Daniel 5

Belshazzar suddenly shows up on the scene, but some people have had doubts whether he was truly an historical figure.  For years he was found only in the pages of the Bible, but more recent texts in cuneiform have shown that Belshazzar was coregent of Babylon at the time of its collapse.

The supernatural event with writing on the wall shows once more who is in control.  God has found that Beshazzar’s father (descendant) had some redeeming qualities, but Belshazzar does not have reverence for God.  Even though one king replaces another on the stage it is still God who moves the pieces.

Daniel 5

1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

5 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. 6His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.

7 The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers[b]and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.

10 The queen,[c] hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”

13 So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. 16Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

17Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[d] have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 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. 24Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

25“This is the inscription that was written:

   MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN

26“Here is what these words mean:

   Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres[g]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians,[h] was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Questions

  1. What things does Belshazzar use irreverantly?
  2. What attitude does this display?
  3. How do human events align with God’s desires?
  4. Have you treated church worship or God himself with irreverence?
  5. How can we show proper honour ro God through the things that he has given us?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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11 Responses to Daniel 5

  1. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. He treats the goblets of the temple without reverance and gives praise to idols instead of God.
    2. It displays an attitude that is self-centered. He thought that he was in control and that he could do whatever he wanted.
    3. God often uses our human mistakes or choices to further His plans.
    4. Sadly, there are times when I have done this.
    5. We need to praise Him for the things that He has given us and remember that we did not earn or deserve any of these things. Instead, they are a gift from God.

  2. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. he used gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem.
    2. He did not learn from his father’s mistake-pride.
    3. God guides human events to happen according to His will to accomplish what He has planned.
    4. Yes, a few times.
    5. To always give thanks to Him.

  3. HyeJin Lee says:

    1.What things does Belshazzar use irreverantly?
    He uses goblets of the temple.
    2.What attitude does this display?
    He actually ignores God’s authority.
    3.How do human events align with God’s desires?
    Human events are led by God’s will
    4.Have you treated church worship or God himself with irreverence?
    No.. I have never.
    5.How can we show proper honor to God through the things that he has given us?
    We should recognize His authority every moment, and show respect to Him in our lives.

  4. Cassie Clark says:

    1.Articles from the temple
    2.Irreverence, pride
    3.God ordains events to occur in advance
    4.Laziness, especially in prayer
    5.Gratefulness

  5. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. The gold and silver goblets, as he uses them and gives praise to the gods of gold and silver instead of giving praise to the real God.
    2. This displays lack of reverence and respect for God.
    3. Human events align with God’s desires as ultimately he is in control and ordains everything, knowing all the while what people desire and how they will respond.
    4. Yes, sadly I realize that even lately I have treated God with irreverence as I sometimes just go through the motions of what I suppossed ot do, verses really stopping to be in Awe of the Lord. I can treat his decrees as suggestions and choose my own route as if I know better than the Most High.
    5. We can show proper honor to God by recognizing that all we have in this life is his and not clinging to anything too tightly but Him; boasting, as Paul would say, in nothing but the cross.

  6. Rebecca Langer says:

    1. What things does Belshazzar use irreverantly?
    He drinks out of the temple cups that were used to worship God.
    2. What attitude does this display?
    He is very disrespectful of
    god and he doesn’t fear God.
    3. How do human events align with God’s desires?
    The King who took over had obviously been planning this for a while, but God knew this and configured it in his plan.
    4. Have you treated church worship or God himself with irreverence?
    Sometimes I do.
    5. How can we show proper honour ro God through the things that he has given us?
    By recognizing that everything we have is God’s and that he deserves all glory and honor and respect.

  7. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) He uses goblets from the temple.
    2) This shows that he does not fear the Lord or have any respect for God.
    3) since God is soveriegn, God uses are actions as part of his soveriegn will.
    4) Yes, there have definitely been times where I have been cynical or irreverent in church.
    5) We can show proper honor by taking care of everything that he has blessed us with, giving thanks in all circumstances.

  8. Grace Yoo says:

    1. Belshazzar drinks out of the temple cups.

    2. This attitude displays disrespect for the Lord.

    3. Human events align with God’s desires because we are supposed to do what God wants for us.

    4. Yes, sometimes I have treated church worship or God himself with irreverence.

    5. We can show proper honor to God through the things he has given us by not taking things for granted and being more thankful for everything we have.

  9. aaron wright says:

    1. the goblets of the temple
    2. irreverence of God
    3. no matter if we “mess up” or not, each action fulfills God’s sovereign plan
    4. I have been guilty of that many times.
    5. spend time in prayer giving him thanks for his gracious giving

  10. Moon Jung Kim says:

    What things does Belshazzar use irreverantly? He used gold and silver goblets and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone
    What attitude does this display? He was proud of his kingdom
    How do human events align with God’s desires? God uses human events to reveal His desires
    Have you treated church worship or God himself with irreverence? yes.. I have judged church worship but it was irreverence to God
    How can we show proper honour ro God through the things that he has given us? we can show proper honour to God to maintain the things that He has given us and think of Him while we maintain the things

  11. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. Belshazzar uses the gold goblets that his father took from the temple and drinks wine from them at his party.
    2. This displays an attitude of selfishness and no concern or respect for God.
    4. I have.
    5. We can use them in ways that serve and honor God, and recognize that they are not our own, but from God.

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