Handwriting on the wall

Daniel 5

The steady flow of wine had given Belshazzar an inspired idea. He was among friends, the most powerful and beautiful in the kingdom—kings and nobles, wives and concubines—and thought they should know he was more than just a steward of this great empire.

He called for the holy chalices. These were the antique goblets of gold and silver taken from Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem so long ago. Nebuchadnezzar had sanctified them. He had them set aside once he’d learned to fear and honor the God of the Jews.

But Belshazzar wanted this to be the most fabulous party of all time.

As they drank their wine, the sang praises to the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, when suddenly a murmer swept across the revelry. Soon everyone’s attention was transfixed on the wall, right behind the lamp.

Appearing from thin air were fingers, human fingers.

The appendages were scratching some text onto the plaster of the wall, but no one could read it. The room was so quiet those nearby could literally hear Belshazzar’s knees knocking with fright.

As the guests were ushered out of the palace, the wise men, astrologers, and diviners were brought in. Belshazzar offered a great honor and riches to anyone who could decipher the writing on the wall, but all of them were baffled by the text.

So Daniel (or Belteshazzar, as he was known in Babylon) came to take a look at the writing. His reputation had been forgotten among the current generation of aristocracy, but this humble Jewish exile was said to have the spirit of the gods and was once head of all the magicians in the kingdom.

He took a good look at the wall, turned to the ruler, and said the reward would not be necessary.

Daniel spoke to Belshazzar with the confidence of one who’s gone head-to-head with royalty before. He pulled no punches confronting Belshazzar on his pride. He hadn’t learned the lessons of his predecessor, and the exploitation of the ceremonial cups was the last straw.

Daniel read the inscription aloud: “Mene, mene, tekel, parsin”

Then he delivered the ominous interpretation:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found inadequate.
Parsin: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians

That very night Belshazzar was slain, and the empire fell to Persia.

by: Glenn Thomas

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Handwriting on the wall