International Children’s Bible
The Writing on the Wall
5 King Belshazzar gave a big banquet for 1,000 royal guests. And he drank wine with them. 2 As Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave an order to his servants. He told them to bring the gold and silver cups that his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. King Belshazzar wanted his royal guests to drink from those cups. He also wanted his wives and his slave women to drink from them. 3 So they brought the gold cups. They had been taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the king and his royal guests, his wives and his slave women drank from them. 4 As they were drinking, they praised their gods. Those gods were made from gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.
5 Then suddenly a person’s hand appeared. The fingers wrote words on the plaster on the wall. This was near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.
6 King Belshazzar was very frightened. His face turned white, and his knees knocked together. He could not stand up because his legs were too weak. 7 The king called for the magicians and wise men to be brought to him. He said to the wise men of Babylon, “I will give a reward to anyone who can read this writing and explain it. I will give him purple clothes fit for a king. I will put a gold chain around his neck. And I will make him the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
8 So all the king’s wise men came in. But they could not read the writing. And they could not tell the king what it meant. 9 King Belshazzar became even more afraid. His face became even whiter. His royal guests were confused.
10 Then the king’s mother came into the banquet room. She had heard the voices of the king and his royal guests. She said, “My king, live forever! Don’t be afraid! Don’t let your face be white with fear! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your father, this man showed understanding, knowledge and wisdom. He was like the gods in these things. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, put this man in charge of all the wise men. He ruled over all the fortune-tellers, magicians and wise men. 12 The man I am talking about is named Daniel. The king gave him the name Belteshazzar. He was very wise, and he had knowledge and understanding. He could explain dreams and secrets. He could answer very hard problems. Call for Daniel. He will tell you what the writing on the wall means.”
13 So they brought Daniel to the king. The king said to him, “Is your name Daniel? Are you one of the captives my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you. And I have heard that you are very wise and have knowledge and understanding. 15 The wise men and magicians were brought to me to read this writing on the wall. I wanted those men to explain to me what it means. But they could not explain it. 16 I have heard that you are able to explain what things mean. And you can find the answers to hard problems. Read this writing on the wall and explain it to me. If you can, I will give you purple clothes fit for a king. And I will put a gold chain around your neck. And you will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself. Or you may give those rewards to someone else. I will read the writing on the wall for you. And I will explain to you what it means.
18 “My king, the Most High God made your father Nebuchadnezzar a great, important and powerful king. 19 God made him very important. So all the people, nations and those who spoke every language were very afraid of Nebuchadnezzar. If he wanted a person to die, he put that person to death. And if he wanted a person to live, he let that person live. If he wanted to promote a person, he promoted him. And if he wanted a person to be unimportant, he made him unimportant.
20 “But Nebuchadnezzar became too proud and stubborn. So he was taken off his royal throne. His glory was taken away. 21 Then Nebuchadnezzar was forced away from people. His mind became like the mind of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys and was fed grass like an ox. He became wet with dew. These things happened to him until he learned his lesson: The Most High God rules over the kingdoms of men. And the Most High God sets anyone he wants over those kingdoms.
22 “But, Belshazzar, you already knew these things. You are a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar. But still you have not been sorry for what you have done. 23 Instead, you have turned against the Lord of heaven. You ordered the drinking cups from the Temple of the Lord to be brought to you. Then you and your royal guests drank wine from them. Your wives and your slave women also drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood and stone. They are not really gods. They cannot see or hear or understand anything. But you did not honor God. He is the One who has power over your life and everything you do. 24 So God sent the hand that wrote on the wall.
25 “These are the words that were written on the wall: ‘Mene, mene, tekel, parsin.’
26 “This is what these words mean: Mene: God has counted the days until your kingdom will end. 27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found not good enough. 28 Parsin: Your kingdom is being divided. It will be given to the Medes and the Persians.”
29 Then Belshazzar gave an order for Daniel to be dressed in purple clothes. A gold chain was put around his neck. And he was announced to be the third highest ruler in the kingdom. 30 That very same night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonian people, was killed. 31 A man named Darius the Mede became the new king. Darius was 62 years old.
New International Version
The Writing on the Wall
5 King Belshazzar(A) gave a great banquet(B) for a thousand of his nobles(C) and drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking(D) his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets(E) that Nebuchadnezzar his father[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines(F) might drink from them.(G) 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. 4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods(H) of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.(I)
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. 6 His face turned pale(J) and he was so frightened(K) that his legs became weak(L) and his knees were knocking.(M)
7 The king summoned the enchanters,(N) astrologers[b](O) and diviners.(P) Then he said to these wise(Q) 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,(R) and he will be made the third(S) highest ruler in the kingdom.”(T)
8 Then all the king’s wise men(U) came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant.(V) 9 So King Belshazzar became even more terrified(W) 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!”(X) 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(Y) in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom(Z) like that of the gods.(AA) Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.(AB) 12 He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar,(AC) was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles(AD) and solve difficult problems.(AE) Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.(AF)”
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?(AG) 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods(AH) is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom.(AI) 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.(AJ) 16 Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems.(AK) 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,(AL) and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”(AM)
17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else.(AN) 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(AO) sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor.(AP) 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;(AQ) those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled.(AR) 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride,(AS) he was deposed from his royal throne(AT) and stripped(AU) of his glory.(AV) 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(AW) over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.(AX)
22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[d] have not humbled(AY) yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against(AZ) the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives(BA) 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.(BB) But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life(BC) and all your ways.(BD) 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:
- Daniel 5:2 Or ancestor; or predecessor; also in verses 11, 13 and 18
- Daniel 5:7 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 11
- Daniel 5:10 Or queen mother
- Daniel 5:22 Or descendant; or successor
- Daniel 5:26 Mene can mean numbered or mina (a unit of money).
- Daniel 5:27 Tekel can mean weighed or shekel.
- Daniel 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin) can mean divided or Persia or a half mina or a half shekel.
- Daniel 5:30 Or Chaldeans
- Daniel 5:31 In Aramaic texts this verse (5:31) is numbered 6:1.