-The power packed book of Daniel moves on to the reign of Belshazzar, Nebuchadezzar’s son, and his great feast with wine for a thousand of his nobles. During the course of this event he sent orders to bring out the gold and silver vessels retrieved from their conquest of the Temple in Jerusalem. They wanted to use the holy vessels in celebrating with pagan worship in the praise of “the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone (Daniel 5:1-4).” Suddenly and miraculously the fingers of the hand of God appeared and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace. Belshazzar saw the back of His hand as It wrote making his face grow pale with alarmed thoughts in his mind, as we could all imagine. Further, the king’s hip joints went slack and his knees began knocking together. In delirium he summoned the conjurers of his kingdom and the diviners offering purple (royal) clothing with a golden necklace along with authority as third ruler in the kingdom if they could read the inscription and interpret its message (Daniel 5:5-7). None could do the job, which alarmed the king all the more and gave greater consternation and perplexity (Daniel 5:8-9). Then the queen entered the narrative with some calming assurances to the king and a recommendation for seeking out Daniel, or in his Babylonian name Belteshazzar. We can tell from the text that He came highly recommended and respected at this point, and with good reason from his reputation under Nebuchadnezzar. He is described by the pagan Babylonians as having the spirit of the holy gods with all illumination, insight, wisdom, knowledge, interpretation of dreams, explanation of enigmas, and solving of difficult problems. He displayed in their eyes “an extraordinary spirit (Daniel 5:10-12).” They were confident in going to him for bringing clarity to the situation.
-Daniel was indeed brought before the king and introductions were made as to his place and rank as a captive of the kingdom from Judah. The sovereign king promised Daniel all the gifts and rewards he previously made to his own conjurers and diviners. Daniel however showed no fondness for material gain or authority. He was only interested in making the proper interpretation from the LORD. After extoling Belshazzar’s father for his acknowledgement of the Most High God after His intense discipline, Daniel informs the king of his knowledge of the self-exultation of himself, the degradation of the Temple vessels, and the idol worship, which was against the Lord of heaven. He then interpreted the inscription: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin= God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:13-28).” Surprisingly, Belshazzar orders Daniel to be given the purple clothes of royalty, the golden necklace, and authority as the third ruler in the kingdom (Daniel 5:29). This is probably indicative of Daniel respect and submission to the king even in giving bad news. “That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. So Darius the Mede received the kingdom (just as prophesized, Daniel 2:39; 5:28) at about the age of sixty-two (Daniel 5:30-31).”
-*Application* Sometimes we humans have a short memory, and find ourselves reverting back to idolatry even after the LORD has shown Himself all-powerful and extremely gracious. Don’t let time fade or even erase your acknowledgement and reliance on the God on this universe. Remember Him, this is a biblical command (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Not for just a little while, but for a lifetime.
Verse to Memorize: Daniel 5:23