Daniel 5:1-31

5  King Belshassar gave a great dinner to a thousand of his lords and drank wine before the thousand. 2  Belshassar, inspired by the wine, ordered that the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebucadnessar had taken out of the temple at Jerusalem be brought for the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, to drink from. 3 * Then the gold vessels they took out of the temple at Jerusalem were brought, and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, drank from them, 4  drank the wine and praised the golden and silver and bronze and iron and wooden and stone gods. 5 * That moment fingers of a human hand came out and wrote, opposite the lamp, on the whitewashed wall of the royal palace, and the king saw the writing hand. 6  Then the king changed color and the things he thought of alarmed him, his hip-joints went loose and his knees knocked together; 7  the king called loudly to bring in the exorcists, Chaldeans, and diviners. The king said to the wise men of Babylon that any man who should read that writing and show its interpretation should wear purple and have a gold necklace round his neck and have tritarch authority in the empire. 8  Then all the king’s wise men were coming in and not proving competent to read the writing and make the interpretation known to the king. 9  Then King Belshassar was greatly alarmed and changed color, and his lords were bewildered. 10  *In consequence of the words of the king and his lords the queen came into the banquet house. The queen responded “May your majesty live forever! Do not let the things you think of alarm you, and do not change color so. 11 * There is a man in your kingdom who has in him a spirit from holy gods, and in your father’s time enlightenment and insight and wisdom like that of gods was found in him, and your royal father Nebucadnessar set him up as chief of sorcerers, exorcists, Chaldeans, diviners,—your royal father. 12  Inasmuch as notable inspiration and knowledge and insight, interpretation of dreams and solution of riddles and unraveling of knotty problems, are found in him, Daniel, whom the king named Belteshassar, now let Daniel be called and he will show the interpretation.” 13 ** Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel “You are Daniel, one of the Jewish deportees whom the king my father brought from Judah? 14 * then I hear that you have in you a divine spirit, and enlightenment and insight and notable wisdom have been found in you. 15  Now the wise men, the exorcists, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make its interpretation known, but they were not competent to show the interpretation of the word. 16  And I hear that you can expound interpretations and unravel knotty problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known the interpretation of it, you shall wear purple and have a gold necklace round your neck and have tritarch authority in the empire.” 17 * Then Daniel answered before the king “Keep your gifts to yourself and give your grants to another; but I will read the writing to your majesty and make known the interpretation of it. 18  To your majesty’s father Nebucadnessar the Most High God gave empire and greatness and glory and majesty, 19  and for the greatness that he gave him all the peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him; whom he wished he killed and whom he wished he left alive, and whom he wished he distinguished and whom he wished he disgraced. 20  But when his heart grew lofty and his spirit presumingly headstrong, he was put down from his royal throne and his glory was taken off from him, 21  and he was driven out from mankind and his mind leveled with that of beasts, and his quarters were with the wild asses, they fed him on herbage like cattle, and he was wet with the dews and rains of the sky, till he came to know that the Most High God is sovereign over human empire and sets up over it whom he pleases to. 22  And you his son, Belshassar, did not humble your heart though you knew all this, 23  but set yourself up above the Lord of Heaven, and they brought before you the vessels of his house, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, drank wine from them and praised the gods made of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, that do not see nor hear nor know; but the God who holds your breath in his hand and all your experiences, him you did not glorify. 24  Then the hand was sent from before him and this writing was inscribed. 25 * And this is the writing that is inscribed: mene, tekel, peres. 26  This is the interpretation of the word: mene, God has counted your empire and paid it off; 27  tekel, you have been weighed in the scales and found short weight; 28  peres, your empire is broken up and given to the Medes and the Persians.” 29  Then Belshassar gave the word and they clothed Daniel in purple, with a gold necklace round his neck, and proclaimed before him that he was to have tritarch authority in the empire. 30  That night King Belshassar of the Chaldeans was killed, 31  and Darius the Mede took over the empire, a man some sixty-two years old.


5:3 Var. out of the sanctuary of God’s house at
5:5 Lit. the whitewash of the wall
5:10 Lit. change color. There is
5:11 Lit. of holy gods
5:13 Lit. answered and said
5:13-14 Or Judah; and I hear
5:14, 16 Lit. hear of you, that
5:17 Lit. Let your gifts be to yourself
5:25 Var. (but not in verses 26-28) mene, mene, tekel, and parsin. The word mene means counting or a pound (piece of money). Tekel means weighing or a shekel. Peres means breaking up or a half-pound (piece of money). Parsin would mean pieces or half-pounds or Persians