Spirituality-Religions Sacred Texts Three Additions to Daniel

Three Additions to Daniel

Three Additions to Daniel
Catalog # SKU1456
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.10 lbs
Author Name William Heaford Daubney


Three Additions to Daniel

By William Heaford Daubney

The three apocryphal portions of Daniel considered in this book have often been hardly judged. One of them had almost become a byword of contempt for fabulous inventiveness. Yet the writer hopes that he has succeeded in shewing that they are worthy of more serious attention than they have frequently received. The prejudice long existing in this country against the Apocrypha as a whole has told heavily against two at any rate of these booklets; and he who attempts to investigate the nature and origin of the Additions to Daniel finds himself following a track which is anything but well beaten.


The Song of the Three and the Histories of Susanna and of Bel and the Dragon are most interesting memorials of the spirit of their time, though that time may be difficult to fix precisely. And when looked at from the religious point of view they are replete with valuable moral lessons for "example of life and instruction of manners," to borrow the terms which the Sixth Article of Religion employs with regard to the Apocryphal books.

An attempt has been made, in a concluding chapter on each book, to draw some of these lessons out, so that they may be easily available for such homiletic and other purposes as are contemplated in that Article.

The study of these three pieces supplementary to Daniel has convinced the writer that they are of more value than has been generally supposed, and are worthy of the attention of biblical scholars in a much higher degree than that which has usually been accorded to them. If he has in any way helped in providing materials, or in suggesting ideas, which may fructify in abler hands, he will be rewarded for the researches he has made.

It appears to him that there is much connected with these books which we are unable now fully to discover; much about which it is unwise to dogmatize; many questions which must be treated as open ones; many problems which can at most only receive provisional solutions, till further facts are elicited and further insight given. The time is apparently still distant when the origin and true standing of these Additions can be certainly assigned to them: for, at the present, agreement amongst Christians on these points shews but little sign of being arrived at. Yet we trust that the time will come when deeper knowledge will make it possible for disputed points to be settled. "The patience of the godly shall not be frustrate" (Ecclus. xvi. 13).

These Additions differ from the other Apocryphal books, except the "rest of" Esther, in not claiming to be separate works, but appearing as supplements to a canonical book. The Song of the Three Children takes its assumed place between vv. 23 and 24 of Dan. iii.; the History of Susanna in the language of the A.V. is "set apart from the beginning of Daniel"; and Bel and the Dragon is "cut off from the end of" the same book. The first of these additions alone has an organic connection with the main narrative; the other two are independent scenes from the life, or what purports to be the life, of Daniel--episodes, one in his earlier, one in his later, career. In the Song, Daniel personally does not appear at all; in Susanna and in Bel he plays a conspicuous part; in Susanna appearing as a sort of 'deus ex machina' to set things right at the end; and in Bel he is an essential actor in the whole story.

It is hoped to shew, amongst other things, that the dissimilarity supposed to exist between these additions and the rest of Daniel is by no means so great as has sometimes been imagined.

In each story the ministry of angels, giving aid against visible foes, takes a prominent place; though in Susanna these appearances are suppressed in Theodotion's version, an angel, however, being just mentioned in Daniel's sentences of condemnation. In each case too there is distinct progress under God's guiding hand; things are left much better at the end than at the beginning. There is a tone of confidence, bred of sure conviction, in one abundantly expressed, in the others latent, as to the ultimate triumph of right. They agree in the certainty of God's defence, and shew complete reliance on Him. The Captivity had done a purifying work.

These stories of rescue from oppressors would be specially acceptable to the Jews of the Babylonian Captivity; more so probably than to the Jews of the Dispersion elsewhere. Howbeit they are records of zeal and trust which have moved many hearts in all ages and places.

In the last two Daniel appears as a person of great knowledge and power, successfully acting under the Divine guidance. In all three there is little which can properly be called strained or far-fetched. Almost everything is drawn naturally from what we may presume would be the condition of Daniel's time. Both behind and through the details of the stories we can see the heart of one who praised God, loved justice, and hated idolatry; who took delight in what was noble, pure, and truthful, and waged a successful warfare with whatever he encountered of an opposite character.

Each piece, moreover, has what may be thought to be its own allusion or reminiscence in the New Testament. And each of these parallels, curiously enough, seems eminently characteristic of the addition whence it may have been taken.Thus we find in the parallel of St. Matt, xxvii. 24 with Susanna 46 the assertion of innocency in respect of miscarriage of justice; in that of Heb. xii. 23 with the Song 64 (86), the utterance of the spirits and souls of the righteous; and in that of Acts xvii. 23 with Bel and Dragon 27, the mocker of idols.

One is from the beginning, one from the midst, one from the end of the Greek Daniel; the first by St. Matthew reporting Pilate; the second by a writer not certainly identified; the third by St. Luke reporting St. Paul. These may be merely accidental resemblances, but their occurrence in this way is curious, and worthy of consideration.

Softcover, 5" x 8", 185+ pages


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