Know Your Bible? “He Cared Not For the Things of Bel….”

Here is one of the best Bluegrass tunes ever, “Daniel Prayed” as performed by Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless and Carmella Ramsey.

Now, here’s a Bible quiz for you.  The first verse goes:

I heard about a man one day
He wasted not his time away
He prayed to God
Every morning noon and night
He cared not for the things of Bel
But trusted One who never fails
Oh, Daniel prayed
Every morning, noon and night

 

Who or what is “Bel”?  Well, if you are a modern Protestant, you probably don’t know, because the 14th chapter of the book of Daniel was torn out of the Bible by Luther and the revolters because… reasons. Now, you might be asking yourself, why does an old-school American Bluegrass song have a reference to something only found in complete, that is, Catholic Bibles?  Because up until the late 19th to early 20th century, all of the books and bits that Luther tore out of the Bible were included in most printed Protestant Bibles as an appendix, so people were still aware of things like the story of Daniel and Bel.  So, it really isn’t surprising that an American Protestant folk song like this would have a reference from Daniel 14.

So you have context, here is the story of Daniel and Bel, Daniel 14: 1-21.  Daniel was awesome.  Cool as a cucumber. Someone should make a movie about Daniel.  Seriously.

And Daniel was the king’s guest, and was honoured above all his friends. Now the Babylonians had an idol called Bel: and there were spent upon him every day twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and sixty vessels of wine. The king also worshipped him, and went every day to adore him: but Daniel adored his God. And the king said to him: Why dost thou not adore Bel? And he answered, and said to him: Because I do not worship idols made with hands, but the living God, that created heaven and earth, and hath power over all flesh. And the king said to him: Doth not Bel seem to thee to be a living god? Seest thou not how much he eateth and drinketh every day?

Then Daniel smiled and said: O king, be not deceived: for this is but clay within, and brass without, neither hath he eaten at any time. And the king being angry called for his priests, and said to them: If you tell me not, who it is that eateth up these expenses, you shall die. But if you can shew that Bel eateth these things, Daniel shall die, because he hath blasphemed against Bel. And Daniel said to the king: Be it done according to thy word. Now the priests of Bel were seventy, besides their wives, and little ones, and children. And the king went with Daniel into the temple of Bel. And the priests of Bel said: Behold we go out: and do thou, O king, set on the meats, and make ready the wine, and shut the door fast, and seal it with thy own ring:

And when thou comest in the morning, if thou findest not that Bel hath eaten up all, we will suffer death, or else Daniel that hath lied against us. And they little regarded it, because they had made under the table a secret entrance, and they always came in by it, and consumed those things. So it came to pass after they were gone out, the king set the meats before Bel: and Daniel commanded his servants, and they brought ashes, and he sifted them all over the temple before the king: and going forth they shut the door, and having sealed it with the king’s ring, they departed. But the priests went in by night, according to their custom, with their wives and their children: and they ate and drank up all. And the king arose early in the morning, and Daniel with him.

And the king said: Are the seals whole, Daniel? And he answered: They are whole, O king. And as soon as he had opened the door, the king looked upon the table, and cried out with a loud voice: Great art thou, O Bel, and there is not any deceit with thee. And Daniel laughed: and he held the king that he should not go in: and he said: Behold the pavement, mark whose footsteps these are. And the king said: I see the footsteps of men, and women, and children. And the king was angry. Then he took the priests, and their wives, and their children: and they shewed him the private doors by which they came in, and consumed the things that were on the table.

The king therefore put them to death, and delivered Bel into the power of Daniel: who destroyed him, and his temple.

The priests of Bel, their wives and children, sneaking out from the trap door under the altar and eating all the food left for the fake pagan deity Bel. British Museum.

I heard about a man one day
He wasted not his time away
He prayed to God
Every morning noon and night
He cared not for the things of Bel
But trusted One who never fails
Oh, Daniel prayed
Every morning, noon and night

Oh Daniel served the Living God
While upon this earth he trod
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
He cared not for the king’s decrees 
But trusted God to set him free
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

They locked him in the lions’ den
Because he would not honor men
But he prayed to God
Every morning, noon and night
The jaws were locked, it made him shout
And God soon brought him safely out
Oh Daniel prayed
Every morning, noon and night

Oh Daniel served the Living God
While upon this earth he trod
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
He cared not for the king’s decrees 
But trusted God to set him free 
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

Now brother let us watch and pray
Like Daniel did from day to day
He prayed to God
Every morning, noon and night
We too can gladly dare and do 
And pray to God He’ll see us through
Oh, Daniel prayed
Every morning, noon and night

Oh Daniel served the Living God
While upon this earth he trod
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
He cared not for the king’s decrees 
But trusted God to set him free 
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night.

 

And furthermore I consider that islam must be destroyed.