Sapphire Sky

October 7, 2016

The Final Party

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 6:32 pm

rembrandt-belsazar

Belshazzar’s Feast”, by Rembrandt (c. 1630)

What will be your final warning?

As I studied the account of the final king of Babylon, several words came to my mind. How would you describe this man?

Stubborn.

Reckless.

Careless.

Hedonist.

Self-indulgent.

Self-centered.

Self-confident.

Over-confident.

Proud.

Arrogant.

Refusing to listen.

Refusing to learn.

Sinful.

Foolish.

Stupid.

The part that scares me is how much these words also describe me.

It is easy to look down through history and criticize king Belshazzar. He was a classic fool and he paid dearly for it. He lost his kingdom, his empire, and his life.

But before we look more closely at Belshazzar’s final days, we need to be sure that we are not guilty of the same failures. At the core of it all, Belshazzar knew about God. He knew all about Him, yet he chose to reject God.

The Most High God holds our very breath in His hands, yet we do not honor Him!

“…the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.” – Daniel 5:23

The scene in Daniel 5 opens up to a great party. It has been over 30 years since Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the previous chapter (see here). Nebuchadnezzar has died and there is a new king in Babylon. Daniel is now an old man and has retired from serving the king.

There is also a new enemy outside the city gates. The Medio-Persian army has conquered every nation in its path and has come for Babylon. The king of Babylon fought against them and completely lost. He was captured and his army was destroyed.

The king’s son and co-regent, Belshazzar, was still in control of the city. Babylon was the greatest fortress in the world, and he knew that the Medes and the Persians could never get inside. They have plenty of water and enough food to last for 20 years! They can simply wait for the Persians to leave.

At the time of Belshazzar’s party, the Medio-Persian army has been camped outside the city of Babylon for four months!

Daniel’s God had given the king a message. He told the king three times that the kingdom of Babylon would end and that it would be replaced by the Medes and the Persians. The army outside the gates would win.

God had also given the same message through other prophets. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes (see here and here). Isaiah’s prediction was over 200 years earlier!

Belshazzar knew what God had said, but he felt safe inside his city walls. In a final act of defiance, he threw a great party. As he began to get drunk, he called for the holy vessels of this God of Jerusalem. He drank from the golden cups of the temple and offered them to his Babylonian gods.

Immediately, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing mysterious words on the wall next to the king. It terrified the king! He called for his wise men, but they could not understand what was written.

In the midst of the confusion, the king’s mother arrived and offered good news to the king. There was a man who served his grandfather who had the “spirit of the holy gods” and could explain great mysteries. Surely this man—Daniel—could interpret this mystery to the king.

Daniel came at the king’s request. He first reminded the king of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar. God brought Nebuchadnezzar low, making him live like an animal when he became proud (see here). Belshazzar knew all this, yet he refused to humble himself before the Most High God. He taunted the very God who holds his breath!

Therefore, God  sent this final message:

  • Mene: God has numbered the days of his kingdom and brought it to an end.
  • Tekel: Belshazzar has been weighed (evaluated) and came up short.
  • Peres: The kingdom has been taken from Belshazzar and given to the Medes and the Persians.

This was one last chance for Belshazzar to repent, yet he refused. He awarded Daniel with the honors of interpreting the writing, sent him off, and resumed his party.

The Medio-Persian army had diverted the waters of the Euphrates river. Unknown to the drunk Babylonians, they lowered the water level and waded under the river gates, into the city. They found king Belshazzar and all of the leaders of the city at the party and killed everyone.

The account in scripture puts it bluntly, “That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed.” (Daniel 5:30).

 

Remember!

  • God will judge those who refuse to obey Him. He is patient, but He will not forget.
  • Don’t refuse to listen to God! He will warn you, but one day it will be too late!
  • He is the Most High God and He holds our very lives! Give Him the honor that He deserves!

 

Previous post: How Big Do You Think You Are?


Daniel 5

King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand.

Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels 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 wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.

The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 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 show the interpretation.”

Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And 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 hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

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

 That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.


