17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else.(A) Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar(B) sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor.(C) 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death;(D) those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled.(E) 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride,(F) he was deposed from his royal throne(G) and stripped(H) of his glory.(I) 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign(J) over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.(K)

22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[a] have not humbled(L) yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against(M) the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives(N) and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand.(O) But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life(P) and all your ways.(Q) 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

25 “This is the inscription that was written:

mene, mene, tekel, parsin

26 “Here is what these words mean:

Mene[b]: God has numbered the days(R) of your reign and brought it to an end.(S)

27 Tekel[c]: You have been weighed on the scales(T) and found wanting.(U)

28 Peres[d]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes(V) and Persians.”(W)

29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck,(X) and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.(Y)

30 That very night Belshazzar,(Z) king(AA) of the Babylonians,[e] was slain,(AB) 31 and Darius(AC) the Mede(AD) took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.[f]

Daniel in the Den of Lions

[g]It pleased Darius(AE) to appoint 120 satraps(AF) to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel.(AG) The satraps were made accountable(AH) to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.(AI) At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges(AJ) against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”(AK)

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever!(AL) The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors(AM) have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.(AN) Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”(AO) So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward(AP) Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees(AQ) and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.(AR) 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.(AS) 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”(AT)

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah,(AU) pays no attention(AV) to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed;(AW) he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”(AX)

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den.(AY) The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue(AZ) you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed(BA) it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating(BB) and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.(BC)

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”(BD)

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever!(BE) 22 My God sent his angel,(BF) and he shut the mouths of the lions.(BG) They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.(BH) Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound(BI) was found on him, because he had trusted(BJ) in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den,(BK) along with their wives and children.(BL) And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.(BM)

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language(BN) in all the earth:

“May you prosper greatly!(BO)

26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence(BP) the God of Daniel.(BQ)

“For he is the living God(BR)
    and he endures forever;(BS)
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
    his dominion will never end.(BT)
27 He rescues and he saves;(BU)
    he performs signs and wonders(BV)
    in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”(BW)

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus[h](BX) the Persian.(BY)

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

In the first year of Belshazzar(BZ) king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions(CA) passed through his mind(CB) as he was lying in bed.(CC) He wrote(CD) down the substance of his dream.

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven(CE) churning up the great sea. Four great beasts,(CF) each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

“The first was like a lion,(CG) and it had the wings of an eagle.(CH) I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

“And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’(CI)

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard.(CJ) And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

“After that, in my vision(CK) at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron(CL) teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled(CM) underfoot whatever was left.(CN) It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.(CO)

“While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little(CP) one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being(CQ) and a mouth that spoke boastfully.(CR)

“As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,
    and the Ancient of Days(CS) took his seat.(CT)
His clothing was as white as snow;(CU)
    the hair of his head was white like wool.(CV)
His throne was flaming with fire,
    and its wheels(CW) were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire(CX) was flowing,
    coming out from before him.(CY)
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
    ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
    and the books(CZ) were opened.

11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking.(DA) I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.(DB) 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[i](DC) coming(DD) with the clouds of heaven.(DE) He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority,(DF) glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.(DG) His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom(DH) is one that will never be destroyed.(DI)


  1. Daniel 5:22 Or descendant; or successor
  2. Daniel 5:26 Mene can mean numbered or mina (a unit of money).
  3. Daniel 5:27 Tekel can mean weighed or shekel.
  4. Daniel 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin) can mean divided or Persia or a half mina or a half shekel.
  5. Daniel 5:30 Or Chaldeans
  6. Daniel 5:31 In Aramaic texts this verse (5:31) is numbered 6:1.
  7. Daniel 6:1 In Aramaic texts 6:1-28 is numbered 6:2-29.
  8. Daniel 6:28 Or Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus
  9. Daniel 7:13 The Aramaic phrase bar enash means human being. The phrase son of man is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.

Bible Gateway Recommends