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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Daniel 5:27

" `TEKEL'--you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Tekel - This word (תקל teqēl ) is also, according to Gesenius, a passive participle (from תקל teqal - “to poise, to weigh”), and means “weighed.” It would be used with reference to anything placed in a balance to ascertain its weight; and hence, like the word “measure,” would denote that the extent, dimensions, true worth, or character of anything was ascertained. As by the use of scales the weight of anything is known, so the word is applied to any estimate of character or of actions, and a balance becomes the emblem of justice. Thus God, in his judgments of men, is represented as “weighing” their actions. 1 Samuel 2:3, “the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” Compare Job 6:2:

“O that my grief were thoroughly weighed,

And my calamity laid in the balances together.”

Job 31:6:

“Let me be weighed in an even balance,

That God may know mine integrity.”

The balance thus used to denote judgment in this life became also the emblem of judgment in the future state, when the conduct of men will be accurately estimated, and justice dealt out to them according to the strict rules of equity. To illustrate this, I will insert a copy of an Egyptian “Death Judgment,” with the remarks of the editor of the “Pictorial Bible” in regard to it: “The Egyptians entertained the belief that the actions of the dead were solemnly weighed in balances before Osiris, and that the condition of the departed was determined according to the preponderance of good or evil. Such judgment scenes are very frequently represented in the paintings and papyri of ancient Egypt, and one of them we have copied as a suitable illustration of the present subject. One of these scenes, as represented on the walls of a small temple at Dayr-el-Medeeneh, has been so well explained by Mr. Wilkinson, that we shall avail ourselves of his description, for although that to which it refers is somewhat different from the one which we have engraved, his account affords an adequate elucidation of all that ours contains. ‹Osiris, seated on his throne, awaits the arrival of those souls that are ushered into Amenti. The four genii stand before him on a lotus-blossom (ours has the lotus without the genii), the female Cerberus sits behind them, and Harpocrates on the crook of Osiris. Thoth, the god of letters, arrives in the presence of Osiris, bearing in his hand a tablet, on which the actions of the deceased are noted down, while Horus and Arceris are employed in weighing the good deeds of the judged against the ostrich feather, the symbol of truth and justice. A cynocephalus, the emblem of truth, is seated on the top of the balance. At length arrives the deceased, who appears between two figures of the goddess, and bears in his hand the symbol of truth, indicating his meritorious actions, and his fitness for admission to the presence of Osiris.‘

“If the Babylonians entertained a similar notion, the declaration of the prophet, ‹Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!‘ must have appeared exceedingly awful to them. But again, there are allusions in this declaration to some such custom of literally weighing the royal person, as is described in the following passage in the account of Sir Thomas Roe‘s embassy to the great Mogul: ‹The first of September (which was the late Mogul‘s birthday), he, retaining an ancient yearly custom, was, in the presence of his chief grandees, weighed in a balance: the ceremony was performed within his house, or tent, in a fair spacious room, whereinto none were admitted but by special leave. The scales in which he was thus weighed were plated with gold: and so was the beam, on which they hung by great chains, made likewise of that most precious metal. The king, sitting in one of them, was weighed first against silver coin, which immediately afterward was distributed among the poor; then was he weighed against gold; after that against jewels (as they say), but I observed (being there present with my ambassador) that he was weighed against three several things, laid in silken bags in the contrary scale. When I saw him in the balance, I thought on Belshazzar, who was found too light. By his weight (of which his physicians yearly keep an exact account), they presume to guess of the present state of his body, of which they speak flatteringly, however they think it to be. ‹“

Thou art weighed in the balances - That is, this, in the circumstances, is the proper interpretation of this word. It would apply to anything whose value was ascertained by weighing it; but as the reference here was to the king of Babylon, and as the whole representation was designed for him, Daniel distinctly applies it to him: “thou art weighed.” On the use and application of this language, see 1 Samuel 2:3: “The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” Compare also Job 31:6; Proverbs 16:2, Proverbs 16:11.

And art found wanting - This is added, like the previous phrase, as an explanation. Even if the word could have been read by the Chaldeans, yet its meaning could not have been understood without a Divine communication, for though it were supposed to be applicable to the monarch, it would still be a question what the result of the weighing or trial would be. That could have been known to Daniel only by a communication from on high.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Daniel 5:27

Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting.

Weighed and Found Wanting


1. By his conscience. “His thoughts troubled him.”

2. By his fellow-men. Confronted by Daniel.

3. By God (v. 24-28).


1. Because he humbled not his heart.

2. Because he lifted up himself against God. We desecrated the vessels of God’s house.

3. Because of idolatry. He “praised the gods of gold.” Idolatry of the worst kind. Conclusion: The first and last sins of Belshazzar may be considered the same--God he had “not glorified.” (Homiletic Review.)

