Saturday, 22 June 2024 - San Tommaso Moro ( Letture di oggi)

Daniel 14


1When King Astyages joined his ancestors, Cyrus of Persia succeeded him.2Daniel was very close to the king, who respected him more than any of his other friends.3Now, in Babylon there was an idol cal ed Bel, to which twelve bushels of the finest flour, forty sheepand six measures of wine were offered every day.4The king venerated this idol and used to go and worship it every day. Daniel, however, worshipped hisown God.5'Why do you not worship Bel?' the king asked Daniel. 'I do not worship idols made by human hand,'Daniel replied, 'I worship the living God who made heaven and earth and who is lord over al living creatures.'6'Do you not believe, then,' said the king, 'that Bel is a living god? Can you not see how much he eatsand drinks each day?'7Daniel laughed. 'Your Majesty,' he said, 'do not be taken in; he is clay inside, and bronze outside, andhas never eaten or drunk anything.'8This made the king angry; he summoned his priests, 'Tel me who eats all this food,' he said, 'or die.Prove to me that Bel real y eats it, and I wil have Daniel put to death for blaspheming him.'9Daniel said to the king, 'Let it be as you say.'10There were seventy of these priests, to say nothing of their wives and children. The king went to thetemple of Bel, taking Daniel with him.11The priests of Bel said to him, 'We shal now go out, and you, Your Majesty, wil lay out the meal andmix the wine and set it out. Then, lock the door and seal it with your personal seal. If, when you return in themorning, you do not find that everything has been eaten by Bel, let us be put to death; otherwise let Daniel, thatslanderer!'12They were thinking -- hence their confidence -- of a secret entrance which they had made under thetable, and by which they came in regularly and took the offerings away.13When the priests had gone and the king had set out the food for Bel,14Daniel made his servants bring ashes and spread them all over the temple floor, with no otherwitness than the king. They then left the building, shut the door and, sealing it with the king's seal, went away.15That night, as usual, the priests came with their wives and children; they ate and drank everything.16The king was up very early next morning, and Daniel with him.17'Daniel,' said the king, 'are the seals intact?' 'They are intact, Your Majesty,' he replied.18The king then opened the door and, taking one look at the table, exclaimed, 'You are great, O Bel!There is no deception in you!'19But Daniel laughed; and, restraining the king from going in any further, he said, 'Look at the floor andtake note whose footmarks these are!'20'I can see the footmarks of men, of women and of children,' said the king,21and angrily ordered the priests to be arrested, with their wives and children. They then showed himthe secret door through which they used to come and take what was on the table.22The king had them put to death and handed Bel over to Daniel who destroyed both the idol and itstemple.23There was a great dragon which the Babylonians worshipped too.24The king said to Daniel, 'Are you going to tel me that this is made of bronze? Look, it is alive; it eatsand drinks; you cannot deny that this is a living god; worship it, then.'25Daniel replied, 'I wil worship the Lord my God; he is the living God. With your permission, YourMajesty, without using either sword or club, I shal kil this dragon.'26'You have my permission,' said the king.27Whereupon, Daniel took some pitch, some fat and some hair and boiled them up together, rol ed themixture into bal s and fed them to the dragon; the dragon swallowed them and burst. Daniel said, 'Now look atthe sort of thing you worship!'28The Babylonians were furious when they heard about this and rose against the king. 'The king hasturned Jew,' they said, 'he has al owed Bel to be overthrown, and the dragon to be kil ed, and he has put thepriests to death.'29So they went to the king and said, 'Hand Daniel over to us or else we shall kil you and your family.'30They pressed him so hard that the king found himself forced to hand Daniel over to them.31They threw Daniel into the lion pit, and there he stayed for six days.32In the pit were seven lions, which were given two human bodies and two sheep every day; but forthis period they were not given anything, to make sure they would eat Daniel.33Now, the prophet Habakkuk was in Judaea: he had been making a stew and breaking up bread intoa basket. He was on his way to the fields, taking this to the harvesters,34when the angel of the Lord spoke to him, 'Take the meal you are carrying to Babylon, and give it toDaniel in the lion pit.'35'Lord,' replied Habakkuk, 'I have not even seen Babylon and know nothing about this pit.'36The angel of the Lord took hold of his head and carried him off by the hair to Babylon where, with agreat blast of his breath, he set Habakkuk down on the edge of the pit.37'Daniel, Daniel,' Habakkuk shouted, 'take the meal that God has sent you.'38And Daniel said, 'You have kept me in mind, O God; you have not deserted those who love you.'39Rising to his feet, he ate the meal, while the angel of God carried Habakkuk back in a moment to hisown country.40On the seventh day, the king came to lament over Daniel; on reaching the pit he looked inside, andthere sat Daniel.41'You are great, O Lord, God of Daniel,' he exclaimed, 'there is no god but you!'42He then had Daniel released from the pit and the plotters of Daniel's ruin thrown in instead, wherethey were instantly eaten before his eyes.