The Book of Daniel (2013) Movie Script

I have waited for you to
lead us out of Babylon,
for I was just a boy
when I came here.
The generation which
offended you has passed away,
and now their children's
children yearn to see a home...
they have never known.
You have spoken through
your prophet, Jeremiah,
"When 70 years are
completed for Babylon,
"I will come to you
and fulfill my gracious promise...
and bring you back
to this land."
My heart
grows with excitement...
that now
that time has come.
An old man who comes
unbidden is often a fool.
And less often
come as assassins.
Perhaps a foolish assassin.
Forgive us, my king.
Do you know
whom you address?
He is the king of Babylon,
ruler of the four
quarters of the earth,
Kurus, in the old Persian tongue.
He has seized
by might-of-arms...
the birthright which would
otherwise have been denied him.
He is Cyrus the Great.
Leave us.
Who are you, old man?
I am Daniel
of the tribe of Benjamin,
made captive nearly 70 years ago
by Nebuchadnezzar.
My king,
I have heard of this man.
He served Darius well after he
captured the city in your name.
It is said he spent
a night in the lions' den.
The beasts
would not touch him.
Is this true?
It is.
I know who you are now.
Tell me why you're here.
I seek
to tell you a story,
a tale of four kings:
one great, one foolish,
one who has been deceived,
and one who is destined
to be regarded as wise...
through all the ages
of the world to come.
Stories from
your imagination?
No, king, for I will
speak only the truth,
and if you would
not wish to hear it,
you must bid me
speak nothing.
You will give us
entertainment while we eat.
My king, we're expected
in Babylon this evening.
The palace will be there
in the morning.
As you wish.
I cannot, oh king.
My king, the Hebrews eat
and drink only their own food...
which is prepared
according to their rituals.
To do otherwise, even
from the hand of the king,
is to defile themselves.
You promised me
a tale, four, in fact.
I delayed my journey
to listen.
I will hear them now.
So be it, my lord.
The first king I will speak of
is Nebuchadnezzar,
King of Babylon.
When I was just a boy,
he threw down
the Assyrian empire,
my people's ancient nemesis,
but the destruction of Israel's
enemies brought us no relief...
because in the 3rd year
of Nebuchadnezzar's reign,
he turned his gaze upon
Jerusalem and besieged it,
and the Lord delivered
the king of Judea into his hand...
along with all of his officers,
nobles, and administrators.
When the exiles
arrived in Babylon,
Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz,
his chief eunuch,
to select some
of the Israelites...
from the royal family
and nobility,
young men without
any physical defect...
and showing aptitude
for every kind of learning,
one of whom was myself.
O Lord...
Jerusalem has sinned greatly.
Like a widow is she.
Once great
among the nations,
a queen among the people,
has become a slave...
and her children
captive before the foe.
My eyes overflow with tears,
for you, Lord,
are righteous,
yet we rebelled
against your command.
Comfort me, O Lord.
Comfort me and my brothers,
and restore our spirit.
I miss Jerusalem.
As do I.
I feel that we shall
never see her again.
Have faith, my brothers.
I have only begun my studies,
but here...
the prophet, Jeremiah,
son of Hilkiah,
has written that we shall
serve the king of Babylon...
for 70 years...
Seventy years
is a long time.
As punishment for our sins.
And even if
we were to survive it,
we would be very old.
Very old, indeed.
You are
summoned for your meal.
Why would they
only take 10,000 of us...
and leave the rest
of our people behind?
Yes, look at
who they've taken.
The scholars, the princes,
our military leaders,
and our families.
It's the
Babylonian way of conquest.
You take away the leaders,
and the rest
can easily be governed.
They've changed our
names, hoping we'll forget our God;
and our clothes
so we'll look like them.
They've changed
everything about us.
We need to make
each other a promise,
never to become like them.
My brothers,
such a promise is worthless,
for we are but men.
What we need to promise
is to always love our God...
and be obedient to him,
and in so doing, what we become
on the outside will not matter.
Set it here.
Set it here.
Lord Steward,
please allow me to ask.
What is this meat?
Where is it from,
and how was it slaughtered?
The cattle
are from the king's herd.
They are fattened
along the river...
and strangled before
the altars of Marduk...
before their flesh
is carried to the kitchens.
The swine are
from the king's pens.
They are fed on choice food,
and it is rumored the king's
executioner laces their feet...
with the entrails
of his victims,
so that the king's chosen
may feast and grow strong...
on the flesh of his enemies.
It is considered
the greatest of delicacies.
To some perhaps,
but not to us.
We are forbidden to eat it,
for the Almighty
has commanded us,
"The pig is unclean.
You are not to eat their meat
or touch their carcasses."
Nor can we eat anything
sacrificed to gods...
other than our own.
But the king cannot... he will not
change the customs of his hall...
to fit your wishes.
You must know this.
And we will not
ask him to.
But you must eat.
I have been charged
with your well-being.
If you are seen
to be wasting away,
I'm afraid of what my lord,
the king, will do.
He will have my head.
And we would
not wish it so.
put your servants to the test.
For 10 days give us nothing
but vegetables to eat...
and water to drink.
Then compare our appearance...
to that of the other young men
who eat the royal food.
- Ten days?
- Ten days.
And if after that your
appearance is found wanting?
Then we will
do as you wish.
Your request was polite.
I'm rather surprised
it was honored.
I have no doubt the Lord
favorably disposed his heart...
to hear our request.