 

At least 30 years have elapsed since Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 4. Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. and was followed by a struggle for power among several members of the royal family. Nabonidus took the throne after a coup in 556 B.C.1

Nabonidus was not related to Nebuchadnezzar but most scholars believe that he married Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter.2 Nabonidus had spent most of his last 10 years as king at Teima in Arabia and left the administration of the kingdom to his son, Belshazzar.14

The visions of Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 occurred during the time between Daniel 4 and Daniel 5. Daniel knew the succession of empires from the dreams in chapters 2 and 7 and that the Medes and Persians would conquer the city.5 Isaiah had also prophesied (200 years earlier) that Babylon would fall to the Medes (Isaiah 13:17-22).

The Medio-Persian army, under Cyrus, had defeated the surrounding nations and was marching toward Babylon. Nabonidus led the Babylonian army in defending the city, but he was captured and the Babylonian army was destroyed. The surviving Babylonians retreated to the safety of the city of Babylon.

The city of Babylon was considered to be an impregnable fortress. It had not been successfully taken by invaders in over a thousand years. The wall was about 80 feet wide and as tall as 300 feet in some places, with several defense towers. The entire city was surrounded by a large moat. Invaders could not successfully besiege the city. The Euphrates river flowed through the city, providing fish and fresh water. The Babylonians boasted that they had stored enough food to last for 20 years!

The events of Daniel 5 occur on 15 Tishri (October 12), 539 B.C.5 Belshazzar was 36 years old at the time.7

 

Daniel 5:1-4
King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels 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 wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

The Persian army had destroyed the Babylonian army, captured the king, and were now camped outside of Babylon’s gates. They had been camped outside Babylon 2-4 months by this time, yet Belshazzar was confident that they will never take the city. He was so confident that he threw a party for a thousand of his lords, their wives and concubines.

In that culture, the men and women would normally feast separately (compare with Esther 1). The fact that the wives and concubines were part of Belshazzar’s party likely indicates that this was a drunken orgy.

The phrase, “when he tasted the wine”, means when he started to get drunk. The alcohol made him start to lose his inhibitions.

Nebuchadnezzar was likely Belshazzar’s grandfather.2 There was no word for “grandfather” in either Hebrew or Aramaic, but the word “father” was used to indicate either the direct father, a grandfather, or an ancestor (e.g. forefather).

Belshazzar knew that the Persians were outside the city gates, and he also knew that God had predicted that Babylon would be taken by the Medes and the Persians. This message was repeated in Daniel 2, 7, and 8. The empire of Babylon will be replaced by the empire of the Medes and the Persians.

Belshazzar’s response to all of this knowledge was to take the golden vessels from the temple in Jerusalem and use them in his party. This was a direct taunt to the God of the Hebrews.6 Belshazzar was openly defying the God of the Hebrews, saying that He has no power compared to Belshazzar’s gods.

“He is even now surrounded by the Persian army and still he spits in the face of God.” – Stephen Davey7

 

Daniel 5:5-9
Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.

Immediately after the king had used the golden vessels to praise his idols, the fingers of a hand appeared and wrote on the wall next to the king.10 The terrified king called loudly for all of the wise men to read the writing and to give its interpretation. Once again, none of the king’s wise men were able to read the writing nor tell the king the interpretation (see also Daniel 2:10-11; 4:7).

Belshazzar was truly terrified of the writing on the wall. His face grew pale, he was alarmed, his knees knocked, and his “limbs gave way”. Literally, the “knots of his hip joints were loosed”. To put in a more common way, he lost control of his bowels.7

The words would have likely been the consonant sounds of the four words. Written right to left, they would have been in Aramaic: “N S R P L K T N M N M”.5

It appears that the wise men could neither read nor interpret the writing on the wall. The writing may have been in an unknown dialect. Another possibility is that the wise men could read the words but could not understand them. Daniel read the words in Aramaic, the common language of the capitol.3

Belshazzar promised the highest honor that he could provide to the interpreter: he would be clothed in purple, given a gold chain, and be the third ruler in the kingdom. Nabonidus was the king, Belshazzar was the second ruler, and the interpreter would be the third in the kingdom.

