Select Page
Read Introduction to Daniel

 

Daniel 5: 2 “While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. 5 In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 6 Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. 7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation.”

 

5:2

While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.

The ancients often used “father” for grandfather.  Nebuchadnezzar was Belshazzar’s grandfather. 

5:3

Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.

The vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem were trophies of war and stored away in one of the heathen temples of Babylon.  This was an act of sacrilege

During this debauchery, the Persian army of Cyrus under General Gobryas was encamped outside Babylon.  This is no time for the King of Babylon to be inebriated.  Belshazzar showed little regard for his own empire.  He lived in a world of escapism, self-indulgence and sublimation.  He breached every decent norm for a king. 

5:4

They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Belshazzar praised the gods of Babylon over the God of Israel.  These gods may have been:

1)      Marduk, the chief god of the Babylonian pantheon and the patron god of the city of Babylon, he was also known as Bel, the sun god. 

2)      Nebo, Nabu, the god of literature and wisdom. 

3)      Nergal, the god of war. 

4)      Ishtar, the goddess of fertility of the Phallic cult.  She was equivalent to Aphrodite or Venus. 

5:5

In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

God directly intervened into Belshazzar’s party.  He received a sign from God in the middle of the celebration of his gods – the fingers of a man’s handwriting on the plaster wall. 

5:6

Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.

Revelry turned to panic.  The king’s face grew pale and his joints knocked together.  Terror obsessed his mind. 

5:7

The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

The king called for his scholars.  He offered the reward of royalty to anyone who could interpret the writing on the wall.  The “third ruler” would follow Nabonidus and Belshazzar in authority. 

5:8

Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation.

The king’s wise men could not read the writing nor interpret the writing.  This amplified the concern of Belshazzar.  His dependence on human faculty failed. 

PRINCIPLE: 

Dependence on human viewpoint exclusively does not give assurance in a time of trial. 

APPLICATION: 

Dependence on human faculty does not give assurance in a time of crisis.  One cannot attain assurance in time of adversity.  This is the recourse of all those who reject revelation.  We find the prerogative of confidence in crisis in those who believe the Bible.  God is the only source of refuge. 

Ps 50:15 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble;

  I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

Ps 118:8 “It is better to trust in the Lord

Than to put confidence in man.

9  It is better to trust in the Lord

Than to put confidence in princes.”

Je 17:5 “Thus says the Lord:

Cursed is the man who trusts in man

And makes flesh his strength,

Whose heart departs from the Lord.

6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,

And shall not see when good comes,

But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,

In a salt land which is not inhabited.

7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

And whose hope is the Lord.”

Share