One Weird Trick (Transcript)
Chris Sims: "He said, 'Don't be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you. Be very strong.' As he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said 'Let my Lord speak, for you have strengthened me.'"
Hello everybody, and welcome to Apocrypals. It's the podcast where two non-believers read the Bible but aren't, you know, jerks about it. My name is Chris Simms and with me as always is my co-host, the other set of footprints, Benito Cereno. Benito, how are you today?
Benito Cereno: Great, Chris. Thank you for asking, and how are you?
C: I'm doing very well and I'm pretty excited to talk about the Book of Daniel, which is what we are reading today.
B: Yeah, and then some. The Book of Daniel et al.
C: This is the first time on the show that we're actually living up to the name, which I know has been a source of consternation for some of our listeners.
B: Yeah, we have obviously launched the show prior to recording this episode, and we did get some questions about like, why is the show "Apocrypals" if you're covering the Acts of the Apostles, which is primary canon? And the answer is, we're gonna get there. We're gonna get there today, we're gonna get there next time. Like, we're eventually, if we keep going on this show if we do not get firebombed by extremists if we do not get zapped with lightning if we if we survive long enough to continue doing this show we're eventually gonna get to a point where we're doing like the Secret book of James or like the Apocalypse of Peter or something and people are gonna be like didn't this show used to be about the Bible, like we're gonna get to that point didn't this show used to be about the Bible like we're gonna get to that point eventually, I think.
C: I mean look here here's the real reason that the show is called Apocrypals: It's 'cause we came up with like 20 names, and that's the one we picked.
B: Twenty I think is vastly underselling the number of names that we came up with.
C: We started-- when we started, it was "Y'all Need Jesus." But that seemed a little confrontational to people who can't hear a tone of voice when they see that scrolling up in iTunes. #Blessed was taken. We thought about The Old Rugged Cast, which I think was one of your favorites.
B: Yeah, it was a good one.
C: Extracanonical was another one you came up with.
B: Yeah, it was one that I liked, because we'd be looking at things that were both incredibly canonical, things that are outside of canon, and also we were gonna be pretty extra about it.And so I thought extra canonical would be a pretty good one. Maybe a little more obtuse of a name than Apocrypals though.
C: Yeah, Apocrypal's is 'cause we're pals, that's why.
B: We are pals.
C: Well, we've gotten real confrontational here at the top. I actually have an update.
B: Yeah, okay. It was on Spy Wednesday, if you'll recall.
C: It was on Spy Wednesday. That Sunday, Easter Sunday, I attended Easter mass.
B: That is wild, I did not. Please tell me about it.
C: If you listen to our Zero episode, you know that I was raised a Protestant, so I have never been to a Catholic ceremony. My wife was raised Catholic though, and she was like, "Hey, if you're gonna be talking about Jesus every week, maybe go to mass once." Which I thought was a pretty fair piece of advice. I enjoyed it.
It was a little strange for me. Because growing up Protestant, like it's not a different religion. It's still Jesus, it's still God. They talked about Mark. We had some of the same songs. We sang Christ the Lord is Risen Today, which I know. I actually elbowed Aiden and I was like, hey, we have this one. But that similarity made the differences really stick out. There was so much call and response that I had, I felt super weird 'cause I have no, like I didn't know that I should say, "and with your spirit, I didn't know that every time somebody read from the Bible, which was a lot that I needed to say, "thanks be to God, there was a lot going on that I had just never experienced before, but I did enjoy it.
B: I bet, yeah, everybody around you, they knew the script, they knew when to stand up, when to kneel, when to sit down and all that stuff, and you were just like, "Eh?" Is that about accurate?
C: Close, pretty close.
B: Yeah, I've been to a couple masses, I've been to a couple of confirmations and things, and it's just like, oh, I know these people have been doing this every week, or some of them every day for years, and they know everything like the back of their hand, and it's just like, oh, this is, it's, Well, it's not quite as far different as you could possibly get from what you and I grew up with, but it's pretty close. Did they have swinging censors and that kind of stuff in there? You have the smoke and gongs and bells and such?
C: No, but the priest, whose name I believe was Father Q, did walk around at the start with the brush flinging the holy water over the crowd, which was pretty fun. Here's what really got me, the Lord's Prayer. We have that.
C: I was raised Presbyterian, we have that.
C: We even have, in the Presbyterian church, we even said the Apostles' Creed every week, which specifically mentions the Catholic church, but as it is a Protestant church, using it in its original meaning of global.
B: Right, lowercase C, not capital C.
C: Lowercase C, yes. Lord's Prayer starts up, I'm like, finally, I got this. Christ the Lord has risen today and the Lord's Prayer. Two things I know I can bust out. So I'm going through the Lord's Prayer. We get to forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. And I started on, "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." That is not what everybody else does. Instead, there's like a breakdown And the priest takes over and he offers some specifics that, again, I liked.
And to give you an idea of the kind of church we went to, like, he specifically asked that the leaders of the world would redistribute wealth to those who needed it most, which I very much appreciated. But I did not know there was going to be like, going to be a freestyle in the middle of the Lord's Prayer.
B: Hmm. Yeah, I don't know about that part. But yeah, definitely the "for thine is the kingdom" etc. part. That's a Protestant thing. actually from the prayer that Jesus does in the Gospels. That's actually taken from, I believe, one of the Psalms somewhere. So that's a Protestant thing rather than a Catholic thing, as far as I am aware.
C: Hey, thanks for telling me that before Easter.
B: Yeah, man. Like I told you-
C: Because that would have been a real good piece of information for me to learn. I was totally prepared.
B: You totally were like, "Hey, man, I'm gonna go to church. Is there anything I should know in re the ending of the Lord's Prayer?"
C: Yeah, and you ghosted me.
C: You just ghosted.
B: Yeah, I left you on read for like six days.
C: But speaking of reading, let's get into this week's selection.
B: That's an amazing segue, very good segue.
C: Thank you, I'm really proud of it. As I mentioned at the top of the show, we are reading from the book of Daniel today, and this was my pick.
B: Yeah, man.
C: You picked Acts, I picked Daniel, and I specifically picked it because there's a story I know in here, which as you heard from our friends, Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D. is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I did not realize when I picked this book, A) it was mostly going to involve prophecies at the end. There's a good like three or four pages, small type, thin pages of prophecy. I also didn't realize that like half the Bible stories that get brought up in conversation come from the Book of Daniel. Daniel in Lion's Den, I knew that one was in there. Hey, have you ever seen the writing on the wall?
C: That's Daniel. That's Daniel and it's specter. James Bond.
C: Yeah, a good number of fairly well-known stories. Yeah, Daniel's interesting 'cause it's a mix and it's fairly evenly divided into two halves where you basically have, it's 12 chapters in the fully canonical text and we'll talk about that in this episode, but 12 chapters in the fully canonical text basically broken up into two halves. The first six chapters are basically folk tales. And then the last half is our first example of an apocalypse, a genre that we'll probably hit up a couple of other times. Just a couple of quick notes before we barrel in. Obviously, this is our first look at a book from what the Christians know as the Old Testament. What to people of the Jewish faith would be the Tanakh, which I don't, are you familiar with that term, Chris, at all? I don't know.
C: Not until we started doing research for this podcast. I always thought that the entire Old Testament was the Torah, but it's not. And I did not know that until like literally three weeks ago.
