Bel and the Dragon

The Book of Bel and the Dragon in the BibleThe Revised Standard Version (RSV), Ethiopian Bible, and original Authorized King James Version (KJV) all include the book Bel and the Dragon, but it isn’t found in most other versions of the Bible.

Bel and the Dragon takes place later in Daniel’s life. Having risen to a position of power, and gaining many enemies due to his faith and his success, King Cyrus and Daniel discuss his beliefs.

First, the king asserts that Bel is a living god, but Daniel proves Bel is nothing more than an inert idol. This results in the execution of the prophets of Bel, along with their families, and the razing of the temple of Bel.

Then Cyrus shifts the attention to a great dragon that the people worship as a living god. Daniel also dismisses the dragon and brings about the dragon’s death.

Incensed, Daniel’s enemies pressure the king to throw Daniel into a pit of lions. This time he stays there for six days. During this time, the prophet Habakkuk is carried by an angel from Judea to Daniel with food. Again, God keeps Daniel safe from the hungry lions. On the seventh day, the king frees Daniel and executes his detractors.

Bel and the Dragon is an Apocrypha book and not included in all versions of the Bible. The Revised Standard Version (RSV), Common English Bible (CEB), Wycliffe Bible (WYC), Ethiopian Bible, and the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) all include Bel and the Dragon. However, Bel and the Dragon was removed from the KJV almost two centuries after it was first published.

The New Jerusalem Bible, New American Bible (NABRE), and Douay-Rheims (DRA) also include this text, but list it as part of Daniel, specifically as Daniel 14. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also contains this text, but include it as part of Daniel.

For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”