Daniel 6


Daniel 6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom;

Darius – Ruled 538-536 BC.  He took over when God judged Belshazzar (Daniel 5) and split his kingdom between the Medes and Persians.  Darius was appointed king of Babylon and here we join the story with him setting up the hierarchy of Babylon.

Satraps were governors/administrators in the ancient world.  They enforced authority on behalf of the ruler.  In our modern society, they might be Mayors or Trustees, something like that, reporting to a Governor or Mayor or City Manager of some sort.  

Daniel 6:2 and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 

Here is Daniel still in a Governor position after all these years and regime changes.  He earned his place from the very beginning of this story (Daniel 1) and God has kept him there ever since.  We won’t hear about Daniel’s friends anymore, but I like to imagine they’re in high positions as well.  

God is faithful if you’re faithful.  God will never leave your side or abandon you.  You simply need to put your trust in Him, and he will protect you.

Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Here we see two sides of the faith.  On either side of Jesus were criminals who were sentenced to death.  One of them wanted Jesus to simply save him from dying on the cross, while the other clearly understood that he deserved to be there, but Jesus had done nothing wrong.  Jesus rewarded the man by telling him that his life in paradise with God was coming.  

Here we also have a keyword of “truly” that we can study.  “Truly, Truly”, or “Verily, Verily”, “Truly, I say to you” (translation dependent) appears in the Gospels 72 times.  This phrase is used by Jesus Christ himself.  What does it mean when He said that?

Truly/verily means amen.  When Jesus said this, he was telling everyone that what he was able to say was extremely important.  Using this phrase in general set a ton of authority and great knowledge on what was able to be said.

For a deeper study on “truth”, I would suggest Del Tackett’s “The Truth Project”.

Jesus was telling the criminal to listen careful, this is important that you hear it.  By the way, I’m the expert on this topic, so pay attention.  You’re going to Heaven with Me after we’re done hanging on this tree.  

There are dozens of examples of faith and faithful people all throughout the Bible.  Job is only one of many that comes to mind.  It’s a great personal study topic.  You can search “faith” on biblegateway, or simply go to Google and start searching for “faith in the bible” type searches.

There are also plenty of examples of people failing in their faith in God.  Jonah is a good prime example.  Jonah was supposed to go to Nineveh, but instead ran the other direction.  God had a great fish swallow him and gave him 3 days to think about what he was doing.  Jonah eventually did what he was supposed to do, but that lack of faith and some bitterness still lingered.  

Remember Moses begging for God to kill him?  Did he lose faith?  I think so.  Moses did all kinds of things, like standing up to Pharoah, but he did have his moments of stumbling.  I hate to use the phrase “that’s ok”, because it isn’t really ok, but we all stumble.  We just need to keep our focus on God and ask for help.

Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 

Here goes Daniel again, set above the rest again.  God is truly on his side rewarding his unwavering faith.  Daniel’s faith is a perfect example of how we should live today.  He was living under some of the most ruthless kings and God protected him.  There was never any doubt that God would protect him.  Thoughts of death couldn’t move his faith.

Who are some of the other martyrs of the bible you can think of?  Some that come to my mind are John the Baptist, Stephen, Zachariah, James, and the Two Witnesses.  Who are the two witnesses?  You can find their story in Revelation 11:1-14.  These two will appear during the tribulation period.  Martyrs are another good topic for your personal studies.

Daniel 6:4 Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 

Jealousy and envy apparently broke out amongst the satraps and other high officials.  Who doesn’t want to have all the power?  You see this a lot in modern day politicians.  Freshman congressmen and women coming to Washington D.C. to make a difference and fight for the needs and wants of their district.  Months and years go by, and they’ve soon forgotten the people who sent them there.  Instead, they want more and more for their own gain.

Daniel 6:5 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.”

Unfortunately for this group, they couldn’t find any dirt on Daniel.  Daniel was clean as a whistle.  Unwavering faith and a rock solid relationship with God will do that.  Keep your focus on God and you won’t have to watch your back and sneak around.  Daniel was without fault or error.  Even these men knew it.  They conceded they would not find anything on Daniel unless they found it in connection with the law of his God.  What did they mean by that?

Daniel 6:6 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 

The satraps are up to something.  They are going to address the king.

Daniel 6:7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, 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. 

The entire cast comes out to address the king.  Let’s take a look at who these people are.

Prefects – a chief officer, magistrate, or regional governor in certain countries.

Satraps – governors/administrators in the ancient world.

Counselors – all these kinds need mental help, so they have counselors.

Governors – The people over the provinces.

