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Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.


Just as the Chaldeans, astrologers and others from the court of Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘there is no king or lord who had asked for something like this’, nobody could have even thought of asking anyone what Nebuchadnezzar had asked.

The king had just been the king for two years and he had learnt all the precious knowledge required for executing the affairs of his kingdom. His commandment was this:

Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

The efficacy of an interpretation would lie only in the coming to pass of such events as interpreted.

Let us analyse what Daniel did. Daniel says that God revealed to Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold of all the kingdoms that had been and yet to be.

Is that even remotely true by hindsight?

I guess not. Compared to the Kingdoms held by Xerxes; Suleiman the Magnificent; or even some of the lesser known Caesars, neither was Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom as vast as theirs nor did he have the power that some of the above mentioned kings/ emperors had wielded. We are not including the Akbars and Louis the Fourteenth, who were more tactful and wisely ruled their kingdoms with vast resources. Nor are we including the brutal Chengiz Khans, Tamerlanes and their ilk of marauders. So by hindsight, the interpretation of the head of gold being Nebuchadnezzar nailed it for Daniel. It was a wise self promotion scheme, which was not by motive or intent, but a by product of a mind that was wired for survival – not just to escape – but to thrive and overcome all odds. Daniel submitted to the ultimate of all logic – if Daniel could repeat the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had dreamt earlier, Daniel’s interpretation would be believed, rather trusted. But Daniel had to place all interpretation beyond the life of Nebuchadnezzar except exalting him to a position which the wily Nebuchadnezzar had desired. The rest of it is all read as prophecy.

This prophecy was not ‘time specific’ like that of Joseph’s explanation of seven cattle as seven years and that accurate prediction of the coming of the seven years of famine in succession to the plenty of seven years, to the Pharaoh.

Then the silver, brass or bronze (as per the version of your Old Testament), the iron and clay. At the time of Daniel, no one could have imagined any of those kingdoms. Much less the possibility of a more powerful kingdom than that of the then Babylonian empire coming into existence, which lasted only for a total of 80 years. In fact Darius, the Persian takes over Babylon within Daniel’s own lifetime. In all, the interpretation satisfied the deep seated desire of Nebuchadnezzar – which was pandered to by Daniel.

Maybe God wanted it that way – to elevate Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I am more inclined to believe that. For God, there is no such thing as a fact or fiction – He could turn a fiction into a fact and make any fiction into a reality.

We as living human beings don’t have to exalt God, because He showed the dream of Nebuchadnezzar to Daniel upon the prayers of Daniel and his three friends, but our very life is a miracle in many ways. A self realisation is enough.

If we build our Faith based on these instances, which smack of stupidity, we are just getting into the jingoism of praise because we are aligning ourselves with a ‘powerful’ God, and not because we are in alignment with God’s expectation in men.

What will happen to such faith built on these stories if in some point in the future the excavations discover a record of the dreams dreamt by the Babylonian kings which are recorded real time and kept by a scribe? – just like the records maintained by the Kings of the line of Ahasuerus (Xerxes) of the Book of Esther? Would it not lead to a speculation that Daniel could have sweet talked his way to read those contemporaneous records of the Babylonian kings, with the assistance of the Ariochs?

Therefore, I believe that certain factual narrations which might have triggered our faith at the Sunday school level, should not be used as props to our faith in God after self realisation.

Life is a miracle and God is the master planner running the entire gamut of existence through set principles, with exceptions and provisos and special mentions. As such no knowledge – human knowledge would be sufficient to make formulae on the methods of God.

But acknowledging the existence of God and submitting to such a thought considering the vastness and depth and continuity of Existence could bring one to a sober self-realisation which is the best way to realise God. Definitely not through these jingoistic episodic narrations.

LAWS OF THE MEDES & PERSIANS!


In two books of the BIBLE the laws of the Medes & Persians find prominent mention.

ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF THE MEDES & PERSIANS, ONCE A DECREE IS PROMULGATED, IT CANNOT BE RESCINDED OR ALTERED, COME WHAT MAY! THE LAW STAYS.

The books in the Bible are ESTHER and DANIEL. Both Esther and Daniel were from Jewry, but both belonged to a generation when the Jews were under captivity. Esther was chosen from among many who competed to become the queen of  an Emperor called XERXES (Ahasuerus) of Persia. His father was Darius, son-in-law of Cyrus, who founded the Persian Empire.

So historically when we try to put things chronologically, Daniel served Darius before Esther warmed the bed of Xerxes.

