At the king’s command Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sentenced to death, tied up, and thrown into the super-heated death chamber. Daniel’s story is similar. He was thrown into a pit with ferocious, hungry lions. Both forms of execution were common in that era, and both methods of capital punishment had been 100% effective... but God intervened on behalf of His faithful servants.
Daniel had been deported from Jerusalem to Babylon in 605 B.C. while he was a very young man. In 539 B.C., sixty-six years later, the Babylonian empire fell to the Persians. The Babylonian king, Belshazzar was killed, and Darius the Mede became king (Daniel 5:30-31).
As a young man, Daniel had been the trusted servant of the Babylonian king who made him “ruler over the entire province of Babylon and chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:48). Almost seven decades later, “Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm” (Daniel 6:3).
As you might expect, this made his Persian contemporaries jealous, so they conspired against Daniel. “The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. Then these men said, ‘We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God’ ” (Daniel 6:4–5).
So, they hatched a plan. They went to the king and recommended irrevocable legislation requiring all citizens to worship only the Persian monarch. “When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel petitioning and imploring his God” (Daniel 6:10–11).
Threatened with becoming a tasty treat for a pride of lions, Daniel might have prayed in secret. He didn’t! Three times each day, Daniel defied the orders of the Persian king by getting on his knees and beseeching the King of kings. The faithful servant “gave thanks to his God.”
At eighty years of age, plus or minus a few, Daniel was fed to the lions. Can you imagine? Can you hear the snarling and roaring of the ravenous beasts? Can you smell the nasty pit, marked with the blood of earlier kills? As the stone was dropped over the small opening, everything went black. Death seemed imminent. But God...
Early the next morning, Daniel proclaimed, “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths; and they haven’t harmed me!” (Daniel 6:22). We can be certain, for the remaining years of his life, Daniel fell to his knees, three times each day, and humbly gave thanks to his Ever-Present Savior and King.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.