Daniel 5 Commentary

Please choose a passage:

Daniel 5:1-4

At a great feast, King Belshazzar drunkenly calls for the Jerusalem temple cups to be brought from the treasury. He and his nobles, wives, and concubines drink from these sacred cups and then worship idols.

Daniel 5:5-9

A hand appears and carves words into the wall. King Belshazzar is terrified to see this strange sight. He calls all of his magicians and wisemen to interpret the message, but none can. Everyone is alarmed and confused.

Daniel 5:10-12

The Queen arrives and reminds Belshazzar of Daniel, who was famous for having insight and godly wisdom. Daniel can help in this situation, because he always accurately interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 5:13-16

Daniel is summoned to King Belshazzar. The King lists all of Daniel’s abilities and accomplishments, and promises great reward if Daniel can interpret the writing on the wall.

Daniel 5:17-19

Daniel rejects the promised reward but assures the king he will interpret the words on the wall. First, Daniel reminds Belshazzar that God gave Nebuchadnezzar power and majesty over all men.

Daniel 5:20-21

Daniel further reminds Belshazzar that Nebuchadnezzar was humiliated by God because of his pride. For seven years, the king lived like a wild animal, until he acknowledged that God is the true ruler of mankind, and grants authority as He chooses.

Daniel 5:22-24

Daniel concludes by telling Belshazzar that he is not like Nebuchadnezzar. He, Belshazzar, has not humbled his heart before God, rather he has exalted himself against God by drinking from the Jerusalem cups and worshipping lifeless idols. The hand was sent by God in response.

Daniel 5:25-28

The meaning of the words, MENĒ, MENĒ, TEKĒL, UPHARSIN, is that God will bring Belshazzar’s kingdom to an end because He has judged Belshazzar as an unfit ruler. Therefore, God will give Babylon to the Medes and the Persians.

Daniel 5:29-31

Belshazzar rewards Daniel for his interpretation, making him third ruler in the kingdom. That night, Belshazzar is killed—and Darius the Mede takes over rulership.