Daniel 5:1-31 Reading the Passage

Don’t Defy God – Daniel 5:1-31

5 Belshazzar the king gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. (2) While Belshazzar was drinking wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines, might drink from them. (3) So they brought in the golden goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines, drank from them. (4) They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone. (5) In that very hour the finger of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lamp stand in the royal palace. The king watched the fingers as they wrote. (6) Then the king’s face became pale and his thoughts terrified him. His hip joints went slack and his knees began knocking together. (7) The king called out for the enchanters, the Chaldean astrologers, and the soothsayers. The king said to the wise men of Babylon, Whoever is able to read this inscription and give me the interpretation, shall be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom. (8) Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the inscription, nor make known to the king the interpretation. (9) Then King Belshazzar became greatly alarmed, and his face again became pale, and his nobles were perplexed.

(10) Now the queen entered the banquet hall, because she heard the words of the king and his nobles. The queen said, O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts alarm you; do not let your face become pale. (11) There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have insight and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. The king, Nebuchadnezzar your father, I say, the king, your father, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldean astrologers, and soothsayers; (12) because an extraordinary spirit and knowledge and understanding, the ability to interpret dreams and explain enigmas and solve perplexing problems, were found in this Daniel whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be summoned, and he will provide the interpretation.

(13) So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king asked Daniel, Are you that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king, my father, brought out of Judah? (14) I have heard about you. I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that you possess insight and understanding and extraordinary wisdom. (15) The wise men and the enchanters were brought before me to read this inscription and make known to me its interpretation. But they could not provide the interpretation of this thing. (16) But I have heard that you are able to provide interpretations and solve perplexing problems. Now if you can read this inscription and make known to me the interpretation of it, you shall be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

(17) Then Daniel answered the king, You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the inscription for the king and make known to him the interpretation. (18) O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father the kingdom and the greatness and the glory and the majesty. (19) Because of the greatness he gave him, all the peoples, nations, and men of every language feared him and trembled before him. He killed whomever he desired, and he kept alive whomever he desired. He promoted whomever he desired, and he demoted whomever he desired. (20) But when his heart became arrogant and his spirit was hardened, so that he behaved in a proud manner, he was deposed from his royal throne and they took his glory from him. (21) He was driven away from men and his mind became like that of the beasts. He lived with the wild donkeys, he was given grass to eat like the cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men and that he sets over it whomever he desires. (22) Yet you, his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this. (23) On the contrary, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines, drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, gods that cannot see or hear and do not have intelligence. But the God who holds your life in his hands and who governs all your ways, you have not glorified. (24) Therefore the fingers of the hand were sent from his presence and this inscription was written. (25) And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. (26)This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and has brought it to an end. (27) TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales, and you are found to be deficient. (28) PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians. (29) Then, at Belshazzar’s command, they clothed Daniel in purple and placed a gold chain around his neck, and he was proclaimed to be the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

(30) That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. (31) And Darius the Mede took over the kingdom; he was approximately sixty-two years old.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.