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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary
Daniel 5



Verse 1

Daniel 5:1, Daniel 5:6, Daniel 5:25, Daniel 5:28-30

The case of Belshazzar may be fairly assumed as a case of clear and powerful conviction of sin which did not result in the soul's salvation. There is a class of men who suffer for years under hopeless and fruitless convictions of sin. There are certain truths which one who is living in the state of mind here described needs especially to consider:

I. One is, that the suffering which accompanies hopeless conviction of sin is no more than a sinner deserves.

II. One who suffers under unavailing convictions of sin should see that it is no proper effect of religion to produce such convictions. The legitimate tendency of piety in the soul is all benignant.

III. A third truth which should command the faith of one who endures ineffectual convictions of sin is, that God is a sinner's Friend.

IV. One who labours under fruitless convictions needs to see that the chief obstacle to his salvation is not the want of a more perfect understanding of the theory of conversion.

V. The chief obstacle to the termination of fruitless convictions in peace with God is to be found in some plain, practical affair of character and real life.

A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book, p. 244.

Verses 1-31

Daniel 5:1-31

I. Belshazzar's feast was characterised by great intemperance.

II. It was characterised by great profanity.

III. This night was one of supernatural visitation.

IV. This was a night of terrible retribution.

W. M. Taylor, Daniel the Beloved, p. 98.

References: Daniel 5:1-31.—W. M. Taylor, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 240. Daniel 5:5.—R. Payne-Smith, Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 158. Daniel 5:10-23.—Ibid. p. 220.

Verse 16

Daniel 5:16


I. The three principal sources and causes whence our doubts arise, and from which they get force to make their assault. They never come of truth or high discovery, but always of the want of it. (1) All the truths of religion are inherently dubitable. They are only what are called probable, never necessary truths, like the truths of geometry or of numbers. (2) We begin life as unknowing creatures that have everything to learn. We grope, and groping is doubt; we handle, we question, we guess, we experiment, beginning in darkness on towards intelligence. (3) It is a fact, disguise it as we can, or deny it as we may, that our faculty is itself in disorder. A broken or bent telescope will not see anything rightly. So a mind wrenched from its true lines of action or straight perception, discoloured and smirched by evil, will not see truly, but will put a blurred, misshapen look on everything.

II. Consider how doubts may be dissolved or cleared away. (1) The doubters never can dissolve or extirpate their doubts by inquiry, search, investigation, or any kind of speculative endeavour. They must never go after the truth to merely find it, but to practise it, and live by it. There is no fit search after truth which does not first of all begin to live the truth it knows. (2) The true way of dissolving doubts is to begin at the beginning and do the first thing first. Say nothing of investigation till you have made sure of being grounded everlastingly and with a completely whole intent, in the principle of right-doing as a principle. A soul once won to integrity of thought and meaning will rapidly clear all tormenting questions and difficulties. He will be in the Gospel as an honest man, and will have it as a world of wonderfully grand, perpetually fresh discovery.

III. Note a few points of advice. (1) Be never afraid of doubt. (2) Be afraid of all sophistries and tricks and strifes of disingenuous argument. (3) Have it as a fixed principle also, that getting into any scornful way is fatal. (4) Never settle upon anything as true because it is safer to hold it than not. (5) Have it as a law never to put force on the mind, or try to make it believe; because it spoils the mind's integrity. (6) Never be in a hurry to believe, never try to conquer doubts against time.

H. Bushnell, Sermons on Living Subjects, p. 166.

References: Daniel 5:17.—J. Hiles Hitchens, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 403. Daniel 5:22, Daniel 5:23.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xi., p. 149. Daniel 5:23.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 161. Daniel 5:24-31.—R. Payne-Smith, Homiletic Quarterly vol. xii., p. 33. Daniel 5:25.—F. W. Farrar, In the Days of Thy Youth, p. 325. Daniel 5:27.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 164; Ibid., Sermons, vol. v., No. 257. Daniel 5:30.—R. D. Bickersteth. Homiletic Magazine, vol. vi., p. 65; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 56, and vol. vi., p. 244. Daniel 5:31.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xvii., p. 233. 5—J. G. Murphy, The Book of Daniel, p. 113. Daniel 6:1.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xvii., p. 233. Daniel 6:1-3.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xii., p. 220. Daniel 6:1-10.—W. M. Taylor, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 299.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Daniel 5:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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