B: Right, yeah. So what we would call the Old Testament, but for people who do not recognize the Second Testament, it's just the Scriptures. They used the word Tanakh, which is an acronym. It's cool. Acronyms are cool. It stands for Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim. And those are the three main sections into which the different books get categorized. There's Torah, which is the law. That's the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Pentateuch, a phrase I used in an earlier episode. It just means the five books. The Nevi'im are the prophets, and then the Ketuvim means the writings, and the Book of Daniel is actually categorized among the Ketuvim, the writings in the Jewish scriptures. However, in the Christian categorization of the Old Testament, Daniel's listed among the major prophets, and what Christians consider major prophets is different from what Jewish people would consider to be the major prophets. I think to Jewish people, the major prophets are basically Isaiah and Jeremiah and maybe one more, but for Christians, the major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel.
Yeah, so Christians place the Book of Daniel among the prophets. For the Jewish people, they are among the writings rather than the prophets because it doesn't fit the format of a prophetic book like Isaiah, because it is this mix of folk tales and apocalypse. Apocalypse, of course, is a word that has come to have a certain meaning in modern society. We think of it as meaning like the end of the world. We talk about this. Do you have any idea what the word apocalypse actually means? The Greek word apokalupsis from which it comes. Do you have any idea?
C: No idea.
B: I'll give you a hint. We translate it pretty literally when we talk about the books of the Bible. It means revelation. It just means a revealing. It literally means an uncovering. And so the genre of apocalypse is going to be a book that talks about someone who has a revelation through a dream or a vision. So a dream as happens to Daniel in the second half of his book, or as happens to John the Revelator, he has a vision, right? And so these visions are often a mix of veiled references to the present as well as some implications for the future. But they're usually heavily metaphorical. Oftentimes they can be interpreted. It's pretty easy to interpret the dreams and visions of Daniel, and we'll get to that when we get there.
But we're going to hit a a couple more apocalypses just in the primary canon. It's pretty much limited to Daniel in the Old Testament, Revelation in the New Testament, but as we hit secondary canon and then also fully bananas, pseudepigrapha kind of stuff, we're going to hit books like Second Baruch, Second Esdras, and then the Book of Enoch, all of which are going to be apocalypses as well. We're going to be reading some very strange things if we get to go on forever, obviously, as is our stated mission plan for the show.
So, yeah, so Daniel from the Hebrew name Daniel, which means "El is my judge," but El, E-L, meaning that's one of the names of God, right, as in Elohim. We're going to see a large number of names. Anytime you see someone's name that ends in E-L, like Michael, Joel, Daniel, Nathaniel, Ezekiel, any of those kind of names, the "EL" there at the end is going to be referring to one of the names of God. And then we'll also see, and also even in this book if you look and see, if you have someone who's got a name that ends in "AH" or "IAH" or "YAH," those names are going to be referring to Yah, another name of God, as in Yahweh, right? So if you see a name like Isaiah or Jeremiah, those guys have names referring to another different name of God.
C: Okay, so that would be like Hananiah and Azariah as opposed to Michelle and Daniel.
B: Correct. Absolutely right. Yeah, so they all refer to God but to different names of God. The implications of that are something that we can probably get to when we look at some of the earlier books from the Old Testament. But for right now, according to the traditional view, the kayfabe view as we talk about on this show, the Book of Daniel, as is generally the case, traditionally attributed to the guy whose name is the name of the book, right? So in the traditional view, Daniel, the guy from the story, is the guy who wrote this book and that it was written shortly after the time when it takes place, right? The setting for this book is in Babylon during the period of the Babylonian exile, which would have been in the 6th century BCE. And so in the traditional view, Daniel in his, I don't know, 80s or 90s probably, would have been writing this book following the liberation of the Jewish exiles, or captives, in Babylon by Cyrus the Great, the king of Persia.
I know that's kind of a lot of stuff, so I feel like maybe we need to do a couple of, just a very quick hit on the briefest possible history of the Hebrew people up until this point. I don't know, I mean does Babylon...
C: Hang on, hang on. Real quick, you want to do the briefest possible history. In my copy we're on page 921, my man.
B: Not even in chronological order, but yeah, we're gonna hit, you know, we'll hit some of this stuff in more detail, but I mean, I want to hit just enough so you understand, like, I mean does the phrase Babylonian exile mean something to you? Do you understand the captivity, what that means, and how we got to that?
C: That I'm actually not familiar with.
B: Okay, so...
C: I obviously know about like the Egyptian captivity. That's a big one.
B: Right. Just to hit it in order, typically when we're looking at biblical history of the Hebrew people, you've got the patriarchal period. That's your stuff in Genesis, right? Getting the patriarchs being specifically Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, right? Technicolor dream coat. and at this point the Hebrew people are basically more or less nomadic shepherd people for much of that time. They do end up in Canaan by the time of Abraham, but they're wandering around looking after sheep and stuff at this time. They end up getting captured going to Egypt. You know that. That's the book of Exodus. Moses and all that stuff. Passover just happened celebrating the escape of the people from Egypt, their liberation from the hands of Pharaoh by God. So after that point they wander in the desert, right? Sounds familiar? 40 years. They eventually make their way to the Promised Land in Canaan, which is basically Palestine. They create their settlement there and eventually end up with the period of the United Monarchy, right? The Monarchy, which basically lasts for the span of three kings, all of whom hopefully you've heard of, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, right?
C: I have in fact heard of them. David's on Xena, So, you know I got a little experience with that boy.
B: What you have following that is, after Solomon, the kingdom splits in two. Into a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom. The northern kingdom is Israel. The southern kingdom is Judah. That's where Jerusalem is. Israel in the north is bigger and more powerful, but it's also less stable. It falls. Judah remains. However, by 605 BCE, the Babylonian Empire, which is very mighty at this time. They've defeated the Assyrian Empire and Egypt. They lay siege to Jerusalem, and what happens is the king, the guy who was king at that time, Jehoiakim, he and his family, as well as thousands of nobles of the city of Jerusalem, are taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar, who is the major character in the first couple of chapters of Daniel. He's the Babylonian king. He takes them as captives, basically as hostages, and takes them off to Babylon. And that's where we are in this book.
What happens by the end of this book is the Babylonian Empire is defeated by the Persian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Medes and the Persians, led by Cyrus the Great, who we also see by the end of this book. Cyrus is the king by the end of Daniel. He liberates, He frees the Jewish people from their captivity in Babylon. They go back home.
And then, well, eventually after that, you have the Greek period. You have Alexander the Great, and he conquers so much of the Mediterranean world, including Judea. And he's there, and then he dies young because he drinks too much. And then his empire is basically split up among a couple of guides. He's got the Ptolemies.
C: Yeah, because his last words were, "To the strongest, which is, if you want political stability, that's not the thing that you say on your deathbed, Alexander.
B: Yeah, yeah. And so basically his kingdom gets split up largely between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, right? And the Seleucids are going to be the guys who are relevant to us following Bible stuff, because they're the ones who are in charge of Judea, and they're the ones that are rebelled against by the Hasmoneans, the Maccabees, right? And so by the time of the Maccabees, you have the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and he's going to be relevant as well. But I know we've jumped ahead a little bit of the exile, but I promise it's all relevant, okay?
According to the traditional view, the Book of Daniel, the first half, the first six books. Each chapter is a separate folktale that probably originated during the Babylonian exile. Sorry, in the traditional view the whole thing was written immediately after the Babylonian exile. In the historical view these were probably folktales that originated in that time but then were collected and written down much later. And then you have the prophecies added on later, and we'll see why that is once we look a little more closely at the text, why we feel confident that the book of Daniel was actually not written in the 500s BCE, but actually probably in the 100s BCE.
