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Daniel 1-6 Common English Bible (CEB)

Jerusalem taken by the Babylonians

In the third year of the rule of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and attacked it. The Lord handed Judah’s King Jehoiakim over to Nebuchadnezzar, along with some of the equipment from God’s house. Nebuchadnezzar took these to Shinar, to his own god’s temple, putting them in his god’s treasury.

Training for royal service

Nebuchadnezzar instructed his highest official Ashpenaz to choose royal descendants and members of the ruling class from the Israelites— good-looking young men without defects, skilled in all wisdom, possessing knowledge, conversant with learning, and capable of serving in the king’s palace. Ashpenaz was to teach them the Chaldean language and its literature. The king assigned these young men daily allotments from his own food and from the royal wine. Ashpenaz was to teach them for three years so that at the end of that time they could serve before the king. Among these young men from the Judeans were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. But the chief official gave them new names. He named Daniel “Belteshazzar,” Hananiah “Shadrach,” Mishael “Meshach,” and Azariah “Abednego.”

Test

Daniel decided that he wouldn’t pollute himself with the king’s rations or the royal wine, and he appealed to the chief official in hopes that he wouldn’t have to do so. Now God had established faithful loyalty between Daniel and the chief official; 10 but the chief official said to Daniel, “I’m afraid of my master, the king, who has mandated what you are to eat and drink. What will happen if he sees your faces looking thinner than the other young men in your group? The king will have my head because of you!”

11 So Daniel spoke to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 “Why not test your servants for ten days? You could give us a diet of vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance to the appearance of the young men who eat the king’s food. Then deal with your servants according to what you see.”

14 The guard decided to go along with their plan and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. 16 So the guard kept taking away their rations and the wine they were supposed to drink and gave them vegetables instead. 17 And God gave knowledge, mastery of all literature, and wisdom to these four men. Daniel himself gained understanding of every type of vision and dream.

Result of the training

18 When the time came to review the young men as the king had ordered, the chief official brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 When the king spoke with them, he found no one as good as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they took their place in the king’s service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them about any aspect of wisdom and understanding, he found them head and shoulders above all the dream interpreters and enchanters in his entire kingdom. 21 And Daniel stayed in the king’s service until the first year of King Cyrus.

An impossible challenge

In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, he had many dreams. The dreams made him anxious, but he kept sleeping. The king summoned the dream interpreters, enchanters, diviners, and Chaldeans to explain his dreams to him. They came and stood before the king.

Then the king said to them: “I had a dream, and I’m anxious to know its meaning.”

The Chaldeans answered the king in Aramaic:[a] “Long live the king! Tell your servants the dream, and we will explain its meaning.”

The king answered the Chaldeans: “My decision is final: If you can’t tell me the dream and its meaning, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into trash dumps. But if you do explain the dream and its meaning, you’ll receive generous gifts and glorious honor from me. So explain to me the dream as well as its meaning.”

They answered him again: “The king must tell his servants the dream. We will then explain the meaning.”

The king replied: “Now I definitely know you are stalling for time, because you see that my decision is final and that if you can’t tell me the dream, your fate is certain. You’ve conspired to make false and lying speeches before me until the situation changes. Tell me the dream now! Then I’ll know you can explain its meaning to me.”

10 The Chaldeans answered the king: “No one on earth can do what the king is asking! No king or ruler, no matter how great, has ever asked such a thing of any dream interpreter, enchanter, or Chaldean. 11 What the king is asking is impossible! No one could declare the dream to the king but the gods, who don’t live among mere humans.”

12 At this, the king exploded in a furious rage and ordered that all Babylon’s sages be wiped out. 13 So the command went out: The sages were to be killed. Daniel and his friends too were hunted down; they were to be killed as well.

