Bible Study: Daniel 6 – Daniel in Lion’s Den

The book of Daniel is one of the most prophetic books in the old testament. It has been sealed until the time of the end. Undoubtedly, now is the time of the end. Therefore, let us not be hypocrites without discerning this time and let us unseal the book of Daniel.

(Dan 12:4) “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

(Luke 12:56) “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how [is it] you do not discern this time?

The sixth chapter of Daniel is about his promotion and the trial for Daniel’s faith in his old age.

Darius or Cyrus?

(Dan 6:1-2) It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss.

As we saw earlier in the previous chapter, Cyrus had been mistaken as Darius the Mede for identity. When Darius became king in 522 BC, Daniel will be around 100 years old. However, if the king mentioned here is Cyrus, then Daniel would have been around 85 years old.

(Dan 1:21) Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

Based in Daniel chapter 1, he continued only until the first year of king Cyrus, which is 539 BC and he would be already 85 years old by that time. It is not possible for the king mentioned here to be Darius because he becomes king 17 years later. Hence, it is most logical to consider it is a scribal error where Cyrus is mistaken as Darius the Mede.

Deception of Daniel’s Enemies

(Dan 6:3-9) Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

When the king (Cyrus?) thought of making Daniel above the governors and satraps, they deceived the king to have a decree in such a way Daniel had to remove his first place to God or lose his life. Many good Christians experience similar trials even today. Some had to lose their jobs mostly in the west and yet some had to lose their life for their faith in Christ.

The cost of Daniel’s disobedience to king

(Dan 6:10-17) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, 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 does not alter.” So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.” And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.” So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

Now, Daniel was given a choice. Stop praying to God or face the lion’s den. How many of us will face lion’s den or punishments/persecutions and continue to disobey authorities on matters that are clearly against God?

Mouth of lions shut

(Dan 6:18-24) Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” Now the king was exceedingly 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 injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God. And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions–them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

God sent His angel and shut the mouth of lions and Daniel was not hurt. The king was glad for Daniel. Then, the king put the accusers of Daniel and their families into the lion’s den and they all were killed.

King praised God of Daniel

(Dan 6:25-28) Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

The king finally praised the God of Daniel. As we saw earlier, Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus and the king mentioned here is Cyrus rather than Darius. It is also possible there could be another Darius or Darius is simply a title. Irrespective of who the king is, the story is true and the account of Daniel is true because it is mentioned by Christ Himself.