But one thing that we can look at and see, kind of to see the seams a little bit, is that the book is written in a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic. And so the opening chapter is Hebrew. The prophecy section is in Hebrew, but the majority of the folktales are in Aramaic, and Aramaic is a dialect of Hebrew that would have been the preferred language of the Jewish people in the time following the Babylonian exile. It's what Jesus spoke, so even hundreds of years following the exile, Aramaic would have been the language of choice. But the majority of the Old Testament is written in a Biblical Hebrew, but this one is a mixture of pure biblical Hebrew and the Aramaic dialect. I think that's it. Good introduction. Did we get it?
C: I think I've got it. My only question is this. In addition to the Book of Daniel, we are going to be reading three Deuterocanonical books. The Prayer of Azariah. We know where that goes. We're going to be reading Bel and the Dragon, and I think we know where that goes. But there's also the Book of Susanna, which in my understanding is placed in different spots. Some people put that as the secret origin of Daniel. The adventures of Daniel when he was a boy.
B: Right, yeah. Same with Belle and the Dragon. Often in some versions of, well, we'll talk about this when we talk about the difference between canonical and deuterocanonical texts, but yeah, some versions of this text plays Susanna and Bel and the Dragon as chapters 1 and 2. In the most prominent version, their place is chapters 13 and 14, even though, so that would make them basically their prequels then in that case. But yeah, because they're definitely about him as a young man and not as the 90-something year old man that he would be having the visions that we get in chapters 7 through 12.
C: The reason I bring it up is because I really like the way that those stories reflect the stories we're about to get into in the book of Daniel, which is that Daniel is a guy who can figure things out. He literally interprets dreams, which are mysteries. So the stories that we're going to get that, for whatever reason, did not make the cut into the Bible that I have sitting on my desk are stories about Daniel solving mysteries. He's a crime fighter. And those are really fun.
B: Right. The thing is, yeah, to break kayfabe for a second, Daniel probably did not exist at all. He is probably a fully folkloric character. The name that was chosen for this book is the name that we see mentioned in Ezekiel. In the book of Ezekiel there's a couple of places where he uses the name Daniel to describe a guy who is a wise and judicious figure. There's one of the verses is something like, "Who could be wiser than Daniel? Are you wiser than Daniel?" No. And so probably what happened is the author of this book or or else people who developed these folk tales built them up around this character who is a legendarily prudent and wise character until he became the major figure of this collection of stories.
C: All right, well then let's get into it.
C: And I guess this is my first question. We start off with four pretty prominent characters.
C: Three of them are gonna vanish from the book entirely in a minute.
B: By chapter three, yeah, they're gone, yeah.
C: Yeah, we've got Daniel. We've got Hananiah. We've got Mishael and we've got Azariah. I have generally, and again, maybe this is a Beastie Boys thing, I only ever hear Hananiah, Michelle, and Azariah called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whereas I never hear Daniel called Belshazzar.
C: Belteshazzar, sorry. 'Cause there is a Belshazzar in Daniel.
B: There is a Belshazzar as well, yeah. Very easy to confuse. Yeah, so what's going on there is that Daniel his three friends were noble youths of the Hebrew people, and because they were of nobility and they were well-educated, they were chosen by Nebuchadnezzar to be trained and become part of his court. And so part of that is they are given Babylonian names. So they have the Hebrew names, Daniel, which I believe I said means God is my judge. Then you have Hananiah, or sorry, Daniel gets the Babylonian name Belteshazzar, which means "Bel protect his life," and that's Bel who would be a, Bel Marduk would be a Babylonian god. We're going to see him later. That's the Bell from Bell and the Dragon. And then you have Hananiah, which is a Hebrew name meaning "Yah is gracious," and he gets the name Shadrach, which means "command of Aku," which would have been a Babylonian moon god. Mishael, whose Hebrew name means "who is what El is," gets the name Mishak, which not only sounds kind of like Mishael, also means "who is" as Aku is, and Azariah, whose Hebrew name means "Yah has helped," gets the name Abednego, which means "slave of the god Nebo."
C: I feel like he gets the worst one.
B: Yeah, because he's got "slave" in his name. It's pretty bad. Yeah. Basically, I feel like what happened is they got the closest possible Babylonian names to their Hebrew names, just replacing Yah and El with Babylonian gods like Bel and Aku or Nebo.
C: So is it more proper for us going forward to call them Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?
B: Well, I mean, traditionally Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the name that they're known by, right? Like, it's not just the Beasties, it's not even just Sly and the Family Stone who I think their sampling in that song. Like, that's the traditional name. I don't know if it's because they're easier to remember, because the first two kind of rhyme and then the third one, whatever. But like, even like, even like the Veggie Tales adaptation of this, right? It's - they're Rack, Shack and Benny, right? Nobody, nobody knows Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Those are not, I don't think anyone uses those names in any kind of traditional retelling of the stories.
C: And who knows better than the Veggie Tales?
B: Yeah, yeah. Jumping ahead a little bit, but I assume you probably have not seen the Veggie Tales Rack, Shack and Benny special.
C: I sure have not.
B: Yeah, in that one, rather than being made to worship a statue of the king, instead they're supposed to worship a giant chocolate bunny. There's a song attached that I suppose I will post on our Tumblr, which is what we have a Tumblr for, so we can share that very good '80s and '90s Christian pop culture that's relevant to the things we're talking about.
C: We've got our four boys.
C: They are in Babylon. Another fine mess.
C: They've gotten themselves in. They get their new names, they're hanging out with King Nebuchadnezzar. But Daniel is like, "Hey, I'm not drinking your wine. I'm not eating your food because I don't want to defile myself." Which, rude, but understandable given the circumstances.
B: Right. Yeah, they asked to eat vegetables and drink water and then yeah they're obviously, the Babylonians are very skeptical about this they're like yeah okay but you're gonna be skinny and weak compared to these other guys, and they say well let's just test that and so obviously after a period of time they're revealed to be just as strong and healthy as the guys eating fatty foods and drinking wine, and so we get the moral of this particular folktale, which is you follow the law, you'll be rewarded.
C: Yeah, I'll say there's a cool diet tip the Book of Daniel starts off with that I didn't know.
B: Yeah, it's true.
C: Which is hey, hey, crisp local vegetables and cut out the sodas and you will look healthier. I feel like, again, we've talked about the headers for the sections in the HCSB, the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which is the translation we're gonna be using for most of this episode. The header for this one is Faithfulness in Babylon. I feel like the header for this one should probably be like, "This prophet ate vegetables for 10 days, you won't believe what happens next."
B: Doctors hate him, one weird trick. One weird trick for outlasting the servants of Nebuchadnezzar.
C: So Nebuchadnezzar has been suffering from some dreams lately.
C: And he needs to know what these dreams mean. Which, like, I get that we, in the 21st century, the distant future, the far off year 2000, have a different context for dreams, because we have television and movies. My, one of my other podcasting partners, Jordan D. White, said one of the wildest things I've ever heard in my life, which is he said he really likes having nightmares, 'cause it's like a horror movie you don't have to pay for.
B: That is wild, he should just get MoviePass.
C: Yeah, that is for another time. But I was kind of excited to see what weirdness was gonna be in Nebuchadnezzar's dream that was going to require him to enlist the aid of a medium, of prophets, really gotta get to the bottom of this. It doesn't seem, like I had a dream last night that seems to be more interesting than this dream that he has. How common is dream interpretation here in 500 BCE?