God reveals the mystery

14 Then Daniel, with wisdom and sound judgment, responded to Arioch the king’s chief executioner, who had gone out to kill Babylon’s sages. 15 He said to Arioch the king’s royal officer, “Why is the king’s command so unreasonable?” After Arioch explained the situation to Daniel, 16 Daniel went and asked the king to give him some time so he could explain the dream’s meaning to him. 17 Then Daniel went to his house and explained the situation to his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah 18 so that they would ask the God of heaven for help about this mystery, in hopes that Daniel and his friends wouldn’t die with the rest of Babylon’s sages. 19 Then, in a vision by night, the mystery was revealed to Daniel! Daniel praised the God of heaven:

20 God’s name be praised
    from age to eternal age!
        Wisdom and might are his!
21 God is the one who changes times and eras,
    who dethrones one king, only to establish another,
        who grants wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those with insight.
22 God is the one who uncovers what lies deeply hidden;
    he knows what hides in darkness;
        light lives with him!
23 I acknowledge and praise you, my fathers’ God!
    You’ve given me wisdom and might,
        and now you’ve made known to me what we asked of you:
            you’ve made known to us the king’s demand.

Daniel recounts the dream

24 So Daniel went to Arioch, the man the king had appointed to wipe out Babylon’s sages. Daniel said to him, “Don’t wipe out the sages of Babylon! Bring me before the king, and I will explain the dream’s meaning to him.” 25 Wasting no time, Arioch brought Daniel before the king, telling him, “I have found someone from the Judean exiles who will tell the dream’s meaning to the king.”

26 In reply the king said to Daniel (whose name was Belteshazzar), “Can you really tell me the dream that I saw, as well as its meaning?”

27 Daniel answered the king, “Sages, enchanters, dream interpreters, and diviners can’t explain to the king the mystery he seeks. 28 But there is a God in heaven, a revealer of mysteries, who has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the days to come! Now this was your dream—this was the vision in your head as you lay in your bed:

29 “As you lay in bed, Your Majesty, your thoughts turned to what will happen in the future. The revealer of mysteries has revealed to you what will happen. 30 Now this mystery was revealed to me, not because I have more wisdom than any other living person but so that the dream’s meaning might be made known to the king, and so that you might know the thoughts of your own mind.

31 “Your Majesty, you were looking, and there, rising before you, was a single, massive statue. This statue was huge, shining with dazzling light, and was awesome to see. 32 The statue’s head was made of pure gold; its chest and arms were made from silver; its abdomen and hips were made of bronze. 33 Its legs were of iron, and its feet were a mixture of iron and clay. 34 You observed this until a stone was cut, but not by hands; and it smashed the statue’s feet of iron and clay and shattered them. 35 Then all the parts shattered simultaneously—iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. They became like chaff, left on summer threshing floors. The wind lifted them away until no trace of them remained. But the stone that smashed the statue became a mighty mountain, and it filled the entire earth.

The dream’s meaning: four future rulers

36 “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its meaning: 37 You, Your Majesty, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given kingship, power, might, and glory to you! 38 God has delivered into your care human beings, wild creatures, and birds in the sky—wherever they live—and has made you ruler of all of them. You are the gold head. 39 But in your place, another kingdom will arise, one inferior to yours, and then a third, bronze kingdom will rule over all the earth. 40 Then will come a fourth kingdom, mighty like iron. Just as iron shatters and crushes everything; so like an iron that smashes, it will shatter and crush all these others. 41 As for the feet and toes that you saw, which were a mixture of potter’s clay and iron, that signifies a divided kingdom; but it will possess some of the unyielding strength of iron. Even so, you saw the iron mixed with earthy clay 42 so that the toes were made from a mixture of iron and clay. Part of the kingdom will be mighty, but part of it will be fragile. 43 Just as you saw the iron mixed with earthy clay, they will join together by intermarrying, but they will not bond to each other, just as iron does not fuse with clay.

44 “But in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will be indestructible. Its rule will never pass to another people. It will shatter other kingdoms. It will put an end to all of them. It will stand firm forever, 45 just like you saw when the stone, which was cut from the mountain, but not by hands, shattered the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. A great God has revealed to the king what will happen in the future. The dream is certain. Its meaning can be trusted.”

