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Daniel 5 Living Bible (TLB)

Belshazzar the king invited a thousand of his officers to a great feast where the wine flowed freely. 2-4 While Belshazzar was drinking, he was reminded of the gold and silver cups taken long before from the Temple in Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and brought to Babylon. Belshazzar ordered that these sacred cups be brought in to the feast, and when they arrived, he and his princes, wives, and concubines drank toasts from them to their idols made of gold and silver, brass and iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly, as they were drinking from these cups, they saw the fingers of a man’s hand writing on the plaster of the wall opposite the lampstand. The king himself saw the fingers as they wrote. His face blanched with fear, and such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him.

“Bring the magicians and astrologers!” he screamed. “Bring the Chaldeans! Whoever reads that writing on the wall and tells me what it means will be dressed in purple robes of royal honor, with a gold chain around his neck, and he will become the third ruler in the kingdom!”[a]

But when they came, none of them could understand the writing or tell him what it meant.

The king grew more and more hysterical; his face reflected the terror he felt, and his officers too were shaken. 10 But when the queen mother heard what was happening, she rushed to the banquet hall and said to Belshazzar, “Calm yourself, Your Majesty, don’t be so pale and frightened over this. 11 For there is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father this man was found to be as full of wisdom and understanding as though he were himself a god. And in the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar,[b] he was made chief of all the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers of Babylon. 12 Call for this man, Daniel—or Belteshazzar, as the king called him—for his mind is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve knotty problems. He will tell you what the writing means.”

13 So Daniel was rushed in to see the king. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel brought from Israel as a captive by King Nebuchadnezzar? 14 I have heard that you have the spirit of the gods within you and that you are filled with enlightenment and wisdom. 15 My wise men and astrologers have tried to read that writing on the wall and tell me what it means, but they can’t. 16 I am told you can solve all kinds of mysteries. If you can tell me the meaning of those words, I will clothe you in purple robes, with a gold chain around your neck, and make you the third ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Daniel answered, “Keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means. 18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar, who long ago preceded you, a kingdom and majesty and glory and honor. 19 He gave him such majesty that all the nations of the world trembled before him in fear. He killed any who offended him and spared any he liked. At his whim they rose or fell. 20 But when his heart and mind were hardened in pride, God removed him from his royal throne and took away his glory. 21 He was chased out of his palace into the fields. His thoughts and feelings became those of an animal, and he lived among the wild donkeys; he ate grass like the cows, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until at last he knew that the Most High overrules the kingdoms of men and appoints anyone he desires to reign over them.

22 “And you, his successor, O Belshazzar—you knew all this, yet you have not been humble. 23 For you have defied the Lord of Heaven and brought here these cups from his Temple; and you and your officers and wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, brass, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not praised the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! 24-25 And so God sent those fingers to write this message: ‘Mene,’ ‘Mene,’ ‘Tekel,’ ‘Parsin.’

26 “This is what it means:

“Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign, and they are ended.

27 “Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed in God’s balances and have failed the test.

28 “Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

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

30 That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed, 31 and Darius the Mede[c] entered the city and began reigning at the age of sixty-two.

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 5:7 become the third ruler in the kingdom. Belshazzar was the second under Nabonidus, his father, who was out of town at the time.
  2. Daniel 5:11 King Nebuchadnezzar, literally, “King Nebuchadnezzar, your father”—the Aramaic word for “father” can also mean “predecessor,” in this instance, fifth removed.
  3. Daniel 5:31 Darius the Mede. Darius the Mede is not to be confused with Darius the Persian mentioned in Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah, nor with the one in Nehemiah 12:22.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Daniel 5 New International Version (NIV)

The Writing on the Wall

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 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. 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. 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 legs became weak and his knees were knocking.

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.”

Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. So 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. 12 He 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. 16 Now 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.”

17 Then 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. 21 He 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. 24 Therefore 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.”

29 Then 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.[i]

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 5:2 Or ancestor; or predecessor; also in verses 11, 13 and 18
  2. Daniel 5:7 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 11
  3. Daniel 5:10 Or queen mother
  4. Daniel 5:22 Or descendant; or successor
  5. Daniel 5:26 Mene can mean numbered or mina (a unit of money).
  6. Daniel 5:27 Tekel can mean weighed or shekel.
  7. Daniel 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin) can mean divided or Persia or a half mina or a half shekel.
  8. Daniel 5:30 Or Chaldeans
  9. Daniel 5:31 In Aramaic texts this verse (5:31) is numbered 6:1.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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