Daniel 5
International Standard Version Par ▾ 

Belshazzar’s Festival

1King Belshazzar put on a great festival for a thousand of his officials. He joined alla one thousand of them in getting drunk. 2Under the influence of wine, Belshazzar ordered that the gold and silver vessels his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem be brought in so the king, his officials, his wives, and his mistressesb could drink from them. 3As ordered, they brought in the gold vessels that had been taken from the sanctuary of God’s Temple in Jerusalem, and the king, his officials, his wives, and mistressesc drank from them. 4As they drank the wine, they praised gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

The Handwriting on the Wall

5At that moment, humanlike fingers of a hand appeared near the lamp stand of the royal palace and wrote on the plaster of the wall. 6While the king watched the back of the hand as it was writing, his facial expression changed. Utterly frightened, he lost control of his own bowelsd and his knees knocked together.

7The king cried out to bring in enchanters,e Chaldeans, and astrologers. He announced to the advisorsf of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me its meaning will be clothed in purple, have a gold chain placed around his neck, and will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

8Then all the king’s advisors came in, but they were unable to read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9So King Belshazzar became even more frightened, and his facial expression showed it. His officials also were thrown into confusion.

10Hearingg the voices of the king and his officials, the queen entered the banquet hall. “Your majesty, live forever,” the queen said. “Don’t be frightened by your thoughts or allow your facial expression to show it. 11There’s a man in your kingdom in whom dwellsh the spirit of the holy gods. During your grandfather’s reign, he was found to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom, like thati of the gods. Your grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar—your kingly predecessor—appointed him to be chief administrator over the magicians, enchanters,j Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12because he was found to have an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and understanding, along with an ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. His name is Daniel, whom the king renamed Belteshazzar. Call for Daniel, and he will reveal the meaning of the writing.”k

Daniel Interprets the Handwriting

13Then Daniel was brought before the king. The king spoke up and told Daniel, “So you are Daniel, one of the Judean exiles whom my grandfather the king brought from Judah! 14I’ve heard about you, that a spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, discernment, and extraordinary wisdom. 15Take note that the advisorsl and enchantersm were brought before me to read the writing and explain its meaning, but they were unable to do so.n 16However, I’ve heard that you can provide meaning and interpretation, and that you can solve difficult problems. If you are able to read the writing and report its meaning, you will be clothed in purple, have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

17At this, Daniel answered, speaking directly too the king, “Let your gifts and rewards be given to someone else. However, I’ll read the writing for the king and tell him its meaning. 18Your majesty, the Most High God gave your grandfather Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty, as well as greatness, glory, and splendor. 19And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages revered and feared him. He executed those whom he desired to execute, he spared those whom he wished to spare, he promoted those whom he desired to promote, and he humbled those whom he wished to humble. 20But when hep became arrogant and his spirit hardened, he was removed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him. 21He was driven away from human societyq and given the mind of an animal. He lived with wild donkeys, ate grass like cattle, and his body was soaked with dew from the sky until he realized that the Most High God is sovereign over human kingdoms and places over them whomever he desires.

22“But you, Belshazzar, his grandson, haven’t humbled yourself, even though you knew all of this.

23“You’ve exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven.

“You’ve had the vessels from his Temple brought into your presence.

“And you, your officials, and your wives and mistresses drank wine from them.

“You praised gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which can’t see, hear, or demonstrate knowledge.

“But you didn’t honor God, who holds in his power your very life and all your ways.

24“Therefore, the handr that wrote this inscription was sent from his presence. 25This is the written inscription:


26These are the meanings of the words:

MENE: God has auditeds your kingdom—and has ended it.

27TEKEL: You’ve been weighed on the scales—and you don’t measure up.t

28PERES: Your kingdom has been divided—and will be given to the Medes and Persians.”

29Then Belshazzar gave orders to clothe Daniel in purple, to place a chain of gold around his neck, and to proclaim him the third highest ruler of the kingdom.

30That night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was killed, 31u and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom at the age of 62.

a 5:1 The Aram. lacks all
b 5:2 Or concubines; i.e. secondary wives
c 5:3 Or concubines; i.e. secondary wives
d 5:6 Lit. frightened, the joints of his loins were loosened; i.e. an involuntary physiological response from terror
e 5:7 Or occult practitioners
f 5:7 Or the wise men
g 5:10 The Aram. lacks Hearing
h 5:11 The Aram. lacks dwells
i 5:11 Lit. like the wisdom
j 5:11 Or occult practitioners
k 5:12 The Aram. lacks of the writing
l 5:15 Lit. the wise men
m 5:15 Or occult practitioners
n 5:15 Lit. to tell the matter
o 5:17 Lit. speaking before
p 5:20 Lit. his heart
q 5:21 Lit. sons of the people
r 5:24 Lit. the palm of the hand
s 5:26 Lit. numbered
t 5:27 Lit. and found lacking
u 5:31 This v. is 6:1 in MT

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation

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