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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

My short comments on the text are notated in “maroon pop-up text tipsMy comment is displayed like this.” which are accessed by “hovering” your mouse over the text or tapping your touch screen. [A few short comments look like this.] Longer comments are included in footnotes or links to other pages. Sometimes my paraphrase provides all the commentary needed to clarify the passage. I have added emphasis to some phrases simply to call them to your attention. Explanations of Greek and Hebrew words are from the NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries Copyright © 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved Lockman.org. In order to get the most from these pages, please follow all the hyperlinks, nearly all of which will open in a new tab or window.


Apocrypha Introductory Comments
Tobit  •  Judith  •  Esther (LXX)  •  Wisdom of Solomon  •  Sirach
Baruch  •  2 Baruch  •  1 Maccabees  •  2 Maccabees  •  1 Esdras
Prayer of Manassas   •  Psalm 151  •  3 Maccabees  •  2 Esdras  •  4 Maccabees  •  Daniel (LXX)


This page is Under Construction

Deterocanonical (Apocryphal) Books
(Not in the Tanakh or the “Protestant Canon”)

 

Tobit

Before the 1952 discovery of Aramaic and Hebrew fragments of Tobit among the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave at Qumran, scholars believed Tobit was not included in the Jewish canon because of late authorship, estimated to 100 CE. Qumran fragments of the text, which were copied between 100 BCE and  25 CE, evidence a much earlier origin than previously thought. These fragments evidence authorship no later than the 2nd century BC and, likely, contemporary with the date ascribed, by modern scholars, to the final compilation of the Book of Daniel, which did attain canonical status.

Other scholars have postulated that Tobit was excluded from the Jewish Scriptures for a halakhic reason because Raguel, the bride's father, wrote the marriage document discussed in Tobit 7:13, instead of the bridegroom, as required by Jewish rabbinical law. However, some ancient Jewish rabbinic scholars possibly considered Tobit to be canonical. Midrash Bereishit Rabbah, an aggadic commentary on the Book of Genesis compiled circa 400–600 CE, includes a truncated Aramaic version of Tobit. Tobit was also part of the Septuagint, the first Greek translation of the Bible. In more contemporary times, a number of Jews in Israel have sought to reclaim Tobit as part of the canon.

Judith

Esther (Greek)

Wisdom of Solomon

Sirach

Baruch

Baruch Bet (Second Baruch)

Makabim Aleph (First Maccabees)

Makabim Bet (Second Maccabees)

Esdras Aleph (First Esdras)

Prayer of Manasses

Psalm 151

Makabim Gimel (Third Maccabees)

Esdras Bet (Second Esdras)

Makabim Dalet (Fourth Maccabees)

 

 

Daniel (LXX)

The Song of the Holy Children (Daniel 3:24-90, LXX) The Song of the Three Holy Children is an addition to Daniel found in the Greek Septuagint but not found in the traditional Hebrew text of Daniel. This portion is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox Churches. It is found inserted between Daniel 3:23 and Daniel 3:24 of the traditional Hebrew Bible. Here, the verses after 23 from the Hebrew Bible are numbered starting at 91 to make room for these verses.

Deliverance from the Furnace (Daniel 3:91-97, LXX)

The History of Susanna (Daniel 13, LXX) The History of Susanna is translated from chapter 13 of Daniel in the Greek Septuagint. It is not found in the traditional Hebrew text of Daniel. The History of Susanna is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox Churches.

Bel and the Dragon Bel and the Dragon is translated from chapter 14 of Daniel in the Greek Septuagint. It is not found in the traditional Hebrew text of Daniel. Bel and the Dragon is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox Churches.

  


These descriptions of the apocryphal sections of the book of Daniel are reproduced here without the permission of the author only for the purpose of education, in accordance with the “Fair Use” provisions of 17USC107. If you are the copyright holder and want this article removed, contact me and I will immediately remove it. (Source: ellopos.com, “Additional Texts Witnessed by the Septuagint to the book of daniel”, accessed 07/02/20) Hyperlinks in this section take you to the text on Ellopos.com.

Texts witnessed only in the Septuagint: Table of Contents

[Edited by Ellopos from Wikipedia articles.]

