In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand
From heaven, as Jarchi; or they came forth as if they came out of the wall: this was done by the power of God, though it might be by the intervention or means of an angel; so Josephus Ben Gorion F9 says, that an angel came and wrote what follows; and Saadiah says it was Gabriel, called a man, ( Daniel 11:21 ) , but this is conjecture; however, at the very time the king and his nobles were feasting and revelling, praising their idols, and reproaching the God of Israel, this wonderful phenomenon appeared: and wrote over against the candlestick, upon the plaster of the wall of
the king's palace;
this candlestick was either upon the table, as Saadiah; or affixed to the wall, or hung as a chandelier in the midst of the hall; or, be it where it will, right over against it this hand appeared, and wrote, that, by the light of it, it might be clearly and distinctly seen: though Gussetius F11 thinks, not a candlestick, but a "buffet", is meant; where stood the drinking cups and vessels, and which he takes to be more agreeable to the signification of the word; and moreover observes, that it is not likely this feast should be made in the night, or at least it is not certain it was, or that it was yet night when this affair happened: however, this writing was upon the plaster of the wall, made of lime, and was white; and if the writing was with red colour, as Ben Gorion says, it was the more visible: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote;
the back part of the hand; had he only seen a writing, but no hand writing it, he might have thought it was done by some present; but seeing a hand, and only part of one, or however not any other members of the body of a man, nor a man himself, it struck him with surprise, and he concluded at once there was something extraordinary in it; whether any other saw the hand besides himself is not certain; however, he saw it for whom it was particularly designed.
F9 Hist. l. 1. c. 5. p. 24.
F11 Ebr. Comment. p. 424.