Darius, Daniel and the Lions

Long after King Nebuchadnezzar died, the Medes and Persians took over. Under King Darius, Daniel was again tested on his faith, courage and obedience to God.

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King Darius set up 120 officials to be over his whole kingdom. He set up three governors to oversee those men, and Daniel was one of the governors. He became well known to the king because of his service and wisdom. The king was thinking about making Daniel second to him in ruling the kingdom (Daniel 6).

The other officials and governors grew jealous of Daniel. They tried to find something to accuse him of. Then these men said, “We can’t find anything against Daniel unless we find something about the law of his God.”

A trap for Daniel

They went to King Darius and asked him to make a decree that no one should worship or pray to any god. Only the king was to be worshipped for 30 days. Anyone who did not obey this command was to be thrown into a den of lions. They knew that Daniel prayed to his God and would not worship the king.

King Darius signed the written decree. He didn’t know it was a trap for Daniel.

When Daniel knew the decree was signed, he went home. He knew that the officials wanted to find him breaking the king’s command so they could accuse him before the king. But he still went to his upper room and knelt down before an open window. He prayed and gave thanks to God three times that day, as he had done every day since he was very young.

The men were watching to see what he would do, and they found him praying. They immediately went to King Darius. They told the king, “Daniel is not obeying your decree. He is not worshipping you. He still prays to his God three times a day.”

Thrown to the lions

When the king heard this, he was sad and upset. He wanted to save Daniel from punishment. However, those men reminded the king about his decree. They told him, “When you make a decree, it cannot be changed.”

So the king sent his servants to bring Daniel to him, even though he didn’t want to do this. The king ordered his men to throw Daniel into a den of lions. The king told Daniel, “Your God will deliver you.” But the king really wasn’t sure.

The king went back to his palace, but he could not sleep. He would not eat or drink anything. He didn’t want Daniel to be killed.

The king got up very early the next morning and hurried to the lions’ den. He hoped Daniel was still alive. He called out to Daniel, “Daniel, has your God been able to save you from the lions?”

God shut the lions’ mouths

Daniel answered, “God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me.”

The king was happy that Daniel had not been killed by the lions. King Darius commanded that Daniel be brought out of the lions’ den. He was amazed to see that he was not hurt at all. Daniel was saved because he believed in God.

The king then commanded that all those men who had accused Daniel be thrown into the den of the lions. They were killed that day by the lions.

King Darius praised God. He made a decree that everyone in his kingdom should worship the God of Daniel. Daniel was given back his position and had riches and power during the reign of King Darius and the reign of King Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel lived out his life in Babylon. He was not able to return to his home in Judah. But God continued to bless him, and he was in favor with the kings of that time in history.

God used Daniel as a prophet. He gave him dreams and visions about what would happen to the kingdoms that were to come all the way up to today.

Daniel served God all his days. He gave us a great example of how we are to obey God and have faith and courage to the end of our lives.

Review and questions

Daniel did not obey the king’s decree to worship him. Instead he obeyed God and worshipped God only. Daniel knew he might be thrown in the lions’ den, but he still obeyed God. God blessed him for his obedience and saved him.

Here are some questions to think about or talk about as a family:

  1. What is one commandment Daniel obeyed in this story?
  2. Can you think of times when you needed faith and courage to do the right thing?

Read more about this story in the article “Daniel 6: Daniel in the Lions’ Den.”

About the Author

Shelby Faith

Shelby Faith served as a faithful deaconess for many years in the St. Louis, Missouri, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, until her death in 2021.

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