Listen! Can you hear it?
The sound of angry men muttering?
(Go on, do some muttering of your own.)
They are angry because they are jealous;
jealous of a man called Daniel.
Daniel is a foreigner. He comes from a place called Jerusalem, but he has lived among them for many years, ever since he was a young man and his city was destroyed.
He is an old man now, and King Darius values his wisdom. So he plans to put Daniel in charge of every other leader in his kingdom. And that’s why the men are jealous.
For Daniel will soon rule over them.

Listen! Can you hear it?
The sound of evil laughter?
(Go on, do some evil laughing of your own.)
The men have come up with a plan. A plan to get rid of Daniel.

They know that Daniel prays;
prays three times a day to the God
he worshipped in the temple in Jerusalem.
And they know that he is faithful to that God,
stubborn about doing what he thinks is right.
So they plan to turn Daniel’s faithfulness into a trap.

Listen? Can you hear it?
The sound of someone knocking?
(Go on, do some knocking of your own.)
It’s the king’s door these evil advisors are knocking on.
And when they gain entrance, they put their plan in motion.
“King Darius,” they say, bowing and scraping and flattering.
“You are amazing. You are majestic. And we only want to honour you. So we suggest that you pass a law. A law that cannot be changed. A law demanding that no one should pray to anyone but you for the next 30 days.”
“And what will the punishment be,” he asks, “for anyone who disobeys?”
“Anyone who disobeys your law will be thrown into a den of lions,” the advisors reply. And every one of them smiles at the thought of Daniel’s crunching bones.

Listen? Can you hear it?
The sound of a rumbling tummy?
(Go on, make a rumbling tummy sound.)
The advisors’ plan works a treat.
Daniel knows the law, but he prays to God anyway.
He is arrested. And when King Darius hears that his favourite advisor is to be thrown into the den of lions he does everything he can to stop it.
But the evil advisors – the ones who are jealous of Daniel – remind him that the law he passed cannot be changed. Not for anyone.
And not by anyone, either. Not even a king.
So Daniel is dropped into the den.
“May your God save you,” he says to Daniel.
“The God you serve so faithfully.”
Then the king watches as a huge stone is rolled across the mouth of the den. And onto the stone he puts his seal so it cannot be removed. Then off to the palace he goes. And he spends the night fasting – eating no food at all – in the hope that somehow Daniel might be saved.
So it’s his tummy that’s rumbling.
Well, and the lions’ tummies, too.

Listen? Can you hear it?
The sound of growling?
(Go on, make a growling sound.)
The lions prowl and growl and surround poor Daniel.
It looks, to all the world, like his enemies’ dreams will come true. And then the growling and the prowling suddenly come to a halt.
For God has other plans. An angel appears. And while the lions might not know what an angel is, they realise at once that this new visitor is both scary and strong.
They retreat to the corners of their den, mouths shut tight in fear, while the angel keeps watch over Daniel all through the night.

Listen? Can you hear it? The sound of shouting? Somebody shouting “Hooray!”?
(Go on, give a little cheer!)
As soon as the sun rises, King Darius hurries to the lions’ den.
He hasn’t slept a wink.
He calls out, desperately hoping against hope.
“Daniel? Has the God you serve saved you from the lions?”
And when an answer comes, deep from within the den, he is overjoyed.
“He has indeed!” Daniel replies. “He sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths. For I had done nothing wrong, Your Majesty. Nothing to him or to you.”

Listen? Can you hear it?
The sound of someone saying: “Uh-oh!”?
(Go on, say a little “Uh-oh!”)
Their evil plan foiled, Daniel’s enemies are rounded up by the king’s soldiers.
Daniel is pulled out of the den, and in his place those advisors are fed to the lions, along with their wives and their children. It’s sad, I know. The wives and children had done nothing wrong. But kings could be cruel in those days. Particularly when they had been tricked.
Then, having disposed of Daniel’s enemies, the king sends a message throughout his whole kingdom.
“Everyone must tremble and fear the God of Daniel. For his power goes on for ever. He rescues and he delivers. He does wondrous things. And he saved his servant Daniel from the lions.”