By the end of 10 days,
my companions and I looked
healthier and better-nourished...
than the young men
who ate the royal food,
and so the chief eunuch
allowed us to continue...
refusing the wine
and choice fare,
and we remained un-defiled.
The period of our instruction
went by quickly.
During those many years we
were living in a foreign land,
speaking a foreign language,
and living under
a foreign king.
Despite this,
our hearts belonged only to God,
and at the end of that time
my companions and I...
were presented before
Nebuchadnezzar himself.
were presented before
Nebuchadnezzar himself.
The king's executioner,
Arioch, will be in the chamber.
If you are found unworthy,
you will be
executed on the spot,
and so will I.
Lord, king, I present you
the princes of Judah,
preserved by the
right hand of your mercy...
and tutored by the
left hand of your wisdom.
They are come before you now for
judgment as to their training.
They are Belteshazzar,
Meshach, and Abednego.
Who am I?
You are Nebuchadnezzar,
son and heir of Nabopolassar,
king of Babylon.
You have destroyed
Nineveh the Mighty,
seat of Assyria,
and taken from her hand
the scepter of nations.
You are the commander of
commanders and king of kings,
from the rising of the sun unto
its setting in the western sea,
and beneath heaven there is
none more powerful than thee.
You, come forth.
Why should I allow you,
sons of my former enemies,
to serve in my court?
Because you have spared
the lives of our people...
who were delivered
into your hand...
and because the word
of the prophet Jeremiah...
has come unto us saying,
"This is what
the Lord God Almighty,
"the God of Israel,
says to all those...
"carried into exile
from Jerusalem to Babylon,
"'Build houses,
and settle down.
'"Plant gardens,
and eat what they produce.
Marry and have
sons and daughters.
'"Also, seek the
prosperity of the city...
'"to which I have
carried you into exile.
Pray to the Lord for it,
for if it prospers,
you too will prosper."'
This is good.
So now even your God
commands you to serve me.
I have no need
of lap dogs.
Would you dare
to tell me the truth...
even if you knew
it would displease me?
Lord, king,
it must be so.
I will speak only the truth,
and when you
would not hear it,
you must ask me nothing.
I pronounce them worthy.
Have their names be written
in the Book of the Wise.
questioning showed wisdom.
A former enemy
can be a good counselor.
If they can be trusted.
And a wise king is capable
of choosing whom to trust,
for are you not Croesus,
formerly king of Lydia...
and once the richest
man in the world...
whose name alone
signified riches...
almost beyond
I am he.
Trusting the words
of the Oracle of Delphi,
I went to war with Cyrus
and was defeated.
Cyrus pardoned me
and my family.
I am eternally grateful.
counselors, rare indeed,
as Nebuchadnezzar
came to learn at a time...
when his Babylonian
counselors, his magi,
sorcerers, diviners,
magicians, and astrologers...
were unable to help him.
were unable to help him.
What is it, my king?
Summon my counselors.
The enchanters, the sorcerers,
or the astrologers?
All of them!
Oh, king!
Your wisest subjects
have arrived.
Command, and it is done.
I've had a dream
that troubles me.
I need to know
what it means.
Oh, king, tell your
servants your dream,
and we will
interpret it for you.
What need I have wise men
who are not wise, hmm?
Astrologers who read
nothing in the stars.
Magicians who
perform children's tricks.
Sorcerers who divine nothing
except what I tell them.
No, it is enough for the
king to dream his dreams.
It is up to you
to discern and interpret them.
But, my lord, if only
you would tell us your dream...
we could interpret it,
as we have always done.
I know you're
trying to gain time...
or trick me into revealing
what I've seen.
Either may I'll have none of it.
But there's no man on
earth who can do what the king asks.
No king has ever asked
such a thing before.
Only the gods
could know these things,
and when we ask
they don't answer.
Well, I suggest you try
and get them to answer,
or beg that they endow you
with the necessary skills...
to divine it on your own,
for as I am king I swear
that when the sun rises,
if my dream is not
made known to me...
along with its interpretation,
you will all be made shorter
by the height of your heads.
You may withdraw
Lord Ashpenaz, is it true?
It is.
Why has the king
issued such a harsh decree?
Why don't you come along with me
and ask him yourself?
- Lord, king.
- What?
requests an audience.
Oh king, live forever.
I have heard your decree,
and I understand that
I shall fall beneath the blade...
if your dream is not
made known and interpreted.
I ask only for more time that
I might withdraw for a while,
my friends and I,
to pray to our God...
and see if he might not
make the dream known to us.
The time is fixed.
It cannot be altered.
The sentence is to be
carried out at sunrise.
You may withdraw
so long as you return at dawn,
as your fate
and that of the others...
is one in the same,
and when you return be sure to
bring your companions with you.
Shall I send
guards along, my king?
No, if he says he'll pray,
he'll pray not flee.
Of that much
at least I'm sure.
Even if we
were to flee the city...
the whole world
would've been against us,
not that it mattered...
I had given my word
and intended to keep it.
I would pray and hope
that the answer came.
Prepare to
bind the prisoners.
Once the sun rises
there can be no delay.
Bring forth the councilors!
Oh king, live forever.
Oh king, do not
execute these men, I beg you.
your death is upon you as well...
unless you know my dream
and can interpret it.
I am, and I will.
Praise be to the God
of my fathers forever and ever.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals
deep and hidden things...
and has made plain
all that you have asked,
for he has shown me
the vision of the king.
Then speak!
As you lay upon your bed,
oh king, you looked,
and there before you
stood a large statue,
awesome in its appearance.
