Susanna 1


1:1 There was a man living in Babylon whose name was Joakim. 1:2 He married a woman2 whose name was Susanna. She was the daughter of Hilkiah, and she was a very beautiful and devout3 woman. 1:3 Her parents were righteous people, and they instructed their daughter in4 the law of Moses. 1:4 Joakim was very wealthy, and he had a garden5 adjacent to his home.6 The Jews used to gravitate7 to him, because he was held in greater esteem than all of them. 1:5 In that year8 two elders of the people were appointed as judges.9 Concerning such judges10 the Lord11 had said, “Iniquity proceeded from Babylon from elders who were judges, the very ones who were supposed to be governing the people.”12 1:6 These men used to frequent the home of Joakim, and all those who were in need of legal decisions13 used to come to them.

Two Elders Attempt to Seduce Susanna

1:7 It so happened14 that when the people were departing at mid-day, Susanna used to enter and walk about in her husband’s garden. 1:8 Day after day the two elders used to watch her entering and walking about, and they began to have15 lustful desires toward her.16 1:9 Their minds became twisted,17 and they turned their attention18 from focusing19 on heaven20 or paying attention21 to righteous decisions. 1:10 Both of them were enamored22 of her, but neither one told the other of his anguish.23 1:11 For they were ashamed to disclose24 their lust and how they longed to have sexual relations with her.25 1:12 Day after day they eagerly watched for her.26

1:13 Then one day27 they said to one another, “Let’s go home, for it is time for dinner. And departing, they separated from one another. 1:14 But having looped back, they came together again. After inquiring of one another for an explanation, they admitted28 their lust. Then in collusion they arranged for a time when they would be able to find her alone.

1:15 It so happened that one day while they were looking for an opportune time,29 she entered as was her habit30 with only two female attendants. She intended31 to bathe in the garden, for it was a hot day. 1:16 No one else was there except for the two elders who were carefully watching her from a concealed position.32 1:17 She said to her female attendants, “Bring me some olive oil and soap33 and close the doors to the garden, so that I may bathe.” 1:18 They did as she had instructed34 and closed the doors to the garden. They then exited by the side doors in order to bring the things she had requested35 of them. They did not notice36 the elders, for they were concealed.

1:19 After the female attendants had exited, the two elders got up and ran over to her. 1:20 They said, “Look! The doors to the garden have been closed, and no one is watching us. We are attracted to you. So agree that you will have sex with us.37 1:21 If you don’t, we will bring charges against you, alleging that a young man was in your company and that this was the reason you sent your female attendants away from you.

1:22 Susanna groaned aloud and said, “I am trapped with no hope of escape!38 For if I do this thing it will result in my death.39 But if I don’t do it, I won’t escape from your hands. 1:23 My choice is not to do this and to fall into your hands rather than to sin in the Lord’s sight.”

1:24 Then Susanna cried out loudly,40 and the two elders cried out against her. 1:25 One of them ran and opened the doors to the garden.41 1:26 When those from the house42 heard the crying in the garden, they rushed in through the side door in order to see what had happened to her. 1:27 When the elders told their account, the servants were very embarrassed, for never before had anything like this been said about Susanna.

The Elders Accuse Susanna

1:28 On the following day, as the people gathered at the home of her husband Joakim,43 the two elders came, consumed by44 their unrestrained45 intentions to have Susanna put to death. In the presence of the people they said, 1:29 “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim!” So they sent for her.46 1:30 And she came, along with her parents, her children, and all her relatives.47

1:31 Now Susanna was a very refined48 and beautiful49 woman. 1:32 These lawless men demanded50 that she be unveiled (for she was wearing a veil),51 so that they could take in52 her beauty. 1:33 But those who were with her and all those who were observing her53 were in tears. 1:34 The two elders stood up in the midst of the people and put their hands on her head. 1:35 In tears she looked up to the sky,54 for in her heart she was trusting the Lord. 1:36 The elders said, “While we were walking alone in the garden, this woman entered with two female attendants and closed the doors to the garden and dismissed the female attendants. 1:37 Then a young man who had been concealed came to her and lay with her. 1:38 We were in the corner of the garden. But when we saw this iniquity, we ran up to them. 1:39 And even though we observed them engaged in sexual relations, we weren’t able to restrain the man, for he was stronger than we. He opened the doors and escaped on foot. 1:40 So we apprehended this woman and inquired about who the young man was. 1:41 But she didn’t want to tell us. We testify to these things.”

The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people. And they condemned her to death.55 1:42 Then Susanna cried out loudly56 and exclaimed,57 “O eternal God! You are the one who knows what is hidden58 and who comprehends all things before they happen. 1:43 You know that they have testified falsely against me. Look! I am about to be put to death, even though I have done nothing that these men have contrived59 against me.”

Daniel Intervenes

1:44 And the Lord paid attention to her cry.60 1:45 As she was being led away to be put to death, God aroused the holy spirit of a young61 boy62 whose name was Daniel.63 1:46 He cried out loudly,64 “I am innocent of this blood!”65 1:47All the people turned toward him and exclaimed,66 “What is this thing67 that you have spoken?” 1:48 Then he stood up in their midst and said, “Are you so foolish, you Israelites?68 Have you condemned a daughter of Israel without ascertaining the facts and without knowing for certain what transpired? 1:49 Go back to court,69 for these men have brought false charges against her.”

1:50 So all the people went back quickly. The elders said to Daniel,70 “Come! Sit in our midst and clarify71 things for us. For God has granted you this right.”72 1:51 So Daniel said to them, “Separate them a good distance from one another, and I will examine them.” 1:52 When they had been separated from one another, he summoned one of them and said to him, “You mean old rascal!73 Now your sins that you committed previously have come full circle! 1:53 You are enacting legal decisions in an unjust way, and you are condemning the innocent and releasing the guilty, even though the Lord has said, ‘You shall not put to death the innocent or the righteous.’74 1:54 Now therefore, if you actually saw this woman, tell me: Under what tree did you see them having sexual relations?” He replied,75 “Under a mastic tree.”76 1:55 Daniel replied, “Well said! You have lied at the risk of your own life.77 For the angel of God has already received your sentence from God, and he will split you apart!”78

1:56 When he had stood him to the side, he instructed79 them to bring in the other one. He said to him, “You offspring80 of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you, and lust has perverted your heart! 1:57 This is the way that the two of you81 were dealing with the daughters of Israel, and those women were having sexual relations with you because they were afraid. But a daughter of Judah82 would not put up with your lawlessness. 1:58 Now therefore tell me, under which tree did you apprehend them as they were having sexual relations?” He replied,83 “Under an oak tree.”84 1:59 Daniel said to him, “Well said! You too have lied at the risk of your own life. For the angel of God awaits with a sword to saw you in two, that he may completely destroy both85 of you!”

1:60 Then all the assembly cried out loudly86 and blessed God who delivers those who place their hope in him. 1:61 They rose up against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them of perjury on the basis of their own words.87 They did to them the very thing that those men had maliciously devised against their neighbor: 1:62 they put them to death in accord with the law of Moses. In this way innocent blood was saved in that day.


1:63 And Hilkiah and his wife praised God88 for their daughter, along with Joakim her husband and all her relatives. For no shameful deed was discovered with regard to her. 1:64 Now from that day forward Daniel enjoyed a great reputation89 in the estimate of the people.90