Nebuchadnezzar honors Daniel

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed low and honored Daniel. The king ordered that grain and incense offerings be made to Daniel. 47 The king declared to Daniel, “No doubt about it: your God is God of gods, Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries because you were able to reveal this mystery!” 48 Then the king exalted Daniel and lavished gifts on him, making him ruler over all the province of Babylon and chief minister over all Babylon’s sages. 49 At Daniel’s urging, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to administer the province of Babylon, but Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

Gold statue

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue. It was ninety feet high and nine feet wide. He set it up in the Dura Valley in the province of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar then ordered the chief administrators, ministers, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to assemble and come for the dedication of the statue that he had set up. So the chief administrators, ministers, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. They stood in front of the statue the king had set up. The herald proclaimed loudly: “Peoples, nations, and languages! This is what you must do: When you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, lyre, harp, flute, and every kind of instrument, you must bow down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Anyone who will not bow down and worship will be immediately thrown into a furnace of flaming fire.” So because of this order as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, lyre, harp, flute,[b] and every kind of instrument, all the peoples, nations, and languages bowed down and worshipped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Plot against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

At that moment some Chaldeans came forward, seizing a chance to attack the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar:

“Long live the king! 10 Your Majesty, you gave a command that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, lyre, harp, flute, and every kind of instrument should bow down and worship the gold statue. 11 Anyone who wouldn’t bow and worship would be thrown into a furnace of flaming fire. 12 Now there are some Jews, ones you appointed to administer the province of Babylon—specifically, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—who have ignored your command. They don’t serve your gods, and they don’t worship the gold statue you’ve set up.”

13 In a violent rage Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were brought before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I’ve set up? 15 If you are now ready to do so, bow down and worship the gold statue I’ve made when you hear the sound of horn, pipe, zither, lyre, harp, flute, and every kind of instrument. But if you won’t worship it, you will be thrown straight into the furnace of flaming fire. Then what god will rescue you from my power?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar: “We don’t need to answer your question. 17 If our God—the one we serve—is able to rescue us from the furnace of flaming fire and from your power, Your Majesty, then let him rescue us.[c] 18 But if he doesn’t, know this for certain, Your Majesty: we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you’ve set up.”

Inside the furnace

19 Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and his face twisted beyond recognition because of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In response he commanded that the furnace be heated to seven times its normal heat. 20 He told some of the strongest men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace of flaming fire. 21 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound, still dressed in all their clothes, and thrown into the furnace of flaming fire. (22 Now the king’s command had been rash, and the furnace was heated to such an extreme that the fire’s flame killed the very men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it.) 23 So these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell, bound, into the furnace of flaming fire.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in shock and said to his associates, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?”

They answered the king, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

25 He replied, “Look! I see four men, unbound, walking around inside the fire, and they aren’t hurt! And the fourth one looks like one of the gods.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar went near the opening of the furnace of flaming fire and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 The chief administrators, ministers, governors, and the king’s associates crowded around to look at them. The fire hadn’t done anything to them: their hair wasn’t singed; their garments looked the same as before; they didn’t even smell like fire!

Nebuchadnezzar praises God

28 Nebuchadnezzar declared: “May the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be praised! He sent his messenger[d] to rescue his servants who trusted him. They ignored the king’s order, sacrificing their bodies, because they wouldn’t serve or worship any god but their God. 29 I now issue a decree to every people, nation, and language: whoever speaks disrespectfully about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s God will be torn limb from limb and their house made a trash heap, because there is no other god who can rescue like this.”

30 Then the king made Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego prosperous in the province of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony

[e] King Nebuchadnezzar’s message to all the peoples, nations, and languages inhabiting the entire earth: “I wish you much peace. I’m delighted to share the signs and miracles that the Most High God has worked in my life.

His signs are superb!
    His miracles so powerful!
His kingdom is everlasting.
    His rule is for all time.

[f] “While I, Nebuchadnezzar, was safe in my house, content in my palace, I had a terrifying dream. My thoughts while I was lying in bed and the vision in my mind overwhelmed me. I ordered all Babylon’s sages to come before me, so they might tell me the dream’s meaning. So the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners came. I told them the dream, but they couldn’t interpret it for me. Daniel, who is called Belteshazzar after the name of my god, was the last to come before me. In him is the breath[g] of the holy gods! I told Daniel the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

“Belteshazzar, chief of the dream interpreters, I know the breath of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream. 10 In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw a vision:

At the center of the earth was a towering tree.
11     The tree grew in size and strength;
        it was as high as the sky;
        it could be seen from every corner of the earth.
12         Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant;
        it had enough food for everyone.
    Wild animals took shade under it;
        birds nested in its branches.
    All living things lived off that tree.

