The Young Captives: A Story of Judah and Babylon eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about The Young Captives.
sparkled with the sparkling of the cups, and reason flowed with the flowing of the wine.  They drank toasts of enthusiastic patriotism; they sang songs of unbounded loyalty, and shouted defiance to every foe.  Strains of melody poured forth from an hundred instruments, and hilarity and excessive mirth beamed forth from every countenance.  The high praises of the gods of Chaldea, with rapturous shouts in honor to their king, mingled together and broke forth from a thousand tongues.  The besieging army and its commander, together with the God of the Hebrews, were made the subjects of their keenest sarcasm.

This feast was given in honor of Belshazzar’s birth; and we may easily judge that flattery without measure was poured into his willing ear.  On this occasion, from the very nature of the festival, much was expected from the monarch himself, and it was very evident that he was fully determined that in this they should not be disappointed.  He spoke in this vein: 

“All hail, brave Babylonians!  Welcome!  Thrice welcome to the presence of your king!  Before me on this night I behold the pride and glory of Babylon.  Here are my nobles who have at all times distinguished themselves by their valor and great bravery.  Let us banish gloom, and let our hearts overflow with mirth!  We may well congratulate ourselves on the perfect safety of Babylon.  Our walls are impregnable and our possessions are abundant.  We laugh to scorn the silly movements of the Persians that parade before the city.  Dark predictions there are, I know, in regard to the future of Chaldea, but these Hebrew delusions have well-nigh vanished.  I am sorry to confess that my royal grandsire gave too much countenance to these groundless delusions, in the preferment of the Hebrew Belteshazzar with his three companions to high offices within the province of Babylon.  This, my lords, was a great mistake of the past, for which we have already too dearly paid.  Since I came to the throne, this intermeddling of foreigners with the affairs of the nation has received no countenance; and happy am I to know that to-day all offices under the government are entrusted to none but native Chaldeans.  In this I do not wish to cast a shade on the memories of the illustrious dead, for truly no monarch ever distinguished himself more than my lamented grandfather.  The trophies of his victories are to-day visible throughout the empire.  To him, indeed, the gods of Chaldea were propitious, and unmistakable proof they gave of their superiority to the gods of other nations.  We have heard much of the renowned God of the Hebrews!  But, under the protection of our own, we bid defiance to all other gods!  Who is the God of Israel that I should fear him?  Did not my grandfather, under the guidance of the gods of Chaldea, enter into his territory, destroy his city and burn his temple?  Why did he not then vindicate his power and glory?  Why permit the vessels of his temple to be carried into Babylon, and there deposited in the temple of

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The Young Captives: A Story of Judah and Babylon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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