Here are the three lessons from the Apocrypha which occur in the Mass during Lent. I’ve included them here because they are sometimes not easy to find – depending on the version of the Bible you are using.
Bel and the Dragon, verses 1-42 from The Apocrypha of the King James Version
1 And king Astyages was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus of Persia received his kingdom.
2 And Daniel conversed with the king, and was honoured above all his friends.
3 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 six vessels of wine.
4 And the king worshipped it and went daily to adore it: but Daniel worshipped his own God. And the king said unto him, Why dost not thou worship Bel?
5 Who answered and said, Because I may not worship idols made with hands, but the living God, who hath created the heaven and the earth, and hath sovereignty over all flesh.
6 Then said the king unto him, Thinkest thou not that Bel is a living God? seest thou not how much he eateth and drinketh every day?
7 Then Daniel smiled, and said, O king, be not deceived: for this is but clay within, and brass without, and did never eat or drink any thing.
8 So the king was wroth, and called for his priests, and said unto them, If ye tell me not who this is that devoureth these expences, ye shall die.
9 But if ye can certify me that Bel devoureth them, then Daniel shall die: for he hath spoken blasphemy against Bel. And Daniel said unto the king, Let it be according to thy word.
10 Now the priests of Bel were threescore and ten, beside their wives and children. And the king went with Daniel into the temple of Bel.
11 So Bel’s priests said, Lo, we go out: but thou, O king, set on the meat, and make ready the wine, and shut the door fast and seal it with thine own signet;
12 And tomorrow when thou comest in, if thou findest not that Bel hath eaten up all, we will suffer death: or else Daniel, that speaketh falsely against us.
13 And they little regarded it: for under the table they had made a privy entrance, whereby they entered in continually, and consumed those things.
14 So when they were gone forth, the king set meats before Bel. Now Daniel had commanded his servants to bring ashes, and those they strewed throughout all the temple in the presence of the king alone: then went they out, and shut the door, and sealed it with the king’s signet, and so departed.
15 Now in the night came the priests with their wives and children, as they were wont to do, and did eat and drink up all.
16 In the morning betimes the king arose, and Daniel with him.
17 And the king said, Daniel, are the seals whole? And he said, Yea, O king, they be whole.
18 And as soon as he had opened the door, the king looked upon the table, and cried with a loud voice, Great art thou, O Bel, and with thee is no deceit at all.
19 Then laughed Daniel, and held the king that he should not go in, and said, Behold now the pavement, and mark well whose footsteps are these.
20 And the king said, I see the footsteps of men, women, and children. And then the king was angry,
21 And took the priests with their wives and children, who shewed him the privy doors, where they came in, and consumed such things as were upon the table.
22 Therefore the king slew them, and delivered Bel into Daniel’s power, who destroyed him and his temple.
23 And in that same place there was a great dragon, which they of Babylon worshipped.
24 And the king said unto Daniel, Wilt thou also say that this is of brass? lo, he liveth, he eateth and drinketh; thou canst not say that he is no living god: therefore worship him.
25 Then said Daniel unto the king, I will worship the Lord my God: for he is the living God.
26 But give me leave, O king, and I shall slay this dragon without sword or staff. The king said, I give thee leave.
27 Then Daniel took pitch, and fat, and hair, and did seethe them together, and made lumps thereof: this he put in the dragon’s mouth, and so the dragon burst in sunder: and Daniel said, Lo, these are the gods ye worship.
28 When they of Babylon heard that, they took great indignation, and conspired against the king, saying, The king is become a Jew, and he hath destroyed Bel, he hath slain the dragon, and put the priests to death.
29 So they came to the king, and said, Deliver us Daniel, or else we will destroy thee and thine house.
30 Now when the king saw that they pressed him sore, being constrained, he delivered Daniel unto them:
31 Who cast him into the lions’ den: where he was six days.
32 And in the den there were seven lions, and they had given them every day two carcases, and two sheep: which then were not given to them, to the intent they might devour Daniel.
33 Now there was in Jewry a prophet, called Habbacuc, who had made pottage, and had broken bread in a bowl, and was going into the field, for to bring it to the reapers.
34 But the angel of the Lord said unto Habbacuc, Go, carry the dinner that thou hast into Babylon unto Daniel, who is in the lions’ den.
35 And Habbacuc said, Lord, I never saw Babylon; neither do I know where the den is.
36 Then the angel of the Lord took him by the crown, and bare him by the hair of his head, and through the vehemency of his spirit set him in Babylon over the den.
37 And Habbacuc cried, saying, O Daniel, Daniel, take the dinner which God hath sent thee.
38 And Daniel said, Thou hast remembered me, O God: neither hast thou forsaken them that seek thee and love thee.
39 So Daniel arose, and did eat: and the angel of the Lord set Habbacuc in his own place again immediately.
40 Upon the seventh day the king went to bewail Daniel: and when he came to the den, he looked in, and behold, Daniel was sitting.
41 Then cried the king with a loud voice, saying, Great art Lord God of Daniel, and there is none other beside thee.
42 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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The Song of the Three Children
which followeth in the third Chapter of DANIEL, after this place, — fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace — verse 23. That which followeth is not in the Hebrew, to wit, And they walked — unto these words, Then Nebuchadnezzar — verse 24.
AND they walked in the midst of the fire, praising God, and blessing the Lord.
2 Then Azarias stood up, and prayed on this manner; and opening his mouth in the midst of the fire, said,
3 Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: thy name is worthy to be praised and glorified for evermore:
4 For thou art righteous in all the things that thou hast done to us: yea, true are all thy works, thy ways are right, and all thy judgments truth.
