This was the worst night of his life! He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t stop pacing. He–the powerful ruler of the greatest kingdom in the world–had been duped. And there was nothing he could do to undo the diabolical deed. He had spent all day frantically trying to figure a way out, but his hands were tied. Even the king was bound to the law that declared once an edict was in effect, it could not be altered.
Those two-faced officials from the highest ranks in his government had successfully sprung their trap. Now he saw all too clearly how and why they had outsmarted him.
Getting wind of his plan to make Daniel prime minister, they had reacted with fear and trepidation. They had foreseen that Daniel, a man of impeccable character and integrity, would always unmask corruption and hold their feet to the fire. So they had plotted to get rid of him by luring their monarch into a trap.
Those self-serving connivers had preyed on his desire as the new king to get the populace behind him. They had deceived him with an idea for unification which stroked his ego. That was why he hadn’t seen through their scheme.
And they had lied that Daniel also was in favor of the decree they proposed: No one could make a petition to any god or man for thirty days except to the king. If not obeyed, the person would be thrown into the lions’ den.
How he wished he hadn’t been blinded by flattery! Devout Daniel, who prayed to his God three times a day every day would never have agreed to such a law.
And because he wouldn’t, tonight Daniel was out there shut up in that pit with wild lions. There was no way of escape, for he had pressed his royal seal into the stone lid. But not before he had said to his most trusted advisor: “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” (Daniel 6:16 NRSV).
At the break of day, King Darius hurried from his bedroom, down the staircase, and out of the palace. “When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?’” (Daniel 6:20 NRSV).
Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” (Daniel 6:21-22 NRSV)
God will never be outsmarted!