The head of the statue
was made of pure gold,
its chest and arms of silver,
its belly
and thighs of bronze,
its legs of iron,
its feet partly of iron
and partly of baked clay.
As you were watching,
a rock was cutout...
but not by human hands.
It struck the statue
on its feet of iron and clay...
and smashed them.
Then the iron, the clay, the
bronze, the silver, and the gold...
were all broken
to pieces at the same time,
and the winds swept them
away without a trace,
but the rock that struck
the statue became a mountain...
and filled the whole earth.
You have done what
I was told was impossible.
This mystery
has been revealed to me...
not because I am
wiser than other men...
but because God wishes you...
to understand
the meaning of your dream.
You know my dream
as if you dreamt it yourself.
What does it mean?
You, oh king,
are the king of kings.
The God of heaven
has given you dominion...
and power
and might and glory.
In your hands
he has placed mankind.
He has made you
ruler over the nation,
for you are
the head of pure gold.
After you,
another kingdom will rise,
inferior to yours.
Next, a third kingdom,
one of bronze,
will rule over
the whole earth.
Finally, there will be
a fourth kingdom strong as iron,
for iron breaks
and smashes things to pieces,
but just as you saw...
that the feet and toes
were partly of baked clay...
and partly of iron,
so this people will be a mixture
and not remain united...
any more than
iron mixes with clay.
And in the time
of those kings...
the God of heaven
will set up a kingdom...
that will never
be destroyed.
It will crush those kingdoms
and bring them to an end...
but will itself
endure forever.
The Almighty
has shown the king...
what will take place
in the future.
The dream is true,
and the interpretation
is trustworthy.
I am the head of gold?
Yes, oh king,
you are the head of pure gold.
Surely your God
is the God of gods,
the ruler of kings,
and the revealer of mysteries.
Let this man be paid honor
and present him with incense.
Let this man be paid honor
and present him with incense.
Thus, the
king made me ruler...
over the entire
province of Babylon,
and at my request...
made Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego administrators.
King Nebuchadnezzar made
an image of gold 90 feet high.
All were commanded
to fall down and worship,
and all did as commanded
except for three.
- King.
- Live forever!
A moment
of your precious time.
As your dutiful servants,
we know the law that when
the horn sounds we all bow down.
And worship your image.
But these Jews
whom you have set over...
the affairs of the
province of Babylon...
pay no attention
to you, oh king.
They neither
worship your gods...
or serve the image
of gold you've created.
Is this true?
Do you refuse
to worship my statue?
Oh king, we do not need to
defend ourselves before you...
in this matter.
Then you shall be
thrown into the furnace,
and no guard
will save you from my hand.
If we are thrown
into the blazing furnace,
our God will
defend us from it.
And if he does not,
we want you to know oh king,
that we will not
serve your gods...
or worship
the statue of gold...
You dare to defy me?
Let the furnace
be heated sevenfold.
Bind them, and cast
them into the fire!
There were three
thrown into the fire.
Certainly, your king.
But now I see four,
and the fourth...
The fourth looks like
an angel of God.
The fire has not
harmed your bodies.
Not a hair is singed.
Your robes, there's not even
a smell of the fire on you.
Praise be to your God
who sent his angel
to rescue his servants.
You trusted in him.
You defied my commands.
You were willing
to give up your lives...
rather than serve any
but your own God.
Therefore, I decree
any who speaks ill...
of the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, Abednego,
will be cut into little pieces
and his house turned to rubble,
for no other God
can save in this way.
And for a time all was well...
until Nebuchadnezzar's
sleep was troubled...
yet by another dream.
It seems like
Nebuchadnezzar's life was rife...
with dreams and prophesies
much like my own has been.
Before I was born,
my grandfather, Astyages,
was troubled by a dream...
where a flood
beginning near his throne...
was overflowing
the whole earth.
When he went
to his astrologers...
and his diviners
for an interpretation,
they told him that
his grandson was destined...
to one day usurp him.
So he sent his daughter,
Mandane, into exile,
and when a son
was born to her...
he conspired
to have it stolen...
and exposed
on a hilltop to die.
But a shepherd whose wife...
had recently given birth
to a stillborn child...
persuaded her husband to trade
her dead infant for the living,
and the shepherd
raised the boy as his own.
The king, upon being
presented with the dead infant,
repented of his crime.
He didn't learn
until 10 years later...
that the boy
was actually alive,
at which time
he pardoned the boy...
and restored him
to his rightful parents,
and for a time
the matter was forgotten.
Until one day, years later,
when you marched
into your grandfather's city...
at the head of your troops
and seized the throne of Medea,
taking the old man captive, and
the prophecy was proven true.
Old Astyages,
he knew of the prophecy,
but he was powerless
to overcome it.
As all men are powerless
to prevent their fate...
if the prophesizing
be true.
Listen then, as I tell
of the prophetic vision...
that led to
Nebuchadnezzar's madness.
For when he dreamed
that great dream,
his enchanters, sorcerers,
and astrologers...
were once again unable
to interpret the vision.
When I was asleep...
I had a dream
which made me afraid.
The images I saw
terrified me.
I looked and saw before me...
a tree in the middle
of the land.
A tree grew strong and tall.
Its top touched the sky,
and it was visible
to the ends of the earth.
Its leaves,
they were beautiful.
Its fruit was abundant.
The beasts of the field
took shelter under it,
and the birds of the air
lived in its branches,
and from it
every creature was fed.
Then I looked again,
and I saw a messenger
coming down from heaven,
and he cried out aloud,
"Cut down the tree!
"Trim off its branches.
"Strip its leaves.
