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Daniel 5: 22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 “And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house 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, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 “Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. 25 “And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 26 “This is the interpretation of each word. Mene: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27Tekel: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28Peres: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.’”

 

 5:22

But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.

Belshazzar knew of God’s sovereign moves on Nebuchadnezzar so he was culpable.  He would not humble his heart before God’s sovereignty.  His sin was the same as Nebuchadnezzar (vv. 18-21). 

Now Daniel sets forth four charges against Belshazzar:

1)      Belshazzar did not humble himself although he knew about Nebuchadnezzar (v.22). 

2)      He defiled the sovereign God by sacrilegiously abusing the vessels of the Temple (v.23).

3)      He was guilty of idolatry (v.23).

4)      He did not glorify the true God (v.23) who gave him his very life. 

5:23

And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house 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, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.

Some men do not learn the lessons of God’s judgment.  Belshazzar and his crew violated the vessels of the temple; therefore, God will remove the Neo-Babylon Empire from its power. 

5:24

Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.

God sent Belshazzar a warning by direct revelation

5:25

And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Daniel now begins to interpret the writing on the wall.  He interprets each word.  The three words refer to measures of weight. 

5:26

This is the interpretation of each word. Mene: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;

MENE” is an Aramaic word and means numbered, set the limit.  The number of years for the Neo-Babylonian Empire has come to an end.  Daniel repeats “MENE” for emphasis –number, number.  God numbers each day and hour of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom.  This is the last day of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.  It lost its world power in one day. 

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days,

That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

5:27

Tekel: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;

TEKEL” means weighed.  God weighed Belshazzar and his kingdom and found him flagrantly wanting in conceding the sovereignty of God.  “UPHARSIN” means half.  God puts Neo-Babylon on divine scales and finds them wanting.  Babylon did not meet God’s standard. 

5:28

Peres: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

PERES” means to divide, break.  This word explains “UPHARSIN.”  The “U” is the Aramaic word “and” and “PHARSIN” is the plural for “PERES.”  Belshazzar’s kingdom will divide into two parts: Medes and Persians.  This kingdom immediately followed the Neo-Babylonian Empire.  They were right outside the city ready to fulfill God’s prophecy. 

5:29

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

Belshazzar kept his promise to honor Daniel.  However, this honor only lasted a few hours until the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the Medes and Persians.  The Persians diverted the Euphrates River that flowed through Babylon into a lake to the north of Babylon.  They entered through the riverbed through thigh deep water. 

5:30

That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.

Belshazzar did not make it through the night for the Persians invaded Babylon that night and executed him.  He met his reckoning.  Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted this fall (Is 13:17-22; 21:1-10; 45:1; 47:1-5; Je 50:1-3, 9-10,21, 24, 30-31 35-37; 51:1-2, 11-13; 30-64).  As described in the Nabonidus Chronicle, Babylon fell on Tishri 16 (October 11,12 or 13) 539 B.C.  Herodotus and Xenophon both confirm that the end of the Babylonian empire was sudden.  Relevant extra-biblical records describing the fall of Babylon include portions of Berossus (cited in Josephus), the Cyrus Cylinder, and the Babylonian Chronicle.

5:31

And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.’

Many critics deem that the reference to “Darius the Mede” is one of the most serious historical problems in the book of Daniel. 

Critics claim that Daniel erred in setting forth a separate Median kingdom that ruled over Babylon when the Persians gained victory over Babylon.  However, Daniel does not say that the kingdom was the Median kingdom but only that the king was a Mede. 

PRINCIPLE: 

God sits in sovereign judgment over all the nations of the world. 

APPLICATION: 

The purpose of chapter five of Daniel is to record the historic fulfillment of prophecy.  It also demonstrates God’s dealings with pagan empires.  Contemporary pride in great achievements of man will produce the same results – the fall of national entities. 

1 Th 5:1 “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

God sits as Judge over all the nations of the world.  He works in human government through His sovereign decisions.  There is meaning and purpose to history, even in secular governments.

1 Ch 29:11 “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,

The power and the glory,

The victory and the majesty;

For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;

Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,

And You are exalted as head over all.

12     Both riches and honor come from You,

And You reign over all.

In Your hand is power and might;

In Your hand it is to make great

And to give strength to all.”

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