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Daniel then uncovers the ruse by scattering ashes over the floor of the temple in the presence of the king after the priests have left and shows that the "sacred" meal of Bel is actually consumed at night by the priests and their wives and children, who enter through a secret door when the temple's doors are sealed.
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The next morning, Daniel calls attention to the footprints on the temple floor; the priests of Bel are then arrested and, confessing their deed, reveal the secret passage that they used to sneak inside the temple. They, their wives and children are put to death, and Daniel is permitted to destroy the idol of Bel and the temple.
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This version has been cited as an ancestor of the " locked-room mystery ". In the brief but autonomous companion narrative of the dragon Daniel —30 , "There was a great dragon which the Babylonians revered. However, Daniel slays the dragon by baking pitch, fat, and hair trichas to make cakes mazas , barley-cakes that cause the dragon to burst open upon consumption.
In other variants, other ingredients serve the purpose: in a form known to the Midrash , straw was fed in which nails were hidden,  or skins of camels were filled with hot coals,  or in the Alexander cycle of Romances it was Alexander the Great who overcame the dragon by feeding it poison and tar. Earlier scholarship has suggested a parallel between this text and the contest between Marduk and Tiamat in Mesopotamian mythology, where the winds controlled by Marduk burst Tiamat open  and barley-cake plays the same role as the wind.
As a result, the Babylonians are indignant, and threaten the king if he does not give them Daniel.
Daniel is handed over, and thrown into a lions' den. The prophet Habakkuk is miraculously recruited and brought to share a meal with Daniel in the den. When Daniel is found alive in the den seven days later, the king throws his persecutors to the lions, who eat and kill them.
The third narrative —42 , Daniel in the Lions' Den, may be a retelling of Daniel's first trip from —28 or may describe a separate incident. It has been made into a consequence of the preceding episode, but the Septuagint precedes it with the notice, "From the prophecy of Habakkuk , son of Joshua, of the tribe of Levi. Then cried the king with a loud voice, saying, Great art thou, O Lord God of Daniel, and there is none other besides thee.
And he drew him out: and cast those that were the cause of his destruction into the den: and they were devoured in a moment before his face.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Daniel in the lions' den. Harrington writes of Daniel — "This addition is a combination of three episodes" Harrington, Invitation to the Apocrypha , p. Such stories, of course, could theoretically have existed independently, but there is no evidence that they did. Zimmermann, "Bel and the Dragon" Vetus Testamentum 8.
Oxford University Press.