Long and severe was this interview between the king and the conspirators, and all the weight of their ingenuity was brought to bear on his mind. It failed to convince him that Daniel’s words were false; yet, partly from a false view of consistency, and partly from the advice of the first president, he gave his signature to the death warrant of the old Israelite.
The news of the condemnation of the Hebrew prophet soon spread through all Babylon, and the hour of his execution was well known. It was the great theme of conversation among high and low, rich and poor, and there were but few who were not horrified at the awful doom of the man of God.
No man in Babylon was better known or more universally beloved than the old prime minister of Nebuchadnezzar. His long residence in the city had rendered his name familiar to the populace, and a vast number held him in respect bordering on veneration. His mild and friendly deportment whenever brought into the society of the common people, had won their affection. The poor and the needy had ever found relief at his door. The little children even claimed the aged prophet as their friend. He found it not beneath the dignity of his station to speak to them in the street, put his hand on their heads, and say, “May Jehovah bless my little children!”
In the vicinity of the first president’s mansion were seen numerous groups of persons engaged in low conversation, while deep sorrow was visible on every countenance. These gatherings gradually swelled to one solid mass of human beings. The doors of the president’s house were closed, and thick curtains’ were drawn across the lattices, and no one as yet appeared to enter those portals. Presently the throng was in commotion, several chariots halted before the door, and a number of government officials alighted, and, with slow steps, and solemn countenances, they ascended the steps, entered, and closed the door. A peculiar gathering that! A solemn, sad throng! All conversation had ceased. The stillness was broken by the sudden appearance of several platoons of soldiers, who took their stand and formed a square in front of the mansion.