When one hears the general premise of the story, that the king of Medea locked Daniel in a cage full of lions, it is natural to assume that the king’s goal in throwing him to the lions was his death. This, however, was not the case.
When King Darius the Mede took over the Babylonian empire (upon the death of Balshazzar), he found Daniel to be an excellent adviser and administrator. When Daniel proved himself successful in governing one of the three provinces created by Darius, the king even considered elevating him to Prime Minister.
In a plot to bring down Daniel the Jew, the other governors and ministers convinced Darius to declare a month of nationalism and command that “whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except for you, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions” (Daniel 6:8).
When Daniel heard of this new law, he went home and prayed to God as usual. When the conspirators reported on Daniel, the king had no choice but to uphold his own law.
The king “was sore displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him...[When Daniel was brought to the Lion’s den, the king said to him:] ‘Your God whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.’” (6:15, 17). In fact, the king was so worried about Daniel that he spent the night fasting and pacing.
In the morning, when they took away the stone blocking the opening, Daniel was still very much alive. According to Daniel, an angel came and closed the mouths of the lions so that he was not hurt.
Since this miracle was a sign that Daniel was innocent of any traitorous activity, his accusers were given his intended punishment. They, however, did not survive.
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