B: Very common. Actually, dreams would have been a big deal for ancient people, not just here in Babylonians. The Greeks, it's a big deal. There's a famous Greek book that's all about the interpretation of dreams. Yeah, dreams were considered to be generally prophecies. They were supposed to be messages from the other side, right? It's a major element. And say, for example, Virgil's Aeneid, where the gate of dreams is in the underworld. It's actually the shades of people in the past who travel out through these dreams. There's two gates, the gates of true dreams and the gates of false dreams. Yeah, there's a real connection between the afterlife, the dead, and dreams. You have Aeneas is warned in a dream by Hector. It's actually the ghost of Hector who wakes him up during the siege of Troy and not just the siege but the sacking, the storming of Troy. And he wakes him up and says, "Yo, get your family and get out of here." Dreams were considered to be very powerful, very important things for ancient people. Yeah, so it's not just a – although, yeah, from our modern perspective, to look at the Book of Daniel, it does seem to be a lot of someone going, "Let me tell you about this weird dream I had," even though it does seem like that, yeah, it would have been very important, especially, yeah, here in the genre of the apocalypse. Yeah.
C: So Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and he wants somebody to interpret it, but, and this is the thing I think is kind of great about Nebuchadnezzar in this scene, he needs, he needs somebody who can do magic.
B: Right, because he doesn't just want you to tell him what the dream means. He wants you to tell you what the dream was.
C: And he says, this is Daniel chapter 2 verse 5, "The king replied to the Chaldeans, 'My word is final. If you don't tell me the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses will be made into a garbage dump.'"
B: Yeah, that's an excellent threat that I'm going to use from this point forward. Thanks, Bible. So he tells everybody, like, "Hey, you gotta tell me what the dream is, that only exists currently in my head." And the Chaldean--now, who are the Chaldeans?
B: The word "Chaldean" actually means Babylonian. It's basically a--it's a synonym for Babylonian, but in this case it specifically means people who would have been, like, astrologers, "sous-sayers," "wisemen" for the government, rather than, even though it is an ethnic term for Babylonians. In this case, it means specifically, guys who should be able to do this.
C: So all of these guys are like, "Hey, we will interpret your dream, but we can't tell you what it is." And then this is the part of the Columbo episode where that old car rolls up, and out comes Daniel in his rumpled coat, getting ready to ask some questions.
B: Yeah, and he does it, man. And he's got the whole dream.
C: Yeah, 'cause he comes in, it's a baller move. Daniel is full of baller moves, 'cause he rolls in and says, "Hey, what's up? May the name of God be praised forever and ever. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding, unlike all these Chaldeans who are over here not being able to read your mind. Daniel's in the house now. Let's do this."
B: Yeah, just rolls up those sleeves, man. And he's got it, he's like, Here it is obviously what you saw was a giant statue. Giant statue, big old Metamorpho looking statue and big separate sections made of different materials. Head of gold, chest and arms silver, stomach and thighs bronze, legs were iron and its feet were a mix of iron and partly fired clay. And that is for the record, the origin of our phrase feet of clay, originates from this story right here. The idea that someone is strong for the majority of them, but they have some kind of weak spot, an Achilles heel, and in this case, it's the feet of clay for this statue.
C: Usually used in my life in reference to Marvel Comics superheroes.
B: Ah, and yeah, absolutely.
C: I gotta say this. I will, I gotta hand this one to Daniel. That's a very specific dream.
B: Yeah, you can't do a cold reading on that one. You can't, you can't Jonathan Edwards that stuff.
C: Yeah, Daniel's not rolling and going, "Um, all right, so you had a math test, but you had not studied for several months. You didn't even know that you were being taught this kind of math." No, Daniel comes in and when he gets to the part where he's like, "Oh, and the feet, they were partially clay?" Like, that's so specific.
C: I love that.
B: Yeah. All right, Chris, any idea what the dream means? I mean, I guess he kind of lays it out a little bit, But...
C: Yeah, I have read the book, so I'm pretty good on the interpretation here.
B: Yeah, okay. So yeah, in short, the different sections of the statue represent different kingdoms that are going to rule in this area. The head of gold is the Babylonians. The silver section represents the Medians, the Medes, followed by the Persians. The mixture, the feet, the iron and clay, and the feet that makes the kingdom unstable, that's the Greeks. that's the divided Greek kingdom, the Seleucids versus the Ptolemies. And then finally, of course, he predicts God's kingdom will come and God's kingdom is better than all those other kingdoms. There it is. That's the dream.
C: Nebuchadnezzar's like, "You know what? That was it exactly? Daniel, you're my god."
B: Yeah, and that seems to be, that's the arc every time, isn't it? Like, the king is like, "Uh, I sure need someone," and Daniel comes in and solves the thing, and he's like, "Okay, Daniel's god is it. Daniel's god is number one." And the next time it's like, "Hmm, I sure need someone. I wish there was someone who had some kind of God who could help me with this trouble." And it's like six chapters of like, "Guy, your arc is resetting to zero every chapter."
C: Well, look, every chapter could be someone's first. Chapter 2, verse 46. "Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell down and paid homage to Daniel and gave orders to present an offering of incense to him. The king said, 'Daniel, your God is indeed God of gods, Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, since you were able to reveal this mystery.'" Then he like makes Daniel like in charge. He gives Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego like their running stuff. And then the next thing he does, that's the end of chapter two, chapter three is like, "So Nebuchadnezzar built this gold statue and made everybody worship it."
C: Like, I feel like he's coming to a conversion and then doesn't.
B: Every time. Yeah. It's just, I mean, to be fair, he's only the king for the first three chapters, and then you got different kings for four, five, and six. But yeah, man, it's like, learn the lesson. It's straight up sitcom stuff. Or it's like someone coming on to, we got a new writer on Fantastic Four, so Johnny is the immature one who needs to learn to grow up and take some responsibility for once.
C: So this is where we get the famous story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We also get so much repeated freezing. They're constantly talking about when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, which you could just shorten that to every kind of music or music. And I asked you about that and you said it was a memorization.
B: Yeah, a lot of times when you get repetition of phrases like that in ancient writing, a lot of that has to do with the fact that you're dealing with things that would have been largely orally transmitted at first. And so having repetition of phrases and epithets and the kind kind of stock formulas, those things help with memorization. And so that's why you're gonna get that stuff in the Iliad. That's why you're gonna get it here when you get repetition of, this one does seem exceptionally long. It's a lot of instruments, but I mean, maybe it was just some kind of formula that would have been familiar.
C: So basically what happens is when they hear the sound of the horn flute, zither lyre, harp drum, and every kind of music, everyone is supposed to fall down and worship this golden statue. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they're like, "Yeah, we've been through this before, but way back in book one." So they don't. And so Nebuchadnezzar's like, "Guys, all you had to do was worship the golden statue. Now I'm going to throw you in this furnace." And he gets a furnace, stokes it so hot. I think it's in the prayer of Azariah that it says, "The flames are 40 feet high."
B: Yeah, I think the idea, what you should picture probably is a kiln kind of building. And there would be a door at ground level that you could go in horizontally, walk in like you would a door. But then there would also be a vent or some kind of opening up on the top that you could open as well. And I think when we see, and that's when we see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thrown in through that top. And that the flames are so, that the people that throw them in burn up. They die as these, yeah, as the flames shoot out the chimney, basically.
