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Daniel 5:1-31; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Psalms 119:113-128; Proverbs 28:19-20 (Good News Translation)

Daniel 5

Belshazzar's Banquet

One night King Belshazzar invited a thousand noblemen to a great banquet, and they drank wine together. While they were drinking, Belshazzar gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups and bowls which his father[a] Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from the Temple in Jerusalem. The king sent for them so that he, his noblemen, his wives, and his concubines could drink out of them. At once the gold cups and bowls were brought in, and they all drank wine out of them and praised gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Suddenly a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster wall of the palace, where the light from the lamps was shining most brightly. And the king saw the hand as it was writing. He turned pale and was so frightened that his knees began to shake. He shouted for someone to bring in the magicians, wizards, and astrologers. When they came in, the king said to them, “Anyone who can read this writing and tell me what it means will be dressed in robes of royal purple, wear a gold chain of honor around his neck, and be the third in power in the kingdom.” The royal advisers came forward, but none of them could read the writing or tell the king what it meant. In his distress King Belshazzar grew even paler, and his noblemen had no idea what to do.

10 The queen mother heard the noise made by the king and his noblemen and entered the banquet hall. She said, “May Your Majesty live forever! Please do not be so disturbed and look so pale. 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods[b] in him. When your father was king, this man showed good sense, knowledge, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. And King Nebuchadnezzar, your father,[c] made him chief of the fortunetellers, magicians, wizards, and astrologers. 12 He has unusual ability and is wise and skillful in interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining mysteries; so send for this man Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, and he will tell you what all this means.”

Daniel Explains the Writing

13 Daniel was brought at once into the king's presence, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, that Jewish exile whom my father the king brought here from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the holy gods[d] is in you and that you are skillful and have knowledge and wisdom. 15 The advisers and magicians were brought in to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not discover the meaning. 16 Now I have heard that you can find hidden meanings and explain mysteries. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be dressed in robes of royal purple, wear a gold chain of honor around your neck, and be the third in power in the kingdom.”

17 Daniel replied, “Keep your gifts for yourself or give them to someone else. I will read for Your Majesty what has been written and tell you what it means.

18 “The Supreme God made your father Nebuchadnezzar a great king and gave him dignity and majesty. 19 He was so great that people of all nations, races, and languages were afraid of him and trembled. If he wanted to kill someone, he did; if he wanted to keep someone alive, he did. He honored or disgraced anyone he wanted to. 20 But because he became proud, stubborn, and cruel, he was removed from his royal throne and lost his place of honor. 21 He was driven away from human society, and his mind became like that of an animal. He lived with wild donkeys, ate grass like an ox, and slept in the open air with nothing to protect him from the dew. Finally he admitted that the Supreme God controls all human kingdoms and can give them to anyone he chooses.

22 “But you, his son, have not humbled yourself, even though you knew all this. 23 You acted against the Lord of heaven and brought in the cups and bowls taken from his Temple. You, your noblemen, your wives, and your concubines drank wine out of them and praised gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods that cannot see or hear and that do not know anything. But you did not honor the God who determines whether you live or die and who controls everything you do. 24 That is why God has sent the hand to write these words.

25 “This is what was written: ‘Number, number, weight, divisions.’ 26 And this is what it means: number, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 weight, you have been weighed on the scales and found to be too light; 28 divisions, your kingdom is divided up and given to the Medes and Persians.”[e]

29 Immediately Belshazzar ordered his servants to dress Daniel in a robe of royal purple and to hang a gold chain of honor around his neck. And he made him the third in power in the kingdom. 30 That same night Belshazzar, the king of Babylonia, was killed; 31 and Darius the Mede, who was then sixty-two years old, seized the royal power.


  1. Daniel 5:2 There were several kings of Babylonia between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Father may mean predecessor, or the name Nebuchadnezzar may be used for Nabonidus.
  2. Daniel 5:11 gods; or God.
  3. Daniel 5:11 your father (see 5.2).
  4. Daniel 5:14 gods; or God.
  5. Daniel 5:28 In Aramaic the word for “Persians” sounds like the word for “division.”
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2 Peter 2

False Teachers

False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines, and will deny the Master who redeemed them, and so they will bring upon themselves sudden destruction. Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth. In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!