13 “In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw another vision: A holy watcher came down from heaven. 14 He proclaimed loudly:

‘Cut down the tree and shear off its branches!
    Strip its leaves and scatter its fruit!
The creatures should flee from its shelter;
    the birds should take flight from its branches.
15 But leave its deepest root in the earth,
    bound with iron and bronze in the field grass.
Dew from heaven is to wash it,
    and it must live with the animals in the earth’s vegetation.
16 Its[h] human mind is to be changed:
    it will be given the mind of an animal.
    Seven periods of time will pass over it.
17 This sentence is by the watchers’ decree;
    this decision is the holy ones’ word
        so that all who live might know
        that the Most High dominates human kingship.
The Most High gives kingship to anyone he wants
    and sets over it the lowest of people.’

18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. So now Belteshazzar, tell me the meaning because all the sages in my kingdom were unable to interpret it for me. But you are able to do it because the breath of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel interprets the visions

19 Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was shocked for a bit. What he thought about frightened him.

The king declared, “Don’t let the dream and its meaning scare you, Belteshazzar.”

Then Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish the dream to be for those who hate you and its meaning to be for your enemies! 20 The tree you saw that grew in size and strength, that was as high as the sky, that could be seen from every corner of the earth, 21 with its beautiful leaves and its abundant fruit, and that had enough food for everyone, with wild animals living under it and birds nesting in its branches— 22 Your Majesty, that tree is you! You have grown large and become powerful. Your greatness is as high as the sky; your rule extends to the edge of the earth!

23 “Your Majesty, the holy watcher you saw coming down from heaven, who said, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its deepest root in the earth, bound with iron and bronze in the field grass, dew from heaven is to wash it, and it must live with the wild animals until seven periods of time pass over it’— 24 Your Majesty, this is the dream’s meaning: It is the sentence of the Most High, delivered to my master the king. 25 You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle and will be washed by dew from heaven. Seven periods of time will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants. 26 And when he said to leave the deepest root of the tree—that means your kingship will again be yours, once you acknowledge that heaven rules all. 27 Therefore, Your Majesty, please accept my advice: remove your sins by doing what is right; remove your wrongdoing by showing mercy to the poor. Then your safety will be long lasting.”

Visions come true

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon. 30 The king declared, “Isn’t this Babylon, the magnificent city that I built as the royal house by my own mighty strength and for my own majestic glory?”

31 These words hadn’t even left the king’s mouth when a voice came from heaven: “You, King Nebuchadnezzar, are now informed: Kingship is taken away from you. 32 You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants.”

33 Nebuchadnezzar’s sentence was immediately carried out. He was driven away from other humans and ate grass like cattle. Dew from heaven washed his body until he grew hair like eagles’ feathers and claws like a bird.

Nebuchadnezzar is restored

34 “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes to heaven. My reason returned to me, and I praised the Most High. I worshipped and glorified the one who lives forever because his rule is everlasting; his kingdom is for all time. 35 All of earth’s inhabitants are nothing in comparison. The Most High does whatever he wants with heaven’s forces and with earth’s inhabitants. No one can contain his power or say to him, ‘What do you think you are doing?’ 36 So at that moment my reason returned to me. My honor and splendor came back to me for the glory of my kingdom. My associates and my princes wanted to be with me again. Not only was I reinstated over my kingdom, I received more power than ever before.

37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, worship, magnify, and glorify the king of heaven. All his works are truth, all his paths are justice, and he is able to humble all who walk in pride.”

Belshazzar’s party

King Belshazzar threw a huge party for a thousand of his princes, and he drank a lot of wine in front of them. While he was under the wine’s influence, Belshazzar commanded that the gold and silver equipment that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem’s temple be brought to the party so that the king, his princes, his consorts, and his secondary wives could drink wine out of them. So the gold[i] equipment that had been carried out of the temple, God’s house in Jerusalem, was brought in; and the king, his princes, his consorts, and his secondary wives drank out of it. They drank a lot of wine; and they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Writing on the wall

Right then the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the king’s palace wall in the light of the lamp. The king saw the hand that wrote. The king’s mood changed immediately, and he was deeply disturbed. He felt weak, and his knees were shaking. The king yelled, calling for the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners.

