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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Commentary on Additions to Daniel

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The Prayer of Azariah ( 1–22; Gk 3:24–45 )

( 1–2 ) Introduction

A narrative link explains that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are in the fire, singing to God; this would seem to be the introduction to the Song of the Three Jews. Theodotion has Azariah pray alone; the OG has his two companions join him. The names are Hebrew; in Dan 3 only the Babylonian Aramaic forms of their names occur: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

( 3–22 ) Azariah's Prayer

Like many of the biblical psalms the prayer of Azariah is composite, containing the blessing of God, a confession, and an intercession. Since the three are in the furnace because of their obedience to God in refusing to worship the gold idol, they pray on behalf of fellow Israelites rather than for themselves. vv. 3–5 , the blessing of God: the blessing extols God for his righteousness (cf. Deut 32:4 ), i.e. his justice in judging the people and letting Jerusalem be destroyed. The opening ‘Blessed are you, Lord’ is common in contemporary prayers (1QH 13:20; 18:14 ; cf. 4Q414 27 H 2; 4Q504 6 H 20; 3:11 ). The address to God as ‘God of our ancestors’ places the prayer in the tradition of Deut ( 1:11, 21; 4:1 , etc.) and Tob 8:5 . Mention of ‘the name’ links this opening with the chiastic intercession (11, 20). The entire blame for what has happened rests with the sinful people, a recognition which leads naturally into confession.

vv. 6–9 , the confession neatly declares how those who have broken the law have been justly handed over to the lawless rebels and an unjust king for punishment: the administrators of the punishment fit the crime. v. 9b , the descriptions may have been thought to have suited Nebuchadnezzar well, even though the prayer was not originally composed for its present context; perhaps it originally referred to Antiochus Epiphanes (‘a sinful root’, 1 Macc 1:10; Hartman and Di Lella 1989: 412b). For this confession cf. Dan 9:5, Ezra 9:6, Neh 9:26 .

vv. 10–22 , the chiastic intercession has six elements to it. These are arranged chiastically so that the poetry of the prayer has a balance which itself expresses the calm self-realization of the person praying it, whether Azariah in the fire or any other dispersion Jew. (The chiasmas is here indicated as follows: 1, 2, 3, 3′, 2′, 1′.) (1) God's servants and God's name (10–11). The first element in the chiasm concerns the shame the servants who worship God have become; but the poet requests God, for his name's sake, not to annul his covenant. (2) Call for mercy (12–13). The second and fifth elements in the confession are pleas for mercy. v. 12 , Abraham is described as God's friend (ēgapēmenon; cf. Isa 41:8; 2 Chr 20:7 ; 4Q252 2:8; Jas 2:23 ; Apoc. Abr. 9:6; 10:5 ; T. Abr. A 1:6; 2:3 etc.; Philo, de Sobr. 55–6). Isaac, rather than Jacob (Isa 44:1–2; Jer 30:10 ), is described as the servant (cf. Gen 24:14 ). The epithet ‘holy one’ is usually reserved for supernatural creatures, though Israel is called holy (Deut 7:6 ). v. 13 , the promise of descendants derives from Gen 13:16 , though the phraseology here is closer to Gen 22:17 (Delcor 1971: 101); the promise of the land is omitted here. (3) No leaders or temple (14–15). The third and fourth elements in the intercession deal with leadership and the temple. This may suggest a likely origin for the prayer: perhaps it was compiled in the post-exilic period by a priestly group in the dispersion who felt the lack of a temple. The lack of prophets would also suggest post-exilic times. Some have suggested that these lines reflect the Maccabean situation (Bennett 1913: 629; Collins 1993: 201). v. 14 , Israel is diminished as of old (cf. Deut 7:7 ), hardly the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham. Similar pleas are made in Jer 42:2, Bar 2:13 . (3′) Substitute for the temple, and God as leader (16–17). v. 16 , in the literary setting in which it now stands Azariah in effect prays that he and his friends may be acceptable to God as martyrs (Koch 1987: 2.54–5). This is a development of the tradition that a contrite heart is acceptable to God in place of sacrifices (cf. Ps 40:6 (cited in Heb 10:5–6 ); 51:17; 141:2 ; 11QPsa 18:7–10 (Syr Ps 154:17–21 )). In place of the institutional leaders, God himself will be followed directly. The Greek is difficult to understand here. Theodotion reads ‘to complete after you’, usually taken as a literal rendering of the Hebrew phrase ‘to follow you completely’ (ml᾽ ᾽ḥrhk, Num 14:24; Deut 1:36; Josh 14:8; Bennett 1913: 634). OG has literally ‘to atone after you’, perhaps a rendering of the Hebrew ‘to atone for you’ (cf. kpr b῾dw: Lev 16:11 ). With reference to the Aramaic (lr῾w᾽ mn qdmk ‘to please you’), the OG might be seen as an attempt to render this, and Theodotion as a further inner-Greek corruption (Koch 1987: 2.55–9; Collins 1993: 202). (2′) Call for mercy (18–19). The fifth element concludes as the second had begun with a plea for mercy. (1′) God's servants and God's name (20–2). The sixth element rounds out the confession. It is a request that God glorify his name by putting to shame all who harm his servants.

