Reading For Thursday Daniel 5:13-31
During a banquet, the king, and his guests witnessed a perplexing event as a human hand appeared and began writing on the wall. The wisest men in the land could not explain what had transpired and the mystery engendered terror on the part of all present. Only the suggestion by the queen mother gave any hope of solving the conundrum. Daniel was brought in before the king. Belshazzar seems to have been acquainted with Daniel’s background. He knew that he was one of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Judah, and he repeated the compliments his mother had just paid the prophet. He informed Daniel of the failure of the wise men and reiterated the promise he had earlier made concerning the rewards that would be given to the one who could explain the enigmatic writing. Daniel did not mince words and explained that he was not interested in the rewards which the king offered. He did, however, agree to read the inscription and give its interpretation. Daniel began by reminding the king of what God had done for and to his father, Nebuchadnezzar. God had given his father power over the affairs of men, but when Nebuchadnezzar behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his throne and his glory was taken away. God literally put Nebuchadnezzar out to pasture for seven years, and he was not restored to his position until he recognized that the Most High was the only absolute sovereign.
Daniel proceeded to rebuke the king in front of all his guests. The king had defied the Lord of heaven by his sacrilegious abuse of the Temple's vessels, worshiped idols, and failed to glorify the God that held his very life in his hands. God sent forth the hand to write the inscription on the wall. The words on the wall were “Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.” God had numbered the days of the kingdom and was putting an end to it. Furthermore, Belshazzar had been weighed in the scales and found deficient. Therefore, the Babylonian kingdom had been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians. Belshazzar must have been shaken by Daniel’s explanation, but nonetheless, he fulfilled the promise which he had made, and Daniel was dressed in purple, a gold necklace was placed around his neck, and a proclamation was issued naming Daniel as the third ruler of the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede received the kingdom.
Things To Consider:
- Do you think Daniel was tempted by the flattery of the King to give a favorable interpretation?
- Why did Daniel refuse the gifts?
- What does this teach us about God and governments or God and leaders?
- Why do you think family patterns sometimes continue in successive generations?
- Why is pride and idolatry such an issue with God?
- Where are your struggles with pride and idolatry?
- Can you image the scene in the banquet hall as evening moves from a hand appearing and writing, to the king being publicly chastised, and finally to his death?
- Is it not incredible to think that Daniel again finds favor under a new regime and his life is spared?