The Story of Susanna

Edits, corrections and cross references by The Firmament

The Story of Susanna is contained in a group of books called Apocrypha (hidden or secret), which were once in the canonical Bible between the old and new testaments. The Story of Susanna is the first of three additions to the book of Daniel which include the ‘Song of Three Children’ and ‘Bel and the Dragon’. This book is about the slander of a virtuous lady’s innocence, its dramatic vindication and the turning of the tables on the slanderers. It reinforces the Scriptural requirement of two witnesses for condemnation and points out the need to examine them separately.

Susanna :1 “There once lived in Babylon a man named Joakim.”
Susanna :2 “He married a wife named Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, a very fair and one that feared the Lord.”
Susanna :3 “Her parents also were upright people and instructed their daughter in the Law of Moses.”
Susanna :4 “Joakim was very rich, and he had a fine garden adjoining his house; and the Jews used to come to visit him because he was the most distinguished of them all.”
Susanna :5 “That year two of the elders of the people were appointed judges – men of the kind of whom the Lord said, “Lawlessness came forth from Babylon, from elders who were judges, who were supposed to guide the people.”
Susanna :6 “These men came constantly to Joakim’s house, and all who had cases to be decided came to them there.”
Susanna :7 “And it happened that when the people left at midday, Susanna would go into her husband’s garden and walk about.”
Susanna :8 “So the two elders saw her every day, as she went in and walked about, and they conceived a passion for her.”
Susanna :9 “So their thoughts were perverted and they turned away their eyes, so as not to look up to heaven or consider justice in giving judgment.”
Susanna :10 “They were both smitten with her, but they could not disclose their grief to each other,”
Susanna :11 “For they were ashamed to reveal their passion, for they desired to have relations with her,”
Susanna :12 “And they watched jealously every day for a sight of her.”
Susanna :13 “And they said to one another, “Let us go home, for it is dinnertime.”
Susanna :14 “So they went out of the garden and parted from one another; then they turned back and encountered one another. And when they cross-questioned one another as to the explanation, they admitted their passion. Then they agreed together upon a time when they would be able to find her alone.”
Susanna :15 “Now it happened, as they were watching for an opportunity, that she went in one day as usual with no one but her two maids, and wished to bathe in the garden, as it was very hot.”
Susanna :16 “And there was no one there except the two elders who had hidden themselves and were watching her.”
Susanna :17 “And she said to her maids, “Bring me olive oil and soap, and close the doors of the garden, so that I can bathe.”
Susanna :18 “And they did as she told them, and shut the doors of the garden, and went out at the side doors to bring what they had been ordered to bring, and they did not see the elders, for they were hidden.”
Susanna :19 “And when the maids went out, the two elders got up and ran to her and said,”
Susanna :20 “Here the doors of the garden are shut, and no one can see us, and we are in love with you, so give your consent and lie with us.”
Susanna :21 “If you do not, we will testify against you that there was a young man with you, and that was why you dismissed your maids.”
Susanna :22 “And Susanna groaned and said, “I am in a tight place. For if I do this, it means my death; but if I refuse, I cannot escape your hands.”
Susanna :23 “I had rather not do it and fall into your hands than commit sin in the Lord’s sight!”
Susanna :24 “Then Susanna gave a loud scream, and the two elders shouted against her.” Susanna :25 “And one of them ran and opened the garden doors.”
Susanna :26 “And when the people in the house heard the shouting in the garden, they rushed through the side doors to see what had happened to her.”
Susanna :27 “And when the elders told their story, her slaves were deeply humiliated, for such a thing had never been said about Susanna.”
Susanna :28 “The next day, when the people came together to her husband, Joakim, the two elders came, full of their wicked imagination to put Susanna to death.”
Susanna :29 “And they said before the people, “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, Joakim’s wife.” And they did so.”
Susanna :30 “And she came, with her parents and her children, and all her relatives.”
Susanna :31 “Now Susanna was a very delicate woman and was very beautiful to behold.”
Susanna :32 “And the lawbreakers ordered her to unveil her face, for she was wearing a veil, so that they might have their fill of her beauty.” Susanna :33 “And the people with her and all who saw her wept.”
Susanna :34 “And the two elders stood up in the midst of the people and laid their hands on her head,”
Susanna :35 “And she wept and looked up to heaven, for her heart trusted the Lord.”
Susanna :36 “And the elders said, “As we were walking by ourselves in the garden, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the doors of the garden and dismissed her maids.”
Susanna :37 “And a young man, who had been hidden, came to her, and lay down with her.”
Susanna :38 “And we were in the corner of the garden, and when we saw this wicked action, we ran up to them,”
Susanna :39 “And though we saw them together, we could not hold him, because he was stronger than we, and opened the doors and rushed out.”
Susanna :40 “But we laid hold of this woman and asked her who the young man was; and she would not tell us. This is our testimony.”
Susanna :41 “Then the assembly believed them, as they were elders of the people and judges, and they condemned her to death.”
Susanna :42 “But Susanna uttered a loud cry, and said, “Eternal God, you who know what is hidden, who know all things before they happen,”
Susanna :43 “You know that what they have testified to against me is false, and here I am to die when I have done none of the things they have so wickedly charged me with.” Susanna :44 “And the Lord heard her cry,”
Susanna :45 “And as she was being led away to be put to death, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young man named Daniel,”
Susanna :46 “And he loudly shouted, “I am clear of the blood of this woman.”
Susanna :47 “And all the people turned to him and said, “What does this mean, that you have said?”
Susanna :48 “And he took his stand in the midst of them and said, Are you such fools, you sons of Israel, that you have condemned a daughter of Israel without any examination or ascertaining of the truth?”
Susanna :49 “Go back to the place of trial, for these men have borne false witness against her.”
Susanna :50 “So all the people hurried back. And the elders said to so him, “Come, sit among us and inform us, for God has given you the right to do so.”
Susanna :51 “And Daniel said to them, “Separate them widely from one another, and I will examine them.”
Susanna :52 “And when they were separated from each other, he called one of them to him, and said to him, “You have become old in wickedness, now your sins that you committed before, are come to light.”
Susanna :53 “Making unjust decisions, condemning the innocent and acquitting the guilty, although the Lord said, ‘You shall not put an innocent and upright man to death.”
Susanna :54 “So now, if you saw this woman, tell us, Under which tree did you see them meet?” He answered, “Under a mastic tree.”
Susanna :55 “And Daniel said, “You have told a fine lie against your own life, for already the angel of God has received the sentence from God, and he will cut you in two.”
Susanna :56 “And he had him removed and ordered them to bring in the other. And he said to him, “You descendant of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has beguiled you, and desire has corrupted your heart!”
Susanna :57 “This is how you have been treating the daughters of Israel, and they yielded to you through fear, but the daughter of Judah would not endure your wickedness.”
Susanna :58 “So now tell me, Under which tree did you catch them embracing each other?” And he said, “Under a liveoak tree.”
Susanna :59 “And Daniel said to him, “You have also told a fine lie against your own life! For the angel of God is waiting with his sword to saw you in two, to destroy you both.”
Susanna :60 “And the whole company uttered a great shout and blessed God who saves those who hope in him.”
Susanna :61 “And they threw themselves upon the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them out of their own mouths of having borne false witness,”
Susanna :62 “And treated them as they had wickedly planned to treat their neighbor; they obeyed the Law of Moses and killed them. And innocent blood was saved that day.”
Susanna :63 “And Hilkiah and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna and so did Joakim, her husband, and all her relatives, because there was no dishonesty found in her.”
Susanna :64 “And from that day onward, Daniel had a great reputation in the eyes of the people.”

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