December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 And Darius the Mede succeeded to the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.
- Darius decided to appoint over his entire kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to safeguard his interests;
- these were accountable to three supervisors, one of whom was Daniel.
- Daniel outshone all the supervisors and satraps because an extraordinary spirit was in him, and the king thought of giving him authority over the entire kingdom.
- Therefore the supervisors and satraps tried to find grounds for accusation against Daniel as regards the administration. But they could accuse him of no wrongdoing; because he was trustworthy, no fault of neglect or misconduct was to be found in him.
- Then these men said to themselves, "We shall find no grounds for accusation against this Daniel unless by way of the law of his God."
- So these supervisors and satraps went thronging to the king and said to him, "King Darius, live forever!
- All the supervisors of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, nobles, and governors are agreed that the following prohibition ought to be put in force by royal decree: no one is to address any petition to god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king; otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions.
- 2 Now, O king, issue the prohibition over your signature, immutable and irrevocable under Mede and Persian law."
- So King Darius signed the prohibition and made it law.
- Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem.
- So these men rushed in and found Daniel praying and pleading before his God.
- Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition: "Did you not decree, O king, that no one is to address a petition to god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king; otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions?" The king answered them, "The decree is absolute, irrevocable under the Mede and Persian law."
- To this they replied, "Daniel, the Jewish exile, has paid no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you issued; three times a day he offers his prayer."
- The king was deeply grieved at this news and he made up his mind to save Daniel; he worked till sunset to rescue him.
- But these men insisted. "Keep in mind, O king," they said, "that under the Mede and Persian law every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable."
- 3 So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions' den. To Daniel he said, "May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you."
- To forestall any tampering, the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den.
- Then the king returned to his palace for the night; he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers. Since sleep was impossible for him,
- the king rose very early the next morning and hastened to the lions' den.
- As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has the God whom you serve so constantly been able to save you from the lions?"
- Daniel answered the king: "O king, live forever!
- My God has sent his angel and closed the lions' mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither to you have I done any harm, O king!"
- This gave the king great joy. At his order Daniel was removed from the den, unhurt because he trusted in his God.
- The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel, along with their children and their wives, to be cast into the lions' den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
- Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth: "All peace to you!
- I decree that throughout my royal domain the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared: "For he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be without end.
- He is a deliverer and savior, working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, and he delivered Daniel from the lions' power."
- So Daniel fared well during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
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1  Darius the Mede: unknown in profane history. The Median kingdom had already been conquered by Cyrus the Persian, and it was Cyrus who captured Babylon. Evidently the author of Daniel has deliberately adopted an apocalyptic view of history, derived from prophecy (cf Isaiah 13:17-19; Jeremiah 51:11, 28-30), according to which the Medes formed the second of four world kingdoms preceding the messianic times; see note on Daniel 2:36-45. The character of Darius the Mede has probably been modeled on that of the Persian King Darius the Great (522-486 B.C.), the second successor of Cyrus.
2  Immutable and irrevocable: the passages in Esther 1:19 and 8:8 also refer to the immutability of Medo-Persian laws. The historian Diodorus Siculus indicates that such a concept existed in the time of Darius III (335-331 B.C.), the last of the Persian kings. Cf Daniel 6:13, 16.
3  The lions' den: a pit too deep to be easily scaled; its opening was blocked with a stone (v 18).
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