Belshazzar’s Feast

Belshazzar the king (A)made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels (B)which his [a]father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold (C)vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, (D)and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

(E)In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his (F)knees knocked against each other. (G)The king cried [b]aloud to bring in (H)the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; (I)and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Now all the king’s wise men came, (J)but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly (K)troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were [c]astonished.

10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 (L)There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your [d]father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your [e]father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and [f]explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, (M)whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

The Writing on the Wall Explained

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel [g]who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my [h]father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that (N)the [i]Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now (O)the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and [j]explain enigmas. (P)Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, (Q)the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your [k]father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, (R)all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he (S)executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 20 (T)But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was (U)driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, (V)till he [l]knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, (W)have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 (X)And you have [m]lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the (Y)vessels of [n]His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, (Z)which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand (AA)and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the [o]fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.

25 “And this is the inscription that was written:


26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEL: (AB)You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the (AC)Medes and (AD)Persians.”[s] 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him (AE)that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Belshazzar’s Fall

30 (AF)That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 (AG)And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

The Plot Against Daniel

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, (AH)because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. (AI)So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: (AJ)“King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have (AK)consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the (AL)law of the Medes and Persians, which [t]does not alter.” Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open (AM)toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees (AN)three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 (AO)And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”

The king answered and said, “The thing is true, (AP)according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which [u]does not alter.”

13 So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, (AQ)who is [v]one of the captives from Judah, (AR)does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

14 And the king, when he heard these words, (AS)was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he [w]labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men [x]approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is (AT)the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” 17 (AU)Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, (AV)and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

Daniel Saved from the Lions

18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no [y]musicians were brought before him. (AW)Also his sleep [z]went from him. 19 Then the (AX)king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a [aa]lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, (AY)has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

21 Then Daniel said to the king, (AZ)“O king, live forever! 22 (BA)My God sent His angel and (BB)shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”

23 Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, (BC)because he believed in his God.

Darius Honors God

24 And the king gave the command, (BD)and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, (BE)their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

25 (BF)Then King Darius wrote:

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

26 (BG)I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must (BH)tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

(BI)For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which shall not be (BJ)destroyed,
And His dominion shall endure to the end.
27 He delivers and rescues,
(BK)And He works signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from the [ab]power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius (BL)and in the reign of (BM)Cyrus the Persian.


  1. Daniel 5:2 Or ancestor
  2. Daniel 5:7 Lit. with strength
  3. Daniel 5:9 perplexed
  4. Daniel 5:11 Or ancestor
  5. Daniel 5:11 Or ancestor
  6. Daniel 5:12 Lit. untying knots
  7. Daniel 5:13 Lit. who is of the sons of the captivity
  8. Daniel 5:13 Or ancestor
  9. Daniel 5:14 Or spirit of the gods
  10. Daniel 5:16 Lit. untie knots
  11. Daniel 5:18 Or ancestor
  12. Daniel 5:21 Recognized
  13. Daniel 5:23 Exalted
  14. Daniel 5:23 The temple
  15. Daniel 5:24 Lit. palm
  16. Daniel 5:25 Lit. a mina (50 shekels) from the verb “to number”
  17. Daniel 5:25 Lit. a shekel from the verb “to weigh”
  18. Daniel 5:25 Lit. and half-shekels from the verb “to divide”; pl. of Peres, v. 28
  19. Daniel 5:28 Aram. Paras, consonant with Peres
  20. Daniel 6:8 Lit. does not pass away
  21. Daniel 6:12 Lit. does not pass away
  22. Daniel 6:13 Lit. of the sons of the captivity
  23. Daniel 6:14 strove
  24. Daniel 6:15 Lit. thronged before
  25. Daniel 6:18 Exact meaning unknown
  26. Daniel 6:18 Or fled
  27. Daniel 6:20 Or grieved
  28. Daniel 6:27 Lit. hand

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