By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Book of Susanna 1-64: Daniel Rescues Susanna

Greco-Roman Period
1 There was a man living in Babylon whose name was Joakim. 2 He married the daughter
of Hilkiah, named Susanna, a very beautiful woman and one who feared the Lord. 3 Her
parents were righteous, and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses.
4 Joakim was very rich, and had a fine garden adjoining his house; the Jews used to come
to him because he was the most honoured of them all.

5 That year two elders from the people were appointed as judges. Concerning them the
Lord had said- ‘Wickedness came forth from Babylon, from elders who were judges, who
were supposed to govern the people.’ 6 These men were frequently at Joakim’s house, and
all who had a case to be tried came to them there.

7 When the people left at noon, Susanna would go into her husband’s garden to walk.
8 Every day the two elders used to see her, going in and walking about, and they began to
lust for her. 9 They suppressed their consciences and turned away their eyes from looking
to Heaven or remembering their duty to administer justice. 10 Both were overwhelmed
with passion for her, but they did not tell each other of their distress, 11 for they were
ashamed to disclose their lustful desire to seduce her. 12 Day after day they watched
eagerlyto see her.

13 One day they said to each other, ‘Let us go home, for it is time for lunch.’ So they
both left and parted from each other. 14 But turning back, they met again; and when each
pressed the other for the reason, they confessed their lust. Then together they arranged for
a time when they could find her alone.

15 Once, while they were watching for an opportune day, she went in as before with only
two maids, and wished to bathe in the garden, for it was a hot day. 16 No one was there
except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17 She said to
her maids, ‘Bring me olive oil and ointments, and shut the garden doors so that I can
bathe.’ 18 They did as she told them- they shut the doors of the garden and went out by the
side doors to bring what they had been commanded; they did not see the elders, because
they were hiding.

19 When the maids had gone out, the two elders got up and ran to her. 20 They said,
‘Look, the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us. We are burning with desire for
you; so give your consent, and lie with us. 21 If you refuse, we will testify against you that
a young man was with you, and this was why you sent your maids away.’

22 Susanna groaned and said, ‘I am completely trapped. For if I do this, it will mean
death for me; if I do not, I cannot escape your hands. 23 I choose not to do it; I will fall
into your hands, rather than sin in the sight of the Lord.’

24 Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and the two elders shouted against her.
25 And one of them ran and opened the garden doors. 26 When the people in the house
heard the shouting in the garden, they rushed in at the side door to see what had happened
to her. 27 And when the elders told their story, the servants felt very much ashamed, for
nothing like this had ever been said about Susanna.

28 The next day, when the people gathered at the house of her husband Joakim, the two
elders came, full of their wicked plot to have Susanna put to death. In the presence of the
people they said, 29 ‘Send for Susanna daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.’ 30 So they
sent for her. And she came with her parents, her children, and all her relatives.

31 Now Susanna was a woman of great refinement and beautiful in appearance. 32 As she
was veiled, the scoundrels ordered her to be unveiled, so that they might feast their eyes
on her beauty. 33 Those who were with her and all who saw her were weeping.

34 Then the two elders stood up before the people and laid their hands on her head.
35 Through her tears she looked up towards Heaven, for her heart trusted in the Lord.
36 The elders said, ‘While we were walking in the garden alone, this woman came in with
two maids, shut the garden doors, and dismissed the maids. 37 Then a young man, who
was hiding there, came to her and lay with her. 38 We were in a corner of the garden, and
when we saw this wickedness we ran to them. 39 Although we saw them embracing, we
could not hold the man, because he was stronger than we are, and he opened the doors
and got away. 40 We did, however, seize this woman and asked who the young man was,
41 but she would not tell us. These things we testify.’

Because they were elders of the people and judges, the assembly believed them and
condemned her to death.

42 Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said, ‘O eternal God, you know what is
secret and are aware of all things before they come to be; 43 you know that these men have
given false evidence against me. And now I am to die, though I have done none of the
wicked things that they have charged against me!’

44 The Lord heard her cry. 45 Just as she was being led off to execution, God stirred up the
holy spirit of a young lad named Daniel, 46 and he shouted with a loud voice, ‘I want no
part in shedding this woman’s blood!’

47 All the people turned to him and asked, ‘What is this you are saying?’ 48 Taking his
stand among them he said, ‘Are you such fools, O Israelites, as to condemn a daughter of
Israel without examination and without learning the facts? 49 Return to court, for these
men have given false evidence against her.’

50 So all the people hurried back. And the rest of the elders said to him, ‘Come, sit
among us and inform us, for God has given you the standing of an elder.’ 51 Daniel said to
them, ‘Separate them far from each other, and I will examine them.’

52 When they were separated from each other, he summoned one of them and said to
him, ‘You old relic of wicked days, your sins have now come home, which you have
committed in the past, 53 pronouncing unjust judgements, condemning the innocent and
acquitting the guilty, though the Lord said, “You shall not put an innocent and righteous
person to death.” 54 Now then, if you really saw this woman, tell me this- Under what tree
did you see them being intimate with each other?’ He answered, ‘Under a mastic tree.’ *
55 And Daniel said, ‘Very well! This lie has cost you your head, for the angel of God has
received the sentence from God and will immediately cut you in two.’

56 Then, putting him to one side, he ordered them to bring the other. And he said to him,
‘You offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has beguiled you and lust has
perverted your heart. 57 This is how you have been treating the daughters of Israel, and
they were intimate with you through fear; but a daughter of Judah would not tolerate your
wickedness. 58 Now then, tell me- Under what tree did you catch them being intimate with
each other?’ He answered, ‘Under an evergreen oak.’ * 59 Daniel said to him, ‘Very well!
This lie has cost you also your head, for the angel of God is waiting with his sword to
split * you in two, so as to destroy you both.’

60 Then the whole assembly raised a great shout and blessed God, who saves those who
hope in him. 61 And they took action against the two elders, because out of their own
mouths Daniel had convicted them of bearing false witness; they did to them as they had
wickedly planned to do to their neighbour. 62 Acting in accordance with the law of Moses,
they put them to death. Thus innocent blood was spared that day.

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