3:1 Now King Darius gave a great banquet for all that were under him and all that were born in his house and all the nobles of Media and Persia
3:2 and all the satraps and generals and governors that were under him in the hundred and twenty-seven satrapies from India to Ethiopia.
3:3 They ate and drank, and when they were satisfied they departed; and Darius the king went to his bedroom, and went to sleep, and then awoke.
3:4 Then the three young men of the bodyguard, who kept guard over the person of the king, said to one another,
3:5 "Let each of us state what one thing is strongest; and to him whose statement seems wisest, Darius the king will give rich gifts and great honors of victory.
3:6 He shall be clothed in purple, and drink from gold cups, and sleep on a gold bed, and have a chariot with gold bridles, and a turban of fine linen, and a necklace about his neck;
3:7 and because of his wisdom he shall sit next to Darius and shall be called kinsman of Darius."
3:8 Then each wrote his own statement, and they sealed them and put them under the pillow of Darius the king,
3:9 and said, "When the king wakes, they will give him the writing; and to the one whose statement the king and the three nobles of Persia judge to be wisest the victory shall be given according to what is written."
3:10 The first wrote, "Wine is strongest."
3:11 The second wrote, "The king is strongest."
3:12 The third wrote, "Women are strongest, but truth is victor over all things."
3:13 When the king awoke, they took the writing and gave it to him, and he read it.
3:14 Then he sent and summoned all the nobles of Persia and Media and the satraps and generals and governors and prefects,
3:15 and he took his seat in the council chamber, and the writing was read in their presence.
3:16 And he said, "Call the young men, and they shall explain their statements." So they were summoned, and came in.
3:17 And they said to them, "Explain to us what you have written." Then the first, who had spoken of the strength of wine, began and said:
3:18 "Gentlemen, how is wine the strongest? It leads astray the minds of all who drink it.
3:19 It makes equal the mind of the king and the orphan, of the slave and the free, of the poor and the rich.
3:20 It turns every thought to feasting and mirth, and forgets all sorrow and debt.
3:21 It makes all hearts feel rich, forgets kings and satraps, and makes every one talk in millions.
3:22 When men drink they forget to be friendly with friends and brothers, and before long they draw their swords.
3:23 And when they recover from the wine, they do not remember what they have done.
3:24 Gentlemen, is not wine the strongest, since it forces men to do these things?" When he had said this, he stopped speaking.
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