We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

The Additions

Daniel 13 and 14 are rightly labeled as an Appendix in the New American Bible, as they are independent stories in which Daniel happens to play a part. Susanna is placed before Daniel 1 in one Greek translation (that attributed to Theodotion), since Daniel appears there as a young boy, but there is no doubt that the story was originally independent.

Susanna

In the story of Susanna, Daniel appears as the wise judge. This role is suggested by his name (Dan comes from the Hebrew verb, to judge) but not by anything in Daniel 1–12 . His judgment recalls that of Solomon in 1 Kings 3 . The story as a whole may be described as a parable, insofar as it is a short story that reverses our expectations in some important respect. (Compare Nathan's parable in 2 Sm 11 and several of Jesus' parables.) Normally elders who have been appointed judges are the righteous ones, and the word of a young woman would carry little weight against theirs. Yet it is characteristic of biblical narrative that the underdog prevails or is justified. (A comparable story involving a woman, Tamar, can be found in Gn 38 .) The story of Susanna loses some of its dramatic effect by telling us at the outset that the judges are wicked. Nonetheless the story provides a nice illustration of the unreliability of conventional expectations.

In one respect, at least, the story of Susanna has the same viewpoint as the rest of the book of Daniel. In verse 23, when Susanna is trapped, she declares: “Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord” (Dn 13, 23 ). This is the same lesson that we learned from the three young men, from Daniel in the lions' den, and again from the martyrs of the Maccabean period. The story is closer to Daniel 1–6 than to 10–12 , since it envisages salvation in this life, and, appropriately, the execution of Susanna's accusers.

Bel and the Dragon

Daniel 14 contains two stories that make fun of pagan idolatry. These stories are caricatures. They should not be taken as accurate descriptions of Babylonian religion, any more than anti‐Catholic caricatures should be taken as fair representations of the Catholic veneration of statues.

The Babylonians in the stories are excessively stupid, and their devices are too easily exposed. The story of the dragon shares with Daniel 6 the motif of the lions' den but does not necessarily depend on the earlier chapter. All we can say is that Daniel was associated with the lions' den in oral tradition, and that both these stories made use of the motif. Bel and the Dragon is more fantastic than Daniel 6 : he remains in the den for six days and the prophet Habakkuk is transported from Judea by an angel to feed him. These fantastic elements give the tale a lighthearted quality, but the background here is more tense than in Daniel 1–6 . Daniel confronts the Babylonian religion in a way that he never does in the earlier chapters. The Babylonians threaten him because of his religious zeal, not because of professional envy as in chapter 6 .

There is a sense here that Judaism and paganism are fundamentally incompatible. The king is still benevolent, but the Babylonians suspect that he has become a Jew. There is, of course, ample precedent for demanding a clear‐cut choice between the Lord and other deities (compare Elijah in 1 Kgs 18 ). Daniel 1 through 6 also presupposed such a choice, but did not present it as starkly as chapter 14 . There are times when confrontation can be avoided and fruitful interaction is possible. Bel and the Dragon, on the other hand, does not allow for any ecumenical relations with pagan religion. Presumably this attitude reflects the situation in which the story was written. Here again we see that the biblical stories are not timeless in character but are shaped by historical circumstances. Their modern relevance, likewise, depends on the circumstances in which we read them.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice