Daniel 5 Expanded Bible (EXB)
The Writing on the Wall
5 King Belshazzar [C along with his father, Nabonidus, the last ruler of Babylon] ·gave a big banquet [L served a large meal] for a thousand ·royal [noble; important] guests and drank wine with ·them [L the thousand]. 2 As Belshazzar ·was drinking his wine [L tasted the wine; C he was under the influence of the wine], he gave orders to bring the gold and silver cups that his ·ancestor Nebuchadnezzar [L father; predecessor; C not his literal father; v. 1] had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem [1:2]. This was so the king, his ·royal [noble; important] guests, his wives, and his ·slave women [L concubines; C secondary wives] could drink from those cups. 3 So they brought the gold cups that had been taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the king and his ·royal [noble; important] guests, his wives, and his ·slave women [L concubines; v. 2] drank from them. 4 As they were drinking, they praised their gods, which were made from gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 Suddenly the fingers of a person’s hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.
6 ·King Belshazzar was very frightened [L The king’s thoughts terrified him]. His face turned ·white [pale], his knees knocked together, and ·he could not stand up because his legs were too weak [the strength left his legs; L his hips went loose; C the idiom may mean he wet himself]. 7 The king called loudly for the ·magicians [enchanters], ·wise men [L Chaldeans; C a group of astrologers], and ·wizards [exorcists] of Babylon and said to ·them [L the wise men of Babylon], “Anyone who can read this writing and explain ·it [L its interpretation] will be clothed in purple [C befitting a king] and have a gold chain around his neck. And I will make that person the third highest ruler in the kingdom [C after Nabonidus and Belshazzar; v. 1; Gen. 41:42; Esth. 8:15].”
8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king ·what it meant [its interpretation]. 9 King Belshazzar became even more ·afraid [terrified], and his face became even ·whiter [paler]. His ·royal [important; noble] guests were ·confused [agitated].
10 Then the queen [C the queen mother, since the king’s wives were already present], who had heard the ·voices [discussion] of the king and his ·royal [noble; important] guests, came into the banquet room. She said, “O king, live forever! Don’t ·be afraid [L let your thoughts terrify you] or let your face ·be white with fear [turn pale]! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has ·the spirit of the holy gods [or a holy, divine spirit in him]. In the days of your father [v. 2], this man showed understanding, knowledge, and wisdom like the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, put this man in charge of all the ·wise men [L Chaldeans; C a group of astrologers], ·fortune-tellers [enchanters], ·magicians [diviners], and ·wizards [exorcists]. 12 The man I am talking about is named Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar [1:7]. He ·was very wise [L has an excellent spirit] and had knowledge and understanding. He could ·explain [interpret] dreams and ·secrets [riddles] and ·could answer very hard [unravel] problems. Call for Daniel. He will tell you ·what the writing on the wall means [its interpretation].”
13 So they brought Daniel to the king, and the king asked, “Are you Daniel one of the ·captives [exiles] my father the king brought from Judah [C trying to put Daniel in his place]? 14 I have heard that ·the spirit of the gods [or a divine spirit] is in you, and that you are very wise and have knowledge and ·extraordinary [excellent] understanding. 15 The wise men and ·magicians [enchanters] were brought to me to read this writing and to explain ·what it means [its interpretation], but they could not ·explain it [give me its interpretation]. 16 I have heard that you are able to ·explain what things mean [give interpretations] and can ·find the answers to hard [unravel] problems. Read this writing on the wall and ·explain it to me [give me its interpretation]. If you can, I will clothe you in purple [C befitting a king] and give you a gold chain to wear around your neck. And you will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom [v. 7].”
17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself, or you may give those rewards to someone else. But I will read the writing [C on the wall] for you and will explain to you ·what it means [its interpretation].
18 “O king, the Most High God ·made your father Nebuchadnezzar a great, important, and powerful king [L gave your father Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, greatness, splendor, and glory]. 19 Because God made him ·important [great], all the people, nations, and ·those who spoke every language [L tongues] ·were very frightened [L trembled with fear in front] of Nebuchadnezzar. If he wanted someone to die, he killed that person. If he wanted someone to live, he let that person live. Those he wanted to ·promote [honor], he ·promoted [honored]. Those he wanted to ·be less important [abase; degrade], he ·made less important [abased; degraded].
20 “But ·Nebuchadnezzar became too proud [L his heart was exalted/lifted up] and ·stubborn [L his spirit became hard with insolence], so he was taken off his royal throne. His glory was ·taken [stripped] away. 21 He was ·forced away [driven] from people, and his mind became like the mind of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys and was fed grass like an ox and became wet with dew. These things happened to him until he learned: The Most High God ·rules [is sovereign] over every kingdom ·on earth [L of humans], and he sets anyone he chooses over those kingdoms.
22 “Belshazzar, you, his [C Nebuchadnezzar’s] ·son [descendant; or successor; C not his literal son; v. 1], already knew these things. Still you have not ·been sorry for what you have done [L humbled your heart]. 23 Instead, you have ·set yourself [exalted yourself] 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 [important; noble] guests, your wives, and your ·slave women [concubines; C secondary wives] drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that cannot see or hear or understand anything [C they are not really gods]. You did not honor God, who has power over your ·life [very breath] and ·everything you do [all your ways]. 24 So ·God sent [L before his presence was sent] the hand that wrote.
25 “These are the words that were written: ‘Mene, mene, tekel, and parsin.’
26 “This is ·what the words mean [L the interpretation of the matter]: Mene [C “Numbered”]: God has ·counted [numbered] the days until your kingdom will end. 27 Tekel [C “Weighed”]: You have been weighed on the scales and found ·not good enough [deficient; lacking; T wanting]. 28 Parsin [C “Divided”]: Your kingdom is being divided and will be given to the Medes and the Persians [C from the Iranian plateau].”
29 Then Belshazzar gave an order for Daniel to be dressed in purple clothes [C befitting a king] and to have a gold chain put around his neck. And it was announced that Daniel was the third highest ruler in the kingdom [v. 7]. 30 That very same night Belshazzar, king of the ·Babylonian people [L Chaldeans], was killed. 31 So Darius the Mede ·became the new king [L received the kingdom] when he was sixty-two years old [C when the Persians defeated the Babylonians; 539 bc].
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