Prayer: The Daniel Decree"
written by Fred Passmore
copyight 2013 Sheep Laughs Publications
Synopsis: No lines to learn! A retelling of the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den from a new perspective. The Chief Scribe to King Darius, responsible for chronicling events in the kingdom, tells the story that he and his son witness and became participants in. Both he and his son learn that they can trust Daniel's God like he does. Length of play with soundtrack: 35 minutes.
THOUGHT: June 16th is Father's Day. This would make a good play for Father's Day use, since the king's scribe is training his son, and together they learn to have faith in Daniel's God after being witness to the miracle of his protection while in the den of lions.
Cast: The Chief Scribe Sadalbari; his son Homam, who is a teen or younger boy; the elderly Daniel; the two princes, Artabazus and Mazaeus; King Darius; the king's guard; and as many extras as you can muster, using the same ones to populate the various scenes. If you have a larger group of people to work with, having them as extras will really fill out the action. You could add parts such as more guards, etc.
Costumes: You will need robes and sashes all for the characters, but add turbans for the two princes and palace cast. The turbans can be plain cloth for everyone but the king; his should be made from shiny gold material. You can do these as simply as you wish, or put more time and effort to make it as impressive as you wish.
Props: A rolled-up scroll, wooden stylus, and board to put it on when writing; another scroll for the decree; a curved arabic sword for the guard; a small cloth bag of coins; a length of rope; a medallion on a length of chain jewelry.
Settings: Three areas are depicted on stage: the street where Daniel's house is; the king's throne room in the palace; and the mouth of the lion's den. The palace should be in the middle; Daniel's house and window on one side, and the lion's den on the other. You may build as much as you like, or build nothing, and let the actions carry the story. Since this is a short mini-play, you do not need to put a lot of work into sets and such. However, if you want to do it up big, by all means, create as much as you would like of the stage areas.
The "street" is located down in front of the stage area, and that is where the action takes place when the scene is happening "in the street." Daniel's house is on the stage on one side, the throne room in the middle. The den of lions is on the other. When going from one location to the other, where possible, have them come down from the stage, walk in front on the "street" then go back up on stage to the indicated set.
Consider where your stage or choir area has possiblities for a place where the lion's den could be, where a person could go down and be hidden from sight for a short while, and let the den be there. If you would like to build a large round stone to roll in front of the area where the lion's den "hole" or entrance is, think about making one our of cardboard or light plywood, cut into shapes that make a circle and fastened to strips of plywood in the back to reinforce and hold it together. Then have the guard roll the "stone" over the entrance. This is about as complex as you need to get if you decide to go that route. If you already have such a stone left over from an Easter production, (that covered the tomb) you could re-use it for that. If your church has a baptistry, you could use that as the lion's den and adjust your cast actions accordingly.
Soundtrack: This script is written specifically to be performed to the recorded soundtrack. Every single line that you read in the script below (except for the stage directions, of course) is on the soundtrack, mixed with professionally-recorded background music and sound effects. All you will need to do is act along with the CD.
The music and sound effects for this script are on the Soundtrack #19 CD.
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(Play Track #1 of the soundtrack.)
Opening Narrator: (Different from the main character.)
Sometimes, when reviewing Biblical stories, it's easy to let our familiarity with them blunt the impact they once had. So we are presenting you with a unique form of re-telling, that takes a different approach to make it fresh and new again. Harnessing the power of the imagination, we see the events of the Bible from the perspective of someone that might have been there as a witness. By seeing the story through their eyes, putting ourselves in their position, we feel the impact it must have had in the lives of actual participants on the side-lines.
To supply a bit of back-story, we recall that the nation of Israel, due to disobedience, had been taken captive by the Babylonians. Young Daniel had survived and thrived over the years with God's help under the Babylonian rulership of King Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. After the Persian conquest of Babylon, Daniel, now in the later years of his life, had became one of three senior administrators of the empire in the reign of King Darius the Mede. In our version, we hear the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den, told from the hypothetical viewpoint of a man named Sadalbari, who was the king's Chief Scribe and Historian. Sadalbari, an honorable man who is grooming his son to take his place someday, finds himself in the middle of the action when Daniel's refusal to compromise puts him in a situation that only God could deliver him from.
