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Daniel and the Priests of Bel

1When King Astyʹages was laid with his fathers, Cyrus the Persian received his kingdom. 2And Daniel was a companion of the king, and was the most honored of his friends.

3Now the Babylonians had an idol called Bel, and every day they spent on it twelve bushels of fine flour and forty sheep and fifty gallons of wine. 4The king revered it and went every day to worship it. But Daniel worshiped his own God.

5And the king said to him, “Why do you not worship Bel?” He answered, “Because I do not revere man-made idols, but the living God, who created heaven and earth and has dominion over all flesh.”

6The king said to him, “Do you not think that Bel is a living God? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?” 7Then Daniel laughed, and said, “Do not be deceived, O king; for this is but clay inside and brass outside, and it never ate or drank anything.”

8Then the king was angry, and he called his priests and said to them, “If you do not tell me who is eating these provisions, you shall die. 9But if you prove that Bel is eating them, Daniel shall die, because he blasphemed against Bel.” And Daniel said to the king, “Let it be done as you have said.”

10Now there were seventy priests of Bel, besides their wives and children. And the king went with Daniel into the temple of Bel. 11And the priests of Bel said, “Behold, we are going outside; you yourself, O king, shall set forth the food and mix and place the wine, and shut the door and seal it with your signet. 12And when you return in the morning, if you do not find that Bel has eaten it all, we will die; or else Daniel will, who is telling lies about us.” 13They were unconcerned, for beneath the table they had made a hidden entrance, through which they used to go in regularly and consume the provisions. 14When they had gone out, the king set forth the food for Bel. Then Daniel ordered his servants to bring ashes and they sifted them throughout the whole temple in the presence of the king alone. Then they went out, shut the door and sealed it with the king’s signet, and departed. 15In the night the priests came with their wives and children, as they were accustomed to do, and ate and drank everything.

16Early in the morning the king rose and came, and Daniel with him. 17And the king said, “Are the seals unbroken, Daniel?” He answered, “They are unbroken, O king.” 18As soon as the doors were opened, the king looked at the table, and shouted in a loud voice, “You are great, O Bel; and with you there is no deceit, none at all.”

19Then Daniel laughed, and restrained the king from going in, and said, “Look at the floor, and notice whose footsteps these are.” 20The king said, “I see the footsteps of men and women and children.”

21Then the king was enraged, and he seized the priests and their wives and children; and they showed him the secret doors through which they were accustomed to enter and devour what was on the table. 22Therefore the king put them to death, and gave Bel over to Daniel, who destroyed it and its temple.

Daniel Kills the Dragon

23There was also a great dragon, which the Babylonians revered. 24And the king said to Daniel, “You cannot deny that this is a living god; so worship him.” 25Daniel said, “I will worship the Lord my God, for he is the living God. 26But if you, O king, will give me permission, I will slay the dragon without sword or club.” The king said, “I give you permission.”

27Then Daniel took pitch, fat, and hair, and boiled them together and made cakes, which he fed to the dragon. The dragon ate them, and burst open. And Daniel said, “See what you have been worshiping!”

28When the Babylonians heard it, they were very indignant and conspired against the king, saying, “The king has become a Jew; he has destroyed Bel, and slain the dragon, and slaughtered the priests.” 29Going to the king, they said, “Hand Daniel over to us, or else we will kill you and your household.” 30The king saw that they were pressing him hard, and under compulsion he handed Daniel over to them.

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

31They threw Daniel into the lions’ den, and he was there for six days. 32There were seven lions in the den, and every day they had been given two human bodies and two sheep; but these were not given to them now, so that they might devour Daniel.

33Now the prophet Habʹakkuk was in Judea. He had boiled pottage and had broken bread into a bowl, and was going into the field to take it to the reapers. 34But the angel of the Lord said to Habʹakkuk, “Take the dinner which you have to Babylon, to Daniel, in the lions’ den.” 35Habʹakkuk said, “Sir, I have never seen Babylon, and I know nothing about the den.” 36Then the angel of the Lord took him by the crown of his head, and lifted him by his hair and set him down in Babylon, right over the den, with the rushing sound of the wind itself.

37Then Habʹakkuk shouted, “Daniel, Daniel! Take the dinner which God has sent you.” 38And Daniel said, “Thou hast remembered me, O God, and hast not forsaken those who love thee.” 39So Daniel arose and ate. And the angel of God immediately returned Habʹakkuk to his own place.

40On the seventh day the king came to mourn for Daniel. When he came to the den he looked in, and there sat Daniel. 41And the king shouted with a loud voice, “Thou art great, O Lord God of Daniel, and there is no other besides thee.” 42And he pulled Daniel out, and threw into the den the men who had attempted his destruction, and they were devoured immediately before his eyes.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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