Monday Night Bible Study - BOOK OF DANIEL - CHAPTER 5


Monday Night Bible Study
Colorado State Veterans Home
Aurora, Colorado

June 21, 2010

by Chaplain Janet Marston


The fruit didn’t fall far from the tree with King Nebuchadnezzar. His son, Belshazzar, became King, and worshipped pagan gods. Even worse than that, he mocked the true holy God and took gold and silver goblets from God’s Holy Temple and decided to have an unholy party. God did not like that at all. While they were partying, drinking, and praising their pagan gods, the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall in the palace. This terrified Belshazzar and he became pale and nearly fainted. Belshazzar made a decree (just like his father used to do) that if anyone could read the writing on the wall and interpret it, would be clothed in purple (meaning royalty) and will be the third highest ruler in his kingdom. Well, he called in his enchanters and wizards, but none of them could interpret it.

Finally, his Queen remembered Daniel, who used to help King Nebuchadnezzar, and recommended that King Belsshazzar call Daniel to interpret the writing. King Belsshazzar called upon Daniel and told him he would clothe him in purple and make him the third highest ruler in the land. Daniel told the King to keep his promotion, but he would interpret the writing anyway. Daniel reminded King Belsshazzar of his father’s history with the true God. Then, he reminded King Belsshazzar that, even though he was aware of this history, he still did not humble himself or honor God. Then, he interpreted the inscription on the wall (Mene Mene Tekel Parsin), which meant that God had numbered his days which would soon come to an end, and that his kingdom would be overthrown by the Medes and Persians. At this, the King put a purple robe on Daniel and made him the third highest ruler in the land. It may have been the shortest promotion in history. That very night, Darius the Mede took over the Babylonian kingdom and King Belsshazzar was slain.

What can we learn from this? Well, first of all, that God does not like to be mocked and that God will decide sooner or later, that enough is enough. God is Holy and Almighty and we need to humble ourselves before Him. However, God is also forgiving, merciful and loving. He gives us plenty of chances and warnings to humble ourselves before Him and to serve Him. Take King Nebuchadnezzar had plenty of warnings and chances, and finally humbled himself before God. His son, however, did not. King Belsshazzar, who knew the truth, had plenty of warnings, but decided not to humble himself or serve the true God anyway. God took away his riches and power, and ended up murdered.

We cannot know how long God will warn us or anyone else until He says “enough is enough” – only God can know that. We should humble ourselves and turn to God for everything – giving Him our lives and respect Him for everything that He has blessed us with. We must also pray for others every day – especially our enemies and those who are lost – that they will turn to God and accept His wonderful gift of Salvation, and that God will be merciful and forgive them. We should never be bitter or resentful or spiteful to others – that does not come from God. Instead, we should love one another, forgive one another, and also pray for one another.


The Writing on the Wall
(1) King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.
(2) While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father [a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.
(3) So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.
(4) As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
(5) Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.
(6) His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.
(7) The king called out for the enchanters, astrologers [b] and diviners to be brought and said to these wise men of Babylon, "Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom."
(8) Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. (9) So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.
(10) The queen, [c] hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. "O king, live forever!" she said. "Don't be alarmed! Don't look so pale!
(11) There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king, I say—appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.
(12) This man Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means."
(13) So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, "Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah?
(14) I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom.
(15) The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it.
(16) Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom."
(17) Then Daniel answered the king, "You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
(18) "O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor.
(19) Because of the high position he gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled.
(20) But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory.
(21) He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes.
(22) "But you his son, [d] O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this.
(23) Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.
(24) Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
(25) "This is the inscription that was written:
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin [e]
(26) "This is what these words mean:
Mene [f] : God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
(27) Tekel [g] : You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
(28) Peres [h] : Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."
(29) Then at Belshazzar's command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
(30) That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, [i] was slain,
(31) and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Daniel 5:2 Or ancestor ; or predecessor ; also in verses 11, 13 and 18
Daniel 5:7 Or Chaldeans ; also in verse 11
Daniel 5:10 Or queen mother
Daniel 5:22 Or descendant ; or successor
Daniel 5:25 Aramaic UPARSIN (that is, AND PARSIN )
Daniel 5:26 Mene can mean numbered or mina (a unit of money).
Daniel 5:27 Tekel can mean weighed or shekel .
Daniel 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin ) can mean divided or Persia or a half mina or a half shekel .
Daniel 5:30 Or Chaldeans

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