193 The king praised the man warmly for his answer and asked the next in order, How he could be invincible in military affairs? And he replied, ‘If he did not trust entirely to his multitudes or his warlike forces, but called upon God continually to bring his enterprises to a successful issue, while 194 he himself discharged all his duties in the spirit of justice.’ Welcoming this answer, he asked another how he might become an object of dread to his enemies. And he replied, ‘If while maintaining a vast supply of arms and forces he remembered that these things were powerless to achieve a permanent and conclusive result. For even God instils fear into the minds of men by granting reprieves and making merely a display of the greatness of his power.’

195 This man the king praised and then said to the next, What is the highest good in life? And he answered ‘To know that God is Lord of the Universe, and that in our finest achievements it is not we who attain success but God who by his power brings all things to fulfilment and leads us to the goal.’

196 The king exclaimed that the man had answered well and then asked the next How he could keep all his possessions intact and finally hand them down to his successors in the same condition? And he answered ‘By praying constantly to God that you may be inspired with high motives in all your undertakings and by warning your descendants not to be dazzled by fame or wealth, for it is God who bestows all these gifts and men never by themselves win the supremacy’.

197 The king expressed his agreement with the answer and enquired of the next guest, How he could bear with equanimity whatever befell him? And he said, ‘If you have a firm grasp of the thought that all men are appointed by God to share the greatest evil as well as the greatest good, since it is impossible for one who is a man to be exempt from these. But God, to whom we ought always to pray, inspires us with courage to endure.’