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Bible Stories: Daniel in the Lions Den

Stories from the Bible

Have you ever felt scared?

The Bible is full of stories of people who have faced difficult situations. Daniel is one of them, a man who ended up being sent to spend a night with lions!

But how did he end up there? And why is it an important story for Christians today?

Read through this timeline to find out more about this story.

Daniel lived many thousands of years ago in Babylon. He was a very religious man. He loved the God of Israel - the country of his birth. He had been taken to Babylon when he was very young. But each day he looked towards Jerusalem, his home city, and prayed and worshipped God.
Daniel and King Darius
Daniel was an important man. The Persian King who ruled Babylon, King Darius, put him in charge of large parts of his kingdom. Darius trusted Daniel.
The plot against Daniel
Other men who worked for the king were jealous of Daniel. They wanted to make him look bad in the king's eyes. But Daniel was too good. They could find nothing to accuse him of. The only thing that marked Daniel out was his love for God. But maybe they could use this against him?
The trap is set
The men went to the king. 'May you live forever!' they said. 'You are our king! Make it law that anybody who prays to any other god in the next 30 days should pay the price - by being thrown into a den of lions!' And the king agreed.
Daniel breaks the law
When Daniel heard about the new law, he went home, opened his window and prayed facing Jerusalem, just as he had always done. The men saw him and ran off to see the king.
Darius passes the sentence against Daniel
The men spoke to the king. 'Didn't you say anybody praying to anyone else would be thrown into the lion's den? Well, Daniel has been praying to his God three times a day.' When he heard this, Darius was very upset, as Daniel was one of his favourite servants. He didn't want to punish him, but his law could not be ignored.
Daniel goes into the lions' den
The kings men put Daniel into the lions den. 'May the God you love so much save you!' cried the king. A stone was rolled in front of the den and the king sealed it with his own signet ring - a sign it could not be moved. That night Darius was too upset to eat or sleep.
God rescues Daniel
The next morning Darius rushed to the lions' den. 'Daniel!' he cried. 'Are you alright? Has God rescued you?' Daniel called back. 'Yes, I'm alright. God has kept me safe because I did nothing wrong.'
A new decree
Daniel left the lions' den. He was completely unharmed. Darius put out a new law - that the people in his kingdom should forever fear Daniel's God, who had the power to close the mouths of lions.