The Handwriting on the Wall 5 1 e King Belshazzar f made a great feast for a thousand of his g lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. 2 e Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that h the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father 1 had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought in h the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine and i praised the j gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. 5 k Immediately l the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw m the hand as it wrote. 6 n Then the king’s color changed, o and his thoughts alarmed him; p his limbs gave way, and q his knees knocked together. 7 r The king called loudly to bring in r the enchanters, the s Chaldeans, and t the astrologers. The king declared 1 to the wise men of Babylon, u “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and v shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but w they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly x alarmed, and his n color changed, and his y lords were perplexed. 10 The queen, 1 because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, z “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you a or your color change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom b in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. 1 In the days of your father, c light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king— d made him chief of the magicians, r enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 e because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and f understanding f to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and g solve problems were found in this Daniel, h whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” Daniel Interprets the Handwriting 13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of i the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. 14 I have heard of you that b the spirit of the gods 1 is in you, and that c light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now j the wise men, the k enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but l they could not show the interpretation of the matter. 16 m But I have heard that you can give interpretations and n solve problems. o Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, o you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and p shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, q “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the r Most High God s gave t Nebuchadnezzar your father u kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, v all peoples, nations, and languages w trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But x when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, y he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21 z He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, z until he knew that the r Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son, 1 a Belshazzar, b have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against c the Lord of heaven. And d the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. e And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, f but the God in whose hand is your breath, and g whose are all your ways, h you have not honored. 24 “Then from his presence i the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene , Mene , Tekel , and Parsin . 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene , God has numbered 1 the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 Tekel , j you have been weighed 1 in the balances and found wanting; 28 Peres , your kingdom is divided and given to k the Medes and l Persians.” 1 29 Then a Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel m was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 n That very night a Belshazzar the o Chaldean king was killed. 31 1 And p Darius k the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
5 1 בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֣ר מַלְכָּ֗א עֲבַד֙ לְחֶ֣ם רַ֔ב לְרַבְרְבָנ֖וֹהִי אֲלַ֑ף וְלָקֳבֵ֥ל אַלְפָּ֖א חַמְרָ֥א שָׁתֵֽה ׃ 2 בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֞ר אֲמַ֣ר ׀ בִּטְעֵ֣ם חַמְרָ֗א לְהַיְתָיָה֙ לְמָאנֵי֙ דַּהֲבָ֣א וְכַסְפָּ֔א דִּ֤י הַנְפֵּק֙ נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּ֣ר אֲב֔וּהִי מִן ־ הֵיכְלָ֖א דִּ֣י בִירוּשְׁלֶ֑ם וְיִשְׁתּ֣וֹן בְּה֗וֹן מַלְכָּא֙ וְרַבְרְבָנ֔וֹהִי שֵׁגְלָתֵ֖הּ וּלְחֵנָתֵֽהּ ׃ 3 בֵּאדַ֗יִן הַיְתִיו֙ מָאנֵ֣י דַהֲבָ֔א דִּ֣י הַנְפִּ֗קוּ מִן ־ הֵֽיכְלָ֛א דִּֽי ־ בֵ֥ית אֱלָהָ֖א דִּ֣י בִירֽוּשְׁלֶ֑ם וְאִשְׁתִּ֣יו בְּה֗וֹן מַלְכָּא֙ וְרַבְרְבָנ֔וֹהִי שֵׁגְלָתֵ֖הּ וּלְחֵנָתֵֽהּ ׃ 4 אִשְׁתִּ֖יו חַמְרָ֑א וְ֠שַׁבַּחוּ לֵֽאלָהֵ֞י דַּהֲבָ֧א וְכַסְפָּ֛א נְחָשָׁ֥א פַרְזְלָ֖א אָעָ֥א וְאַבְנָֽא ׃ 5 בַּהּ ־ שַׁעֲתָ֗ה נפקו 1 אֶצְבְּעָן֙ דִּ֣י יַד ־ אֱנָ֔שׁ וְכָֽתְבָן֙ לָקֳבֵ֣ל נֶבְרַשְׁתָּ֔א עַל ־ גִּירָ֕א דִּֽי ־ כְתַ֥ל הֵיכְלָ֖א דִּ֣י מַלְכָּ֑א וּמַלְכָּ֣א חָזֵ֔ה פַּ֥ס יְדָ֖ה דִּ֥י כָתְבָֽה ׃ 6 אֱדַ֤יִן מַלְכָּא֙ זִיוֺ֣הִי שְׁנ֔וֹהִי וְרַעיֹנֹ֖הִי 1 יְבַהֲלוּנֵּ֑הּ וְקִטְרֵ֤י חַרְצֵהּ֙ מִשְׁתָּרַ֔יִן וְאַ֨רְכֻבָּתֵ֔הּ דָּ֥א לְדָ֖א נָֽקְשָֽׁן ׃ 7 קָרֵ֤א מַלְכָּא֙ בְּחַ֔יִל לְהֶֽעָלָה֙ לְאָ֣שְׁפַיָּ֔א כשדיא 1 וְגָזְרַיָּ֑א עָנֵ֨ה מַלְכָּ֜א וְאָמַ֣ר ׀ לְחַכִּימֵ֣י בָבֶ֗ל דִּ֣י כָל ־ אֱ֠נָשׁ דִּֽי ־ יִקְרֵ֞ה כְּתָבָ֣ה דְנָ֗ה וּפִשְׁרֵהּ֙ יְחַוִּנַּ֔נִי אַרְגְּוָנָ֣א יִלְבַּ֗שׁ והמונכא 2 3 דִֽי ־ דַהֲבָא֙ עַֽל ־ צַוְּארֵ֔הּ וְתַלְתִּ֥י