6
Daniel was thrown into the lions' den
King Darius decided to divide his kingdom into 120 provinces. He appointed a governor to rule each province. He also appointed me and two other men to be administrators, to supervise the governors and to be sure that they did the king's work properly, in order that the king would not have to worry about anything. I soon showed that I was ◄more capable/able to do the work better► than all the other administrators and the governors. Because of that, the king planned to appoint me to be in charge of the entire empire. Then, the other administrators and the governors became jealous. So they began to try to find something that they could criticize about the way I was working for the king. But I always did my work faithfully and honestly, and was never lazy. So they could not find anything to criticize. They concluded, “The only way we can find something for which we can criticize Daniel will be something concerning the laws that his god his given him.”
So the administrators and governors went as one group to the king and said, “◄Your Majesty/O king►, we wish that you will live a long time! We administrators and governors and district governors and advisors and other officials have all agreed that you should make a law that everyone must obey. We want you to command that for the next thirty days people may pray only to you. If anyone prays to anyone else, either to a human or to a god, he must be thrown into a pit of lions. And because laws made by our governments of Media and Persia cannot be changed, we want you, the head of our government, to sign it.” So King Darius wrote the law and signed it.
10 But when I found out that the king had written and signed that law, I went home. I knelt down in my upstairs room and prayed. I looked toward Jerusalem, and the windows were open with the result that everyone could see me while I was praying. I prayed three times each day, just as I always did, thanking God. 11 The officials went together to my house and they saw me praying and requesting God to help me. 12 So they returned to the king and said to him, “ Do you remember that you wrote a law stating that for the next thirty days people may pray only to you, and if anyone prays to anyone else, either to a human or to a god, he will be thrown into a pit of lions?”
The king replied, “ Yes, that is the law that I wrote. It is a law of our governments of Media and Persia, which cannot be canceled.”
13 Then they said to the king, “Well, that man Daniel, one of the men who were brought from Judah, is not paying any attention to you or the law that you signed. He prays to his god three times each day!” 14 When the king heard that, he was very distressed. He tried to find a way to save me. All the rest of that day he tried to think of a way to rescue me.
15  In the evening, many of [HYP] the officials went together to the king and said, “◄Your Majesty/O king►, you know that our governments of Media and Persia have declared that no law that the king signs can be canceled/changed. So Daniel must be thrown to the lions!
16 So the king gave the order, and his servants brought me and threw me into a pit where the lions were. Before they threw me in, the king said to me, “I hope/wish that your God, whom you worship regularly, will rescue you!”
17 They rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the pit. Then the king fastened a string across the entrance and put wax at each end, and stamped the wax with the seal from his ring and the seals of the rings of his officials, in order that no one could secretly rescue me. 18 Then the king returned to his palace. That night he refused to eat any food. He would not allow anyone to entertain him because he did not want to be happy, with the result that he would forget about me. And that night he was unable to sleep because he was worried about me.
19 At dawn the next morning, the king got up and went quickly to the pit where the lions were. 20 When he came near it, he was very worried. He called out, “Daniel, you who serve the all-powerful God! Was your God, whom you worship regularly, able to save you from the lions?”
21 I answered, “◄Your Majesty/O king►, I hope that you will live a long time! 22  Yes, my God sent his angel to shut the lions' mouths, in order that they would not harm me! He did that because he knows that I have done nothing that he thinks is wrong. And, ◄Your Majesty/O king►, I never did anything wrong to you!”
23 The king was extremely happy, and he commanded his servants to lift me out of the pit. When they did that, they saw that the lions had not wounded me at all. God had protected me because I trusted in him.
24 Then the king commanded that the men who had accused me should be seized and be thrown, along with their wives and children, into the pit where the lions were. When they were thrown into the pit, the lions leaped on them and crushed their bones before they fell onto the bottom of the pit!
25 Then King Darius wrote this message and sent it throughout his kingdom to the people of every people-group and nation and from all language groups:
 
“I wish/hope that everthing is going very well with you!
26 I command that everyone in my kingdom should fear and revere the God that Daniel worships.
He is the all-powerful God,
and he will live forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed;
he will rule forever.
27 He rescues and saves his people.
He performs all kinds of miracles
in heaven and on the earth.
He rescued Daniel from the power of the lions!”
28 So I was successful all during the time that Darius ruled and during the time that Cyrus, the King of Persia, ruled.