One night King Belshazzar invited a thousand noblemen to a great banquet, and they drank wine together.
While they were drinking, Belshazzar gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups and bowls which his father Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from the Temple in Jerusalem. The king sent for them so that he, his noblemen, his wives, and his concubines could drink out of them.
At once the gold cups and bowls were brought in, and they all drank wine out of them
and praised gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Suddenly a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster wall of the palace, where the light from the lamps was shining most brightly. And the king saw the hand as it was writing.
He turned pale and was so frightened that his knees began to shake.
He shouted for someone to bring in the magicians, wizards, and astrologers. When they came in, the king said to them, "Anyone who can read this writing and tell me what it means will be dressed in robes of royal purple, wear a gold chain of honor around his neck, and be the third in power in the kingdom."
The royal advisers came forward, but none of them could read the writing or tell the king what it meant.
In his distress King Belshazzar grew even paler, and his noblemen had no idea what to do.