C: They're, like, Nebuchadnezzar and his boys are watching this, and Nebuchadnezzar's like, "Hey, hang on a second. "How many dudes did we throw in that fire?" And the guy goes, "There were three of them. "It was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego." He's like, "Okay, well there's a fourth dude "up in there now, and they're just walking around, "like, partying."
B: And the fourth guy--
C: Fighting for their right to party.
B: The fourth guy looks like a son of the gods, a very fine compliment.
C: Yeah, so it turns out that an angel came down, went up into the furnace, untied Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said, "Hey guys, don't worry, have a refreshing drink of water and some vegetables. We're just gonna hang here for a minute and then we'll bail."
C: These three guys come out, they are fine, not a hair on their head is singed, and Nebuchadnezzar says, "Therefore, I issue a decree that anyone of any people, nation or language, who says anything offensive against the god of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb and his house made into a garbage dump.
B: We've all heard these very, very serious garbage dump decrees before Nebuchadnezzar. We'll see how they hold up through chapter four.
C: I feel bad for anybody in Babylon who's sticking to the law, falling down when they hear the harp, zither, lyre, and every kind of music, but their neighbor's not. And so it's like, great, property values are going down, now I live next to a garbage dump, and also Jerry was torn limb from limb, who's gonna be our fourth for bridge on Saturday night.
B: Also, what about the guy whose job is to be the garbage dump guy, right? Like surely he hears that and he's like, that is very rude for you to use my job as a punishment for other people, how dare you?
C: That's it for Nebuchadnezzar, because chapter, yeah, chapter four is basically a recap of chapters one through three. Chapter four starts with a recap.
C: Of the previous three pages.
B: Basically, right. But then you start the fourth story where you see Nebuchadnezzar has yet another dream that he gets interpreted. And basically this one, Daniel comes in and says, here's the thing. God is going to make you crazy. You're going to believe that you are an animal, you're going to eat the grass of the field like an animal, and that's gonna be you for a while. And eventually you'll get better, but you're gonna be an animal first. And then it happens.
C: Daniel tells him, "Separate yourself from your sins by doing what is right, and from your injustices by showing mercy to the needy. Perhaps there will be an extension of your prosperity." And then a year later, he was driven away from people, he ate grass-like cattle, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky until his hair grew like an eagle's feathers and his nails like birds' claws."
B: Yeah. Needless to say, there are, there's a great deal of art depicting this scene. Someone in the Middle Ages was very excited to be able to paint this particular Bible scene. And so there's no shortage of Nebuchadnezzar eating grass and looking like a wild man.
This story, while Nebuchadnezzar is a historical person, there's no real record of something like this happening to him. There is something that could be interpreted as this with another Babylonian king named Nabonidus, if I remember correctly. This is kind of the section of the book where the history starts to get mushy a little bit. We're still okay, but pretty soon we're going to be hitting some kings who 100% did not exist, and this is kind of where that starts happen. Of course, setting aside the fact that we're reading stories about guys who didn't exist either. Like, Daniel is not a person.
C: Are you telling me that historians do not generally agree that Nebuchadnezzar turned into a cowbird?
B: Generally, no. I'm sure I could find a scholar who 100% agrees with this. It would not be hard to Google that up, but generally, no.
C: Here's the next story you've heard of. This is King Belshazzar, not to be confused with Belteshazzar, who is Daniel. Because everybody's got to have two names. King Belshazzar is hanging out, he's got all his friends over, they're drinking wine, they've got some concubines in the house, talking about all the idols, doing some real hard idolatry.
B: The significant sin here is that they're not just drinking, but they're drinking out of sacramental cups of the Hebrew people. And so really what's being punished here is Belshazzar's sacrilege, right? The fact that he's using these sacramental cups to drink his wine.
C: So then the source shows up and there is a hand that appears and inscribes some words on the wall and I have heard the word and it is bad.
B: It is. No, it's actually "Mene, mene, tekel, parsin."
C: Bell-Shazar cannot read this and he says, "Whoever reads this inscription and gives me its interpretation will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain around his neck." So that's Prince, I assume.
B: Right, yeah. Unless it's a purple Adidas tracksuit, in which case, maybe it's a fourth member of Run DMC. But yeah, so yeah, "Mene, mene, tekel, parsin," probably the most-- maybe the most famous of the prophecies or strange things to be interpreted here. Like we said, up at the top of the show, this is the origin of the phrase, the writing on the wall. The writing is on the wall. I can see the writing on the wall, whatever. Comes from this scene. These words here, they kind of have a double meaning. They can all be a measure of weight, but they can also be verbs. And so "mene" could mean numbered, right? Counted. And then "tekel" would mean weighed, and "parsin" means divided. And so, again, the interpretation here is that we're looking at what's coming up with the kingship of this area. You've got, you're gonna have one king and then one who's roughly the same as that, and then one after that, and then eventually you're gonna have a divided kingdom, which again, the division of the Greeks, right? And so again, it's just, it's basically like, there's gonna be you, there's gonna be another guy, and there's gonna be another guy, and then it's gonna be split. Hold on to that, 'cause it's a common theme. It's already been a common theme. It's not going to stop.
C: That very night, Belshazzar is killed.
C: And then we get Darius, and Darius is like post-crisis Nebuchadnezzar.
B: Yeah, he is 100% not a real person. Darius, Darius the Mead, not a real person, because the Babylonians were actually overthrown by Cyrus the Great, who we get, but in the story we get Darius the Mede first, not a person. He is basically, he's tricked. He's tricked into, by his advisors, who are very jealous of Daniel's high position that he's gained over the course of the previous five chapters. They're very jealous of what he's attained, And so they devise a trick which will punish Daniel. They basically say to Darius, "Hey, you should say that for a 30-day period, no one should pray to any god except to you, the emperor." And he says, "That sounds legit. Let's go for that." And of course it's a trap and a mistake because Daniel, who Darius likes very much, is caught praying in his special prayer room and so is punished in the way that I think we all know the lion's den. So famous that a chain of adult bookstores is named after it.
C: Because we actually get some Expanded Universe stuff explaining how Daniel managed to live for a week inside the Lion's Den.
B: That is actually a second different trip to the Lion's Den. C: I did not know that was a second trip to the Lion's Den.
B: Yeah, he goes twice. So actually, if we follow the chronology, this would actually be his second trip to the Lion's Den. So he's like old hat at it by this point, by the time Darius throws him in there.
C: What we really need is the balladeer to show up on a freeze frame and be like, "Boy, Daniel's gotten himself into some trouble with the lion's den again." So they throw Daniel in there. I guess in this version, he's only in there one night.
B: Yeah, yeah. In this version.
C: With some very hungry lions. Right. So they throw him in and Daniel, to his credit, is just like, "Hey man, no hard feelings. May the king live forever." And then he just like heads into the lion's den. Another angel shows up.
B: Not even the last angel we're gonna get in this book, even though this is the last of the narrative chapters.
C: Daniel is fine. They unseal the lion's den. Is there a stone rolled away in this, or did I imagine that as a...
B: This would have been probably another hole in a roof, right? So I mean, maybe they had some kind of a cover, but I don't recall a stone being rolled away.
C: Darius shows up and Daniel's fine. They lift him up out of the lion's den. Daniel's cool. Darius is cheesed off. Daniel 6:24, "The king then gave the command and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lion's den. They, their children and their wives, they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones."
B: Yeah, man. Do you, like, can you imagine, like, what if Darius has like the same, the same advisors and stuff as like Nebuchadnezzar and he's like, "Oh man, these guys need to be punished." And his advisors are like, "All right, man, we'll go get the garbage dump making equipment." And he's like, "Oh no, that's not how we do it here."
