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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

LXX. (1) Soon after this, however, the princes of the army, as well as the other chiefs, governors and dignitaries of the kingdom envied Daniel, and, meeting in counsel, they sought for some pretext by which they might overthrow Daniel. So they resolved to make a decree and a covenant that every man, old or young, belonging to the rulers or the princes, who shall during the next thirty days entreat any god, or ask a request from any being, except from the king alone, shall be given as food to lions, nor shall he be rescued by the hand of the king, or redeemed by his great wealth to annul the decree. Daniel was ignorant of their machinations, for they cunningly kept their secret from him, saying, 'If we do not trap him in a religious matter we shall not be able to overthrow him.' But they did not know that, as Daniel was faithful to his God, so would his God prove faithful to him.

(2) The men, having then written down what they had resolved to do, they each one of them signed it and sealed it with his seal, in order to give it greater authority. They then waited upon the king with their writing, who took it and read it innocently without suspecting that it was a secret plot cunningly devised against Daniel. Therefore he confirmed the decree by sealing it with the king's seal, and giving it to his scribes to guard for the appointed time. (3) One day the men went to Daniel's house to spy, and, finding a girl playing about opposite the entrance of his house, they asked, 'Where is Daniel, and what is he doing?' And she replied, 'Behold, he is in

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the upper chamber of his house, praying near the window which looks towards the holy temple at Jerusalem, and uttering praises and words of thanksgiving to his God.' Believing her, they went to the upper chamber, and found him on his knees with his hands spread towards heaven, for Daniel supplicated to God three times during the day.

(4) When these men came into Daniel's chamber he was not frightened, nor did he tremble at the noise of their voice, and he finished his prayer, when they all immediately seized him and brought him to the king. But when the king saw Daniel in the hands of the princes he trembled very greatly, and was astounded, for he then knew that it was against Daniel they had made and established such a decree. Then said the king to the princes, 'What have ye done to Daniel, and what have ye to do with him?' (5) And they replied, 'Have we not written down and sealed the decree in accordance with the law of Media and Persia, which cannot be changed or frustrated, that whoever prostrates himself to any being for the whole of this month other than to the king shall be consigned as food for the lions? Behold, Daniel was found in his house praying to his God, and thus this decree of the King of Media and Persia was violated, which cannot be. Now, since Daniel has mocked us in trying to set our laws at naught, give him into our hands, and we shall cast him into the den of lions, that no other person may attempt such a thing again in opposition to the laws of Media and Persia.' And the king answered the princes, saying, 'Ye have devised this plan against Daniel to attack him for your envy. Now, cease pursuing him, for he is a Jew, and his God is revered, glorious and mighty, who may visit you with His anger, and destroy you.' But the princes seized Daniel with their hands, ready to destroy him by casting him into the den of lions. The king, therefore, exerted all his strength to rescue him, but not one of them helped the king to save Daniel, for they were all eager for his downfall, and refused, therefore, to release him. But the king would not listen to the princes,

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and they strove with each other, the princes and the king, until sunset.

(6) When, however, they saw that the king was with him, they said with One accord, 'O king, know and mark well, if thou wilt not deliver him into our hands, we shall know that thou annullest the laws of Media and Persia.' As soon as the king saw that they were all of them bent on conspiring against him on account of Daniel, he let him go, delivering him into their power, and saying to them, 'Tell me, if God delivers him from the mouth of the lions, how will you hide your reproach and your shame, for ye shall surely be cast to the lions as food.' And they all replied, 'So it shall be.' The king, having striven with the princes until it was late, said to Daniel, 'Behold, the princes have determined to cast thee into the den of lions, but the Lord God of the heavens, who hath given thee His holy Spirit, shall close their mouths and prevent them injuring thee; but I am innocent before thy God, for I sought to rescue thee, but could not.' Then, drawing Daniel forth, they cast him into the den in which ten lions were enclosed. Their daily fare consisted of ten sheep and ten human bodies. But they starved them, depriving them of their food, giving them nothing to eat, so that they should hasten to devour Daniel. When Daniel had, however, descended to the den of lions they showed him a kind face, licked him, wagged their tails, and were as rejoiced to meet him as dogs are to see their master arrive home from the field. The princes rolled a great stone over the mouth of the pit, which the king sealed with his ring as well as with that of the princes, and they each went their way.

(7) Daniel, in the meantime, praised the name of his God all the night until the next morning with the voice of song and thanksgiving, while the lions crouched round about him, eager to hearken unto his song. But the king went to his house grieved and bitterly sad, eating no food, and drinking neither wine nor water. He forbad the musical instruments to be played before him, and did not

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remove his garments, for he was grieved at heart for Daniel; his sleep also left him, for he was saddened at the princes’ plot against Daniel. Then, turning over on his side and sighing, he said, 'Would that it were morning, to see what has become of Daniel.'

(8) On that same day, and at the same time as Daniel was cast into the den, behold the prophet Habakkuk, in the land of Judah, returned that evening from harvesting, and prepared a large dish to feed the reapers. While he was carrying his burden in his hand to supply the reapers with food, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 'Go thou with this food to My servant Daniel, in the land of the Chaldeans, to the den of lions, where he is cast.' 'But, O Lord God, who will lead me there,' said he, 'at this time, since the distance is so great for me?' And forthwith an angel of God lifted him by the lock of his hair, together with his food, and placed him in the midst of Daniel's den, where he put down the food. The angel then brought him forth thence, and restored him to his native place, whence he was taken before the reapers had had their meal. And Daniel uttered thanksgiving and praises to his God, in whose salvation he trusted, for whoever supplicates to his God communes with Him as well as one who studies His law, and he need not despair of His kindness.

(9) On the following morning at daybreak the king arose and hastily went to the den, and when he heard Daniel's voice singing and the beauty of his praises, he was not able to speak to him, for his voice was stifled through his sobbing. But, strengthening himself, he called out, 'Daniel, Daniel, has God withheld thee from the mouth of the lions, and art thou not torn to pieces?' And Daniel replied, 'Indeed, God hath withheld me from the mouth of the lions, and hath closed their mouths, and prevented them from injuring me. They, on the contrary, rejoiced to meet me, just as my own household would rejoice, for thus my God, in whom I trust, has commanded, and yesterday food was even given to me through Habakkuk, through the spirit of my God; but, my lord the king, I have

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not sinned against thee, nor will any iniquity be found in me.'

(10) The king then sending for the princes, Daniel's enemies, they came to him as he was standing by the den. 'Know,' said he, 'and behold the seals of your rings; are they as ye sealed them, and has there been any mischief?' And examining the seals, they said, 'They are untouched and just as we have sealed them.' Then, commanding the stone to be rolled away from the mouth of the pit, Daniel they brought forth, sound and perfect, without any blemish or hurt. The bystanders, being struck with wonder at the miracles of the God of Daniel, with a loud voice shouted, 'The God of Daniel is greater than all other gods.' The king then ordered his servants to lay hold of those princes, Daniel's enemies, together with their wives and children, and to cast them into the den of lions, and before they reached the floor of the den, the lions, who had not eaten any food since yesterday, roared at them, and, tearing them, crushed their bones and ground them to dust. They then continued roaring from their den so that the noise could be heard far off, and all the people trembled, and said, 'The lions have escaped from their den.'

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