"Scatter its fruit.
"Let the beasts
flee from under it...
"and the birds
fly from its branches,
"but let the stump
and its roots,
"bound in iron and brass,
"remain in the ground
in the grass of the field.
"Let it be drenched
by the dew from heaven.
"Let it live with
the animals of the earth,
"and let its mind be changed
from that of a man...
to the mind of an animal."
This is the dream that I had.
What does it mean?
My lord, if only the dream
applied to your enemies...
and its meaning
to your adversaries.
The tree which you saw...
which grew large and strong
with its top touching the sky,
you, oh king, are that tree.
You have become
great and strong.
Your greatness has grown
until it reaches the sky,
and your dominion extends to
the distant parts of the earth.
But you saw a messenger,
a holy one,
coming down
from heaven, saying,
"Cut down the tree,
and destroy it,
"but leave the stump,
bound with iron and bronze,
"in the grass of the field...
"while its roots remain
in the ground.
"Let him be drenched
with the dew of heaven.
Let him live
like wild animals."
This is the interpretation,
oh king,
and this is the decree...
that the Most High has issued
against my lord, the king.
You will be
driven away from people...
and live with
the wild animals.
You will eat grass like cattle
until you acknowledge...
that the Most High is sovereign
over the kingdoms of men...
and gives them
to anyone he wishes.
The command to leave the
stump of the tree with its roots...
means that your kingdom
will be restored to you...
when you acknowledge
that the Most High rules.
Therefore, oh king,
be pleased to accept my advice.
Renounce your sins
by doing what is right...
and your wickedness
by being kind to the oppressed.
Seek the Lord
while he may be found,
and it may be that
your prosperity will continue.
But the memory
of kings is often short,
and 12 months later...
when the king was walking
on the roof of the royal palace
of Babylon...
In all the world
is there anything like this?
No, my king.
My great wall which
mountain-like cannot be moved.
I've made with mortar
and brick its foundations.
I've placed upon the very bosom
of the underworld, its top.
I've raised mountain high.
Is this not
the great Babylon...
that I have built
as my royal palace...
with my mighty power
for the glory of my majesty?
His words
were still on his lips...
when a voice
came down from heaven,
Nebuchadnezzar, for your arrogance...
and your failure
to give glory to the Most High,
your authority
is stripped from you.
Go now from this kingdom
which you claim.
Your mind shall be reduced
to that of an animal,
and you will wander the land...
until you acknowledge the
glory of God as above your own.
Immediately what had
been said about Nebuchadnezzar...
was fulfilled.
The greatest
of those below heaven,
he sought to make
himself as great as he...
who rules above heaven,
and the Lord
would not have it.
Because he insisted on being
more than he was made,
he became less
than he was made.
Because he aspired
to be more than a man,
he became
less than a man.
He became
like the wild beasts.
How did he survive
alone in the wilds?
Even in his insanity...
neither the lion
nor the bear disturbed him...
though he wandered
alone and unarmed...
and slept naked in the places
where they found their food...
because it
had been prophesied...
that one day he would
honor the Most High.
For 7 years he ranged
the wild lands of Babylon,
but it was not until the full
time of his exile was completed...
that he turned his
eyes toward heaven...
and declared...
Praise be
to the Most High.
Honor and glory
to him who lives forever.
Rise, Nebuchadnezzar.
For he is to be given
his eternal dominion.
Before him all the people of the
earth are regarded as nothing.
He may do as he pleases...
with the powers of heaven
and all the people of the earth,
and no one, no one,
may say him, "Nay."
No one may say him,
Beware your place,
for I am not as I was.
Let it be recorded
that I, Nebuchadnezzar,
do praise, exalt,
and glorify the King of heaven...
because everything
he does is right,
and all his ways are just,
and those who walk in pride
he is able to humble.
And so Nebuchadnezzar
returned to his throne,
but eventually he was
gathered to his fathers,
and a series of new kings
came to the throne,
none fasting more
than a short time.
You're about to tell
about the downfall of Babylon,
are you not?
I am.
Well, at last we come
to the part of the tale...
where I have some
knowledge to share.
For though I had conquered
from east to west,
Babylon was
the last to resist me,
and I dreaded its siege,
for Babylon's wealth had allowed
her to lay in enough grain...
to last for years,
and her towers, walls,
and gates were so formidable...
that even untrained men
could defend them with ease,
walls too high to scale,
with parapets wide enough
for chariots to patrol them,
and a river-fed moat to cross
before even getting there.
It was enough
to freeze the heart...
of even an old soldier
such as I am.
Then one night
as I lay on the ground...
courting sleep
that would not come,
a thought came to me.
From whence it came
I do not know,
like some spirit of God
whispered it in my ear.
But the River Euphrates
which flowed down to Babylon...
raised above its natural level
hemmed in by dams and dikes,
but if dams were opened full
and the dikes were broken,
the river which ran straight
through the heart of the city...
would fall to nothing.
An army poised
and ready to strike...
could march into the city
on its dry riverbed...
underneath the gates
designed to repel ships...
when the river
was at its normal level.
And I suddenly realized
I'd been given a key...
to defeat
the mighty Babylon.
It was as though
in all the world,
throughout all of history,
I was the only one
that had the thought.
All it required was
the right moment to act.
A night when
every man in Babylon,
from the least
to the king himself,
would drink himself ill
in honor of their gods...
who were naught
but worthless idols...
and could not protect them.
Listen, oh king,
and I will tell of the
second king of my story,
king of Babylon,
both foolish and wicked
of equal measure.
