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The Handwriting On The Wall

Belshazzar, the king, made a great feast for a thousand of his nobles
and drank wine before them all. Under the influence of wine, he gave
command to bring the gold and silver utensils which his father,
Nebuchadrezzar, had taken from the temple at Jerusalem, that the king,
his nobles, his wives, and the others of his household might drink from
them. So they brought the golden vessels which were taken from the
temple of God which was at Jerusalem. And the king, his nobles, his
wives, and the others of his household drank from them. They drank wine
and praised the gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and
of stone.

At that moment the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite
the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and
the king saw the palm of the hand that wrote.

Then the king grew pale, and his thoughts troubled him, his legs
trembled and his knees knocked together. The king called for the
magicians and those who study the stars and said to the wise men of
Babylon, "Whoever shall read this writing and tell what it means shall
be clothed in purple and have a chain of gold about his neck and shall
be the third ruler in the kingdom." Then all the king's wise men came
in, but they could not read the writing nor tell the king what it meant.
So King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, and his face grew pale, and his
nobles were thrown into confusion.

Now the queen, because of what the king and his nobles had said, came
into the banquet-house and said, "O king, live forever; let not your
thoughts trouble you nor let yourself grow pale. There is a man in your
kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and in the days of your
father he was found to have light and understanding and wisdom, like the
wisdom of the gods. Now let Daniel be called, and he will tell what it

So Daniel was brought in before the king, and the king said to him, "Are
you that Daniel, one of the men who were carried away captive, whom the
king, my father, brought from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the
gods is in you, and that you have understanding and great wisdom. The
wise men and the magicians have been brought in before me to read this
writing and to tell what it means; but they are not able. I have heard
that you can tell what dreams mean and answer hard questions. Now if you
can read the writing and tell what it means, you shall be clothed with
purple and have a chain of gold about your neck and shall be the third
ruler in the kingdom."

Then Daniel answered the king, "Keep your gifts and give your rewards to
another. Without them I will read the writing to the king, and tell what
it means. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadrezzar, your father,
the kingdom and power, glory and majesty. Because of the power that he
gave him, all peoples, nations, and races trembled and feared him. He
killed or kept alive as he wished; and he raised up or put down whom he
pleased. But when he became proud and haughty, he was made to come down
from his kingly throne and his glory was taken from him, and he was
driven away from men, and his mind became like that of the beasts, and
he lived with the wild asses; he was fed with grass like oxen, and his
body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High
God rules over the kingdom of men and that he sets up over it whom he

"But you, his son, O Belshazzar, have not been humble, though you knew
all this, but you have raised yourself against the Lord of heaven, and
have had the utensils of his temple brought before you, and you, your
nobles, your wives, and the others of your household have drunk wine
from them. You have given praise to the gods of silver, of gold, of
brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, which cannot see nor hear nor
know; and you have not praised the God in whose control are your very
breath and all that you do."

"Then the hand was sent out before him and traced this writing:


"This is what it means: Mene: God has numbered your kingdom and brought
it to an end. Tekel: you are weighed in the scales and found wanting.
Peres: your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."

Then at Belshazzar's command Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain
of gold was put about his neck, and he was proclaimed the third ruler
in the kingdom. But on that very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king,
was killed, and Darius, the Mede, received the kingdom.

Next: Daniel In The Lions Den

Previous: The Test By Fire

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