The Story of Daniel

There was a king of Babylon whose name was Nebuchadnezzar. And he sent one of his chief men to choose some of the young Jews who had been well brought up, that they might wait on him.

The chief chose four youths whose name were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And these were brought to Babylon, that they might be taught as the king wished.

And the Lord was with these four young men, and made them wise, and strong in mind, and fair of face.

When they had been taught for three years they were brought to the king’s house. And the king kept them near him, and made use of them, for he found that they knew ten times more than all the wise men in the whole realm.

One night the king had a dream that woke him out of his sleep. And he sent for all the wise men—those who could read stars, and those who could work charms—to tell what the dream meant.

And they all came, but none of them could tell the dream that had gone out of the king’s own head. And no king, they said, would ask such a thing of wise men.

The king was wroth at this and gave word that all the wise men should be put to death. And they sought Daniel and his friends, that they might kill them.

Daniel said, Why is there such haste? And when he was told he went in to the king and said if he would give him time he would make his dream clear to him.

In the night God showed the king’s dream to Daniel, and all that it meant was made clear to him. And Daniel gave praise and thanks to God who had been so good to him.

Then he went to the chief, and told him not to slay the wise men, but to bring him in to the king.

Then Daniel told the king his dream, and all that would come to pass, and when the king heard it he fell on his face before Daniel and said to him, It is true that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and that nought is hid from him, since thou hast told me this dream.

And the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him rich gifts, and put him at the head of all the wise men in the land.

Now king Nebuchadnezzar made a great god out of gold, and set it on one of the plains of Babylon.

And one of the king’s men cried out with a loud voice, and said it was the king’s law that all should bow down to the god of gold that he had set up. And those who did not bow down were to be thrown into a great hot fire and burnt up.

And some men brought word to the king that the three Jews would not serve his gods, or bow down to this one of gold which he had set up.

These three men were brought to the king, and he said to them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that ye will not serve my gods or bow down to the one of gold which I have set up? And he said he would give them one more chance, and if they did not bow down when they heard the call, they should be cast in the same hour into the flames. The three Jews said to the king, Be it known to thee now that we will not serve thy gods, nor bow down to the new one thou hast set up. And if we are cast in the fire, the God whom we serve will save us from death and bring us out of thy hands, O king.

Then was the king in a great rage, and he sent word that a fierce fire should be made. And the three Jews were bound and thrown into the flames with all their clothes on. And the fire was so hot and they went so near that sparks flew out and killed the men who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

These three Jews fell down in the midst of the flames, but soon rose to their feet, and the Lord would not let the flames burn them.

When the king saw this he rose in great haste and said to his chiefs, Did we not cast three men bound in the midst of the fire?

And they said, True, O king.

And the king said, Lo, I see four men loose, and they walk through the flames and are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like to the son of God.

Then the king came to the door of the cage of fire and said to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Ye who serve the most high God, come forth, and come here.

And the three young Jews came forth out of the midst of the fire, and not a hair of their head was singed, nor were their clothes harmed, nor was the smell of fire on them.

And the king praised the God who had shown that he would save from death those who put their trust in him. And the king made it a law that those who spoke ill of the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego should be put to death, and their homes torn down, for there was no God who could save as he could.

For a while the king served God and gave him praise for all he had done for him. But men who thought to please the king, spoke of his great wealth and praised all that he did, so that he grew vain and proud, and thought more of himself than he did of God.

And the king had a dream that made him shake with fear, and he sent for Daniel. And Daniel feared to tell the king the truth. But the king told him to speak out. Then Daniel told him what would take place.

And it all came on king Nebuchadnezzar. In the same hour his mind left him and he was not fit to reign. So he was thrust out of doors, and did eat grass with the beasts of the fields. And he lay on the ground, and was wet with the dews, and his hair grew so long that his flesh could not be seen, and his nails were like bird’s claws.

And at the end of the seven years Nebuchadnezzar raised his eyes to God, and his mind came back to him, and he spoke in praise of the most High.

And Nebuchadnezzar was made king once more, and grew strong and great, and gave the praise to God; the King of kings, who could raise up those who were down, and bring down those who were full of pride.

When Nebuchadnezzar died, a new king was on the throne of Babylon whose name was Belshazzar. And Belshazzar made a great feast, and much wine was drunk. And the king sent for the rich cups which his father had brought from the Lord’s house in Jerusalem. And he and all at the feast drank from these cups, which was a great sin.

In the midst of the feast there came forth a man’s hand, that wrote on the wall of the king’s house.

And the king saw the hand, and was in great fear, and sent at once for all his wise men.

But none of them could read what was on the wall, and the king knew not what to do. Then Daniel was sent for, and the king said he should have great wealth and high rank if he could read the words on the wall.

Daniel said, Keep thy gifts, O king, and give thy fees to some one else. Yet will I read the words on the wall and tell you what they mean. For the God who gives thee life and takes care of thee, thou hast no word of praise. And so God sent this hand to write on the wall.

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin,

which means that thy reign as king is at an end.

When Daniel had told what the hand wrote on the wall, and what the words meant, Belshazzar bade his men clothe him in red, and put a gold chain on his neck, and make it known that he was to be third in rank from the king.

That same night Belshazzar was slain, and Darius took his place on the throne.

Now Darius was pleased with Daniel, and thought him such a wise and good man that he made him chief of a large force of men who held high rank. And this made these men hate Daniel, and they tried to find out some ill that he had done that they might tell it to the king. But they could find no fault in him. Then they thought of a way in which they could harm him.

They came to the king and asked him to make a law that if one should ask help of God or man for one month, he should be cast into a den of lions.

They might ask help of the king, but of no one else.

And the king told them to write down this law, and he put his name to it.

When Daniel heard of the law which the king had sent out he went to his home and knelt down three times a day with his face to Jerusalem, and gave thanks to God first as he had done all his life.

And the men who were on the watch to catch him in some crime, drew near his house and heard him pray to his God. So they went and told the king, and the king was wroth to think he had made such a law. And he tried his best to save Daniel. But the men held him to his word, and said it would not do for him to change a law that had been made.

Then the king bade them bring Daniel and cast him in the den of wild beasts. And he said to Daniel, Thy God, whom thou dost serve so well, will be sure to save thee.

And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den.

Then the king went to his own house, but would take no food, nor did he sleep all that night. And at dawn he rose and went in haste to the den of wild beasts. And as he drew near he cried out with a sad voice, O Daniel, canst thy God save thee from the lions?

And Daniel said, O king, my God hath shut the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me, since I had done no wrong in his sight nor in thine, O king.

Then the king was glad, and bade his men take Daniel out of the den. And when he was brought out, there was not a scratch found on him, for his trust was in God, and God took care of him.

Then the king had those men who found fault with Daniel, thrown into the den—they and their wives, and their children—and the wild beasts were quick to eat them up.

Then Darius made a law that all men should serve the God of Daniel, who was the one true God.

When Darius died, Cyrus was made king.