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Daniel 5:13-31

Daniel 5:13-31

New King James Version (NKJV)


The Writing on the Wall Explained

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. 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 rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.

25 “And this is the inscription that was written:




26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEK: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.


Belshazzar’s Fall

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

My Thoughts:

The handwriting was on the wall and Babylon was just hours away from falling. And we see Daniel enter the room but he did not give the customary salutation, “O king, live forever!” maybe it was because he knew that the king only had a short time left.

I also found it interesting that before Daniel even started in the translation of the writing he rebuked the king, telling him that he had his chance. He was a witness to the things that his grandfather saw and experienced but he too had the same prideful nature that brought Nebuchadnezzar to his knees.

So what was the writing? MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN.


MENE – God has numbered your days.

TEKEL – You have been weighed and found wanting

PARSIN – Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Belshazzar was a man of his word though. Even after Daniel finished telling him that it was over and his kingdom was going to fall, he still gave all the things that he had promised him and made him the 3rd ruler of Babylon.

How did the great city fall? The river Euphrates normally flowed low in October. And we know this was the case based on accounts from two sources. And the army also diverted the waters lowering them even more. So the army just walked under the walls.

And we see that very night Belshazzar was killed. And the great city had fallen; true to prophecy the head of gold gave way to the breast and arms of silver.

It is very important that we understand the rule of Babylon in understanding the book of Daniel and Revelation. There are two aspects that demand our attention;

1) The fall of Symbolic Babylon is one of the leading themes in the book of Revelation. It is associated there with the fall of the literal Babylon.

2)  The perfect fall of the literal Babylon confirms the accuracy of the prophecy and as such gives us confidence in the prophecy of the symbolic Babylon of Revelation.

One should spend some time in study of Isaiah 41, 46, and 47; Jeremiah 50, and 51; and Revelation 16 to 19, to see the numerous parallels.




Ellen White Statements:

“Belshazzar, awed by this representation of God’s power, showing that they had a witness, though they knew it not, had had great opportunities of knowing the works of the living God, and His power, and of doing His will. He had been privileged with much light. His grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, had been warned of his danger in forgetting God and glorifying himself. Belshazzar had a knowledge of his banishment from the society of men, and his association with the beasts of the field; and these facts, which ought to have been a lesson to him, he disregarded, as if they had never occurred; and he went on repeating the sins of his grandfather. He dared to commit the crimes which brought God’s judgments upon Nebuchadnezzar. He was condemned, not alone that he himself was doing wickedly, but that he had not availed himself of opportunities and capabilities, if cultivated, of being right.” {TM 436.1}

Last thoughts:      

What were the lessons learned from Chapter 5;

1)      The fall of Babylon in Daniel and Revelation makes everyone happy. (Jeremiah 51:48 and Revelation 18:20).

2)      God care for all men. Look how hard he worked to win Nebuchadnezzar. Well he worked hard for all the Babylonians. He tried to heal all of them (Jeremiah 51:9)

3)      We see that the prophecy was fulfilled.

4)      We see that just as foretold Babylon was never to be rebuilt.  Many have tried but none have succeeded. By the time of Christ Babylon was no more than a ghost town.

5)      God did not live in the heart of Belshazzar.

6)      Even after his years in captivity in Babylon Daniel was still true to God.


About bobh6

I am Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the Texas Panhandle

4 comments on “Daniel 5:13-31

  1. Rosi
    November 15, 2011

    We often wonder these days how the people back then could see the work of the Lord and forget it so quickly. Belshazzar is a great example of this. As Ellen White said, he knew all that God had done to nebachnezzar and for him and the people of Babylon. He turned his back on all of this. I am assuming that he never had dealings with Daniel since he said “are you this Daniel?” We still see so much of Gods work today. We have to look a little harder but it is still here. God is so good and has done so much for me and my family and friends. Yet we don’t give Him the honor, praise and glory that He is so deserves. We forget just as fast as Belshazzar and the Israelites that He rescued from Egypt. We need to remember and watch and be ready.

    • bobh6
      November 15, 2011

      I try to thank God for all hte gifts he has given me every day. I have a job that I love, I have a house to live in, I have my Dog, but most of all I have the best friends any one could ask for. Like you said to many times we forget to stop and see God.

  2. Amalia Mullen
    November 15, 2011

    I agree. Notice how leannate God was with Neb in comparision with Belshazzer. The judgement seemed quick and final, and in no time he was died. We know so much others didn’t or don’t know…yet how often we knowingly sin and doudt God’s punishment. This could also be a reminder to us that from one moment to the next our judgement could be passed. The end of the world may not be tommorrow, yet the next second could be our last, how are we standing before God right now?

    • bobh6
      November 17, 2011

      Good point, I agree with you.

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November 2011
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