Before Darius took over BABYLON, there was a king called Balshazzar s/o Nebuchadnezzar, who saw a WRITING ON THE WALL and got the writing interpreted through Daniel. The interpretation was ominous, yet Belshazzar true to his word honoured Daniel with a robe, gold chain etc etc. The next morning Belshazzar was killed, or atleast deposed, and Darius took over as the King of Babylon. Thereafter Daniel is elevated to being one of the top three rulers of the land and exercises great control and influence over Darius, that the other nobles scheme to get Daniel into trouble. A decree is passed that none shall petition any God or man except the King for thirty days and if anyone dared to petition his God or any man, the  OFFENCE would be  punishable by death.

Daniel used to pray thrice daily to Jehovah. So the nobles put him up for trial before the king Darius and it was decreed that Daniel should be put in a Lion’s den overnight. Daniel is put in a Lion’s den and he survives ( i think the Lions were well fed before Daniel went in- after all the King was sympathetic to him you see!). Darius is relieved the next morning to see Daniel alive.

The decree that none shall PETITION GOD OR MAN FOR 30 DAYS, was passed as a decree under the LAW OF THE MEDES & PERSIANS. So, whoever be the person found to have disregarded the decree was punishable. SO even DARIUS was not able to help. But the interesting part is that Darius after finding Daniel alive after his stint at the den, issues another order that all the nobles who accused Daniel were to be thrown into the Lion’s den (whether the same set of lions or not, i know not!). IN ANY CASE, the LAWS OF THE MEDES & PERSIANS BACKFIRED on the jealous nobles. The Bible says that the other nobles did not find favour with the lions as Daniel had!

In the curious case of ESTHER, she had married a Persian XERXES, against the tenets of  the Jewish Laws (plz refer EZRA chapter 9, if you doubt that!). This anathema-tic marriage to XERXES had its benign fallout for the Jewry who were in exile at SUSAN PALACE of Xerxes.  Xerxes was also a Persian like his father Darius and his blood was bluer than that of Darius, as Xerxes was not a commoner ever. His mother was Tossa d/o Cyrus. SO XERXES was doubly BLUE. Otherwise how could one justify a virgin being sent as a sexual fodder for Xerxes each evening, and at dawn the deflowered virgin was to get back to the custody of a Eunuch in another harem, and until called for by name should never go before XERXES?

ANYWAYS, getting back to our thread, Jews were hated by the chief Minister of Xerxes. His name was Haman. But he was not sharp – serious condition of INTELLIGENCE FAILURE. Haman had an enemy by name Mordecai, who was a Jew. The relevant part was that Haman, despite holding a position of such authority, did not know that ESTHER was the COUSIN of MORDECAI and therefore ESTHER  should also be a JEWESS. SO in a classic case of cutting off the nose to spite the face, HAMAN gets a DECREE under the LAWS OF MEDES and PERSIANS marking a date for destruction of the persons and property of the Jews. XERXES issues the decree. He himself doesn’t know a damn as to the stock from where his second Queen came from. So much for running their Kingdoms.

Esther, like any sharp Jewess, acts on the advice of her cousin Mordecai. Ensnares the busy Xerxes to come for dinner to her palaces, seduces his palate before she makes a petition for her LIFE. XERXES is outraged that anyone would dare kill his primus inter pares concubine. She lays it all open and begs that she and her people be spared.

SO NOW THE DECREE PASSED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE MEDES & PERSIANS CANNOT BE RESCINDED OR ALTERED, SO THE KING ORDERS THAT THE JEWS COULD GATHER THEMSELVES TOGETHER AND KILL AND PLUNDER THOSE WHO TRY TO KILL THEM  OR VANDALIZE THEIR PROPERTIES!

So eventually, the JEWS end up killing those who wanted to kill them. SO the Jews celebrate that day as PURIM.

ANOTHER CLASSIC CASE WHERE THE LAWS OF THE MEDES AND PERSIANS BACKFIRED.

The TRUTH is that, NEVER EVER MAKE A PROGRAMME TO EXTERMINATE ANYONE. IT COULD BACKFIRE AND THE ANGEL OF DEATH COULD TURN TO THE PERSON WHO BROUGHT HIM THERE TO EXECUTE IN THE FIRST PLACE. AFTER ALL HE CAN NOT PUT HIS DRAWN SWORD IN HIS SCABBARD WITHOUT SOMEONE’S BLOOD!

That is why, the LAWS OF MEDES & PERSIANS did not survive. In India we have MALLEABLE LAWS, with provisos, exceptional clauses, interpretations, ingenuous orders and a long winding legal labyrinth to hide some where.

LONG LIVE INDIAN LAWS AND LEGAL SYSTEM.

 

 

 

 

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