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Daniel 5:1-31; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Psalms 119:113-128; Proverbs 28:19-20 (Common English Bible)

Daniel 5

Belshazzar’s party

King Belshazzar threw a huge party for a thousand of his princes, and he drank a lot of wine in front of them. While he was under the wine’s influence, Belshazzar commanded that the gold and silver equipment that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem’s temple be brought to the party so that the king, his princes, his consorts, and his secondary wives could drink wine out of them. So the gold[a] equipment that had been carried out of the temple, God’s house in Jerusalem, was brought in; and the king, his princes, his consorts, and his secondary wives drank out of it. They drank a lot of wine; and they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Writing on the wall

Right then the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the king’s palace wall in the light of the lamp. The king saw the hand that wrote. The king’s mood changed immediately, and he was deeply disturbed. He felt weak, and his knees were shaking. The king yelled, calling for the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners.

The king told these sages of Babylon: “Anyone who can read this writing and tell me its meaning will wear royal robes, will have a gold chain around his neck, and will rule the kingdom as third in command.”

Then all the king’s sages arrived, but they couldn’t read the writing or interpret it for the king. At that point King Belshazzar was really frightened. All the color drained from his face, and his princes were also very worried.

10 Upon hearing the commotion coming from the king and his princes, the queen entered the banqueting hall and declared, “Long live the king! Don’t be so disturbed. Don’t be so frightened. 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the breath[b] of holy gods in him! When your father was alive, this man was shown to possess illumination, insight, and wisdom like the very wisdom of the gods.[c] Your father King Nebuchadnezzar appointed this man as chief over the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners. Yes, your father did this 12 because this man—Daniel, the one the king named Belteshazzar—possesses an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and insight into the meaning of dreams. He can explain ambiguities and resolve mysteries. Now in light of all that, summon Daniel! He will explain the meaning of this thing.”

13 So Daniel was brought before the king. The king said to him, “So you are Daniel, the Daniel from the exiles that my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the breath of the gods is in you and that you possess illumination, insight, and extraordinary wisdom. 15 Now, the sages and the dream interpreters were brought before me to read this writing and interpret it for me, but they couldn’t explain its meaning. 16 But I’ve heard that you can explain meanings and solve mysteries. So if you can read this writing and interpret it for me, you will wear royal robes, have a gold chain around your neck, and will rule the kingdom as third in command.”

Daniel interprets the writing

17 Daniel answered the king: “Keep your gifts. Give the rewards to someone else. But I will still read the writing to the king and interpret it for him. 18 Listen, Your Majesty: The Most High God gave kingship, power, glory, and majesty to your father Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Because of the power God gave Nebuchadnezzar, all peoples, nations, and languages were terrified of him. He did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted: killing or sparing, exalting or humbling. 20 But when he became arrogant, acting in stubborn pride, he was pulled off his royal throne and the glory was taken from him. 21 He was driven away from other humans, and his mind became like an animal’s. He lived with wild donkeys, he ate grass like cattle, and dew from heaven washed his body until he realized that the Most High God dominates human kingship and sets over it anyone he wants.

22 “But you who are his son, Belshazzar, you haven’t submitted, even though you’ve known all this. 23 Instead, you’ve set yourself up against the Lord of heaven! The equipment of God’s house was brought to you; and you, your princes, your consorts, and your secondary wives drank wine out of it, all the while praising the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods who can’t see, hear, or know anything. But you didn’t glorify the true God who holds your very breath in his hand and who owns every road you take.

24 “That’s why this hand was sent from God and why this message was written down. 25 This is what was written down:

mene, mene, tekel, and parsin.[d]

26 “This is the meaning of the word mene: God has numbered[e] the days of your rule. It’s over! 27 tekel means that you’ve been weighed[f] on the scales, and you don’t measure up. 28 peres[g] means your kingship is divided[h] and given to the Medes and the Persians.”[i]

29 Then Belshazzar commanded that Daniel be dressed in a purple robe, have a gold chain around his neck, and be officially appointed as third in command in the kingdom.

30 That very same night, Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. 31 Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of 62.


