Daniel Chapter 5


One "error" in the Bible is that Belshazzar did not follow Nebuchadnezzar as king of Babylon.  The problem is that he was not supposed to, but the short order of kings in between quickly led to Belshazzar, with one assassination after another, then a king Nabonidus, who did not want to be king, Nabonidus is said to be the successor of Nebuchadnezzar, from secular records, not Behslazzar, but 19th century archaeology discoveries showed that Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son, Evilmerodach, who ruled Babylon for two years from 562-560 B.C.

Nabonidus left Babylon (still technically king) and left Belshazzar in charge-AS KING.  Just assume the Bible is right, always, as always, and go from there and you can never go wrong.
Neo-Babylonian Rulers Nabopolassar- 625-604 BC 
Nebuchadrezzar II (s)- 604-568 BC 
Evil-Merodach (s)- 561-560 
BC Neriglissar (brother-in-law)- 559-556 BC 
Labosoarchad (s)- 556 BC 
Nabonidus- 555-539 BC 
Belshazzar- 539 BC 
Cyrus conquered Babylonia in 539 BC 


Pride is the downfall of any and many. Many of the prophecies in Daniel are about Gentiles, not Jews-unusual.

(2 Kings 25:27)
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;

(Jeremiah 52:31-34)
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,  And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,  And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.  And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
  • Evilmerodach was assassinated in August, 560 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar's son-in-law Neriglissar, who was also Evilmerodach's brother-in-law.
  • Neriglissar then ruled after him four years (560-556 B.C.). 
  • His name is Nergal-Sharezer, as in Jeremiah 39:3, Jeremiah 39:13. 
(Jeremiah 39:3)
And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.

(Jeremiah 39:13)
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushasban, Rabsaris, and Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon's princes;
  • Nergalsharezer dies
  • He is then succeeded by his young son Labashi-Marduk (the name of a god, the same as Bel) 
  • He ruled just two months, from May-June 556, and then was also assassinated
  • He was then succeeded by Nabonidus, who reigned 17 years (556-539 B.C.).
  • Nabonidus did not like being king,
  • The people did not like him being king
  • The priests did not like him, alientated him
  • He left for northern Arabia to live, and Belshazzar his son" (technically a grandson) was king in his stead, thereby showing Daniel to be true
  • Daniel had to be then an eyewitness; the scholars and skeptics were not there
  • This allowed Cyrus the Great to invade, because of Belshazzar, the Persian army was surrounding them shortly, and on the move
  • Babylon was a double-walled city, with a moat, and the river Euphrates going through it which was stopped, rerouted to invade
  • The room where this took place has been rebuilt today
  • It, as a scene, would be a classic Hollywood movie scene today
(James 4:13-16)
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
  • Belshazzar was safe, secure, wealthy, at home, partying
  • Sudden destruction came on him in an instant
  • Again, this entire book was challenged as not being both historically accurate and written early, due to its detailed claims and fulfillments
  • This has been refuted by archaeology
  • Your number is up!
  • The idol has clay feet
  • The handwriting is on the wall
  • You were weighed in the balances and found wanting
  • The lion's den
  • The fiery furnace
  • This is the fall of Babylon.........God has a future for her doom (Isaiah 13, 14, Jeremiah 50, 51, Revelation 14:8, 17, 18)
(Daniel 5:1-2)
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.
  • Beltesahazzar is Daniel; Belshazzar is the King, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar
  • "Forbearer" is the word, and means father or grandfather (no word in that language)
  • He was supposed to be defending the temple
  • A thousand people is a lot of feasting and a lot of wine
  • These were pagan feasts of debauchery and gluttony 
  • This is not an event for the things of God, nor would an event of God be a place for debauchery and gluttony!
(Daniel 5:3)
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
  • He had many wives and concubines (mistresses) as well
  • Any ancient pagan feasts would have included sexual intercourse
  • They all probably toasted the gods of his kingdom
  • These vessels were basically, as would be today, in a sort of museum. He tells them to get the museum relics and use them in our party........BAD MISTAKE
(Daniel 1:1-2)
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.  And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

(2 Kings 24:8-13)
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.
At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.

(Isaiah 39:6)
Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.

(2 Chronicles 36:10)
And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.

(Daniel 5:4)
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
  • Paganism involves revelry and the worship of dead things or the spiritual realm, which is dead also
  • If he does not worship the true and living God , mankind is inherently religious and will worship anything he can get his hands on
  • What can gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone do when it is worshipped?
  • If a person was "blessed" and "lucky", where would this "fortune" have come from?

(Isaiah 40:18-23)
To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?  The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.  He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.  Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.

(Isaiah 44:13-19)
The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.  He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.
And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?