What are these people doing here?  They’re wanting a new ordinance.  And why not outlaw the God of Daniel?  Daniel’s unwavering faith is known across all of Babylon.  They know very well that Daniel would never put the lawn of man above the law of God.  He would never renounce his faith or turn away from his faith.  

But that’s exactly what these people of position thought would happen.  They’ve petitioned an egomaniac to make him a god for 30 days so they can trap Daniel, get him out of the picture, and take his position for themselves.

Daniel 6:8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 

Under the rules of the Medes and Persians, once Darius signs this into law, it cannot be revoked.  This isn’t an uncommon law practice by any means.  Even today, with all of the checks and balances we have in place, if the house and senate passes a law, it then goes to the President.  The President then signs it, and it becomes law.  It takes a great deal of effort to override or undo that law.  The same is true here, the 30 days law is set in stone.

Daniel 6:9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

No surprise here.  What kind of egomaniac king would he have been if he didn’t make it so only he can be worshipped for a month?  

Daniel 6:10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 

Daniel didn’t just head to his house and start praying to spite them all.  He had a routine that he didn’t waver from.  Three times per day he would go to his house, open his window towards Jerusalem, and pray.  

Prayer is powerful.  We can go it alone, or we can pray through it.  Jesus Himself prayed when he was here, teaching us how to pray, and modelling prayer for us.

Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

One of the notable pieces of this verse to me is “They have received their reward”.  That’s powerful and telling.  The hypocrites wanted to be heard so that people would think highly of them, and not focus on the prayer to God.  The reward they have chosen is one of self service and feel good moments.  God did not and will not bless this.

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

I take this both literally and figuratively.  Let’s first look at the literal statement here.

A few years ago, there was a movie called “War Room”.  It was about a woman who had a closet cleared out with prayer requests on the wall.  She would go in there, shut the door, and pray.  I am sure this verse had a direct impact on the approach of people building prayer rooms and possibly the idea of producing that movie.  

The figurative meaning to me also means that yes, you can pray in a public setting, but put your mind in its place and focus on praying to God.  You don’t need to shout out loud and overblown prayers.  I love it when I’m in a group and someone just prayers.  They don’t go overboard with giant words and over emphasize everything.  They just talk to God.

Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Have you ever heard someone start out a prayer and it takes nearly a minute for them just to get past the salutation?  And then they ramble on for another 2-3 minutes thanking God for everything imaginable they can think of?  Then when it comes to asking God for help, they just kind of breeze past it?  I think this is probably one example of a prayer God isn’t going to respond too.  It’s a bunch of words   It’s either someone who thinks they need to ramble, or someone who is trying to look “cool” while they pray.  

Matthew 6:8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him


Here Jesus tells us not to be like them, because the Father already knows what we need before we ask Him.  We just need to ask!  Now Jesus is going to give a design pattern for prayer.

Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

I do not believe that this prayer was given to us to pray over and over again.  I believe it was a design pattern for our prayers.  Design patterns are exactly what they say they are.  They are patterns for you to make your design off of.  In clothes making they help you keep to a size and symmetry consistent.  In things like computer and software engineering it helps give your system integrity by keeping you to a set of logical rules that will avoid problems.  The same can be said of Jesus’ prayer example.  Let’s break this down a bit.

“Our Father in heaven”  

This is the opening and salutation.  

“hallowed be your name”

Remember when Daniel and others addressed the king?  “O king, live forever!”.  This is the same type of approach.  They were buttering up the king.  Here you can butter up God a bit too.  Like Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:7, don’t just ramble a bunch of things for no reason.  Pour your true heart on this.  

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”

We should always be desiring God’s kingdom and God’s will.  God has a purpose and a plan for everything.  When we’re praying for something, we should want God’s will to be done, not our’s.  Yes, we want deadly viruses roaming the earth to end as soon as possible, but we should understand that God may have a bigger purpose behind them, and desire that too.

“Give us this day our daily bread”

God knows we need food.  This is not what Jesus is saying here.  This should read “Give me what I need for today” and ask Him to give you what you need to deal with the events of today.  These are things of need for the day ahead, not wants.

“forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”

As much as I’d like to directly associate this with money and debt collectors, this is not about money.  The word “debtors” here goes back to strong’s 3781.  It is “opheiletes (pronounce of-i-let’-ace) meaning “person indebted; fit. A delinquent; more a. transgressor (against God).  This is asking God to forgive you for any sins and for you to forgive those would have sinned against you.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”

God doesn’t lead us into temptation.  He challenges us, puts us through trials and tribulations.  The word “temptation” here goes back to strong’s 3986.  It is “peirasmos (pronounced pi-ras-mos’) meaning “a putting of proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by impl. adversity.  Jesus is asking us to ask for God’s protection and not letting us fall into evil.  This is a good part of the prayer to remember if you’re fighting any kind of bad thoughts, bad ideas, spiritual warfare, and other influences from the world.

