Book of DANIEL
Compiled by WD Kemner
CHAPTER 5 – Hand Writing
on the Wall
NOTE for Chapters 5 - 8
Here we see a break in the chronology of the chapters by the
author Daniel. Chapter 5 starts with Belshazzar as king and ends with his
death and the Medes and Persians taking over Babylon. Chapter 6 Darius is
king. Chapter 7 we return backward to the first year of King Belshazzar as
king. Chapter 8 is year 3 of his reign. So chapter 5 belongs after chapter
8 in chronology. However, laying the chapters out in this manner keeps all
the prophetical chapters 7-12 together.
Chapter 5 verses 1-4
the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine
before the thousand. 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. 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. They drank wine, and praised the gods of
gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
Belshazzar made a great feast to a thousand of his lords. He is the son of
Nabonidus and grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. There is no word in Chaldee for
grandfather. The same word was used for all ancestors. Josephus lists this
king as being a great-great–grandson. There having been two more generations
of kings before him.
drinking he demands that the Jewish temple items be brought out for the use
of the party. The instruments were then used to praise the idols of man.
Chapter 5 verses 5-9
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. 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.
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.
came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor
make known to the king the interpretation thereof.Then was king Belshazzar
greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords
“the same hour”. God was going to take the next step and call an end to the
reign of the Babylonians.
king saw the fingers of a man’s hand write on the wall. Men saw God’s hand!
The king was shaken and then followed the same course of action that his
ancestor had done in calling the wise men. These men of course had no better
luck this time than they had ever in the past.
Chapter 5 verses 10-16
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: 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,
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.
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? 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.
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: 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.
took the Queen this time to bring up Daniel to the king’s attention and
recount how esteemed he had been. It is very apparent that Daniel has been
all but forgotten by the throne because Belshazzar has to ask Daniel in verse
13 who he was. This “Queen” comes in due to the apparent noise of “alarm” at
the sight that is seen. It is probably not the wife of Belshazzar, who would
have been at the party. It was not the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, who would have
been too old. This is probably the wife of the king who was the “First Ruler”
of the Babylonians who was apparently away at this point.
Chapter 5 verses 17-23
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. O thou king, the most high God gave
Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
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.
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: 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.
thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou
knewest all this; 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:
has to remind the king of what Nebuchadnezzar had learned and how Belshazzar himself
had likewise failed.
Chapter 5 verses 24-28
was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
is the interpretation of the thing:
God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
is the writing that was written. The words that Daniel tells them are NOT
the actual words that were on the walls. The words on the walls were not in
any known language. Not in Chaldee, Hebrew, or any Babylonian dialect. If it
had been, then “someone” out of the hundreds of experts in the kingdom would
have been at least able to read the words even if they could not translate.
The words were not even “readable” (vs 8). Daniel could not read the words!
The words and interpretation WERE MADE KNOWN to Daniel!
MENE = numbered (repeated for emphasis)
had numbered the kings’ kingdom and it was finished, the kingdom was being
given to the Medes and Persians. He was even told who was taking the
Chapter 5 verse 29
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.
reason for “third ruler” was because Belshazzar was Second ruler. Belshazzar
had been left in charge of Babylon while the king “First Ruler” was expanding
Chapter 5 verses 30-31
In that night was Belshazzar the king of
the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about
threescore and two years old.
tells us that it was that very night that the gate was left unlocked, the
Persian army that had been laying siege for weeks walked in without much