Daniel 5 (English Standard Version)

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The Handwriting on the Wall

1 1King Belshazzar 2made a great feast for a thousand of his 3lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. 2 4Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that 5the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his fathera had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought in 6the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine and 7praised the 8gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. 5 9Immediately 10the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw 11the hand as it wrote. 6 12Then the king's color changed, 13and his thoughts alarmed him; 14his limbs gave way, and 15his knees knocked together. 7 16The king called loudly to bring in 17the enchanters, the 18Chaldeans, and 19the astrologers. The king declaredb to the wise men of Babylon, 20"Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and 21shall be the third ruler in the kingdom." 8 Then all the king's wise men came in, but 22they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly 23alarmed, and his 24color changed, and his 25lords were perplexed. 10 The queen,c because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, 26"O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you 27or your color change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom 28in whom is the spirit of the holy gods.d In the days of your father, 29light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father--your father the king--30made him chief of the magicians, 31enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 32because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and 33understanding 34to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and 35solve problems were found in this Daniel, 36whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation."

Daniel Interprets the Handwriting

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, "You are that Daniel, one of 37the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. 14 I have heard of you that 38the spirit of the godse is in you, and that 39light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now 40the wise men, the 41enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but 42they could not show the interpretation of the matter. 16 43But I have heard that you can give interpretations and 44solve problems. 45Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, 46you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and 47shall be the third ruler in the kingdom." 17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, 48"Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the 49Most High God 50gave 51Nebuchadnezzar your father 52kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, 53all peoples, nations, and languages 54trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But 55when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, 56he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21 57He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, 58until he knew that the 59Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son,f60Belshazzar, 61have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against 62the Lord of heaven. And 63the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. 64And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, 65but the God in whose hand is your breath, and 66whose are all your ways, 67you have not honored. 24 "Then from his presence 68the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numberedg the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 TEKEL, 69you have been weighedh in the balances and found wanting; 28 PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to 70the Medes and 71Persians."i 29 Then 72Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel 73was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 74That very night 75Belshazzar the 76Chaldean king was killed. 31 j And 77Darius 78the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
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