King Nebuchadnezzar snuggled the fleecy lap-blanket around his skinny legs and leaned back into the plump cushions of a rattan chair. The twinkle in his rheumy eyes softened his leathery appearance. He massaged his arthritic left thumb before responding to the reporter from the Babylon Bugle.
“Yes, I’d heard a play was being performed annually in the synagogues. They don’t want to forget -- I can’t forget.”
”That’s why I wanted to see you,” Felix bar-Simon said. “You’re over eighty years old, and your son will soon be the next king. I want to get your memories of that day on record before you depart for a better world.”
“It seemed to me at the time Felix, that everything that could go wrong did. God must have gotten a god laugh.”
The king picked up a little gold bell and jiggled it. An attractive servant girl responded to the tiny tinkling sound, gliding into the room to bow before the king. “Bring us a refreshing drink, Myla, and a tray of sweet pastry.”
Pivoting on a polished tile, Myla’s sandal squeaked as she hurried away to fulfill the king’s request.
“Where was Daniel that day?” Felix asked.
“He was far to the east on a mission I thought was of great importance. He did not return for several weeks. Some of my advisers arranged that. They hoped to get rid of the three good little Jewish boys before confronting him.” The king picked up a small ceramic bowl decorated with water birds. After several wracking coughs, he spit into it. “My advisors played me for a pawn, and I was an easy mark.”
Whispering sandals announced Myla’s return with refreshments. She quickly served them and then placed the tray on a low table before departing.
“Is it true you lost your temper when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego wouldn’t bow before your gold statue?”
“You can put that on record. I blew my top and that started a really bad day for me. I didn’t care how many gods they worshipped; it was insulting when they ignored mine.”
“You had them tied up. Why? Those boys were no match for the seasoned soldiers holding them.”
“Physically, they weren’t. But I didn’t want them high-tailing it. They looked like they could outrun a greyhound. It angered me when they didn’t resist.”
The king, munching on a pastry filled with figs and honey, nodded approvingly. “That’s why I ordered the brick-making kiln stoked exceedingly hot. If their god delivered them, I wasn’t going to make it easy. I gave them a chance though. I told them, ‘turn or burn.’”
“It must have been blazing hot. Didn’t your soldiers die shoving them into the pit?”
“Yes, and they were my best men. I should have used someone else. Everything just kept going wrong for me. And Felix, I thought I had become delirious. I could see those three walking about in the flames untied. They were talking to someone that looked like an angel. Trembling, I called them forth. But only Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out.”
“I can’t imagine how you must have felt? ”
“I fell to my knees. I couldn’t help it. Their bindings were gone. Their pantaloons and tunic, even the hair on their head was not singed. There wasn’t even an odor of smoke on them.”
“That day changed your life, didn’t it?”
“Not immediately, though I recognized their god was more powerful than any of the gods I worshipped. My greatest concern was determining which of my advisors had put me in such an embarrassing position. At the time, it was a really bad day.”
Myla’s discreet cough preceded her entrance into the room. Bowing, she waited for the king’s nod before she spoke. “The doctor is here for your afternoon therapy. He awaits your command.”
“Send him in. But first, Myla, put this pastry tray away. It would anger the doctor if he saw it.”
As Felix stood the king said, “Be sure to write that the god of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is my God. I finally learned, there is only one true God. And spell god with a capital ‘G’.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Author’s Note: the above fictional interpretation is based on a true Biblical story.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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