Scene one: Street outside Daniel's house
Actions during the next paragraphs: The extras begin to come onstage and walk back and forth, stopping and talking to each other here and there. The scribe and his son walk slowly onto the stage, the father speaking to his son as they go. The Scribe carries a scroll and his son carries a rectangular piece of wood. Daniel is seen coming onto the side of the stage that represents his house, and we see him kneel in prayer, alternating between kneeling down with his face to the ground, then lifting up his face to heaven and praying with clasped hands, then raising his hands up in praise. The Scribe and his son stop to watch from a short distance and talk about Daniel's habit of prayer. The scribe draws his son back away from the street and close to the back of the stage, away from the extras, and they sit down to talk more.
Main Narrator: When I was appointed to this position years ago, I spent most of the hours of the day taking down all of the king's words, and those of his visiting ambassador, princes, presidents, satraps, and other important people. Eventually, however, after the birth of my firstborn son, I began to relinquish some of my duties to my underlings, and now I only personally take down the interactions of the King with those he sees in his court. My staff of 12 historians divided their time between writing down the all the rest of the king's words and actions, and copying the notes into the bound chronicles of the kingdom. I now share among my primary concerns the upbringing and training of my son Homam, who will someday replace me. He accompanies me as I work in the palace, and is a studious learner. One day, as my son and I walked home in the evening, we came to the home of Daniel, foremost of the Kings' top three most trusted advisors. These three men represented a great many others under them. Daniel was a kind elderly man, who was different from the proud and haughty members of the royal court. Daniel often spoke to me kindly, unlike the others to whom I was essentially invisible. His honesty, humilty and wisdom had endeared him to King Darius, and to all those who knew him.
As it happened, it was the time of the evening when Daniel prayed. He prayed faithfully each morning, noon and night, opening his window to face Jerusalem, his home city. My son and I stopped for a moment, and we talked about Daniel's faith. I told my son how the Hebrews, although living in captivity, still worshipped their God and believed that one day He would return them to their homeland. Also, that they believed that he was the One true God, and the other idol gods that many in our city worshipped did not even really exist. Not wanting to be conspicuous by watching Daniel too long, we moved back into the shadows of a wall and sat down to talk about it a bit.
Actions during the next paragraphs: The two continue talking as Daniel prays. Just then the two princes walk onstage together, talking as they do, then they catch sight of Daniel praying. With sneers, the stop near the two seated characters, and talk about Daniel together while looking at him with disgust. Once they come up with the plan, they walk off together in the same direction they were going when they came on. The Scribe and his son rise, and begin to walk home, also in the same direction. Suddenly prince Artabazus hurries back on stage, not looking where he is going, and bumps into the Scribe. He shoves him away at first, angrily beginning to tell him off, until he recognizes the scribe. Then he smiles a very fake smile, and pulls the scribe to the side. He sneakily takes a bag from his robe and hands it to the scribe in a stealthy manner, looking around with caution, and talks to the scribe with an arm around his shoulders. The scribe hands back the bag with a shake of his head as he tells him he can't take it. The prince, dropping his arm, becomes angry as the scribe tells him more. Stuffing the bag back in his robe, the prince draws himself up proudly and threatens the scribe, with a dangerous expression on his face. Then he turns quickly and stalks off in the direction he was going. The scribe watches him go, then puts his hand on his son's shoulder as he talks. Once his son expresses faith, they resume the walk to their home, offstage. The father's face shows worry as they go.
Main Narrator: Homam asked me why we didn't serve this God of the Hebrews if He was the only one. I replied that their beliefs did not allow one to bow the knee before any other god, and that could be dangerous when the King you serve worships his own, known as Ahuramazda. Just then, I looked up and saw the other two of the King's advisors, princes Artabazus and Mazaeus, as they walked right by us. They didn't see us, and trust me, I preferred it that way. When they caught sight of Daniel, still kneeling in prayer, they stopped to converse between themselves, and we were in a good position to overhear their words. Artabazus scoffed at Daniel's faith, and wondered why King Darius favored him so highly, taking his advice over theirs more often than not, even to the point of considering placing him over all of the other princes. With hatred and jealousy, his friend Mazaeus replied that they had tried to find something unflattering about Daniel which they could report to the King... but he seemed guilty of nothing they could find out. Artabazus replied thoughtfully that perhaps they were looking at the solution to bringing Daniel down at that very moment. Since Daniel never compromised his faith, perhaps they could trap him using that knowledge. This excited his fellow prince Mazaeus, as he proposed suggesting to the King that he create a law that Daniel could not keep and still honor the laws of his God. That was an excellent idea, enthused Artabazus, and together they hurried off to plan the details of their plot.
