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Daniel 5

Belshazzar’s Feast

Belshazzar the king held a great feast for one thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.
2 When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he said to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. 5 Suddenly the fingers of a man’s hand came out and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, and the king saw the back of the hand that did the writing. 6 Then the splendor of the king’s face changed, and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack, and his knees were knocking against each other. 7 The king called out loudly to bring in the conjurers, the Chaldeans, and the diviners. The king answered and said to the wise men of Babylon, “Any man who can read this writing and declare its interpretation to me shall be clothed with purple and have a necklace of gold around his neck and rule with power as third ruler in the kingdom.” 8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known its interpretation to the king. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and the splendor of his face changed further, and his nobles were perplexed. 10 The queen entered the banquet hall because of the words of the king and his nobles; the queen answered and said, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts alarm you or the splendor of your face be changed. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father, illumination, insight, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him. And King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, your father the king, set him as chief of the magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans, and diviners. 12 This was because an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and insight, interpretation of dreams, explanation of enigmas, and solving of difficult problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Let Daniel now be summoned, and he will declare the interpretation.”

Daniel Interprets the Writing on the Wall

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the exiles from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?
14 Now I have heard about you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that illumination, insight, and extraordinary wisdom have been found in you. 15 Just now the wise men and the conjurers were brought in before me that they might read this writing and make its interpretation known to me, but they could not declare the interpretation of the message. 16 But I personally have heard about you, that you are able to give interpretations and solve difficult problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and make its interpretation known to me, you will be clothed with purple and wear a necklace of gold around your neck, and you will rule with power as the third ruler in the kingdom.” 17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts remain with you or give your rewards to someone else; however, I will read the writing to the king and make the interpretation known to him. 18 O king, the Most High God granted the kingdom, grandeur, glory, and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father. 19 And because of the grandeur which He bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations, and men of every tongue feared and were in dread before him; whomever he wished he killed, and whomever he wished he kept alive, and whomever he wished he raised up, and whomever he wished he made low. 20 But when his heart was raised up and his spirit became so strong that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne, and his glory was taken away from him. 21 He was also driven away from the sons of men, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his place of habitation was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of the sky until he knew that the Most High God is the powerful ruler over the kingdom of mankind and that He sets up over it whomever He wishes. 22 Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not made your heart lowly, even though you knew all this, 23 but you have raised yourself up against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear, or know. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not honored. 24 Then the hand was sent from Him, and this writing was inscribed. 25 “Now this is the writing that was inscribed: ‘MENĒ, MENĒ, TEKĒL, UPHARSIN.’ 26 This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENĒ’—God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. 27 ‘TEKĒL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found lacking. 28 ‘PERĒS’—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar said the word, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now would be the third powerful ruler in the kingdom. 30 That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. 31 So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.