Daniel 5

This reading is Daniel 5.

This passage addresses the son (or grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar. The king showed contempt for the Israelites by using the gold and silver goblets that had been plundered from the temple in Jerusalem. Then a most unusual thing happened:

Daniel 5:4-6 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.

Once again Daniel is called on to interpret something. The gifts represented royalty (the purple robe), wealth (the gold chain) and power (being made the third highest ruler in the kingdom). Daniel recounts where Nebuchadnezzar went wrong and what the consequences were, then highlights Belshazzar’s offenses.

Daniel 5:22-23 “But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.

Belshazzar lives up to his part of the agreement and gives Daniel what he promised. Belshazzar loses the kingdom that night. Note that the fall of Babylon was also prophesied in Isaiah 47.

Trivia fact: Two famous sayings come this passage: “The writing on the wall” and “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

The next reading is Daniel 6.

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