Bel kai Drakon is the usual title of this booklet. It is obviously derived from the names of the two idols destroyed in the two portions of the story. But Cod. Chis. has the curious heading, Ek propheteias Ambakoum huiou Iesou ek tes phules Leui (cf. v.33). The Syriac also has the equivalent of this. In some Syriac MSS. Dragon' is given as a separate title before v.23; and Luther's version, at the same point, expands this into 'von Drachen zu Babel.'
In Codd. A, Q, the entire piece is headed horasis ib', and is thus treated as an integral part of Daniel, finishing the book, the 12th chapter of which ends in Cod. A with horasis ia'. In B it follows, if possible, still more closely, there being no intermediate heading . In Cod. A, at the end, there is telos Dan. prophetou, which, except in the case of Ruth, is not A's usual way of terminating works. The Arabic Version in Walton also superscribes it as a vision' (Scholz, p.139).
The title the book of the little Daniel' seems applied to Bel and the Dragon in a Nestorian list mentioned by Churton (p.389), and seemingly in Ebed Jesus list of Hippolytus' works (D. C. B. art. Hyppolytus, III. p.104a). This title, which usually belongs to Susanna, when applied to Bel and the Dragon, must refer, not to Daniel's age, but to the size of the book. Delitzsch (op. cit.25n) mentions, without further description, one MS. from Mount Athos which entitles it peri tou Abbakoum.
The source of the marginal reading of A. V. |Bel's Dragon| (also given in the title to Susanna) does not appear to be identified.
As to the place of this piece in some of the Greek MSS. see above.
Professor A. Scholz (Judith und Bel und der Drache, Würzburg, 1896, p.200) finds fault with Holmes and Parsons for having disturbed the position of this book without offering sufficient indication of having done so: |die Stücke willkürlich versetzt sind.|
In the Vulgate it is reckoned as chap. xiv. of Daniel, coming after Susanna, which forms chap. xiii., as also in the Hexaplar Syriac. Caj. Bugati, in his edition of this text, regards its ascription to Habakkuk as a reason for its detached position at the end (see Authorship,' p.186).
J. Fürst's idea (quoted by Bissell, p.444), that the work was originally incorporated in chap. vi., seems far less likely than his conjecture with regard to the position of Susanna (q.v.). Indeed, except for a certain similarity in the lions' den miracle, it is not easy to see why it should be joined to any part of chap. vi. Nor do the similar points of the den incidents seem any real ground for making one story follow directly upon the other.
E. Philippe (Vigouroux Dict. II.1266) attempts, rather feebly, to account for its omission from the Hebrew Bibles. He says, |elle parut à tort aux Juifs faire double emploi avec un récit pareil, VI.| This seems to be a gratuitous supposition of no great probability.
As the story deals with the latter part of Daniel's life, its place at the conclusion of the book is very fitting. In Cod. A the subscription mentioned above, marking it as the |end of Daniel the prophet,| distinctly attaches it to the Book of Daniel, and precludes further additions. On the whole, if its connection with the Book of Daniel is to be recognized, this position at the close may be regarded as the most suitable.