After a moment, we emerged from the shadows, and began the rest of the walk to our home, to join the family at the evening meal. I was so engrossed in my thoughts over what I had just heard, that I never noticed that prince Artabazus had unexpectedly come back down the street, and I ran right into him. Angrily, he cursed me for my clumsiness... then he suddenly recognized me, and his whole demeanor changed to one of insincere friendliness. This, I thought, was very strange, as he had never even once seemed to take notice of me in the palace. Taking me to the side, his arm around my shoulder, he said in a low voice that I was just the man he wanted to see. Stealthily handing me a small bag of coins, Artabazus told me that he required a favor of me. As court historian, he began, I was in control of what was written in the kingdom's books of records, and that he wanted me to write in them that Daniel was overheard in prayer asking his God to help him overthrow the King. Keeping in mind his high position, I bowed and handed the bag back to him, and told him in a humble voice that I only recorded the truth. If Daniel prayed for his people to be delivered and freed to return home, I explained, that was not treason, as long as he was faithful to the King while here. But, I said, bribing a court servant to lie about one of the king's favorite advisors might be seen as a subversive act. Angered, Artabazus snarled that he would soon be rid of Daniel, and when he was, he would also get rid of me, my son, and entire family... and place someone from his own family in the position... one that would only write flattering things about him. Turning on his heel, the wicked prince stalked away with haughty indignation.
Shaken from the encounter and his threat, I pointed out to Homam that this was an example of the hazards of following the Hebrew God... Daniel was now in mortal danger, and so were we. My son, looking up at me, said with confidence that he did not believe Daniel's God would let him down.... or us, if we prayed to him. On that thought, we left the street and headed home. To say that I did not rest easy that night would have been a severe understatement.
(Play Track #2 of the soundtrack.)
Scene two: Throne Room
Actions during the next paragraphs: The Scribe and his son come onstage, and take a position off to the side. The Scribe carries a scroll and his son carries a rectangular piece of wood. The scribe writes on the scroll as the king and his guests speak. His son holds the board for his father to place the scroll on to write on. The two princes enter about the same time, and stand at the bottom of the stage awaiting permission to come closer. The King comes in, walking slowly and regally, accompanied by his guard. The dramatic music, with no dialog, underscores his royal status as he ascends to sit on his throne. The King is seated as the crescendo of the arabic music is reached and becomes quiet. Once he has sat down and arranged his robes, he looks up, and the guard beckons to the princes, who draw nearer to the King, bowing deeply before him as they walk. Once in front of him, they begin speaking flattery, and Mazaeus holds up a scroll, which he opens and displays for the King to inspect. Artabazus indicates lines on the scroll to the king, speaking to him about it. The king looks pleased as he takes the scroll and examines it for himself, as they continue speaking to him in turn. When they are finished, the King stands for a moment and walks to the side a little, considering their words as he strokes his beard in thought. He looks up, as the narration tells what he is thinking, the thought of the potential honor causing him to smile to himself as he considers it. He hands the scroll to the scribe, who takes it with a bow and places it on a nearby table. The king takes the stylus and signs the document. As he completes the action, the two princes exchange meaningful glances of satisfaction with each other. The Scribe looks up and meets the eyes of Prince Artabazus, who is looking at him with a grim smile of malicious intent. The scribe appears shaken as he looks back down at his work. Once again, the dramatic arabic music underscores, with no narration, the King's exit from the Throne Room. Everyone stays in place as he does, bowing as he passes. Once he has left, everyone straightens, and the princes turn and leave, speaking in low tones to each other, but the scribe and his son stay a moment, as he writes more on his tablet with the stylus. He and his son converse a moment before his son practically drags him out to go see Daniel.
Main Narrator: The next morning, we went to the palace for a meeting scheduled in the King's court to hear a petition by some of his advisors. Knowing as I did the reason for it, I was not looking forward to being witness to the treachery of the princes who were out for Daniel's blood. (The royal music, with no dialog, underscores the King's entry.) With their usual words of flattery, the two princes, Artabazus and Mazaeus approached the king to present their petition, holding up their writing and saying "King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellers, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which alters not."
