Daniel 5

1King Belshazzar gave a big party for 1,000 of his officials. The king was drinking wine with them. 2As Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he ordered his servants to bring the gold and silver cups. These were the cups that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. King Belshazzar wanted his royal people, his wives and his women slaves to drink from those cups. 3So they brought the gold cups that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem. And the king and his officials, his wives, and his women slaves drank from them. 4As they were drinking they were giving praise to their idol gods. They gave praise to those gods—and those gods were only statues made from gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. 5Then all of a sudden, a man’s hand appeared and began writing on the wall. The fingers scratched words into the plaster on the wall. The hand wrote on the wall there in the king’s house near the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote. 6King Belshazzar was very afraid. His face became white from fear and his knees were shaking and knocking together. He could not stand up because his legs were too weak. 7The king called for the men of magic and Chaldeans to be brought to him. He said to these wise men, “I will give a reward to any man that can read this writing and explain to me what it means. I will give purple clothes to that man. I will put a gold chain around his neck, and I will make him the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” 8So all the king’s wise men came in. But they could not read the writing. They could not understand what it meant. 9King Belshazzar’s officials were confused. And the king became even more afraid and worried. His face was white from fear. 10Then the king’s mother came into the place where the party was. She had heard the voices of the king and his royal officials. She said, “King, may you live forever! Don’t be afraid! Don’t let your face be so white with fear! 11There is a man in your kingdom that has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your father this man showed that he could understand secrets. He showed that he was very smart and very wise. He showed that he was like the gods in these things. Your grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, put this man in charge of all the wise men. He ruled over all the men of magic, and the Chaldeans. 12The man I am talking about is named Daniel. The king gave him the name Belteshazzar. Belteshazzar (Daniel) is very smart and he knows many things. He could interpret dreams, explain secrets, and answer very hard problems. Call for Daniel. He will tell you what the writing on the wall means.” 13So they brought Daniel to the king. The king said to Daniel, “Is your name Daniel, one of the captives my father the king brought here from Judah? 14I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you. And I have heard that you understand secrets, and are very smart and very wise. 15The wise men and the men of magic were brought to me to read this writing on the wall. I wanted those men to explain to me what this writing means. But they could not explain this writing on the wall to me. 16I have heard about you. I have heard that you are able to explain what things mean, and that you can find the answer to very hard problems. If you can read this writing on the wall and explain to me what it means, this is what I will do for you: I will give you purple clothes and I will put a gold chain around your neck. Then you will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” 17Then Daniel answered the king. Daniel said, “King Belshazzar, you can keep your gifts for yourself. Or you can give those rewards to someone else. But I will still read the writing on the wall for you. And I will explain to you what it means. 18“King, God Most High made your grandfather Nebuchadnezzar a very great and powerful king. God made him very important. 19People from many nations and people that spoke many languages were very afraid of Nebuchadnezzar. Why? Because the God Most High made him a very important king. If Nebuchadnezzar wanted a person to die, then he killed that person. And if he wanted a person to live, then that person was allowed to live. If he wanted to make people important, then he made those people important. And if he wanted to make people not important, then he made them not important. 20But Nebuchadnezzar became proud and stubborn. So his power was taken away from him. He was taken off his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21Then Nebuchadnezzar was forced to go away from people. His mind became like the mind of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like a cow. He became wet with dew. These things happened to him until he learned his lesson. Then he learned that God Most High rules over the kingdoms of men. And God Most High sets anyone he wants over kingdoms. 22“But Belshazzar, you already knew these things! You are Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson. But still you have not made yourself humble. 23No, you did not become humble. Instead, you have turned against the Lord of heaven. You ordered the drinking cups from the Lord’s temple to be brought to you. Then you and your royal officials, your wives, and your women servants drank wine from those cups. You gave praise to the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Those are not really gods, they can’t see, or hear, or understand anything. But you did not give honor to the God who has the power over your life and everything you do. 24So, because of that, God sent the hand that wrote on the wall. 25These are the words that were written on the wall: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Uparsin. 26“This is what these words mean: Mene: God has counted the days until your kingdom will end. 27Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales, and found not good enough. 28Uparsin: Your kingdom is being taken from you It will be divided among the Medes and Persians.” 29Then Belshazzar gave an order for Daniel to be dressed in purple clothes. A gold chain was put around his neck, and he was announced to be the third highest ruler in the kingdom. 30That very same night, Belshazzar, king of the Babylonian people, was killed. 31A man named Darius the Mede became the new king. Darius was about 62 years old.

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