Others had spoken for God to those who claimed to carry his name. Not Daniel. In Daniel’s story we see the consummate exile: God’s people completely divested of political power, deported slaves in a foreign country.
Daniel had been resettled when Babylon exiled the leaders and the educated from Judah, and he proved to be a wise and winsome leader in the midst of a culture that had its own new version of morality. It’s hard to find a better example of Jeremiah’s advice to the exiles to seek the welfare of the country of exile (Jer 29:4-7). Time and again, Babylon prospered because of Daniel’s devotion and effort. In some ways, Daniel was the token minority: his food was different, his customs were different, he was in constant threat of losing his job or his life, and everyone was always looking to find fault with him. Despite this, Daniel worked harder and was more competent than any of his contemporaries— he knew their own literature, language, and magic better than they did! For all these reasons he was loved . . . and hated.
After breaking a law made especially for trapping people like him, Daniel was sentenced to death, placed in a pit with a stone rolled over the entrance and sealed. This righteous man, in the pit of his worst nightmare, was not torn to shreds by the vicious animals surrounding him. Instead, he was raised out of the darkness of the pit, his life was restored, and he was completely vindicated. Meanwhile, his enemies, poetically (at least as poetic as death by lion can be) suffered the defeat they intended for him. It wouldn’t be the last time the stone rolled away revealing how God’s kingdom works.