Daniel 6

Listen to Daniel 6

Daniel and the Lions' Den

1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 1satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom;
2 and over them 2three presidents, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these 3satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.
3 Then this Daniel became 4distinguished above all 5the other presidents and 6satraps, because 7an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned 8to set him over the whole kingdom.
4 Then 9the presidents and 10the satraps 11sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, 12but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, 13and no error or fault was found in him.
5 Then these men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."
6 Then these 14presidents and 15satraps came by agreement[a] to the king and said to him, "O 16King Darius, live forever!
7 All the 17presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the 18counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an 19injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.
8 Now, O king, establish 20the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to 21the law of 22the Medes and the Persians, 23which cannot be revoked."
9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and 24injunction.
10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where 25he had windows in his upper chamber open 26toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees 27three times a day and prayed and 28gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.
12 Then they 29came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, "O king! Did you not sign 30an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of 31the Medes and Persians, 32which cannot be revoked."
13 Then they answered and said before the king, 33"Daniel, who is one 34of the exiles 35from Judah, 36pays no attention to you, O king, or 37the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition 38three times a day."
14 Then 39the king, when he heard these words, 40was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.
15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no 41injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed."
16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared[b] to Daniel, "May 42your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!"
17 43And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, 44and the king sealed it 45with his own signet and with the signet of his 46lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.
18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; 47no diversions were brought to him, and 48sleep fled from him.
19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions.
20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of 49the living God, 50has your God, whom you serve continually, 51been able to deliver you from the lions?"
21 Then Daniel said to the king, 52"O king, live forever!
22 My God 53sent his angel 54and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless 55before him; 56and also before you, O king, I have done no harm."
23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and 57no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
24 And the king commanded, and 58those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions--they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
25 Then King Darius wrote to all 59the peoples, nations, and languages 60that dwell in all the earth: 61"Peace be multiplied to you.
26 62I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion 63people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for 64he is 65the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, 66and his dominion shall be 67to the end.
27 He delivers and rescues; he works 68signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has 69saved Daniel from the power of the lions."
28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and 70the reign of 71Cyrus the Persian.

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Daniel 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

The malice of Daniel's enemies. (1-5) His constancy in prayer. (6-10) He is cast into the lion's den. (11-17) His miraculous preservation. (18-24) The decree of Darius. (25-28)

Verses 1-5 We notice to the glory of God, that though Daniel was now very old, yet he was able for business, and had continued faithful to his religion. It is for the glory of God, when those who profess religion, conduct themselves so that their most watchful enemies may find no occasion for blaming them, save only in the matters of their God, in which they walk according to their consciences.

Verses 6-10 To forbid prayer for thirty days, is, for so long, to rob God of all the tribute he has from man, and to rob man of all the comfort he has in God. Does not every man's heart direct him, when in want or distress, to call upon God? We could not live a day without God; and can men live thirty days without prayer? Yet it is to be feared that those who, without any decree forbidding them, present no hearty, serious petitions to God for more than thirty days together, are far more numerous than those who serve him continually, with humble, thankful hearts. Persecuting laws are always made on false pretences; but it does not become Christians to make bitter complaints, or to indulge in revilings. It is good to have hours for prayer. Daniel prayed openly and avowedly; and though a man of vast business, he did not think that would excuse him from daily exercises of devotion. How inexcusable are those who have but little to do in the world, yet will not do thus much for their souls! In trying times we must take heed, lest, under pretence of discretion, we are guilty of cowardice in the cause of God. All who throw away their souls, as those certainly do that live without prayer, even if it be to save their lives, at the end will be found to be fools. Nor did Daniel only pray, and not give thanks, cutting off some part of the service to make the time of danger shorter; but he performed the whole. In a word, the duty of prayer is founded upon the sufficiency of God as an almighty Creator and Redeemer, and upon our wants as sinful creatures. To Christ we must turn our eyes. Thither let the Christian look, thither let him pray, in this land of his captivity.

Verses 11-17 It is no new thing for what is done faithfully, in conscience toward God, to be misrepresented as done obstinately, and in contempt of the civil powers. Through want of due thought, we often do that which afterwards, like Darius, we see cause a thousand times to wish undone again. Daniel, that venerable man, is brought as the vilest of malefactors, and is thrown into the den of lions, to be devoured, only for worshipping his God. No doubt the placing the stone was ordered by the providence of God, that the miracle of Daniel's deliverance might appear more plain; and the king sealed it with his own signet, probably lest Daniel's enemies should kill him. Let us commit our lives and souls unto God, in well-doing. We cannot place full confidence even in men whom we faithfully serve; but believers may, in all cases, be sure of the Divine favour and consolation.

Verses 18-24 The best way to have a good night, is to keep a good conscience. We are sure of what the king doubted, that the servants of the living God have a Master well able to protect them. See the power of God over the fiercest creatures, and believe his power to restrain the roaring lion that goeth about continually seeking to devour. Daniel was kept perfectly safe, because he believed in his God. Those who boldly and cheerfully trust in God to protect them in the way of duty, shall always find him a present help. Thus the righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead. The short triumph of the wicked will end in their ruin.

Verses 25-28 If we live in the fear of God, and walk according to that rule, peace shall be upon us. The kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever, are the Lord's; but many are employed in making known his wonderful works to others, who themselves remain strangers to his saving grace. May we be doers, as well as believers of his word, least at the last we should be found to have deceived ourselves.

Cross References 72

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or came thronging; also verses 11, 15
  • [b]. Aramaic answered and said; also verse 20

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of Daniel's being cast into the den of lions, and the causes of it, and the steps leading to it; and also of his wonderful deliverance out of it, and what followed upon that. It first relates how Daniel was made by Darius first president of the princes of the kingdom, which drew their envy upon him, Da 6:1-4, and that these princes finding they could get no occasion against him, but in religion, proposed to the king to make a law forbidding prayer to any god for thirty days, which they got established, Da 6:5-9, and Daniel breaking this law, is accused by them to the king; and the penalty, casting into the den of lions, is insisted on to be executed, Da 6:10-13, which the king laboured to prevent, but in vain; and Daniel is cast to the lions, to the great grief of the king, Da 6:14-18, who visited the den the next morning, and to his great joy found Daniel alive, Da 6:19-23, upon which, by the law of retaliation, his accusers, their wives, and children, were cast into it, Da 6:24, and an edict was published by the king, commanding all in his dominions to fear and reverence the God of Daniel, Da 6:25-28.

Daniel 6 Commentaries