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I Sent A Lion To Eat Him - A Brief Study Of Darius And Daniel The Prophet

Updated on March 14, 2015

It's funny how vastly different societies of people can be. You can tell a story common to one society to another, and it will sound like some piece of fiction that could never be true. In the following poem, the society was a monarchy and the time was a period of peace for the government in control. That peace was maintained by a man who ruled with an iron hand. He was known for his quick temper, harsh judgments, and exotic methods of execution. To live in his kingdom, a person had to tread lightly, else the punishment would be swift and (for the people) entertaining.

The following poem is based on the true story of the king Darius (Cyazares II) king of Media (and Persia) who was just such a king. Babylon had decided to conquer the kingdom of Israel. They went about to spoil the Israelites and harvest as much booty as the kingdom would yield, thus bringing a great treasure home with their victory. They took much money, as much goods as the land would yield, and brought home alive the very best of the people to serve the king. One special group was to be a hand-selected group of boys to personally serve the king's needs. What a great way, they thought, to glorify their gods while humiliating Israel's God. One of those men was the man Daniel. Then over time, the kingdom of Persia destroyed Babylon and took over their lands, goods and people. Darius became king and loved his role as compete dictator and being worshiped as a demigod. But then Darius met the man Daniel and Darius was forever changed.

Young people gathered in a circle, around the royal throne

Every ear was attentive, to the king as he spoke,

A change had come to the monarch, and the story would tell them why

He changed from bad and selfish, to worship the God on high,

Listen to me young ones, and what I say to you

Learn a lesson from me now, and do what I say to do,

I will tell you all a story, that happened a year ago

It happened to a famous man, that everybody knows,

I met him when he was still young, and then I wasn't king

I thought I knew so much of life, but I knew not anything,

I remember when first I saw him, a strong young Jewish man

I saw him be so very good, in him not a hint of bad,

I saw him refuse the food, that was given him to eat

I saw him eat of *pulse, instead of the King's own daily meat,

He grew in stature and was liked by all, trusted by the king

Given position of governor, was strong in everything,

But did this power go to his head? did it give him any greed?

My friend continually served his God, the answer is no, indeed!

The governors and satraps under him, hated Daniel so

They tried so hard to harm his name, and wouldn't let it go,

The more they plotted, the angrier they got, until they noticed my sin

They noticed how I loved to rule, and the power God put me in,

They noticed how I began to think, how important is my name

That everyone should think of me, and thus will spread my fame,

Like Nebuchadnezzar the king was trapped, they knew they could trap me

I should have seen it coming, 'twas there for all to see,

And when I fell prey to my sin, Daniel would meet his end

And so they came to me one day, so I would kill my friend,

"King Darius, live forever!" is what they said to me

In my flesh that sounded good, for a king I was meant to be ,

"We have counseled together, and we thought it would be good

To have all the people's mind on you, as king you know they should,

We advise you make it law, that can not be undone

If anyone decides to pray, they'd pray to you as one,

And if anyone be so bold, so to another God to pray

They be cast into the lion's den below, and all be swept away!

Here, we have written it on a scroll, right here in our hand

All you do is sign it, to clean up all the land."

My hand shook with excitement, as I held in hand the quill

There was nothing like this moment, I was imposing my own will

On a nation of people, so they could pray to me

I was the king , after all, I deserved this prayer, you see?

I should have seen it in their eyes, their victory was complete

They succeeded in tricking their own king, to their enemy's defeat,

And they were just so happy, to point out that very day

That my dear friend Daniel, to his God did kneel and pray,

They could hardly stand it, they rung their hands in glee

As they brought in the man Daniel, to plead his case to me,

I told him, "I am so sorry Daniel, I only thought of me

I never thought of you, and all your prayers continually,

I will see if I can but break, this one and only law

If I fail I know your God can, spare you from their jaws!"

I watched as Daniel was taken, to the hole to throw him down

And a roar came from below, from that hole there in the ground,

When the men threw him in, and to the bottom he did fall

The lions didn't do a thing, they hardly cared at all,

For as he fell, the lions, stopped their awful fearful roar

And Daniel stood among them, on that terrible deadly floor,

I had a stone put over then, and sealed it with my ring

In case my wish would come true, and God would do something,

They could kill him anyway, and go on to blame the beasts

And I retired to my room, to get down on my knees,

I said, "O great God of Daniel, please spare this man his life

For the greatness of my sin, has cut me like a knife!

Whatever is your will, to work this night in us

I forever will serve you God, and in You will I trust."

There was not a word, from the children all around

They were listening intently, to the story they were bound,

"Young ones something changed me, it happened in the night

My heart was turned from hardened stone, my eyes opened to the light,

In the early morning, when enough lawful time had passed

I ordered the pit be opened to see, if God let Daniel last,

I said, "Servant of the living God, has God delivered you to live?"

I barely could speak the words, I had nothing left to give,

Daniel said, "O king, live forever!" his voice came from below

"The angel of the Lord has closed their mouths and didn't let them go!"