But, king.
We still have our threefold
walls with their battlements,
and within our granaries
we have grain enough to endure...
a seed of 10 years.
Our watchmen have seen
the Persians digging, my lord.
They seem quite
concerned about this, my king.
Yes, yes, they will
look to build a siege ramp...
against the city.
First, they must build
a causeway across the moat.
That alone will take months.
In the meantime,
let us feast and toast Marduk,
patron god of Babylon.
To Marduk!
These cups have a taste,
and I will not have it so.
Bring me the golden vessels
from the temple of Jerusalem.
But, my king,
is it wise to use the vessels?
My king, these cups
are considered sacred,
are they not, my king?
Perhaps in Jerusalem by that
pathetic desert deity of Judah,
but here they are
spoil for our gods,
and they would have you
use them as I see fit.
Bring them!
Yes, you see these vessels?
In Jerusalem, they were used
for the worship of their God.
Now, instead of the blood
of bulls and rams,
let them flow
with foaming wine,
for I am not
a devourer of blood.
I am a devourer of drink
and choice fare.
To Marduk,
the god of our city!
To Marduk!
And to our
idols of gold and silver,
bronze and iron,
wood and stone,
partake of our pleasures,
and protect our city.
Whoever reads this
and tells me what it means...
shall be clothed in purple...
and have a gold chain
placed around his neck...
and be made third highest ruler
in the kingdom.
And all the
king's wise men came in,
but they could not
interpret the inscription...
or tell the king
what it meant,
so Belshazzar became
even more terrified.
A Judean once told
Nebuchadnezzar, your forefather,
of his dreams.
He succeeded
when everyone else had failed.
This man, Daniel, whom
the king called Belteshazzar,
he could tell you
what this writing means.
Does he still live?
He does.
Bring him to me quickly,
but do not harm him.
We shall soon learn if this
Hebrew can do as you say.
Nothing it would seem is
too sacred not to be profaned...
under the influence of wine.
Nothing, oh king.
How can I be
of service, highness?
Are you Daniel,
one of the exiles my father
brought back from Judah?
I am he.
I am told you are able
to give interpretations...
and solve difficult problems.
If you can read
the writing on that wall,
you will be
clothed in purple,
have a chain of gold
placed around your neck,
and be made third highest
ruler in the kingdom.
Long ago I told your forefather,
that I would speak to him
only the truth...
and that if he
rather not hear it,
he should ask me nothing.
Perhaps it would be better
if you asked me nothing.
No, it is unseemly
for a king to be baffled...
by a message
in his own hall.
No human hand
has scribed it.
No other tongue
can interpret it.
Tell me what it means,
be of good or ill.
Oh king,
the Most High God...
gave your father,
greatness and glory,
but when his heart
became arrogant...
he was deposed from his throne
and stripped of his glory...
until he acknowledged
that the Most High is sovereign...
over the kingdoms of men.
Even though
you knew all this,
you should have
appealed to him.
Instead, you've set yourself up
against the Lord of heaven.
You had the goblets
of his temple brought to you...
and praised the gods
of bronze and iron,
wood and stone,
instead of him.
These vessels were made for
the service of the Most High,
and you have used them
to pour wine for your harlots.
Would you humble the Almighty
by desecrating his possessions?
Would you bind him
like a captive...
and beat him like a slave?
Would you pluck out his eyes...
and have him beg for scraps
of food beneath your table?
This you would do if you could,
and the Almighty knows it.
This is his answer to you.
The Lord God will
strike you down like an enemy,
for he has bidden his angel
to unsheathe his sword.
These then are the
words he has written.
"Mene," God has numbered
the days of your reign...
and brought it to an end.
"Tekel," you have been
weighed in the scales...
and found wanting.
"Upharsin," your
kingdom is divided...
and given to the Medes
and Persians.
This very night your life
will be demanded of you,
and before the sun rises
your flesh will grow cold.
Thus says the Lord,
"Your line is ended.
Your rule is over.
Your kingship is no more."
ls there nothing
to be done?
No, in your arrogance you
have doomed not only yourself...
but your house, your line,
your inheritance, your city,
and your kingdom.
Choose now where you will
spend your last few hours.
But knowing your fate,
who now will love thee?
Who now will fear you?
Will the least
of your slaves comfort you,
or will they desert you,
seeking to avoid
the fate which is yours?
Let it be
as I have commanded.
Let this man
be clothed in purple,
a chain of gold
placed around his neck,
for I am not dead yet.
All hail, King Darius!
I am King Belshazzar
of the Babylonia. Unhand me!
- Surrender or die!
- Never!
Send word to Cyrus
this city's taken in his name.
As he has commanded,
I shall assume the crown.
Do you know
who stands before you?
You are Darius,
the Mede-Persian,
uncle and father-in-law
to Cyrus...
who has by stratagem
taken this city.
By right of conquest,
you are now the king.
Yes, and you are
an official of Babylon.
Why should I not kill you?
It is true I served Babylon
in the days of Nebuchadnezzar...
whom I served
truly and well,
but her latter kings
I did not serve until tonight.
How is this possible?
It is a reward
for letting Belshazzar know...
that you were
about to take the city.
Who told you?
Have we a traitor
in our ranks?
It was revealed to me
by my God...
who sent his angel to scribe
the writing on that wall.
It is true.
He read the inscription
and revealed the message.
He told the king that
he would die this very night.
Though brought here
as an exile in my youth,
by birth I am a Hebrew
from the kingdom of Judea,
and I serve the God
of my forefathers.