בְמַלְכוּתָ֖א יִשְׁלַֽט ׃ ס 8 אֱדַ֙יִן֙ עללין 1 כֹּ֖ל חַכִּימֵ֣י מַלְכָּ֑א וְלָֽא ־ כָהֲלִ֤ין כְּתָבָא֙ לְמִקְרֵ֔א ופשרא 2 לְהוֹדָעָ֥ה לְמַלְכָּֽא ׃ 9 אֱ֠דַיִן מַלְכָּ֤א בֵלְשַׁאצַּר֙ שַׂגִּ֣יא מִתְבָּהַ֔ל וְזִיוֺ֖הִי שָׁנַ֣יִן עֲל֑וֹהִי וְרַבְרְבָנ֖וֹהִי מִֽשְׁתַּבְּשִֽׁין ׃ 10 מַלְכְּתָ֕א לָקֳבֵ֨ל מִלֵּ֤י מַלְכָּא֙ וְרַבְרְבָנ֔וֹהִי לְבֵ֥ית מִשְׁתְּיָ֖א עללת 1 עֲנָ֨ת מַלְכְּתָ֜א וַאֲמֶ֗רֶת מַלְכָּא֙ לְעָלְמִ֣ין חֱיִ֔י אַֽל ־ יְבַהֲלוּךְ֙ רַעְיוֹנָ֔ךְ וְזִיוָ֖יךְ אַל ־ יִשְׁתַּנּֽוֹ ׃ 11 אִיתַ֨י גְּבַ֜ר בְּמַלְכוּתָ֗ךְ דִּ֠י ר֣וּחַ אֱלָהִ֣ין קַדִּישִׁין֮ בֵּהּ֒ וּבְיוֹמֵ֣י אֲב֗וּךְ נַהִיר֧וּ וְשָׂכְלְתָנ֛וּ וְחָכְמָ֥ה כְּחָכְמַת ־ אֱלָהִ֖ין הִשְׁתְּכַ֣חַת בֵּ֑הּ וּמַלְכָּ֤א נְבֻֽכַדְנֶצַּר֙ אֲב֔וּךְ רַ֧ב חַרְטֻמִּ֣ין אָֽשְׁפִ֗ין כַּשְׂדָּאִין֙ גָּזְרִ֔ין 1 הֲקִימֵ֖הּ אֲב֥וּךְ מַלְכָּֽא ׃ 12 כָּל ־ קֳבֵ֡ל דִּ֣י ר֣וּחַ ׀ יַתִּירָ֡ה וּמַנְדַּ֡ע וְשָׂכְלְתָנ֡וּ מְפַשַּׁ֣ר חֶלְמִין֩ וַֽאַֽחֲוָיַ֨ת אֲחִידָ֜ן וּמְשָׁרֵ֣א קִטְרִ֗ין הִשְׁתְּכַ֤חַת בֵּהּ֙ בְּדָ֣נִיֵּ֔אל דִּֽי ־ מַלְכָּ֥א שָׂם ־ שְׁמֵ֖הּ בֵּלְטְשַׁאצַּ֑ר כְּעַ֛ן דָּנִיֵּ֥אל יִתְקְרֵ֖י וּפִשְׁרָ֥ה יְהַֽחֲוֵֽה ׃ פ 13 בֵּאדַ֙יִן֙ דָּֽנִיֵּ֔אל הֻעַ֖ל קֳדָ֣ם מַלְכָּ֑א עָנֵ֨ה מַלְכָּ֜א וְאָמַ֣ר לְדָנִיֵּ֗אל אנתה 1 ־ ה֤וּא דָנִיֵּאל֙ דִּֽי ־ מִן ־ בְּנֵ֤י גָלוּתָא֙ דִּ֣י יְה֔וּד דִּ֥י הַיְתִ֛י מַלְכָּ֥א אַ֖בִי מִן ־ יְהֽוּד ׃ 14 וְשִׁמְעֵ֣ת עליך 1 דִּ֛י ר֥וּחַ אֱלָהִ֖ין בָּ֑ךְ וְנַהִיר֧וּ וְשָׂכְלְתָנ֛וּ וְחָכְמָ֥ה יַתִּירָ֖ה הִשְׁתְּכַ֥חַת בָּֽךְ ׃ 15 וּכְעַ֞ן הֻעַ֣לּוּ קָֽדָמַ֗י חַכִּֽימַיָּא֙ אָֽשְׁפַיָּ֔א דִּֽי ־ כְתָבָ֤ה דְנָה֙ יִקְר֔וֹן וּפִשְׁרֵ֖הּ לְהוֹדָעֻתַ֑נִי וְלָֽא ־ כָהֲלִ֥ין פְּשַֽׁר ־ מִלְּתָ֖א לְהַחֲוָיָֽה ׃ 16 וַאֲנָה֙ שִׁמְעֵ֣ת עליך 1 דִּֽי ־ תוכל 2 3 פִּשְׁרִ֛ין לְמִפְשַׁ֖ר וְקִטְרִ֣ין לְמִשְׁרֵ֑א כְּעַ֡ן הֵן֩ תוכל 4 כְּתָבָ֜א לְמִקְרֵ֗א וּפִשְׁרֵהּ֙ לְהוֹדָ֣עֻתַ֔נִי אַרְגְּוָנָ֣א תִלְבַּ֗שׁ והמונכא 5 6 דִֽי ־ דַהֲבָא֙ עַֽל ־ צַוְּארָ֔ךְ וְתַלְתָּ֥א בְמַלְכוּתָ֖א תִּשְׁלַֽט ׃ פ 17 בֵּאדַ֜יִן עָנֵ֣ה דָנִיֵּ֗אל וְאָמַר֙ קֳדָ֣ם מַלְכָּ֔א מַתְּנָתָךְ֙ לָ֣ךְ לֶֽהֶוְיָ֔ן וּנְבָ֥זְבְּיָתָ֖ךְ לְאָחֳרָ֣ן הַ֑ב בְּרַ֗ם כְּתָבָא֙ אֶקְרֵ֣א לְמַלְכָּ֔א וּפִשְׁרָ֖א אֲהוֹדְעִנֵּֽהּ ׃ 18 אנתה 1 מַלְכָּ֑א אֱלָהָא֙ עליא 2 מַלְכוּתָ֤א וּרְבוּתָא֙ וִיקָרָ֣א וְהַדְרָ֔ה יְהַ֖ב לִנְבֻכַדְנֶצַּ֥ר אֲבֽוּךְ ׃ 19 וּמִן ־ רְבוּתָא֙ דִּ֣י יְהַב ־ לֵ֔הּ כֹּ֣ל עַֽמְמַיָּ֗א אֻמַיָּא֙ וְלִשָּׁ֣נַיָּ֔א הֲו֛וֹ זאעין 1 וְדָחֲלִ֖ין מִן ־ קֳדָמ֑וֹהִי דִּֽי ־ הֲוָ֨ה צָבֵ֜א הֲוָ֣א קָטֵ֗ל וְדִֽי ־ הֲוָ֤ה צָבֵא֙ הֲוָ֣ה מַחֵ֔א וְדִֽי ־ הֲוָ֤ה צָבֵא֙ הֲוָ֣ה מָרִ֔ים וְדִֽי ־ הֲוָ֥ה צָבֵ֖א הֲוָ֥ה מַשְׁפִּֽיל ׃ 20 וּכְדִי֙ רִ֣ם לִבְבֵ֔הּ וְרוּחֵ֖הּ תִּֽקְפַ֣ת לַהֲזָדָ֑ה הָנְחַת֙ מִן ־ כָּרְסֵ֣א מַלְכוּתֵ֔הּ וִֽיקָרָ֖ה הֶעְדִּ֥יוּ מִנֵּֽהּ ׃ 21 וּמִן ־ בְּנֵי֩ אֲנָשָׁ֨א טְרִ֜יד וְלִבְבֵ֣הּ ׀ עִם ־ חֵיוְתָ֣א שוי 1 2 וְעִם ־ עֲרָֽדַיָּא֙ מְדוֹרֵ֔הּ עִשְׂבָּ֤א כְתוֹרִין֙ יְטַ֣עֲמוּנֵּ֔הּ וּמִטַּ֥ל שְׁמַיָּ֖א גִּשְׁמֵ֣הּ יִצְטַבַּ֑ע עַ֣ד דִּֽי ־ יְדַ֗ע דִּֽי ־ שַׁלִּ֞יט אֱלָהָ֤א עליא 3 4 בְּמַלְכ֣וּת אֲנָשָׁ֔א וּלְמַן ־ דִּ֥י יִצְבֵּ֖ה יְהָקֵ֥ים עליה 5 ׃ 22 ואנתה 1 בְּרֵהּ֙ בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֔ר לָ֥א הַשְׁפֵּ֖לְתְּ לִבְבָ֑ךְ כָּל ־ קֳבֵ֕ל דִּ֥י כָל ־ דְּנָ֖ה יְדַֽעְתָּ ׃ 23 וְעַ֣ל מָרֵֽא ־ שְׁמַיָּ֣א ׀ הִתְרוֹמַ֡מְתָּ וּלְמָֽאנַיָּ֨א דִֽי ־ בַיְתֵ֜הּ הַיְתִ֣יו קדמיך 1 ואנתה 2 ורברבניך 3 4 שֵֽׁגְלָתָ֣ךְ וּלְחֵנָתָךְ֮ חַמְרָא֮ שָׁתַ֣יִן בְּהוֹן֒ וְלֵֽאלָהֵ֣י כַסְפָּֽא ־ וְ֠דַהֲבָא נְחָשָׁ֨א פַרְזְלָ֜א אָעָ֣א וְאַבְנָ֗א דִּ֠י לָֽא ־ חָזַ֧יִן וְלָא ־ שָׁמְעִ֛ין וְלָ֥א יָדְעִ֖ין שַׁבַּ֑חְתָּ וְלֵֽאלָהָ֞א דִּֽי ־ נִשְׁמְתָ֥ךְ בִּידֵ֛הּ וְכָל ־ אֹרְחָתָ֥ךְ לֵ֖הּ לָ֥א הַדַּֽרְתָּ ׃ 24 בֵּאדַ֙יִן֙ מִן ־ קֳדָמ֔וֹהִי שְׁלִ֖יַחַ 1 פַּסָּ֣א דִֽי ־ יְדָ֑א וּכְתָבָ֥א דְנָ֖ה רְשִֽׁים ׃ 25 וּדְנָ֥ה כְתָבָ֖א דִּ֣י רְשִׁ֑ים מְנֵ֥א מְנֵ֖א תְּקֵ֥ל וּפַרְסִֽין ׃ 26 דְּנָ֖ה פְּשַֽׁר ־ מִלְּתָ֑א מְנֵ֕א מְנָֽה ־ אֱלָהָ֥א מַלְכוּתָ֖ךְ וְהַשְׁלְמַֽהּ ׃ 27 תְּקֵ֑ל תְּקִ֥ילְתָּה בְמֹֽאזַנְיָ֖א וְהִשְׁתְּכַ֥חַתְּ חַסִּֽיר ׃ 28 פְּרֵ֑ס פְּרִיסַת֙ מַלְכוּתָ֔ךְ וִיהִיבַ֖ת לְמָדַ֥י וּפָרָֽס ׃ 29 בֵּאדַ֣יִן ׀ אֲמַ֣ר בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֗ר וְהַלְבִּ֤ישׁוּ לְדָֽנִיֵּאל֙ אַרְגְּוָנָ֔א והמונכא 1 דִֽי ־ דַהֲבָ֖א עַֽל ־ צַוְּארֵ֑הּ וְהַכְרִ֣זֽוּ עֲל֔וֹהִי דִּֽי ־ לֶהֱוֵ֥א שַׁלִּ֛יט תַּלְתָּ֖א בְּמַלְכוּתָֽא ׃ 30 בֵּ֚הּ בְּלֵ֣ילְיָ֔א קְטִ֕יל בֵּלְאשַׁצַּ֖ר מַלְכָּ֥א כשדיא 1 ׃ פ
God suddenly ends Belshazzar's life and rule, because he did not honour God Introduction Here is the judgement on Belshazzar. 'Judgement' - often used in negative, terrible sense. But can be either good or bad. What is the verdict? What is the judgement? That's the key question. God's glory: He steps into history unstoppably and casts down kingdoms in an instant. He gives a word from the outside. v1-12 God writes his judgement on the wall, but no one can understand it A picture of the absolute power centre of the world. Innate mockery of God in using the utensils from his temple; we are deliberately told this. v2 picture of pride. Thinking you're secure when you're not. v6 terror as he's not in control v8 same situation as chapter 2 ; no one could interpret...except Daniel v8 third ruler. cf Nabonidus. FCF: our emperor's new clothes pride. Pride based on nothing of our own making or doing at the end of the day. We did not put the breath into our lungs. We do not own ourselves. We did not author ourselves. Like the rich fool. Not rich towards God. We can have 'christian' ambitions which are all about our own control and greatness. Parenting can be driven by that, as can preaching. All other ground is sinking sound. Fool on sand; in a flash, it is all gone. 