The Septuagint is a witness for three more chapters not found in the Hebrew and Aramaic text of the book of Daniel. These chapters are found in the Greek / Septuagint version of the Old Testament, the earliest Greek translation, which reflects a text that is older than the Masoretic. These additions are accepted as canonical in the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox, and Syriac Bibles. Most Protestant Bibles exclude these passages as apocrypha.

The additions

The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children: Daniel 3:24–90 inserted between verses 23 and 24 (v. 24 becomes v. 91) in the Protestant canon, incorporated within the Fiery Furnace episode.

Susanna and the Elders: before Daniel 1:1, a prologue in early Greek manuscripts; chapter 13 in the Vulgate

Bel and the Dragon: after Daniel 12:13 in Greek, an epilogue; chapter 14 in the Vulgate

The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children

This is a lengthy passage that appears after Daniel 3:23 in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, as in the ancient Greek Septuagint version. The passage is omitted from most Protestant Bibles as an apocryphal addition.

The passage includes three main components. The first is the penitential prayer of Daniel’s friend Azariah (called Abednego in Babylonian, according to Daniel 1:6–7) while the three youths were in the fiery furnace. The second component is a brief account of a radiant figure who met them in the furnace yet who was unburned. This is said to be an angel, or interpreted by Christians as a prefigurement or theophany of Jesus Christ, in the same vein as Melchisedek. The third component is the hymn of praise they sang when they realized their deliverance. The hymn includes the refrain, “Praise and exalt Him above all forever…”, repeated many times, each naming a feature of the world.

The “Song of the Three Holy Youths” is part of the hymn called a canon sung during the Matins and other services in Orthodoxy. It can be found in the Church of England Book of Common Prayer as the canticle called the “Benedicite” and is one of the traditional canticles that can follow the first scripture lesson in the Order of Morning Prayer. It is also an optional song for Matins in Lutheran liturgies, and either an abbreviated or full version of the Song is featured as the Old Testament Canticle in the Lauds liturgy for Sundays and Feasts in the Divine Office of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Prayer and accompanying Song are not found in the Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Book of Daniel, nor are they cited in any extant ancient Jewish writings. However, the passage does appear in certain ancient witnesses, notably the Greek, Syriac, and Latin. At the end of the 19th century, M. Gaster identified what appears to be an Aramaic original of the song and another, Bel and Draco, also missing from the canonical book of Daniel. The Aramaic text is part of a collection of ancient Jewish texts compiled by a rabbi of about 14th century, and it is known under the name of The Chronicles of Jerachmeel.

The origins of these writings are obscure. Whether the accounts were originally composed in Hebrew (or Aramaic) or in Greek is uncertain, although many modern scholars conclude on the basis of textual evidence that there was probably an original Semitic edition. The date of composition of these documents is also uncertain, although many scholars favor a date either in the second or first century B.C.

Susanna

Susanna or Shoshana, also called Susanna and the Elders, is included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13) by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. It is not included in the Jewish Tanakh and is not mentioned in early Jewish literature, although the text is part of the original Septuagint (2nd century BC) and was revised by Theodotion, Hellenistic Jewish redactor of the Septuagint text (c. 150 AD).

As the story goes, a fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them.

She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are cross-examined about details of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover.

In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel. The first says they were under a mastic tree (ὑπὸ σχίνον, hypo schinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut (σχίσει, schisei) him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree (ὑπὸ πρίνον, hypo prinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw (πρίσαι, prisai) him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders’ lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.

The Greek text survives in two versions. The received version is due to Theodotion; this has superseded the original Septuagint version, which now survives only in Syriac translation, in Papyrus 967 (3rd century), and exceptionally in a single medieval manuscript, known as Codex Chisianus 88.

Sextus Julius Africanus did not regard the story as canonical. Jerome (347–420), while translating the Vulgate, treated this section as a non-canonical fable. In his introduction, he indicated that Susanna was an apocryphal addition because it was not present in the Hebrew text of Daniel.