I did not miss the pleased expression of King Darius, as he considered the glory that the decree would confer upon him. "Why," he must have thought, "such a law places me above any of the gods that the people worship... and rightly so, am I not the supreme ruler of the mightest empire in the world?" Pride and vanity caused his eyes to be blinded to the reason behind the decree, and with a satisfied expression he signed the writing into law. I was not blinded, however, and I could plainly see the smug glance exchanged between the princes when the decree was endorsed by the king. I also could not miss the telling look in Artabazus' face when his eyes met mine... something that had never happened before in the palace. I understood what it meant... and I understood what the law meant for Daniel.
(The royal music , with no dialog, underscores the King's exit.) After everyone had left the main hall, as I finished adding some notes to my transcription scroll, Homam asked me why I did not tell the king outright what the princes were planning, and the motive behind their request. Wouldn't the king be upset when he found it out later, when it was too late? He would, I assured him, but as a lowly servant, I was not permitted to speak unless spoken to. Even though I was the chief scribe and historian, my place was to write, not speak out of turn. But, I told him with a glad realization, there was nothing to prevent me from speaking to Daniel, to warn him of the newly-passed law... an idea which was met with approval by my son, who began to drag me out of the palace to go see Daniel immediately.
(Play Track #3 of the soundtrack.)
Scene three: Outside Daniel's house
Actions during the next paragraphs: The Scribe and his son arrive at Daniel's house, and run into Daniel in the street, as he was headed home also. Daniel greets him affectionately, and then places a hand on his son's shoulder as he compliments him. Seeing Sadalbari's worried face, Daniel pulls aside the scribe to ask him what is the matter, and they converse. The Scribe confides his worries, and Daniel listens, then reassures the man with some wise words. When they finish speaking, Daniel goes up on stage into his house to pray. The two princes come onto the scene, and stand aside away from the extras in the street to watch Daniel to see if he will pray after all. Daniel takes his place in his window and kneels to pray. We hear a short vocal portion of the song "May Your Glory Fill This Place" as Daniel continues to worship. The two princes hug each other in excitement, and then they leave. After a few moments, the scribe and his son also leave to go home, as again the scribe's face is lined with worry.
Main Narrator: As it happened, we encountered Daniel in the street near his house, and he greeted me with a smile as his eyes lit upon me. He affectionately greeted Homam as well, and told me that he was growing up to be a strong and handsome young man. Seeing my worried expression, the old man took me to the side and asked with true concern what was troubling me. Making sure no-one could overhear me, I began to explain the situation; about the plot hatched by the two other advisors, and how the king had signed their decree into law. I told him of the effort by prince Artabazus to bribe me into entering false and condemning text into the book of records, and then urged Daniel to flee into the countryside, perhaps to visit a relative, where he would not be observed in his usual habit of praying... at least until the time alloted in the decree was passed. Daniel thanked me for my concern for his well-being... and for the suggestion, which had much merit. If the law were over some other matter, he explained, he might take my advice. But because it involved his worship of Jehovah, he did not have the luxury of avoiding the trouble. To do so, he said, would amount to fearing man more than God, and to say, in effect, that he did not trust the Lord to take care of him. It would be a form of denial of his faith, to flee... and he could not do it. "Don't be afraid, Sadalbari," he reassured me. "The Lord will honor and protect those that have faith and obey Him. I experienced more than one great miracle when I served under Nebuchadnezzar, and until God is finished with me on this earth, nothing can happen to me against His will. And I will pray tonight that He will show you favor for your efforts to spare me the danger, and keep you safe from the anger of Prince Artabazus." I told him that I wished I had his faith, but the cost of serving this God seemed to be too high. "If He is the God of the universe," he said in parting, "would not the cost of not serving Him be much higher?" And with that, he bid my son and I a good night and went into his house to pray.
It was about that time, that the two princes Artabazus and Mazaeus came around the corner, and positioned themselves on the other side of the street, watching Daniel's window with evil anticipation. Pulling my son back into the shadows of the wall once more, we watched as Daniel came to the window and knelt as usual to pray.
(We hear a short vocal section of the song "May Your Glory Fill This Place" as he prays.)
Seeing Daniel trespass against the law, the two conspirators hugged each other in happiness, smiling at their success. After they hurried away together, no doubt to celebrate, my heart was heavy with worry for Daniel, and for us as well. For good or evil, our fate was linked to his, through circumstances beyond my control. Ever since I had become friends with the old man, my life had been affected by his faith... and now it looked as though I would share his fate. My worry was not so much for myself, but for my son and my family. Would Daniel's God deliver him, and us as well? The next day would tell.
(Play Track #4 of the soundtrack.)
