“Of a truth, your God is a God of gods,” cried the king, “and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this mystery. And now, Belteshazzar, thou art exalted to be a ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Chaldea; and if thou desirest any particular favor, let it not be hidden from the king; for thou art worthy of all honors, and the full desire of thy heart shall be given thee.”
“For himself, thy servant has nothing to ask; but be it known to thee, O king, that thou art as much indebted for the restoration of the vision to my three companions as to thy servant, for in answer to our united prayers the secret was made known. I pray thee, therefore, that while I am thus honored, my companions may share in it.”
“Wisely remarked. Thy three companions shall be promoted to posts of honor and trust in the empire. Let them, under thee, preside over the province of Babylon.”
Thus Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, through the miraculous interposition of that Jehovah they loved, and whose law they honored, were elevated to be the chief personages in the Chaldean empire.
Years passed by, and uninterrupted success attended the reign of the king of Babylon. The aggrandizement of the city was without a parallel in history. It appeared to have become the leading passion of the monarch’s mind. The reader may have a faint idea of the glory of the city when he remembers that it was a regular square, forty-five miles in compass, enclosed by a wall two hundred feet high, and fifty broad, in which there were one hundred gates of brass. Its principal ornaments were the Temple of Belus, and the famous “hanging gardens.”
The Temple of Belus was most remarkable for a prodigious tower that stood in the midst of it. According to Herodotus, it was a square, of a furlong on each side—that is, half a mile in the whole compass; and according to Strabo, it was a furlong in height. It consisted of eight towers, built one above the other; and because it decreased gradually towards the top, Strabo calls the whole a pyramid. It is not only asserted, but proved, that this tower far exceeded the greatest of the pyramids of Egypt in height.
The ascent to the top was by stairs round the outside. Over the whole, on the top of the tower, was an observatory, by means of which the Babylonians became more expert in astronomy than any other nation, and made, in a short time, the great progress in it ascribed to them in history.
In addition to these magnificent works, the public buildings of Babylon were counted by thousands, and its splendid mansions by tens of thousands.
The four Hebrews still continued in power, and more than retained their former excellence. Daniel was highly esteemed by the king for his great wisdom and skill in the affairs of government; but the impressions of the superiority of Jehovah, made upon the monarch’s mind at the interpretation of the dream, had well-nigh been obliterated. Pride rebelled against the thought of the future overthrow of the empire; and fain would he have persuaded himself that uneasiness brought about by a troublesome dream was unworthy of him.