Daniel 6

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1 Darius was pleased to put over the kingdom a hundred and twenty captains, who were to be all through the kingdom;

2 And over them were three chief rulers, of whom Daniel was one; and the captains were to be responsible to the chief rulers, so that the king might undergo no loss.

3 Then this Daniel did his work better than the chief rulers and the captains, because there was a special spirit in him; and it was the king's purpose to put him over all the kingdom.

4 Then the chief rulers and the captains were looking for some cause for putting Daniel in the wrong in connection with the kingdom, but they were unable to put forward any wrongdoing or error against him; because he was true, and no error or wrong was to be seen in him.

5 Then these men said, We will only get a reason for attacking Daniel in connection with the law of his God.

6 Then these chief rulers and the captains came to the king and said to him, O King Darius, have life for ever.

7 All the chief rulers of the kingdom, the chiefs and the captains, the wise men and the rulers, have made a common decision to put in force a law having the king's authority, and to give a strong order, that whoever makes any request to any god or man but you, O King, for thirty days, is to be put into the lions' hole.

8 Now, O King, put the order in force, signing the writing so that it may not be changed, like the law of the Medes and Persians which may not come to an end.

9 For this reason King Darius put his name on the writing and the order.

10 And Daniel, on hearing that the writing had been signed, went into his house; (now he had windows in his room on the roof opening in the direction of Jerusalem;) and three times a day he went down on his knees in prayer and praise before his God, as he had done before.

11 Then these men were watching and saw Daniel making prayers and requesting grace before his God.

12 Then they came near before the king and said, O King, have you not put your name to an order that any man who makes a request to any god or man but you, O King, for thirty days, is to be put into the lions' hole? The king made answer and said, The thing is fixed by the law of the Medes and Persians which may not come to an end.

13 Then they made answer and said before the king, Daniel, one of the prisoners of Judah, has no respect for you, O King, or for the order signed by you, but three times a day he makes his prayer to God.

14 When this thing came to the king's ears, it was very evil to him, and his heart was fixed on keeping Daniel safe, and till the going down of the sun he was doing everything in his power to get him free.

15 Then these men said to the king, Be certain, O King, that by the law of the Medes and Persians no order or law which the king has put into force may be changed.

16 Then the king gave the order, and they took Daniel and put him into the lions' hole. The king made answer and said to Daniel, Your God, whose servant you are at all times, will keep you safe.

17 Then they got a stone and put it over the mouth of the hole, and it was stamped with the king's stamp and with the stamp of the lords, so that the decision about Daniel might not be changed.

18 Then the king went to his great house, and took no food that night, and no ... were placed before him, and his sleep went from him.

19 Then very early in the morning the king got up and went quickly to the lions' hole.

20 And when he came near the hole where Daniel was, he gave a loud cry of grief; the king made answer and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whose servant you are at all times, able to keep you safe from the lions?

21 Then Daniel said to the king, O King, have life for ever.

22 My God has sent his angel to keep the lions' mouths shut, and they have done me no damage: because I was seen to be without sin before him; and further, before you, O King, I have done no wrong.

23 Then the king was very glad, and gave orders for them to take Daniel up out of the hole. So Daniel was taken up out of the hole and he was seen to be untouched, because he had faith in his God.

24 And at the king's order, they took those men who had said evil against Daniel, and put them in the lions' hole, with their wives and their children; and they had not got to the floor of the hole before the lions overcame them and all their bones were broken.

25 Then King Darius sent a letter to all the peoples, nations, and languages, living in all the earth: May your peace be increased.

26 It is my order that in all the kingdom of which I am ruler, men are to be shaking with fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, unchanging for ever, and his kingdom is one which will never come to destruction, his rule will go on to the end.

27 He gives salvation and makes men free from danger, and does signs and wonders in heaven and earth, who has kept Daniel safe from the power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel did well in the kingdom of Darius and in the kingdom of Cyrus the Persian.


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Daniel in the Lions' Den      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Andrew M. T. Dibb

Henry Ossawa Tanner (United States, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, 1859 - 1937) 
Daniel in the Lions' Den, 1907-1918. Painting, Oil on paper mounted on canvas, 41 1/8 x 49 7/8 in.

Darius was the king of Babylon. This means that his correspondence falls into the same category as Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Babylon, as we have seen many times, describes the love of ruling over other people from a love of self. Nebuchadnezzar represents the falsification of the Word and destruction of truth (AR 47) which draws its strength from an unbridled love of self. As his story unfolds, we see the impact of truth both on the love of self, bringing it into order, and the recognition of the Lord and His Word. In first four chapters, Nebuchadnezzar declines while Daniel ascends.

The final verse of chapter five tells us that Darius was sixty two years old when he came upon the throne of Babylon. Age in the Word always indicates state, and the number of years are the qualities of that particular state. So this age is an insight into the character of this new king.

