Daniel 6:1-2 Darius king of Babylon
Daniel's righteousness had staying power through three different kings. First was Nebuchadnezzar, second was Belshazzar, and third was Darius. His integrity furnished much more than fifteen minutes of fame.
"This great and good man lived through the reign of three Kings-Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius-and was evidently a ruling power in all their kingdoms, for heathens though they were, they had been shown that the God of all the earth was with them, and they acknowledged and honored him whom they had seen God honor and protect. They well knew there was a power with Daniel they had seen in no other being, and by his consummate tact and wisdom he ruled the rulers." (Contributor, vol. 5, March, 1884. No. 6, p. 216)
Daniel 6:3 Daniel was preferred... because an excellent spirit was in him
How could we develop Daniel's "excellent spirit"? What books can give us Moroni's "perfect understanding"? (Alma 48:11) An excellent spirit and a perfect understanding are both enviable qualities. Apparently, the two are related; one begets the other. The scriptures teach that an "excellent spirit" comes from a "perfect understanding" and vice versa. As the psalmist wrote, "a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit" (Ps. 17:27) Daniel had even more than that, "an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel" (Dan. 5:12).
"The 'excellent spirit' that was evident in Daniel was undoubtedly the result of the influence of the Holy Ghost. Pharaoh had detected a similar excellent spirit in faithful Joseph, and when he was considering selecting Joseph as his major governor, the Pharaoh exclaimed: 'Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?' (Gen. 41:38.)" (Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Old Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 352)
Daniel 6:5 We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God
Spencer W. Kimball
These vicious men conspired to destroy Daniel. Their clever trick would end his dominion. Knowing the faith and the habits of Daniel, they could not fail. Preying upon the pride and vanity of the emperor, his conceit, his egotism, they persuaded him to sign an unbreakable law-a law which forbade anyone in the ensuing thirty days asking any petition of anyone but [Darius]. The penalty was to be consigned to the den of lions. [Darius] signed the decree, not knowing it was leveled at his friend. This unalterable law of the Medes and Persians would have been terrifying to any man, but the faithful Daniel did not flinch. Was there any question what he should do? He could save his life by abandoning his prayers to the Living God. What was he to do? A man of integrity could not fail. Daniel was the soul of integrity.
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. (BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964, 17)
Daniel 6:10 Daniel knew that the writing was signed
One of the great lessons from Daniel is that is faithfulness is uncompromising. He could have just sampled the most appropriate servings of the king's meat but he chose not to (Dan. 1:8). He could have prayed in his heart like the people of Alma but he chose not to (Mosiah 24:12). He could have prayed while hidden in his closet but he chose not to (Matt. 6:6). Daniel left knew the writing was signed; he knew it was a trap. He left his windows open and prayed three times a day just has he always had. My guess is that is prayers were even a little louder and more demonstrative than ever. Daniel was afraid of no one except the Lord. He has a "bring it on" attitude that is refreshing.
Spencer W. Kimball
The conspiracy worked rapidly. One day, not thirty, was all that was required. The die was cast. The law of the Medes and the Persians could not be abrogated... Every Bible reader knows the outcome. Daniel, the man of faith, of courage, of fortitude, of integrity, came through the night unscathed, unclawed, untorn, undevoured... Truth is stronger than the sword. No man apologizes for doing right. Right is master of the universe. (BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964, p.18)
Daniel 6:10 he kneeled upon his knees three times a day
"The question may be asked... how often is an individual obligated to offer formal prayers to Heavenly Father? The Prophet Joseph Smith provided guidance in this area, teaching us that we must pray three times a day. 'You must make yourselves acquainted with those men who like Daniel pray three times a day toward the House of the Lord' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 161). Evidently, Joseph Smith was making reference to Daniel 6:10: '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.' The teaching regarding praying three times per day is found also in the Book of Mormon, where Amulek taught that the individuals should 'cry unto [God] in your houses . . . both morning, mid-day, and evening' (Alma 34:21).
"There is evidence that Joseph Smith and his family practiced this teaching. Eliza R. Snow recorded that 'three times a day he had family worship; and these precious seasons of sacred household service truly seemed a foretaste of celestial happiness' (qtd in Payne 65). Hyrum Smith, the Prophet's brother, also learned the principle regarding daily prayers. According to Eliza Ann Carter, 'When I was living at Hyrum Smith's I thought that he was the best man I ever saw, he was so kind to his family and he prayed in his family three times a day' (qtd in Snow 134)." (Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., eds., Third Nephi 9-30: This Is My Gospel [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1993], 142)
Daniel 6:19-26 the king arose very early... and went in haste unto the den of lions
L. Tom Perry
[Remember to] be as strong as Daniel in keeping distance between yourself and the evil practices and places of the world...
Daniel's faith in the living God was strong and vigorous. He continued his prayers, and of course was quickly discovered and brought before the king. The king was bound by law, and even though it grieved him greatly, he was required to sentence Daniel to the lions' den.
After the sentence was passed, the king was so troubled that he could not sleep all night. Early in the morning he rushed to the lions' den to see if Daniel's God had protected him from the lions. His joy was exceedingly great when he found Daniel had been protected by the Lord and was alive and unharmed. The king was in awe over this great miracle and declared that Daniel's God was the living God and steadfast forever. (See Dan. 6.)
...This story of Daniel teaches us of the great blessings in store for those who place their trust in the Lord, even the protection of life itself. ("I Confer the Priesthood of Aaron," Ensign, Nov. 1985, 48)
Thomas S. Monson
In a time of critical need, Daniel's determination to steer a steady course yielded divine protection and provided a sanctuary of safety. (Ensign, May 1982, 61)
Daniel 6:22 My God hath... shut the lions' mouths
God can open the mouth of the ass (Num. 22:28). He can shut the mouths of lions. He can confound the tongues of Babel (Gen. 11:9). But yet he suffers man to defile and profane his holy name. If God can shut the lion's mouth, why can't we shut our own? Instead, our open mouth reveals a closed and contracted soul, "if any... bridleth not his tongue... this man's religion is vain" (James 1:26).
The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity...
It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison
Therewith bless we God, even the father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessings and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (James 3:6-10)
Daniel 6:24 they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions
In the psalms of David, one of the promises given is that traps set for the righteous would be filled with their enemies.
[The wicked man] made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. (Ps. 7:15-16)
The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. (Ps. 9:15-16)
They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. (Ps 57:6)
How wise were those great captains, counselors and presidents! Could they not foresee that they could not overthrow Daniel? No, they could see no further than to believe that if the King would sign the decree that no petition should be presented to any potentate, on, above, or around about the earth, but to himself, for the space of thirty days, they would entrap and destroy Daniel. What was the result? Just as quick as they commenced their special legislation against Daniel the Lord commenced special legislation for him and against those who got him into the lion's den... They could not foresee... that the legislation of the Lord Almighty would be a little above the special legislation of which they were the authors against him. (Journal of Discourses, 14:42)