1sn The story of Susanna has been called the gem of the several deuterocanonical additions to Daniel; it is “one of the best short stories in the world’s literature” and “a model of artistic fiction” that “qualifies as great literature” (B. M. Metzger, Introduction to the Apocrypha, 107, 110). Not surprisingly the influence of this remarkable story can be seen both in literature and in art down through the centuries, as great masters have portrayed through written or visual media the triumph of a devout person wrongly accused by evildoers. The placement of Susanna varies in the manuscript tradition. The Greek text of Theodotion has Susanna prior to Daniel 1. However, in Greek MS 88, the Syrohexapla, and the Latin Vulgate Susanna appears after Daniel 12, while in Greek papyrus MS 967 Susanna appears after Bel and the Dragon. English Bibles that include the deuterocanonical books usually present Susanna as chapter 13 of Daniel, with Bel and the Dragon appearing as chapter 14.

2tn Grk “took a wife.”

3tn Grk “fearing the Lord.”

4tn Grk “according to.”

5tn The Greek word paradeisos is used for an attractive garden or enclosed park. This word is borrowed from old Persian, where it is used often (but not exclusively) in reference to lush parks such as those available to Persian nobility. In Gen 2:8 the LXX uses this word to refer to the garden of Eden. The garden is mentioned in Susanna as an evidence of Joakim’s wealth, and we can assume that it was a pleasant and attractive place mainly used for private relaxing and casual enjoyment.

6tn Grk “house.” So also in vv. 13, 28.

7tn Grk “gather.”

8sn That is, the same year that Joakim had married Susanna, unless something has dropped out of the text as we now have it. According to the old Greek translation of v. 30 Susanna already had four children, which presupposes the passing of a greater length of time than just one year. See further the discussion in C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 95.

9sn Origen and Jerome were familiar with a Jewish tradition that identified the anonymous elders in Susanna as the adulterous prophets Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah (cf. Jer 29:21-23), but there is no adequate basis for this suggestion apart from the common theme of adultery on the part of religious leaders. For the relevant textual data see J. Braverman, Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel, CBQMS 7, 126-31.

10tn Grk “concerning whom.”

11tn Grk “Master.”

12sn This quotation is not found as such in the Old Testament, although it may be an allusion to Jer 23:14-15.

13tn Grk “all those being judged.”

14tn Grk “and it came to pass.” Cf. vv. 15, 19. The expression is a Hebraism.

15tn Grk “they became.” The verb is an ingressive aorist.

16tn Grk “in lust of her.” The pronoun is an objective genitive.

17tn Grk “they perverted their own mind.” In this instance the expression has been understood by some scholars to refer to a casting aside of reason (e.g., “they threw reason aside,” Knox; “reason they dethroned,” Knox) or to a suppression of conscience (e.g., “they suppressed their consciences,” NRSV and NAB).

18tn Grk “eyes.”

19tn Grk “not to look.”

20tn The word “heaven” is used here as a metonymy for God. Cf. the familiar New Testament expression “kingdom of heaven.”

21tn Grk “to remember.”

22tn The Greek word katanusso normally has the sense of “to be sorely pricked,” “bewildered,” or “stunned” (see LSJ 903; J. Lust et al., Lexicon of the Septuagint, 2:240). Here it is used of the overwhelming and inappropriate sexual attraction that the two elders felt toward Susanna. It is possible that the Greek word in Susanna is based on a misunderstanding of a word in its putative Hebrew Vorlage, since the root hll (“to wound”) is very similar in appearance to hlh (“to be sick”). The root hlh is sometimes used of love-sickness (see HALOT 1:316), a meaning which would clearly fit the context of Susanna. See further F. Zimmermann, “The Story of Susanna and Its Original Language,” JQR 48 (1957-1958): 239-40.

23tc The old Greek translation adds “nor did the woman know this thing,” stressing the complete innocence of Susanna in the matter.

24tn Grk “announce.”

25tc In addition to having significant differences in content as compared to Theodotion’s text, the old Greek translation lacks vv. 11, 15-18, 20-21, 24-27, 42-43, 46-47, 49-50, 63-64. Most scholars regard the old Greek translation as the earlier of the two texts.

26tc The old Greek translation reads v. 12 as follows: “And when morning came, apart from one another’s awareness they came rushing to see who could first appear to her and speak with her.”

27tn The words “one day” are not in the Greek text but have been added in the translation for clarity. So also in v. 15.

28tn Or “confessed.”

29tn Grk “day.”

30tn Grk “yesterday and a third day.” The expression is a Hebraism.

31tn Grk “she desired.”

32tn Grk “having been hidden.”

33tn The Greek word smegma (= smema) means “soap” or “unguent” (LSJ 1619; J. Lust et al., Lexicon of the Septuagint, 2:432). In English versions the word has been translated as “ointments” (RSV, NRSV), “perfume” (TEV), “washing balls” (KJV, Douay), or “balsam” (New Jerusalem Bible).

34tn Grk “said.”

35tn Grk “the things having been commanded to them.”

36tn Grk “know.”

37tn Grk “and be with us.”

38tn Grk “distress to me on all sides.” The expression is a Hebraism.

39sn Under the Mosaic law adultery was punishable by death. See Lev 20:10; Deut 22:20-24; cf. John 8:5.

40tn Grk “with a great voice.” Susanna’s response is exactly what the Mosaic law dictated for a woman in such circumstances. A woman experiencing sexual attack was to call out loudly for help (see Deut 22:24, 27). As v. 3 indicates, Susanna’s parents had trained her in the law; her reaction here illustrates how well she had learned those lessons.

41sn The purpose for opening the garden doors was apparently to add credence to the false allegation that a romantic suitor had escaped from the elders’ grasp and had fled from the garden.