The Most High
reveals to me what he sees fit.
Am I to believe your God
revealed my coming to you?
If I was to lie,
would this be
the lie I would choose?
Who else could have
revealed your deepest secret...
and known ahead of time
that you would succeed...
or known with certainty
that you would slay Belshazzar?
And how could you have done so
if the Lord had not decreed it?
For is it not by the
hand of the Most High...
that both victories
and disasters come?
I would have you put this gift
of divination in my service,
yet how do I know
I can trust you, Hebrew?
I will speak to you
honestly, my king,
and when you
would not hear the truth...
you must ask me nothing.
So be it.
I see by your insignia...
you were made third
in all of Babylon,
but that is not
the Persian way,
for below me I have
three administrators,
all of equal rank.
Yet I shall name you
one of the three.
What of the
other counselors?
Slay them.
If they were loyal to the former
master, they are no good to me.
If they were
disloyal to him,
then they will be
disloyal to me.
Ah, Darius.
He's twice my uncle
by blood and marriage...
and serves me well
as co-counsel to my empire.
As it pleased Darius
to appoint 120 satraps...
to rule throughout the kingdom
with administrators above them,
one of whom was me,
but before long
I so distinguished myself...
that Darius planned to set me
over the whole kingdom.
Which would cause
great envy among the others.
Yes, oh king.
So they called
a meeting in secret...
and planned
for my destruction.
- Are we safe?
- Yes.
- Did anyone see you?
- No.
Why are we meeting
so far from the city?
Do you think
it would be wise...
for this meeting
to be overheard by anyone?
Are you sure
you weren't followed?
Not unless
whatever's following has wings.
We don't have much time.
Daniel being put over us,
if we allow it to stand,
means our demise.
Once he is in charge...
he'll be looking into
everything we do.
Perhaps we
should eliminate him.
- A hunting accident.
- He doesn't hunt.
A sudden illness
or a drowning.
Who would believe it?
Maybe we can
ensnare him.
How? There is no corruption
in him nor any negligence.
He is as diligent
as he is skillful.
There must be some way.
He claims he's so effective
because three times a day...
his heart inclines
to the city of God.
There's a spirit
of excellence in him.
In every test
he has proven faithful.
No one is that honest.
On the contrary,
I had a man
try to bribe him once,
and a very generous
bribe at that.
He would have
no part of it.
Such a man is dangerous.
How long before he learns...
that we've been
generous with ourselves...
and covered the thefts
with false accounts?
We'll never be able to find any
basis for charges against him...
unless it has something
to do with that God of his.
That invisible God of his.
No altars, no shrines, no idols,
laying claim to every good thing...
yet somehow
not responsible for the bad.
I've seen him praying
before his window on his knees...
facing Jerusalem
morning, noon, and night,
always the same.
Then perhaps
we need to make him stop.
He won't do it.
Then perhaps we need
to make sure he continues.
You say there is nothing anyone
can do to stop his prayers.
No, nothing.
What if the penalty for
this devotion of his was death?
If we could forbid
his prayers for an entire month...
under penalty
of immediate execution?
Don't be ridiculous.
He'll just stop praying.
No, he won't.
I know him.
He can't keep himself from
praying to that God of his
for one day,
let alone a month.
I still don't see
how it will ever work.
The king knows
that Daniel and his people...
pray continuously
and only to one God.
Which is why we need
to disguise our purpose.
A more fitting
testimony to your honesty...
could not have been made.
Had there been any
infidelity in your record...
they would have
discovered it.
Indeed, they could find
nothing amiss in my work,
neither willfully nor through
negligence or lack of care,
so they tried to trip me up
with my prayers.
But since worship of the
Most High was not prohibited...
by the laws of the realm, they
had to conceal their purpose...
like poison
in a cup of honey.
Oh king, it has come
to our attention that...
there are those
among your subjects...
who still cling
to the old gods of Babylon...
in the hopes that their line
of kings may yet be restored.
And have not
submitted to your rule.
Who are they that I may bring
them before me and destroy them?
It is not that simple of a
matter to detect them, oh king,
for they are devious...
and work to hide
their treasonous thoughts.
And have you
come before me...
without a plan
for discovering them?
We would dare not do so,
oh king.
Indeed, we have
labored to construct a plan...
whereby the loyalty
of all may be tested.
Then speak of it.
If, oh king,
you were to issue an edict...
that none in Babylon
nor anywhere in the empire...
may pray to anyone,
be it to God or man,
except to you
for a period of 30 days.
But what of the gods of Persia,
my servant, obey?
Well, you alone,
oh king, would be free to pray to them
and offer them sacrifice.
You would stand
as a priest before all the peoples...
and in this way ingratiate
yourself to the gods themselves...
because for an entire month...
all of their worship
would come from you.
Thus, their
worship will continue through you,
and the old gods of Babylon
will be starved for worship,
lessening their power.
How would you
enforce such an edict?
No one would be allowed to
go before any altar or shrine...
for the entire period
except for you.
And anyone found
violating the decree...
would be thrown into
the lions' den before sundown...
on the very day
of the offense.
In this way their
treason would be discovered and eliminated...
In a single stroke.
I approve your plan.
I, Darius,
command it be made so.
In anticipation
of your approval, oh king,
we have taken the liberty
of drafting the edict...
and bringing it along.
Well done.
Bring it here
that I may fix my seal.
Let all the world
hear and obey.
So Darius found no
need to consider it further.
Darius had a great deal
of experience as a soldier,
but very little as a ruler
until Babylon fell.
Once signed, the
order could not be changed.