Paul also had some things to say about prayer.  

1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing

Paul had written a letter to the church at Thessalonica.  In this chapter Paul tells them about the day of the Lord, and then gives them final instruction.  Among praying, he also tells them in verse 16 to rejoice always and in verse 18 to give thanks in all circumstances.  Daniel didn’t need Paul’s writing to understand this.  He already did.  

Paul also asked for prayer for himself on numerous occasions.

1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brothers, pray for us.

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,

Paul knew he couldn’t go at it alone.  Paul takes you through putting on the Armor of God from v10-20.  In this piece, he has just gone through all pieces of the armor and is asking encouraging us all to pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  Then he asks for prayer for himself for the right words to say at the right time.  

What does your daily prayer life look like?  Do you have a three times per day session with God like Daniel had?  You don’t necessarily have to have three set times per day, but a routine can help you stay on track.

First, start with saying “Hi!” to God when you wake up in the morning.  “Good morning, Father.  Thank you for another day! Amen”.  Once you develop this habit, and your day doesn’t start without saying it, then you can expand that prayer little by little until you have a routine you’re comfortable with.

Second, close your day with a “Goodnight!” to God.  “Good night, Father.  Thank you for the day you gave me. Amen”.  Then, just like you developed your morning routine, round out your night time routine.  

Third, if you’re not already thanking God for the food he has provided you, bow your head and simply thank Him for your food before eating each meal. 

Then you’ll be off to the races.  You can find other times to integrate prayer into your life.  If you’re married, invite your spouse to pray with you at some point during the day, and at night when you go to bed.  

Daniel 6:11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 

Again, these guys knew what they were doing. This was not a plot to stop people from praying to their God or gods.  This was not a way to stroke the ego of the king.  This was about Daniel, plain and simple.  They caught him!

Daniel 6:12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an 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 the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 

The men then go back to Darius and make him confirm the law he signed.  Darius confirms it.  The law is signed.  Under the law of the Medes and Persians, it cannot be revoked.  Daniel has broken the ordinance and they want the king to know it.

Daniel 6:13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

I find it interesting that they’re called the “exiles” from Judah.  The KJV says “children of the captivity”, which is more accurate.  This is an important lesson that the Bible is translated from an original language of either Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek.  Daniel is mostly in Aramaic.  

Let’s take both of these words and see if we can figure out why the ESV and KJV are different.  First, “exiles” and “captivity” line up.  I use a Strong’s Concordance for my keyword studies.  The word “exiles” doesn’t have a match for Daniel 6:13.  So now I’m looking up “captivity”.  The word “captivity” is found as strong’s 1547.  Strong’s 1547 is “galuwth” pronounced “gaw-looth.  The meaning of galuwth is “exiles”.  The ESV didn’t mistranslate the word.  It just phrased it differently in our english language.  Maybe it even corrected the incorrect word of “captivity” that the KJV uses.  I am not a bible translator, so I will not try and critique the translations.

I don’t for a moment believe these guys believed that Daniel didn’t pay any attention to the king.  I think they saw a window of opportunity (that they created) and were going to take it.  They also tell Darius that he doesn’t care about his injunction.  That part is true.  Daniel didn’t, and shouldn’t care about it.  

Daniel 6:14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 

Darius knows Daniel and understands what he just did.  He signed an ordinance that says Daniel can’t pray to God for 30 days.  He also knows he can’t cancel the law.  I believe here he’s distressed because of that.  I don’t believe that he wanted to arrest Daniel.

Daniel 6:15 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 injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”

The men came back again to the king and reminded him that his law is signed and he must enforce it.  By the laws of the Medes and Persians, the king cannot change this ordinance.

Daniel 6:16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”

This is a really interesting verse.  The king did what he had to do.  He also told Daniel that God may deliver him from this den of lions.  Did Darius know that God would save him?  I believe he at least knew that God was capable and that God really favored Daniel and protested him every walk of his life.  Why did God always protect Daniel?  Because of his unwavering faith.

Daniel 6:17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 

When you think about Daniel being cast into the den of lions, you most likely think of a door being opened and Daniel being pushed in, much like a jail cell.  This was not how the den of lions was constructed.  There was a hole leading down into the den, and Daniel was thrown down into it.  The rock was then put on top so Daniel couldn’t get out.

Daniel 6:18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

Darius locked himself in his palace and no one was allowed to bring anything to him.  I find it interesting that Darius was fasting.  Was he fasting and praying to God?  Or was he just not feeling up to eating.  The word “fasting” is strong’s 2908 aramaic word “tev-awth” meaning “hunger”.   

Now I want you to imagine yourself for a minute here.  You’ve made a huge mistake because you were thinking of only yourself.  You affected the life of another person,and now you have to wait overnight to see if it’s going to be ok.  I don’t think I would eat or sleep either.  I would probably be up all hours of the night pacing the floor and trying to find something to occupy my time with.

Daniel 6:19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 

Finally, it’s day break and his sentence in the den of lions was over.  Darius ran over there as fast as he could.

Daniel 6:20 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 the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

The word “Anguish” is “Lamentable” in the KJV.  Lamentable is strong’s 6088 “atsab” pronounced “ats-ab meaning “to worry, pain or anger:-grieve”.  The king was very upset with himself.  He was angry and grieving his decision all at the same time.  He ran out as soon as he could to check on Daniel.  He called out to him and recognized him as a servant of the living God and asked him if God had protected him in the den of lions.

I believe here that Darius truly did believe, but there was a sliver of doubt.  We all have that sliver of doubt in us when we ask bold things of God.  Seemingly impossible things.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

These are the worlds of Jesus himself.  We just have to ask and he will open the door for us.

Matthew 17:20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

I was asked in an interview years ago how I could move a mountain for a customer.  It was an exercise to see how my thought process went.  They said “A customer wants us to move the mountain to the other side of their house.  How can we do that?”  I looked at it for a couple of minutes talking out all kinds of human ways.  I was really wondering how in the world I could move that mountain.  Ultimately, I just needed to tell him to have the faith of a grain of a mustard seed, and God would move it.  Lesson learned.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

We’ve gone back to this verse quite a bit.  Daniel knew this hundreds of years before James even wrote it.  If God is on our side, we need only have faith and ask and He will supply the wisdom we need.

Daniel 6:21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 

There’s that salutation to the king again!  Daniel is alive!

Daniel 6:22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” 

Daniel was obedient to God and the government that Daniel was put under here on earth.  He didn’t purposefully try and undermine the king, he only wished to keep his relationship with God intact and not reject him.  Daniel was therefore found by God to be blameless before Him and Darius and sent an angel to protect him.

Daniel 6:23 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 no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 

Think back to the first time your team ever won the World Series, or NBA Championship, or Stanley Cup.  Think about that excitement that was built up inside you and how you let it pour out to celebrate your team’s victory.  This is exactly how Darius felt!

Daniel was taken out of the den, and just as he said, there was not a scratch on him.  He had trusted God and God rewarded Daniel for that trust.  We must also trust God and remember Daniel’s story of his night in the den of lions.  We must never lose sight of God.  We must have unwavering faith like Daniel.

Daniel 6:24 And the king commanded, and those 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.

Falsely accusing someone of something they didn’t do will have dire consequences.  If it’s at work, you could lose your job.  If it’s between family you could break up your family.  In this case, these men cost themselves and their families their lives.  They were killed by the lions before they even hit the ground.

Daniel 6:25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 

Darius then addresses everyone of the world and offers them a peaceful greeting.

Daniel 6:26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 

Like Nebuchadnezzar, Darius got it.  He declared God the one true God of the universe and ordered everyone to fear Him.  I don’t know what the people really thought, or if they all set their eyes on God.  I imagine they didn’t, but I am sure it opened the eyes of quite a few.  This now begs another question.  Will we meet Darius in Heaven?

Daniel 6:27 He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” 

More recognition of God.  Darius knew that Daniel wouldn’t survive the lions.  He also knew that God would protect him.  He praises God here.

Daniel 6:28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

We know that Darius ruled from 538-536 BC.  Cyrus took over from there, and Daniel prospered under both.  Cyrus died in 530 BC, so we can come to the conclusion that he ruled over Babylon until then.  

We see again that Daniel has unwavering faith.  Faith that is very contagious.  Even those who don’t accept God seem to understand that Daniel’s God is the one true living God.  I would encourage you to read Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

While you’re reading through the chapter, write down all of the “by Faith” moments that the author writes about.  Then ask yourself these questions:

How many “by Faith” scenarios are there?  

Who are they writing about in each scenario?  

What is the lesson of each scenario?

Written by Dan
This is my collection of bible study lessons and book reviews. I am the Executive Pastor of Cross Waves Church and graduate of the Willmington School of the Bible, part of the Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity.