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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Daniel 5

Verse 1

Belshazzar . He was the son of Nabonidus. The inscriptions show that he was made co-regent while he (Nabonidus) went to meet Cyrus. See note on verses: Daniel 5:2 , Daniel 5:7 , Daniel 5:1 .

a great feast . The hall in which it was held has lately been excavated. It Isaiah 60:0 feet wide and 172 feet long, the walls being beautifully decorated with painted stucco designs. See Records of the Past, vol. i, part v, p. 160.

lords = great ones, or nobles. Chaldee. rabreban, same as "princes" in verses: Daniel 5:2 , Daniel 5:3 .

wine . Chaldee. chamra'. Same as Hebrew. chemer. App-27 .

Verse 2

vessels . Compare Daniel 1:2 ; and see 2 Kings 25:15 . 2 Chronicles 36:10 .

father Nebuchadnezzar . No "historical difficulty". Critics should tell us what word Daniel could have used, seeing there is no word in Chaldee or Hebrew for "grandfather". The word "father" is used by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Species), App-6 , for ancestor. Compare 1 Kings 15:11-13 , where David is called the "father" of Asa, and Maachah is called his mother (compare 2 Kings 15:1 , 2 Kings 15:2 with 11-13). In 2 Kings 14:3 the same is said of Amaziah; and in 2 Chronicles 34:1 , 2 Chronicles 34:2 , of Josiah. Compare Romans 9:10 , where Paul speaks of "our father Isaac". But Jeremiah 27:7 explains the matter fully: "all nations shall serve him (i.e. Nebuchadnezzar), and his son (Nabonidus), and his son's son (Belshazzar), until the very time of his land come". See note on Daniel 7:1 .

taken out = brought forth. Compare Ezra 1:7 .

princes . Chaldee. rabreban , as in Daniel 5:3 , same as "lords" in verses: Daniel 5:1 , Daniel 5:9 , Daniel 5:10 , Dan 1:23 . Elsewhere, only in this book, in Daniel 4:36 , and Daniel 6:17 .

wives . Showing that the "queen" mentioned in Daniel 5:10 must have been his mother.

Verse 5

In the same hour = At the same moment. See note on "hour", Daniel 3:5 .

man's . Chaldee ' enash . App-14 .

candlestick = larnpstand.

saw = was gazing on.

the part = the end: i.e. the fingers.

Verse 6

countenance = bright looks.

Verse 7

astrologers, &c . See note on Daniel 2:2 .

scarlet = purple.

be the third ruler = rule as one of three: i.e. the third: Nabonidus being the first, and Belshazzar the second.

Verse 8

the king's . Some codices read "Babylon's".

Verse 9

astonied = dumbfoundered.

Verse 10

the queen . Nitocris, the daughter in law of Nebuchadnezzar, and mother of Nabonidus.

came into, &c . She was not present among the "wives" of Daniel 5:2 .

Verse 11

man: or, grandee. Chaldee. g ebar. Same as App-14 .

spirit . Chaldee. ruach. App-9 .

holy . See note on Exodus 3:5 .

gods . Chaldee. 'elahin (plural) App-4 .

made master of the magicians . See Daniel 2:48 . See note on Daniel 2:2 .

Verse 12

hard = dark.

Belteshazzar . See note on Daniel 1:7 .

Verse 13

Art thou, &c . . . ? Showing that the king had no personal knowledge of Daniel, or had disregarded him.

children = sons.

Jewry = Judah.

Verse 14

the gods . Some codices, with seven early printed editions, and Syriac, read "the holy gods", as in Daniel 5:11 , and Daniel 4:18 .

Verse 17

interpretation . Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate read "interpretation thereof".

Verse 18

the MOST HIGH . Same as Hebrew. 'elyon. App-4 .

Verse 19

people = peoples.

whom he would, &c See note on "inferior" (Daniel 2:39 ).

Verse 20

mind = spirit. Chaldee. ruach . App-9 .

Verse 21

driven, &c . Compare Daniel 4:32 .

wet = drenched.

Verse 22

his son. See note on "father", Daniel 5:2 .

Verse 23

the Lord . Chaldee. mare. The equivalent for the Hebrew Adonai. App-4 . Compare Maran in " Maranatha " (1 Corinthians 16:22 ).

which see not, &c . Compare Psalms 115:4-8 ; Psalms 135:15-17 . Isaiah 37:19 ; Isaiah 46:6 , Isaiah 46:7 .

in Whose hand, &c. Compare Genesis 2:7 . Job 12:10 ; Job 34:14 , Job 34:15 .Psalms 104:29 .

breath . Chaldee. nishma'. Same as Hebrew. neshamah. App-16 .

and Whose, &c . Compare Job 31:4 .Psalms 139:3 .Proverbs 20:24 .Jeremiah 10:23 .

Verse 24

this writing . The Divine prophetic meaning could not be known or understood till interpreted by Daniel.

written: or graven.

Verse 25

MENE, MENE = NUMBERED, NUMBERED. Figure of speech Epizeuxis ( App-6 ), for great emphasis. Chaldee. mene', mene ' = numbered [yea] ended. See note on Jeremiah 27:7 .

TEKEL = WEIGHED. Chaldee. tekel (compare Hebrew. shekel . App-51 .)

UPPHARSIN = AND DIVIDED (or BROKEN). Chaldee. upharsin (the " u " being the conjunction = and), from Chaldee. paras = to break. See note on Daniel 4:27 . There is a further reference, by the Figure of speech Syllepsis (or combination), App-6 , to the Persians, by whom the kingdom of Babylon was broken up.

Verse 28

made a proclamation . See note on "herald", Daniel 3:4 .

Verse 30

that night. Compare Daniel 5:1 .

Belshazzar . See note on Daniel 5:2 .

the Chaldeans . Here spoken of in the national sense, not of a special class. See note on Daniel 1:4 .

slain . Either by the Persians, or it may have been by assassination by one of his own followers, or accidentally in the tumult. Chaldee. k etal, used of a violent death. Compare Daniel 5:19 . This was on the third of the month Marchesvan. On the eleventh, Belshazzar's wife died, perhaps from grief. See Encycl. Brit , vol. iii, p. 711, 712, 11th (Cambridge) edition. See App-57 .

Verse 31

Darius the Median . Through not noting the fact that "Darius" was an appellative denoting "the Maintainer", and used by Xerxes and others, modern critics have denied the existence of such a king. ASTYAGES was called "Darius". CYRUS (his son) was co-regent. His general GOBRYAS took the city in the name of CYRUS. See Isaiah 45:1 . Compare Jeremiah 51:30 , Jeremiah 51:31 . See notes there. Consult App-57 .

took . Chaldee. k ebal = to take from another. Compare Daniel 7:18 . Not the same word as in verses: Daniel 5:5 , Daniel 5:2 , Daniel 5:3 , which is nephak = to take out; or Daniel 5:20 , which is 'adah = remove.

threescore and two . Born 488 B.C. Herodotus states that CYRUS was about forty years of age at the taking of Babylon (in 426 B. c). At that age his father ASTYAGES ("Darius the Median") was about "threescore and two years old" (Daniel 5:31 ). Cyrus would therefore be just forty, according to the chronology of App-60 , having been born in 466 B.C.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Daniel 5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bul/daniel-5.html. 1909-1922.