Daniel 5:8

8 So all the king's wise men came in, but none could read the inscription or make known its interpretation to him.

Daniel 5:8 Meaning and Commentary

Daniel 5:8

Then came in all the king's wise men
The whole college of them, the persons before described; over whom, in Nebuchadnezzar's time, Daniel was the chief of the governors, ( Daniel 2:48 ) , these came in readily, in hope of getting both riches and honour: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the
interpretation thereof;
for if they could not do the former, it must be impossible to do the latter; of the reason of which, various are the conjectures F16: as that, though these words were written in Chaldee, yet in characters, as the Samaritan or Phoenician, they did not understand; or were written without points, and so they knew not which were the proper ones to put to them; or they were written according to the position of the letters of the alphabet, called "athbash", of which (See Gill on Jeremiah 25:26), or the words were placed so as to be read backward, or else downward, and not straightforward; or they were all in one word; or only the initial letters of words; but the true reason was, that it was so ordained by the Lord, that they should not be able to read and interpret them; this being reserved for another man, Daniel, that he might have the honour, and God the glory.


F16 Vid. Jac. de Clerice Dissertat. de Epulo Belshazzar, in Thesaur. Theolog. Philol. vol. 1. p. 885.

Daniel 5:8 In-Context

6 his face turned pale, and his thoughts so terrified him that his hip joints shook and his knees knocked together.
7 The king called out to bring in the mediums, Chaldeans, and astrologers. He said to these wise men of Babylon, "Whoever reads this inscription and gives me its interpretation will be clothed in purple, have a gold chain around his neck, and have the third highest position in the kingdom."
8 So all the king's wise men came in, but none could read the inscription or make known its interpretation to him.
9 Then King Belshazzar became even more terrified, his face turned pale, and his nobles were bewildered.
10 Because of the outcry of the king and his nobles, the queen came to the banquet hall. "May the king live forever," she said. "Don't let your thoughts terrify you or your face be pale.
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