Daniel 5 – “The Writing on the Wall”

841871-4-feast-of-belshazzarHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
King Belshazzar throws a wine party, and he uses the vessels from the Jerusalem Temple as his drinking cups. A hand suddenly appears and writes cryptic words on the king’s wall. Daniel decodes the script and informs Belshazzar that his days are numbered. Indeed, Belshazzar is killed that very night.

II. Photo
Daniel decodes the writing on the wall in v. 25: “This is the writing that is inscribed: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN.”

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-4: King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his thousand nobles, and in the presence of the thousand he drank wine. Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar ordered the gold and silver vessels that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple at Jerusalem to be brought so that the king and his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines could drink from them. The golden vessels that had been taken out of the sanctuary of the House of God in Jerusalem were then brought, and the king, his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
vv. 5-6: Just then, the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace opposite the lampstand, so that the king could see the hand as it wrote. The king’s face darkened, and his thoughts alarmed him; the joints of his loins were loosened and his knees knocked together.
v. 23: You exalted yourself against the Lord of Heaven, and had the vessels of His temple brought to you. You and your nobles, your consorts, and your concubines drank wine from them and praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear, or understand; but the God who controls your lifebreath and every move you make — Him you did not glorify!
vv. 25-28: This is the writing that is inscribed: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN. And this is its meaning: MENE — God has numbered [the days of] your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL — you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; PERES — your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”

IV. Outline
1-4. Belshazzar’s sacrilegious party
5. The writing on the wall
6-9. The king’s magicians are unable to interpret the writing
10-16. Daniel is brought to Belshazzar and offered a great reward
17. Daniel rejects the monetary incentive
18-28. Daniel interprets the writing: Belshazzar’s days are numbered
29. Daniel is glorified
30. Belshazzar is killed

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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