CHAPTER 5 | Verses 1 - 16

Verse 1: “King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his cabinet officials, and he drank wine before a thousand men.”

Feast: A banquet

A great feast for a thousand… he drank wine: Belshazzar was showing off his great wealth.

Verse 2: “And Belshazzar, when his heart was influenced by the wine, said: ‘Bring forth the golden and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar, my father, took from the sanctuary which is in Jerusalem. In order that the king, his officials, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.”

Belshazzar: Nebuchadnezzar’s son.

Influenced by the wine: There are things that we keep within ourselves that we do not want people to know about us. Wine, alcohol in general, can cause us to lose our inhibition. It has a way of bringing the hidden things of our hearts into the light.

Golden and silver vessels: When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in Jerusalem he took some of the vessels, that had been used in the temple service, and he brought them back to Babylon and placed them in the temple of his god. 

Sanctuary: A reference to the temple.

Verse 3: “Then these vessels of gold were brought, the ones that were taken by Nebuchadnezzar from the house of G-d which is in Jerusalem, and they drank from them – the king, his officials, his wives and his concubines.”

Verse 4: “They drank wine, and they gave praise to the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.”

They gave praise to the gods: Another influence of wine is to reveal one’s true intent. After Nebuchadnezzar had experienced G-d’s judgment, and he had been restored, he used that opportunity to praise, honour and glorify G-d. Belshazzar, a few years later, had either forgotten the message from the life of Nebuchadnezzar or he had ignored (or rebelled against) it.

Gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone: What these all have in common is value (to varying degrees), and all of them can be used to build/make things. All of these were being used here for idolatry. Idolatry is always focussed on a desire to exalt oneself. This is exactly what they are doing.

Verse 5: “At that same hour the fingers from the hand of a man wrote, before the candlestick, on the plaster that was upon the wall in the king’s sanctuary. The king saw the part of the hand that wrote.”

At that same hour: Notice the timing of G-d (see also Daniel 4:33, Daniel 4:36)

The hand of a man wrote: G-d wrote down revelation for these people.

Candlestick: The menorah or lampstand. The relevance of the menorah being mentioned in the text is that it reveals to the reader that this passage has revelation in it – it high-lights this passage – so to speak.

Sanctuary: The place where the king would go and worship.

Verse 6: “Then the expression of the king’s face was changed, and his thoughts were troubling to him. The joints of his loins were loose, and his knees shook.”

Then: This is a word of outcome

The king’s face was changed: This was not some false or evil supernatural manifestation that the people were used to (from their magicians or “wisemen”), but now G-d was moving.

Verse 7: “And the king called in a loud voice to bring forth the wizards, the Chaldeans and the magicians. And the king answered and said to the wise men of Babylon: ‘Anyone who is able to read this inscription, and reveal to me its interpretation, will be clothed in argaman and a golden chain will be placed upon his neck; he will rule as the third one in the kingdom.”

A loud voice: This shows the king’s seriousness and fear.

The wise men: These men have retained their positions in the kingdom – despite the fact that it had been proven, time and again, that they were lying deceivers who had no power. Daniel, a Jewish man who had been a blessing in the lives of the kings, was not immediately called. This shows a constant rebellion and unwillingness to do what one should.

Argaman: Royal purple

Note: The king knew that what had been written had great significance.

Verse 8: “Then came all the wise men of the king, but they were not able to read the inscription and declare to the king its interpretation.”

Verse 9: “Then King Belshazzar was very much afraid, and the appearance of his face changed, and his officials were ashamed.”
Ashamed: Embarrassed. They knew their inadequacy.

Verse 10: “The words of the king and his officials were heard, and the queen came to the banquet house. The queen answered and said: “O King, live forever! Do not allow your thoughts to be troubling to you, and do not allow the expression of your face to be changed.”

The queen came: Women are created to be a helpmeet to their husbands. This woman comes to the king and offers him wise counsel. She is a true helpmeet to her husband.

Live forever: This is an expression that reveals her faithfulness to him. She is sincere, as we are going to see that she desires to be a blessing in his life.

Do not allow: She knows that there is an individual (Daniel) that can reveal, to the king, what this writing says.

Verse 11: “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy G-d. In the days of your father, it was found in him (in Daniel) illumination, intelligence and wisdom, like the wisdom of G-d. And the king, Nebuchadnezzar your father, placed him as head over all the
enchanters, wizards, Chaldeans and the magicians. Thus your father did.”

The Spirit: One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit is to bring G-dly order into our lives and into any given situation.

Holy G-d: ‘Holy’ speaks of purpose. There is a relationship between order and the purposes of Gd. If we want order in our lives we need to be pursuing the purposes of G-d.

Verse 12: “For he has an excellent spirit, he has knowledge, intelligence, is able to interpret dreams, able to declare hidden things and to release those things which are closed up. These are all found in this Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar. And now let Daniel be called, that he might declare to you the interpretation.”

Note: This queen knows her history and is a woman of confidence. These two assets allow her to give wise counsel to King Belshazzar.

Verse 13: “Then they brought Daniel before the king. And the king answered and said to Daniel: ‘Are you him, this Daniel from the children of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?’”

From the children of the exiles of Judah: Some commentators say that even though Daniel had a great testimony of faithfulness and  success he was not immediately called for as he was firstly acaptive, an exile, and secondly (as is repeated and emphasised in this text) he was from Judah – i.e. a Jew.

Verse 14: “I have heard that the Spirit of G-d is in you, and that illumination, intelligence and surpassing wisdom are found in you.”
G-d: (ין ִ֖ ה ָל ֱא (Although this word has a plural construction it is singular in meaning.

Verse 15: “Now, behold, the wise men and the wizards were brought before me in order to read the inscription and to make known to me its interpretation, but they were not able to tell me the interpretation of the matter.”

They were not able: Again and again they have failed – but this has not led to them facing any consequences…yet. This is a good way to describe the world. When we are not walking in the illumination of G-d’s Word we are going to fail. So often, we are not going to learn from our mistakes – “History repeats itself”. Because of this we are not going to see a change in this world – until Messiah comes again!

Verse 16: “I have heard that you are able to clarify interpretations and to release those things which are closed up. Now, if you are able to read the inscription and to make known to me its interpretation you will be dressed in purple, and a golden chain will be placed upon your neck, and you will rule as third in my kingdom.”

Purple: The colour of the royal garments. Daniel is being offered a garment of prestige – one that reflects a uniqueness within the kingdom.

You will rule: Daniel is being offered a position of prominence.


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