The Handwriting is on the Wall
- Waiting Patiently (v. 5:1)
- Loving Humbly (v. 5:1-4)
- Serving Faithfully (v. 5:5)
- As you read through this passage what key themes stick out to you?
- Approximately 22 years have passed for Daniel since the last chapter. Sometimes it feels like God is inactive, uninvolved, or absent. What do you typically do or turn to when you feel powerless to bring about change? Where can you ask Jesus to meet you and help you grow in waiting patiently for Him (Psalm 27:14)? (Daniel 5:1)
- Romans 8:22 tells us that all of creation groans under the weight of sin. It appears as though the world is often spinning out of control and people’s response is to eat, drink and be merry because that’s all they have to hope in. How does the Gospel free us to humbly love people right where they are? Where do you tend to critique, criticize and condemn the lost rather than walk in compassion with them? How did Jesus treat you when you were lost (Luke 5:32; Luke 19:10)? (Daniel 5:1-4)
- The handwriting was on the wall, Belshazzar’s kingdom had fallen and another king was taking over. In Luke 11:20, Jesus tells the religious leaders that Satan’s kingdom had fallen, another king and kingdom had come. How is the Church God’s handwriting on the wall to the world proclaiming that sin, Satan, death, hell, and the grave are defeated? How can we as a people serve faithfully and make sure we are legible and shining brightly to a world that needs it? What role do you play in being legible? (Daniel 5:5)
Daniel 5:1-31 NASB
1Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. 2When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his 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. 3Then 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. 4They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
5Suddenly 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 back of the hand that did the writing. 6Then the king’s face grew pale and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack and his knees began knocking together. 7The king called aloud to bring in the conjurers, the 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 third ruler in the kingdom.” 8Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the inscription or make known its interpretation to the king. 9Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, his face grew even paler, and his nobles were perplexed.
10The queen entered the banquet 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 face be pale. 11There is a man in your kingdom in whom is 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 the king, appointed him chief of the magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans and diviners. 12This 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
13Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the exiles from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14Now I have heard about you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that illumination, insight and extraordinary wisdom have been found in you. 15Just 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 message. 16But 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 third ruler in the kingdom.”
17Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “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. 18O king, the Most High God granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father. 19Because of the grandeur which He bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every 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. 20But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him. 21He was also driven away from 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. 22Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this, 23but 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. 24Then the hand was sent from Him and this inscription was written out.
25“Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘MENĒ, MENĒ, TEKĒL, UPHARSIN.’ 26This is the interpretation of the 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 Persians.”
29Then 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 third ruler in the kingdom.
30That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. 31So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.