December 14, 2005

Daniel in the Lions’ Den Redux

I was checking out the NET Bible’s Deutero-Canonicals/ Apocrypha translations today --- and ran across this --- which I didn’t remember in the book of ‘Bel and the Dragon.’ This account of the Lions’ Den pretty exciting, I wonder if this was thought of as a second time Daniel was in the Den, or a different telling of the original in Dan 6:16-24?

Now when the Babylonians heard about this, they were furious and conspired against the king, saying, “The king has become a Jew! He has destroyed Bel and killed the dragon and slaughtered the priests!” Approaching the king, they said, “Deliver Daniel over to us! If you don’t we will kill you and your family.” When the king saw that they were pressing him relentlessly, under compulsion he delivered Daniel over to them.

Then they threw Daniel into the lions’ den, where he remained for six days. Now there were seven lions in the den, and they used to be fed two human bodies and two sheep daily. But these were not given to the lions at this time, so that they would devour Daniel.

Now the prophet Habakkuk was in Judea. He had boiled some pottage and had crumbled some bread in a bowl, and he was in the field on his way to take it to the reapers. But the angel of the Lord said to Habakkuk, “Take the meal that you have to Daniel who is in the lions’ den in Babylon.” Habakkuk replied, “Lord, I have never even seen Babylon, and I know nothing about this den.” But the angel of the Lord seized him by the top of his head and lifted him by the hair of his head. He deposited him in Babylon above the den with the speed of a rushing wind. Habakkuk cried out, “Daniel! Daniel! Take this meal that God has sent to you.” Daniel replied, “You have remembered me, O God. You do not abandon those who love you.” Then Daniel got up and ate. And the angel of God suddenly removed Habakkuk to his former place.

On the seventh day the king came in order to grieve over Daniel. When he came to the den and looked in, there sat Daniel! Crying out in a loud voice, the king said, “You are great, O Lord God of Daniel! There is none other than you!” He hauled Daniel out and threw into the den those who had sought Daniel’s destruction. They were devoured immediately right before the king.

Bel and the Dragon 1:28-1:42

Funny thing is, if you read the rest of the book basically every time someone apposes Daniel the ultimatum is given that Daniel must die or they must die depending on who is proved right. Each time Daniel “wins” and the other people are killed --- yet people seem to pop up again and again against him --- and the same thing happens to them. You think after a while you’d figure Daniel wasn’t a good guy to mess with.

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