God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell, where they are kept chained in darkness,[a] waiting for the Day of Judgment. God did not spare the ancient world, but brought the flood on the world of godless people; the only ones he saved were Noah, who preached righteousness, and seven other people. God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying them with fire, and made them an example of what will happen to the godless. He rescued Lot, a good man, who was distressed by the immoral conduct of lawless people. That good man lived among them, and day after day he suffered agony as he saw and heard their evil actions. And so the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials and how to keep the wicked under punishment for the Day of Judgment, 10 especially those who follow their filthy bodily lusts and despise God's authority.

These false teachers are bold and arrogant, and show no respect for the glorious beings above; instead, they insult them. 11 Even the angels, who are so much stronger and mightier than these false teachers, do not accuse them with insults in the presence of the Lord. 12 But these people act by instinct, like wild animals born to be captured and killed; they attack with insults anything they do not understand. They will be destroyed like wild animals, 13 and they will be paid with suffering for the suffering they have caused. Pleasure for them is to do anything in broad daylight that will satisfy their bodily appetites; they are a shame and a disgrace as they join you in your meals, all the while enjoying their deceitful ways! 14 They want to look for nothing but the chance to commit adultery; their appetite for sin is never satisfied. They lead weak people into a trap. Their hearts are trained to be greedy. They are under God's curse! 15 They have left the straight path and have lost their way; they have followed the path taken by Balaam son of Beor, who loved the money he would get for doing wrong 16 and was rebuked for his sin. His donkey spoke with a human voice and stopped the prophet's insane action.

17 These people are like dried-up springs, like clouds blown along by a storm; God has reserved a place for them in the deepest darkness. 18 They make proud and stupid statements, and use immoral bodily lusts to trap those who are just beginning to escape from among people who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of destructive habits—for we are slaves of anything that has conquered us. 20 If people have escaped from the corrupting forces of the world through their knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then are again caught and conquered by them, such people are in worse condition at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been much better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn away from the sacred command that was given them. 22 What happened to them shows that the proverbs are true: “A dog goes back to what it has vomited” and “A pig that has been washed goes back to roll in the mud.”


  1. 2 Peter 2:4 chained in darkness; some manuscripts have in dark pits.
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Psalm 119:113-128

Safety in the Law of the Lord

113 I hate those who are not completely loyal to you,
    but I love your law.
114 You are my defender and protector;
    I put my hope in your promise.
115 Go away from me, you sinful people.
    I will obey the commands of my God.
116 Give me strength, as you promised, and I shall live;
    don't let me be disappointed in my hope!
117 Hold me, and I will be safe,
    and I will always pay attention to your commands.
118 You reject everyone who disobeys your laws;
    their deceitful schemes are useless.
119 You treat all the wicked like rubbish,
    and so I love your instructions.
120 Because of you I am afraid;
    I am filled with fear because of your judgments.

Obedience to the Law of the Lord

121 I have done what is right and good;
    don't abandon me to my enemies!
122 Promise that you will help your servant;
    don't let the arrogant oppress me!
123 My eyes are tired from watching for your saving help,
    for the deliverance you promised.
124 Treat me according to your constant love,
    and teach me your commands.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding,
    so that I may know your teachings.
126 Lord, it is time for you to act,
    because people are disobeying your law.
127 I love your commands more than gold,
    more than the finest gold.
128 And so I follow all your instructions;[a]
    I hate all wrong ways.


  1. Psalm 119:128 Some ancient translations all your instructions; Hebrew unclear.
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Proverbs 28:19-20

19 A hard-working farmer has plenty to eat. People who waste time will always be poor.

20 Honest people will lead a full, happy life. But if you are in a hurry to get rich, you are going to be punished.

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