1: There was a man living in Babylon whose name was
2: And he took a wife named Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah,
a very beautiful woman and one who feared the Lord.
3: Her parents
were righteous, and had taught their daughter according to the law of Moses.
4: Joakim was very rich, and had a spacious garden adjoining his
house; and the Jews used to come to him because he was the most honored of them
5: In that year two elders from the people were appointed as
judges. Concerning them the Lord had said: "Iniquity came forth from Babylon,
from elders who were judges, who were supposed to govern the people."
6: These men were frequently at Joakim's house, and all who had suits
at law came to them.
7: When the people departed at noon, Susanna
would go into her husband's garden to walk.
8: The two elders used to
see her every day, going in and walking about, and they began to desire her.
9: And they perverted their minds and turned away their eyes from
looking to Heaven or remembering righteous judgments.
10: Both were
overwhelmed with passion for her, but they did not tell each other of their
11: for they were ashamed to disclose their lustful desire
to possess her.
12: And they watched eagerly, day after day, to see
13: They said to each other, "Let us go home, for it is
14: And when they went out, they parted from each other.
But turning back, they met again; and when each pressed the other for the
reason, they confessed their lust. And then together they arranged for a time
when they could find her alone.
15: Once, while they were watching
for an opportune day, she went in as before with only two maids, and wished to
bathe in the garden, for it was very hot.
16: And no one was there
except the two elders, who had hid themselves and were watching her.
17: She said to her maids, "Bring me oil and ointments, and shut the
garden doors so that I may bathe."
18: They did as she said, shut the
garden doors, and went out by the side doors to bring what they had been
commanded; and they did not see the elders, because they were hidden.
19: When the maids had gone out, the two elders rose and ran to her,
20: "Look, the garden doors are shut, no one sees us, and
we are in love with you; so give your consent, and lie with us.
If you refuse, we will testify against you that a young man was with you, and
this was why you sent your maids away."
22: Susanna sighed deeply,
and said, "I am hemmed in on every side. For if I do this thing, it is death for
me; and if I do not, I shall not escape your hands.
23: I choose not
to do it and to fall into your hands, rather than to sin in the sight of the
24: Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and the two
elders shouted against her.
25: And one of them ran and opened the
26: When the household servants heard the shouting in
the garden, they rushed in at the side door to see what had happened to her.
27: And when the elders told their tale, the servants were greatly
ashamed, for nothing like this had ever been said about Susanna.
The next day, when the people gathered at the house of her husband Joakim, the
two elders came, full of their wicked plot to have Susanna put to death.
29: They said before the people, "Send for Susanna, the daughter of
Hilkiah, who is the wife of Joakim."
30: So they sent for her. And
she came, with her parents, her children, and all her kindred.
Now Susanna was a woman of great refinement, and beautiful in appearance.
32: As she was veiled, the wicked men ordered her to be unveiled,
that they might feed upon her beauty.
33: But her family and friends
and all who saw her wept.
34: Then the two elders stood up in the
midst of the people, and laid their hands upon her head.
35: And she,
weeping, looked up toward heaven, for her heart trusted in the Lord.
36: The elders said, "As we were walking in the garden alone, this
woman came in with two maids, shut the garden doors, and dismissed the maids.
37: Then a young man, who had been hidden, came to her and lay with
38: We were in a corner of the garden, and when we saw this
wickedness we ran to them.
39: We saw them embracing, but we could
not hold the man, for he was too strong for us, and he opened the doors and
40: So we seized this woman and asked her who the young
man was, but she would not tell us. These things we testify."
assembly believed them, because they were elders of the people and judges; and
they condemned her to death.
42: Then Susanna cried out with a loud
voice, and said, "O eternal God, who dost discern what is secret, who art aware
of all things before they come to be,
43: thou knowest that these men
have borne false witness against me. And now I am to die! Yet I have done none
of the things that they have wickedly invented against me!"
Lord heard her cry.
45: And as she was being led away to be put to
death, God aroused the holy spirit of a young lad named Daniel;
and he cried with a loud voice, "I am innocent of the blood of this woman."
47: All the people turned to him, and said, "What is this that you
48: Taking his stand in the midst of them, he said, "Are
you such fools, you sons of Israel? Have you condemned a daughter of Israel
without examination and without learning the facts?
49: Return to the
place of judgment. For these men have borne false witness against her."
50: Then all the people returned in haste. And the elders said to
him, "Come, sit among us and inform us, for God has given you that right."
51: And Daniel said to them, "Separate them far from each other, and
I will examine them."
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 letting the guilty go
free, though the Lord said, `Do not put to death an innocent and righteous
54: Now then, if you really saw her, tell me this: Under
what tree did you see them being intimate with each other?" He answered, "Under
a mastic tree."
55: And Daniel said, "Very well! You have lied
against your own head, for the angel of God has received the sentence from God
and will immediately cut you in two."
56: Then he put him aside, and
commanded them to bring the other. And he said to him, "You offspring of Canaan
and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust has perverted your heart.
57: This is how you both have been dealing with the daughters of
Israel, and they were intimate with you through fear; but a daughter of Judah
would not endure your wickedness.
58: Now then, tell me: Under what
tree did you catch them being intimate with each other?" He answered, "Under an
59: And Daniel said to him, "Very well! You also have
lied against your own head, for the angel of God is waiting with his sword to
saw you in two, that he may destroy you both."
60: Then all the
assembly shouted loudly and blessed God, who saves those who hope in him.
61: And they rose against the two elders, for out of their own mouths
Daniel had convicted them of bearing false witness;
62: and they did
to them as they had wickedly planned to do to their neighbor; acting in
accordance with the law of Moses, they put them to death. Thus innocent blood
was saved that day.
63: And Hilkiah and his wife praised God for
their daughter Susanna, and so did Joakim her husband and all her kindred,
because nothing shameful was found in her.
64: And from that day
onward Daniel had a great reputation among the people.