Bel and the Dragon Reader: Part 8

by | Apr 17, 2020 | Bel and the Dragon Greek Reader

Series Introduction

I’m facilitating an online Koine Greek reading group and we’re working through the short and apocryphal book of Bel and the Dragon. The text we’re using is the Old Greek (OG) version from Henry Barclay Swete’s 1909 edition of The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint. I will be posting the text here each week with accompanying vocabulary glosses for words that appear fewer than fifty times in the Greek New Testament. I will also try to throw in some brief commentary and illustrations drawn by my ten-year old daughter.

15–17 καὶ ἐγένετο τῇ ἐπαύριον παρεγένοντο ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον· οἱ δὲ ἱερεῖς τοῦ Βὴλ διὰ ψευδοθυρίδων εἰσελθόντες κατεφάγοσαν πάντα τὰ παρακείμενα τῷ Βὴλ καὶ ἐξέπιον τὸν οἶνον. καὶ εἶπεν Δανιήλ Ἐπίδετε τὰς σφραγῖδας ὑμῶν εἰ μένουσιν, ἄνδρες ἱερεῖς· καὶ σὺ δέ, βασιλεῦ, σκέψαι μή τί σοι ἀσύμφωνον γεγένηται. καὶ εὗρον ὡς ἦν ἡ σφραγίς, καὶ ἀπέβαλον τὴν σφραγῖδα. 

Verses 14–15

ἀποβάλλω, to cast off

ἀσύμφωνος, in disagreement

Βηλ, Bel

Δανιήλ, Daniel

ἐκπίνω, to drink

ἐπαύριον, on the next day

ἱερεύς, priest

κατεσθίω, to devour

ἐφοράω, to gaze upon

παραγίνομαι, to arrive

παράκειμαι, to set before 

σκέπτομαι, to consider

σφραγίς, seal

ψευδοθύριον, secret door

Translation and Commentary

15–17 And it happened on the next day they arrived at the place. But the priests of Bel having entered through a secret door had devoured all that was set before Bel. And they drank the wine. And Daniel said, Gaze upon your seals if they remain—you men, you priests. And you also, King, consider, has disagreement been created? And they found the seal as it was. And they cast off the seal.  

Moore posits in his commentary that the presence of καὶ ἐγένετο evidences a “now-lost Hebrew Vorlage” (137). But this would have been a familiar stock phrase by virtue of its prevalence in the LXX. And, to take it a step further, the presence of this same phrase in the NT is not considered evidence for a Hebrew Vorlage.

ἄνδρες ἱερεῖς can be considered a nominative for vocative or nominative of address (see Wallace, 56–59).  It’s use parallels a vocative, and it’s of the less emphatic variety since it lacks the interjection ὦ. 

It is curious that Daniel instructs the men and priests to inspect the seals (plural), but they find and remove a seal (singular). 

Link to Part 9—Coming Soon!

For more resources on Bel and the Dragon try the following:

Bel and the Dragon in A New English Translation of the Septuagint

An Introduction to the Apocrypha by Bruce M. Metzger

Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah: The Additions by Carey A. MooreDaniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel by John J. Collins

Brent Niedergall

Pastor, Grammarian, Runner

Brent Niedergall, MDiv, is Chief Editor at Positive Action for Christ in Whitakers, North Carolina. He’s gone to war in Afghanistan, felled towering trees, and parsed Greek verbs.


Brent Niedergall