The Song of the Three Jews ( 28–68; OG 51–90 )

( 28 ) Introduction

The three praise, glorify, and bless (OG: also exalt) God.

( 29–68 ) Blessings

The body of this lengthy and elaborate hymn is in two parts, which may have existed separately (Moore 1977: 75–6), the first (29–34) a blessing addressed to God himself, the second (35–68) a call to the whole of creation to bless the Lord. It is unsuitable to let neatness of strophic division control the understanding of the blessings (Christie 1928 ). The refrains may suggest that the hymn had an independent life as a responsorial psalm (cf. Ps 136 ; also each verse of Ps 145 in 11QPsa 16:7–17:22 is given the refrain ‘Blessed is the Lord and blessed is his name for ever and ever’).

vv. 29–34 , God is addressed as ‘God of our ancestors’ as in v. 3 (cf. Tob 8:5 ). God's name is blessed; he is blessed in the temple; as he sits on his throne on the cherubim (cf. 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15 (Isa 37:16 ); Ps 80:1; 99:1 ); as he sits on the throne of his kingdom; in the firmament (cf. Gen 1:6–8; Dan 12:3 ) of the heaven. Each of the six ascriptions of blessing has a refrain. These give structure to the blessing. The first and the fourth are the same: in these two blessings God is described in relation to things outside heaven: the ancestors and the depths. The second and fifth both conclude with the same verb (huperupsoun): God's holy name and his kingdom are linked (cf. Mt 6:9–10 ǁ Lk 11:2 ). The third (huperumnētos and huperendoxos) and sixth (humnētos and dedoxasmenos) are similar: the temple on earth (Delcor 1971: 104; Collins 1993: 205; rather than the heavenly temple: Bennett 1913: 635; Moore 1977: 69) is a veritable microcosm. v. 33 : cf. Ps. 29:10 ; 1 Clem. 59.3.

vv. 35–68 , the call to blessing, commonly known as the Benedicite from the opening word of the Latin translation, is in two parts, the first addressed to the heavens, the second to the earth. Though encompassing the whole of creation, these two spheres often occur together as witnesses to divine activity (cf. Deut 4:26; 30:19 ). v. 35 , all the works of the Lord are addressed as a whole (Hammer 1972: 221); cf. Ps 103:20–2 . vv. 36–51 , blessing of heavens: there are sixteen verses in this section. v. 36 , it is likely that this is to be considered as the overall address in this section as also v. 52 in the next. vv. 37–51 , fifteen verses remain; it is difficult to discern their structure, but five sets of three are possible: 37–9, 40–2, 43–5, 46–8, 49–51 . If so, then the following patterns emerge. A half-verse involving water features four times; as the central element in the first and last trio, and chiastically as the last element of the second trio and the first element of the fourth; in the second and fourth trios the sun and moon and stars are balanced by the nights and days and light and darkness (cf. the similar balance in Gen 1:5 and 1:14 ). The refrain is the same in every verse. v. 37 , the angels are called to praise God (cf. 4Q400 1 i 1–2). v. 38 , for the waters above the heaven cf. Gen 1:7; Ps 148:4 . vv. 39–41 , the powers may be the heavenly armies (Delcor 1971: 105) (cf. Ps 103 (Gk. 102): 21; 148:2 ). The sun, moon, and stars also praise God in Ps 148:3 . v. 43 , the Vg understands the winds as the spirits of God (omnes spiritus Dei). v. 47 , night may be mentioned before day because for the psalmist the day began at sunset (cf. Gen 1:5, 8 , etc.). v. 50 , for snow and frost cf. Ps 148:8 . vv. 52–68 : blessing of earth. v. 52 , the earth is addressed as a whole. vv. 52–9 , four verses cover the earth's habitats (mountains (cf. Ps 148:9 ) and plants; seas and rivers and springs) and three their inhabitants (whales and other swimmers (cf. Ps 148:7; Gen 1:21; Ps 104:26 ); birds (cf. Ps 148:10 ); wild animals and cattle (cf. Ps 148:10 )). Though echoing Ps 148 , the overall order reflects Gen 1:21–6 . vv. 60–8 : the people of the earth are called upon to bless the Lord. vv. 60–5 , first there are three couplets: all people and Israel; priests and servants of the Lord (cf. Ps 134:1 ); the spirits and souls of the righteous, and the holy and humble in heart. The priestly character of the list is all the more striking when comparison is made with Ps 148 in which it is kings, princes, and rulers who are addressed; there no priests are mentioned. The refrain in all these verses as in the next is the same. v. 66 , second comes a verse which Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael address to themselves. This is extended with the reason why they should praise God: he has rescued them from Hades, saved them from death, and delivered them from the fiery furnace. This verse is commonly regarded as a later interpolation into the hymn. v. 67 , this general exhortation is the same as Ps 106 (Gk. 105): 1; 107 (Gk. 106):1; 136 (Gk. 135): 1; Sir 51:12 . v. 68 , all those who worship the Lord are called upon to bless the God of gods (cf. Ps 136:2 ).