As we saw in Chapter three, six represents a state of incompleteness, and has the same meaning as "two" (AC 900)—and for the same reason: it is one less than a number signifying completeness. Two comes before three as six comes before seven. Both "three" and "seven" represent completeness, for example, the Lord was in the tomb for three days, or the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The number seven is similar: after creation the Lord rested on the seventh day, and in the Ten Commandments we are instructed to obey that day and keep it holy. "Six" falls just short of this representation of perfection, and so illustrates a state of imperfection.

The picture of Darius begins to emerge as states laying the ground work of faith and goodness, as we put to rest the overt evil depicted by Belshazzar. Initially these states are weak, for they belong to our early regeneration. The root cause of the weakness should not be forgotten: Darius, by killing Belshazzar became the king of Babylon, thus representing our love of self.

But he is different from his predecessors: Nebuchadnezzar progressed in his understanding and appreciation of the Lord’s power, Belshazzar did not. Darius completes the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the chastised love of self. Selfishness is humbled in Darius: he places Daniel at the very head of his government, second only to himself. The implications of this accolade should not be lost: since selfishness is only subdued by the conscience, the conscience needs to become the prime motivator in our feelings, thoughts, and actions.

"Wise men" and "governors" are a theme in the first half of the book of Daniel. While usually failing, these are the first people kings seek advice from. They represent our habitual thoughts (the wise men) and loves (the governors) under our central selfishness. In this chapter, Darius divided his kingdom into one hundred and twenty provinces, each ruled by a "satrap" or governor.

In the internal sense, these officials represent the thoughts and affections springing from the central or ruling love. Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar before him, was a king of Babylon, and thus represents our love of self, but a love of self under control. So the satraps represent the affections springing from this love.

The number "one hundred and twenty" is another compound number describing the affections represented by the satraps. In a perfect square, like the number one hundred, the length and breadth are fully equal. Thus the quality of goodness and truth is the same. Ten represents states of remains, or states of goodness and truth implanted in the human mind by the Lord. Ten multiplied by ten doubles this meaning—fullness of remains (AC 1988 [2]).

For "one hundred and twenty" we must add the final twenty. Twenty is ten times two. As we saw earlier, two represents the state before completeness, the necessary turmoil to achieve that completeness (AC 900). Yet the number two also describes the state of conjunction, where goodness and truth are brought into harmony through the trials and temptations of life.

So the one-hundred twenty satraps symbolize the approaching states of regeneration, where the love of self has been somewhat purified of the profanation, represented by Belshazzar. They mark progress in human regeneration. The truths we learn, represented by Daniel, find fuller expression in daily life.

Darius’ reign is one of promise, which is developed even further: over these one hundred and twenty satraps, Darius appointed three "presidents," of whom Daniel was the first. Daniel would control the land, the satraps would report to him, and he would rule as the de facto ruler of Babylon. This is a long way from the captive boy led out of Jerusalem—it is a long way from the first stirrings of conscience, to the point where our lives are firmly under the guidance and control of the conscience. Daniel’s appointment to this post of authority is a clear promise of victory for truth in our minds, if we are willing to listen to its leading, allowing it to humble and judge us, as Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were humbled and judged.

The satraps, seeing Daniel’s exalted position, plotted against him. When they could find nothing personally wrong with him, they planned to use his devotion to the Lord to undermine him. This is the essential point of conflict between our conscience and our love of self. Even when the love of self has been subdued, it still retains a tendency to exalt itself. There is something in us which causes us to look back with fondness to the days before we were fighting selfishness, a memory that can be fleeting, yet powerful. It is in that moment when we are vulnerable to temptation. This kind of weakness allows the thoughts and attitudes from selfishness to reassert themselves. We fall back into our old ways.

In these circumstances, though it may not seem so at the time, we are setting ourselves over God—we convince ourselves that our needs, our wants, our desires are more important than anything else. In what might later seem like a moment of spiritual madness, we set aside our conscience and embrace a concept, and attitude, an action we know to be wrong. Like Darius, we have been seduced by pride.

In temptation, our loves give us comfort. If we love goodness, truth, and doing the right thing, then those loves cannot be undermined by temptation. Love forms the basis of our spiritual lives, and if it is good, then it offers us a tranquility of mind and strength of spirit to overcome the temptation. Thus Daniel’s home, where he fled in the face of Darius’ unreasonable demand, is an image of our loves.

If a house represents our loves, then the chambers in the house are the good things springing from those loves (AC 3900). We cannot divorce good thoughts, feelings, and activities from our loves, for love permeates throughout our whole being once we have been regenerated. In temptation we take solace in these, we have to remind ourselves of the progress we have made, that the Lord in His mercy has given us the ability to turn our backs on the pure selfishness which nearly destroys us.

So Daniel knelt facing Jerusalem, his home city, which represents the church in us: the ability to humble and submit ourselves to the Lord. To kneel is a sign of humility and adoration. It contains a recognition of the Lord’s power over our lives.