That every order be upheld,
for the law cannot
be countermanded...
and the laws cannot
contradict themselves,
but each law be fixed,
for the king cannot err.
And once a law is written,
even the king himself
cannot change it.
Such is the law of Persia.
The king's seal
is barely dry.
Already you
have defied his law.
You made your choice.
You chose your God
over your king.
Take him away!
Oh king, it is my
sad duty to inform you...
that someone has already
defied your decree.
Bring him to me.
Bring forth the prisoner.
He is one of the
exiles from Judah.
He pays no attention
to you, oh king,
or to the decree
you have put in writing.
He still prays
three times a day.
What sort of
foolishness is this?
Daniel is my chief advisor.
No one is above the law.
Yes, sadly, oh king,
no one is above the law.
Bring forth the tablet.
Is this not the edict
from the king,
signed with your own seal?
"Let it be known
that for the next 30 days...
"anyone who prays to any god or
man other than Darius the king...
"shall be thrown
into the lions' den...
"on the same day
the offense is discovered.
"By my hand and seal,
Darius the king,
ruler of the Medes
and Persians."
Call my counselors together.
We will begin the trial.
Oh king, live forever.
There is no need
of a trial.
I am guilty.
Knowing the king's command,
I have disobeyed it.
The commands
of the king are immutable...
and once uttered
cannot be changed.
I shall command
my wise men...
to make every effort
to search out some reason...
that the law
may be found unenforceable.
I do not think
they will find one.
Let them search, oh king,
but only for a short time...
because your own law commands
that sentence be carried out...
the day of the offense.
Already the shadows
are starting to grow long,
and you have
only until sunset.
Darius was angry with himself...
for allowing himself
to be fooled,
seeing that their purpose
was not for his honor and glory...
but rather
for my destruction.
And so Darius
had the law books searched...
to discover if there
might be some legal way...
to spare my life.
It is as I expected.
Why didn't I consult you before
passing that accursed law?
Now I'm forced to abide
by my own decree.
A king who will not enforce
his own laws cannot be a king.
Your enemies know this
and use it to their advantage.
Do not grieve, oh king.
The Most High does not
want you to deliver me.
If he grants me deliverance,
it will be by his
own hand not yours.
It is a privilege
he reserves unto himself.
And now it is time, oh king,
that I may not
break your laws a second time.
I will walk with you,
Daniel, one last time.
As you wish, oh king.
Of those who esteemed
to bring about my death,
I will say only this.
My forefather, Abraham,
came from this land,
and the Most High
said unto him,
"I will make you
into a great nation.
"I will bless those
who bless you,
and whoever curses you
I will curse."
They have surely cursed me...
and may yet live to reap
the fruits of that curse.
And may yet live to reap
the fruits of that curse.
A cup of wine
from the king's own hand.
I cannot drink it, oh king.
It is blessed to your gods,
not mine.
Not so, Daniel.
I have gone to your people...
and asked for wine
which was blessed by them.
In the cup
I have poured no libation.
One last gesture
of friendship.
My king.
Good bye, my friend.
Farewell but perhaps
not good bye.
We have yet to see
what the dawn will bring.
Hear, oh Israel,
Lord our God,
the Lord has won.
He is angry with us.
It will fade.
By tomorrow morning
Daniel will be a distant memory,
and the king
will need us again.
Have mercy on me,
O God.
No, no,
take it away, all of it!
Tonight I honor Daniel
in silence with fasting.
Now leave me!
God, have mercy on me.
In you my soul takes refuge
in the midst of lions,
surrounded by ravenous beasts
with teeth of spears,
with tongues
as sharp as swords.
I call upon your name,
O Lord.
From the depths of the pit,
hear my plea.
Come near.
You say, "Do not fear."
O Lord, take up my case.
Redeem my life.
Oh, a divine plan,
my friends.
A toast to the lions
who show no partiality...
to a Hebrew
over any other man.
I will extol
the Lord at all times.
His praise
be ever on my lips.
But those
who seek the Lord...
will lack
for no good thing.
A righteous man
may have many troubles,
but the Lord rescues him
from them all.
You have rescued me
from the mouth of lions,
and I will declare your name
to my brothers.
In the congregation
I will praise you.
Out of my way!
Out of my way!
Servant of the living God,
has your God
been able to save you?
Oh king, live forever.
My God has sent his angel,
and he shut the mouth
of the lions.
They have not hurt me...
because I was
found innocent in his sight.
Come forth.
Behold, there is
no sign of wound on him,
for he has
trusted in his God.
Surely your God
is above all men,
for while you were in the
lions' den you were in his hand.
How much must the man pay if he
steals another man's treasure?
With his hands perhaps.
But what if that man
who is robbed is the king...
and the treasure
his prized possession?
Is there any penalty
less than death which will do?
If so, speak now,
and let me consider it.
But, oh king,
he is a Hebrew.
Why should you
put such trust in him?
This Hebrew is the
greatest treasure I possess.
He speaks to his God,
and more importantly
his God speaks to him.
You have deceived me
as to your purpose.
You fashioned my own words
as a snare above my feet...
knowing my edict
could not be reversed,
but the living God,
the God of Daniel,
has delivered him
out of my hand.
For 6 days
they have hungered,
but today they shall feed.
No, please!
Please wait, king, please!
You fools.
Did you not think
I would punish you?
No, my king.
They have spread a net
for my feet.
I was bowed down
in distress.
They have dug
a pit in my path,
but they have fallen
into it themselves.
