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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 5

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-31

  1. Intro: Party’s Over
    1. Neb walks off the pages of scripture on a positive note.
      1. Look at the last things to come off his kingly lips (4:37b)
    2. Chapter 5 comes a 30 year gap, 23 yrs since Neb died, 4 leaders have come & gone.
      1. Daniel had been their 70 years.
    3. Neb’s family tree…has some rotten branches.
      1. After Neb died his son Evil-Merodach reigned (only 2 years).
      2. Because his brother-in-law General Neriglissar assassinated him.
        1. Reigned 6 years & died.
      3. His son Labashi-Marduk took over but only ruled 2 months & was overthrown by Nabonidus (son-in-law to Neb.)
      4. Nabonidus spent most of his reign away from Babylon securing the boarders & strengthening his empire. Slide10e He appointed his son Belshazzar to be
      5. a co-ruler w/him, he was in charge of the city Babylon.
        1. Belshazzar sat comfortably on the throne in Babylon, as it hadn’t been overthrown in 1000 years
        2. Babylon was impregnable…or was it? [like Titanic quoteEven God couldn’t sink this ship]
    4. Meanwhile:
      1. Medo-Persian King Cyrus & his army are heading toward babylon.
      2. Nabonidus cuts him off at Opis (on the Tigris river) but was forced to withdraw & Cyrus gets a straight shot to Babylon.
      3. Belshazzar didn’t care. He had big walls, a big moat, 20 years of food stored inside. Even during the siege he threw a party!
        1. Let’s crash his party & see what’s happening…
  2. BELSHAZZAR (1-4)
    1. ​​​​​​​(1) Belshazzar - not Beltshazzar.
    2. (2,3) Father = ancestor. This is Neb’s grandson, not son.
      1. Archaeological evidence The foundation of this very wall has been discovered. Halleys Bible Handbook pg 344
      2. And we know exactly when...it was on Oct.12,539bc.
    3. While he tasted the wine – oh the foolishness of wine.
      1. ​​​​​​​Prov.31:4,5 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; (why?) Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
      2. They Toasted their gods with the gold vessels (Babylon). And not w/silver (M&P).
        1. Nothing makes Satan happier than to treat what is Holy as if it is unholy. Nothing makes Satan happier than using our vessels(our bodies) to toast an unholy cause.
          1. What are you toasting to the god of this world?
    4. Drunk w/wine, he commits the ultimate blasphemy, never attempted by any of the Babylonian kings before him…The desecration of the Temple items.
      1. Here is a good example of when we talk about Fearing God, this is exactly what it isn’t!
      2. “He treated the Lion of the Tribe of Judah like a Tamed pussycat.” (Charles Swindoll)
      3. He didn’t fear God…he toy’d with Him.
    5. (4) His 2nd major issue Idolatry.
  3. READ MY WRITING (5-9)
    1. ​​​​​​​(5,6) Read the writing on the wall. [when was the only other time we have God writing? - Jesus writing in dirt, Jn.8:6]
      1. He probably knows that it spelled DOOM.
      2. I love verse 6’s picture that it paints.
        1. No one has done this verse better than the Old King Jimmy, Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
        2. You know the feeling. Where were you when you were most scarred? (a cliff or in cave) (on a cliff w/a cable as a kid).
    2. (7-9) Again, God shows the not so wise men as not so wise…actually completely helpless.
    3. Belshazzar is even more upset (9).
  4. THE QUEEN BEE (10-12)
    1. (10-12) This queen may be Belshazzar’s grandmother, Neb’s surviving wife, who would have remembered Daniel.
    1. ​​​​​​​(13-16) Daniel’s about 80 now.
      1. “Before the sapling king, Daniel stands like an oak tree – hischaracter firmly rooted, his integrity unshakable.” Swindoll
  6. JUDGMENT DAY (17-31)
    1. ​​​​​​​(17-23) Learn from those who have gone before you.
      1. ​​​​​​​(17) I can’t be bought.
