Rubens. “Susanna and aged men“. And where boy?
When the Babylon tsar Nebuchadnezzar took Judea, Jews rose, and the tsar moved them to Babylonia. Exile was not short - nearly 70 years. Probably, seeking to extinguish discontent, Nebuchadnezzar decided “to tame“ exiles.
He instructs the officials to choose the most sensible from their children and to send them to training (the book of the prophet Daniil, chapter 1):
“3. Also the tsar told Asfenaz, the chief of the eunuchs that he from sons Israel, from a sort imperial and princely, gave
4. adolescents who have no corporal shortcoming, beautiful a look, and quick-witted for any science, and understanding sciences, and clever and suitable to serve in halls imperial and that taught them to books and language Chaldaic“.
Among selected four (and future prophet Daniil among them) were not only capable, but also obstinate. They refused to eat though everything was no place better - from an imperial table. The chief of eunuchs did not want to force kids. Trying to convince them, he told that if children eat the Jewish food, they will be pale and weak.
Then Daniil suggested to feed him and companions with Judaic food, and the others imperial. Then to compare.
“11. Then Daniil Amelsaru whom the chief of eunuchs put to Daniil, Ananias, Misail and Azaria told:
12. make experience over your slaves within ten days; let give us in food vegetables and drinking water“
the Result appeared in favor of Jews:
“15. After ten days of the person were more beautiful than them, and a body they were fullest than those adolescents who ate imperial viands.
16. Then Amelsaru took their food and wine for drink and gave them vegetables“.
there Passed three years. All four were presented to the tsar, passed examination and began to serve:
“17. Also God granted to four of these adolescents knowledge and understanding of any book of an imudrost, and still granted to Daniil to understand both any visions and dreams.
20. And what the tsar asked them about, he found them in any business of a wise urazumeniye ten times above all taynovedets and magicians what were in his all kingdom“. everything is good
I, but Nebuchadnezzar conceived to change belief. He built the gold idol and ordered to worship all to it. And not to worship anything and nobody else. And if it it happens - to burn disobedient persons in the furnace (chapter 3):
“4. Then the herald loudly exclaimed: appears to you, the people, tribes and languages:
5. while you hear a sound of a pipe, a pipe, a zither, a tsevnitsa, a psaltery and the symphony and any musical tools, fall and bow to the gold idol who was put by the tsar Nebuchadnezzar.
6. And who will not fall and will not bow, will be immediately thrown into the furnace heated by fire“.
Three pupils - Ananias, Misail and Azaria (Nebuchadnezzar gave them chaldaic names Sedrakh, Meshach and Abednego), refused to worship the idol (for some reason Daniil among them is not mentioned). The tsar ordered to throw all into the furnace. Jews answered:
“17. Our god to Whom we serve is strong to rescue us from the furnace heated by fire, and by hand yours, the tsar, will relieve.
18. If there is no that, then yes you will know, the tsar that we to your gods will not serve also the gold idol whom you put we will not bow“.
pitches, tow and firewood added oil To the furnace, heated it so that executioners burned down. Jews left safe fire.
When Nebuchadnezzar saw it, he gave the order:
“95. Then Nebuchadnezzar told: Sedrakh, Meshach and Abednego`s God Who sent Angela Swoyego and relieved the slaves who hoped for Him is blessed and did not obey imperial command, and betrayed the bodies to [fire] not to serve and to worship other god, except the God“. Nebuchadnezzar`s
were replaced by Valtasar, Valtasara - Darius. Daniil devolved from the tsar to the tsar, continued to manage affairs. Darius put it over 40 satraps (the satrap - the governor). Business were so good that Darius intended to put it over all satraps.
Envious persons began to look for a way to move away Daniil. They palmed off on Darius the decree under which all inhabitants of a kingdom had to address with the requests only to the tsar, to the gods by no means. Darius signed paper. And right after it informed it on Daniil.
Daniil was thrown into a ditch with lions (chapter 6):
“16. Then the tsar enjoined, both brought Daniil, and threw into a den of lions; at the same time the tsar told Daniil: Your god to Whom you steadily serve, He will rescue you!“
Daniil left safe a ditch.
“21. Then Daniil told the tsar: tsar! for ever and ever live!
22. My god sent Angela Swoyego and blocked a mouth to lions, and they did not damage to me because I before Him was pure...“
This moment - Daniil in a ditch with lions - represented Rubens. Daniil prays, and lions around him as if do not see him. A little strange lions look - their muzzles are drawn with human expressions. It not really matches a prayful rush of Daniil.
We were reached by no details about private life of Daniil: whether he was married, he had children or not, about how many years he lived. From the book of the prophet it is known that Daniil served three tsars, at all was held in high esteem, for all he was an interpreter of dreams.
All this there were imperial affairs. Also there was one which happened out of imperial rooms.
The daughter of the respectable Jew was married to the rich and authoritative person, in his house constantly there were very dear people. Two aged men, two judges who had to manage the right court wormed way to it into the house. And they proved to be from the nastiest party (chapter 13 which does not enter a canon)...
“7. When the people left at about noon, Susanna entered a garden of the husband for walk.
8. Also her both elders coming and walking saw any day, and lust to it was born in them,
9. also perverted the mind, and uklonit the eyes not to look at the sky and They wanted not to remember just vessels“
very much it and agreed to seize it together (were afraid that one by one will not cope?) . Tracked down when it remained in a garden one and dressed, began to get it. And not just to offer it an indecency, but to threaten that if it does not concede, she will be accused of adultery.
Susanna in despair (there are no witnesses, and to them - judges - will precisely believe) began to shout, call the help. Then these two poganets carried out conceived: they accused her that Susanna sent servants specially because to it the young man to whom she made love came. Allegedly they saw it, and Susanna lifted shout to take away from herself suspicions.
The unfortunate woman was waited by death for adultery, but there was a prophet Daniil (the book does not say about as far as Daniil was close to Susanna`s house how he learned about her trouble). He interrogated aged men on - separateness, and each of them called other scene of action is perfect.
Susanna was acquitted.
Rubens addressed this history not once. In the first option of a picture (1607) aged men very comely, they try to persuade her to be given without noise. Later (1610 - 1611) old men are much more aggressive, more powerful, their movements and a mimicry do not leave doubt that they are ready to take it by force (one of them gets through a fencing and already pinches it).
The dramatic character is designated also by a gloomy background though action is developed in an afternoon.
Susanna`s rescue remained beyond the scope of pictures.
Note: some commentators of the thirteenth book of the prophet Daniil say that suspicions of aged men were not groundless that the young man who ran away from Susanna is a prophet Daniil.