VERSE 10: Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. No fear there! Daniel had to have known what they were doing, but clearly showed no fear. As an elderly man by this time, Daniel knew from whence came his favor! It's been said that the best way to stop knocking knees is to kneel; and that is just exactly what Daniel did. Daniel, no doubt, knew of the prayer of dedication that King Solomon made when the temple was first built in 1Ki 8:30, 1Ki 8:38-39.
On a final note, notice that Daniel prayed three times every day. Now I don't think that means that those were the only times that Daniel prayed but those were three times that he went into his chamber and prayed toward Jerusalem as King Solomon had told them to do in 1 Kings 8. However, he also probably knew that King David had written in Psalm 55:16-17, As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
VERSES 11-16: Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. (12) Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. (13) Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. (14) Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. (15) Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. (16) Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. There is no doubt that at this point the king had realized that he had been had! These guys had appealed to his pride and set him up, and unknownst to them had sealed their own fate. Thus, he immediately goes about trying to get Daniel off the hook, but to no avail. He was bound by the very law that he himself had made.
Notice his final comment to Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. I cannot help but think that this was more wishful thinking than anything on the king's part. After all, he had spent the entire day trying to deliver Daniel himself. It sounds like a lot of Christians I know and sometimes me as well. God becomes the last resort. May that never be so in our lives.
Verses 17-23: And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. (18) Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. (19) Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. (20) And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? (21) Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. (22) My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. (23) Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. Wow! Notice Daniel's cool response. He simply honored the king. This was a true honor, not the "old king live forever" trick that the other guys had played on the king in v.6.
Notice that Daniel says that God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lion's mouths. Who was this angel? I believe that he was the same angel that was in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Jesus Christ himself!
Remember that in chapter three when the three Hebrew children were cast into the fiery furnace, we were asking, "Where was Daniel?" Now, here in chapter six, we could ask, "Where were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?" The answer is the same. We simply do not know. I look at it this way. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had their chance to stand up for God in chapter three, and Daniel had his chance here in chapter six.
VERSE 24: And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. There are a few things that I glean from this verse. First, the king probably had their entire families thrown into the den of lions out of fear of retribution. Second, it was the oriental custom of the day that the entire family pays for the crime of the father. Third, a spiritual application, our sins affect our entire family and not just us alone.
VERSES 25-28: Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. (26) I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. (27) He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. (28) So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Well, the king was certainly impressed with Daniel's deliverance. However, there is still no indication from this that the king placed the God of Daniel over the other gods of Medo-Persia. Only God knows what kind of life transformation might have occurred at this point in King Darius' life; just like Nebuchadnezzar. Either way, God certainly used this situation to bring future blessings upon Daniel for his faithfulness.
Introduction to the Vision
VERSE 1: In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. For a bit of an outline, chapters 7 through 12 are visions which Daniel had; in chronology, the events of chapters 7 and 8 belong between chapters 4 and 5; what happens in chapter 9 happens about at the same time as chapter 6, and the visions of 10-12 take place after the events of chapter 6. The first of the four visions of chapters 7-12 are the most comprehensive; the other three visions deal with aspects of this first vision.
The Sum of the Matters: In other words, Daniel could have given us more detail; but the Holy Spirit only wanted him to write the main facts - though we might have wanted to know more detail!
The Four Beasts
VERSES 2-3: Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. (3) And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The four winds of the heaven: Some view these as representing satanic forces (Rev 7:1) or simply a reference to God's strength and power (Psa 35:5; Psa 48:7; Psa 107:25; Isa 27:8; Isa 41:16).
The great sea: This is referring to the Mediterranean that each of these empires borders.
Baldwin says "To the Hebrews the sea was both dangerous and mysterious, a restless element but not beyond the Lord's power to tame."
From this great sea come four great beasts each distinct from the other. It's been said that the "lion devours, the bear crushes, and the leopard springs upon its prey." (Strauss)
The First Beast
VERSE 4: The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: This beast is majestic in that it is represented by a lion and an eagle. While the lion is the king on land, the eagle is the king in the air. Jeremiah used both of these to describe Babylon (Jer 49:19-22).
However, this kingdom is humbled by having its wings plucked and given the heart of a man.
The Second Beast
VERSE 5: And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. A second, like to a bear: It's been said that the bear is much less majestic as that it is slow, ponderous, and crushing. This one is imbalanced in some way in that it is on its side, however, it does have a voracious appetite. It represents tot Medo-Persian Empire. Many believe that the three ribs represent the empires that they conquered: Babylon, Egypt, and Lydia.
The Third Beast
VERSE 6: After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. Like a leopard: The beast represents Greece. A normal leopard can run 36 mph and is known for its sudden, unexpected attacks; this one is especially swift with four wings.
It is also clever with four heads. Alexander the Great conquered the entire civilized world by the age of 28. Some would say that the four heads also represent his four generals: Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy who inherited the empire after his death.
The Fourth Beast
VERSES 7: After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. Notice that this fourth beast was very different from the rest before it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it. This is no doubt the Roman Empire. Rome ruled the world from around 150 BC until around 450 AD. It was unquestionably the largest, strongest, unified, and enduring of them all.
Rome was unique in that it not only ruled the world physically but came to rule it spiritually as well. In many respects, Rome never lost spiritual control of the world. This is seen in the fact that the iron does not seize to exist from the legs down through the toes in Neb's first vision of the statue. It's unbelievable that God gave this revelation to Daniel around 600 BC. That was almost 400 years before Rome even became a world empire!
It had ten horns: The ten toes of chapter 2 and the ten horns here in chapter 7 are one and the same (Rev 13:1, Rev 17:3). They represent the Revived Roman Empire of the last days.