Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 (or Daniel 13: 41c-62 or Susana)

Daniel knows that the elders’ judgment is wrong and so he stands up before them to challenge them. Such an action is unheard of during Daniel’s time and he invites punishment as he could be construed as being disrespectful towards them. For Daniel, the truth is at stake and is worth risking his life and well-being for. We live in a world that always denies the truth as it seeks to give justification to a whole range of sins and immorality.

Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 (or Daniel 13: 41c-62 or Susana)
1 [Dan 13:1] In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 [Dan 13:2] who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 [Dan 13:3] her pious parents had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. 4 [Dan 13:4] Joakim was very rich; he had a garden near his house, and the Jews had recourse to him often because he was the mostrespected of them all. 5 [Dan 13:5] That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, of whom the Lord said, Wickedness has come out of Babylon: from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.” 6 [Dan 13:6] These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. 7 [Dan 13:7] When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk. 8 [Dan 13:8] When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. 9 [Dan 13:9] They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. 15 [Dan 13:15] One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only. She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm. 16 [Dan 13:16] Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17 [Dan 13:17] “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids, “and shut the garden doors while I bathe.” 19 [Dan 13:19] As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and hurried to her. 20 [Dan 13:20] “Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us; give in to our desire, and lie with us. 21 [Dan 13:21] If you refuse, we will testify against you that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.” 22 [Dan 13:22] “I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power. 23 [Dan 13:23] Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord.” 24 [Dan 13:24] Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her, 25 [Dan 13:25] as one of them ran to open the garden doors. 26 [Dan 13:26] When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. 27 [Dan 13:27] At the accusations by the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna. 28 [Dan 13:28] When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked elders also came, fully determined to put Susanna to death. Before all the people they ordered: 29 [Dan 13:29] “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for, 30 [Dan 13:30] she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. 33 [Dan 13:33] All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping. 34 [Dan 13:34] In the midst of the people the two elders rose up and laid their hands on her head. 35 [Dan 13:35] Through her tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. 36 [Dan 13:36] The elders made this accusation: “As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two girls and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls. 37 [Dan 13:37] A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. 38 [Dan 13:38] When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime, we ran toward them. 39 [Dan 13:39] We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the doors and ran off. 40 [Dan 13:40] Then we seized this one and asked who the young man was, 41 [Dan 13:41] but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.” The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. 42 [Dan 13:42] But Susanna cried aloud: “O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: 43 [Dan 13:43] you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.” 44 [Dan 13:44] The Lord heard her prayer. 45 [Dan 13:45] As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, 46 [Dan 13:46] and he cried aloud: “I will have no part in the death of this woman.” 47 [Dan 13:47] All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?” 48 [Dan 13:48] He stood in their midst and continued, “Are you such fools, O Israelites! To condemn a woman of Israel without examination and without clear evidence? 49 [Dan 13:49] Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.” 50 [Dan 13:50] Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, “Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.” 51 [Dan 13:51] But he replied, “Separate these two far from one another that I may examine them.” 52 [Dan 13:52] After they were separated one from the other, he called one of them and said: “How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: 53 [Dan 13:53] passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, ‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 54 [Dan 13:54] Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together.” 55 [Dan 13:55] “Under a mastic tree,” he answered. “Your fine lie has cost you your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him and split you in two.” 56 [Dan 13:56] Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,” Daniel said to him, “beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience. 57 [Dan 13:57] This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness. 58 [Dan 13:58] Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.” 59 [Dan 13:59] “Under an oak,” he said. “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to make an end of you both.” 60 [Dan 13:60] The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those that hope in him. 61 [Dan 13:61] They rose up against the two elders, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury. According to the law of Moses, they inflicted on them the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor: 62 [Dan 13:62] they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.


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