'T he God in whose hand is your breath'. Luke 12.20 those who walk in pride he is able to humble. v13-31 Daniel explains that Belshazzar has been found wanting v17-24; the majority of Daniel's words Belshazzar didn't ask for. They're a denouncement of his character and rule. But he needs to hear this if he is to understand the words on the wall. v22-23 the heart of the chapter. Though you knew, you didn't humble yourself. What's more, you blatantly mocked God and worshiped idols. v20-21 is the summary of chapter 4 . He was humbled like an animal...until he knew that the Most High God rules to kingdom of mankind. v22 and you didn't learn the lesson you blatantly should have! [wisdom lies often in simply watching and learning from others' mistakes!] v23 pride again. You 'lifted yourself up'. v24 onwards. Numbered, numbered. Weighed and wanting. Divided, Persians. Nouns and then verbs. Mini Aramaic/Hebrew lesson. 62. Killed that night. And Darius [aka Cyrus] takes the kingdom. Foretelling [cf Jesus foretelling his death and resurrection] is the proof it's not a mere black swan event. According to Herodotus, the Persians and Medes, who must have been outside the city during this very feast, diverted the Euphrates (on which the city was built and depended and felt impregnable) by means of a canal, lowering water to thigh-height, so that troops could enter the city under the walls and bring a surprise attack. Terrifying point from Belshazzar is that mere information is powerless to help you unless you respond rightly. [cf teaching and preaching distinction]. Knowledge alone doesn't bring change. When truth doesn't lead us to repentance, faith, and worship, we are just 'Belshazzar clones'. Often an issue for second generation Christians etc. cf First settlers in Massachusetts. Person of Jesus: Jesus is God's final word from the outside. Not merely a hand, but a whole human man come to us. Final prophet, final priest, final king. He will return to weigh everyone who has ever lived. Work of Jesus: He was treated as one who was weighed and found lacking. He was the one who was made desolate, but so that us idolaters could walk free. He 'becomes' like Belshazzar, so that we - like Barabbas - could walk free. And not only free, but as beloved children of God. Union with Jesus: in Him I have died to fake pride based on my ego. I don't have to live there anymore. I'm free to be free, to relinquish myself. To live a life which is rich towards God in every arena. I can be hopeful, certainly, that kingdoms will be felled in due time. Conclusion 'I used to be an atheist until I realised that I was god'. Or, Christopher Hitchens' insistence on his deathbed [Paxman]. idolatrous feast - but cf lord's supper