27 Oct. Daniel 5:1-13,16-18,20-31

27 Oct. Daniel interprets the writing on the wall

“King Belshazzar gave a big banquet for 1,000 royal guests and drank wine with them. As Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver cups that his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. This was so the king, his royal guests, his wives and his slave women could drink from those cups…”

“As they were drinking, they praised their gods, which were made from gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly the fingers of a person’s hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.”

“King Belshazzar was very frightened. His face turned white, his knees knocked together and he could not stand up because his legs were too weak. The king called for the magicians, wise men and wizards of Babylon and said to them, ‘Anyone who can read this writing and explain it will receive purple clothes fit for a king and a gold chain round his neck. And I will make that person the third highest ruler in the kingdom.’”

“Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. King Belshazzar became even more afraid, and his face became even whiter. His royal guests were confused.”

“Then the king’s mother… said … ‘There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods… Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, put this man in charge of all the wise men, fortune-tellers, magicians and wizards. The man I am talking about is named Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar… Call for Daniel. He will tell you what the writing on the wall means.’”

“So they brought Daniel to the king, and the king asked, ‘Is your name Daniel? … I have heard that you are able to explain what things mean and can find the answers to hard problems. Read this writing on the wall and explain it to me. If you can, I will give you purple clothes fit for a king and a gold chain to wear around your neck. And you will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.’”

“Then Daniel answered the king, ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself, or you may give those rewards to someone else. But I will read the writing on the wall for you and will explain to you what it means.’”

“’Our king, the Most High God made your father Nebuchadnezzar a great, important and powerful king… But Nebuchadnezzar became too proud and stubborn, so he was taken off his royal throne… Belshazzar, you already know these things, because you are a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar. Still you have not been sorry for what you have done… You ordered the drinking cups from the Temple of the Lord to be brought to you… You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood and stone that are not really gods… So God sent the hand that wrote on the wall.’”

“’These are the words that were written on the wall: “Mene, mene, tekel, parsin.” This is what the words mean: Mene: God has counted the days until your kingdom will end. Tekel: you have been weighed on the scales and found not good enough. Parsin: your kingdom is being divided and will be given to the Medes and the Persians.’…”

“That very same night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonian people, was killed. So Darius the Mede became the new king when he was 62 years old.”

          (Daniel 5:1-2,4-13, 16-18,20,22,28-31)



Nebuchadnezzar died in 550BC and was succeeded by his son Nabonidus and his grandson Belshazzar, who reigned alongside Nabonidus as co-regent from 553BC.

During a state banquet, the fingers of a person's hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall. Belshazzar, the co-regent, promised the third highest post in the kingdom to anyone who could interpret the writing. 

Daniel interpreted this mysterious ‘writing on the wall’. He prophesied that King Belshazzar would be overthrown by the Medes and Persians.

The prophesy was fulfilled about ten years later when the Babylonian empire was overthrown in October 539BC by the Persians under Cyrus, and Darius later became King of the Medes and the Persians in 522BC.

The picture shows ‘The writing on the wall' from Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1360  (ULB Darmstadt).

You can read more about the growth of the Persian Empire @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/34-exile-in-babylonia-amp-the-journey-back-to-jerusalem/daniel-interprets-dreams-and-riddles/

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