Critics of the Book of Daniel have claimed that it is not historically accurate since Nabonidus was the king and not Belshazzar. Yet the highest honor that Belshazzar could give in this chapter is to make the interpreter the third ruler in the kingdom. Belshazzar was admitting that he is not the highest authority in the kingdom, but he is only second. It was very common for ancient kings to share the rule with a son as a co-regent.

“He was not troubled by a natural foe outside the gates but he was terrified by a supernatural foe inside the palace” – John MacArthur11

“God had turned the banquet hall into a courtroom and the king was about to be declared guilty.” – Warren Wiersbe5

 

Daniel 5:10-12
The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 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 show the interpretation.”

The queen mother came to the banquet hall and reassured the terrified king. There was a man who could solved difficult riddles and problems in the days of his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel had wisdom like the wisdom of the gods (see Daniel 4:8) and Nebuchadnezzar made him chief over the wise men.

She appeared to be confident that Daniel would interpret the writing and allay the king’s fears. She was correct in that Daniel was able to interpret the writing. But she was not correct that the interpretation would soothe the terrified king. The message was of the king’s doom.

The term “queen” can be best understood as the queen mother. Note that Belshazzar’s wives were already present at the feast (Daniel 5:2).

It is also notable that she referred to Daniel by both his Hebrew and his Babylonian name (Belteshazzar). It appears that the members of Nebuchadnezzar’s court knew him by his Hebrew name but his official name was more well known to the general population (see here).

 

Daniel 5:13-16
Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

The king identified Daniel as one of the exiles from Judah who was captured by Nebuchadnezzar. He had heard that the spirit of the gods was in Daniel and perhaps he could read and interpret the writing on the wall. None of the king’s wise men were able. The king promised all the rewards to Daniel if he was able to read and interpret the writing.

The king’s identification of Daniel as one of the exiles of Judah appears to be more of a sneer. Many other Bible translations translate this as a rhetorical question. Belshazzar started by making sure that Daniel knew his place.

Daniel had worked in the king’s court as late as the third year of Belshazzar (see Daniel 8:1, 27), so Belshazzar already knew of him. Daniel would have been in his early eighties by this time.12

The rewards for interpreting the writing is the same as what Belshazzar offered before: he would be clothed in purple, have a gold chain around his neck, and be third in the kingdom.

 

Daniel 5:17-21
Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.

Daniel speaks for the first time in the chapter. The first thing he said to the king was to keep his gifts. He had no use for the gifts from the king, especially one who was as wicked as Belshazzar, and from a kingdom that was about to come to an end.

He reminded the king about his great ancestor, Nebuchadnezzar. God gave Nebuchadnezzar absolute rule over his nation and over the world. But Nebuchadnezzar was guilty before God for his pride. When he was lifted up with pride, God brought him down and he lost his glory, his throne, and his sanity. These events are chronicled in Daniel 4 (see here). Nebuchadnezzar remained insane until he realized that the Most High God rules over the kingdoms of men and gives it to whomever he pleases.

Even Nebuchadnezzar, in all his greatness, was brought down by God when he became proud. Daniel’s point to Belshazzar was that he had absolutely no right to boast.4

 

Daniel 5:22-23
And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And 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 hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

Belshazzar was more guilty than other pagan kings because he knew all about all this. He knew about Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity, how he was filled with pride, and how he was brought down by the Most High God.

Belshazzar knew about all this, and yet he brought in the vessels from the Most High God to be used in his drunken party. He knew that the Most High God held his very breath, yet he chose to worship the gods of bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

It is interesting to note how direct Daniel’s message is to the king. Unlike with Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel never pleaded with Belshazzar to repent. It is as if Daniel knew that Belshazzar was past the point of coming back. Daniel did not preach to the king to repent, but he instead declared the sentence of destruction to the king and his kingdom.

“Belshazzar rebelled against what he knew to be true.”  – John MacArthur11

“Nebuchadnezzar showed his pride by boasting about his achievements and taking credit for what God had helped him accomplish (4:29-30), but his grandson displayed his pride by desecrating the holy vessels from the temple of the Most High God and treating the Lord with contempt.” – Wiersbe5

 

Daniel 5:24-28
“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

The hand was sent from the presence of the Most High God Himself, pronouncing the sentence upon Belshazzar and his kingdom.

