1 When King Astyages died, Cyrus the Persian ascended the throne. 2 Daniel was very close to the king, who held him in higher esteem than any of his other friends.
3 The Babylonians had an idol called Bel, to which twelve bushels of fine flour, forty sheep, and six measures of wine were offered daily. 4 The king took part in this cult and worshiped the idol every day. Daniel, on the other hand, worshiped only his own God. 5 And the king asked him, Why dont you worship Bel?
5 Daniel answered, I worship no man-made idols, but only the living God who made heaven and earth and rules over all peoples. 6 The king asked, Dont you think Bel is a living god? Dont you see how much he eats and drinks every day?
7 Daniel laughed. Do not be deceived, O king. This is only clay inside and bronze outside. It never ate or drank anything.
8 Enraged, the king called his priests and said to them, If you will not tell me who consumes all these offerings, you will all die. 9 But if you can show that Bel consumes them, it is Daniel who will die for blaspheming. Daniel said to the king, Let it be as you say.
10 There were seventy priests of Bel, besides their wives and children. To gether with Daniel, the king went to Bels temple. 11 The priests said to the king, See, we are going outside. We will leave you here inside, O king, to set out the food and prepare the wine. Then you can leave them, shut the door and seal it with your ring. 12 You will return in the morning, and if you find that Bel has not eaten the food and drunk the wine, we are ready to be executed. But if the reverse happens, Daniel must die for telling lies and slandering us.
13 They were confident for they had made a secret entrance under the table, through which they used to come in to consume the food and wine offerings. 14 When the priests had left, the king set the food before Bel, while Daniel ordered his servants to scatter ashes all over the tem ple floor. Then they left after shutting the door and sealing it with the kings ring. 15 That night the priests and their wives and children came and, as usual, ate and drank the offerings.
16 Early the next morning, the king returned to the tem ple with Daniel. 17 Are the seals unbroken, Daniel? the king asked. Daniel answered, They are unbroken, O king. 18 Open ing the door, the king looked at the table, then exclaimed, You are indeed great, O Bel. There is no deception in you.
19 Daniel laughed, and restraining the king from entering, he said, But look at the floor and see whose footprints these are. 20 The king said, I see footprints of men, women and children.
21 Enraged, the king ordered the priests and their wives and children to be seized. They were compelled to show him the secret door through which they used to enter to consume the offerings on the table. 22 They were put to death on orders of the king. And Bel was handed over to Daniel, who destroyed the idol and its temple.
Daniel and the dragon
23 In Babylon there was a big dragon which was also worshiped. 24 Look, said the king to Daniel, this is alive, not made of bronze. Would you deny that this is a living god? Worship it.
25 Daniel replied, I will worship no one but the Lord my God, for he alone is the living God. With your permission, O king, I will slay this dragon without sword or club. 26 The king answered, You have my permission.
27 Then Daniel took some pitch, fat and hair, and boiled them together. He made them into cakes which he fed to the Dra gon. And the Dragon burst after eating them. Daniel said to the king, Now look at what happened to the thing you worship.
28 The Babylonians became angry upon hearing of this. Our king has become a Jew, they said. He destroyed Bel, killed the Dragon and put the priests to death. 29 They went to the king and said, Hand Daniel over to us or we will kill you and your family! 30 The king was forced to hand Daniel over to the people.
31 Daniel was thrown into the lions den, where he stayed for six days. 32 In the den were seven lions which were fed daily with two human bodies and two sheep. This food was withheld from them, to make sure that they would devour Daniel.
33 Now in Judea was a prophet named Habakkuk. He had put some bread and stew in a basket, and was about to take them to the reapers in the field 34 when an angel of the lord appeared and said to him, Take that lunch to Daniel in the lions den at Babylon.
35 Habakkuk said, Sir, I have never been to Babylon nor have I seen the lions den. 36 The angel then took him by the crown of his head, carried him by his hair, and soon they were alighting above the lions den in Babylon. 37 Daniel, Daniel, cried, Habakkuk, take this lunch God has sent you.
38 Daniel gave thanks to God, saying, You have remembered me, O God, and have not forsaken those who love you. 39 Daniel ate, and the Lords angel re turned Habakkuk to his own place.
40 On the seventh day, the king came to the lions den to mourn for Daniel. He looked inside and saw Daniel sitting there. 41 The king cried aloud, How great you are, O Lord God of Daniel! Surely there is no other God but you! 42 He took Daniel out and threw into the den those who tried to destroy him. They were at once devoured before his eyes.