Royalty and Ruin


Daniel in the Lions’ Den

This chapter is based on Daniel 6.

Darius the Mede at once proceeded to reorganize the government. He “set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, ... 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. 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.” RR 191.1

The honors that the king bestowed on Daniel stirred up the jealousy of the kingdom’s leading men. But they could find no basis for complaint against him, because “he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.” RR 191.2

“We shall not find any charge against this Daniel,” they acknowledged, “unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” RR 191.3

So the officials and princes asked the king to sign a decree forbidding any person to ask anything of any god or any person, except of Darius the king, for thirty days. Violation of this decree would be punished by casting the offender into a den of lions. RR 191.4

Appealing to Darius’s vanity, they persuaded him that carrying out this edict would add greatly to his authority. Ignorant of the subtle motive of the princes, the king signed it. RR 191.5

Satanic agencies had stirred the princes to envy. They had inspired the plan for Daniel’s destruction; and the princes, yielding themselves as instruments of evil, carried it into effect. RR 191.6

The prophet’s enemies counted on Daniel’s firm adherence to principle for the success of their plan. He quickly read their evil purpose but did not change his course. Why should he stop praying now, when he most needed to pray? He performed his duties as chief of the princes and at the hour of prayer went to his chamber to offer his petition to the God of heaven. He did not try to conceal his act. He would not allow it even to appear to those plotting his ruin that he had broken his connection with Heaven. In this way the prophet boldly yet humbly declared that no earthly power has a right to come between an individual and God. His determination to do right was a bright light in the moral darkness of that heathen court. RR 191.7

For an entire day the officials watched Daniel. Three times they saw him go to his chamber and heard him lift his voice in prayer. The next morning they laid their complaint before the king. Daniel had defied the royal decree! “Have you not signed a decree,” they reminded him, “that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” RR 192.1

“The thing is true,” the king answered, “according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” In triumph they now informed Darius, “That Daniel, who is 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.” RR 192.2