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ESV — Daniel 5

The Handwriting on the Wall

eKing Belshazzar fmade a great feast for a thousand of his glords and drank wine in front of the thousand.

eBelshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that hthe vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father1 had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in hthe golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and ipraised the jgods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

kImmediately lthe fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw mthe hand as it wrote. nThen the king's color changed, oand his thoughts alarmed him; phis limbs gave way, and qhis knees knocked together. rThe king called loudly to bring in rthe enchanters, the sChaldeans, and tthe astrologers. The king declared2 to the wise men of Babylon, u“Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and vshall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king's wise men came in, but wthey could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly xalarmed, and his ncolor changed, and his ylords were perplexed.

10 The queen,3 because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, z“O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you aor your color change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom bin whom is the spirit of the holy gods.4 In the days of your father, clight and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—dmade him chief of the magicians, renchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 ebecause an excellent spirit, knowledge, and funderstanding fto interpret dreams, explain riddles, and gsolve problems were found in this Daniel, hwhom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”

Daniel Interprets the Handwriting

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of ithe exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. 14 I have heard of you that bthe spirit of the gods5 is in you, and that clight and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now jthe wise men, the kenchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but lthey could not show the interpretation of the matter. 16 mBut I have heard that you can give interpretations and nsolve problems. oNow if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, oyou shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and pshall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, q“Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the rMost High God sgave tNebuchadnezzar your father ukingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, vall peoples, nations, and languages wtrembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But xwhen his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, yhe was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21 zHe was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, zuntil he knew that the rMost High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son,6 aBelshazzar, bhave not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against cthe Lord of heaven. And dthe vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. eAnd you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, fbut the God in whose hand is your breath, and gwhose are all your ways, hyou have not honored.

24 “Then from his presence ithe hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered7 the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 Tekel, jyou have been weighed8 in the balances and found wanting; 28 Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to kthe Medes and lPersians.”9

29 Then aBelshazzar gave the command, and Daniel mwas clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

30 nThat very night aBelshazzar the oChaldean king was killed. 31  And pDarius kthe Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Footnotes

[1] 5:2 Or predecessor; also verses 11, 13, 18
[2] 5:7 Aramaic answered and said; also verse 10
[3] 5:10 Or queen mother; twice in this verse
[4] 5:11 Or Spirit of the holy God
[5] 5:14 Or Spirit of God
[6] 5:22 Or successor
[7] 5:26 Mene sounds like the Aramaic for numbered
[8] 5:27 Tekel sounds like the Aramaic for weighed
[9] 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin) sounds like the Aramaic for divided and for Persia