42tn Grk “those out of the house.” The expression apparently refers to the household servants (so KJV, Douay, RSV, Knox).

43sn According to the old Greek translation of v. 28 the setting for the trial of Susanna was not at the estate of Joakim but rather at a local synagogue.

44tn Grk “full of.”

45tn Grk “lawless.”

46tn The words “for her” are not in the Greek text but have been added in the translation for clarity.

47tc According to the old Greek translation of v. 30 Susanna arrived at the trial with her father, her mother, her five hundred attendants, and her four children. The surprisingly large number of attendants is apparently intended to underscore the wealth of this family.

48tn Or, “delicate.”

49tn Grk “good with regard to appearance.”

50tn Grk “commanded.”

51tn Clearly in Theodotion this “uncovering” refers to the removal only of Susanna’s veil. The old Greek translation, however, lacks the parenthetical comment “for she was wearing a veil,” leading some scholars to wonder whether in that version the idea may be that Susanna was “uncovered” in the sense of being stripped of most or all of her clothing. According to Ezek 16:35-42 the punishment of an adulterous woman could include her being stripped naked in the presence of witnesses.

52tn Grk “be filled with.”

53tn Or “the onlookers.”

54tn Or “heaven.”

55sn Cf. Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22-24.

56tn Grk “with a great voice.”

57tn Grk “said.”

58sn Cf. Deut 29:29.

59tn Grk “wickedly done.”

60tn Grk “voice.”

61sn In patristic literature the similarity between this story and the New Testament account of the boy Jesus confounding the teachers in the temple (Luke 2:41-52) was not overlooked, with some writers even drawing the conclusion that at this point Daniel (like Jesus) was twelve years of age.

62sn It is possible only to have a very general idea of Daniel’s age on the basis of this term. The Greek word used for “boy” (paidarion) can refer to a very young boy or a youth who is entering adulthood (e.g., Tobit 5:17 et passim).

63sn Surprisingly, this is the first mention of Daniel in the story. It is only in the final third of the narrative that Daniel actually plays a role; everything prior to this has emphasized Susanna’s plight as a righteous person falsely accused. Although in this concluding section Daniel receives attention as one wise beyond his years, it is clearly Susanna who is the main focus overall. Furthermore, Daniel’s presence during these events in Babylon creates a problem for the placement of this story in relation to the canonical portions of Daniel. As Collins points out, the fact that Daniel in this story is already present in Babylon renders the placement of Susanna before Daniel 1 somewhat anachronistic, since the first chapter of Daniel recounts Daniel’s deportation from Jerusalem to Babylon. See J. J. Collins, Daniel, Hermeneia, 433.

64tn Grk “with a great voice.”

65sn Cf. the similar words of Pilate recorded in Matt 27:24.

66tn Grk “said.”

67tn Grk “word.”

68tn Grk “sons of Israel.”

69tn Grk “return to the place of judgment.” Cf. TEV: “Reopen the case.”

70tn Grk “him.”

71tn Grk “announce.”

72Or, “the prestige of old age” (NAB).

73tn Grk “you (are) one being old of bad days.” The expression is a pejorative and demeaning form of address, implying that one’s entire life has been characterized by wicked behavior. The expression has been variously translated in the English versions (e.g., “you old relic of wicked days,” RSV and NRSV; “How you have grown evil with age!” NAB; “You wicked old man,” TEV; “Grown so old in years, and years ill spent!” Knox; “You have grown old in wickedness,” New Jerusalem Bible).

74sn The citation is from Exod 23:7.

75tn Grk “said.”

76sn The mastic tree is the Pistacia Lentiscus (so LSJ 1746).

77tn Grk “on your own head.” So also in v. 59.

78sn A striking wordplay is used here so as twice to connect the name of the tree and the consequence that Daniel announces to the elders for their false testimony. The first elder claims to have seen Susanna involved in inappropriate sexual activity under a mastic tree (Greek, schinon). Daniel commends this answer, since God will exact judgment on the lying elder by splitting (Greek, schisei) him in two. Later, in vv. 58-59 there is a similar pun. The second elder claims that he observed sinful behavior taking place under an oak tree (Greek, prinon). Daniel then warns that an angel will soon saw (Greek, prisai) this elder in two. Attempts to preserve these wordplays in English have usually resulted in sacrifice of accuracy in representing some of the terms that are used in the story. (But for some interesting possibilities see C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 110. Moore’s own attempts are “clove tree . . . cleave you in half” and “a yew . . . hew you in half.”) These wordplays (or paronomasia) are sometimes taken as evidence that the original language of Susanna must have been Greek, since it is extremely difficult to reproduce such puns in translation. However, it is possible that the puns were entirely the work of a Greek translator, in which case they tell us nothing about the original language of this composition.

79tn Grk “commanded.”

80tn Grk “seed.”

81tn The Greek text does not have the word “two.” It has been added in the translation to bring out the fact that the pronoun “you” is plural here. So also in v. 59.

82sn Cf. “daughter of Israel” in v. 48.

83tn Grk “said.”

84sn The Greek word prinos can refer to the holm-oak (Quercus Ilex) or to the kermes-oak (Quercus cocoifera). See LSJ 1464.

85tn The word “both” is not in the Greek text but is used in the translation to bring out the fact that the second-person pronoun “you” is plural.

86tn Grk “with a great voice.”

87tn Grk “out of their mouth.”

88tn The word “God” is not in the Greek text but has been supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

89tn Grk “became great.”

90tn The Latin Vulgate includes a verse at the end of Susanna that is not found in the Greek text: “And King Astyages was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus the Persian received his kingdom.”