The play Rivers, Rams & Royalty: The Rise of the Shepherd King, is a dramatic presentation portraying the rise of Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire and the work God had ordained for him. We especially focused on the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire & the return of God’s people to the land of Israel.
The story starts with shepherds in field outside of Bethlehem. The angels have just appeared to them bringing “good tidings” of the Lord Jesus Christ’s birth. The story goes back and forth between the historic events surrounding Cyrus as described in the books of Isaiah, Daniel & Ezra and the shepherds making their journey to find “The King of Israel.”
The further you go back into history, the less reliable resources you have to use in writing an accurate historical script. We found it especially challenging trying to separate fact from legend in the life of Cyrus, but tried to remain true to the Biblical record while using historians to fill in the gaps.
This presentation was done as an evening program at a Bible school. The young people took incredible leadership with this presentation and worked together so well as a team. The larger roles (Shepherds) were split between two actors and they did a great job making the actor change appear seamless. Many of the best parts of the play were thought up by the young people during the practices. It always amazes me what these young people can pull off in just 5 practices!
The opening and closing songs are an important part of the script, so they have been kept in the video recording. The opening song is Glory to God in the Highest by bro. Dan Osborn (available here) and the closing song is From the Rising of the Sun by bro. Darryl Rose (available here.)
Running Time: 47 minutes (including songs)
Actors Needed: 19 speaking roles + Persian & Sardis soldiers (larger roles can be split into multiple actors)
Here is a link to watch the play online.
The title of the play, Rivers, Rams & Royalty: The Rise of the Shepherd King, was trying to pull together the Medo-Persian aspects of Cyrus’ life while also pointing forward to work of the Lord Jesus Christ (“The True Shepherd”)
This PDF document is the script.
A lot of attention and detail were put into the different props and costumes. We’ve found it helpful to delegate jobs to interested people as much as possible. Our “Cyrus cylinder” was originally going to be 3D printed by a young person in the area, but instead he found it worked better to go find a fallen tree stump and hack it into the right shape with an ax! This is just one example of many times we find it helpful to get more people (and talents) involved!
For more information on Cyrus and the Bible we recommend a few Bible classes:
The Cyrus Cylinder & Bible Archaeology by bro. Jim Styles (slides also available at Christadelphian Bible Talks)
The Story of Cyrus in Isaiah by bro. Brian Luke
“Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”