5 In all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon the holy city of our fathers, even Jerusalem, thou hast executed true judgment: for according to truth and judgment didst thou bring all these things upon us because of our sins.
6 For we have sinned and committed iniquity, departing from thee.
7 In all things have we trespassed, and not obeyed thy commandments, nor kept them, neither done as thou hast commanded us, that it might go well with us.
8 Wherefore all that thou hast brought upon us, and everything that thou hast done to us, thou hast done in true judgment.
9 And thou didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful forsakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most wicked in all the world.
10 And now we cannot open our mouths, we are become a shame and reproach to thy servants, and to them that worship thee.
11 Yet deliver us not up wholly, for thy name’s sake, neither disannul thou thy covenant:
12 And cause not thy mercy to depart from us, for thy beloved Abraham’s sake, for thy servant Isaac’s sake, and for thy holy Israel’s sake;
13 To whom thou hast spoken and promised, that thou wouldest multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that lieth upon the sea shore.
14 For we, O Lord, are become less than any nation, and be kept under this day in all the world because of our sins.
15 Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before thee, and to find mercy.
16 Nevertheless in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted.
17 Like as in the burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after thee: for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in thee.
18 And now we follow thee with all our heart, we fear thee, and seek thy face.
19 Put us not to shame: but deal with us after thy loving kindness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.
20 Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord: and let all them that do thy servants hurt be ashamed;
21 And let them be confounded in all their power and might, and let their strength be broken;
22 And let them know that thou art Lord, the only God, and glorious over the whole world.
23 And the king’s servants, that put them in, ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood;
24 So that the flame streamed forth above the furnace forty and nine cubits.
25 And it passed through, and burned those Chaldeans it found about the furnace.
26 But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven;
27 And made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them.
28 Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying,
29 Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
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The Story of Susanna, verses 1 – 62 from The Apocrypha of the King James Version
There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joacim: 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 Joacim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honourable 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 Joacim’s house: and all that had any suits in law came unto them. 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 not 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. And it fell out, as they watched a fit time, she went in as before with two maids only, and she was desirous to wash herself in the garden: for it was hot. And there was no body there save the two elders, that had hid themselves, and watched her. Then she said to her maids, Bring me oil and washing balls, and shut the garden doors, that I may wash me. And they did as she bade them, and shut the garden doors, and went out themselves at privy doors to fetch the things that she had commanded them: but they saw not the elders, because they were hid. Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders rose up, and ran unto her, saying, Behold, the garden doors are shut, that no man can see us, and we are in love with thee; therefore consent unto us, and lie with us. If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee: and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee. Then Susanna sighed, and said, I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death unto me: and if I do it not I cannot escape your hands. It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not do it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord. With that Susanna cried with a loud voice: and the two elders cried out against her. Then ran the one, and opened the garden door. So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the garden, they rushed in at the privy door, to see what was done unto her. But when the elders had declared their matter, the servants were greatly ashamed: for there was never such a report made of Susanna. And it came to pass the next day, when the people were assembled to her husband Joacim, the two elders came also full of mischievous imagination against Susanna to put her to death; And said before the people, Send for Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, Joacim’s wife. And so they sent. So she came with her father and mother, her children, and all her kindred. Now Susanna was a very delicate woman, and beauteous to behold.And these wicked men commanded to uncover her face, (for she was covered) that they might be filled with her beauty.Therefore her friends and all that saw her wept. Then the two elders stood up in the midst of the people, and laid their hands upon her head. And she weeping looked up toward heaven: for her heart trusted in the Lord. And the elders said, As we walked in the garden alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the garden doors, and sent the maids away. Then a young man, who there was hid, came unto her, and lay with her. Then we that stood in a corner of the garden, seeing this wickedness, ran unto them. And when we saw them together, the man we could not hold: for he was stronger than we, and opened the door, and leaped out. But having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us: these things do we testify. Then the assembly believed them as those that were the elders and judges of the people: so they condemned her to death. Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said, O everlasting God, that knowest the secrets, and knowest all things before they be: Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me, and, behold, I must die; whereas I never did such things as these men have maliciously invented against me. And the Lord heard her voice. Therefore when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young youth whose name was Daniel: Who cried with a loud voice, I am clear from the blood of this woman. Then all the people turned them toward him, and said, What mean these words that thou hast spoken? So he standing in the midst of them said, Are ye such fools, ye sons of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth ye have condemned a daughter of Israel? Return again to the place of judgment: for they have borne false witness against her. Wherefore all the people turned again in haste, and the elders said unto him, Come, sit down among us, and shew it us, seeing God hath given thee the honour of an elder. Then said Daniel unto them, Put these two aside one far from another, and I will examine them. So when they were put asunder one from another, he called one of them, and said unto him, O thou that art waxen old in wickedness, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light. For thou hast pronounced false judgment and hast condemned the innocent and hast let the guilty go free; albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and righteous shalt thou not slay. Now then, if thou hast seen her, tell me, Under what tree sawest thou them companying together? Who answered, Under a mastick tree. And Daniel said, Very well; thou hast lied against thine own head; for even now the angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two. So he put him aside, and commanded to bring the other, and said unto him, O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart. Thus have ye dealt with the daughters of Israel, and they for fear companied with you: but the daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness. Now therefore tell me, Under what tree didst thou take them companying together? Who answered, Under an holm tree. Then said Daniel unto him, Well; thou hast also lied against thine own head: for the angel of God waiteth with the sword to cut thee in two, that he may destroy you. With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and praised God, who saveth them that trust in him. And they arose against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth: And according to the law of Moses they did unto them in such sort as they maliciously intended to do to their neighbour: and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved the same day.
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