40 Days of study

A human being lives, but he is given life.

Daniel 5:1-12

Daniel 5:1-12

New King James Version (NKJV)

Belshazzar’s Feast

1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. 2 While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

5 In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster 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 changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. 7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”


My Thoughts:

Nebuchadnezzar has been dead for about 23 years before the fall of Babylon and just as Daniel had predicted the passing of Babylon was upon them. The passing from the Head of Gold to the chest and arms of silver was to happen this night. But in his arrogates king Belshazzar thought his kingdom was safe.

Nebuchadnezzar had been followed by a series of pour leaders. His son, Evil-Merodach see (Jer. 52:31), then his brother-in-law after only 2 years. He only lasted for 4 years then his son was killed by conspirators that took over, then Nabonidus moved his headquarters to oasis of Tema and left his son Belshazzar king.

During the 10 years Nabonidus had been absent the kingdom had not celebrated to New Year’s festival. This added with the kingdom slowly crumbling down around them, Nabonidus was not a popular king. With the rise of Cyrus the Great, the Persian king being on the move, he had taken over the kingdom of Media and Nabonidus returned to Babylon in hopes to rebuild his support in 540.

So, why call for the things taken from the temple in Jerusalem. This festival as some reference to past victories and maybe the use of these vessels were a way of showing their power over the people they had conquered. But whatever the reason was the rulers of Babylon had forgotten the past.


Ellen White Statements:

“Toward the close of Daniel’s life great changes were taking place in the land to which, over threescore years before, he and his Hebrew companions had been carried captive. Nebuchadnezzar, “the terrible of the nations” (Ezekiel 28:7), had died, and Babylon, “the praise of the whole earth” (Jeremiah 51:41), had passed under the unwise rule of his successors, and gradual but sure dissolution was resulting.

Through the folly and weakness of Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, proud Babylon was soon to fall. Admitted in his youth to a share in kingly authority, Belshazzar gloried in his power and lifted up his heart against the God of heaven. Many had been his opportunities to know the divine will and to understand his responsibility of rendering obedience thereto. He had known of his grandfather’s banishment, by the decree of God, from the society of men; and he was familiar with Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion and miraculous restoration. But Belshazzar allowed the love of pleasure and self-glorification to efface the lessons that he should never have forgotten. He wasted the opportunities graciously granted him, and neglected to use the means within his reach for becoming more fully acquainted with truth. That which Nebuchadnezzar had finally gained at the cost of untold suffering and humiliation, Belshazzar passed by with indifference.

It was not long before reverses came. Babylon was besieged by Cyrus, nephew of Darius the Mede, and commanding general of the combined armies of the Medes and Persians. But within the seemingly impregnable fortress, with its massive walls and its gates of brass, protected by the river Euphrates, and stocked with provision in abundance, the voluptuous monarch felt safe and passed his time in mirth and revelry.

In his pride and arrogancy, with a reckless feeling of security Belshazzar “made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.” All the attractions that wealth and power could command, added splendor to the scene. Beautiful women with their enchantments were among the guests in attendance at the royal banquet. Men of genius and education were there. Princes and statesmen drank wine like water and reveled under its maddening influence.

With reason dethroned through shameless intoxication, and with lower impulses and passions now in the ascendancy, the king himself took the lead in the riotous orgy. As the feast progressed, he “commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which … 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.” The king would prove that nothing was too sacred for his hands to handle. “They brought the golden vessels; … 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.”

Little did Belshazzar think that there was a heavenly Witness to his idolatrous revelry; that a divine Watcher, unrecognized, looked upon the scene of profanation, heard the sacrilegious mirth, beheld the idolatry. But soon the uninvited Guest made His presence felt. When the revelry was at its height a bloodless hand came forth and traced upon the walls of the palace characters that gleamed like fire—words which, though unknown to the vast throng, were a portent of doom to the now conscience-stricken king and his guests.” {PK 522-524}


Last thoughts:      

As the hand appeared it wrote upon the wall, and even though the king could not read it he knew this was not good. We see in (v. 6) that he was scared, but not just a little scared but it says “Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.”

Just as king Nebuchadnezzar did so many years before Belshazzar called for the wise men of the kingdom. Even stating the same reward for the man that could translate this message, and just like before the only man that could was Daniel but know he was about 80.

Well we will continue tomorrow.

About bobh6

I am Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the Texas Panhandle

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2011 by in Daniel and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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