Tears of joy filled my eyes, I was happy as I could be

My God had answered my request, I was forgiven, I was free,

Those evil men were tossed down, the lions began to roar

They were torn apart before, they ever hit the floor!

To worship the living God, I made a decree that day

He is steadfast forever, and His kingdom never goes away.

Daniel, the victim of trickery, was condemned to be torn apart by starving lions. Darius the king was tricked into sentencing him.
Daniel, the victim of trickery, was condemned to be torn apart by starving lions. Darius the king was tricked into sentencing him.

The story above was told from the perspective of Darius (Cyaxares II), King of Media, when Daniel was thrown to the lions. Daniel, the servant of God, had been taken captive into Babylon when Cyrus, King of Persia, Darius' nephew, conquered Babylon. Cyrus in deference to his uncle, gave him the throne and chief monarchy of the empire at age 62, which he ruled with Cyrus (Cyrus was still regent in Persia). Darius reigned, ruler of Media and chief monarch for two years until he died, when his nephew reclaimed the throne of all of Media-Persia.

Something happened to the old man. The testimony of the life of Daniel had an effect on him, of course, but I believe this event, and the night he spent in sleeplessness over Daniel's trial, is the circumstance that made him bow hisknee to God. He tried to undo his mistake. He sought the lawyers and advisers of the kingdom to change the law of the Medes and the Persians "which cannot be altered" but to no avail. Daniel was to be the one and only violator of the king's new law. He loathed himself for falling prey to his pride. He hadn't been king that long. The sound of the words chosen by the men to deceive him into making a trap for this example of a God-fearing man must have rung in his ears, making him sick to his stomach. He realized that he had signed into irreversible law (at least for Daniel) an edict that, in effect, made him god. He realized the pride that he had held in his heart and loftiness of spirit. He knew it to be the same kind of pride that the king of Babylon had when God turned him into a beast and made him eat grass for years. (Dan. 4:33) He remembered the story of Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar's successor, and of the hand that wrote on the wall of the palace of the defeated Babylonian king. (Dan. 5:5) He remembered how that king's pride made the God of Daniel angry and he realized it is a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God.

The shame he felt as they cast Daniel into the pit must have felt like the world was on his shoulders bearing the burden of innocent blood. Historians suppose that he sealed it with a stone and the royal signet ring because it would protect Daniel (in case he survived the lions), from the human beasts that may do him harm. Had he left it open, the deceivers could kill him and say it was the lions that did it. Darius had told Daniel he believed his God could save him.

In the pit was as many as 50 to 100 lions, kept at the brink of starvation for any person who dared commit an offence worthy of death. But it was what happened after Daniel was sealed in the pit that was really the miracle because a soul was saved that was lost. A man dead in trespasses and sin was brought to the newness of life.

Darius stayed awake all night praying to Daniel's God. I imagine that Darius was ashamed to call Him his God after such an error in judgment. But what changes happened to him that night that made him into such a different person?

The king knew of Daniel's faith in God. He was fascinated with it and called Daniel friend. But a king has to be hard and it took this event to finally make the king turn to God himself.
The king knew of Daniel's faith in God. He was fascinated with it and called Daniel friend. But a king has to be hard and it took this event to finally make the king turn to God himself.

Let me tell you what I believe:

I believe that he came to an end of himself. He looked at himself in his royal looking-glass and saw a sinner, a person that is in need of forgiveness. Though he was king, He saw himself small in the eyes of Daniel's God in whom he did believe.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

He saw himself worthy of death. He knew that for the evil he did, he himself deserved to be punished. He probably wished it was he in the pit instead of this noble man that he condemned.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

He cried out to the God of Daniel, Jehovah God, whom we now know as Jesus Christ, God who came in human flesh to forgive him and redeem him.

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

How do we know that the heart change was real and that he received the God of Daniel in his heart that day? Well, first his language changed, and he called God, the "living God, and steadfast forever" whose "kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed." Next, he destroyed the enemies of God that would dare design such a plan as the one to which he fell prey. Then, he wrote into law, an edict to undo his damage, making it impossible to ever have anyone craft law making a god to replace the true God.

Now I don't know if you as the reader have experienced a point in your life, that you have come to the end of yourself in this way, and called on the Redeemer to save you, but if you have not, pray with me as you read this. You must mean it in your heart for repeating words will not save you. It must be as sincere as Darius was in this situation.

Pray: Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve punishment for the sin in me. I know that I cannot save myself and I need to be redeemed. I need a Savior. Please forgive me and save me right now. I believe that you died for my sin and were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead on the third day. I ask that you be my Lord and Savior and Master of my life. I ask this in Jesus' holy name. Amen.


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      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope it blessed your heart. I love to see things from the "less considered" characters viewpoint. The changes in their lives were just as real as those that happened to Daniel. Many blessings to you. Bob.

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      I so appreciate how you put yourself in the shoes of Bible 'characters' (though they were real people) ~ aren't we all 'characters'? lol

      I see a spiritual connotation to this story as well; the lions representing our Adversary, the pit representing that Adversary's desire for us (his home), yet through faith in Jesus Christ, our God, our Savior, he has no power over us.

      The Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ) is truly King of kings and LORD of all lions.

      This story also reveals how our hard times become a witness to others ~ to show God's miracles ~ to bring them to Him. We truly can trust Him throughout all trials and hardships, for He knows how it will be used for the good.

      Look at Jonah. His rebellion caused all those who worshipped a false god(s) on that ship to believe in the True God because of the miracle that took place when Jonah was cast overboard. The seas calmed and their lives were saved (physically and spiritually). AMEN!!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I did think of that when I wrote this. I had heard sermons like that for years. Usually Daniel was the focal point because of the lions and the angelic intervention. Pretty spectacular thing to do to deliver one of His servants. But I see the lion connection. I see that evil wants to destroy us and we are being faithfully cared for by the Lord of hosts. Thank you sister for your comment. I love you. Bob

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I love this story the way you expressed it. I could see a myriad of emotions unfolding within the story. Thank you. The one true GOD sure has a way of grasping our attention when it comes time to each us His lessons.

      Brother Dave.

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      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I so often hear Bible stories told and the story always includes the supernatural part. Why not, right? But I find that if I think of the human part of the equation that the story comes even more alive. We ooh and ahh over God's intervention with us and watch Him with mouths agape but God is all about supernatural. Supernatural is just natural with Him. But I see real people involved, evolving and changing with their dealings with God and that fascinates me. How would I have reacted had I been Darius? Would I remember the history of Jehovah God in the brief few years before Media took over? Would I remember the writing on the wall and learn from it? or would I do what he did and sign because it sounded so good? I love telling stories like this that have such a happy ending. Blessing brother.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      No body! Wonderful poetic expression of the story of Daniel! "The angel of the Lord has closed their mouths and didn't let them go!"

      Tears of joy filled my eyes, I was happy as I could be

      My God had answered my request, I was forgiven, I was free,

      Those evil men were tossed down, the lions began to roar

      They were torn apart before, they ever hit the floor!

      To worship the living God, I made a decree that day

      He is steadfast forever, and His kingdom never goes away"

      Beautifully expressed! Thank God for His Holy Spirit and HIS everpresent HELP! Thank you for sharing, IN His Love, Peace & Blessings!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I love the story of Daniel. It is exciting to know how God's angels are in His service for our protection. It makes us invincible until God is through with us. However I really thought the story of the salvation of Darius, a changed heart is the miracle. How miraculous is it for an angel to be a lion tamer? The real trick is to raise man (a king) from the dead. A person who would believe in the coming cross and become a "just man". Love you DeB.

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 7 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      When I read your poems I often wonder and say WOW, this just flows from his mouth, his mind, his soul! Have you ever thought of getting your poems published? Your a GREAT writer of poems!!! Oh, your hubs are not too bad themselves either! lol LOVE YOU!!!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you hon, But I would only have one person buying the book. And I can't have you wasting your money on such things. No, I really haven't thought of it. I don't get hardly any reads or comments on anything I write. I just pray that the few people that do read my stuff are brought closer to Jesus whether for salvation or edification. I love you for saying so. You mean a great deal to me Lottie. Love you lots and lots and lots.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 7 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thank you for allowing Daniel's God to be expressed through you. Wonderful job!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you lifegate. I appreciate the people expressing blessings they receive through the writing. Truly our God is faithful and has been faithful to people throughout time. He was faithful to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob and to Daniel. But he also was faithful to Nebachnezzar and many that were not of His people. He respects the faith of any who would bow the knee and heart to Him. My prayer is that my writing would allow that faithful God to always shine forth from every word. Much love in Christ. Bob.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      Fabulous poem! I loved it. And your explication of it is spot on. Well done!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 6 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you for the affirmation on the history. I so appreciate you and your wisdom regarding history. What a cool brother you are. Love ya bro.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What a wonderful hub, especially the poem about King Darius and Daniel. One of the best stories from the Old Testament and you told it so well. Voted up. Congratulations on the Gold Award.

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you so much Jodah. I am glad that you were blessed by the short study. I appreciate the vote up and the love shown. God bless you. Bob.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 23 months ago

      Hi Bob, I found something I haven't read yet. I enjoyed your perspective of Darius's possible thoughts and reflections in regards to his decision. It made me think of the many decisions that I have made in sin and pride like Darius, that could not be revoked. But thanks be to God for His redeeming love and intervention. Much like with the King in Esther who also could not revoke His decrees allowed them to issue a new decree in his name. I am so grateful that the battle is not over with God on our side.

      I also enjoyed the historical input you gave in this writing. I so often miss this part in my studies and it really is so helpful to understand that background information.

      Insightful read. God Bless!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 23 months ago from Rochester, New York

      The thing about God is he makes things that are meant for sin and evil to be for His Glory (in His time). We have consequences to bear but at the same time there will come out of every situation, good or bad, God's glory. I am astounded so often at God's ability to do that. I know it must frustrate the devil so much when he sees a plan of his coming true in us and then God works the whole situation to His glory. It makes me chuckle just to think about it. Thank you Tam. You are such a blessing to me. Bob.

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