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Belshazzar’s Feast

King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.(A)

Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.(B) So they brought in the vessels of gold that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.(C)

The Writing on the Wall

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote.(D) Then the king’s face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.(E) The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners, and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom.”(F) Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation.(G) Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified, and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.(H)

10 The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banquet hall. The queen said, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale.(I) 11 There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods.[a] In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners,[b](J) 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will reveal the interpretation.”(K)

The Writing on the Wall Interpreted

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “So you are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?(L) 14 I have heard of you that a spirit of the gods[c] is in you and that enlightenment, understanding, and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me its interpretation, but they were not able to reveal the interpretation of the matter. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and tell me its interpretation, you shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around your neck, and rank third in the kingdom.”(M)

17 Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and let him know the interpretation.(N) 18 As for you, O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty.(O) 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. He killed those he wanted to kill, kept alive those he wanted to keep alive, honored those he wanted to honor, and degraded those he wanted to degrade.(P) 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him.(Q) 21 He was driven from human society, and his mind was made like that of an animal. His dwelling was with the wild asses, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and sets over it whomever he will.(R) 22 And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this!(S) 23 You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose power is your very breath and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored.(T)

24 “So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed.(U) 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: mene,[d] tekel, and parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: mene: God has numbered the days of[e] your kingdom and brought it to an end;(V) 27 tekel: you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting;(W) 28 peres:[f] your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed.(X) 31 [g]And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.(Y)

The Plot against Daniel

[h]It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom,(Z) and over them three administrators, one of whom was Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss.(AA) Soon Daniel distinguished himself above the other administrators and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom.(AB) So the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him.(AC) The men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

So the administrators and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever!(AD) All the administrators of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to any god or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the den of lions.(AE) Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”(AF) Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.(AG)

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

10 Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously.(AH) 11 Then those men watched[i] and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. 12 Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to any god or human, within thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”(AI) 13 Then they responded to the king, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day.”(AJ)

14 When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him.(AK) 15 Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”(AL)

16 Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!”(AM) 17 A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet ring of his lords, so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no entertainment was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.(AN)

Daniel Saved from the Lions

19 Then at dawn, the king got up and at first light hurried to the den of lions. 20 When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?”(AO) 21 Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.”(AP) 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him because he had trusted in his God.(AQ) 24 The king gave a command, and those who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.(AR)

25 Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: “May you have abundant prosperity!(AS) 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people shall tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:

For he is the living God,
    enduring forever.
His kingdom shall never be destroyed,
    and his dominion has no end.(AT)
27 He delivers and rescues;
    he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
he has saved Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”

28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.(AU)

Visions of the Four Beasts

In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream:[j](AV) I,[k] Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.(AW) The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then, as I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human being, and a human mind was given to it.(AX) Another beast appeared, a second one, that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one side, had three tusks[l] in its mouth among its teeth, and was told, “Arise, devour many bodies!” After this, as I watched, another appeared, like a leopard. The beast had four wings of a bird on its back and four heads, and dominion was given to it.(AY) After this I saw in the visions by night a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth and was devouring, breaking in pieces, and stamping what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns.(AZ) I was considering the horns when another horn appeared, a little one that came up among them. Three of the original horns were plucked up from before it. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn and a mouth speaking arrogantly.(BA)

Judgment before the Ancient One

As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
    and an Ancient One[m] took his throne;
his clothing was white as snow
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
    and its wheels were burning fire.(BB)
10 A stream of fire issued
    and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.(BC)

11 I watched then because of the noise of the arrogant words that the horn was speaking. And as I watched, the beast was put to death and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.(BD) 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 As I watched in the night visions,

I saw one like a human being[n]
    coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One[o]
    and was presented before him.(BE)
14 To him was given dominion
    and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
    that shall never be destroyed.(BF)

Daniel’s Visions Interpreted

15 As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me,[p] and the visions of my head terrified me.(BG) 16 I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter:(BH) 17 “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.”(BI)

19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet; 20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn that came up and before which three others had fallen—the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke arrogantly and that seemed greater than the others. 21 As I looked, that horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them,(BJ) 22 until the Ancient One[q] came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.(BK)

23 This is what he said: “As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth
    that shall be different from all the other kingdoms;
it shall devour the whole earth
    and trample it down and break it to pieces.(BL)
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
    and another shall arise after them.
This one shall be different from the former ones
    and shall put down three kings.(BM)
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
    shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High,
    and shall attempt to change the ritual calendar and the law,
and they shall be given into his power
    for a time, two times,[r] and half a time.(BN)
26 Then the court shall sit in judgment,
    and his dominion shall be taken away,
    to be consumed and totally destroyed.(BO)
27 The kingship and dominion
    and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
    shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
    and all dominions shall serve and obey them.”(BP)

28 Here the account ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly terrified me, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter in my mind.(BQ)


  1. 5.11 Or a holy, divine spirit
  2. 5.11 Aram adds the king your father
  3. 5.14 Or a divine spirit
  4. 5.25 Gk Vg: Aram reads mene, mene,
  5. 5.26 Aram lacks the days of
  6. 5.28 The singular of Parsin
  7. 5.31 6.1 in Aram
  8. 6.1 6.2 in Aram
  9. 6.11 Gk Theodotion Syr: Aram rushed in
  10. 7.1 Q ms Theodotion: MT adds the beginning of the words; he said
  11. 7.2 Theodotion: Aram Daniel answered and said, I
  12. 7.5 Or ribs
  13. 7.9 Aram an Ancient of Days
  14. 7.13 Aram one like a son of man
  15. 7.13 Aram the Ancient of Days
  16. 7.15 Aram troubled in its sheath
  17. 7.22 Aram the Ancient of Days
  18. 7.25 Aram a time, times


The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth,(A) because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from[a] Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.(B)

Truth and Love

I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment but one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another.(C) And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it.(D)

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist!(E) Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we[b] have worked for but may receive a full reward.(F) Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it,[c] does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching[d] has both the Father and the Son.(G) 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive and welcome this person into your house,(H) 11 for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.(I)

Final Greetings

12 Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead, I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our[e] joy may be complete.(J)

13 The children of your elect sister send you their greetings.[f]


  1. 3 Other ancient authorities add the Lord
  2. 8 Other ancient authorities read you
  3. 9 Other ancient authorities read turns aside
  4. 9 Other ancient authorities add of Christ
  5. 12 Other ancient authorities read your
  6. 13 Other ancient authorities add Amen