Daniel 5; Daniel 6

1 King Belshazzar threw a large banquet for 1,000 nobles and drank wine with them. 2 As they were tasting the wine, Belshazzar ordered that the gold and silver utensils which his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem be brought to him. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. 3 So the servants brought the gold utensils that had been taken from God's temple in Jerusalem. The king, his nobles, wives, and concubines drank from them. 4 They drank the wine and praised their gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, or stone. 5 Suddenly, the fingers of a person's hand appeared and wrote on the plaster wall opposite the lamp stand of the royal palace. The king watched as the hand wrote. 6 Then the king turned pale, and his thoughts frightened him. His hip joints became loose, and his knees knocked against each other. 7 The king screamed for the psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers to be brought to him. He told these wise advisers of Babylon, "Whoever reads this writing and tells me its meaning will be dressed in purple, wear a gold chain on his neck, and become the third-highest ruler in the kingdom." 8 All the king's wise advisers came, but they couldn't read the writing or tell the king its meaning. 9 King Belshazzar was terrified, and his face turned pale. His nobles didn't know what to do. 10 The discussion between the king and his nobles brought the queen herself into the banquet hall. The queen said, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! Don't let your thoughts frighten you, and don't turn pale. 11 There's a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your grandfather, he was found to have insight, good judgment, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him head of the magicians, psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers. 12 This Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar) was found to have knowledge, judgment, and an extraordinary spirit. He has the ability to interpret dreams, solve riddles, and untangle problems. Now, call Daniel, and he will tell [you] what it means." 13 So Daniel was taken to the king. The king asked him, "Are you Daniel, one of the captives that my grandfather brought from Judah? 14 I've heard that you have the spirit of the gods and that you have insight, good judgment, and extraordinary wisdom. 15 The wise advisers and the psychics were brought to me to read this writing and tell me its meaning. But they couldn't tell me its meaning. 16 I have heard that you can interpret such things and untangle problems. If you can read the writing and tell [me] its meaning, you will be dressed in purple, wear a gold chain on your neck, and become the third-highest ruler in the kingdom." 17 Daniel told the king, "Keep your gifts. Give your gifts and awards to someone else. I'll still read the writing for you and tell you its meaning. 18 "Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your grandfather Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, might, honor, and glory. 19 People from every province, nation, and language trembled and were terrified by him, because God gave him power. Nebuchadnezzar killed whomever he wanted to kill, and he kept alive whomever he wanted to keep alive. He promoted whomever he wanted to promote, and he demoted whomever he wanted to demote. 20 But when he became so arrogant and conceited that he became overconfident, he was removed from the royal throne. His honor was taken away from him. 21 He was chased away from people, and his mind was changed into an animal's mind. He lived with wild donkeys, ate grass like cattle, and his body became wet with dew from the sky. This happened until he realized that the Most High God has power over human kingdoms. God puts whomever he wishes in charge of them. 22 "Belshazzar, you are one of Nebuchadnezzar's successors. You didn't remain humble, even though you knew all this. 23 But you made yourself greater than the Lord of heaven. You had the utensils from his temple brought to you. You, your nobles, wives, and concubines drank wine from them. You praised your gods made of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, or stone. These gods can't see, hear, or know anything. You didn't honor God, who has power over your life and everything you do. 24 So he sent the hand to write this inscription. 25 This is what has been written: Numbered, Numbered, Weighed, and Divided. 26 This is its meaning: Numbered--God has numbered the days of your kingdom and will bring it to an end. 27 Weighed--you have been weighed on a scale and found to be too light. 28 Divided--your kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians." 29 Then Belshazzar ordered that Daniel be dressed in purple and wear a gold chain on his neck. He made Daniel the third-highest ruler in the kingdom. 30 That night King Belshazzar of Babylon was killed. 31 Darius the Mede took over the kingdom. He was 62 years old.
1 Darius decided it would be good to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom. 2 Over these satraps were three officials. Daniel was one of these officials. The satraps were to report to these three officials so that the king wouldn't be cheated. 3 This man, Daniel, distinguished himself among the other officials and satraps because there was an extraordinary spirit in him. The king thought about putting him in charge of the whole kingdom. 4 So the other officials and satraps tried to find something to accuse Daniel of in his duties for the kingdom. But they couldn't find anything wrong because he was trustworthy. No error or fault could be found. 5 These men said, "We won't find anything to accuse this man, Daniel, unless we find it in his religious practices." 6 So these officials and satraps went to the king as a group. They said to him, "May King Darius live forever! 7 All the officials, governors, satraps, advisers, and mayors agree that the king should make a statute and enforce a decree. The decree should state that for the next 30 days whoever asks for anything from any god or person except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a lions' den. 8 Your Majesty, issue this decree, and sign it. According to the law of the Medes and Persians no one could change it or repeal it." 9 So Darius signed the written decree. 10 When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. An upper room in his house had windows that opened in the direction of Jerusalem. Three times each day he got down on his knees and prayed to his God. He had always praised God this way. 11 One of those times the men came in as a group and found Daniel praying and pleading to his God. 12 Then they went and spoke to the king about his decree. [They asked,] "Didn't you sign a decree which stated that for 30 days whoever asks for anything from any god or person except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a lions' den?" The king answered, "That's true. According to the law of the Medes and Persians the decree can't be repealed." 13 They replied, "Your Majesty, Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, refuses to obey your order or the decree that you signed. He prays three times each day." 14 The king was very displeased when he heard this. He tried every way he could think of to save Daniel. Until sundown he did everything he could to rescue him. 15 Then Daniel's accusers gathered in front of the king. They said to him, "Remember, Your Majesty, the Medes and Persians have a law that no decree or statute the king makes can be changed." 16 So the king gave the order, and Daniel was brought to him and thrown into the lions' den. The king told Daniel, "May your God, whom you always worship, save you!" 17 A stone was brought and placed over the opening of the den. The king put his seal on the stone, using his ring and the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation could not be changed. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night without food or company. He couldn't get to sleep. 19 At dawn, as soon as it was light, the king got up and quickly went to the lions' den. 20 As he came near the den where Daniel was, the king called to Daniel with anguish in his voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God! Was God, whom you always worship, able to save you from the lions?" 21 Daniel said to the king, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they couldn't hurt me. He did this because he considered me innocent. Your Majesty, I haven't committed any crime." 23 The king was overjoyed and had Daniel taken out of the den. When Daniel was taken out of the den, people saw that he was completely unharmed because he trusted his God. 24 The king ordered those men who had brought charges against Daniel to be brought to him. They, their wives, and their children were thrown into the lions' den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions attacked them and crushed all their bones. 25 Then King Darius wrote to the people of every province, nation, and language all over the world: I wish you peace and prosperity. 26 I decree that in every part of my kingdom people should tremble with terror in front of Daniel's God, the living God who continues forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed. His power lasts to the end [of time]. 27 He saves, rescues, and does miraculous signs and amazing things in heaven and on earth. He saved Daniel from the lions. 28 This man, Daniel, prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
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