The questions and answers continue. Showing how the army officers ought to be selected. What man is worthy of admiration and other problems of daily life as true today as 2000 years
ago. Verses 15-17 are notable for recommending the theatre. Verses 2i-22 describe the wisdom of electing a president or having a king.
ON the seventh day much more extensive preparations were made, and many others were present from the different cities (among them a large number of ambassadors).
2 When an opportunity occurred, the king asked the first of those who had not yet been questioned, how he could avoid being deceived by fallacious reasoning?
3 And he replied, 'By noticing carefully the speaker, the thing spoken, and the subject under discussion, and by putting the same questions again after an interval in different forms. But to possess an alert mind and to be able to form a sound judgement in every case is one of the good gifts of God, and you possess it, O King.'
4 The king loudly applauded the answer and asked another, Why is it that the majority of men never become virtuous?
5 'Because,' he replied, 'all men are by nature intemperate and inclined to pleasure. Hence, injustice springs up and a flood of avarice. The habit of virtue is a hindrance to those who are devoted to a life of pleasure because it enjoins upon them the preference of temperance and righteousness. For it is God who is the master of these things.'
6 The king said that he had answered well, and asked, What ought kings to obey? And he said, 'The laws, in order that by righteous enactments they may restore the lives of men. Even as you by such conduct in obedience to the Divine command have laid up in store for yourself a perpetual memorial.'
7 The king said that this man, too, had spoken well, and asked the next, Whom ought we to appoint as governors?
S And he replied, 'All who hate wickedness, and imitating your own conduct act righteously that they may maintain a good reputation constantly. For this is what you do, O mighty King,' he said, 'and it is God who has bestowed upon you the crown of righteousness.'
9 The king loudly acclaimed the answer and then looking at the next man said, 'Whom ought we to appoint as officers over the forces?'
10 And he explained, 'Those who excel in courage and righteousness and those who are more anxious about the safety of their men than to gain a victory by risking their lives through rashness. For as God acts well towards all men, so too you in imitation of Him are the benefactor of all your subjects.'
11 The king said that he had given a good answer and asked another, What man is worthy of admiration?
12 And he replied, 'The man who is furnished with reputation and wealth and power and possesses a soul equal to it all. You yourself show by your actions that you are most worthy of admiration through the help of God who makes you care for these things.'
1 13 The king expressed his approval and said to another, 'To what affairs ought kings to devote most time?'
14 And he replied, 'To reading and the study of the records of official journeys, which are written in reference to the various kingdoms, with a view to the reformation and preservation of the subjects. And it is by such activity that you have attained to a glory which has never been approached by others, through the help of God who fulfils all your desires.'
15 The king spoke enthusiastically to the man and asked another, how ought a man to occupy himself during his hours of relaxation and recreation?
16 And he replied, 'To watch those plays which can be acted with propriety and to set before one's eyes scenes taken from life and enacted with dignity and decency is profitable and appropriate.
17 For there is some edification to be found even in these amusements, for often some desirable lesson is taught by the most insignificant affairs of life. But by practising the utmost propriety in all your actions, you have shown that you are a philosopher and you are honoured by God on account of your virtue.'
18 The king, pleased with the words which had just been spoken, said to the ninth man, how ought a man to conduct himself at banquets?
19 And he replied, 'You should summon to your side men of learning and those who are able to give you useful hints with regard to the affairs of your kingdom and the lives of your subjects (for you could not find any theme more suitable or more educative than this) since such men are dear to God because they have trained their minds to contemplate the noblest themes--as you indeed are doing yourself, since all your actions are directed by God.'
20 Delighted with the reply, the king inquired of the next man, What is best for the people? That a private citizen should be made king over them or a member of the royal family?
21 And he replied, 'He who is best by nature. For kings who come of royal lineage are often harsh and severe towards their subjects. And still more is this the case with some of those who have risen from the ranks of private citizens, who after having experienced evil and borne their share of poverty, when they rule over multitudes turn out to be more cruel than the godless tyrants.
22 But, as I have said, a good nature which has been properly trained is capable of ruling, and you are a great king, not so much because you excel in the glory of your rule and your wealth but rather because you have surpassed all men in clemency and philanthropy, thanks to God who has endowed you with these qualities.'
23 The king spent some time in praising this man and then asked the last of all, What is the greatest achievement in ruling an empire?
24 And he replied, 'That the subjects should continually dwell in a state of peace, and that justice should be speedily administered in cases of dispute.'
25 These results are achieved through the influence of the ruler, when he is a man who hates evil and loves the good and devotes his energies to saving the lives of men, just as you consider injustice the worst form of evil and by your just administration have fashioned for yourself an undying reputation, since God bestows upon you a mind which is pure and untainted by any evil.'
26 And when he ceased, loud and joyful applause broke out for some considerable time. When it stopped the king took a cup and gave a toast in honour of all his guests and the words which they had uttered.
27 Then in conclusion he said, I have derived the greatest benefit from your presence. I have profited much by the wise caching which you have given me in reference to the art of ruling.'
28 Then he ordered that three
talents of silver should be presented to each of them, and appointed one of his slaves to deliver over the money.
29 All at once shouted their approval, and the banquet became a scene of joy, while the king gave himself up to a continuous round of festivity.