The Babylonian god Bel (Dan 14:3-14:4)

“Now the Babylonians

Had an idol

Called Bel.

Every day,

They provided for it

Twelve bushels

Of choice flour,

Forty sheep,

Six measures

Of wine.

The king revered it.

He went every day

To worship it.

But Daniel worshiped

His own God.”

This god Bel was Bel Marduk, the great god of the Babylonians, mentioned by Jeremiah and Isaiah. Every day, the people provided this idol 12 bushels of choice flour, 40 sheep, and 6 measures or about 50 gallons of wine. The king Cyrus revered Bel, as he worshipped this god on a daily basis. Bel may have been popular in Persia also. However, Daniel worshipped his own God, but there is no indication where he did this.

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The trial of the elders (Dan 13:50-13:51)

“So,

All the people

Hurried back.

The rest of the elders

Said to Daniel.

‘Come!

Sit among us!

Inform us!

God has given you

The standing

Of an elder.

Daniel said to them.

‘Separate them far

From each other.

I will examine them.’”

All the people hurried back to the house of Joakim and Susanna. The rest of the elders came up to Daniel. They asked him to sit among them as an elder, since they thought that God had given him standing as an elder. There had been no indication about other elders until this point. Suddenly, Daniel became important, as he told them to separate the two elder judges who had testified against Susanna. He was going to examine each one of them separately.

The Lord’s response through Daniel (Dan 13:44-13:46)

“The Lord heard

Susanna’s cry.

Just as she was being led off

To execution,

God stirred up

The Holy Spirit

Of a young lad

Named Daniel.

He shouted

With a loud voice.

‘I want no part

In shedding

That woman’s blood.’”

The Lord heard the prayer cry of Susanna. Just as she was being led to her execution, God stirred up the Holy Spirit in a young man, Daniel. This phrase indicates that this probably belongs as the beginning of this book and not at the end since Daniel is called young, not old. The Holy Spirit appears in prophets quite often. Daniel then shouted out in a loud voice that he wanted no part in the shedding of this woman’s blood.

The prayerful cry of Susanna (Dan 13:42-13:43)

“Then Susanna cried out

With a loud voice.

She said.

‘O eternal God!

You know

What is secret!

You are

Aware of all things

Before they come to be!

You know

That these men

Have given

False evidence

Against me!

Now I am to die!

Yet I have done none

Of the wicked things

That they have charged

Against me!’”

Susanna that cried out loud in a prayer to God. She said that God knew all secrets. He knew what was going to happen before it happened. He knew that this was a false witness that these two elders had rendered. He knew that she had not done any of the wicked things that she was accused of. He knew that she was about to die.

The response of Susanna (Dan 13:22-13:23)

“Susanna groaned.

She said.

‘I am completely trapped.

If I do this,

It will mean death for me.

If I do not do this,

I cannot escape

Your hands.

I choose not to do it.

I will fall

Into your hands,

Rather than to sin

In the sight of the Lord.’”

Susanna groaned, as she felt trapped. If she committed adultery with these two elder judges, she would be killed. If she did not, she would fall into their hands. They would control her life and judge her. The choice was hers. She decided not to have sex with these two old judges. Instead, she was not going to sin in the sight of God. She would rather be judged by humans than God. Of course, this is the great moral tale. Stand up for your beliefs.

Daniel’s words went to God (Dan 10:12-10:12)

“He said to me.

‘Do not fear!

Daniel!

From the first day

That you set your mind

To gain understanding,

To humble yourself

Before your God,

Your words

Have been heard.

I have come

Because of your words.’”

This man told Daniel not to be afraid.   God had heard his words from the first day that he set his mind to try to  understand things. Daniel had humbled himself before God. The very words of Daniel himself were the main reason that this man was there. Perhaps, this was the angel Gabriel responding to requests sent to God.

Gabriel comes (Dan 9:20-9:21)

“I was speaking.

I was praying,

I was confessing my sins,

As well as the sins

Of my people Israel.

I was presenting

My supplication

Before Yahweh

My God,

On behalf

Of the holy mountain

Of my God.

While I was speaking

In prayer,

The man Gabriel,

Whom I had seen before

In the vision,

Came to me

In swift flight,

At the time

Of the evening sacrifice.”

Daniel was continuing with his prayers and supplications to Yahweh. He was confessing his sins and the sins of his people Israel. He was praying for the holy mountain of God that had been desolated. Then a man called Gabriel came flying in. Daniel said that he was the same Gabriel that was in the preceding chapter that helped Daniel interpret his vision before. There, he had the appearance of a man. Here, he is referred to as a flying man who arrived at the time of the evening sacrifice. Was this the angel Gabriel?