12 October 539 B.C. Hubris and Arrogance, Stupidity and Indifference, Nonchalance and God’s Judgment in Belshazzar’s Time—MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. A word for reprobates and the unconverted, be advised. Being a rebel to His Majesty is never un-requited. Take note. For God's children, conversely, believe, seek humbling, and, above all, walk daily in God's fear and with respect, decency and decorum. SDG.
A word of encouragement to the elect.
The Babylonian Empire had prevailed backwards to 626 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar had taken the Jews to Babylon. The Church went into exile. Nabonidus, a son-in-law, and his son, Belshazzar, ruled.
Cyrus II, King of Persian, commanded Medo-Persian forces against Babylon. Belshazzar was in charge of Babylon.
Herodotus, the Greek historian, notes:
“A battle was fought at a short distance from the city, in which the Babylonians were defeated by the Persian king, whereupon they withdrew within the defenses. Here they shut themselves up and made light of this siege, having laid in store of provisions for many years in preparations against this attack.”
In spite of the approach of the Medo-Persians, on 12 October 539 B.C., Belshazzar held a party with free-flowing booze for 1000 nobles. He dared to disrespect the articles and vessels of His Majesty’s Temple.
Daniel 5.1-14. He earned the handwriting on the wall, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. Terror gripped the mere mortal and mere King. The soothsayers and enchanters failed at the interpretation.
Daniel 5.1-28. Upshot, kings fall too. Empires fall. Disrespect to His Dread and Sovereign Majesty never prevails.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
5 5 Belshazzar king of Babylon seeth an handwriting on the wall. 8 The soothsayers called of the king, cannot expound the writing. 25 Daniel readeth it, and interpreteth it also. 30 The king is slain. 31 Darius enjoyeth the kingdom.
1 King [a]Belshazzar made a great feast to a thousand of his princes, and drank wine [b]before the thousand.
2 And Belshazzar [c]while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring him the golden and silver vessels, which his [d]father Nebuchadnezzar had brought from the Temple in Jerusalem, that the king and his princes, his wives, and his concubines might drink therein.
3 Then were brought the golden vessels, that were taken out of the Temple of the Lord’s house at Jerusalem, and the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines drank in them.
4 They drank wine, and praised the [e]gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
5 At the same hour appeared fingers of a man’s hand, which wrote over [f]against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, and the king saw the palm of the hand that wrote.
6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his [g]knees smote one against the other.
7 Wherefore the king cried loud, that they should bring [h]the astrologians, the Chaldeans and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babel, Whosoever can read this writing, and declare me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with purple, and shall have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
8 Then came all the king’s wise men, but they could neither read the writing, nor show the king the interpretation.
9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his princes were astonied.
10 Now the [i]Queen by reason of the talk of the King and his princes, came into the banquet house, and the Queen spake, and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed.
11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and in the days of thy father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him: whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made chief of the [j]enchanters, astrologians, Chaldeans, and soothsayers,
12 Because a more excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding (for he did expound dreams, and declare hard sentences, and dissolved doubts) were found in him, even in Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will declare the interpretation.
13 ¶ Then was Daniel brought before the king, and the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom my father the king brought out of Jewry?
14 Now I have heard of thee, that [k]the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and that light and understanding, and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
15 Now therefore wise men and Astrologians have been brought before me, that they should read this writing, and show me the interpretation thereof: but they could not declare the interpretation of the thing.
16 Then heard I of thee, that thou couldest show interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and show me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with purple, and shall have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, Keep thy rewards to thyself, and give thy gifts to another: yet I will read the writing unto the king, and show him the interpretation.
18 O king, hear thou, The most high God gave unto [l]Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and honor, and glory.
19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages trembled, and feared before him: he put to death whom he would: he smote whom he would: whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down.
20 But when his heart was puffed up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his honor from him.
21 And he was driven from the sons of men, and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the heaven, till he knew that the most high God bare rule over the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it, whomsoever he pleaseth.
22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all these things,
23 But hast lifted thyself up against the Lord of heaven, and they have brought the vessels of his House before thee, and thou and thy princes, thy wives and thy concubines have drunk wine in them, and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood and stone, which neither see, neither hear, nor understand: and the God in whose hand thy breath is and all thy ways, him hast thou not glorified.
24 [m]Then was the palm of the hand sent from him, and hath written this writing.
a. Daniel 5:1 Daniel reciteth this history of king Belshazzar, Evil-merodach’s son, to show God’s judgments against the wicked for the deliverance of his Church: and how the prophecy of Jeremiah was true, that they should be delivered after seventy years.
b. Daniel 5:1 The kings of the East parts then used to sit alone commonly, and disdained that any should sit in their company: and now to show his power, and how little he set by his enemy, which then besieged Babylon, he made a solemn banquet, and used excess in their company, which is meant here by drinking wine: thus the wicked are most dissolute and negligent, when their destruction is at hand.
c. Daniel 5:2 Or, overcome with wine.
d. Daniel 5:2 Meaning, his grandfather.
e. Daniel 5:4 In contempt of the true God, they praise their idols, not that they thought that the gold or silver were gods, but that there was a certain virtue and power in them to do them good, which is also the opinion of all idolaters.
f. Daniel 5:5 That it might the better be seen.
g. Daniel 5:6 So he that before contemned God, was moved by this sight to tremble for fear of God’s judgments.
h. Daniel 5:7 Thus the wicked in their troubles seek many means, who draw them from God, because they seek not to him who is the only comfort in all afflictions.
i. Daniel 5:10 To wit, his grandmother Nebuchadnezzar’s wife, which for her age was not before at the feast, but came thither when she heard of these strange news.
j. Daniel 5:11 Read Dan. 4:6, and this declareth that both this name was odious unto him, and also he did not use these vile practices, because he was not among them when all were called.
k. Daniel 5:14 For the idolaters thought that the Angels had power as God, and therefore had them in like estimation, as they had God, thinking that the spirit of prophecy and understanding came of them.
l. Daniel 5:18 Before he read the writing, he declareth to the king his great ingratitude toward God, who could not be moved to give him the glory, considering his wonderful work toward his grandfather, and so showeth that he doth not sin of ignorance but of malice.
m. Daniel 5:24 After that God had so long time deferred his anger, and patiently waited for thine amendment.
The Medo-Persian army diverted the waters of the Euphrates River that flowed through Babylon, just enough to reduce the riverbed, allowing the army to enter under the cover of night.
They captured Babylon and killed Belshazzar.