The Writing on the Wall

1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.
2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his fathera had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.
3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.
4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.
6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.
7 The king summoned the enchanters, astrologersb and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant.
9 So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.
10 The queen,c hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale!
11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.