Susanna

( 1–4 ) Introduction

v. 1 , the scene is set in Babylon (as in OG 5) in the household of Joachim (meaning ‘the Lord will establish’). His name is the same as that of the king mentioned in Jer 29:2 and Dan 1:1 . In Jewish tradition the two are identified: when Nebuchadnezzar gives King Joachim's wife permission to visit him for intercourse, she says ‘I have seen something like a red lily’ (šwšnh; menstrual blood; Lev. Rab. 19:6 ) and so he does not sleep with her. This identification may account for the association of the story with Daniel, who does not appear until v. 44 . v. 2 , Susanna (meaning ‘lily’) is introduced after her husband. Nobody else in the HB is named Susanna but the name occurs in Lk 8:3 and in some Jewish inscriptions (CII i. 627, 637). She is described first as the daughter of Hilkiah (meaning ‘the Lord is my portion’; cf. Jer 29:3 ), and is thus narratively protected between husband and father, secondly as very beautiful (like Jdt 8:7–8 ; cf. the tree of knowledge, the object of desire, in Gen 3:6 ), thirdly as fearing the Lord, the sapiential expression for religious piety (cf. Prov 1:7; 10:27 ). In one Jewish tradition she is the wife of King Joachim and the daughter not of Hilkiah but of Shealtiel (Chronicles of Jerahmeel). v. 3 , Susanna's parents are righteous and have taught their daughter in the law of Moses; mention of the law (not in OG) raises the expectation that some commandment may be challenged in what follows. v. 4 , like the leading figures of many other Jewish stories (Job, Tobit, Judith), Joachim is very wealthy; wealth is a sign of divine favour, but in itself is no protection from the execution of the law. Perhaps alluding to Jeremiah's letter to the exiles (Jer 29:5 ), Joachim has a fine garden (paradeisos); though often referring to an ordinary garden, the juxtaposition with the keeping of the law suggests that Paradise itself (Gen 2:9 ) is also at stake. Joachim is also the most esteemed of all Jews.

( 5–62 ) The Plot

The plot of Susanna is in two parts (Brooke 1992; Steussy 1993 ): the first ( 5–27 ) takes place in the garden, the second (28–64) in Joachim's house (OG: the synagogue) which acts as a courtroom. The close narrative proximity of garden and court strongly implies that motifs from Gen 3 are being replayed.

