Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Daniel's Word to Participants in a Royal Orgy

The Writing on the Wall

Daniel 5

1King Belshazzar gave a big banquet for a thousand royal guests and drank
wine with them. 2As Belshazzar was drinking his wine; he gave orders to bring
the gold and silver cups that his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the
Temple in Jerusalem. This was so the king, his royal guests, his wives, and his
slave women could drink from those cups. 3So they brought the gold cups that
had been taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the king and his royal
guests, his wives, and his slave women drank from them. 4As they were drinking,
they praised their gods, which were made from gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood,
and stone.

5Suddenly the fingers of a person’s hand appeared and began writing on the
plaster of the wall, near the lamp stand in the royal palace. The king watched the
hand as it wrote.

6King Belshazzar was very frightened. His face turned white, his knees
knocked together, and he could not stand up because his legs were too weak.
7The king called for the magicians, wise men, and wizards of Babylon and said to
them, “Anyone who can read this writing and explain it will receive purple
clothes fit for a king and a gold chain around his neck. And I will make that
person the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

8Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or
tell the king what it meant. 9King Belshazzar became even more afraid, and his
face became even whiter. His royal guests were confused.

10Then the king’s mother, who had heard the voices of the king and his royal
guests, came into the banquet room. She said, “O king, live forever! Don’t be
afraid or let your face be white with fear! 11There is a man in your kingdom who
has the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, this man showed
understanding, knowledge, and wisdom like the gods. Your father, King
Nebuchadnezzar, put this man in charge of all the wise men, fortune-tellers,
magicians, and wizards. 12The man I am talking about is named Daniel, whom
the king named Belteshazzar. He was very smart and had knowledge and
understanding. He could explain dreams and secrets and could answer very hard
problems. Call for Daniel. He will tell you what the writing on the wall means.”

13So they brought Daniel to the king, and the king asked, “Is your name
Daniel? Are you one of the captives my father the king brought from Judah? 14I
have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you are very smart and
have knowledge and extraordinary understanding. 15The wise men and magicians
were brought to me to read this writing and to explain what it means, but they
could not explain it. 16I have heard that you are able to explain what things mean
and can find the answers to hard problems. Read this writing on the wall and
explain it to me. If you can, I will give you purple clothes fit for a king and a
gold chain to wear around your neck. And you will become the third highest ruler
in the kingdom.”

17Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself, or
you may give those rewards to someone else. But I will read the writing on the
wall for you and will explain to you what it means.

18“O king, the Most High God made your father Nebuchadnezzar a great,
important, and powerful king. 19Because God made him important, all the people,
nations, and those who spoke every language were very frightened of
Nebuchadnezzar. If he wanted someone to die, he killed that person. If he wanted
someone to live, he let that person live. Those he wanted to promote, he
promoted. Those he wanted to be less important, he made less important.

20“But Nebuchadnezzar became too proud and stubborn, so he was taken off
his royal throne. His glory was taken away. 21He was forced away from people,
and his mind became like the mind of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys
and was fed grass like an ox and became wet with dew. These things happened to
him until he learned his lesson: The Most High God rules over every kingdom on
earth, and he sets anyone he chooses over those kingdoms.

22“Belshazzar, you already knew these things, because you are a descendant
of Nebuchadnezzar. Still you have not been sorry for what you have done.
23Instead, you have set yourself against the Lord of heaven. You ordered the
drinking cups from the Temple of the Lord to be brought to you. Then you and
your royal guests, your wives, and your slave women drank wine from them. You
praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that are not really
gods; they cannot see or hear or understand anything. You did not honor God,
who has power over your life and everything you do. 24So God sent the hand that
wrote on the wall.

25“These are the words that were written on the wall: ‘Mene, mene, tekel, and

26“This is what the words mean: Mene: God has counted the days until your
kingdom will end. 27Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found not
good enough. 28Parsin: Your kingdom is being divided and will be given to the
Medes and the Persians.”

29Then Belshazzar gave an order for Daniel to be dressed in purple clothes
and to have a gold chain put around his neck. And it was announced that Daniel
was the third highest ruler in the kingdom. 30That very same night Belshazzar,
king of the Babylonian people, was killed. 31So Darius the Mede became the new
king when he was sixty-two years old.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version

DANIEL (Dan' iehl) Personal name meaning, “God is judge” or “God’s
judge.” 1. A son of David and Abigail, the Carmelitess (1 Chron. 3:1), who is
also called Chileab in 2 Samuel 3:3. 2. A priest of the Ithamar lineage (Ezra 8:2;
Neh 10:6) who returned with Ezra from the Babylonian captivity.

3. Daniel of Ezekiel 14:14, 20; 28:3 is spelled differently in Hebrew from all
the other forms in the Old Testament. This Daniel was a storied figure of
antiquity mentioned with Noah and Job. He was famous for wisdom and
righteousness. Due to the similarity in the spelling of the name and the common
attributes of wisdom and righteousness, some interpreters identify this Daniel
with the Daniel of the canonical book of Daniel.

Most interpreters, however, take note of the differences in the spelling and
also the fact of antiquity. Some identify the “Daniel” of Ezekiel with “Danel” of
ancient Ugaritic literature.

4. The most common usage of “Daniel” refers to the hero of the Book of
Daniel. This young man of nobility was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, king
of Babylon, and elevated to high rank in the Babylonian and Persian kingdoms.

The Babylonians sought to remove all vestiges of Daniel’s nationality and
religion. For this reason, they sought to change the name of Daniel to
Belteshazzar. (Dan. 1:7; 2:26; 4:8, 9, 18, 19; 5:12; 10:1).

Daniel was transported from Judah to Babylon in his early youth at the battle
of Carchemish, 605 B.C. The text does not indicate his precise age. He was
trained in the arts, letters, and wisdom in the Babylonian capital. Eventually, he
rose to high rank among the Babylonian men of wisdom.

He was active throughout the long reign of Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 B.C.).
No mention is made in Daniel of the times of Evil-Merodach (561-560 B.C.),
Neriglissar (559-555 B.C.), or Labashi-Marduk (555 B.C.). However, much
information is provided concerning Daniel’s involvement during the reign of
Nabonidus (555-539 B.C.). While Nabonidus was absent from his country for
extended periods of time, he put his son Belshazzar in charge of the affairs of

Daniel was in Babylon when the forces of Cyrus, the Persian, captured
Babylon. Successively, Daniel was a high governmental official during the reigns
of Cyrus (539-529 B.C.) and Cambyses (529-522 B.C.). He served also during
his old age into the reign of Darius I, the son of Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.).
Daniel would probably have celebrated his one hundredth birthday during the
reign of Darius.

He had outstanding physical attraction. He demonstrated at an early age
propensities of knowledge, wisdom, and leadership. In addition to his wisdom, he
was skilled in dream interpretation.

Throughout his entire life he demonstrated an unshakable faith in his God. It
took courage to resist the temptations and threats which confronted him
repeatedly. He recognized that God was continuously judging him. He remained

Holman Bible Dictionary

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