1. Why were there men plotting against Daniel? What was their motivation to do so?
The answer is found in verse 3 — “the king planned to set him over the whole realm” and so it was jealousy or perhaps it was greed and they were planning to enrich themselves as politicians so often do.
2. What do you see in the text that indicates the plotters lied to their king? Is there any thing that you see which would indicate they were untruthful?
The answer is found in verse 7 — they told the king that “ALL” his administrators had agreed to the idea of establishing an ordinance that would promote a pagan god and prohibit prayer to YAHWEH. But Daniel was one of the administrators (vs 2).
And from the demonstration of the character of Daniel, we know he would never have agreed to such a proposal. So obviously, they were lying to the king.
1. What do you see in King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar that you did not see in King Darius?
King Darius is not proud like King Nebuchadnezzar and he's not foolish like King Belshazzar.
2. What’s the most remarkable thing about this story to you?
One man's answer: Daniel's integrity, courage, and faith.
1. What do you think of King Darius? Do you think he’s a good or bad person and why do you think so?
He is obviously a “good person”. This is seen in his praise of Almighty God and his attempt to rescue Daniel. However, some may see his punishment of the children — the children of the evil plotters — and conclude he was not a good person. We don’t know the age of the children, perhaps they were young adults or maybe they were youngsters.
One commentator notes that executing wives and children with the guilty man was the practice according to Persian custom a policy that must have been carried out in part to prohibit retaliation from family members.1
2. What do you learn about the character of Daniel from the following verses?
Certainly Daniel triumphed over the attempt to execute him by turning him into lion feed, but where else in this story do we see Daniel winning with God against the circumstances of his life?
First, he won over any temptation to be corrupt and profit from public office (vs 4).
Then, he defeated any temptation to publicly hide his worship of his God. He prayed openly (vs 10).
Then, after God rescued him he was promoted. Verse 28 tells us Daniel prospered. Some have said that Daniel “prospering” means that he was elevated to the second highest position in the land under Darius, received great honor among the people, and was blessed in material ways.3
What about this story inspires you to imitate Daniel? What comfort could it provide you if you were persecuted as a Christian?
One man's answer: I believe Daniel can inspire persecuted Christians today to resolve themselves to stand fast against the threat of losing their lives, knowing they serve the God who sees them in their time of need.
1 Herodotus, Histories 3.119; Lacocque, Daniel, 118; Wood, Daniel, 174. as cited by Miller, Stephen R. 1994. Daniel (The New American Commentary). Vol. 18. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
2 Miller, Stephen R. 1994. Daniel (The New American Commentary). Vol. 18. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.