What does Daniel 6:12 mean?
ESV: Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, "O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked."
NIV: So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: "Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?" The king answered, "The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."
NASB: Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction: 'Did you not sign an injunction that any person who offers a prayer to any god or person besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be thrown into the lions’ den?' The king replied, 'The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.'
CSB: So they approached the king and asked about his edict: "Didn’t you sign an edict that for thirty days any person who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den?" The king answered, "As a law of the Medes and Persians, the order stands and is irrevocable."
NLT: So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. 'Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human — except to you, Your Majesty — will be thrown into the den of lions?' 'Yes,' the king replied, 'that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.'
KJV: Then they came near, and spoke 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.
NKJV: And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, 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 does not alter.”
Verse Commentary:
Here, the scheming nature of Daniel's enemies becomes clear. It's certain these men knew the king never intended Daniel to be harmed (Daniel 6:1–3), yet the law his advisors tricked him into signing demanded just that (Daniel 6:6–9). Daniel acted as expected by praying to God in defiance of the law (Daniel 6:4–5, 10–11). These men want to be sure the king acts as expected: by cooperating with a law which he is not allowed to revoke.

The initial reminder is meant to set up what modern English calls a "gotcha [I got you, or I have you]" moment. The king, in his own words, says exactly what the conspirators want to hear. The law is irrevocable, prayer is illegal, and the punishment is being fed to lions. With those words, Daniel's legal fate was sealed. What comes next is a statement the king was not expecting to hear—or at least had not realized would be a consequence of his edict.
Verse Context:
Daniel 6:10–18 relates what Daniel did when he learned about Darius's law outlawing prayer to the Lord. This passage also shows Darius's reaction when he learned Daniel had violated the law, and that he had been trapped by legalism and his own ego. Daniel demonstrates his loyal, faithful character (Acts 5:29) and fearless devotion to God (Daniel 1:8, 17, 20). He maintains this even as he is convicted—correctly—of violating the law and is sealed into a pen with lions.
Chapter Summary:
Babylon's new ruler organizes his territory under 120 satraps and three governors. He intends to make Daniel the most powerful of these, but jealous rivals develop a plot. Knowing Daniel's only "weakness" is loyalty to God, they trick the king into passing an irrevocable law banning prayer. Daniel knows about the law but chooses obedience to God rather than to men. Darius is anguished yet he dutifully follows the law. When Daniel miraculously survives a night in a den full of lions, Darius is elated. He condemns the conspirators to death, and the same lions tear them apart. Darius then proclaims honor on behalf of Daniel's God.
Chapter Context:
At the end of chapter 5, Belshazzar has died and control over Babylon has come to someone identified as "Darius the Mede." Darius organizes his territory under 120 satraps and three governor-level officials. Daniel is identified as one of the three high administrators. After jealous rivals fail to kill Daniel, he continues to prosper in his role. The following chapter begins an extensive record of prophetic visions. The first is a flashback to something Daniel saw during the rule of Belshazzar.
Book Summary:
The book of Daniel contains famous Old Testament stories and prophecies. Daniel was taken from the Israelite people and made an advisor for a conquering empire. He demonstrates faithfulness and wisdom during many years serving in this role. Though Daniel does not deliver a public message, Jesus refers to him as a "prophet" (Matthew 24:15). The first portion of the book mostly describes Daniel's interpretations of dreams and other events. The second portion looks ahead to the end times. Daniel is classified in English Bibles as a "major" prophet, meaning the book is relatively long and the content has broad implications. The book of Revelation echoes and expands on many of the same themes.
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