TEC: Chapter 13: Vacation to Babylon
Back to another Daniel chapter. And I know I’ve complained about them in the past, but this one is by far the most entertaining of them all (though certainly not in the way Phillips intended!) and even contains one of the greatest lines in all of the LaJenkinsian oeuvre, if I may be so bold.
But I’m getting ahead of things. We’ve seen Daniel in the lions’ den, and now, still there, he flashes back to when he was a young man. His town has been ransacked by Nebuchadnezzar’s army, and the teenage boys have been enslaved and are being marched back to Babylon to be slaves.
On the trip, Daniel meets three other teenage prisoners, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Less than one day ago, their families were brutally slain right in front of them. But their first topic of conversation is the fact that they’re almost certainly going to become eunuchs.
I suppose you can’t blame the boys for thinking about this immediately, though something else overtakes their thoughts before too long…
Now that Michael Murphy has rattled off some ideas about Babylon, it’s time we find out that he is, of course, 100% correct, as the boys exclaim in awe and wonderment at all they see.
YOUR PARENTS WERE JUST MURDERED
“Can you believe these streets?” Daniel asked. “They’re paved with three-foot-square stone slabs. It must have taken many slaves to lift them into place.”
Azariah pointed. “Look at the beautiful houses and walls made of sun-dried bricks. Th mortar looks like black bitumen. And look! All of the bricks have the names and titles of Nebuchadnezzar imprinted on them.”
Oh hey. Yeah. Bricks. And pavers. And walls. And more bricks. Wow.
YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY HAS BEEN SLAUGHTERED
“How did they ever figure out the irrigation system?” Mishael asked in wonder.
Yeah, how about that. Really makes you think, eh?
YOUR CITY WAS DESTROYED AND YOU WILL NEVER GO HOME AGAIN
I mean, just. Holy crap.
Yanno, there’s being in shock and grief…and then there’s moving right past all the stages of grief, right into Acceptance. Sheesh.
But the boys can’t be distracted by bricks forever…
As the days passed, the changes in the boys’ lives seemed incredible. Now they were eunuchs.
They had their balls removed. That is sorta incredible, when you think about it.
Also, there’s just something about the line:
Now they were eunuchs.
…that just makes me snicker every time. Im not sure if I just have the mind of an adolescent or what, but it’s just one of those crazy lines that reminds me of one of the best lines in modern film:
There are certain lines in books and movies that are just too good to be true.
And the hits just keep on coming, as the eunuch drill sergeant announces he wants to change the boys’ names.
Oh great, thought Daniel.
You can really tell that Bob Phillips immersed himself in researching the language and speech patterns of peoples of the ancient world.
The head (sorry) guy renames newly-eunuchnized Daniel as Belteshazzar, and renames the other kids as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, someday to become famous for having their balls roasted off—
Okay, sorry. It’s late and apparently I am immature.
—having everything but their balls almost roasted off in a giant furnace.
But first, all four boys refuse to eat rich food and drink wine, because I guess they don’t like awesome things.
And…fast-forward three years, and the boys are healthy and also smart ‘n stuff, so they’re put on the king’s official shortlist for magicians and astrologers.