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Daniel In The Lions Den

The Israelites were kept captive

for many years in Babylonia by

King Nebuchadnezzar. The King

chose some of the brighter young

Israelite youths from royal or noble

families and educated them.

He ordered that they be fed

the same food that the others

in his household ate. At that

time there was a law that allowed

Israelites to eat only certain foods.

One of the youths, by the name

of Daniel, refused to eat the

king's rich food. He asked

Nebuchadnezzar's servants to bring him

and his friends only vegetables and

water. The servant was afraid

that this kind of food would make

them weak and he would be in

trouble for doing as Daniel asked.

Daniel asked if he and his friends

could only eat the vegetables

and water while the others ate the

kings rich foods for ten days.

It was agreed. At the end of

the ten days, Daniel and his friends

were stronger than the other youths.

Because they had obeyed the laws,

God favored them and from then on,

Daniel was highly valued in court.

God gave Daniel's friends great

wisdom and skill in writing.

To Daniel, He gave the ability

to understand dreams and visions.

Nebuchadnezzar had been King for

two years when he began to be

troubled by many dreams. He was not

able to sleep because of these

dreams. He sent for his magicians and

said to them, "I had a strange dream

and my spirit is troubled to know

the meaning of it." The magicians

said, "Tell us what the dream is and

we will tell you what it means."

Nebuchadnezzar said to them,

"If you are really magicians,

you will be able to tell me what

the dream is as well as what it means."

He told his magicians that if they

granted his request he would give them

gifts and great honor, but if they

failed or lied about the meaning,

they would be put to death.

The magicians told Nebuchadnezzar that

this was impossible to do. The

King then ordered that Daniel and

his companions put the magicians

to death. Daniel heard this and

prayed that God would give him

the meanings of Nebuchadnezzars

dream as well as the dream,

so he might save these men.

That night God told Daniel in a

vision about the dream and

what it meant.

The next day, Daniel went to

the king and told him that

no wise men, magician, or astrologer

could tell him of the dream.

This was something that only

God could do. Then Daniel told

the king what God had revealed

the night before. The dream was

about things that would happen

in the future. In the dream,

the king stood before a mighty

statue of blinding brightness,

and it frightened him. The

head was gold, the chest and

arms of silver, the belly and

thighs of bronze, the legs of iron,

and the feet of iron and clay.

As the king looked at the image,

a great stone appeared and struck

the statues feet, breaking them to pieces.

And the rest of the statue

crumbled into dust, so that not a

trace could be found. But

the stone that struck the image

became a great mountain and filled

the whole earth.

Then Daniel described what the

dream meant. The head of gold stood

for Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom.

The parts of the statue that were

of silver, bronze, iron, and clay, stood

for the other kingdoms that would

come after Nebuchadnezzar for

many years to come. The stone

which struck the image represented

the kingdom that God had

set up in heaven. This kingdom

in heaven would never be destroyed

and would never lose its

dominion and would fill the

whole earth.

When Daniel finished, Nebuchadnezzar

fell upon his face and paid

tribute to Daniel and said to him,

"Truly your God is God of god's

and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries;

for you have been able to understand

my dreams." The king gave Daniel

many gifts and made him chief over

all the wise men in Babylonia.

When Nebuchadnezzar died, his

son Belshazzar took is place

as king of Babylonia and made

a great feast for his lords. During

the feast Belshazzar commanded

that his father's vessels of gold

and silver be brought so wine

could be drunk from them.

As they drank, they praised the

god's of gold and silver.

Suddenly the feast was interrupted

when a man's hand appeared and

began to write on the wall of the

palace. All those who saw this

were scared. When the hand disappeared,

the word, "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin"

were written on the wall.

Belshazzar was in a panic

and sent for his wise men

to interpret the message. The king

promised that whosoever could

interpret the message would be

clothed in rich purple garments

and wear a chain of gold

around his neck.

Then the queen remembered Daniel.

She had him brought to the

palace to quiet her husbands

fears. Daniel looked at the writing

on the wall. He knew exactly where

it had come from and what it meant.

He told Belshazzar that God had

sent the hand to condemn the king

and his people for praising the false

god's of gold and silver and for

failing to honor the Lord. Daniel

told the king that the word

"mene" meant that God would destroy

Belshazzar's kingdom in a number of

days. "Tekel" meant that the king's

actions had been weighed and found lacking

in goodness. "Upharsin" meant that

the kings kingdom would be divided

among the Medes and the Persians.

Belshazzar, as distressed as he

was at this news, kept his word.

Daniel was clothed in royal robes

and made the third ruler in the kingdom.

That very same night, Belshazzar

was slain and Darius the Mede

captured the kingdom.

Darius honored Daniel above all

the other presidents and princes.

Darius planned to make him the ruler over all

the kingdom one day. The other

presidents and princes became

very jealous of Daniel. They could

find no way to find fault with

Daniel. One day they decided

to trick Darius.

They went to King Darius and

advised him the strengthen the

power over the people, by ordering

them to leave their gods and worship

only the king for thirty days.

Anyone who disobeyed would be thrown

into the lions' den. Darius loved

the power he had and agreed

to this foolish rule.

Daniel knew that this rule had

been made, but he continued

to pray and worship God three

times a day as he had always done.

The other leaders knew he would

do this and spied on him.

Then they told the King that

Daniel had disobeyed and must

be punished. The king tried to excuse

him, but the others wouldnt let him.

They said, "The law of the

Medes and Persians is that

no decree which the king has

made may be changed."

So, Daniel was thrown into the

lions' den. The king said,

"May your God, whom you serve

continually, save you!!" Then

a stone was placed against

the entrance so Daniel could not

escape. Darius went back to

his palace, but he could not eat

or sleep because of his sadness.

The next morning the king hurried

to the lions' den. When he

came near, he cried out, "Oh Daniel,

has your God been able to save you

from the lions?" To the kings

surprise, Daniel answered,

"Oh king, live forever! My God sent

His angel and shut the lions' mouths."

Daniel had so much faith in God

that he was not hurt by the lions.

The king ordered the men who

had plotted against Daniel to be

thrown into the lions' den.

Before they reached the bottom,

the lions had killed them,

because they had no faith in God.

King Darius then proclaimed that

the God of Daniel was the

living God whose kingdom would

last forever.

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