Daniel in a Pit of Lions
6 Darius divided his kingdom into a hundred and twenty states and placed a governor in charge of each one. 2 In order to make sure that his government was run properly, Darius put three other officials in charge of the governors. One of these officials was Daniel. 3 And he did his work so much better than the other governors and officials that the king decided to let him govern the whole kingdom.
4 The other men tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel did his work for the king. But they could not accuse him of anything wrong, because he was honest and faithful and did everything he was supposed to do. 5 Finally, they said to one another, “We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel, unless it has to do with his religion.”
6 They all went to the king and said:
Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! 7 All of your officials, leaders, advisors, and governors agree that you should make a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days. Everyone who disobeys this law must be thrown into a pit of lions. 8 Order this to be written and then sign it, so it cannot be changed, just as no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed.”
9 So King Darius made the law and had it written down.
10 Daniel heard about the law, but when he returned home, he went upstairs and prayed in front of the window that faced Jerusalem. In the same way that he had always done, he knelt down in prayer three times a day, giving thanks to God.
11 The men who had spoken to the king watched Daniel and saw him praying to his God for help. 12 They went back to the king and said, “Didn’t you make a law that forbids anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days? And doesn’t the law say that everyone who disobeys it will be thrown into a pit of lions?”
“Yes, that’s the law I made,” the king agreed. “And just like all written laws of the Medes and Persians, it cannot be changed.”
13 The men then told the king, “That Jew named Daniel, who was brought here as a captive, refuses to obey you or the law that you ordered to be written. And he still prays to his god three times a day.” 14 The king was really upset to hear about this, and for the rest of the day he tried to think how he could save Daniel.
15 At sunset the men returned and said, “Your Majesty, remember that no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed, not even by the king.”
16 So Darius ordered Daniel to be brought out and thrown into a pit of lions. But he said to Daniel, “You have been faithful to your God, and I pray that he will rescue you.”
17 A stone was rolled over the pit, and it was sealed. Then Darius and his officials stamped the seal to show that no one should let Daniel out. 18 All night long the king could not sleep. He did not eat anything, and he would not let anyone come in to entertain him.
19 At daybreak the king got up and ran to the pit. 20 He was anxious and shouted, “Daniel, you were faithful and served your God. Was he able to save you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! 22 My God knew that I was innocent, and he sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you.”
23 The king was relieved to hear Daniel’s voice, and he gave orders for him to be taken out of the pit. Daniel’s faith in his God had kept him from being harmed. 24 And the king ordered the men who had brought charges against Daniel to be thrown into the pit, together with their wives and children. But before they even reached the bottom, the lions ripped them to pieces.
25 King Darius then sent this message to all people of every nation and race in the world:
“Greetings to all of you!
26 I command everyone
in my kingdom
to worship and honor
the God of Daniel.
He is the living God,
the one who lives forever.
His power and his kingdom
will never end.
27 He rescues people
and sets them free
by working great miracles.
Daniel’s God has rescued him
from the power of the lions.”
28 All went well for Daniel while Darius was king, and even when Cyrus the Persian ruled.[a]
- 6.28 Cyrus the Persian ruled: 539-530 B.C.
2 Peter 3
The Lord Will Return
3 My dear friends, this is the second letter I have written to encourage you to do some honest thinking. I don’t want you to forget 2 what God’s prophets said would happen. You must never forget what the holy prophets taught in the past. And you must remember what the apostles told you our Lord and Savior has commanded us to do.
3 But first you must realize that in the last days some people won’t think about anything except their own selfish desires. They will make fun of you 4 and say, “Didn’t your Lord promise to come back? Yet the first leaders have already died, and the world hasn’t changed a bit.”
5 They will say this because they want to forget that long ago the heavens and the earth were made at God’s command. The earth came out of water and was made from water. 6 Later it was destroyed by the waters of a mighty flood. 7 But God has commanded the present heavens and earth to remain until the day of judgment. Then they will be set on fire, and ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 Dear friends, don’t forget that for the Lord one day is the same as a thousand years, and a thousand years is the same as one day. 9 The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
10 The day of the Lord’s return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe.[a] Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are.[b]
11 Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live. 12 You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon.[c] On that day the heavens will be destroyed by fire, and everything else will melt in the heat. 13 But God has promised us a new heaven and a new earth, where justice will rule. We are really looking forward to that!
14 My friends, while you are waiting, you should make certain that the Lord finds you pure, spotless, and living at peace. 15 Don’t forget that the Lord is patient because he wants people to be saved. This is also what our dear friend Paul said when he wrote you with the wisdom that God had given him. 16 Paul talks about these same things in all his letters, but part of what he says is hard to understand. Some ignorant and unsteady people even destroy themselves by twisting what he said. They do the same thing with other Scriptures too.
17 My dear friends, you have been warned ahead of time! So don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance. 18 Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen.[d]
- 3.10 the whole universe: Probably the sun, moon, and stars, or the elements that everything in the universe is made of.
- 3.10 will be seen for what they are: Some manuscripts have “will go up in flames.”
- 3.12 and you should try to make it come soon: Or “and you should eagerly desire for that day to come.”
- 3.18 Amen: Some manuscripts do not have “Amen.”
129 Your teachings are wonderful,
and I respect them all.
130 Understanding your word
to the minds
of ordinary people.
131 I honestly want to know
everything you teach.
132 Think about me and be kind,
just as you are to everyone
who loves your name.
133 Keep your promise
and don’t let me stumble
or let sin control my life.
134 Protect me from abuse,
so I can obey your laws.
135 Smile on me, your servant,
and teach me your laws.
136 When anyone disobeys you,
my eyes overflow with tears.
137 Our Lord, you always do right,
and your decisions are fair.
138 All of your teachings are true
139 It upsets me greatly
when my enemies neglect
140 Your word to me, your servant,
is like pure gold;
I treasure what you say.
141 Everyone calls me a nobody,
but I remember your laws.
142 You will always do right,
and your teachings are true.
143 I am in deep distress,
but I love your teachings.
144 Your rules are always fair.
Help me to understand them
145 I pray to you, Lord!
Please answer me.
I promise to obey your laws.
146 I beg you to save me,
so I can follow your rules.
147 Even before sunrise,
I pray for your help,
and I put my hope
in what you have said.
148 I lie awake at night,
thinking of your promises.
149 Show that you love me, Lord,
and answer my prayer.
Please do the right thing
and save my life.
150 People who disobey your Law
have made evil plans
and want to hurt me,
151 but you are with me,
and all of your commands
can be trusted.
152 From studying your laws,
I found out long ago
that you made them
to last forever.
21 It isn’t right to be unfair,
but some people can be bribed
with only a piece of bread.
22 Don’t be selfish
and eager to get rich—
you will end up worse off
than you can imagine.