Origen received the story as part of the ‘divine books’ and censured ‘wicked presbyters’ who did not recognize its authenticity (Hom Lev 1.3.,) and remarks that the story was commonly read in the early Church (Letter to Africanus) but also noted the story’s absence in the Hebrew text, observing (in Epistola ad Africanum) that it was “hidden” by the Jews in some fashion. Origen’s claim is reminiscent of Justin Martyr’s charge that Jewish scribes ‘removed’ certain verses from their Scriptures (Dialogue with Trypho: C.71-3). There are no known early Jewish references to the Susanna story.

 Bel and the Dragon

The narrative of Bel and the Dragon is incorporated as chapter 14 of the extended Book of Daniel. The text exists only in Greek. The original Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) text survives in Codex Chisianus.

This chapter, along with chapter 13, is rejected by Rabbinic Judaism, but is viewed as canonical by both Catholic and Orthodox Christians. It is considered apocryphal by Protestants. The chapter contains a single story that may previously have represented three separate narratives, which place Daniel at the court of Cyrus, king of the Persians: “When King Astyages was laid to rest with his ancestors, Cyrus the Persian succeeded to his kingdom.” There Daniel “was a companion of the king, and was the most honored of all his Friends” (14:1).

Bel

The narrative of Bel (14:1–22) ridicules the worship of idols. In it, the king asks Daniel, “You do not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?” to which Daniel answers that the idol is made of clay covered by bronze and thus cannot eat or drink. Enraged, the king then demands that the seventy priests of Bel show him who consumes the offerings made to the idol. The priests then challenge the king to set the offerings as usual (which were “twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and six vessels of wine”) and then seal the entrance to the temple with his ring: if Bel does not consume the offerings, the priests are to be sentenced to death; otherwise, Daniel is to be killed.

Daniel then uncovers the ruse (by scattering ashes over the floor of the temple in the presence of the king after the priests have left) and shows that the “sacred” meal of Bel is actually consumed at night by the priests and their wives and children, who enter through a secret door when the temple’s doors are sealed.

The next morning, Daniel calls attention to the footprints on the temple floor; the priests of Bel are then arrested and, confessing their deed, reveal the secret passage that they used to sneak inside the temple. They, their wives and children are put to death, and Daniel is permitted to destroy the idol of Bel and the temple. This version has been cited as an ancestor of the “locked room mystery”.

The dragon

In the brief but autonomous companion narrative of the dragon (Daniel 14:23–30), “There was a great dragon which the Babylonians revered.” In this case the supposed god is no idol, but an animal. However, Daniel slays the dragon by baking pitch, fat, and hair (trichas) to make cakes (mazas, barley-cakes) that cause the dragon to burst open upon consumption. In other variants, other ingredients serve the purpose: in a form known to the Midrash, straw was fed in which nails were hidden, or skins of camels were filled with hot coals, or in the Alexander cycle of Romances it was Alexander the Great who overcame the dragon by feeding it poison and tar.

The parallel with the contest between Marduk and Tiamat, in which winds controlled by Marduk burst Tiamat open, has been noted by many informed readers; barley-cake plays the same role as the wind.

As a result, the Babylonians are indignant, and threaten the king if he does not give them Daniel. Daniel is handed over, and thrown into a lions’ den. The prophet Habakkuk is miraculously recruited and brought to share a meal with Daniel in the den. When Daniel is found alive in the den seven days later, the king throws his persecutors to the lions, who eat and kill them.

The lions’ den

The third narrative (14:31–42), Daniel in the Lions’ Den, may be a retelling of Daniel’s first trip from (6:1-28) or may describe a separate incident. It has been made into a consequence of the preceding episode, but the Septuagint precedes it with the notice, “From the prophecy of Habakkuk, son of Joshua, of the tribe of Levi.” Daniel remains unharmed in the den with seven lions, fed by the prophet Habakkuk, who was taken to the lion’s den by an angel. “Upon the seventh day the king went to bewail Daniel: and when he came to the den, he looked in, and behold, Daniel was sitting. Then cried the king with a loud voice, saying, Great art thou, O Lord God of Daniel, and there is none other besides thee. And he drew him out: and cast those that were the cause of his destruction into the den: and they were devoured in a moment before his face.”


 

Originally posted on Thursday, 02 July 2020

Page last updated on Sunday, 11 July 2021 10:56 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

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