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Daniel Chapter 5 Lesson

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
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We have restored on the WLC website, in the Scriptures quoted the Names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible.  Click here to download the Restored Names Version (RNV) of Scripture.  The RNV is a non-WLC resource.  -WLC Team

(Dan 5:1) Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his princes, and drank wine before the thousand.

(Dan 5:2) Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

(Dan 5:3) Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of Eloah which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

(Dan 5:4) They drank wine, and praised the eloah of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

The faith of Belshazzar and his princes is in stark contrast to that of Daniel. This is symbolized in the fact that Daniel refused to drink wine at his peril. Belshazzar defiled the temple vessels with wine. Wine has both good and bad symbolism in the Bible, but two symbols are especially relevant here: the wine of the false doctrine of Babylon (Jeremiah 51:7; Revelation 14:8), and the wine of the wrath of Yahuwah (Revelation 16:19).

Belshazzar intended to make several statements by this action. First of all, he wanted to show that Babylon had conquered Jerusalem and Yahuwah, the Eloah of Jerusalem. Secondly, he wanted to defile and subject the Eloah of Jerusalem. Finally, he wanted to incorporate the captive Eloah of Jerusalem within the pantheon of the false deities of Babylonian worship, and so affirm his rule over that land. Belshazzar’s actions were a public affront against the honor of Yahuwah.

(Dan 5:5) In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

(Dan 5:6) Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

(Dan 5:7) The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

(Dan 5:8) Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

Yahuwah immediately responded to the affront of Belshazzar. He wrote out the judgement against the king for his blasphemy and defilement. The ways of Yahuwah are varied and always appropriate to the situation. The silent apparition stopped the revelers in their tracks better than any peal of thunder. There are only two passages in the Old Testament in reference to Yahuwah writing with His own hand. The first is the tables of stone upon which the Ten Commandments were written and the second is this remarkable passage.

(Dan 5:9) Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his princes were astonied.

(Dan 5:10) Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his princes, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

(Dan 5:11) There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy eloah[s]; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of eloah[s], was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

(Dan 5:12) Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

The queen here is generally considered to be the queen mother, that is the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzer is the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. The Bible often uses the term father for any male ancestor in the direct line.

(Dan 5:13) Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

(Dan 5:14) I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of eloah[s] is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

(Dan 5:15) And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

(Dan 5:16) And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Daniel, knowing the arrival of the Persians to be at hand, was hardly attracted by the offers of honor. Such could only put him in a compromised position before the new rulers.

(Dan 5:17) Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

(Dan 5:18) O thou king, the most high Eloah gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:

(Dan 5:19) And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.

(Dan 5:20) But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

(Dan 5:21) And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high Eloah ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

(Dan 5:22) And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

(Dan 5:23) But hast lifted up thyself against the Master of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy princes, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the eloah of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the Eloah in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

(Dan 5:24) Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

(Dan 5:25) And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

The sin of Belshazzar was great. Nebuchadnezzar had placed the sacred vessels from Jerusalem in honored storage, not to be defiled. The act of Belshazzar in defiling them could only arouse the superstitious fears of the people, that the king was bringing the judgments of the Eloah of Israel down upon them. In fact, their superstitious fears turned out to coincide with the real judgments of Yahuwah, the true Eloah. Belshazzar’s blasphemy called forth the immediate response from Yahuwah.

(Dan 5:26) This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; Eloah hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

(Dan 5:27) TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

(Dan 5:28) PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

(Dan 5:29) Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

(Dan 5:30) In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

(Dan 5:31) And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

The words were not unknown to the revelers. They could read them, but they could only tremble in fear before their ominous, ambiguous meaning. Daniel merely expanded upon them by inspiration. The cryptic mene or numbered, tekel or weighed, and Peres or Persians, was expanded into the message that Yahuwah has numbered the kingdom and finished it, weighed the king in the balances and found him wanting, and divided the kingdom and given it to the Medes and Persians. The figure of the balance in judgment was widely known in ancient times, from Egypt in the southwest to Persia in the northeast of Babylon. This fact meant that Belshazzar and his courtiers could not doubt Daniel’s interpretation.