      2. Before he reveals the meaning...1st a lesson from history (18-21)
      3. Let’s get personal Belshazzar…but you... (22-23)
    2. (23) What terrible sin was he guilty of according to verse 23? Pride, Blasphemy, Idolatry.
    3. You worship lifeless objects, instead of the One who holds your life in His hands.
      1. Now that hand, is about to take everything from you, in which you have boasted.
      2. Slide18b Remember, For when they say, “Peace and safety” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
    4. (25-28) The Verdict
      1. ​​​​​​​Literal translation - A mina, a mina, a shekel & ½ shekel.
      2. Mene = to number. A mina is worth 50 shekels.
        1. We say today, your number is up.
        2. All of our days are numbered yet we are not to Temp the Lord thy God.
          1. So teach us to number our days. Ps.90:12
      3. Tekel = to weigh.
        1. Job 31:4-8 Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take? “Have I lied to anyone or deceived anyone? Let God weigh me on the scales of justice, for he knows my integrity. If I have strayed from his pathway, or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen, or if I am guilty of any other sin, then let someone else eat the crops I have planted. Let all that I have planted be uprooted.
      4. Upharsin = to break in two to divide.
        1. Peres is the single form of Upharsin.
      5. *** It does us well to frequently weigh ourselves in the scale of God’s Word.​​​​​​​
        For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 1 Cor.11:31
      6. Put it together... The words were in Chaldean. In Babylon a mina and a tekel were different weights; and the word peres simply means to divide.
        1. God gave Daniel the interpretation: Numbered - weighed - divided. Belshazzar’s days had been numbered and time was up; and he had been weighed in God’s scales and found wanting; now his kingdom would be taken from him and divided by the Medes and Persians. Numbered, weighed, divided.
        2. Apparently Daniel intended a play on words for a change in the vowels in perēs gives the word “Persian” or Pāras.
    5. (29) Belshazzar seems to be unmoved by this.
      1. The smoke alarm was going off, you could smell smoke,…but the party continued.
        1. Prov.21:24 A proud and haughty man; "Scoffer" is his name; He acts with arrogant pride.
        2. Hey, Belshazzar…parties over!
          1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Head of Gold was about to be decapitated & held under the Silver arms of the Medes &Persians.
      2. Is the Lord showing you any warnings lately that you haven’t been heeding?
        1. How many men have waited to change just a little too long before they woke up & found their wife & kids no where to be found?
        2. How many women have received one too many flirtations come their way before they found themselves fallen in the arms of another man that gave them the attention they so craved.
      3. Oh, listen to the different Daniel’s that God places in your life.
      4. Men & women, strike a new course. Don’t end up ship wrecked. Look for the lighthouses warnings.
      5. Unknown to the King (according to 3 Historians, Xenophon, Herodotus, & Berosus)
        “Cyrus diverted the Euphrates (which ran thru middle of city) into a new channel, and, guided by 2 deserters, marched by the dry bed into the city, while the Babylonians were carousing at a feast of their gods.”
    6. (30,31) The End...literally
      1. ​​​​​​​God gave Neb a year to repent...but He judged Belshazzar that very night.
      2. Belshazzar was slain that very evening. Never wait to repent.
      3. Judgement comes when people least expect it – Like during Noah’s time & Lot’s time. Lk.17:26-32
        1. Lk.11:21-23 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
      4. The International Standard Encyclopedia tells us that “by 200 a.d. the once-mighty Babylon, w/its towering walls & beautiful gardens, was completely deserted.”
      5. Darius was the 1st Mede to reign in Babylon, till Cyrus took over.
    7. End: Never underestimate the impact of one solitary, godly life.
      1. Against the bleak backdrop of judgment stood 1 reassuring and constant light: Daniel. He endured because he courageously spoke God’s truth and refused to compromise his character.
        1. Ask yourselves, Are we doing the same? You may be the only light/testimony some will ever see. Be careful how you live; you may be the only bible people ever read.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Daniel 5". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/daniel-5.html. 2017.
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