King Belshazzar held a great feast for one thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine with them. 2
Under the wine's influence Belshazzar ordered his servants to bring in the cups and bowls of gold and silver his father*
Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem so that he and his nobles, his wives and concubines, could drink from them. 3
So they brought in the gold cups and bowls that had been taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The king and his nobles, his wives and concubines, drank from them. 4
As they drank wine they praised their gods—idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace, opposite the lampstand. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6
His face turned pale,†
and he became very frightened. His legs gave way and his knees knocked together.
The king shouted, “Bring in the enchanters and astrologers and diviners!” He told these wise men of Babylon, “Anyone who can read this writing and explain it to me will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”‡
8 However, after all the king's wise men had come in, they could not read the writing or explain to him what it meant. 9 This made King Belshazzar even more frightened and his face grew even paler. His nobles also were in panic.
When the queen mother§
heard the noise the king and the nobles were making she went to the banquet hall. She said to Belshazzar, “May Your Majesty the king live forever! Don't be frightened! Don't look so pale! 11
There's a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In your father's*
time he was found to have understanding and insight, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your Majesty's father, King Nebuchadnezzar put him in charge of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners. Your father did this 12
because Daniel, (called Belteshazzar by the king) was found to have an excellent mind, full of understanding and insight, and also able to interpret dreams, explain mysteries, and solve difficult problems. Call Daniel in and let him explain what this means to you.”
13 So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king asked him, “Are you Daniel, one of the prisoners my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard about you, that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that you were found to have understanding, insight, and great wisdom. 15 Just now the wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and explain it to me, but they weren't able to do so—they couldn't tell me what it meant. 16 However, I'm told that you are able to give interpretations and solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and explain it to me, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Daniel answered the king, “Keep your gifts and give your rewards to another. Even so I will read the writing to Your Majesty and explain to you what it means. 18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar this kingdom, and power, glory, and majesty. 19 Because of the power he gave him, people of every nation and language trembled with fear before him. Those he wished to kill were killed, and those he wished to live were allowed to live. Those he wanted to honor were honored, and those he wanted to humble were humbled. 20 But when he became arrogant and hard-hearted, acting proudly, he was removed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him. 21 He was driven away from human society and his mind became like that of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle, and he was soaked with the dew of heaven until he acknowledged that the Most High rules over human kingdoms, and that he gives them to whoever he chooses.
22 But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, even though you knew all this. 23 You have arrogantly defied the Lord of heaven and you had the cups and bowls of his Temple brought to you. You and your nobles, your wives and concubines, drank wine from them as you praised gods made of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that can't see or hear or know anything. But you have not honored God who holds in his hand your very breath and everything you do. 24 That's why he sent the hand to write this message.
What was written on the wall was this: ‘Number, number, weigh, divide.’† 26
Here is the meaning: Number—God has numbered your reign and brought it to an end. 27
Weighed—you have been weighed on the balances and you were found lacking. 28
Divided—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”
Then Belshazzar gave the order and Daniel was clothed in purple and had a gold chain placed around his neck. He was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom. 30
On that very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was killed 31
and Darius the Mede was given‡
the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.