vv. 5–27 , the opportune day. The scene in the garden has two elements, the prelude ( 5–14 ) and the attempted rape ( 15–27 ), v. 5 , ‘That year’ may indicate the year of Joachim's marriage. The elders (presbuteroi) are introduced as recently appointed judges; the exilic communities seem to have had some considerable autonomy. The quotation is an unknown saying, perhaps based on Jer 29:21–3 (cf. b. Sanh. 93a) or Zech 5:5–11 . The term used for ‘Lord’ is despotēs (as in OG Dan 9:8, 15, 16, 17, 19 ). v. 6 , because Joachim's house acts as a court, these elders have reason to be hanging around his property (OG: even hearing cases from other cities). v. 7 , after court business, Susanna is accustomed to walk in the garden (OG: ‘in the evening’; cf. God in Gen 3:8 ). vv. 8–12 , the elders' covetous lust (in breach of Ex 20:17 ) increases and they turn away their eyes from heaven, a surrogate for God (cf. Dan 4:31, 34 ). The OG notes that Susanna was unaware of their lewd passions, vv. 13–14 , catching each other out, they conspire together to rape Susanna. vv. 15–27 , the attempted rape. There are three moments in this scene; the bath, the dilemma, and the false accusation. vv. 15–18 , the bath (cf. 2 Sam 11 ; Jub. 33:1–9 ; T. Reub. 3:11 ); the opportune moment comes for the rape when Susanna sends her maids to fetch oil and ointments (cf. Esth 2:3, 9; Jdt 10:3 ) for when she has finished bathing. When they leave they unwittingly shut the elders in the garden with Susanna. This scene is not in the OG. vv. 19–23 , the dilemma; the elders threaten Susanna, putting her in a dilemma, which she instantly recognizes: to give in is to be liable for capital punishment for infidelity (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22 ), not to give in is to be liable for the same punishment but on the basis of the elders' false witness. She determines not to sin before the Lord (cf. Gen 39:9; 2 Sam 24:14 ). This complex psychological (and for some, erotic) moment has often been depicted by artists, notably by Rembrandt in 1647 (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin), to suggest even that Susanna is the cause of the elders' lust. vv. 24–7 , the false accusation (not in the OG); a shouting battle ensues. The young woman who is sexually assaulted must cry out to attest her unwillingness (Deut 22:24, 27 ); the elders also shout and are listened to. When they tell their false story, Susanna's servants are ashamed.

vv. 28–64 , the next day: in the house. The second part of the overall plot consists of the trial scenes either side of a dramatic interlude. The postlude sees the judgement carried out. vv. 28–41 , the first trial is a perversion of justice from which there seems no escape. v. 29 , the elders call for Susanna; she is mentioned first, no longer narratively protected by father and husband. v. 30 , in the OG Susanna's servants are numbered at 500, and she has four children. Susanna's husband is absent from the trial: her supposed disgrace is his shame (Levine 1995: 312). vv. 31–3 , Susanna is made to unveil (cf. m. Soṭa 1:5 : accused beautiful women should appear veiled) so that the elders can once again feast their eyes on her great beauty; OG may imply that she was stripped (cf. Ezek 16:37–9; Hos 2:3 ), the elders pre-empting the judgement. None present discern their self-condemnatory leering gazes. v. 34 , as witnesses the elders lay their hands on her head (Lev 24:14 ), thus finally managing to touch her. v. 35 , Susanna looks up to heaven, which the elders had cast aside (v. 9 ); her appeal to a higher court has already begun. vv. 36–41 , the elders give their fabricated testimony, two witnesses being sufficient (Deut 17:6 ); in the OG the elders refer to a stadium, a symbol of Greek perversity (1 Macc 1:15 ). There is no cross-examination, nor is Susanna allowed to testify. v. 41 , as witnesses the elders cannot themselves pass sentence; the assembly does (cf. Jer 26:9–10 ; 1QS 6:8–13; 1 Cor 5:4 ). Adultery was a capital offence (cf. Lev 20:10 ), stoning the likely means of execution (cf. Deut 22:21; Jn 8:5 ).

vv. 42–6 , before the sentence can be carried out there are two exclamations. vv. 42–4 , the first cry is Susanna's prayer (in the OG Susanna's prayer precedes her sentence). She does not intercede for divine intervention on her behalf; she simply declares out loud to the eternal God (cf. Gen 21:33 ), who knows what is secret (cf. Deut 29:29; Sir 1:30 ) and what will happen (cf. 1 Enoch 9:11 ), that she is innocent. The story's audience is put in the privileged position of being able to assess the situation like God himself. The Lord hears the cry of the innocent and righteous one. vv. 45–6 , as a result the young man Daniel is stirred into action by God himself (OG: by an angel). Mention of Daniel's youthfulness is often thought to account for why the story is put before Dan 1 in Theodotion and the OL. Daniel makes the second outburst and shouts out his refusal to participate in the execution of the assembly's sentence (cf. Mt 27:24 ). m. Sanh. 6:1–2 permits people to appeal against a verdict before sentence is carried out (Delcor 1971: 270). Similar sudden interventions by a youth are a common folklore motif.