  1. Daniel 5:3 Vulg, Theodotion add silver.
  2. Daniel 5:11 Or spirit; also in 5:14
  3. Daniel 5:11 Or wisdom of God
  4. Daniel 5:25 Aram Upharsin
  5. Daniel 5:26 Aram menah, which is a wordplay with Mene
  6. Daniel 5:27 Aram teqal, which is a wordplay with Tekel
  7. Daniel 5:28 The singular form of the plural Parsin in 5:25
  8. Daniel 5:28 Aram peras, which is a wordplay with Parsin
  9. Daniel 5:28 Aram Paras, another wordplay with Parsin
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2 Peter 2

Appearance of false teachers

But false prophets also arose among the people. In the same way, false teachers will come among you. They will introduce destructive opinions and deny the master who bought them, bringing quick destruction on themselves. Many will follow them in their unrestrained immorality, and because of these false teachers the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will take advantage of you with lies. The judgment pronounced against them long ago hasn’t fallen idle, nor is their destruction sleeping.

Active judgment of God

God didn’t spare the angels when they sinned but cast them into the lowest level of the underworld and committed them to chains of darkness, keeping them there until the judgment. And he didn’t spare the ancient world when he brought a flood on the world of ungodly people, even though he protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, along with seven others. God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to total destruction, reducing them to ashes as a warning to ungodly people. And he rescued righteous Lot, who was made miserable by the unrestrained immorality of unruly people. (While that righteous man lived among them he felt deep distress every day on account of the immoral actions he saw and heard.) These things show that the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, and how to keep the unrighteous for punishment on the Judgment Day. 10 This is especially true for those who follow after the corrupt cravings of the sinful nature and defy the Lord’s authority.

Evil character of the false teachers

These reckless, brash people aren’t afraid to insult the glorious ones, 11 yet angels, who are stronger and more powerful, don’t use insults when pronouncing the Lord’s judgment on them. 12 These false teachers are like irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be captured and destroyed. They slander what they don’t understand and, like animals, they will be destroyed. 13 In this way, they will receive payment for their wrongdoing.

They even enjoy unruly parties in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, taking delight in their seductive pleasures while feasting with you. 14 They are always looking for someone with whom to commit adultery. They are always on the lookout for opportunities to sin. They ensnare people whose faith is weak. They have hearts trained in greed. They are under God’s curse. 15 Leaving the straight path, they have gone off course, following the way of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the payment of doing wrong. 16 But Balaam was rebuked for his wrongdoing. A donkey, which has no voice, spoke with a human voice and put a stop to the prophet’s madness.

17 These false teachers are springs without water, mists driven by the wind. The underworld has been reserved for them. 18 With empty, self-important speech, they use sinful cravings and unrestrained immorality to ensnare people who have only just escaped life with those who have wandered from the truth. 19 These false teachers promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of immorality; whatever overpowers you, enslaves you. 20 If people escape the moral filth of this world through the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, then get tangled up in it again and are overcome by it, they are worse off than they were before. 21 It would be better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, having come to know it, to turn back from the holy commandment entrusted to them. 22 They demonstrate the truth of the proverb: “A dog returns to its own vomit, and a washed sow wallows in the mud.”

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Psalm 119:113-128

ס samek

113 I hate fickle people,
    but I love your Instruction.
114 You are my shelter and my shield—
    I wait for your promise.
115 Get away from me, you evildoers;
    I want to guard my God’s commandments!
116 Sustain me according to your word so I can live!
    Don’t let me be put to shame because of hope.
117 Support me so I can be saved
    and so I can focus constantly on your statutes.
118 You discard everyone who strays from your statutes
    because they are dishonest and false.
119 You dispose of all the wicked people on earth like waste—
    that’s why I love your laws.
120 My body shudders because I fear you;
    I’m in awe of your rules.

ע ayin

121 I’ve done what is just and right.
    Don’t just hand me over to my oppressors.
122 Guarantee good things for your servant.
    Please don’t let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes are worn out looking for your saving help—
    looking for your word that will set things right.
124 Act toward your servant according to your faithful love.
    Teach me your statutes!
125 I’m your servant!
    Help me understand so I can know your laws.
126 It is time for the Lord to do something!
    Your Instruction has been broken.
127 But I love your commandments
    more than gold, even more than pure gold.
128 That’s why I walk straight by every single one of your precepts.
    That’s why I hate every false path.

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Proverbs 28:19-20

19 Those who work the land will have plenty to eat,
    but those with worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
20 Reliable people will have abundant blessings,
    but those with get-rich-quick schemes won’t go unpunished.

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Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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