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Bel and the Dragon

BEL W'HA TANIIN / Bel and the Dragon

1 King Astyages was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus of Persia received his kingdom.
2 Daniyah [Daniel] conversed with the king, and was honored above all his friends.
3 The Babylonians had an idol called Bel. There were spent upon him every day twelve great measures of fine flour, forty sheep, and six vessels of wine.
4 The king worshipped it, and went daily to adore it. But Daniyah worshipped his own Father. The king said to him: Why do you not worship Bel?
5 He answered and said: I may not worship idols made with hands, but only the living Father, who created the heaven and the earth, and has sovereignty over all flesh.
6 Then the king said to him: Do you think Bel is not a living god? See how much he eats and drinks every day?
7 Daniyah smiled, and said: O king, do not be deceived. This is but clay within, brass without, and never ate or drank anything.
8 The king was wroth, called for his priests, and said to them: If you do not tell me who this is that devours these expenses, you shall die.
9 If you can certify to me that Bel devours them, then Daniyah shall die, for he spoke blasphemy against Bel. Daniyah said to the king: Let it be according to your word.
10 The priests of Bel were threescore and ten, beside their wives and children. The king went with Daniyah into the temple of Bel.
11 So Bel's priests said: Lo, we go out. O king, you set on the meat, make the wine ready, shut the door fast, and seal it with your own signet.
12 If you do not find Bel has eaten up all when you come in tomorrow, we will suffer death; or else Daniyah, who speaks falsely against us.
13 They regarded it little. For under the table they had a secret entrance, through which they entered in continually, and consumed those things.
14 When they were gone forth, the king set meats before Bel. Daniyah commanded his servants to bring ashes, and those they strewed throughout all the temple in the presence of the king alone. They went out, shut the door, sealed it with the king's signet, and so departed.
15 In the night the priests came with their wives and children, as they were accustomed to do, and did eat and drink up all.
16 In the morning the king arose, and Daniyah with him.
17 The king said: Daniyah, are the seals whole? And he said: Yea, O king, they are whole.
18 As soon as he opened the door the king looked upon the table, and cried with a loud voice: Great are you, O Bel. With you is no deceit at all.
19 Daniyah laughed, held the king that he should not go in, and said: Behold the pavement, and mark well whose footsteps these are.
20 The king said: I see the footsteps of men, women, and children.
21 Then the king was angry. He took the priests with their wives and children, who showed him the secret doors, where they came in, and consumed such things as were upon the table.
22 Therefore the king killed them, and delivered Bel into Daniyah's power, who destroyed him and his temple.
23 In that same place there was a great dragon, which those of Babylon worshipped.
24 The king said to Daniyah: Will you also say that this is of brass? Lo, he lives, he eats and drinks. You cannot say he is no living god, therefore worship him.
25 Then Daniyah said to the king: I will worship Yahweh my Father, He is the living Father.
26 Give me leave, O king, I will kill this dragon without sword or staff. The king said: I give you leave.
27 Daniyah took pitch, fat, and hair. He seethed them together, and made lumps of them. He put them in the dragon's mouth, and so the dragon burst apart [when it breathed fire]. Daniyah said: Lo, these are the gods you worship.
28 When Babylon heard that, they took great indignation, and conspired against the king, saying: The king is become a Yahudi. He has destroyed Bel, he killed the dragon, and put the priests to death.
29 They came to the king, and said: Deliver Daniyah, or else we will destroy you and your house.
30 When the king saw that they pressed him severe, being constrained, he delivered Daniyah to them.
31 They cast him into the lion's den, where he was six days.
32 In the den there were seven lions, and they used to give them two carcases and two sheep every day. Then they were not given to them, to the intent they might devour Daniyah.
33 There was in Yahudah a prophet, called Habakkuk, who made pottage, broke bread in a bowl, and was going into the field to bring it to the reapers.
34 The malak of Yahweh said to Habakkuk: Go, carry the dinner that you have into Babylon to Daniyah, who is in the lion's den.
35 Habakkuk said: Yahweh, I never saw Babylon, nor do I know where the den is.
36 The malak of Yahweh took him by the crown, bore him by the hair of his head, and through the vehemency of his spirit set him in Babylon over the den.
37 Habakkuk cried, saying: O Daniyah, Daniyah, take the dinner which Yahweh sends you.
38 Daniyah said: You remembered me, O Father. You do not forget those who seek you and love you.
39 Daniyah arose, and ate. The malak of Yahweh immediately set Habakkuk in his own place again.
40 Upon the seventh day the king went to bewail Daniyah. When he came to the den, he looked in, and behold, Daniyah was sitting.
41 The king cried with a loud voice, saying: Great is Yahweh Father of Daniyah, there is none other beside you.
42 He drew him out, and cast into the den those who were the cause of his destruction. They were devoured in a moment before his face.

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