this copout (Psalms 21:7).
7. How did Daniel survive the den of lions?
God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions so that no hurt came on Daniel: “(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. (18) 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. (19) Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. (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? (21) Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. (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” (Daniel 6:17-22).
- A stone was laid upon the mouth of the den and it was sealed. This is important. Daniel’s survival, without the seal being broken, indicates no human, outside interaction. Think about other events wherein men were sealed in and freed by God (Matthew 27:57-28:15, Acts 12:1-19, and Acts 16:22-29).
- We see the troubles the king faced in that he did not eat, sleep, or accept entertainment. For perspective, consider the troubled Psalmist in the 77th Psalm (Psalms 77:1-6). Troubles keep one from rest (II Corinthians 2:13).
- Darius hurried to check on Daniel. He cried to Daniel with a lamentable voice unto Daniel. This is likened to situations of true grief (John 20:11).
- Darius wanted to see if if God delivered Daniel from the lions. Truly, this was not really a question of God’s ability (Jeremiah 32:17). It really is an inquiry of whether or not God performed an act of deliverance (Daniel 3:16-18).
- Daniel honors the king with his words (Proverbs 24:21 and I Peter 2:17).
- Daniel says God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions (Psalms 34:1-7 and Psalms 91:1-16).
8. What actions came about after Daniel’s survival of the lions’ den?
“(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. (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. (25) Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. (26) 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. (27) 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. (28) So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (Daniel 6:23-28).
- Faith delivered Daniel (I Samuel 17:33-36, Luke 17:5-6, and Hebrews 11:1-40). *Note verse 33.
- Figuratively, consider Paul’s words (II Timothy 4:10-17; cf. I Peter 5:8-9).
- Though any honest Bible student should know this, we must realize that God does not miraculously interact with man now as He did in the O.T. times (Hebrews 1:1-2) as well as the first century (I Corinthians 12:1-13:13). His acts, especially for and through prophets and the Apostles, were for a purpose (Isaiah 48:1-11, Mark 16:15-20, and Hebrews 2:1-4).
- This emboldens the king to punish the men and their families to the lions (Proverbs 11:8). The punishment on the families of these men was NOT the law of God (Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:4; 18:20).
- Then, again, this king praises God and makes a decree about God. Yet, remember, these kings are wishy washy. They blow with the wind. Nebuchadnezzar had done such (Daniel 2, 3, 4), but it did not last. The miracles God worked often reached men, but the miracles alone did not sustain faith (Matthew 11:20-24, John 12:36-43, and Hebrews 4:1-2).
- However, it did benefit Daniel. He prospered going forward. The fact that he was still there in the reign of Cyrus let’s us know that Daniel lived to see the end of captivity (II Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-2).
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.