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Let this Daniel be called, and he will tell the interpretation.”

Then was Daniel brought in before the king. “Art thou that Daniel who was brought captive with the chil5 dren of Israel, out of Judah?” the king asked. “I have heard of thee, and that the spirit of the gods is in thee, so that thou hast understanding and excellent wisdom. The wise men have been brought in before me to read this

writing, but they cannot. Now, if thou canst read the 10 writing and make known the interpretation of it, thou

shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom."

“Keep thy gifts for thyself and give thy rewards to 15 another,” Daniel answered. “Yet will I read the writing

to the king and make known to him the interpretation. The Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, a kingdom, and glory, and honor. Because God made him

so great, all nations trembled and feared before him. 20 Whom he would, he slew; and whom he would, he kept

alive; whom he would, he set up; and whom he would, he put down. But when his heart was full of pride, so that he forgot God, he was made to come down from his throne;

for his greatness was taken from him. He was driven out 25 from his palace, and from living men, and became like

the beasts. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew, until he learned that God rules over the nations of the earth, and that He maketh whom

soever He will to be king. And thou, his son, though thou 30 knoweth all this, hast been proud, too, and sinned against

God. They have brought the vessels of His temple before thee, and thou and thy lords have drunk wine in them. Thou hast praised the idols of silver and gold, of brass,

iron, wood, and stone, which cannot see, nor hear nor 35 know anything; whilst the true God, who lets thee live,

and gives thee all things, thou hast not praised. Therefore hath He sent thee this warning: ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN!' which means, ‘Thy kingdom is ended. God hath taken it from thee. He tried thee as king, but thou 5 hast not obeyed Him. He hath given thy kingdom to the Medes and Persians.'”

Belshazzar commanded his servants to clothe Daniel with scarlet, and to put a chain of gold about his neck, and

to make him the third ruler in the kingdom. That same 10 night Darius, with the army of the Medes and Persians,

came into Babylon; and Belshazzar, with many of his people, was slain.

One of the first acts of King Darius, after he had conquered Babylon, was to choose from the people one hundred 15 and twenty princes; over these princes he set Daniel.

But the princes hated Daniel because he was greater than they, and resolved to find some fault with him, that they might complain to the king. So they gathered together

and came to the king, and said, “King Darius, we want a 20 law and a decree to be made, that whosoever shall ask help

of any god or man, except of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.” King Darius signed the writing and the decree; for he saw no harm in it.

Now, although Daniel knew that the writing was signed, 25 he went into his house, and, with the windows of his cham

ber opened toward Jerusalem, he knelt there three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks to his God, as he had always done. The men gathered together, and saw Daniel praying and asking help of God.

This was just what they wanted; and they went to the king and said, “Hast thou not signed a decree, that whoever shall ask help of any god or man for thirty days, except of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”

The king answered, “The decree is signed, and is made 35 a law of the Medes and Persians, which changes not.

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Then said they, “Daniel, who is one of the captives of Judah, obeys thee not, o king, or the decree thou hast made; but prays and asks help of his God three times a day.”

The king, when he heard these words, was displeased with himself for having made the decree; for he had no wish to punish Daniel. Indeed, he set his heart on finding an excuse for him; and tried until the evening to save him

from punishment. But the presidents and the princes 10 gathered together before the king, and cried, “Thou

knowest, О king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians, that no decree or law which the king has made can be changed.” So Darius commanded his servants to bring

Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king 15 spoke to Daniel, and said to him, “Surely thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee.

A great stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den, and the king went home to his palace to pass the

night fasting. He would not have the instruments of 20 music played before him as at other times; and he could not sleep.

Very early in the morning he rose and came in haste to the den of lions, and cried with a mournful voice unto Daniel,

O Daniel, thou servant of the living God, is thy God, 25 whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Then said Daniel to the king, "My God has indeed sent His angel to shut the lions' mouths so that they have not

hurt me." Then was the king glad; and he commanded 30 that they should take Daniel out of the den, and no hurt

was found upon him. “Now,” commanded the king, “bring those men who have spoken against Daniel, and cast them into the den of lions."

The men were brought and the lions leaped on them 35 and broke their bones in pieces, even before they came to the bottom of the den. Then King Darius wrote to all the people and nations of the earth, saying, “I make a decree that in every part of my kingdom men obey the God of Daniel. For He is the living God. His kingdom is the 5 one that shall not be destroyed, and His power shall never end. He is the God who can save from danger, who has saved Daniel from the mouths of the lions."

And so Daniel passed the rest of his life in peace and quiet; and one day, when he was praying, the angel Gabriel came 10 to him and touched him. It was in the evening, at the time

when the priests offered up a lamb for a burnt offering at the temple in Jerusalem. And the angel said, “O Daniel! I am come to tell thee of things that shall happen. At the

beginning of thy prayer I was commanded to come unto 15 thee, for thou art greatly beloved of God. Therefore,

understand the words that I shall speak. Even yet the Jews shall go back to their own land and build up Jerusalem; and in five hundred years the one shall be born who shall be a great king over all the earth.”

And it came about as the angel had said; for when Cyrus became king, he sent the Jews back to their own land. He made a proclamation and sent it through all his kingdom, saying, “Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia: Who is there

among the captives from Judah that wishes to go back 25 to his own land? Let him go now and build up the house

of the Lord; and let the people of my kingdom help those who go, by giving them silver and gold, and cattle, and raiment to take with them.

Then the chief men of the Jews, and the priests, and the 30 Levites, and all those whom the Lord made willing to go,

prepared to start on their journey. And many persons gave them vessels of silver and gold, and cattle, and raiment, as the king had commanded. And King Cyrus brought

out the vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the 35 temple, and he counted them, and gave them to the prince

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of Judah. The prince took the vessels, and carried them to Jerusalem. And there went with him forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty persons of the children of Israel, besides their servants seven thousand three hun5 dred and thirty-seven more.

And the people built again the altar of the temple, and offered up burnt offerings on it every day — a lamb in the morning, and a lamb in the evening, as the children of Israel used to do before they were carried away into Baby

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Then they made ready to rebuild the temple. They hired men of Tyre, as Solomon had done, to cut down cedar trees on Mount Lebanon, and make rafts of them, and float

them by sea to Jerusalem. They gave these men meat, 15 and drink, and oil, while they worked; and they paid

money to carpenters and masons, who began to build the house. When the first stones of it were laid, the priests and Levites played on trumpets and cymbals, and sang

songs of praise to the Lord. And the people were glad 20 and shouted with a great shout, because the building of the

temple was begun. But many of the old men, who remembered the temple which stood there before, wept with a a loud voice. So that the sounds of shouting and the

sounds of weeping went up together and were heard afar 25 off.

HELPS FOR STUDY

What book in the Bible contains the story of Belshazzar?
Who was Daniel?
What other books of prophets are found in the Bible?
What artist has painted a picture of the prophets?
Why was Daniel sent for to interpret the handwriting?
Who were the Medes and Persians?
Why did Daniel open his windows toward Jerusalem?
How did King Darius feel about punishing Daniel?
Why could he not save him?
What did Cyrus say in his proclamation?

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