The History of Susanna (From The Apocrypha)
Susanna was originally a part of the Book of Daniel, but was set apart as apocryphal, because it “was not in Hebrew.” It is none the less a story of remarkable vividness, told with skill and dramatic power.
The text used here is that printed in Volume IV of Ancient Hebrew Literature, in Everyman’s Library, published in 1907 by J. M. Dent and Sons, by whose permission it is here included.
The History of Susanna
The History of Susanna – There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joakim: and he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord. Her parents also were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses. Now Joakim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honorable than all others. The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be judges, such as the Lord spake of, that wickedness came from Babylon from ancient judges, who seemed to govern the people. These kept much at Joakim’s house: and all that had any suits in law came unto them.
The History of Susanna – Now when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went into her husband’s garden to walk. And the two elders saw her going in every day, and walking; so that their lust was inflamed toward her. And they perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they might nof look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments. And albeit they both were wounded with her love, yet durst not one shew another his grief. For they were ashamed to declare their lust, that they desired to have to do with her. Yet they watched diligently from day to day to see her. And the one said to the other:—“Let us now go home: for it is dinner time.” So when they were gone out, they parted the one from the other, and turning back again they came to the same place; and after that they had asked one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust: then appointed they a time both together, when they might find her alone.