Four words were written: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin.

Mene meant “numbered”. God has counted out the days of the kingdom of Babylon and has brought it to an end. This word is repeated to indicate that it will happen very shortly.

Tekel was a unit of currency (“shekel”). Money would be weighed with a balance scale in order to ensure that it had sufficient worth. This was directed to Belshazzar himself. He had been weighed on the scales and had come up short.

Parsin is the plural of Peres, which meant “divided”. The kingdom has been divided, or separated from him and given to the Medes and the Persians.13

The word Peres was also used for Persia. It appears that both of these meanings were intended here. The kingdom will be divided and it will be given to the Persians.

We do not have a complete explanation for why Peres was given in the plural form. Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic would often use the plural form of a word for emphasis. It may have also been plural to emphasize the plurality of the conquering nations (both the Medes and the Persians). Some language scholars also believe that this is not a plural form of the word, but the difference is future and past tense. The kingdom was about to be divided (future tense) when the words were written on the wall, but by the time Daniel was brought in to interpret the meaning, the Persians had already entered the city and had divided the kingdom (past tense).

There also may have been a play on the meanings of financial terms. All of these words were also used for units of currency. In terms of currency, the words are “mina”, “shekel”, and “half-shekel”. However, it is important to note that the interpretation was not about units of money but about the warning to the king.

“There are times when God gives warnings in order to bring sinners to repentance (e.g. Jonah), but there are also times when His warnings are final and divine judgment is determined.” – Wiersbe5

 

Daniel 5:29
Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Despite Daniel’s warning of his doom, Belshazzar filled his promise and gave Daniel the rewards for his interpretation. While the Persians were marching into the city, Daniel was clothed in purple, given a golden chain, and pronounced the third ruler of the kingdom.

More than this, Belshazzar’s response shows a total disregard for Daniel’s message. He gave Daniel the reward as promised, but he also showed that he did not believe him.

 

Daniel 5:30-31
That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

The combined army of the Medes and the Persians had been camped outside the city of Babylon for the past four months. One of the Persian generals, Ugbaru, conceived of an ingenious plan.

The Persian army dug a channel upstream of Babylon and diverted the waters of the Euphrates river. This lowered the water level in the river to about two feet deep (according to Heroditus, it was “midway up a man’s thigh”) and allowed the soldiers to enter the city under the river gates.

The Babylonians had several opportunities to stop the Persian army from entering the city. They could have lowered the river gates to the bottom of the river but the gates remained raised. They could have closed the street gates onto the river and shot at the Persians as they climbed out of the river bed. But the street gates were open and were only lightly guarded. The Persians took the city completely by surprise.

Heroditus, the ancient historian, wrote that the king and his company were unaware of the attack, even after the outer sections of the city were already taken. The soldiers burst into the banquet hall and conveniently found all of the political and military leaders together in the same room.7 Apparently the party had resumed after Daniel left.

The Persians killed everyone in Belshazzar’s banquet hall, thus ending the Babylonian empire.  The head of gold was replaced by the chest and arms of silver.

Cyrus, the Persian emperor, placed his general and statesman Gubaru (different from Ugbaru) over the province of Babylon. He was given the title “Darius”, or “the royal one”.9


 

[1] The succession of Babylonian kings3 4:

  • 625 – Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar
  • 604 – Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 43 years
  • 562 – Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Amel-Marduk reigned for two years until he was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar.
  • 560 – Nerigissar reigned for four years until he died in 556 B.C.
  • 556 – Neriglissar’s son, Labashi-marduk reigned for nine months until he was murdered by a revolt which was led by Nabonidus.
  • 555 – Nabonidus reigned jointly with his son, Belshazzar
  • 538 – Capture of Babylon by Cyrus

[2] It appears that Nabonidus married either Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter or one of his widows. Most credible scholars expect that he married his daughter. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar would have been Belshazzar’s grandfather.

