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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 6

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1 IT pleased Darius to appoint a hundred and twenty satraps to be in charge throughout his kingdom, 2and over them three chief ministers, to whom the satraps were to submit their reports so that the king's interests might not suffer; of these three ministers, Daniel was one. 3Daniel outshone the other ministers and the satraps because of his exceptional ability, and it was the king's intention to appoint him over the whole kingdom. 4Then the ministers and satraps began to look round for some pretext to attack Daniel's administration of the kingdom, but they failed to find any malpractice on his part, for he was faithful to his trust. Since they could discover neither negligence nor malpractice, 5they said, ‘We shall not find any ground for bringing a charge against this Daniel unless it is connected with his religion.’ 6These ministers and satraps, having watched for an opportunity to approach the king, said to him, ‘Long live King Darius! 7We, the ministers of the kingdom, prefects, satraps, courtiers, and governors, have taken counsel and all are agreed that the king should issue a decree and bring into force a binding edict to the effect that whoever presents a petition to any god or human being other than the king during the next thirty days is to be thrown into the lion-pit. 8Now let your majesty issue the edict and have it put in writing so that it becomes unalterable, for the law of the Medes and Persians may never be revoked.’ 9Accordingly the edict was signed by King Darius.

10When Daniel learnt that this decree had been issued, he went into his house. It had in the roof-chamber windows open towards Jerusalem; and there he knelt down three times a day and offered prayers and praises to his God as was his custom. 11His enemies, on the watch for an opportunity to catch him, found Daniel at his prayers making supplication to his God. 12They then went into the king's presence and reminded him of the edict. ‘Your majesty,’ they said, ‘have you not issued an edict that any person who, within the next thirty days, presents a petition to any god or human being other than your majesty is to be thrown into the lion-pit?’ The king answered, ‘The matter has been determined in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.’ 13So they said to the king, ‘Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, has disregarded both your majesty and the edict, and is making petition to his God three times a day.’ 14When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he tried to think of a way to save Daniel, and continued his efforts till sunset. 15The men watched for an opportunity to approach the king, and said to him, ‘Your majesty must know that by the law of the Medes and Persians no edict or decree issued by the king may be altered.’ 16Then the king gave the order for Daniel to be brought and thrown into the lion-pit; but he said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you serve at all times, may he save you.’ 17A stone was brought and put over the mouth of the pit, and the king sealed it with his signet and with the signets of his nobles, so that no attempt could be made to rescue Daniel.

18The king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no woman was brought to him, and sleep eluded him. 19He was greatly agitated and, at the first light of dawn, he rose and went to the lion-pit. 20When he came near he called anxiously, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve continually been able to save you from the lions?’ 21Daniel answered, ‘Long live the king! 22My God sent his angel to shut the lions' mouths and they have not injured me; he judged me innocent, and moreover I had done your majesty no injury.’ 23The king was overjoyed and gave orders that Daniel should be taken up out of the pit. When this was done no trace of injury was found on him, because he had put his faith in his God. 24By order of the king those who out of malice had accused Daniel were brought and flung into the lion-pit along with their children and their wives, and before they reached the bottom the lions were upon them and devoured them, bones and all.

25King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: ‘May your prosperity increase! 26I have issued a decree that in all my royal domains everyone is to fear and reverence the God of Daniel,

for he is the living God, the everlasting, whose kingly power will never be destroyed; whose sovereignty will have no end— 27a saviour, a deliverer, a worker of signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.’

28Prosperity attended Daniel during the reigns of Darius and Cyrus the Persian.

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