1King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.2While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.3So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.4As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.5Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.6His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.7The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, ‘Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed round his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.’8Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant.9So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.10The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. ‘May the king live for ever!’ she said. ‘Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale!11There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.12He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.’13So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, ‘Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah?14I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom.15The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it.16Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed round your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.’17Then Daniel answered the king, ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.18‘Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendour.19Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled.20But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory.21He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.22‘But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this.23Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honour the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.24Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.25‘This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin26‘Here is what these words mean: ‘Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.27‘Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.28‘Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’29Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed round his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.30That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain,31and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
English Standard Version
The Handwriting on the Wall
1King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. (Es 1:3; Da 4:36; Da 5:22; Da 5:29; Da 6:17; Da 7:1; Da 8:1)2Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father 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. (Da 1:2; Da 5:1; Da 5:23)3Then they brought in the 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. (Da 5:2)4They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. (Jud 16:24; Ps 115:4; Da 5:23; Re 9:20)5Immediately the 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 the hand as it wrote. (Eze 8:3; Da 4:31; Da 5:24)6Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. (Ps 69:23; Isa 45:1; Da 4:5; Da 4:19; Da 5:10; Da 7:28; Na 2:10)7The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Da 1:4; Da 2:2; Da 2:6; Da 2:27; Da 4:6; Da 5:16; Da 5:29)8Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. (Ge 41:8; Da 2:27; Da 4:7; Da 4:18; Da 5:15)9Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed. (Da 2:1; Da 5:1; Da 5:6)10The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. (Da 2:4; Da 5:6; Da 5:9)11There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, (Da 1:20; Da 2:48; Da 4:8; Da 4:9; Da 5:7)12because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” (Da 1:7; Da 1:17; Da 5:16; Da 6:3)
Daniel Interprets the Handwriting
13Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. (Da 2:25)14I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. (Da 5:11)15Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. (Da 2:2; Da 4:6; Da 5:7; Da 5:8)16But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Da 2:26; Da 5:7; Da 5:12; Da 5:29)17Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “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. (2Ki 5:16)18O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. (Da 2:37; Da 3:26; Da 4:2; Da 4:22; Da 4:36; Da 5:2)19And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled 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. (Da 3:4; Da 6:26)20But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. (Eze 31:10; Da 2:21; Da 4:30)21He 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, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. (Da 4:25; Da 4:32; Da 5:18)22And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, (2Ch 33:23; Da 5:1)23but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the 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. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. (Job 12:10; Jer 10:23; Da 1:2; Da 4:37; Da 5:3; Da 5:4; Ac 12:23; Re 16:9)24“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. (Da 5:5)25And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin.26This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end;27Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; (Job 31:6; Ps 62:9)28Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Isa 13:17; Isa 21:2; Jer 51:28; Da 5:31; Da 6:28; Da 9:1)29Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was 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. (Da 5:7; Da 5:16; Da 5:22)30That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. (Jer 50:24; Jer 51:31; Jer 51:39; Jer 51:57; Da 5:22; Da 9:1)31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old. (Da 5:28; Da 9:1)