During the Old Testament book of Daniel, God’s people were in exile in Babylon, and a group of Babylonian officials really wanted to make a point. They wanted to do this so badly, that it’s recorded several times in just a few verses of the book of Daniel, chapter 6:
Verse 8: “Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”
Verse 12: “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.”
Verse 15: “Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
Verse 17: “And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.” [bold emphasis mine]
What provoked them to insist on this law that “cannot be revoked”?
They decided Daniel (of the book’s name) needed to be persecuted for successfully contributing to the welfare of Babylon, while humbly giving God the glory for all his gifts, abilities, and success. He was making them, and their gods, look bad. It is remarkably similar to the reasons Jesus saw opposition. Daniel, a Jewish exile, was about to get a big promotion and they wanted to sabotage it. Knowing Daniel openly prayed three times a day, the officials conspired and convinced the king to sign a law “that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.” (Verse 7). Either Daniel gives glory to Babylon, or he dies. Forcing Daniel to change his worship would prove that an unjust law was more important to him than his God.
What did Daniel do in response? Nothing new. He continued his standard practice of worship, praying in front of his open windows, probably including prayers for the welfare of Babylon. Verse 10 says Daniel acted “as he had done previously,” which indicates he wasn’t snubbing his nose at his government or its new rule. His faithfulness was more important to him than an unjust law, even when he didn’t know God would deliver him from the lions. Daniel didn’t just come to God when he thought he needed God; he knew he needed God at all times.
Therefore, when the officials were provoked, it was an outcome of Daniel’s success and prayer, not Daniel’s intent. Basic, consistent faithfulness to a higher power can sometimes irritate people, especially lower powers who think their rule “cannot be revoked,” even when it’s not very effective.
Following the law, the king had Daniel thrown into the den of lions, but “God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths.” Daniel said he was saved because he had faithfully served his God and the king (verse 22), not because he was a provocative protester.
Seeing Daniel delivered by God, King Darius tore up the law that “cannot be revoked,” but even if Daniel had not been rescued from the lions, the laws would still have been revoked. The kingdom of the Medes and Persians no longer exists. Likewise at the end of time every law of every Babylon will be no more. However, God’s promise of blessing for all who will worship Him and seek His will still stands. On this promise Daniel stood, or rather, kneeled, and served his God and his countrymen, even in exile.
The law of loving service to neighbor will never be revoked, wherever and whenever you live, and even in heaven! In the words of G.K. Chesterton, “Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”
 Jeremiah 29:7 says: “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare,” referring to Babylon.
 Chesterton, G.K. Orthodoxy (1908). P. 103.
2 thoughts on “The Law of the Medes and Persians Has Been Revoked”
The law that cannot be changed is God’s law. Anyone who makes or pleads with other gods will be judged. But mercy triumphs over judgement even though God did not spare his Christ from the law’s consequences for sin. Two other things matter big time: Like Daniel walking out of the lions den in spite of the sealed stone of the authorities, Christ walked out of the tomb alive and vindicated. And the death He died was on our behalf so that we are saved by grace without God ever compromising His holiness. The laws of that kingdom also state that anyone who would attempt to manipulate the great king’s laws for the hurt of others and for their own selfish gain will be caught in their own snare. This is of great comfort to me when I think about how God’s people are being persecuted in Africa and the Middle East and under totalitarian regimes.
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Amen. Thanks for reading and commenting!
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