During the time of Queen Semiramis, many people invaded the city of Babylon… at least, they tried. But the Queen was smart and ordered a high wall to be built around the rich city. Since her time, the Kings and Queens maintained the walls because they were the city’s best protection.
Old Banzar was a grim warrior. He stood guard at the stairs that led to the top of the ancient walls. Above, on the walls, were what was left of the King’s soldiers, battling to keep an attacking army out. Over the walls came the roar of the attacking soldiers, the yelling of people, the trampling of thousands of horses, and the boom of battering rams as they pounded the bronze gates.
Behind the gates, soldiers with spears stood ready, waiting to defend the entrance if the gates broke. But there weren’t many of them – the main armies were with the King, far away in eastern lands.
The attack had come as a complete surprise. It was up to the walls of Babylon, or the city with its hundreds of thousands of people, was doomed.
Banzar looked at the crowds of citizens, white-faced and terrified. They asked for news every minute, and silently watched the stream of wounded and dead carried through the passageway.
An old merchant crowded close to him, his hands quivering. “Tell me! Tell me!” he pleaded. “They cannot get in. My children are in the army with the good King. There is no one to protect my old wife and myself. My goods, my food, they will steal it all. We are too old to defend ourselves, and too old to make slaves. We shall starve and die if they get in! Please, tell me they cannot get in.”
Though the scene of wounded and dead soldiers was grim, Banzar stayed calm. “Don’t worry, sir,” the guard said. “The walls and gates are strong. Go back to the market and tell your wife that the walls will protect you as safely as they protect the King’s palace. But keep close to the walls because arrows flying over might strike you!”
A woman with a baby changed places with the old man as he went back to his shop. “Sergeant, what is the news from the top? Tell me truly, because my husband is worried. He has a fever from his terrible wounds, but insists on wearing his armor and spear to protect us. He says our enemies will kill us all if they break in.”
“Do not worry for you or your family. The walls of Babylon will protect all its citizens. They are high and strong. Don’t you hear the yells of the soldiers as they empty cauldrons of boiling oil over the enemy trying to come up on ladders?”
“Yes,” said the mother, “But I hear the roar of battering rams that hammer at our gates.”
Old Banzar motioned her back. “Go back to your house. Tell your sick husband that the gates and walls will hold up against the rams. Also, the ladder-climbers meet the spears of our soldiers at the top.”
Banzar stepped aside to clear the passage for heavily armed soldiers. With clanking bronze shields and heavy tread, they tramped by. A small girl plucked at his sleeve. “Tell me please, soldier, are we safe?” she pleaded. “I hear the awful noises. I see the people all bleeding. I am so scared for our family. What will happen to my parents and little brother?”
“Don’t be afraid, little one,” the old guard said. “The walls of Babylon will protect you and your parents and little brother. The good Queen Semiramis built the walls over a hundred years ago, and many enemies have tried to break them. They have never been successful. Go back, and tell your family that they don’t need to be afraid.”
Day after day, Banzar stood at his post and watched the soldiers file up the passageway. They stayed to fight until they were wounded or dead. More and more frightened citizens asked if the walls would hold, but he gave the same answer every time. “The walls of Babylon will protect you.”
The attack went on for almost four weeks, but though the passage was wet with the blood, the attackers were not successful. One morning, the first streaks of daylight showed clouds of dust raised by the retreating enemy.
A mighty shout went up from Babylon’s defenders from soldiers and citizens alike. It swept over the city with the violence of a storm. People rushed from the houses. The streets were jammed with a throbbing mob. The pent-up fear of weeks found an outlet in the wild chorus of joy. From the top of the high tower of the Temple of Bel, flames of victory burst upward into the sky, sending a column of smoke to send the message far and wide.
The walls of Babylon had once again held up against greedy invaders who wanted to loot the city’s treasure and make the citizens into slaves.
Babylon lasted century after century because it was fully protected. It could not afford to be otherwise. The walls of Babylon were an outstanding example of people’s need and desire for protection. This desire built in, and it’s just as strong today as it ever was.
What else do we want to protect? Our MONEY. To do this, we have “walls” of insurance, savings accounts, and dependable safe investments. These protect us against “invading armies” of unexpected expenses, such as natural disasters.
WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE WITHOUT ADEQUATE PROTECTION
His summary: “There was a wall. There was a war. Lots of people asked if the wall hold up against the war. The soldier said yes. The wall held up against the war. Boring. The end.”