by Larry Stockstill
When the fingers of a human hand wrote on the plaster of the wall, King Belshazzar's face "turned pale with fear. Such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him"
(Daniel 5:5-6). Even the bravest sinner is terrified before the pure revelation of God's justice.
How often people mock God as though He were some senile puppy hiding under the porch! Their ignorance only displays their lack of understanding of His long-suffering. Someone once said, "Never mistake the long-suffering of God for His approval." Those who persist in wrongdoing, counting on God's mercy to overlook their sins, will one day be forced to account for their actions. "Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done" (1 Peter 2:13).
When Belshazzar touched the holy vessels of the temple of God (Daniel 5:3-4), he crossed the line with God. He met the same fate as did the rebellious angels, the people of Noah's day, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Belshazzar pushed the mercy of God over the line, and God's mercy turned to judgment.
Walk before God in fear and trembling, for He is an awesome God.
5 King Belshazzar
5 Suddenly 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.6 His face turned pale
7 The king summoned the enchanters,
8 Then all the king’s wise men
10 The queen,
13 So 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?
17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else.
18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar
22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,
25 “This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
26 “Here is what these words mean:
30 That very night Belshazzar,
5 Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them.2 While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor,
5 Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote,6 and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him.
7 The king shouted for the enchanters, astrologers,
8 But when all the king’s wise men had come in, none of them could read the writing or tell him what it meant.9 So the king grew even more alarmed, and his face turned pale. His nobles, too, were shaken.
10 But when the queen mother heard what was happening, she hurried to the banquet hall. She said to Belshazzar, “Long live the king! Don’t be so pale and frightened.11 There is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, this man was found to have insight, understanding, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, the king—your predecessor King Nebuchadnezzar—made him chief over all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers of Babylon.12 This man Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, has exceptional ability and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”
13 So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king asked him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles brought from Judah by my predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar?14 I have heard that you have the spirit of the gods within you and that you are filled with insight, understanding, and wisdom.15 My wise men and enchanters have tried to read the words on the wall and tell me their meaning, but they cannot do it.16 I am told that you can give interpretations and solve difficult problems. If you can read these words and tell me their meaning, you will be clothed in purple robes of royal honor, and you will have a gold chain placed around your neck. You will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Daniel answered the king, “Keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means.18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave sovereignty, majesty, glory, and honor to your predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar.19 He made him so great that people of all races and nations and languages trembled before him in fear. He killed those he wanted to kill and spared those he wanted to spare. He honored those he wanted to honor and disgraced those he wanted to disgrace.20 But when his heart and mind were puffed up with arrogance, he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory.21 He was driven from human society. He was given the mind of a wild animal, and he lived among the wild donkeys. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone he desires to rule over them.
22 “You are his successor,
25 “This is the message that was written: Mene, mene, tekel, and Parsin.26 This is what these words mean:
Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end.
27 Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up.
29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was dressed in purple robes, a gold chain was hung around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian
5 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
2 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.
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.
4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
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:
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;
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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
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.
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:
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.
22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
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:
24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
25 And this is the writing that was written, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.
26 This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27 Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28 Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
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.
30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
2 But there were also false prophets
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned,
Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;
13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight.
17 These people are springs without water
2 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.3 In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.
4 For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell,
These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings
12 These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed.13 Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception
17 These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness.18 They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception.19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before.21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.22 They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.”
2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
but I love your law.
I have put my hope
115 Away from me,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
do not let my hopes be dashed.
I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray
for their delusions come to nothing.
therefore I love your statutes.
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure your servant’s well-being;
looking for your righteous promise.
and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant;
that I may understand your statutes.
126 It is time for you to act, Lord;
your law is being broken.
127 Because I love your commands
128 and because I consider all your precepts right,
113 I hate those with divided loyalties,
but I love your instructions.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my source of hope.
115 Get out of my life, you evil-minded people,
for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116 Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live!
Do not let my hope be crushed.
117 Sustain me, and I will be rescued;
then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118 But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees.
They are only fooling themselves.
119 You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum;
no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120 I tremble in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your regulations.
121 Don’t leave me to the mercy of my enemies,
for I have done what is just and right.
122 Please guarantee a blessing for me.
Don’t let the arrogant oppress me!
123 My eyes strain to see your rescue,
to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.
124 I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love,
and teach me your decrees.
125 Give discernment to me, your servant;
then I will understand your laws.
126 Lord, it is time for you to act,
for these evil people have violated your instructions.
127 Truly, I love your commands
more than gold, even the finest gold.
128 Each of your commandments is right.
That is why I hate every false way.
113 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.
114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
118 Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
121 I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.
122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
123 Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.
124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.
125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
126 It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.
127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
19 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.
20 A faithful person will be richly blessed,
but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
19 A hard worker has plenty of food,
but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.
20 The trustworthy person will get a rich reward,
but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.
19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.