C: Yeah, like, Daniel's got a strong record against these super villains.
B: He's basically six and oh at this point.
C: Now it's time to get into some prophecy stuff. And I feel like we could maybe move through this pretty quickly.
B: I think we can. We've got, there's three, four visions over six chapters, I should say. You've got the one: there's four beasts. Then you've got the vision: there's a ram and a goat. And then you've got the vision about 70 weeks, weeks of days. And like we could look at these and we could look at them more closely and whatever. But the fact is they all predict the same thing. Basically every prophecy in the entire book, including these, prophesies the same thing, right? They're, the Babylonians are gonna be followed by the Medes and the Persians. and Persians are going to be followed by the Greeks. The Greeks are going to be divided, and so they're not going to be that great. And it gets really specific in the passage that I believe you compared to the Bible just straight up becoming Game of Thrones for a minute.
C: Yeah. That's chapter 11, verse 5 starts this. "The king of the south will grow powerful, but one of his commanders will grow more powerful and will rule a kingdom greater than his. After some years they will form an alliance and the daughter of the king of the south will go to the king of the north to seal the agreement. She will not retain power and his strength will not endure. She will be given up together with her entourage, her father, and one who supported her during those times." That's Game of Thrones seasons one through four.
B: Yeah, it also is exactly what literally happened with the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, right? So this is, it gets into very specific detail of actual historical events. And so, bringing back things from the beginning, this is how we get a pretty good idea when this book was actually written because it gets incredibly detailed up to a certain point. It eventually predicts that the king of the Greeks will die in Judea. That didn't happen. And so we can say, "Well, this book was probably written around 164, 165 BCE, the period where this king and we'll talk about him in just one second, where this king was alive but right before he died, probably.
So we're looking at this book actually from a historical view being written some 400 years after the traditional view. This book would have probably been written around the time of the Maccabees. This would have been written in the Hasmonean period because the king that who is the secret real villain of the apocalypse here is Antiochus IV Epiphanes who was a Seleucid emperor. He would have been the one in charge of Judea and the surrounding areas at this time and he was not good, right? The Seleucids prior to Antiochus IV would have been generally pretty liberal and kind to the Jewish people. Antiochus IV did not follow that pattern. One of my favorite stories, one of my favorite little like tidbits from from antiquity is that this guy, his name is Antiochus, his nickname, his epithet is Epiphanes, which means it's the same as like Epiphany from, you know, from the three kings, right? It means the appearance of a manifestation, right? So the idea is Antiochus and Epiphanes means he is Antiochus' God-made manifest. But some very clever guy, who knows who, who's like, "Antiochus Epiphanes more like Antiochus Epimenes,"" which means Antiochus the maniac and that is like very excellent goof from antiquity.
C: Holds up holds up after all these years.
B: It really holds up.
C: I found it interesting that you said that this part of the book was probably written Much later because it does I thought maybe this was the fault of the translation But it does shift into a very distinctly different style of writing much like we saw in the book of Acts It kicks over into first person for a little bit and Daniel also keeps assuring you that he's Daniel Yeah, there's so many parts in this book where he goes I Daniel Just to make sure I think my favorite instance of that It's the last verse of chapter 8, it's chapter 8 verse 27 after he has just had a prophetic vision, "I Daniel was overcome and lay sick for days. Then I got up and went about the king's business. I was greatly disturbed by the vision and could not understand it." You and me both, buddy. End of chapter.
B: Yeah, and part of the reason that the style feels different is like I was saying earlier, it's literally a different language, right? It's this this section of the book would have been written in fully Biblical Hebrew as opposed to the majority of the folk tales which would have been in Aramaic. So it's actually literally a different language which might account for the differences in style.
C: So, speaking of differences in style, let's talk about these other books.
B: Yeah, let's. Let's actually get into some Apocrypha, and let's talk about what that means. What we're actually going to be looking at are three different books that are, as a group, usually known as the Greek additions to Daniel, but separately they're known as the Prayer of Azariah, or sometimes the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Holy Children, or the Song of the Three Jews or the Song of the Three something, but the Prayer of Azariah. Then we have Susanna, then we have Bell and the Dragon. These are all fairly short. They are not going to be included in an HCSB because the HCSB does not include any kind of Apocrypha. If you would like to read along with us on these, I would suggest going to Bible Hub or Bible Gateway, looking for the NRSV. That's the New Revised Standard Version, which typically will include the Apocrypha. You can find those online and you can read along with us. They're, as I said, fairly short. They're not even full books. They were basically additional chapters.
But yeah, let me talk a little bit about what that means and what we mean when we say Apocrypha. The word Apocrypha is a Greek word. It means hidden things. It basically is the opposite of apocalypse, right? If the apocalypse is the unveiling, the unhiding, the Apocrypha, these are the hidden things. The C-R-Y-P in the middle there is basically the same as in words like crypt or cryptic or Krypton even, if we want to go back to Krypton. There's a distinction between what we'll call the capital A Apocrypha, which is what we're looking at today, versus little a Apocrypha, which we'll be looking at next week.
When we talk about capital A Apocrypha, We're talking about a series of typically 15 books and portions of books that are not part of the Hebrew canon, not a part of the official Hebrew canon, but are a part of Greek translations of the Hebrew scriptures, most notably from a text known as the Septuagint. Chris, is that a word you've encountered at all in anything we've done so far?
C: I have literally only heard it from you.
B: Okay, well, the Septuagint is a name for a translation of the Old Testament into Greek. The name Septuagint is actually not Greek, it's Latin. It comes from the Latin words Septuaginta, which means 70. And so sometimes you'll see Septuagint abbreviated as LXX, just 70 in Roman numerals. But what the Septuagint is is that it is a translation of the Old Testament into Greek that is so-called because it is the translation of the 70 rabbis, is what it is called. According to legend, what happens is 72 rabbis were brought in and put into separate rooms and told to translate the Old Testament scriptures into Greek. And overnight they do so. Actually, I think it's just supposed to be the Torah. It doesn't matter. But what happens is, overnight they each translate it, and when they're let out of their rooms, they produce 72 identical translations. And that's the legend, is that 72 guys in separate rooms each translated the scriptures identically from Hebrew into Greek and this is the basis of the Septuagint. So Septuagint means 70 because it's from the story of 72 rabbis who according to legend translated the Hebrew scriptures into Greek.
And so when you look at the Septuagint there are a number of editions, additional books with names like Tobit and Judith and also the Maccabees. You guys might be familiar with the Maccabees. But then you also get portions of books like this. The ones we're looking at today are not full books. They're chapters basically. And so 15 of these writings are considered to be deuterocanon, which just means secondary canon. Or in some cases, a lot of people are going to interpret that not as they're of secondary importance, but rather just that they were added later to the canon. And so typically, the Catholics, accept these 15 books, there are, however, also additional books that are often included with the Apocrypha by Orthodox Christians or others. So the Eastern Orthodox Church is going to accept books such as 3rd and 4th Maccabees and then a 151st Psalm that are not considered even secondary canon by the Catholics. Then there's even more that are accepted by the Ethiopian Church and such, and we will eventually hit many of those. But right now, yeah, we're gonna look at these three sections of the capital A Apocrypha, the Deuterocanon. These things would be accepted by basically everyone except most Protestants.
C: I don't want to do these in order, though.
B: Okay, okay.
