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Daniel and the Priests of Bel : An apparent miracle is revealed as sleight-of-hand.
Daniel and the Priests of Bel

Based on Bel and the Dragon.

In 587 BC, the Babylonians (from modern Iraq) conquered Judah, and brought many of the nobility of Jerusalem to their own capital. Then in 539 Babylon fell to the Persians, and Daniel found himself serving the Persian King, Cyrus the Great.

IN the days of Cyrus, King of Persia, there was in Babylon a temple to the god Bel, to which the King went daily for worship. Each evening, wine, flour and sheep were set before the idol in its inner sanctuary, and by next day they were gone.

It was a great wonder to Cyrus, but Daniel said the temple priests and their families ate everything themselves. At this the priests were indignant. Bring the offerings, they said loftily, and put the King’s seal upon the doors, and in the night all would be consumed by Bel.

When the seals were broken next day, Cyrus turned angrily to Daniel. The food was gone! But Daniel laughed, and pointed to the floor. Moments before the doors were shut, he had scattered ashes around the altar, and now the footprints of men, women and children, leading from a trap-door beneath the altar, were plain to see.

And a wrathful Cyrus had the whole complex torn down.

Based on Bel and the Dragon.

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