Scene four: Throne Room
Actions during the next paragraphs: King Darius comes in and takes his seat on the throne without much fanfare; it's business as usual today. The Scribe Sadalbari and his son come onstage and take their place beside the throne. The two princes come in rapidly and stand with bowed heads at the entrance to the Throne Room. The King looks up in surprise, clearly not expecting to see them again so soon. The guard looks to the king inquiringly, and he motions to him to let them approach, which they do hurriedly. They begin speaking at the same time, then Mazaeus, looking contrite, nods his head and indicates with a sweep of his hand toward Artabazus that he should do the talking. He reminds the king of the law, then tells the king about Daniel's transgression, and at once the King stands, alarmed at what is happening. He points for the princes to leave, and the guard escorts them out, as the King turns away and berates himself. Looking up at the scribe and realizing he is writing down all his words, he tells him not to write down what he just said. He then looks up at the scribe again as though getting an idea, and moves to stand directly in front of him, questioning him. The scribe humbly answers, and when they are through talking, the scribe and his son leave the king, who turns and goes out the opposite direction with purpose in his stride. This happens as soon as we hear the line "on his way to consult with the experts in the laws of the kingdom;" he leaves the stage as the music plays.
Main Narrator: Early the next morning, the two princes were at the palace, ready to give their condemning report to the King. Both of them could barely contain themselves in their excitement, and when the King gave his permission for them to approach his throne and speak, they almost fell over one another in their anxiousness. They both began speaking at once; then, after looking at each other, Mazaeus deferred to Artabazus, and he started over, speaking directly without his usual flattery. "Hast thou not signed a decree," Artabazus asked the king, "that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not." Then answered they and said before the king, "That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day."
As the meaning of their words sank in, the expression on the King's face changed to one of dismay, as he realized that the law had been crafted with the sole intent of trapping Daniel; and then he began to be angry, not only at the princes, but at himself, for allowing himself to be so easily manipulated by them. Commanding the princes to leave, he turned his back on them, which was never a good sign. Although Mazaeus looked troubled at the King's reaction, Artabazus remained pleased with himself, knowing that the King could not change an edict once he had made it. Even the King was bound by his own word and laws. Facing in my direction, King Darius allowed himself to vocalize under his breath his displeasure, blaming himself for the disaster that was about to befall his most trusted advisor. Looking up at me, he commanded me not to write down the words he had just said. Then, taking a longer look at me, as if seeing me for the first time, he pulled me aside. Taking the writing instrument out of my hand, he spoke to me quietly in a confidential voice, something he had never, ever done before. It was actually a little frightening to be the subject of his focused kingly attention. "Sadalbari! You are a friend to Daniel, are you not?" "I am only one of many, my lord," I replied, looking down in humility. I told him that I spoke to Daniel occasionally in passing. He urged me to secretly go to Daniel and tell him to flee the city until the edict was expired. Glancing up at him, I replied that I had already suggested it, but he refused to leave. He looked surprised at this, as the implication sank in that everyone else but him knew what was happening. "Daniel is faithful to his God and honorable in all his ways, O King," I said respectfully, "and does the right thing regardless of the consequences." With a nod, Darius accepted what he suspected. A grim expression came over his visage as he determined to spare Daniel if it was at all possible. With a grateful nod and a hand wave of dismissal, he took his leave of me, on his way to consult with the experts in the laws of the kingdom.
(NOTE: This next paragraph is only in narrative form, we do not see this happening, It is for filling in the audience between scenes, as the king is offstage.)
For the entire day the King worked diligently to find some loophole in the law that would allow Daniel to escape the trap, but all of his interpreters of the law, searching through tomes of previous edicts and decrees, only confirmed what he already knew as they told him: "Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed." So, as the sun was going down, he regretfully commanded a soldier to bring Daniel to him at the mouth of the den of lions, where the wild animals were kept to punish evildoers with the most horrible of deaths.
(Play Track #5 of the soundtrack.)