[3] Frank E. Gaebelein, Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 7 (Zondervan, 1985), Daniel 5, pages 68-77

[4] H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Baker Book House, 1969), Daniel 5:1-6:1, pages 208-242

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, Daniel 5, pages 1360-1364

[6] It is possible that Belshazzar also used “holy vessels” from other captured nations, but this seems less likely. Belshazzar’s actions were a taboo even for the pagans of his day. Even the pagans believed that you do not insult the gods of other nations.4

[7] Stephen Davey, Babylon’s Last Meal, Daniel 5, 22/09/2012

[8] H.A. Ironside, Lecture 5, BELSHAZZAR’S IMPIOUS FEAST AND OVERTHROW OF BABYLON: THE WORLD SYSTEM IN TYPE, Daniel 5

[9] “Darius” appears to be a title, meaning “the royal one”. We do not know the real name of Darius the Mede in Daniel 5-6, but credible Bible scholars have proposed three possibilities:

  • “Darius” may have been an alternate title for Cyrus himself. Daniel 5:31 says that Darius was about 62 years old at the time, so it seems unlikely that Cyrus was that old.
  • Cyrus, the Persian ruler, had formed an alliance with the Median ruler, Cyaxares II shortly before invading Babylon.8 Darius may have been an alternate title for Cyaxares.
  • Most credible scholars believe that Darius was a title given to Gubaru, one of Cyrus’ generals and statesmen. Darius held jurisdiction over the province of Babylon under Cyrus’ oversight.

“Darius the Mede” should not be confused with Persian emperor Darius I, who ruled from 522 to 486 B.C. Darius I was a much younger man who ruled at a later date.

[10] The fingers of a hand appeared and began to write on the wall opposite the lampstand. The most well-lit part of the room would have been where the king was sitting, therefore, the fingers must have appeared right next to Belshazzar.

[11] John MacArthur, Divine Graffiti: The End of an Empire, Daniel 5, 2/24/1980

[12] If Daniel was sixteen when he was taken to Babylon in 605 B.C., then he was eighty-two years old at the time when Belshazzar summoned him in 539 B.C.5

[13] Liberal theologians have attempted to separate the kingdoms of Daniel 2 as first the Medes (bronze) and then the Persians (iron). But Daniel specifically tells Belshazzar that his kingdom will be given to the Medes and the Persians (Daniel 5:28). Therefore, we cannot separate the kingdoms in the prophecy.

[14] Belshazzar was unknown to historians until the 20th century. All Babylonian records listed Nabonidus as the final king of Babylon and Belshazzar was never mentioned outside of the account in Daniel 5. It was not until the 1920’s that archeologists discovered the Nabonidus cylinder, which listed Belshazzar by name as the son and co-regent of Nabonidus.3

 

3 Comments »

  1. […] Daniel chapter 6 closes the narrative of one of the most distinguished men in Old Testament scriptures. Daniel had the courage as a teen to stand up for God’s law, even when it could cost him his life (see here). Daniel had the wisdom as a young man to approach a furious king and interpret his dream, thereby saving his own life and the lives of the king’s wise men (see here). Daniel had the leadership as a middle-aged man to encourage his friends to bow only to God, regardless of the consequences (see here). Daniel had the kindness as an older man to counsel the king to turn from his pride (see here). Daniel had the boldness as an old man to rebuke a wicked king, telling him that his destruction was coming (see here). […]

    Pingback by Politics and Bad Coworkers | Sapphire Sky — October 28, 2016 @ 10:06 pm

  2. […] The events in this chapter occurred in the first year of king Belshazzar. Therefore, we know that this prophecy came before the events of Daniel 5 and 6. This would have been at 553 B.C., or approximately 15 years before the fall of Babylon (see here).2 […]

    Pingback by The History of the World | Sapphire Sky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:30 pm

  3. […] Gabriel woke Daniel and told him the explanation. The ram was the kings of Media and Persia. We know from history that Media and Persia form an alliance shortly after this time. In about ten years, the Median and Persian alliance would come and defeat Babylon (Daniel 5). […]

    Pingback by The Ram and The Goat | Sapphire Sky — December 9, 2016 @ 10:18 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: