Ralph Kramden is the Antitypical Nebuchadnezzar

They don’t do antitypes at Bethel—maybe it is that too many have blown up in their face—but that doesn't mean I don't do them. Ralph Kramden, the hefty loud-mouthed bus driver of the 'Honeymooners' TV show, is the antitypical Nebuchadnezzar.

Each show opens with him blustering. Each show he is totally humiliated. Each show he is contrite at the end. And each new show he totally forgets the lessons learned from the one before. So it is with Nebuchadnezzar.

And what is it with Nebuchadnezzar and the magic-practicing priests? He picks a fight with them right out the clear blue sky. Read it in chapter 2 of Daniel:

"Then the king said to them: “I have had a dream, and I am agitated because I want to know what I dreamed.” The Chaldeans replied to the king in the Aramaic language: “O king, may you live on forever. Relate the dream to your servants, and we will tell the interpretation.” The king answered the Chaldeans: “This is my final word: If you do not make the dream known to me, along with its interpretation, you will be dismembered, and your houses will be turned into public latrines."

Why? What did they do? They are yanked out of bed to learn they must tell the king, not only what his dream means, but what it is! Now they will have to sit each in his house, without arms or legs, as people stop by to pee on their couch. There's bad blood between the king and them, somehow. He is fed up with them, I think. They are always playing him for a sucker with their air of religious mystery, and he has had about all that he can take.

We're used to quoting Daniel 1:20 to show how, after a short trial period in which the Hebrew captives subsisted on vegetables, the king found them "ten times better than all his magic practicing priests." We're used to saying it is because of God's blessing that Daniel was elevated so high. Maybe so, but I'll bet it is also a reflection of what he thought of the priests. It was a pretty low bar they set—it wasn’t that tough on Daniel and his chums to clear it.

....

So the king gave the order to summon the magic-practicing priests, the conjurers, the sorcerers, and the ChAleena’s to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. Then the king said to them: “I have had a dream, and I am agitated because I want to know what I dreamed.” The Chaldeans replied to the king in the Aramaic language: “O king, may you live on forever. Relate the dream to your servants, and we will tell the interpretation.” The king answered the Chaldeans: “This is my final word: If you do not make the dream known to me, along with its interpretation, you will be dismembered, and your houses will be turned into public latrines. But if you do tell the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts and a reward and great honor. So tell me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time: “Let the king relate the dream to his servants, and we will tell its interpretation.” The king replied: “I am well-aware that you are trying to gain time, for you realize what my final word is. If you do not make the dream known to me, there is only one penalty for all of you. But you have agreed to tell me something false and deceitful until the situation changes. So tell me the dream, and I will know that you can explain its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king: “There is not a man on earth who is able to do what the king demands, for no great king or governor has asked such a thing of any magic-practicing priest or conjurer or Chaldean. What the king is asking is difficult, and no one exists who could tell the king this except the gods, who do not dwell among mortals.” At this the king flew into a violent rage and gave the order to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

 

William_Blake_-_Nebuchadnezzar_(Tate_Britain)

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