The king told these sages of Babylon: “Anyone who can read this writing and tell me its meaning will wear royal robes, will have a gold chain around his neck, and will rule the kingdom as third in command.”

Then all the king’s sages arrived, but they couldn’t read the writing or interpret it for the king. At that point King Belshazzar was really frightened. All the color drained from his face, and his princes were also very worried.

10 Upon hearing the commotion coming from the king and his princes, the queen entered the banqueting hall and declared, “Long live the king! Don’t be so disturbed. Don’t be so frightened. 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the breath[j] of holy gods in him! When your father was alive, this man was shown to possess illumination, insight, and wisdom like the very wisdom of the gods.[k] Your father King Nebuchadnezzar appointed this man as chief over the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners. Yes, your father did this 12 because this man—Daniel, the one the king named Belteshazzar—possesses an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and insight into the meaning of dreams. He can explain ambiguities and resolve mysteries. Now in light of all that, summon Daniel! He will explain the meaning of this thing.”

13 So Daniel was brought before the king. The king said to him, “So you are Daniel, the Daniel from the exiles that my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the breath of the gods is in you and that you possess illumination, insight, and extraordinary wisdom. 15 Now, the sages and the dream interpreters were brought before me to read this writing and interpret it for me, but they couldn’t explain its meaning. 16 But I’ve heard that you can explain meanings and solve mysteries. So if you can read this writing and interpret it for me, you will wear royal robes, have a gold chain around your neck, and will rule the kingdom as third in command.”

Daniel interprets the writing

17 Daniel answered the king: “Keep your gifts. Give the rewards to someone else. But I will still read the writing to the king and interpret it for him. 18 Listen, Your Majesty: The Most High God gave kingship, power, glory, and majesty to your father Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Because of the power God gave Nebuchadnezzar, all peoples, nations, and languages were terrified of him. He did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted: killing or sparing, exalting or humbling. 20 But when he became arrogant, acting in stubborn pride, he was pulled off his royal throne and the glory was taken from him. 21 He was driven away from other humans, and his mind became like an animal’s. He lived with wild donkeys, he ate grass like cattle, and dew from heaven washed his body until he realized that the Most High God dominates human kingship and sets over it anyone he wants.

22 “But you who are his son, Belshazzar, you haven’t submitted, even though you’ve known all this. 23 Instead, you’ve set yourself up against the Lord of heaven! The equipment of God’s house was brought to you; and you, your princes, your consorts, and your secondary wives drank wine out of it, all the while praising the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods who can’t see, hear, or know anything. But you didn’t glorify the true God who holds your very breath in his hand and who owns every road you take.

24 “That’s why this hand was sent from God and why this message was written down. 25 This is what was written down:

mene, mene, tekel, and parsin.[l]

26 “This is the meaning of the word mene: God has numbered[m] the days of your rule. It’s over! 27 tekel means that you’ve been weighed[n] on the scales, and you don’t measure up. 28 peres[o] means your kingship is divided[p] and given to the Medes and the Persians.”[q]

29 Then Belshazzar commanded that Daniel be dressed in a purple robe, have a gold chain around his neck, and be officially appointed as third in command in the kingdom.

30 That very same night, Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. 31 Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of 62.

Plot against Daniel

Darius decided to appoint one hundred twenty chief administrators throughout the kingdom, and to set over them three main officers to whom they would report so that the king wouldn’t have to be bothered with too much.[r] One of these main officers was Daniel. Because of his extraordinary spirit, Daniel soon surpassed the other officers and the chief administrators—so much so that the king had plans to set him over the entire kingdom. As a result, the other officers and the chief administrators tried to find some problem with Daniel’s work for the kingdom. But they couldn’t find any problem or corruption at all because Daniel was trustworthy. He wasn’t guilty of any negligence or corruption.

So these men said, “We won’t find any fault in Daniel, unless we can find something to use against him from his religious practice.”[s]

So these officers and chief administrators ganged together and went to the king. They said to him, “Long live King Darius! All the officers of the kingdom, the ministers, the chief administrators, the royal associates, and the governors advise the king to issue an edict and enforce a law, that for thirty days anyone who says prayers to any god or human being except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a pit of lions. Now, Your Majesty, issue the law and sign the document so that it cannot be changed, as per the law of Media and Persia, which cannot be annulled.” Because of this, King Darius signed the document containing the law.