vv. 47–59 , the second trial takes place. vv. 47–9 , it is initiated by Daniel railing against the people and urging them to return to court to consider things clearly; cf. Simeon ben Shetach's advice on careful cross-examination (m. ᾽Abot 1:9; Brüll 1877: 64). v. 50 , Daniel's authority is recognized and he is invited to join the elders. vv. 51–9 , Daniel undertakes the separate cross-examination of the two witnesses. With little impartiality Daniel lays into the first elder as a ‘relic of wicked days’, accusing him through Ex 23:7 . When asked under which tree he had seen Susanna and her supposed lover he answers ‘a mastic tree’ (schinos). Daniel declares the sentence: he will be cut in two (schizō). The second elder is addressed equally brusquely, this time as an offspring of Canaan (cf. Gen 9:20–5; Ezek 16:3 ; 4Q252 2:6–8 ). A cheap jibe is levelled against the daughters of Israel (perhaps the Samaritans for the author; Engel 1985: 126) who have given in when a daughter of Judah would not; Susanna is also called a daughter of Israel in v. 48 . The second elder declares that Susanna and her supposed lover were under an oak (prinos). Daniel declares the sentence: he will be split in two (priō). Two trees also feature in the Garden of Eden story (Gen 2:17; 3:22 ) as does the sword (Gen 3:24; cf. Num 22:31 ).

vv. 60–2 , postlude. v. 60 , the assembly (sunagōgē) blesses God for saving those who hope in him. v. 61 , the two elders receive the punishment they had intended for Susanna (cf. Deut 19:16–19 ). That this law was a matter of dispute between Pharisees and Sadducees in the first century BCE (m. Mak. 1:6 ; y. Sanh. 6:3 :23e) has been used to suggest a likely setting for the story (Brüll 1877 ) which agrees with the Pharisee position. v. 62 , the law of Moses which Susanna had been taught (3) is thus upheld and innocent blood spared.

(63–4) Epilogue

The conclusion is a neat inclusio. As at the opening so at the close of the story Susanna is listed between her two male protectors; this time Hilkiah is mentioned first. Though exposed when initially brought to trial (29), she is now protected and redomesticated. Though she has in fact threateningly exposed the weakness of the community's judiciary and shown the community's patriarchal institutions to be flawed, nothing shameful was found in her (cf. Deut 24:1 ) and she is now neatly put back in her place and the reader is reminded that there are some righteous, law-abiding men around. Whereas vv. 1–4 have described Joachim's reputation, the story closes with a description of Daniel's. In the OG none of the story's participants are mentioned in the conclusion; rather all pious young men are declared ‘beloved of Jacob’ because of their knowledge and understanding (cf. Isa 11:2–4 ).

Bel and the Dragon

( 1–2 ) Introduction

v. 1 , only the OG carries the title: ‘From the prophecy of Habakkuk, son of Joshua, of the tribe of Levi’. This identification seems to depend on 33–9. No mention is made in Habakkuk of his tribe; in Lives of the Prophets 12:1 he is of the tribe of Simeon. The historical scene is set by mentioning the death of Astyarges, king of Media (585–550 BCE) and the succession of Cyrus the Persian (cf. Dan 6:28; 10:1 ), who conquered Babylon in 539 BCE; neither king is named in the OG. v. 2 , Daniel is the companion (sumbiotēs) of the king and the most honoured of all his friends (cf. Dan 2:48 ); in the OG he is also described as a priest and son of Abal (Sabaan was father of Daniel according to Epiphanius, Adv. Haer. 55.3). The full introduction of Daniel suggests that the reader has not met him before and therefore that Bel and the Dragon were originally independent Daniel tales.

( 3–42 ) Two Idol Tales

Both stories have a similar structure of three parts in which a friendship is put to the test but emerges strengthened. The two tales are interwoven in as much as the second test (Daniel in the lions' den) relates to both idols ( 28 ) and only at the end of the chapter does the king confess Daniel's God.

