DANIEL 5


The last night of the great Babylonian Empire.



Chapter 5 describes the last night of the great Babylonian Empire. Daniel is now an old man over 80, and the king is Belshazzar, who is apparently the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. This chapter was long used by critics in an attempt to discredit the Bible, for it did not fit in with the fanciful legends of heathen historians. The critics said there was and could be no such king - no such circumstances, but archeology has completely justified the Bible account.

This destruction of literal Babylon by Cyrus is typical of the destruction of symbolic Babylon by Christ. Even as the enemy surrounds the city, King Belshazzar, confident of this power and defenses, (verse 1) makes a great feast unto his lords, and in their drunken revelry (verse 3) he makes sport of the holy vessels of the temple, drinking to their own heathen gods out of them. So the Babylonian Harlot is drunken with the blood of the saints, and all nations are drunken with the wine of her fornication and follow all her customs and festivals. He says, "I sit a queen and am no widow," at the very time that her destruction strikes.

Suddenly, (verse 5) Belshazzar's merriment is silent, and the revelers are struck with terror by the appearance of the fingers of a man's hand, writing on the wall. The king (verse 7) calls for all his wise men and offers great honour to any who can interpret the supernatural message.

Daniel is not at this time in public prominence, but his fame is well known. The queen reminds Belshazzar of him, and Daniel is called (verse 11). And he spells out the meaning of the divine message (verse 25) - MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. Numbered, numbered, weighed, and divided. The handwriting is clearly on the wall today. But the blind nations cannot read it. In that night (verse 30) was Belshazzar slain, and Darius, the Mede, took the kingdom.

Bro Growcott



1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to 1 000 of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

This was apparently an annual festival with a religious significance. It was a time of public rejoicing when the whole city was given over to a night of revelling. According to Herodotus, Cyrus, king of Persia knew of this and took advantage of the occasion.

Bro GE Mansfield




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.

Daniel is now an old man over 80, and the king is Belshazzar, who is apparently the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. This chapter was long used by critics in an attempt to discredit the Bible, for it did not fit in with the fanciful legends of heathen historians. The critics said there was and could be no such king - no such circumstances, but archeology has completely justified the Bible account.

This destruction of literal Babylon by Cyrus is typical of the destruction of symbolic Babylon by Christ. Even as the enemy surrounds the city, King Belshazzar, confident of this power and defenses, (verse 1) makes a great feast unto his lords, and in their drunken revelry (verse 3) he makes sport of the holy vessels of the temple, drinking to their own heathen gods out of them. So the Babylonian Harlot is drunken with the blood of the saints, and all nations are drunken with the wine of her fornication and follow all her customs and festivals. He says, "I sit a queen and am no widow," at the very time that her destruction strikes.

Bro Growcott - Daniel, The Man Greatly Beloved



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.

But how this vain-glorious monarch trembled when he saw the hand inscribing the doom of his dynasty upon the wall! He that drank to the praise of his gods out of the gold and silver vessels of the temple, and "lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven," was seized with the pallor and prostration of extreme fear. But the Lord whom he had defied had numbered his kingdom and finished it; he had weighed him in the balances and found him wanting; and had therefore divided his kingdom to the Medes and Persians.

-Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1852



22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

'...when a man by the utmost use of skill and energy has secured any result he may aim at, the door is shut against personal pride or boast, because of the fact brought under Belshazzar's notice by Daniel when he said, God thou hast not glorified, in whose hand thy breath is and whose are all thy ways. '

An able successful man acts the part of a barbarian when he carries himself with arrogance and unmercifulness. Modesty, mercy to the lowly, and thanksgiving, are not only ornamental to prosperity, but they are the inevitable outcome of common reason.

Ways of Providence Ch 15.



26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

The world is passing away, and the fashion thereof


 Daniel was in "the realm of the Chaldeans." That realm was at the time the seat of empire throughout the civilised world. Babylon was the greatest of cities-greater in relation to the world at large than London is at the present time - greater in her imperial consequence-greater in her architectural wonders - greater in topographical extent - greater perhaps in her population - a city of mighty walls, of military greatness, of princely pomp and commercial importance and prosperity.

Where is all this greatness? Where is all the glory and the bustle and the prosperity? Go to the banks of the Euphrates today and receive the answer in the wilderness of rubbish mounds that stretch away in miles of silent desolation where great Babylon used to be. What shall we say to this but that

"the purpose of the Lord standeth sure";

for was it not written centuries before even Daniel's day:

"Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation . . . but wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures" (Isa. 13:19).

The same word has decreed that God will make a full end of all the nations among whom He has scattered Israel (Jer. 30:11), that the time will come when the haughtiness of man throughout the whole earth shall be humbled, and when the Lord alone shall be exalted, and when the whole earth shall be turned into the inheritance of the meek, the habitation of immortals, and the house of Yahweh's praise (Isa. 2:11; Psa. 37:9; Rev. 21:4; Hab. 2:14).

This will as assuredly come to pass as the passing away of Babylon's glory, and we shall live to rejoice in the mighty change, if meanwhile we honour Yahweh in the reverence and obedience of His word.

Seasons 1.89.


The handwriting is clearly on the wall today. But the blind nations cannot read it.

Bro Growcott - Daniel, The Man Greatly Beloved



28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

This was the Medo-Persian dynasty of "the old serpent". It answered to the second of Daniel's four beasts; and is represented in Nebuchadnezzar's Lion-Man image by the breast and arms of silver; and by the two horns of unequal height upon the ram (Dan. 2:32; 8:3).

The old serpent continued under the Bear, or silver, dynastic manifestation some two hundred and six years. Another change was then developed. Power set in from the west, and diffused itself "over the face of the whole earth. "

Eureka 12.14.



30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

The fall of Babylon typified the impending destruction of Babylon the Great. Daniel would have heard Jeremiah's prophecy read at Babylon (Jer. 51:59-64).

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

While Babylon had been indulging in a party atmosphere, the kings from the east (the Medo-Persians) were diligently preparing to occupy the city. They had diverted the waters of the Euphrates, until they were able to access the river-course which ran through the city.

Remarkably one of the great brazen gates in the bank of the Euphrates as it went through the city was left unlocked, and allowed the Persians to enter the city, taking control and removing the government of Babylon.

The Apocalypse chapter 16 is based on this incident. See verse 12.

Instead of the Medes and Persians, the "kings of the east" represent the saints from the sun's rising, who will overtake Babylon the Great, and bring about the occupation of the city of the Gentiles. The Mysterious Hand appeared on the walls of Belshazzar's palace (v. 5). This seems to be associated with the cherubim, for under their wings were hidden the hand of a man (Eze. 1:8). This hand gave Ezekiel the little scroll (ch. 2:9), and was with the prophet guiding him in his work (ch. 8:3).

Ezekiel was a contemporary of Daniel, and would have co-operated with him in upholding the Truth in the last days of the Gentile Babylonian times.

Bro GE Mansfield


www.logos.org.au