The Law the King Wished He Hadn't Made

by Stuart D. Gathman
for a 6th grade Sunday school class

A long time ago, on the other side of the world, there was a Kingdom called Persia. The king's name was Darius, and he had 120 nobles to help him rule. One nobleman in particular did his work better than any of the others. His name was Daniel.

Daniel never cheated, never missed a meeting, and always turned his papers in on time. The king was so impressed, that he wanted to put Daniel in charge of all the other nobles.

But some of the other nobles were wicked and didn't like this at all. They liked to cheat, and would cover for each other when they skipped meetings. They didn't want the king to find out what they were doing and they knew that Daniel wouldn't go along with their schemes.

So they spied on Daniel to try and catch him cheating. But Daniel never cheated, never missed a meeting, and not only turned his papers in on time but never made a mistake in his arithmetic either!

The wicked nobles had a secret meeting. "There is only one way to get rid of Daniel", they said to each other. "Daniel is always praying, so we'll make prayer illegal!"

Right away, they went to see King Darius. "O King, live forever!" they said. "We have just had a meeting and thought of a wonderful law that we think you should make. Let no one pray to anyone, god or man, except you, O King, for thirty days. If they do, let them be thrown into a hungry den of lions! Just sign here."

The king was very flattered, so he signed the new law.

When Daniel found out about the new law, he went straight to his room to pray to God as he always did at a window facing Jerusalem. The wicked nobles were all watching, and went right back to King Darius to turn Daniel in.

"Do you remember, O King, that new law about praying to no one except you for thirty days?", they said. "I remember," said Darius. "Well," they continued, "That goody goody Daniel has no respect for you or your law and continues to pray to his God three times a day."

King Darius was very sorry when he heard this. He felt so stupid for signing such a silly and dangerous law. All day long he tried to find some way around the new law. But in Persia, you see, even the king couldn't change a law once it was signed!

So, at sundown, Daniel was dropped through a hole into a cave full of hungry lions. King Darius said, "Your God, who you serve all the time, He will keep you safe!" Then a great stone was put over the hole and sealed with wax around the edge. King Darius marked the wax with his special signet ring. No one could move the stone without breaking the wax seal, and only the king could mark the wax with his special ring.

That night, King Darius couldn't eat his dinner. He didn't watch TV. He couldn't go to sleep, but tossed and turned all night because he was so worried about Daniel. Early the next morning, he hurried back to the den. In a worried voice, he shouted into the cave, "Daniel, servant of God, has your God who you serve all the time kept you safe?" "O king, live forever!" Daniel called back from the cave. "My God sent His angel to hold the lions mouths shut and they have not hurt me. I am innocent before God, Sir, and have done nothing wrong."

The king was so happy that Daniel was OK! He ordered the stone to be moved and Daniel to be lifted out of the den. When he came up, there wasn't even a scratch on him, because he had believed in God!

Now, what do you think happened to those wicked nobles? King Darius ordered them and their families to be thrown to the lions. There was no need for the stone, because the lions killed every one of them before they even reached the ground.

As for King Darius, he made another new law. "I decree that everyone all over my kingdom must show respect for the God of Daniel. He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, and has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."

As for Daniel, he continued to be the kings helper and continued to do the best possible job. And when King Darius died, Cyrus became king, and Daniel was his helper too!