The writing on the wall
1 Several years later, Belshazzar became the king of Babylon. One day he invited a thousand of his officers to a big feast, and he drank a lot of wine with them.
2 While he was drinking, he commanded that his servants bring to him the gold and silver cups that the previous king, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. He did that because he wanted himself and his officials, his wives, and even his ◄concubines/slave wives► to drink from them, making fun of the god that we Israelis worshiped.
3 So his servants brought in all those gold cups, that had been taken many years previously from the temple of the true God in Jerusalem. Then the king and his officials and his wives and his slave wives drank wine from those cups.
4 They drank to praise/honor their idols that were made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and even wood and stone.
5 Suddenly they saw a man's hand writing on the plaster of the wall opposite the lampstand. The king also saw the hand as it was writing.
6 He became very frightened, and his face became pale/white. His knees started shaking, and his legs became very weak, with the result that he could not stand up.
7 Then he shouted to summon the men who worked magic, the men who studied the stars, and the fortune-tellers. He said, “I will greatly honor any one of them who can read this writing and tell me what it means. I will give him a purple robe like I wear because I am the king, and I will put a gold chain around his neck. He will become a very important official in my kingdom; there will be only two others who will be more important than he will be.”
8 But when all those wise men came in, none of them could read the writing, or tell him what it meant.
9 So King Belshazzar became more afraid. His face became even paler/whiter. And all his officials who were there at the feast did not know what to do.
10 But when the mother of the king (OR, of the previous king) heard the king and his officials talking loudly about what had happened, she entered the room where they were having the feast. She said to Belshazzar, “◄Your majesty/O King►, I hope you will live for a long time! But do not be pale and afraid about this.
11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. When Nebuchadnezzar was ruling, they discovered that this man understood many things and was wise, just like the gods. The man who was king previously, Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him to be in charge of all the men in Babylon who worked magic, the men who worked sorcery, the men who studied the stars, and the fortune-tellers.
12 That man's name is Daniel; the king gave him a new name, Belteshazzar. He is very intelligent and is able to know and understand many things. He is even able to tell the meaning of dreams, and explain riddles, and explain things that are very difficult to understand. Summon him, and he will tell you what this writing means.”
Daniel interpreted the writing
13 So they went and brought me in. The king asked me, “You must be Daniel [RHQ]! They told me that you are one of those who was brought here from Judah by the previous king.
14 I have also heard that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that you are very wise and understand many things.
15 My wise men and men who work magic have tried to read the writing on this wall and tell me what it means, but they are not able to do it.
16 Someone told me that you can tell what dreams mean and explain things that are very difficult to understand. If you can read these words and tell me what they mean, I will give you a purple robe like I wear because I am the king, and I will put a gold chain around your neck. You will become a very important official in my kingdom; there will be only two others who will be more important than you will be.”
17 I replied, “ I do not want your gifts; keep them, or give them to someone else. But I will read for you the writing on the wall, and I will tell you what it means.
18 ◄Your Majesty/O king►, the Supreme God caused the man who was king before you, Nebuchadnezzar, to become a great ruler, who was greatly praised and honored.
19 Because God caused him to become very great, people of many [HYP] people-groups and nations and who spoke many different languages were very much afraid of him. He commanded his soldiers to kill those whom he wanted to be killed, and he ◄spared/allowed to live► those whom he wanted to spare. He honored those whom he wanted to honor, and he caused to be disgraced those whom he wanted to be disgraced.
20 But when he became very proud and stubborn [IDM], he was removed from being king [MTY]. People did not consider him to be glorious/great anymore.
21 His officials sent him away in order that he would not be near other people. God caused him to have a mind like animals have. He lived among the wild donkeys. He ate grass like cows do, and dew from the sky caused his body to be damp/wet each morning. He was like that until he learned that the Supreme God is really the one who rules the kingdoms of this world, and that he appoints whomever he chooses to rule those kingdoms.
22 Now, Belshazzar, you have become the king. You also knew all those things, but you have not made yourself humble.
23 You have considered yourself to be greater than God , the Lord of heaven. So you have commanded your servants to bring to you these sacred cups, which were dedicated to the Supreme God, and which were taken from his temple in Jerusalem. You and your officials and your wives and your ◄concubines/slave wives► have been drinking wine from these cups, while you have been praising your own gods—gods which are made of gold and silver and bronze and iron and wood and stone. Those are gods that cannot see, that cannot hear, and that do not know anything! You have not honored the God who gives you breath and who controls everything that happens to you.
24 So God sent that hand to write a message for you.
25 This is the message that it wrote: ‘Mene, mene, tekel, parsin.’
26 This is what those words mean:
Mene means ❛numbered/counted❜. That means that God has been counting the days that you will rule, and he has now decided that you will not rule anymore.
27 Tekel means ❛weighed❜. It is as though God has weighed you on a scale, and you do not weigh what you should, which means that you have not been doing what you should; you are not fit to be a king [MET].
28 Parsin means ❛divided❜. That means that God has divided your kingdom. Some of it will be ruled by people from Media and some will be ruled by people from Persia.”
29 Then Belshazzar did what he had promised. He put on me a purple robe like the one he himself wore. He put a gold chain around my neck. And he proclaimed that there would be only two others who would be more important than me in his kingdom.
30 But that same night soldiers from Media entered the city and killed Belshazzar, the King of Babylonia.
31 Darius, the King of Media, became the King of Babylonia when he was sixty-two years old.