Daniel confronts the priests of Marduk. He kills a dragon. He is thrown in the lion’s den. The prophet Habakkuk helps Daniel.
NOTE: This chapter exists in the Greek portion of the Book of Daniel. It is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches
King Astyages. He was the last of the kings of Medes. He was defeated by Cyrus in 550 BC.
VERSE 2. Daniel lived with the king, and was honored above all his friends.
VERSE 3. Now the Babylonians had an idol, called Bel, and there were spent upon him every day twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and six firkins of wine.
an idol, called Bel. “Bel” was a nickname. It meant “Lord.” His official name was Marduk.
In the Mesopotamian religion, Marduk was the chief god of the city of Babylon and the national god of Babylonia.
VERSE 4. And the king honored it, and went daily to worship it; but Daniel worshiped his own God. The king said to him, “Why don’t you worship Bel?”
VERSE 5. He said, “Because I may not honor idols made with hands, but only the living God, who has created the sky and the earth, and has sovereignty over all flesh.”
VERSE 6. Then the king said to him, “Don’t you that Bel is a living god? Don’t you see how much he eats and drinks every day?”
VERSE 7. Then Daniel laughed, and said, “O king, don’t be deceived; for this is just clay inside, and brass outside, and never ate or drank anything.”
VERSE 8. So the king was angry, and called for his priests, and said to them, “If you don’t tell me who this is who devours these expenses, you shall die.
VERSE 9. But if you can show me that Bel devours them, then Daniel shall die; for he has spoken blasphemy against Bel.” Daniel said to the king, “Let it be according to your word.”
VERSE 10. Now there were seventy priests of Bel, besides their wives and children. The king went with Daniel into Bel’s temple.
VERSE 11. So Bel’s priests said, “Behold, we will leave; but you, O king, set out the meat, and mix the wine and set it out, shut the door securely, and seal it with your own signet.
VERSE 12. When you come in the morning, if you find not that Bel has eaten up everything, we will suffer death, or else Daniel, who speaks falsely against us.”
VERSE 13. They weren’t concerned, for under the table they had made a secret entrance, whereby they entered in continually, and consumed those things.
they had made a secret entrance. The priests of Bel were liars. To make their religious system seem to be alive, they conspired to deceive people about it.
Religious leaders are not necessarily people of truth. Like politicians, they have a casual relationship with truth.
VERSE 14. It happened, when they had gone out, the king set the meat before Bel. Now Daniel had commanded his servants to bring ashes, and they scattered them all over the temple in the presence of the king alone. Then they went out, shut the door, sealed it with the king’s signet, and so departed.
VERSE 15. Now in the night, the priests came with their wives and children, as they usually did, and ate and drank it all.
VERSE 16. In the morning, the king arose, and Daniel with him.
VERSE 17. The king said, “Daniel, are the seals whole?” He said, “Yes, O king, they are whole.”
VERSE 18. And as soon as he had opened the door, the king looked at the table, and cried with a loud voice, “You are great, O Bel, and with you is no deceit at all!”
VERSE 19. Then Daniel laughed, and held the king that he should not go in, and said, “Behold now the pavement, and mark well whose footsteps these are.”
VERSE 20. The king said, “I see the footsteps of men, women, and children.” Then the king was angry,
VERSE 21. and took the priests with their wives and children, who showed him the secret doors, where they came in, and consumed the things that were on the table.
VERSE 22. Therefore the king killed them, and delivered Bel into Daniel’s power, who overthrew him and his temple.
VERSE 23. In that same place there was a great dragon, which the people of Babylon worshiped.
VERSE 24. The king said to Daniel, “Will you also say that this is of brass? Behold, he lives, and eats and drinks. You can’t say that he is no living god. Therefore worship him.”
VERSE 25. Then Daniel said, “I will worship the Lord my God; for he is a living God.
VERSE 26. But allow me, O king, and I will kill this dragon without sword or staff.” The king said, “I allow you.”
VERSE 27. Then Daniel took pitch, fat, and hair, and melted them together, and made lumps of them. He put these in the dragon’s mouth, so the dragon ate and burst apart. Daniel said, “Behold, these are the gods you all worship.”
VERSE 28. When the people of Babylon heard that, they took great indignation, and conspired against the king, saying, “The king has become a Jew. He has pulled down Bel, slain the dragon, and put the priests to the sword.”
The king has become a Jew. The king had not actually become Jewish.
VERSE 29. So they came to the king, and said, “Deliver Daniel to us, or else we will destroy you and your house.”
VERSE 30. Now when the king saw that they trapped him, being constrained, the king delivered Daniel to them.
VERSE 31. They cast him into the lion’s den, where he was six days.
VERSE 32. There were seven lions in the den, and they had been giving them two carcasses and two sheep every day, which then were not given to them, intending that they would devour Daniel.
VERSE 33. Now there was in Jewry the prophet Habakkuk, who had made stew, and had broken bread into a bowl. He was going into the field to bring it to the reapers.
VERSE 34. But the angel of the Lord said to Habakkuk, “Go carry the dinner that you have into Babylon to Daniel, in the lions’ den.”
VERSE 35. Habakkuk said, “Lord, I never saw Babylon. I don’t know where the den is.”
VERSE 36. Then the angel of the Lord took him by the crown, and lifted him up by the hair of his head, and with the blast of his breath set him in Babylon over the den.
set him in Babylon. In an instant, the angel takes the prophet Habakkuk thousands of miles away. In the language of mystics and contemplatives, this is called mystical transport.
VERSE 37. Habakkuk cried, saying, “O Daniel, Daniel, take the dinner which God has sent you.”
VERSE 38. Daniel said, “You have remembered me, O God! You haven’t forsaken those who love you!”
VERSE 39. So Daniel arose and ate; and the angel of God set Habakkuk in his own place again immediately.
VERSE 40. On the seventh day, the king came to mourn for Daniel. When he came to the den, he looked in, and, behold, Daniel was sitting.
VERSE 41. Then the king cried with a loud voice, saying, “Great are you, O Lord, you God of Daniel, and there is none other beside you!”
VERSE 42. So he drew him out, and cast those that were the cause of his destruction into the den; and they were devoured in a moment before his face.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.