Samson & Daniel

Week 3: Hebrew Bible - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images

Daniel and the Dragon

Reading time: 3 minutes. Word count: 500 words.

The story of Daniel and the dragon is another great story. The motif of destroying the dragon with this particular trick shows up in folktale stories from around the world (when I lived in Krakow, I could go visit the cave where, supposedly "Krak" used the same trick to defeat Smok, the evil dragon of Wawel Hill). Unlike the previous story, Daniel gets into real trouble for his talent - and we find him back in the lion's den once again. This time, though, an angel brings him something to eat for lunch, thanks to Habacuc!

And in that same place there was a great dragon, which they of Babylon worshipped. And the king said unto Daniel, "Wilt thou also say that this is of brass? lo, he liveth, he eateth and drinketh; thou canst not say that he is no living god: therefore worship him."

Then said Daniel unto the king, "I will worship the Lord my God: for he is the living God. But give me leave, O king, and I shall slay this dragon without sword or staff."

The king said, "I give thee leave."

Then Daniel took pitch, and fat, and hair, and did seethe them together, and made lumps thereof: this he put in the dragon's mouth, and so the dragon burst in sunder: and Daniel said, "Lo, these are the gods ye worship."

When they of Babylon heard that, they took great indignation, and conspired against the king, saying, "The king is become a Jew, and he hath destroyed Bel, he hath slain the dragon, and put the priests to death."

So they came to the king, and said, "Deliver us Daniel, or else we will destroy thee and thine house."

Now when the king saw that they pressed him sore, being constrained, he delivered Daniel unto them: Who cast him into the lions' den: where he was six days. And in the den there were seven lions, and they had given them every day two carcases, and two sheep: which then were not given to them, to the intent they might devour Daniel.

Now there was in Jewry a prophet, called Habbacuc, who had made pottage, and had broken bread in a bowl, and was going into the field, for to bring it to the reapers. But the angel of the Lord said unto Habbacuc, "Go, carry the dinner that thou hast into Babylon unto Daniel, who is in the lions' den."

And Habbacuc said, "Lord, I never saw Babylon; neither do I know where the den is."

Then the angel of the Lord took him by the crown, and bare him by the hair of his head, and through the vehemency of his spirit set him in Babylon over the den.

And Habbacuc cried, saying, "O Daniel, Daniel, take the dinner which God hath sent thee."

And Daniel said, "Thou hast remembered me, O God: neither hast thou forsaken them that seek thee and love thee."

So Daniel arose, and did eat: and the angel of the Lord set Habbacuc in his own place again immediately.

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 Lord God of Daniel, and there is none other beside 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.

Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • how did Daniel manage to kill the sacred dragon of Babylon?
  • how did the people of Babylon propose to get rid of Daniel?
  • how did it happen that Habbacuc was able to bring some food to Daniel when he was sealed up inside the lions' den?

Source: King James version: Bel. Weblink.

Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM