This history of Susanna, in all the ancient Greek and Latin Bibles, was placed in the beginning of the Book of Daniel, till S. Jerom, in his translation, detached it from thence, because he did not find it in the Hebrew; which is also the case of the history of Bel and the dragon. But both the one and the other are received by the Catholic Church, and were from the very beginning a part of the Christian Bible. Ch.
--- Daniel seems not to have written the history of Susanna, at least in the volume which contains his prophecies, though it be unquestionably canonical. A. Lapide.
--- It has been doubted whether it was ever in Heb. C.
--- But Origen solves the difficulties of Africanus. H.
--- Susanna means "lily," and is proposed as a pattern of conjugal chastity. C.
--- Daniel was about twelve years old when he disclosed the malice of her accusers. S. Aug. ser. 242. de temp. W.
Ver. 5. Judges. The Jews say they were Achab and Sedecias, (Orig.) as this text seems to allude to Jer. xxix. 21. or xxxiii. 14. But how were they burnt? since the Jews appear to have stoned them, unless they were delivered up to the king's officers. v. 61. C.
--- The captives under Joakim, were better treated than those who were taken nineteen years afterwards, when all fell into a heavier bondage. W.
--- The might enjoy possessions, (H.) and have judges of their nation. C.
--- Cappel. urges this difficulty, and many others, to shew that this account is fabulous. But as the Jews were allowed to follow their religion, the Chaldees would strive to keep them in good order. It is not said that Joakim was one of the captives. He might have settled long before at Babylon, where Helcias probably brought up his daughter in the fear of God. v. 3. The judges might also have had authority before over the Israelites, in Assyria, who were now all under the same government. v. 57. Houbigant. Pref.
Ver. 7. Noon, at which time the Jews dined, (v. 13. Jos. vita) and the streets were as little frequented as they are at night among us. Hence the judges thought this a fit opportunity. C.
Ver. 9. Mind. They were distracted by love, (H.) and rendered foolish.
Ver. 18. Back door, leading from the house. Strangers came by the other gates. C.
--- Susanna had not perhaps at first intended to bathe. Cappel. accuses her of imprudence, without reason. He cannot believe that the old judges would be so sottish as they appear to have been. Houbigant.
Ver. 22. Death of the soul, (S. Jer.) and also of the body, if the adultery were detected. How much does Susanna surpass the famed Lucretia, who slew herself to shew that she had not consented to her violation! Si adultera cur laudata? Si pudica cur occisa? S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. i. 19. S. Amb. de Sp. iii. 3. C.
Ver. 24. Out. so the law ordained, when a woman was assaulted. H.
Ver. 29. People, for greater shew of justice. W.
--- We here behold the forms.
Ver. 32. Uncovered, pretending that respect for the company required it, or perhaps that they might detect her guilt by her blushes. C.
--- But their real motive is here disclosed. H.
Ver. 34. Head, saying, "Thy malice brings on this chastisement, and not we." Lyran.
--- They appear to discharge their conscience, (Lev. i. 4. and xxiv. 14.) no as judges but as accusers. The people pass sentence. v. 41. Adulteresses were stoned. Lev. xx. 10. C.
Ver. 41. Death. The multitude approved of this sentence, which the judges pronounced, pretending to act agreeably to the law. Deut. xxii. W.
Ver. 45. Boy. He was about twelve years old. S. Ign. ad Magn. Sulpit. ii. Theod.
--- He might walk out, though he lodged at court. Houbig.
--- God enabled him to declare that Susanna was innocent. The people had consented to her death, but he stands up in her defence. W.
Ver. 46. Clear. This form is often used. Acts xviii. 6. Mat. xxvii. 24.
Ver. 48. Truth. They had taken no precautions to ascertain it; which they ought to have done the more, as Susanna had always been highly esteemed. C.
--- As the witnesses were positive, she must die, except their falsehood could be manifested, which not suspected. Houbig.
Ver. 50. Old men. They speak sarcastically; or rather other senators, who had not been in the plot, address Daniel.
Ver. 55. Two. This punishment was not unusual: yet it is probable that the two old men were stoned to death by the law of retaliation. v. 61. Ex. xix. 4. There is an allusion, in Greek, between schinon and schisei, and also between Prinos and prisei; (v. 58, 59) and hence it is concluded that this work was originally in that language. But there might be a similar allusion in Heb. or Chal. or the translator might think it lawful to put one tree for another. C.
--- We find a tree called shinar, in Persia. Tavern. iv. 6. It would be easy to produce similar allusions in the Latin ilex; thus ilico peribis, &c. M.
Ver. 57. Israel, when you were judges in Assyria. v. 5. H.
--- Conversed. No one could be alone with women, in the East, without suspicion.
Ver. 61. Neighbour; stoning or strangling them, unless they gave them up to Nabuchodonosor's officers. v. 5. C.
Ver. 64. Forward. By this first prophetical act Daniel acquired fame, (W.) which he retained till the death of Astyages. Maldon.. M.
Ver. 65. Astyages, or Darius. C. v. 31. This belongs to the following chapter (C.) or to the 9th. W.
--- Cyrus. Little is known about his birth or death. Yet all agree that he conquered the Chaldeans. C.