Scene five: The Lion's Den
Actions during the next paragraphs: King Darius comes onstage with his guard, who is escorting the unresisting Daniel. The scribe and his son are right behind them. The two princes come onstage from the opposite direction and watch, their faces barely masking their delight over the victory over Daniel. The guard proceeds to put the loop of a rope over Daniel's head and arms, and tightening it around his midsection. As he does, the king offers words of hopeful reassurance, which causes Daniel to smile. The guard then positions Daniel at the mouth of the pit, and Daniel descends backwards down into it as the guard lets the rope down slowly. The actor portraying Daniel slowly ducks down, and he must continue to pull the rope once he is out of sight of the audience, to suggest that he is continuing to descend further down. This suggests that there actually is a hole there. Once the end of the rope is reached, the Daniel actor takes off the rope from around him, and the guard pulls it up, coiling it as he does so. The King is standing beside the pit, watching everything closely. Once Daniel is down, the King motions to the guard, who --with some effort-- moves the fake stone onto place over the entrance. He then assumes a position next to it, to guard it. The two princes leave in one direction, and the King walks away sadly toward his palace. The Scribe and his son remain for a moment, talking as they look at the stone. During this time we see the King sitting on his throne with his head in his hands. They then leave. We then see the King stand and begin pacing back and forth on the stage area where his throne is.
Main Narrator: The sun had set by the time that we met at the entrance to the den of lions, which was just outside the palace prison. Kept perpetually hungry, fed only the occasional condemned man, the nearly-starved wild animals would instantly devour anyone thrown down to them. As the guard tied the rope around Daniel to lower him down -something usually not done, as prisoners were just thrown down the open entrance- the King spoke to Daniel words which were equally unusual, saying "Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee." This was the first time the King had ever expressed anything concerning Daniel's faith other than tolerence. There was no fear on Daniel's face as he was lowered into the opening, and I imagined that this alone stole some of the satisfaction from his enemies.
At the King's command, a stone was rolled over the mouth of the pit... sealing Daniel in for the night. Artabazus and Mazaeus shared a small look of triumph between themselves. Sadly, the King walked away to spend a long, sleepless night in his palace. My son and I lingered however, as we looked at the heavy stone which seemed to seal Daniel's fate. Homam asked me if I thought that Daniel's God would deliver him, and I said I hoped so... but if not, at least Daniel had stayed true to his beliefs, and had maintained his honor, unlike those that manipulated events to place him there. Regardless of how it turned out, I said, Daniel's life had been a success. He had believed in God so much that he was willing to die to be true to Him. Daniel, I said, prayed in faith every day; and I myself had seen God's favor resting on him many times in the service of the king. Homam asked if we prayed, would the Lord hear us also. After a moment, I said, "Well, son, Daniel said to me one day, as I questioned him about his prayers, that one must have faith in his God to be heard by Him, and to see Him move. So, yes, I said to my son with all honesty, I do believe He will hear us. With that, he begged me to hurry home with him, where we would pray for Daniel, and for ourselves.
Actions during the next paragraphs: The King has spent the night pacing worriedly. But when the narrative says it is dawn, he looks up as if seeing the daylight, then walks down from the throne room part of the stage, making his way over to the side where the pit is located. The Scribe and his son arrive the same time as the King. Darius motions to the guard to remove the stone, which he does, with effort once more. The King leans over to call down into the pit, but has his eyes closed as he does. There are several moments that go by, and the King puts his hand to his head as if starting to accept that Daniel is dead. Then, Daniel's voice is heard, and the king looks back up in shock, then smils delightedly, jumping to his feet and pumping his fists into the air in joyful victory. He impatiently motions to the guard, who quickly throws down the rope to Daniel. The rope is pulled down by the Daniel actor, and he keeps it taut as the guard pulls it, as if pulling Daniel up from a deep pit. Then when the rope is taken up to the point where it is actually pulling on the actor, he slowly comes up into sight as the guard pulls hand over hand. The King lends a hand to Daniel as he comes up over the lip of the entrance, and helps him out, then pulls the rope off over his head. The King embraces Daniel happily, sobbing as he does. The Scribe is smiling, and his son hugs him spontaneously as he rejoices also. The king turns Daniel around, examining him for scratches or bites, but there are none, as Daniel shows him by lifting his hands. They speak back and forth, and then the king turns away, his face growing dark. He motions to the guard, telling him to go get the princes and their familes and throw them in. The guard bows and hurries away. The king turns back to Daniel with a smile and puts a hand on his shoulder, indicating to come with him to the palace. They leave to go over to the palace set, along with the scribe and his son.
Main Narrator: Usually, after a long day of bearing the weight of his great responsibility, the King would dine sumptuously, and afterward he would entertained by musicians until he fell asleep. Tonight, however, he had no appetite, and would hear no music or singers. He spent the night pacing the floor, worrying about Daniel and hoping against all hope that he would be miraculously spared. It was a long night, but he had to wait until dawn before he could legally break the seal on what he was afraid would be Daniel's tomb. Yet... there was a faint glimmer of hope in his heart; enough that, when the light of day did finally dawn, he hurried to the den to see if Daniel was still alive.
