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Reliance and Reactivity: Part One

The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king. Daniel 2:8–16

“So I am to be executed now?”

“Yes, all of the wise men are to be executed today. The command is given and will not be delayed.”

“That’s over four hundred people—nearly a thousand if we count their families. You have a lot of bloodshed ahead of you.”

My tongue froze in my jaw and a silent paralysis pervaded my body. I was panicked yet forbidden to show it. The full measure of what was involved now settled upon me, but could I dare own it before those I was sent to slay? Up to this point, I had assumed the command as merely another task to be completed, but the piles of bodies and burned remains of their homes now stood before me. Was this really something I could do?

“I was not aware that the king was in need, and I’m prepared to offer my services. Please excuse me and I will go directly to him.”

And with that, Belteshazzar was gone. I stood dumbstruck for a moment more before I recovered myself, stepped toward the threshold, and looked around the open door, intent to call him back. My mouth opened, but I was all the more lost as to what to say since he wasn’t fleeing like a fugitive but merely walking down the street—clearly a man on an errand! I turned around and looked inquisitively at his companions, wondering what had happened and what on earth I was to do about it. One of them, smiling, shrugged his shoulders and said,

“Well, would you like to have something to eat?”

Illustrations by Elesha Casimir

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1 Comment

  • […] hardly knew what to think of it all, for there was Belteshazzar before the king, doing all he had said he would do a mere half-hour before. But why he dared do it and what this would mean for me was beyond my comprehension. I was a […]

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