But it is easy for our selfishness to make ridiculous demands on us, things which would bind the conscience and make it ineffective, things which go against the grain of our concept of truth. Having laid this trap for our conscience, we begin the process of pointing out its non-compliance. How often we tell ourselves we should do this or that, even though we know it is wrong. When our conscience pricks us, and reminds us of the truth, we turn away.

It is so easy to see only the immediate and positive benefits to ourselves, just as Darius must have felt so pleased that no one would ask a favor of any man or god, other than himself. In a country with thousands of household gods, this would have been the epitome of power. How long did it last? How long does any evil last? Many evils give only momentary pleasures before the effects begin to make themselves felt. Adultery, murder, theft, hatred, and revenge only last as long as given vent. Then we have the damage to contend with: guilt, fear, loss of prestige or esteem, loss of love, loss of friends.

The story of Daniel in the lions’ den is one of the best known in the Word. On the surface it tells the story of courage, deliverance and the defeat of pride. In the internal sense it tells of the final battle between selfishness and conscience. Every detail has meaning.

In the Word the image of a lion is used in connection with the Lord. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah who was able to open the sealed scroll in the book of Revelation. He is the lion who roars as He comes to fight for Mount Zion (Isaiah 31:4). Thus the Lord as a lion illustrates His great love for fighting against the evils which infest humanity, and preserving us from them.

In this case, the lions change meaning from beautiful strength to fight against evil and falsity from the Lord’s power, to the "desperate boldness" springing from intense self love. Since self love is bolstered and supported by false reasoning, the den was sealed with a great stone.

The night the king passed in despair represents obscurity, a vital part of temptation (AC 1787, 2694, 7166). Temptations are characterized by doubt about the Lord’s presence, and whether regeneration is actually possible (AC 2334). The doubt begins mildly, but increases in time.

Just as the weeping women found the Lord’s tomb empty, guarded by an angel, so Darius found Daniel alive and well in the midst of the lions. This is a resurrection of sorts, for Daniel should not have survived the ordeal, and would not have survived but for an angel who had shut the lions’ mouths.

All through temptations, the Lord is at our side. He protects our good loves, our conscience, our very desire for regeneration. Divine Providence is always striving to lead us out of temptation, into the fullness and joy of the Lord’s kingdom. This can only happen if we are willing to undergo the temptation. These never take place for their own sake, but for our spiritual development.

Once we have made our decision to submit to the Lord, like Darius in the night, He sets us free from the bondage of temptation. When Darius found Daniel safe, he commanded him brought out of the lions’ den. Then the satraps, who had conjured up and manipulated this near tragedy, were cast into the den. This action, cruel on the surface, reflects the casting away of our final selfish loves.

The aim of the conscience is to bring us to the recognition that God is king. This is a story of victory. We need to know the baser side of our lives, when selfishness runs rampant. Unless we know who we are, we cannot change. Knowledge gives the power to change. Knowledge from the Word forms a plane in our minds into which the Lord can flow. His presence makes a difference to the way we act and react, think and feel. The Daniel side of our character is the means of our salvation, and as the Lord protected the historic Daniel, so He protects and guards our spiritual conscience, making sure it is strong enough to challenge us on points of selfishness, and powerful enough a presence to lead us into the states of blessedness and peace which are His kingdom.


Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 1326, 10412

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 177

Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 2788

Apocalypse Revealed 717

True Christian Religion 292, 754

Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 1029

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 Close the Lion's Mouth
Color the lion, then fold to close its mouth as you retell the story.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

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Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

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Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Daniel in the Lions' Den
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Daniel in the Lions' Den
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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We need to place our trust in the power of the Lord.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Daniel in the Lions’ Den (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Diorama
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Retold
Story | All Ages

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Sequencing Activity
Cut the story strips for sequencing by one or more children
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Daniel in the Lions' Den Story Line
Make a story line reflecting your perspective on whether the events in this story are happy, sad, or “neutral.”
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Daniel (sheet music)
Song | Ages 4 - 14

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Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Daniel Worships the Lord
An illustrated story about Daniel's faithfulness to God and how he was protected in the lion's den.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Dramatize the Story of Daniel in the Lions' Den
Retell the story while the children act it out. Have the angel go to all of the lions to "shut" their mouths.
Activity | Ages up to 6

 False Teeth
Use this picture of a lion roaring, to write a true idea and then a false idea that wants to "tear" at our understanding of the truth.
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 In the Lions' Den
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jigsaw Puzzle: Daniel in the Lions' Den
Print and cut out the color pieces of a jigsaw puzzle showing an angel protecting Daniel from the lions.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

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Explore how the Lord helped both King Darius and Daniel, and how he helps us.
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Overview of Daniel: A Man of Conscience for ages 3-14
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Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Quotes: The Lord Protects Us
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Lions’ Den
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14