I, Darius, issue a decree
that in every part of my kingdom...
people must fear
and reverence the God of Daniel,
for he is the living God,
and he endures forever.
His kingdom
will not be destroyed.
His dominion will never end.
He rescues, and he saves.
He performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.
And so I served
Darius throughout his reign.
However, my heart
stiff longed to see Jerusalem.
For 70 years I had waited,
and I knew
our time was near.
Lord, through your
prophet, Jeremiah,
"When 70 years are
completed for Babylon,
"I will come to you
and fulfill my gracious promise...
and bring you
back to this land."
My heart
grows with excitement...
that now
that time has come.
And so your journey
has led you here.
You have spoken
of three kings:
Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty;
Belshazzar, the foolish;
Darius, who was deceived.
Who is this fourth king?
It is he of whom
these scrolls speak of.
It is one chosen by
the Most High...
to perform great
and mighty deeds
before he was ever
knitted in his mother's womb.
Hear then, oh king,
the words which were Mitten...
more than 150 years ago,
for these are the words
of the prophet Isaiah,
son of Amoz.
"From the east I summon
a ravenous bird of prey...
"from a far off land
to fulfill my purpose.
"When I have said,
I will bring about;
what I have planned,
that will I do."
A bird of prey?
The Lord's chosen will carry
out his purpose against Babylon.
His ann will be against
the Babylonians.
He pursues them unscathed...
by a path
he has not travelled before.
True, I had never saw
the regions of the Euphrates...
or further westward
until I came in conquest.
And yet you chased
your enemies uninjured.
They had no power to rally.
You were not led into ambush,
and you were safe as far as
you chose to pursue them,
were you not?
That's true.
This is what the
Lord says to his anointed.
"Cyrus, whose right hand
I take hold of..."
It mentions me by name?
It does.
"To Cyrus, whose right
hand I take hold of...
"to subdue nations
before him,
"and to strip kings
of their armor,
"to open doors before him...
"so that gates
will not be shut.
"I will go before you
and will level the mountains.
"I will break down
gates of bronze...
"and cut through
bars of iron.
"I will give you
the treasures of darkness,
"riches stored
in secret places...
"so that you may know that
lam the Lord God of Israel...
who summons you by name."
And when you
captured Babylon,
their treasures were
the richest in the world,
were they not?
Oh, indeed they were,
and Croesus will testify.
Yes, quite
the most magnificent.
Oh king, if I may.
Please continue.
Please continue.
"Cyrus, for the sake of Jacob
my servant, of Israel my chosen,
"I summon you by name
and give you a place of honor.
"Though you do not
acknowledge me, I am the Lord.
"I will strengthen you, though
you have not acknowledged me,
"so that from
the rising of the sun...
"to the place of its setting,
"men may know
there is none beside me.
I am the Lord.
There is no other."
And do you understand
that the Most High has the power...
to raise up kings
and to throw them down?
Yes, I do.
I profess it.
And that you, oh king,
are like a polished arrow...
hidden in the quiver
of the Almighty,
carefully preserved
for its day of use?
Yes, how else to explain
my unlikely birth...
or my survival
or successes?
How else
might it be explained?
All my life I had always thought
of myself as favored by my gods.
Is it possible that
I've been favored by yours?
You have answered
your own question, oh king.
For nearly 2 centuries...
the message in this scroll
has awaited your coming.
This is what the Lord says.
"I am the Lord
who has made all things,
"who alone stretched
out the heavens,
"who spread out
the earth by myself,
"who foils the signs
of false prophets...
"and makes fools of diviners,
"who overthrows
the learning of the wise...
"and turns it into nonsense,
"who says of Jerusalem,
'It shall be inhabited.
"'Of the towns of Judea,
they shall be built,
"and of their ruins,
I will restore them.'
'Who says of Cyrus,
'He is my shepherd,
"'and I will accomplish
all that I please.
"'He will say of Jerusalem,
"Let it be rebuilt,"
and of the temple,
"Let its foundation
be laid.""'
He even calls me
a shepherd,
I, who was saved
by a shepherd's hand?
And I was raised
in a shepherd's house.
It's I who refer to myself
as a shepherd of my people.
Who else could
have known this...
but the power of God
or his prophet?
Seventy years are over,
my king.
Seventy years since I was
taken from the land of my birth.
Babylon has been punished.
You have punished her.
Only one thing remains:
For you to free her.
Oh king,
the words of the scrolls...
are in a tongue
foreign to us.
Should we not
at least confirm them?
Old friend,
have you heard nothing?
Do you not recognize
the truth when you hear it,
or do you suppose this
Daniel has spent a lifetime...
arranging events in the hopes
of one day deceiving me?
Your God has
called me a shepherd,
and so to your
people I shall be,
to rescue them
from wolves and tyrants,
to gather them gently...
and to relieve
them from bondage...
and provide for their return.
And so say I, Cyrus,
king of the Persians,
let Jerusalem be rebuilt.
The Lord God of heaven has given
me all the kingdoms of the earth...
and has appointed for me...
to build a temple
in Jerusalem in Judea.
Any one of his people among you,
may his God be with you.
Let him go to
Jerusalem in Judea...
and build a temple of the Lord,
the God of Israel...
In all my years
I had never known envy,
but that day I came closer
to tasting it than I ever have,
for I would never see the temple
I so yearned to see.
However, my heart was joyous
as my brothers and sisters...
departed on their journey home
while I remained in Babylon...
awaiting the day
when I, too,
would be gathered
to my ancestors.
And remember me also,
O Lord,
and show mercy
according to your great love.