vv. 3–22 , Bel. vv. 3–7 , friendship challenged, v. 3 , the Babylonian god is introduced as an idol. Bel (‘Lord’; short form of Baal) is Bel-Marduk, head of the Babylonian pantheon (cf. Isa 46:1; Jer 50:2 ; Let Jer 41 ). Enormous quantities are offered to Bel: twelve bushels (65.5 litres) of flour, forty (OG: 4) sheep, six measures of wine (OG: oil). vv. 4–5 , the king worships Bel, but Daniel does not worship handmade idols (cf. Isa 46:6 ; Sib. Or. 3:606, 618 ) because he worships the living God (cf. Josh 3:10; Dan 6:26 ; OG: Lord God), the creator and ruler (cf. Gen 1:26 ) of heaven and earth (cf. Gen 1:1; Jer 10:11 ). vv. 6–7 , the king claims rhetorically that Bel is a living god because he eats and drinks, but Daniel laughs impertinently (also 19) and states simply that the idol is a mere moulded statue (cf. Isa 44:14–17; Let Jer 4; Wis 13:10 ). vv. 8–18 , the test. vv. 8–9 , the test is set up and the sentence on those in the wrong agreed. For phrasing similar to Daniel's agreement cf. Luke 1:38 . vv. 10–11 , the enormous amount of food is consumed by seventy priests and their families. vv. 12–13 , OG does not mention the pact again nor the hidden entrance. vv. 14–15 , the king alone witnesses the laying of ashes by Daniel's servants. The temple doors are closed and sealed. vv. 16–18 , in the morning, the king is assured that the seals are unbroken. When the temple doors are open he sees the empty table and exclaims that Bel is great (cf. 41). vv. 19–22 , the temporary outcome. vv. 19–20 , Daniel dares to laugh at the king's credulity and points out the footprints in the ashes. vv. 21–2 , enraged, the king arrests the priests and their families for eating the food and executes them (OG: hands them over to Daniel). The king does not himself declare Bel a fraud or make a confession of the greatness of Daniel's God, but hands Bel over to Daniel who according to the story destroys the idol and its temple (OG: the king destroys Bel). Herodotus ( 1:183 ) has Xerxes I (486–465 BCE) destroy the temple and statue.

vv. 23–42 , the dragon. The Greek drakōn most probably refers to a serpent. The story of the dragon repeats the motifs of its previous companion tale. vv. 23–30 , friendship challenged. vv. 23–4 , the king challenges Daniel to recognize the dragon as a living god, for surely it is alive. No Babylonian cult of a live serpent is known from written sources, though there is some iconographic evidence; serpents play various cultic roles elsewhere (cf. Num 21:9; 2 Kings 18:4 ; cf. Kneph in Egypt; Asclepius in Greece). vv. 25–6 , Daniel responds with a confession that the Lord his God is the living God, and with a request that he may be permitted to kill the dragon. The king grants the request. v. 27 , Daniel bakes a cake of pitch, fat, and hair to feed to the dragon and explodes the idea of the dragon's divinity. The similarity to the opening up of Tiamat by Marduk is often noted, but no other motifs of that myth have influenced the story (Collins 1993: 414). Gen. Rab. 68 has the cake made realistically lethal by lacing it full of nails which perforate the dragon's intestines. vv. 28–30 , the Babylonians are enraged and taunt the king with becoming a Jew (cf. 2 Macc 9:17 ). They demand Daniel. The king weakly yields to their demands. vv. 31–9 , the test. vv. 31–2 , with mob rule Daniel is thrown into the lions' den. This is the second time such a fate has befallen him (cf. Dan 6:16–24 ), where seven lions, fed on a daily ration of two humans and two sheep, are now given nothing so that they might devour Daniel. The punishment, being destroyed by an animal, fits the crime (Koch 1987: 2.195). OG notes that this means that Daniel would not even have a burial place (cf. Tob 1:17 ). vv. 33–9 , Habakkuk is transported by his hair (cf. Ezek 8:3 ) from Judea with a stew he had just made (cf. Gen 25:29 ). It has been suggested that Habakkuk is linked to the meal through the Akkadian hambakuku, a plant used in soups (Delcor 1971: 288). The Lives of the Prophets 12:5–8 knows of his story. The angel transports Habakkuk ‘with the swiftness of the wind’ which Gen. Rab. represents as ‘power of his holy spirit’ (cf. 1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16 ). Daniel thanks God for remembering him and eats the meal. Habakkuk is returned to Judea. The whole incident is possibly a narrative interpretation of Ps 91:11–13 (Nickelsburg 1984: 40). vv. 40–2 , the final outcome. v. 40 , on the seventh day the king comes to mourn Daniel but finds him alive. v. 41 , the king confesses Daniel's God: ‘You are great’ (cf. Ps 86:10; Jdt 16:13 ; 4Q365 6 ii 3), ‘there is no other besides you’ (cf. Isa 45:18; 46:9 ). v. 42 , those who had thought themselves far from mealy-mouthed are thrown into the den and instantly eaten by seven very hungry lions.

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