WHAT is happening here? The people are having a big feast. The king of Babylon has invited a thousand important guests. They are using the gold cups and the silver cups and the bowls taken from Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. But, suddenly, the fingers of a man’s hand appear in the air and begin to write on the wall. Everyone is scared.
Bel·shazʹzar, the grandson of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, is the king now. He shouts for his wise men to be brought in. ‘Anyone who can read this writing and tell me what it means,’ the king says, ‘will be given many gifts and be made the third most important ruler in the kingdom.’ But none of the wise men can read the writing on the wall, nor tell its meaning.
The king’s mother hears the noise and comes into the big dining room. ‘Please don’t be so frightened,’ she tells the king. ‘There is a man in your kingdom that knows the holy gods. When your grandfather Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar was king he made him the chief of all his wise men. His name is Daniel. Send for him, and he will tell you what all of this means.’
So right away Daniel is brought in. After refusing to take any gifts, Daniel begins to tell why Jehovah once removed Bel·shazʹzar’s grandfather Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar from being king. ‘He was very proud,’ Daniel says. ‘And Jehovah punished him.’
‘But you,’ Daniel tells Bel·shazʹzar, ‘knew all about what happened to him, and still you are proud just as Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar was. You have brought in the cups and the bowls from Jehovah’s temple and drunk out of them. You have praised gods made of wood and stone, and you have not honored our Grand Creator. That is why God has sent the hand to write these words.
‘This is what is written,’ Daniel says: ‘MEʹNE, MEʹNE, TEʹKEL and PARʹSIN.’
‘MEʹNE means that God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. TEʹKEL means that you have been weighed on the scales and found to be no good. PARʹSIN means that your kingdom is given to the Medes and the Persians.’
Even while Daniel is speaking, the Medes and the Persians have begun to attack Babylon. They capture the city and kill Bel·shazʹzar. The handwriting on the wall comes true that very night! But what will happen to the Israelites now? We will soon find out, but first let’s see what happens to Daniel.