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Daniel And The Snake

After Daniel successfully exposed the fraud of the priests of the idol Baal, the king began to believe in the one true G-d of Israel. This evoked the animosity of the king's ministers and priests, who served and advocated allegiance to various idols.

One group of ministers paid homage to a gigantic snake, which had its nest in a cave. Every day, oxen and various animals were offered to it. It was so big that it would swallow an ox with one gulp. The people were so overawed by this snake that they began to worship it as a god.

The ministers and priests got together one day and planned to trap Daniel. "Let us revenge the death of the priests of Baal," they said, "otherwise Daniel will persuade the king to do away with us also, and then what will become of our god? Let us go to the king and tell him to test Daniel's strength with our god. The snake will surely swallow him alive."

The Test Of The Snake

The ministers and priests held an audience with the king. "O mighty king," they said, "Daniel may have been strong with an inanimate idol such as Baal, therefore he was able to overcome it, but let us see how he will fare with our god, a live and powerful god who swallows and devours anyone who approaches it. We dare him to wage a contest of strength with our god."

The king was intrigued as he summoned Daniel to his court.

"Daniel," he said, "is your G-d powerful enough to protect you against this huge snake who is being worshiped as a god? He is not a mute object like the idol Baal, which you destroyed. He is alive and powerful and all fear it. I dare you to overcome it."

"Very well," replied Daniel. "I will show you that I can kill this powerful and mighty god of the people, without even using a sword or a stick."

“If you do so, then your G-d is the mightiest of all. I give you permission to do so.”

Daniel Prepares For The Snake

When the ministers and priests heard of the king's command to Daniel, they became very happy. They made a feast and celebrated their good fortune.

"This is the law we had hoped for," they shouted. "Now we will be rid of Daniel, once and for all, and he will not stand in our way before the king. For no man can overcome our powerful god, especially without spears or swords."

Daniel then went home and prepared for his contest with the huge snake. He took small pieces of iron and ground them down to a sharp razor edge. He also took a quantity of needles and sharp nails. He then gathered together a large amount of round glass. He covered this wide assortment of lethal iron and glass with fat and he placed it all into loaves of bread.

The following morning, Daniel, followed by a huge crowd who had come to witness this unequal battle with the snake, approached the entrance of the cave which housed the huge snake.

Turning to the crowd, Daniel addressed them:

"I am offering some food to this snake, your god, to give him some strength to do battle with me. I will leave it with him today to give him a chance to feast. Tomorrow I will return and you will then see the results of this contest."

Taking the loaves of bread, Daniel threw them into the cave, where they were swallowed in one gulp by the snake: When the snake swallowed the food, the fat covering the razors and needles melted and the sharp edges tore the inside of the snake and, amidst great writhing, the snake died.

The following morning a huge crowd assembled at the entrance of the cave. A bad odor emanated from there, and the people wondered what could have caused this odor. Daniel then walked into the cave boldly and a few minutes later he walked out and announced, "Your god is dead. The odor you now smell is from his decaying carcass. I did not use any arms to overcome it. This should convince you all that there is no other G-d save the One in Heaven the G-d of Israel!”

Report To The King

The people crowded into the cave and they were filled with awe as they saw the mighty snake lying dead. “And Daniel was only in this cave a few minutes,” they whispered to each other.

"Surely, His G-d is the all powerful One!"

The entire event was reported to the king who was convinced that there was no other G-d except the G-d of Daniel.

The ministers and priests of the dead snake approached the king and demanded that he kill Daniel. "He is killing off all of our gods, and unless you get rid of him immediately he will then kill you too," they demanded the king. "If you will do nothing about it the people will rise against you, believing that you are in league with Daniel."

The king became furious. "Are you threatening me?" he shouted. He then commanded his soldiers to kill all the ministers and priests who paid homage to the snake and were threatening him.

Daniel Retires

After this incident, Daniel approached the king and said, "O mighty king, I am growing old and I do not believe myself capable of serving you anymore. If it pleases your honor I would like to retire from your court and live out my declining years in peace among my fellow people."

"I could not think of it" replied the king. "I need your wisdom and advice and I have found you to be a G-d-fearing man - a man in whom G-d dwells. There is no other like you."

"If the king is desirous of a clever man he can always call upon my people, our sages, who will be glad to advise him. For we have many great sages among our people, who are wise as I am. I can arrange this for you," said Daniel.

The king was satisfied and sent Daniel away with many gifts and honors.

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