C: Because I think there's one we need to end on because it's gonna make for a strong ending.
C: So our first book is gonna be The Prayer of Azariah, which as the name implies deals with Basically what happens within the furnace to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
C: Because we see that story in Daniel from the point of view of Nebuchadnezzar going, "Hey, is there a fourth guy in there?"
C: This is where we find out, yes, there was a fourth guy, he was an angel, he came and chilled out for a little bit. That's basically it. Is there anything else of note in the prayer of Azariah?
B: There's nothing really to say. There's two parts. There's the prayer of Azariah, That's Abednego. And then the second half is the song of the three children, as they're known, the three Hebrew children. And they sing a song of praise. It's literally, "Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever." That's it. God is dope. That's the second half of the book. You saved us from the fire. Thank you very much. That's the Prayer of Azariah. We did it, everyone.
C: So our second book is Bel and the Dragon, which is basically a, it's basically an Encyclopedia Brown story. It's Encyclopedia Daniel.
C: Getting ready to solve a mystery. So this is Daniel hanging out with Cyrus, the Persian king.
C: And the Babylonians have this idol called Bell that they worship as a god. And Cyrus's whole reason is like, look, we give this idol 12 bushels of choice flour, 40 sheep and six measures of wine every night. That's so many sheep.
B: That's a great deal of sheep. Yeah.
C: And Daniel's like, yeah, that's fake though. If you recall, I worship the God who allows me to read minds and interpret dreams. And Cyrus is like, I don't know, dude. He definitely is eating that stuff. So Daniel's big plan is to, after everybody leaves, he goes into the room where they lock it up at night so that no one can get in there and steal the offerings to Bel. And he's like, "Hey, before, like after everybody leaves, but before you lock it up, let me go in there." He goes in there, sprinkle some flour on the floor. And so when the 70 priests of Bel and their wives and children sneak in through a trap door to eat all the food, to eat 40 sheep a night and, uh, and drink all the wine and I don't know, and do a serious amount of baking with all that flour. They leave footprints. So Daniel comes up the next day and he's like, "Check it out, Cyrus. There were actual people here." And then Cyrus puts them all to death, which is, I mean, that happens a lot in the Bible, but that's a, ooh, that is a lot of, that's a big clearing house for the bureaucracy.
B: There's a lot of room for advancement within the, you know, the advisory positions for Kings of Babylon, but I feel like you gotta be real careful.
C: I would love to see the biblical figure of the Babylonian advisor who was totally cool with Daniel and had a like like worked until retirement uh and his house is unfortunately in the middle of 16 garbage dumps.
B: Yeah what do you think uh what do you think Cyrus's HR department was like pretty wild right?
C: Very overworked.
B: Yeah yeah.
C: Uh so our second half of uh Belle and the Dragon, that was Bel. Here's the dragon. This is the dragon. And you told me you were like, "Hey, when we read this Apocrypha for Daniel, there's gonna be mysteries, there's gonna be crime fighting, there's gonna be a dragon." I got a little too excited. This is not the best. This is not the best dragon story.
B: It's not quite St. George level of dragon. No, this is, yeah, it's a great serpent that they worship, which might have even been literally just a big snake or something on a pole probably. But yeah, they have a dragon that they worship, and to Daniel to prove that his God is God, he explodes the dragon.
C: Specifically the NRSV translates it as cakes. He makes cakes and feeds it to the dragon and the cakes are made of pitch, fat, and hair. Gross.
C: And then the dragon explodes. And Daniel's like, "Mm, yep, guess I just killed your god."
B: Yeah, look at what you've been worshiping. (imitates trombone)
C: And this is, I guess the first time this happens, They're super not cool about that, and they throw Daniel in the lion's den for six days.
B: Yep, seven lions in the den. Every day they had been given two human bodies and two sheep.
C: So we cut from there to Judea, and we join up with Habakkuk.
B: Habakkuk, yeah, yep.
C: Who seems familiar? Is he gonna show up again?
B: Well, he has a book of the Bible named after him, yeah. So he's a minor prophet.
C: Okay, then that's probably where I've seen it.
B: Yeah, it's a little unclear whether he's supposed to be the same guy. It seems, I mean, here are the prophet Habakkuk, yeah, right? So, I mean, presumably, even though I don't think the chronology lines up, but let's say, yeah, sure.
C: This is like a tie-in issue.
C: This is like they're getting ready to launch Daniel, but they need, they're getting ready to launch NFL SuperPro, but they need Spider-Man to show up in number two, like they did with "Parker Man." So Habakkuk's like the Spider-Man of the situation. He's sitting down to dinner, he's got his stew, he's broken his bread, he's ready to eat, And an angel shows up, and again, I really love this part, and says, "Hey, you gotta take that food to Babylon. Daniel's in the lion's den and he needs something to eat." And Habakkuk's like, "Cool, I will absolutely do that. I do not know where Babylon is." So the angel palms his head like a basketball and flies him to Babylon. He drops off the stew, and then the angel grabs him by the head again and takes him back to Judea.
B: Yeah, yeah, and then Daniel's eating the stew and he's like, "I'm a vegetarian!" Yeah.
C: Basically, the Lord makes Habakkuk Grubhub, basically, for Daniel.
B: He carries him by the hair, which, I mean, there's gotta be a better way, right?
C: I mean, you'd think he could at least do the Superman/Lois Lane.
B: Yeah, exactly. Do you cradle him in his arms or something? Let him sit on his back like a, I don't know.
C: I don't think the angel's gonna show up in Falcor him all the way to Babylon. But I mean, he could wrap him up in his cape and fly him there. So then, the seventh day comes around, the king opens it up, and this is still Cyrus, right? And he's like, "Well, we're gonna come see Daniel's dead body and bones now that he's been eaten by lions." And Daniel's like, "Yo, we're out of stew," and crumps out of the lion's den. And that's Bel and the dragon, which is a pretty fun book.
B: Again, of course, the guys who tried to clown on Daniel got fed to the lions again.
C: That's a pretty good Daniel story.
B: Yeah, it's not bad, but we did skip. So "Bel and the Dragon" is traditionally chapter 14 of the Greek version of Daniel. We did skip 13.
C: This is the book of Susanna, and this is great. So I'll take us through it.
B: Go for it, man.
C: Susanna's hot. She's the hottest woman in Babylon.
B: So they say.
C: So they say. She's married to Joachim. He's a judge and Joachim's righteous. Susanna's parents are righteous. These are good folks, but there's these two other guys, these two judges and they are very covetous of Susanna. So they're like literally always creeping around because Joachim is a judge. And so he's always having people over to like settle disputes and such. And there's these two creeps who are not named. So as far as I know, they're just these two creeps from the apocryphal book of Susanna. And so they're kind of creeping around and one day it's a, it's a summer day. It's hot. Susanna's like, yo, I want to take a bath outside in the garden. So all the handmaids bring out the bathtub, some oils and such, ointments. And then they leave the garden, but those two creeps are in there and they come out when she's in the bathtub and they're like, "Hey, Susanna, we want to get with you straight up at the same time. And if you don't do this, we're going to tell everybody that you were having an affair and they will put you to death." And Susanna, in another one of the Book of Daniel's baller moves, looks at these two creeps and goes, "Yeah, I would actually rather die. So go ahead and do your worst. but it's not happening, boys."
