Belteshazzar was now to the king a constant and confiding friend. They conversed together freely on all points, and no measure was put forth without the consent and approbation of the Rab Mag.
In regard to the God of Israel no doubt remained longer in the mind of the king. At last he was wholly saved from idolatry. The process of his conversion had been a severe one, but in the hands of Jehovah it had proved successful. His vanity was conquered, his haughtiness slain, the pride of his heart subdued; he was a meek and lowly worshiper at the shrine of the God of Israel.
The king was getting well stricken in years, and he was conscious that he was not long for earth. Therefore, like a wise man, he bestowed much thought on that world into which he was fast hastening. His worldly ambition was at an end, he appeared but seldom in public, and was much given to retirement and meditation. He had at last learned to see the things of earth in their true light, and the enthusiasm of his younger friends was viewed with a smile and a sigh. He clearly saw in the distance the glory of Babylon brought to the dust, and its majestic halls resounding with the voice of revelry from the sons and daughters of strangers. Of this the reformed king could not think without painful emotions; but with resignation he bowed to the Will divine.
On the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach took the throne. Of this man we have said but little. He acted as regent during his father’s Insanity. He was a person of a low, groveling mind, and no sooner was he established on his throne than he began to give signs that the scepter was in the hands of a profligate tyrant. Contrary to the request of his dying father, he neglected the weighty matters of the empire, and plunged into dissipation and gluttonous revelry.
As with the commencement of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign began the real glory of Chaldea, so with his death the glory departed, and the empire was soon in a rapid decline. No feature in the character of the new king was in the least calculated to command either the love or the admiration of his subjects. He was inwardly cursed by the nation, and feared only on account of his cruelty. Of Daniel he had some dread, and over him the Hebrew had some control. He was well convinced, from what he had seen in his father’s history, that Daniel was not to be slighted, and that among all the wise men of the realm, there was none like him. And, moreover, he was well aware that his superior wisdom had had much to do in elevating the empire to its present high position. Through the influence of this man of God, the wicked king dealt with comparative mildness toward the captive Hebrews so numerous within the realm.
The reign of this monarch was of short duration. Some of his own relatives, conspiring against him, put an end to his existence; and so died Evil-Merodach, unwept by the nation, and Nerriglisser, one of the chief conspirators, reigned in his stead.