Daniel 6:1-28 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What are we told about the reorganization of the government under Darius and to what position was Daniel appointed? See Daniel 6:1-3 (printed below)

It seemed good to Darius to appoint one hundred and twenty satraps over the kingdom and station them throughout the whole realm, (2) with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. (3) Now this Daniel was distinguished among the administrators and the satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit; so the king planned to set him over the whole realm. (Daniel 6:1-3)

With the coming of the Medes and Persians to power, there came a reorganization of the government under King Darius. Darius set up 120 satraps (governors) over the kingdom, each one assigned to a particular province of the former Babylonian empire. Over these 120 satraps Darius appointed three administrators. We are told that Daniel was one of these three administrators; furthermore, we learn that Daniel was promoted above the other two administrators.

2. What do you think motivated the other administrators to plot against Daniel? Where did they initially look in their effort to bring charges against him? Why did they fail? See Daniel 6:4 (printed below)

Then the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs. But they could find no instance of negligence or corruption, because he was faithful—he was guilty of neither negligence nor corruption. (Daniel 6:4)

No sooner do we learn of Darius’ plan to promote Daniel, than we learn of a plot against Daniel—perpetrated by the other administrators and no doubt motivated by jealousy. Initially, they sought to find occasion against Daniel with regard to the kingdom (verse 4a): they search for some impropriety, some indiscretion, some scandal or incompetence. But their search to dig up a scandal or a case of incompetence proves futile, because Daniel was faithful. Daniel was faithful to the Lord, and he recognized that a chief part of his faithfulness to the Lord was the faithful discharge of his everyday business affairs. As a result, there was neither incompetence (due to neglect) nor scandal to be found.

3. Having failed in their first attempt to discredit Daniel, what do these administrators now do? See Daniel 6:5-8 (printed below)

Finally these men said, We shall not find any basis for charges against this Daniel unless we find something against him with regard to the law of his God. (6) So these administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, King Darius, live forever! (7) All the administrators of the kingdom, along with the prefects and the satraps, the advisers and the governors, have agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce an injunction that whoever makes a petition to any god or any man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. (8) Now, O king, issue the injunction and put it into writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, that cannot be repealed. (Daniel 6:5-8)

Having failed to discredit Daniel in matters pertaining to his everyday business affairs, these men are forced to look elsewhere. Indeed, they are forced to create a situation that would cause Daniel to be found to be an offender. They choose to make their plot revolve around Daniel’s devotion to Christ, because his faith in the Lord was well-known (verse 20). These men now contrive to create a situation in which Daniel’s faithfulness to Christ will cause him to become “unfaithful” to the king. Acting in concert, and under the guise of speaking for all the officials of the realm, these men petition the king to “issue an edict and enforce an injunction” (verse 7)—i.e.; make an irrevocable law; a law that makes it illegal for anyone to petition any god or man other than the king.

4. Upon learning that this petition presented by the administrators had been signed into law, how does Daniel react? See Daniel 6:10 (printed below)

Even when Daniel knew that the edict had been signed into law, he went into his house (now the windows in his upstairs room were open towards Jerusalem) and got down on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, just as he had done before. (Daniel 6:10)

Daniel did not alter the normal course of his devotions; nor did he alter the content of his devotions: he continues to give thanks unto the Lord his God. Daniel exercised his devotion to Christ with unwavering steadfastness, even though it meant violating the king’s decree and running the risk of suffering the dreadful consequences.

5. What happened to Daniel as a result of his faithful commitment to the Lord? See Daniel 6:11,16,19-28 (printed below)

Then these men went together and found Daniel making petitions and prayers before his God. … (16) So the king gave the order and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, Your God, whom you continually serve, will deliver you. …(19) Very early in the morning the king arose and hurried to the lions’ den. (20) When he approached the den, he cried out to Daniel in an anguished voice. The king called out to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to save you from the lions? (21) Then Daniel answered the king, O king, live forever! (22) My God has sent his angel and he has shut the lions’ mouths. They have not harmed me, because I have been found to be innocent before him; and, also, I have done nothing wrong before you, O king. (23) The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. So Daniel was lifted out of the den. No kind of wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. (24) At the king’s command, the men who had brought the charges against Daniel were brought in and they threw them into the lions’ den—they, their children, and their wives. Before they even reached the bottom of the pit, the lions overpowered them and broke their bones to pieces. (25) Then King Darius wrote this proclamation to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language who dwell in all the world: May you have an abundance of peace. (26) I issue a decree commanding that in every part of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God and he endures forever. His kingdom is one that shall not be destroyed and his dominion shall continue to the end of time. (27) He delivers and rescues; he performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth. He has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. (28) So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and Cyrus the Persian. (Daniel 6:11,16,19-28)

Having laid their trap, the conspirators now proceed to spring it on their innocent victim: they catch Daniel in the very act of his devotions (verse 11). Having witnessed the “crime,” they now bring Daniel before the king and demand that the royal edict be enforced (verses 12-15). When all efforts of the king fail to spare Daniel, he is led away to the lions’ den (verse 16). But the Lord spared Daniel by sending His angel to shut the lions’ mouths; consequently, Daniel survived the ordeal without harm (verse 22). Following his removal from the lions’ den, those who perpetrated this crime against Daniel were themselves cast into the den where they were devoured by the hungry lions (verse 24). Because of Daniel’s faithfulness, the name of the Lord was honored (verses 25-27) and Daniel himself was made to prosper (verse 28).