(Daniel 5:5)
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.
  • This is God's Hand, a Pre-Incarnate Christ, and not an angel. Whatever it was, it scared them to death
  • As with his father, when the word came down, it was swift and severe
  • This is the origin of the phrase, "to see the handwriting on the wall"
  • The saying itself today, seeing the handwriting on the wall" literally means an "omen of imminent doom/destruction", plain to see- Disaster or danger is imminent. 
  • For Nebuchadnezzar, it was a dream that no one else had nor could know but him
  • Then it was a dream he would tell them and they still could not interpret it!
  • Now, for Belshazzar, this is a visible writing which all could see, and still they could not read it, nor interpret it!
(Daniel 5:6)
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.
  • If this man was partying, drunken with his wives, mistresses and a thousand of his guests, this would have been an instant change from elation to "WHOA! YIKES!"
  • Just hearing from God Himself is enough to make any man tremble. To hear bad news about your kingdom, when you think it is safe and secure, is even more troubling
  • Turn out the lights, the party's over
(Daniel 5:7)
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.
  • Like father, like son. All pagan kings had their pagan advisors, with all bases covered
  • This would be a reference/appeal to the stars, fortune telling, who knows what else
  • Being the THIRD ruler of the kingdom means he was the SECOND, after his dad Nabonidus! 
  • There are lots of codes in the Bible
(Proverbs 25:2)
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

(Daniel 5:8)
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.
  • As they also could not tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream, they also cannot read the writing on the wall
  • Nothing says what language this is in
  • Daniel, the cryptologist
(Daniel 5:9)
Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
  • The writing is one thing; seeing the hand is another thing. But now no one can say what the thing says or means
  • This cannot have been a vision from his drunkenness, since all saw it, not just him
  • "his countenance was changed in him"......back to relief?  He partied again after this, according to history
(Daniel 5:10)
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:
  • The queen mother, wife of Nebuchadnezzar, grandmother of Belshazzar
  • Was she not part of this party? She was not present.
  • "O King, live forever" is repeated

(Daniel 5:11)
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;

  • Belshazzar would have been too small to know the history of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar
  • Belshazzar would only have heard of this' perhaps Daniel was not even that active by then
(Daniel 5:12)
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.
  • Is this from Daniel's reputation?
  • This is a confident prediction
  • Was she saved also?
(Daniel 5:13)
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?
  •  Are you the right guy and are you the right guy who did this and can you do it again?
(Daniel 5:14)
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.
  • The Holy Spirit gives us light, godly wisdom, understanding
  • The world gets darkness, worldly wisdom and a lack of understanding of the things of God
(Daniel 5:15)
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:
  •  Again, even after visibly seeing it, 1,000 people, plus the "wisest men" of Babylon, could not read nor understand it.
(Daniel 5:16)
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.
  •  This is quite an offering, a position of power and honor
(Daniel 5:17)
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 has his reward of God, so this again is a freebie
  • Forget the money. Keep it.
(Hebrews 11:33)
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, ....

...(Hebrews 12:2)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Daniel 5:18)
O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
  • This is again is his grandfather, since there is no word for it, it is "thy father"
(Daniel 5:19)
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.
  • You think you are great?  Look at Nebuchadnezzar your grandfather and HIS power!
(Daniel 5:20)
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:
  •  Look what all of that pomp and circumstance did for and to him!
(Daniel 5:21)
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.
  • The event retold, purpose given, means "This SHOULD have been a lesson for YOU as well!"
(Daniel 5:22)
And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
  • The one purpose Belshazzar should have taken out of his father's demise was the pride followed by his humility
  • Normal people get the lesson of discipline/punishment of others

(Daniel 5:23)
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:

  • This humility of his grandfather is something he ignored, missed, but knew about
  • His pride here is so great that Daniel rebukes him for disgracing God with his sacrilege of using God's property for pagan rituals
(Daniel 5:24-25)
Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.  And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
  • It is revealed that it is indeed God's hand
  • The Talmud says it was written in Old Hebrew, "Vertically and backwards"
  • Or it could have been in encrypted Hebrew, transposition of exchanging letters called Albam or Atbash (Isaiah 7)
A B C D E F G H  I  J  K  L M<<<Substitute for below
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    (Daniel 5:26)
    This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
    (Daniel 5:27)
    TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
    • Tekel="WEIGHING"
    (Daniel 5:28)
    PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians
    • PERES=Thy kingdom is divided
    (Daniel 5:29)
    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.
    • So, despite not wanting the praise of men, he gets it anyways, which to Daniel was most likely not a big deal as it was
    (Daniel 5:30)
    In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
    • Instantaneous fulfillment of the prophecy
    • VERSE 5 "In that very hour"
    (Daniel 5:31)
    And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
    •  At 62 years old, he became ruler of Babylon
    While this entire scene is being played out, they diverted the river, which made an opening to the city on dry land through a hole in the city wall, walked through and took the kingdom with virtually no battle whatsoever, that very night. 

    Belshazzar let his guard down, literally.  His guard also let him down.

    (Luke 12:40)
    Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

    Daniel Chapter 6