It’s the Final Countdown, and today is the last day of our Old Testament Challenge!
Today we complete the book of the Prophet Daniel. In Chapter 13 of Daniel, we are privy to a most mystical and profound narrative – the story of the righteous Susannah. It is no exaggeration to say that all generations of Christians before Luther and most Christians even after him were very familiar with the biblical account of the beautiful and wise Susannah.
As the story goes, a fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them.
She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details (cross-examination) of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel.
The first says they were under a mastic (hupo schinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut (schisei) him in two.
The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree (hupo prinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw (prisai) him in two.
The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders’ lie plain to all. Daniel makes the elders’ lie obvious to all the observers.
The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.
With this, we have only tomorrow.
It’s the final countdown, the last day.
Stay tuned, as they used to say.