Bel And The Dragon - Introduction
Perhaps composed as early as the Persian period (539–333 BCE), these idol parodies, which appear as ch 14 of the Greek version of the book of Daniel, display the foolishness of pagan worship, divine protection of faithful Jews, and the cleverness of the court favorite, Daniel. In the account of Bel, Daniel demonstrates that the idol is not a god by proving that it does not eat the food set out for it each night; the second story reverses this scenario as Daniel proves the dragon is not divine by feeding it a noxious concoction that kills it. This second story recapitulates the account of Daniel in the lion's den (Dan 6.16–24 ) and adds to it Daniel's own miraculous feeding by the prophet Habakkuk. Food references culminate at the end, when Daniel's enemies are eaten by the lions into whose den Daniel had been thrown.