Daniel in the Lions' Den
(Daniel 6:2-8, 10-25, NAB)
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. 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, the 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.”
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 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.”
So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den. To Daniel he said, “May your God, whom you serve 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 dismissed the entertainers.
Since sleep was impossible for him, the king rose 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 lion’s 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.
From The New American Bible [NAB] (Word Publishing, Inc.: 1987)