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The Rescue of Susanna

In the story of Susanna in the New Testament of the Bible many valuable lessons are learned. The story begins by describing the wife of a man named Joakim, the beautiful Susanna. She had been taught according to the law of Moses and was very righteous. Because her husband was very rich the two elders who were appointed judges often were often there and anyone with a lawsuit came to them there. Susanna would spend the long afternoons in the large garden adjacent to the house. The two elders sometimes watched her and they both secretly began to desire her. Their minds turned from what was holy and they only thought of her. They later developed a plan so that they could lie with her, sneaking into the garden when she was bathing, they threatened to testify that there was a young man in there with her if she did not lie with them. Being the self respecting woman that she was she answered, “I am hemmed in on every side. For if I do this thing, it is death for me; and if I do not, I shall not escape your hands. I choose not to do it and to fall into your hands, rather than to sin in the sight of the Lord.” When the servants hear about this they are very surprised because nothing like this has ever been said of her before however they trust their elders and listen to them. As Susanna is being carried to her death God hears her prayers and aroused the hold spirit of a young lad named Daniel. Daniel pointed out the weaknesses in the two elder?s stories and the Jews rose against them.

This story is memorable for several reasons. One is the fact that Susanna doesn?t give in to the elders? requests even when they threatened her life and her reputation. She has impressive faith in God and trusts him to make everything right. Another reason this story is memorable is how Daniel risked his own life by standing up against the elders to defend a woman whom he did not even know. His faith in God is also very impressive.

There are many lessons which can be taken from this story, some more obvious than others. One that plays an important role in our society today is the rule that one is innocent until proven guilty. If Susanna had been given a fair trial according to this rule it would have surely been proven that she did not have a man with her. It also teaches us to trust our consciences. When the servants hear what Susanna has been accused of they are very surprised and yet instead of trusting their consciences which were right they trust their elders. Another lesson that is used in society today that can be taken from this story is the AA saying, “Let go and let God.” Susanna gave a perfect example of the truth in this saying by not giving in to temptation and by trusting God to work everything out, which he did. One last lesson that can be taken from this story is that lying (especially under oath) won?t get you anywhere. The two elders who lied were found out and punished.

The relevance of this story to life in general are the morals it instills. Morals taken from the lessons above shape our society today. If not for fair trials many innocent people would have been put to death. Also, many criminals would be walking the streets while others suffered for their crimes. I believe that more people in history and today acted honestly because they fear the hand of God and also the law system. Susanna and the other characters in this story can be seen throughout history. One obvious example is in the oil painting by Albrecht Altdorfer called Susanna at the Bath dated 1526.

Several important questions are raised in this story having to do with morals and socially accepted customs. A question I asked myself after I read this story was if my faith was strong enough that I would put complete trust in another when my life was at stake. Another question I?ve thought about is whether I would have put myself in Daniel?s shoes and risked my life by standing up to my elders and defending someone. The biggest question I think this story asks is whether or not one should trust authority, In this case represented by the two dishonest elders. It gives an example of questioning authority in a non-confrontational manner that turns out positively.

A lot can be learned from this story and I think it instills certain morals that everyone should live by. Even though it was written so long ago it is important to see that it can be easily applied to life in society today and throughout history. In addition to being educational the story of The Rescue of Susanna is enjoyable and well written.

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