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6 It seemed like a good idea to Darius to appoint over the kingdom 120 satraps who would be in charge of the entire kingdom. 2 Over them would be three supervisors, one of whom was Daniel. These satraps were accountable to them, so that the king’s interests might not incur damage. 3 Now this Daniel was distinguishing himself above the other supervisors and the satraps, for he had an extraordinary spirit. In fact, the king intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 4 Consequently the supervisors and satraps were trying to find some pretext against Daniel in connection with administrative matters. But they were unable to find any such damaging evidence, because he was trustworthy and guilty of no negligence or corruption. 5 So these men concluded, “We won’t find any pretext against this man Daniel unless it is in connection with the law of his God.”
6 So these supervisors and satraps came by collusion to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 To all the supervisors of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, counselors, and governors it seemed like a good idea for a royal edict to be issued and an interdict to be enforced. For the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human other than you, O king, should be thrown into a den of lions. 8 Now let the king issue a written interdict so that it cannot be altered, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed. 9 So King Darius issued the written interdict.
10 When Daniel realized that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem. Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously. 11 Then those officials who had gone to the king came by collusion and found Daniel praying and asking for help before his God. 12 So they approached the king and said to him, “Did you not issue an edict to the effect that for the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human other than to you, O king, would be thrown into a den of lions?” The king replied, “That is correct, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed.” 13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the edict that you issued. Three times daily he offers his prayer.”
14 When the king heard this, he was very upset and began thinking about how he might rescue Daniel. Until late afternoon he was struggling to find a way to rescue him. 15 Then those men came by collusion to the king and said to him, “Recall, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or decree that the king issues can be changed.” 16 So the king gave the order, and Daniel was brought and thrown into a den of lions. The king consoled Daniel by saying, “Your God whom you continually serve will rescue you!” 17 Then a stone was brought and placed over the opening to the den. The king sealed it with his signet ring and with those of his nobles so that nothing could be changed with regard to Daniel. 18 Then the king departed to his palace. But he spent the night without eating, and no diversions were brought to him. He was unable to sleep.
19 In the morning, at the earliest sign of daylight, the king got up and rushed to the lions’ den. 20 As he approached the den, he called out to Daniel in a worried voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, was your God whom you continually serve able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not harmed me, because I was found to be innocent before him. Nor have I done any harm to you, O king.”
23 Then the king was delighted and gave an order to haul Daniel up from the den. So Daniel was hauled up out of the den. He had no injury of any kind, because he had trusted in his God. 24 The king gave another order, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions’ den—they, their children, and their wives. They did not even reach the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and language groups who were living in all the land: “Peace and prosperity! 26 I have issued an edict that throughout all the dominion of my kingdom people are to revere and fear the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God;
he endures forever.
His kingdom will not be destroyed;
his authority is forever.
27 He rescues and delivers
and performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions!”
28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
3 Dear friends, this is already the second letter I have written you, in which I am trying to stir up your pure mind by way of reminder: 2 I want you to recall both the predictions foretold by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. 3 Above all, understand this: In the last days blatant scoffers will come, being propelled by their own evil urges 4 and saying, “Where is his promised return? For ever since our ancestors died, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water. 6 Through these things the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. 9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare. 11 Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, 12 while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze! 13 But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides.
14 Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence. 15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, 16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.
129 Your rules are marvelous.
Therefore I observe them.
130 Your instructions are a doorway through which light shines.
They give insight to the untrained.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commands.
132 Turn toward me and extend mercy to me,
as you typically do to your loyal followers.
133 Direct my steps by your word!
Do not let any sin dominate me!
134 Deliver me from oppressive men,
so that I can keep your precepts.
135 Smile on your servant!
Teach me your statutes!
136 Tears stream down from my eyes,
because people do not keep your law.
137 You are just, O Lord,
and your judgments are fair.
138 The rules you impose are just,
and absolutely reliable.
139 My zeal consumes me,
for my enemies forget your instructions.
140 Your word is absolutely pure,
and your servant loves it!
141 I am insignificant and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your justice endures,
and your law is reliable.
143 Distress and hardship confront me,
yet I find delight in your commands.
144 Your rules remain just.
Give me insight so that I can live.
145 I cried out with all my heart, “Answer me, O Lord!
I will observe your statutes.”
146 I cried out to you, “Deliver me,
so that I can keep your rules.”
147 I am up before dawn crying for help.
I find hope in your word.
148 My eyes anticipate the nighttime hours,
so that I can meditate on your word.
149 Listen to me because of your loyal love!
O Lord, revive me, as you typically do!
150 Those who are eager to do wrong draw near;
they are far from your law.
151 You are near, O Lord,
and all your commands are reliable.
152 I learned long ago that
you ordained your rules to last.
21 To show partiality is terrible,
for a person will transgress over the smallest piece of bread.
22 The stingy person hastens after riches
and does not know that poverty will overtake him.