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Daniel 5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Belshazzar’s Feast

Belshazzar the king [a]held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his [b]father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly the fingers of a man’s hand emerged and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, and the king saw the [c]back of the hand that did the writing. Then the king’s [d]face grew pale and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack and his knees began knocking together. The king called aloud to bring in the conjurers, the [e]Chaldeans and the diviners. The king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon, “Any man who can read this inscription and explain its interpretation to me shall be clothed with purple and have a necklace of gold around his neck, and have authority as [f]third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the inscription or make known its interpretation to the king. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, his [g]face grew even paler, and his nobles were perplexed.

10 The queen entered the banquet [h]hall because of the words of the king and his nobles; the queen spoke and said, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts alarm you or your [i]face be pale. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is [j]a spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father, illumination, insight and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him. And King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, your father [k]the king, appointed him chief of the [l]magicians, conjurers, [m]Chaldeans and diviners. 12 This was because an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and insight, interpretation of dreams, explanation of enigmas and solving of difficult problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Let Daniel now be summoned and he will declare the interpretation.”

Daniel Interprets Handwriting on the Wall

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the [n]exiles from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 Now I have heard about you that [o]a spirit of the gods is in you, and that illumination, insight and extraordinary wisdom have been found in you. 15 Just now the wise men and the conjurers were brought in before me that they might read this inscription and make its interpretation known to me, but they could not declare the interpretation of the [p]message. 16 But I personally have heard about you, that you are able to give interpretations and solve difficult problems. Now if you are able to read the inscription and make its interpretation known to me, you will be clothed with purple and wear a necklace of gold around your neck, and you will have authority as the [q]third ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “[r]Keep your gifts for yourself or give your rewards to someone else; however, I will read the inscription to the king and make the interpretation known to him. 18 [s]O king, the Most High God granted [t]sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father. 19 Because of the grandeur which He bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every [u]language feared and trembled before him; whomever he wished he killed and whomever he wished he spared alive; and whomever he wished he elevated and whomever he wished he humbled. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so [v]proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him. 21 He was also driven away from [w]mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes. 22 Yet you, his [x]son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, [y]even though you knew all this, 23 but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the [z]hand was sent from Him and this inscription was written out.

25 “Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘[aa]MENĒ, [ab]MENĒ, [ac]TEKĒL, [ad]UPHARSIN.’ 26 This is the interpretation of the [ae]message: ‘MENĒ’—God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. 27 ‘TEKĒL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. 28 ‘PERĒS’—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and [af]Persians.”

29 Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the [ag]third ruler in the kingdom.

30 That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. 31 [ah]So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 5:1 Lit made
  2. Daniel 5:2 Or forefather, and so throughout the ch
  3. Daniel 5:5 Or palm
  4. Daniel 5:6 Lit brightness changed for him
  5. Daniel 5:7 Or master astrologers
  6. Daniel 5:7 Or a triumvir
  7. Daniel 5:9 Lit brightness was changing upon him
  8. Daniel 5:10 Lit house
  9. Daniel 5:10 Lit brightness be changed
  10. Daniel 5:11 Or possibly the Spirit of the holy God
  11. Daniel 5:11 Or O king
  12. Daniel 5:11 Or soothsayer priests
  13. Daniel 5:11 Or master astrologers
  14. Daniel 5:13 Lit sons of the exile
  15. Daniel 5:14 Or possibly the Spirit of God
  16. Daniel 5:15 Lit word
  17. Daniel 5:16 Or triumvir
  18. Daniel 5:17 Lit Let...be for
  19. Daniel 5:18 Lit You, O king
  20. Daniel 5:18 Or the kingdom
  21. Daniel 5:19 Lit tongue
  22. Daniel 5:20 Lit strong
  23. Daniel 5:21 Lit the sons of man
  24. Daniel 5:22 Or descendant
  25. Daniel 5:22 Lit inasmuch as you
  26. Daniel 5:24 Lit palm of the hand
  27. Daniel 5:25 Or a mina (50 shekels) from verb “to number”
  28. Daniel 5:25 Or a mina (50 shekels) from verb “to number”
  29. Daniel 5:25 Or a shekel from verb “to weigh”
  30. Daniel 5:25 Or and half-shekels (sing: peres) from verb “to divide”
  31. Daniel 5:26 Lit word
  32. Daniel 5:28 Aram: Pāras
  33. Daniel 5:29 Or triumvir
  34. Daniel 5:31 Ch 6:1 in Aram
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Daniel 5 New International Version (NIV)

The Writing on the Wall

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 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. 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. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

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. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.

The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers[b] and diviners. Then he 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.”

Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 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. “May the 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. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12 He did this because 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 “Your Majesty, 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 nations and peoples 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 the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[d] 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

26 “Here is what these words mean:

Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres[g]: 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,[h] was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.[i]

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 5:2 Or ancestor; or predecessor; also in verses 11, 13 and 18
  2. Daniel 5:7 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 11
  3. Daniel 5:10 Or queen mother
  4. Daniel 5:22 Or descendant; or successor
  5. Daniel 5:26 Mene can mean numbered or mina (a unit of money).
  6. Daniel 5:27 Tekel can mean weighed or shekel.
  7. Daniel 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin) can mean divided or Persia or a half mina or a half shekel.
  8. Daniel 5:30 Or Chaldeans
  9. Daniel 5:31 In Aramaic texts this verse (5:31) is numbered 6:1.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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