When the long night was finally over, we were at the mouth of the lion's den at sunrise, so as not to miss anything. The King was also just arriving, and we stood back as he anxiously made his way over to the sealed stone, impatiently motioning for it to be removed. I couldn't help but notice that the princes who had engineered the events were not here. No doubt that were confident that Daniel was dead, and they were sleeping in after a night of drunken celebrating. The heavy cover was barely out of the way before the King was leaning over it, crying out to Daniel piteously with his eyes closed, saying "O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?" There was a moment's silence that seemed to stretch on for minutes, as every terrible fear seemed to be realized... then, unexpectedly, Daniel's voice was heard echoing up from the pit! "O king, live for ever!"
Daniel continued: "My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me." As a rope was hurriedly thrown down to Daniel, and he was brought up out of the pit, the King's face was beaming with happiness and joy. King Darius wiped away tears of relief, and as Daniel slowly came into view over the lip of the hole, the King grabbed him to help him out... then, as they stood together, the King embraced Daniel and held onto him for several moments, as if he were the one that had went through the ordeal, and was now weak with emotion. As they stood talking, the King turned Daniel around to observe that he was completely unharmed and without a scratch on him. Then he told Daniel that it was evident that he had been spared because he had believed in his God. I found out later, in talking to Daniel about it, that he had been sleeping among the lions when the King's cry roused him, and it had taken him a moment to rise and come to the front of the entrance.
Gradually, however, the King began to lose his smile and his face began to cloud with anger. Speaking to his guard, he commanded that he should take some soldiers and bring those men which had accused Daniel; Artabazus and Mazaeus, and cast them into the den of lions; along with their children, and their wives. Then he put his hand on Daniel's shoulder, and guided him to come with him back to the palace.
Scene six: At the palace again.
Actions during the next paragraphs: They have all walked over to the throne room area, and the king takes a medallion and places it around Daniel's neck. He then commands the Scribe to write a new decree, which he happily takes down as the king dictates. The king turns to the scribe, telling him of his new duties, which makes them all happy. With a satisfied expression, the king takes his throne, the guard standing at attention beside him, and Daniel leaves with the scribe and his son. Once down in front of the stage area, they stop to converse together. Daniel motions for them to come to his house and join him in prayer, which they do, walking over to the side of the stage where Daniel's house is located, then going back up on the stage to go in. When in the house, they all kneel down, bowing to the Lord, and worship Him as the music plays and the lyrics come up for a moment.
Main Narrator: A short while later, as we had gathered in the throne room, the king placed a special medal around Daniel's neck, that signified him as being his chief counselor, the highest honor in the kingdom. He then had me write down a new decree, that everyone in his kingdom should worship the God of Daniel, for, as he said, "he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions." He then commanded me to have copies made of the new law, and have it sent to all corners of the every country under his dominion. As I wrote down his commands, I was inwardly rejoicing, knowing that now I, my son and all my family would be safe; and further, we would be free to worship the one true God of the universe, without fear. We had seen for ourselves the mighty hand of God in the situation, and from the proud smile on my son's face, I knew that he would grow up to be a man of faith.
I had barely finished taking down the decree when the King turned to me and said that he had another decision; one concerning me, if I would be pleased with it. My position as Chief Scribe would not be affected, but I was to be assigned to Daniel, to take down all his words and deeds, so that his honorable life would be known to all, and his testimony would live forever. I accepted the job with a grateful smile, one that was mirrored by Daniel and my son. Knowing Daniel's God, from what I had seen and heard, I had no doubt but that Daniel's testimony would live forever in God's own eternal book of remembrances, to encourage all people to be faithful, throughout all time. As for me, I learned that Daniel's inner strength and peace came because he trusted his God, and I was beginning to experience the same peace as I placed my trust in Him. Daniel invited my son and I to come to his house and join him in a prayer of thanksgiving, and with gladness in our hearts, we went to do just that.
(Under the end scene, we hear the music to the song "He Has Made Us Glad" then lead into the vocals to take it out. The instrumental comes back for about a minute and is useful for having your cast come back out all together and take a bow while you introduce them.)
This script is copyright 2013 Fred Passmore and Sheep Laughs Records.
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