These two guys, these two elders, they testify against Susanna, but obviously Joachim is really upset. Susanna's upset because she doesn't, you know, you can't prove a negative. And there's these two witnesses that are saying like, "Oh, hey, we accidentally went out in the garden and we saw her making out with some dude under a tree." And Joachim's like, "Oh no, Susanna." Susanna's like, "I didn't do it, but I got no witnesses." But you know who she does have?
B: Could it be a young man whose spirit was stirred up by the Lord named Daniel?
C: Yes, Daniel rolls in and he's like, "Hey, we're not gonna be shedding this young woman's blood "until I interrogate these witnesses." So in a pretty basic criminal investigation move, he tells everybody to put these two creeps in two separate rooms. And then he goes and talks to them. This is the book of Susanna verse 52. There's only one chapter in Susanna. All these are very short if you wanna give them a read. Verse 52, "When they were separated from each other, "he summoned one of them and said to him, "You old relic of wicked days! Your sins have now come home, which you have committed in the past, pronouncing unjust judgments, "condemning the innocent and acquitting the guilty, though the Lord said you shall not put an innocent and righteous person to death. "Now then, if you really saw this woman, tell me this, under what tree did you see them being intimate with each other?" And the creep responds, "Under a mastic tree." And Daniel said, "Very well, this lie has cost you your head, for the angel of God received the sentence from God and will immediately cut you in two."
B: Yeah. Really good.
C: Then he goes to the other dude, who does not know that apparently an angel just come down and cut his buddy in half. And he says, "You offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has beguiled you and lust has perverted your heart. This is how you've been treating the daughters of Israel, and they were intimate with you through fear, but a daughter of Judah would not tolerate your wickedness. Now then tell me, under what tree did you catch them being intimate with each other?" And he said, "Under an evergreen tree." Daniel said to him, "Very well, this lie has cost you also your head, for the angel of God is waiting with his sword to split you in two so as to destroy you both."
B: Okay, yeah, so very baller, very cool thing for Daniel to say, here's what makes it even better. The two lines that he says to the two judges are puns. He pulls out these amazing pun one-liners, And here's how they work. When the guy, the first judge says, "Under a mastic tree." In Greek, the word that he uses, he says, "Huposkionon," and the skionon, that's the mastic tree. And then Daniel replies by saying that the angel of the Lord, "Skisei," he'll cut you in two, right? So skionon, skisei, it's a pun. Then later, when the guy says, "Under the evergreen oak," he says, "Hupoprinon," and then Daniel replies saying that the angel pre-say that he'll saw you in half. And so pre-nom, pre-say, skeenom, skee-say.
C: So yeah, this is dope. And also you and I spent a good bit of time making additional tree-based puns.
B: Yeah, it was pretty good. Yeah, under the U, he'll hew you in half.
C: Yeah, mine was, hey, which tree was it? It was a dogwood, I think. Okay, cool, well dog, would you like to not get cut in half today? 'Cause I got some bad news for ya.
Daniel straight up gets those dudes, calls in the Angel Hit Squad, and Susanna is saved. And she and her husband and all her relatives praise God because she was found innocent. And from that day onward, Daniel had a great reputation among the people. And that's the Book of Susanna. I don't know why that's not in there, 'cause it's great.
B: Yeah, they should find something.
C: I know why it's not in there, 'cause it was written significantly later in Greek.
B: Yeah, I mean, the Catholics count it, so one in their column, I suppose.
C: That's the book of Daniel. Benito, do you have a reading for this week?
B: Yeah, my particular passage that I picked here, no great exorcist story this time, but the verse that stood out to me is from the final chapter of the canonical part, chapter 12, here at the beginning. This is from the part where Daniel is seeing the future, and he's predicting the resurrection of the dead. He says, "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will wake, some to eternal life and some to shame and eternal contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." What do you got, Chris?
C: That's a good one.
B: It's pretty good.
C: That's a good one. Daniel, for me, like, first of all, all of the Book of Susanna.
C: Especially the part where Daniel tells them that the angel of God is waiting with his sword to split you in two. but I wanted to stick with a canonical verse for my reading this week. And this is another really good, really good line. There's a lot of like really good action movie style lines in the Book of Daniel. And this is from Daniel chapter three. It's actually Daniel 3:16 for real. But this takes place when Nebuchadnezzar is like getting ready to throw them in the furnace of of blazing fire, and he says, "If you don't worship it, you will immediately be thrown into the furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that can rescue you from my power?" Daniel 3.16, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, 'Nebuchadnezzar, we don't need to give you an answer to this question.'"
C: And they didn't.
C: They didn't.
C: It was awesome, yeah. Look, you know who's gonna step up. I really enjoyed the Book of Daniel. I'm not crazy about the prophecy parts, but all the story, all the narrative stuff, I think you really hit it on the head. I'm gonna really enjoy the narratives.
B: Yeah, yeah, I think that's pretty much how it's gonna go. I think when we hit some of these more philosophical books, we're gonna just be like, and then they said a bunch of stuff about love and stuff, whatever. And we just wait until the talking animals pop up or whatever.
C: We're not gonna do it this week, but it has been suggested that we do a segment of the show called Alter Call. If you have thoughts on the books that we read or the things that we're getting ready to read, you can get in touch with us and let us know what you think about it. We'd love to get some other perspectives beyond two dudes who were raised Protestant in the South. That's a very specific version of Christianity. So please write in with your views on Daniel or Acts or the upcoming apocryphal Acts of Peter and Paul. I guess the best way to do that is probably gonna be on our Tumblr, which is apocrypals.tumblr.com. We have like, you don't have to be a Tumblr user to ask us a question on there, but feel free and feel free to send in favorite verses as well if you'd like.
We also haven't mentioned it yet on the show, but I do want to tell everybody, we are planning on having guests eventually to help bring some different perspectives. I know that our, our buddy David Wolkin who knows quite a bit about the Old Testament is going to be joining us at some point and we're, we're looking forward to talking about all this stuff with our friends. I think that's gonna be it for Daniel though. I think we're done with this week's service.
B: I think we crushed it.
C: Yeah, we did it. What tree did we do this show under? The crushed tree? 'Cause we crushed it.
B: The orange crushed tree.
C: The orange tree? Well, we orange crushed it.
C: So next week though, we are, I just closed my HCSB because we're not gonna be using that bad boy next week.
B: Yeah, and if you have an NRSV, close that one too. It ain't in there either.
C: Shut down Bible Gateway real quick. Instead, we're going to be back here next week with something a little different. Benito, do you want to tell everybody what we're going to be reading for next week?
B: Yeah, absolutely. We're going to be doing something of a follow-up to Episode 1. We're going to be looking at the Apocryphal Acts of Peter and Paul. You probably do not have a text that includes these. Fortunately, it's very easy to find online. I would suggest finding the complete text of it at newadvent.org. That's the Catholic Encyclopedia. You can go there. They have a section on early Church Fathers, or you can just search for the Acts of Peter and Paul. You should be able to find the complete text. If you want to be super complete, there's a good chance we might also be referencing the earlier Acts of Peter, which was served as a major source for the Acts of Peter and Paul. That one you can find on EarlyChristianWritings.com. You should be able to find the full complete text. If you want to see a lot more about Simon Magus, you want to see an aerial wizard battle, you want to see demon dogs, that's what we've got coming up next week.
Yeah, man. [missing audio] Yeah, you mean Paul. You mean Paul, a very good modern representation of Paul.
C: All right, so that will do it. Be here next time when we are going through the apocryphal Acts of Peter and Paul. Until then, I've been Chris Sims with Benito Cereno. Benito, peace be with you.
B: And also with you.