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The Young Captives: A Story of Judah and Babylon eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about The Young Captives.

Nearly seven years passed without witnessing events of special importance in the empire.  During most of this time Nebuchadnezzar exhibited all the signs of a maniac.  As he showed no disposition to injure those around him, he was permitted to go at large, within royal inclosures.  His treatment was much according to the direction of Daniel, who was the only person at the palace of whom the maniac king appeared to have the least recognition.  He carefully shunned the presence of every one, and the only thing that appeared to give him satisfaction and check his raving was the permission to be a companion of his oxen, that quietly fed in the palace park.  Here it may be well to remark that the peculiar feature of the king’s insanity was the strange conviction that he was an ox; and, under this conviction, he would endeavor to imitate that animal in all its motions and voices.  He was never confined or bound with chains, but permitted to enjoy himself as his maniac fancies might dictate.  This was not the result of indifference, but quite the contrary.  The king was held in much respect at the palace, even in his deplorable insanity; and there was much faith placed in the opinion of Daniel in regard to the king’s final restoration to his reason and the kingdom.  Among many of Daniel’s Chaldean friends at the court the opinion was becoming prevalent that the interesting occasion was not far distant.

. . . . . . .

The afternoon was fair and beautiful.  It was about the ninth hour of the day.  Daniel, weary with his arduous duties within, thought fit, in order to invigorate both his body and mind, to take a walk in the beautiful groves of the palace park.  So he laid his papers aside, and was soon under the refreshing breezes of the open skies.  The scene was truly delightful.  The sun was gradually losing the intensity of its heat, and slowly sinking toward the western hills.  Nature was adorned in beauty and innocence.  The sweet choristers of the trees chanted their melodious sonnets on the high branches, and the parks rang with the sound of praise from the feathered tribe.  The river rolled majestically along, while its shores were strewed with the choicest roses and flowers.  On the banks of “proud Euphrates’ stream,” the Rab Mag sat down and gave freedom to his thoughts.

“His paths are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out!  He reigns in heaven above, and on earth beneath.  Jehovah is God alone.  By him kings rule and princes govern.  He taketh down one and setteth up another.  O Lord, thou art very great, and highly exalted above all gods.  In thy hands are the deep places of the earth:  the strength of the hills is thine also.  I adore thee, O my God!  I praise thee, O Jehovah!  From my youth the God of Israel has been my help.  He has brought me through ways I have not known.  How terrible is his wrath toward those who rebel against him!  How great his love to all that fear him!  He bringeth down the proud look, and causeth his enemies to be ashamed.  The scepters of kings are broken in pieces.  Jehovah is King of kings!  Babylon, with all her glory, shall become a desolation.  Her lofty towers shall fall, her walls shall be destroyed, her palaces shall become heaps of ruin, and her idol temples shall be no more!”

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