Bel and the Dragon


1:1 When King Astyges died,2 Cyrus3 the Persian became his successor.4 1:2 Now Daniel5 was a confidant6 of the king and was held in greater esteem than all his7 friends.8

The Story of Bel

1:3 Now the Babylonians had an idol whose name was Bel,9 and every day they used to lavish10 on it twelve bushels11 of fine flour, forty12 sheep, and six measures13 of wine.14 1:4 The king revered this idol15 and used to go daily to worship it. But Daniel worshipped only16 his God.

One day17 the king said to him, “Why don’t you worship18 Bel?” 1:5 He replied, “Because I don’t revere idols made by human hands, but only the living God who created heaven and earth and who is sovereign19 over all humanity.”20 1:6 The king said to him, “Don’t you think that Bel is a living god? You see how much he eats and drinks every day, don’t you?” 1:7 Daniel laughed21 and said, “Don’t be deceived, O king. For this idol22 is nothing more than clay on the inside and bronze on the outside. It has never eaten or drunk anything whatsoever.” 1:8 Then the king became angry and summoned his priests and said to them, “Unless you admit23 to me who is eating these provisions, you will die! 1:9 But if you prove that Bel is eating them Daniel will die, for he has committed blasphemy against Bel.” Daniel said to the king, “So be it just as you have said!”24

1:10 Now there were seventy priests of Bel, in addition to their wives and children. When the king went with Daniel to the temple25 of Bel, 1:11 the priests of Bel said, “Look! We’re going outside. You, O king, set out the food and mix26 the wine and set it out too. Then close the door and seal it with your signet ring.27 1:1228 When you arrive in the morning, if you don’t find everything eaten by Bel we will die—or if things are otherwise29 Daniel, who is lying about us, will die.”30 1:13 They were disdainful, for they had constructed a secret entrance under the table. Through it they used to enter on a regular basis and consume the provisions that had been set out.31

1:14 So when those people32 had gone out, the king set out the provisions for Bel.33 Daniel instructed his attendants to bring ashes and scatter them throughout the entire temple34 in the presence of the king alone. Then they went out, closed the door, sealed it with the signet ring of the king, and departed. 1:15 The priests, along with their wives and children, came during the night, as was their custom, and ate and drank everything.

1:16 The king got up early in the morning, as did Daniel.35 1:17 The king36 said, “Are the seals intact, Daniel?” And Daniel37 replied,38 “They are intact, O king.” 1:18 It so happened that39 when the doors were opened and the king looked on the table, he cried out in a loud40 voice, “You are great, O Bel! With you there is not the slightest deceit!”41 1:19 But Daniel laughed and held back the king so that he could not go in. He said, “Take a look at the floor and notice whose footprints these are.” 1:20 The king said, “I see the footprints of men, women, and children!”

1:21 Then the king was enraged. He apprehended the priests, along with their wives and children. They showed him the secret doors through which they were entering and consuming whatever was on the table. 1:22 So the king had them killed. He handed Bel over to Daniel,42 who destroyed both it and its temple.43

The Story of the Dragon

1:23 Now there was44 a large dragon,45 and the Babylonians used to revere it. 1:24 The king said to Daniel, “Surely you can’t claim that this is not a living god. So worship it!”46 1:2547 But Daniel replied,48 “I will worship the Lord my God alone, for he is the living God. 1:26 But, O king, if you will grant me authority I will put the dragon to death using neither sword nor staff.”49 The king replied,50 “I grant you authority.”51

1:27 So Daniel took pitch, fat, and hair and having brewed them together, he made cakes. Then he put52 them in the mouth of the dragon. When it ate them, the dragon burst asunder.53 Daniel54 said, “Look at what you worship!”

1:28 Now when the Babylonians heard about this, they were furious and conspired against the king,55 saying, “The king has become a Jew! He has destroyed56 Bel and killed the dragon and slaughtered the priests!”57 1:2958 Approaching the king, they said, “Deliver Daniel over to us! If you don’t we will kill you and your family.”59 1:30 When the king saw that they were pressing him relentlessly,60 under compulsion he delivered Daniel over to them.

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

1:31 Then they threw Daniel61 into the lions’ den,62 where he remained for six days.63 1:32 Now there were seven lions in the den, and they used to be fed64 two human65 bodies and two sheep daily. But these were not given to the lions66 at this time,67 so that they would devour Daniel.

1:33 Now the prophet Habakkuk68 was in Judea.69 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. 1:34 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.” 1:35 Habakkuk replied,70 “Lord, I have never even seen Babylon, and I know nothing about this den.” 1:36 But the angel of the Lord seized him by the top of his head and lifted him by the hair of his head.71 He deposited him in Babylon above the den with the speed of a rushing wind.72 1:37 Habakkuk cried out, “Daniel! Daniel! Take this meal that God has sent to you.” 1:38 Daniel replied,73 “You have remembered me, O God.74 You do not abandon75 those who love you.” 1:39 Then Daniel got up and ate.76 And the angel of God suddenly removed Habakkuk to his former77 place.78

1:40 On the seventh day the king came in order to grieve over Daniel.79 When he came to the den and looked in, there sat Daniel!80 1:41 Crying out in a loud81 voice, the king82 said, “You are great, O Lord God of Daniel! There is none other than you!” 1:42 He hauled Daniel83 out and threw into the den those84 who had sought Daniel’s85 destruction. They were devoured immediately right before the king.86