Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
Belshazzar is said by Josephus to be the same as Naboandelus, the Nabonadius of Ptolemy, and the Labynetus of Herodotus. He reigned seven years, during which time he was engaged in unsuccessful wars with the Medes and Persians; and at this very time was besieged by Cyrus.
Chal. brought forth. might.
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
Chal. changed it. and his thoughts.
bindings, or knots. and his knees.
The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Chal. with might.
or, purple. a chain.
Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.
Because, probably, it was written in the ancient Hebrew or Samaritan character.
Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:
This was probably Nitocris, the queen-mother, widow of Evil-merodach, son of Nebuchadnezzar, and father of Belshazzar.
There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;
Nebuchadnezzar was certainly the grandfather of Belshazzar; but the term father in Hebrew and Chaldee is frequently used to denote a progenitor, or ancestor, however remote.
Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
or, of an interpreter of, etc. dissolving. or, of a dissolver. doubts. Chal. knots.
Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?
Though Daniel was one of the chief ministers of state, who did "the king's business" in the palace, (Da 8:27,) yet Belshazzar seems to have known nothing of him. This shews that he was a weak and vicious prince, who minded pleasure more than business, according to the character given him by historians. He appears to have left the care of public affairs to his mother, Nitocris, a lady celebrated for her wisdom, who evidently knew Daniel well, and probably constantly employed him in the government of the kingdom.
I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:
And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
Daniel, on this occasion, behaved in a very different manner to Belshazzar, than he had formerly done to Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar had that very night insulted the God of heaven in the most daring manner; and the venerable prophet, as His delegate, denounced sentence against him.
I will read
O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.
whom he would he slew
But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
or, to deal proudly. deposed. Chal. made to come down.
And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
he was driven
his heart was made like
or, he made his heart equal. etc. till.
And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
He was, strictly speaking, "his grandson;" but the term son is frequently used to denote filiation at any distance.
But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
Had these words been written in the Chaldean character, every one who knew the alphabet of the language could at least have read them: they are pure Chaldee, and literally denote "He is numbered, he is numbered; he is weighed; they are divided."
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
Peres,"he was divided," pronounced paras, denoted Persians, who seem evidently referred to.
Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
This was Cyaxares, son of Astyages, king of Media, and maternal uncle to Cyrus, who allowed him the title of his conquests, as long as he lived.
Chal. he as the son of, etc. about. or, now.