After the death of Balshazzar, Darius the Medean became king of Bavel. He appointed 120 governors to rule over his provinces and over them he appointed three presidents, and over them he appointed Daniel. This evoked jealousy and enmity among all the ministers, and they sought to find fault with him. But Daniel was too honest and wise.
Then, one day, they hit upon a scheme. They approached the king and said, “O mighty King, may you live forever. We have a plan to make all the people of your kingdom respect and admire you even more than they do now. Establish an image of yourself and make every person pray to it for 30 days. Whosoever shall pray to another god or man for the next 30 days should be cast into a den of hungry lions. If you sign such an edict it cannot be changed according to the law of Medea and Persia.”
The king felt honored and flattered and readily agreed to such a plan, not realizing that this was done to kill Daniel who prayed three times a day to the G-d of Israel.
Daniel Prays To G-d
The following day the ministers visited Daniel’s home. At the entrance of the courtyard they saw a small girl playing.
“Little girl,” they asked, “do you know Daniel who lives here?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“What does he do all day?” they asked.
“He buys clothes for the poor brides who come to him. He clothes both the bride and groom and he makes the wedding for them.”
“You don’t say,” remarked the ministers. “Is he always this happy?”
“No,” she replied, “at other times he arranges for the burial of the poor. He also gives a lot of money to the poor and he provides meals for the hungry.”
While they were speaking, a crowd of people entered the courtyard and remained waiting. “Who are these people and for whom are they waiting?” the ministers asked.
“They are poor people and they are waiting for Daniel to descend from the attic where he goes three times a day to pray to his G-d and then he will give them food and money.”
The ministers entered the home and ascended to the attic where they found Daniel kneeling to G-d. Without saying a word, they descended and gained an audience with the king.
“O mighty king,” they said, we have found Daniel praying to his G-d, which is against your edict. We now demand that your order him to be cast into the den of lions.”
The king felt bad and he tried to argue against such a harsh verdict being meted out to so prominent a man as Daniel.
“But you have no choice, O king,” they said. “He violated your law. If he gets away with it, then everyone in your kingdom will do the same. You must make an example of him.”
Cast Into The Den Of Lions
Having no choice, the king was forced to order his soldiers to cast Daniel into a large pit wherein were 10 hungry lions. Every day, 10 lambs and 10 carcasses were thrown into the hole for the lions to devour. On the day when Daniel was supposed to be thrown into the pit the lions did not get any food so that they would be ravenous.
A big crowd assembled to watch. Daniel was led forth, and after the charges against him were read, he was cast into the den. A huge stone was placed over the hole and the king sealed it with his signet; it would not be removed until the following day.