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Sefer Daniel: Part 11 - Perek 6 con't: Daniel Is Thrown To The Lions
"And Daniel, even though he was aware that the decree was written, entered his house. He had windows opened towards Yerushalayim on his upper level, and three times a day, he knelt down on his knees and davened and thanked Hashem, just as he had done until now."
Why did Daniel put himself in danger? He had no obligation to risk his life for the royal decree since the king's intention was not religious coercion. The Malbim explains that Daniel did not intend to transgress the king's decree. The king did not require anybody to refrain from fulfilling his religious obligations. The decree required only one who wished to request a new personal request to request it from the king and no one else. Daily tefillah did not transgress these requirements since it is not comprised of new requests, but is praise and gratitude to Hashem, and general requests such as life and forgiveness of sin.
The other officers spied on Daniel, and witnessed him praying. They immediately ran to the king to inform on Daniel, and twisted the truth about the nature of his prayers, saying that he made personal requests, and had thereby transgressed the decree of the king.
The king tried to save Daniel, saying that the decree does not apply to Daniel since he prays every day because of his religion, and his prayers do not include new requests on personal matters. Rashi says that the king personally favored Daniel, and tried to save him the entire day, until the sun set. Eventually the men pressured the king by quoting the law of Madai and Paras that any law that is established by the king cannot be changed.
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lion's pit. The king said to Daniel, "Your G-d, Whom you constantly serve, will save you."
A stone was then brought and placed over the opening of the pit, and the king sealed it with his signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles. By doing this, the king assured that Daniel's enemies would not kill him with stones or verbally harass him, and the nobles made sure that the king would not secretly save Daniel. This was also to ascertain that no one would say that they fed the lions and satiated them, which would provide an excuse if Daniel was unharmed.
The king then returned to the palace, but he had a troubled night; he could not eat or sleep.
"Then the king arose at dawn when the light began to rise and hurried to the pit of lions. When he approached the pit, he cried out to Daniel in a sad voice. The king said to Daniel, "Daniel, the servant of the living G-d, was the G-d whom You serve constantly able to save you from the lions?'"
"Then Daniel spoke with the king, ‘My G-d sent His angel which closed the mouth of the lions, and they did not wound me because merit was found for me before Him, and even you I have not harmed.'"
The king was happy and relieved that Daniel was unharmed, and commanded that he be brought up from the pit.
"And the king commanded and they brought the men who had defamed Daniel, and they threw them into the lion's pit-and their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the pit, the lions overcame them and crushed their bones."
The lions were actually ravenous, which magnified the nes which occurred to Daniel.
Following these events, the king issued a decree that his entire kingdom should "fear the G-d of Daniel, Who is the living and everlasting G-d. His kingdom will not be destroyed, and He will rule for eternity. He saves and rescues, and performs signs and wonders in Heaven and on earth - Who has rescued Daniel from the lions."
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