Daniel prays

10 When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. Now his upper room had open windows that faced Jerusalem. Daniel knelt down, prayed, and praised his God three times that day, just like he always did. 11 Just then these men, all ganged together, came upon Daniel praying and seeking mercy from his God. 12 They then went and talked to the king about the law: “Your Majesty! Didn’t you sign a law, that for thirty days any person who prays to any god or human being besides you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into a pit of lions?”

The king replied, “The decision is absolutely firm in accordance with the law of Media and Persia, which cannot be annulled.”

13 So they said to the king, “One of the Judean exiles, Daniel, has ignored you, Your Majesty, as well as the law you signed. He says his prayers three times a day!”

14 When the king heard this report, he was very unhappy. He decided to rescue Daniel and did everything he could do to save Daniel before the sun went down. 15 But these men, all ganged together, came and said to the king, “You must realize, Your Majesty, that the law of Media and Persia, including every law and edict the king has issued, cannot be changed.”

Daniel in the lions’ pit

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and hurled him into the pit of lions.

The king said to Daniel: “Your God—the one you serve so consistently—will rescue you.”[t]

17 A single stone was brought and placed over the entrance to the pit. The king sealed it with his own ring and with those of his princes so that Daniel’s situation couldn’t be changed. 18 The king then went home to his palace and fasted through the night. No pleasures[u] were brought to him, and he couldn’t sleep. 19 At dawn, at the first sign of light, the king rose and rushed to the lions’ pit.

20 As he approached it, he called out to Daniel, worried: “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God—the one you serve so consistently—able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Then Daniel answered the king: “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his messenger, who shut the lions’ mouths. They haven’t touched me because I was judged innocent before my God. I haven’t done anything wrong to you either, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was thrilled. He commanded that Daniel be brought up out of the pit, and Daniel was lifted out. Not a scratch was found on him, because he trusted in his God. 24 The king then ordered that the men who had accused Daniel be brought and thrown into the lions’ pit—including their wives and children. They hadn’t even reached the bottom of the pit before the lions overpowered them, crushing all their bones.

New decree

25 Then King Darius wrote the following decree:

To all the peoples, nations, and languages inhabiting the entire earth: I wish you much peace. 26 I now issue this command: In every region of my kingdom, all people must fear and revere Daniel’s God because:

He is the living God.
    God stands firm forever.
His kingship is indestructible.
    God’s rule will last until the end of time.
27 He is rescuer and savior;
    God performs signs and miracles in heaven and on earth.
Here’s the proof:
    He rescued Daniel from the lions’ power.

28 And so Daniel was made prosperous during the rule of Darius and during the rule of Cyrus the Persian.

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 2:4 The book switches into Aramaic at this point, returning to Hebrew in 8:1.
  2. Daniel 3:7 Identification of the instruments is not certain; several of the Aramaic terms are Greek loanwords.
  3. Daniel 3:17 Or he will deliver us
  4. Daniel 3:28 Or angel
  5. Daniel 4:1 3:31 in Aram
  6. Daniel 4:4 4:1 in Aram
  7. Daniel 4:8 Or spirit; also in 4:9, 18
  8. Daniel 4:16 Throughout 4:15-16 and later in this chap, it and its could also be translated he and his.
  9. Daniel 5:3 Vulg, Theodotion add silver.
  10. Daniel 5:11 Or spirit; also in 5:14
  11. Daniel 5:11 Or wisdom of God
  12. Daniel 5:25 Aram Upharsin
  13. Daniel 5:26 Aram menah, which is a wordplay with Mene
  14. Daniel 5:27 Aram teqal, which is a wordplay with Tekel
  15. Daniel 5:28 The singular form of the plural Parsin in 5:25
  16. Daniel 5:28 Aram peras, which is a wordplay with Parsin
  17. Daniel 5:28 Aram Paras, another wordplay with Parsin
  18. Daniel 6:2 Aram uncertain
  19. Daniel 6:5 Or in the Instruction of his God
  20. Daniel 6:16 Or May your God—the one you serve so consistently—rescue you.
  21. Daniel 6:18 Aram uncertain
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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