God expects from the greatest of men that their hearts will be humbled before Him by acknowledgment that, great as they are, to Him they are accountable.
If they persist in their pride and impenitence,
they will be made to know that the Most High God rules.
1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
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.
3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
10 ¶ Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, 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:
11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, 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;
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.
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?
14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
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:
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.
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.
18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
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.
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:
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 God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
25 ¶ And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
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.
30 ¶ In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Daniel 5:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Daniel 5:2-4 – J. Vernon McGee
Daniel 5:5-7 – J. Vernon McGee
Daniel 5:8-12 – J. Vernon McGee
Daniel 5:13-24 – J. Vernon McGee
Daniel 5:25-29 – J. Vernon McGee
Daniel 5:30-31 – J. Vernon McGee
Daniel 5:1-16 – The Handwriting on the Wall.
The name of Belshazzar has been deciphered in inscriptions found at Babylon, from which it is inferred that he was associated with his father in the kingdom, and was left to defend Babylon. He was therefore a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, the word “father” (v. 11), being used in the sense of ancestor. The great walls of the banqueting hall covered with sculptures and sumptuous decorations; the tablets covered by cuneiform descriptions of the triumphs of former kings; what a feast this was! The thousand lords; the most beautiful women of the land; the concourse of magnates of religion and the state. The wine flowed in rivers, and laughter rang through the vaulted hall. Upon the table stood the vessels of the Temple, and notably the seven-branched candlestick, which cast its radiance on the wall, clearly illumining the fingers of the hand that wrote. The words, though Chaldee, may have been written in Hebrew characters. Conscience anticipated Daniel, and filled the king’s heart with foreboding. The queen may have been the great Nitocris, wife of Nebuchadnezzar, the ancestor of the present king. God has his own way of bringing his people to the front when he needs them.
Find the missing words then click and drag the letters in the grid below. Click “Start“
6 Then the king’s ______________________ was changed, and his ________________ troubled him, so that the ____________ of his loins were loosed, and his __________ smote one against another.
7 The king cried aloud to __________ in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king __________, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall ________ this writing, and shew me the ____________________________ thereof, shall be clothed with ______________, and have a chain of ________ about his neck, and shall be the third __________ in the kingdom.
8 Then came in all the king’s ________ men: but they could not read the ______________, nor make __________ to the king the interpretation thereof.
Daniel 5:16—I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts.
The perplexed world often turns to the Christian in its hours of anguish and terror. While the foe seems powerless, and the hall of life is full of light and song; while the merry feet chase the flying hours, and mirth is unrestrained; whilst the wine flows freely, and the courtiers whisper flattery—the servant of God may be left in obscurity and neglect, as Daniel by Belshazzar. At such times God Himself is an object of ridicule and scorn. But let a hand come from out the Infinite, and write on the walls of life’s palace in words of mystery, then the panic-stricken worldlings cry out for one in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God, and who can decipher the mysterious hieroglyphics, which to conscience forebode only disaster.
At such hours the child of God is kept in perfect peace. How should it be otherwise? He recognizes his Father’s handwriting, and can decipher his Fathers meaning. Amid the crash of falling kingdoms he is sure of his Father’s care. Oblivious of his own interests, he is only anxious to interpret the ways of God, to recall the sinner, and save the State.
The world has more respect for our religion than it cares to admit in its gay moods, and it is noticing us more than we dream. Some day those who treat you with least courtesy will send for you. Only be at peace, and rest in your Father’s Spirit. It shall be given you in that same hour what ye should speak. In the meanwhile, do not be surprised if you are led through many mysterious and trying experiences. It is only so that you can get the key to God’s secrets, or the clue to his mysteries. Above all, seek for the Spirit of God, that light and understanding and excellent wisdom may be found in thee. (Meyer)
Daniel 5:17-31 – Weighed and Found Wanting.
Daniel was unperturbed and undismayed. Calm and collected, he recognized his Father’s handwriting, and read it, as the instructed may decipher a scroll which is illegible to the ordinary gaze. What to him were the gewgaws of the palace? With the wings of the angel of death overshadowing that awe-struck throng, it was of small importance that Belshazzar promised him the purple robe and chain of gold. It seems sometimes as though those fingers were busy still writing their awful sentence on the walls of national revelry. While a nation is drinking deep at its cups and countenancing uncleanness, the divine assay may be in progress and the verdict going forth: weighed and found wanting. There may be gold and glitter, revelry and mirth, the splendor of state, and the profusion of rich viands; but what of these if the people are ignorant, irreligious, and impure? Then, indeed, dry-rot has set in! The root sin of all is pride. May the Spirit of God, who ever brings with him light and understanding and excellent wisdom be found in us, as in Daniel.