The Divine Balances

To each individual is assigned a particular poet, a certain sphere of duty; and every human being of every class is under the accurate observation of a sleepless eye. It is, therefore, of infinite importance to be acquainted with God’s judicial standard. On what will our destiny turn at the day of account? Tried by the laws of the land, and the laws of morality, many fall short. There remains a still higher code of duty, which is the law of religion. Who, tried in this balance, could hope to come forth triumphant? See at the judgment-day various characters approach.

1. One of excellent character as to worldly behaviour.

2. A formal religionist.

3. The man who brings the merits of Jesus Christ, cast in by a penitent faith, that abjures all self-dependence.

The great Redeemer is possessed of abundance of merit to counter-weigh the perfect law of God, to answer its minutest demands. Therefore, what you have to do is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (J. N. Pearson, M. A.)

Scales in which Men are Weighed

I. BELSHAZZAR WAS WEIGHED IN THE SCALES OF HUMAN OPINION AND APPROVED. He was heir to a throne. He was a lineal descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, and so belonged to the royal line. He had inherited a great name. If Xenophon is to be believed, he had killed one of his courtiers because he struck down the game before giving the royal huntsman an opportunity. He had mutilated another, whose beauty made him a favourite at court. The monarchs of the time were commonly cruel and selfish, and such deeds did not greatly mar their reputations. Long live the king! He was probably eminent as a military leader. His father, Nabonidus, defeated by his enemies, had fled to Borsippa, leaving to his son the entire responsibility of the defence of Babylon. It is fair to infer that the young prince was chosen to care for the defences of the city on account of pre-eminent abilities. He was, indeed, given to excess of wine; upon occasions he was even guilty of drunkenness. But so was Ben-hadad; so also was Alexander the Great; so were many military heroes whom we have known. The world has been wont to praise its military drunkards. Men are not to be judged by the infatuation of an hour. He was in his way, remarkably religious. The festival which he observed was of a pious sort. With his princes and wives and concubines he praised the gods of gold and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. He praised the whole list of them, omitting none. The prayer of his devout father: “And of Bel-sar-uzer, my eldest son, the delight of my heart in the worship of thy great divinity, his heart do thou establish, and may he not consort with sinners,” was, perhaps, heard and answered. In the popular mind, at any rate, his heart was “established,” and upon this occasion he was not consorting with sinners. He was merely upholding the religion of the State. It did not burden him to become the high priest of a religion whose rites were so well suited to his taste. The religion which made him convivial would make him popular. How easy for the revellers about him to overlook his excesses!

II. But while Belshazzar was thus weighed in the scales of human opinion, and approved amidst the acclamations of his lords, another judgment was going on! HE WAS WEIGHED IN THE SCALES OF CONSCIENCE. He was compelled to pass judgment upon himself. We are told that as he looked upon this new inscurption, which was so mysteriously burned before his eyes, his “countenance was changed and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his lions were loosed and his knees smote one against another.” Why was he so terrified? The fingers of a man’s hand are not an object of terror. The inscription, which he could not road, had no fateful meaning for him. This impious reveller was stricken by conscience. The soul is for ever truthful, and sometimes the “still small voice” makes itself heard amidst the loudest of earth’s noises. No sounds of revelry can drown it. We are all acquainted with that tendency of our nature which leads us to turn away from the sober judgments of self and to see ourselves in the eyes of others. Naturally, we crave praise, and, because the soul persistently tells the truth, and will not applaud itself, we try to live in the judgments of others. They judge us by our acts, and not by the dispositions behind our acts, for these are often out of sight. They value us for our possessions and our gifts, more than for our graces. The revellers about Belshazzar were outspoken in his praise. They counted his great powers and possessions an evidence of moral worth. How delightful was it to lose himself in the midst of their acclamations! And yet there is in every man’s soul something which puts a check upon the praises of men--something which recalls him to himself, and holds up the mirror before him. Conscience may sleep, but, disturbed by strange or portentious events, it suddenly awakes. Our ability to live in the judgments of others is conditional upon a very orderly and usual course of events; and so sensitive are “we to portents and prodigies, that so slight a variation from the fixed course of nature as a “black” day, or a “yellow” day, will make us forget the praises of men, and lend to every man’s conscience a trumpet tone. And yet, alarmed by conscience, Belshazzar disobeyed its voice. He tried to banish his fears, but not to remove the cause of them. He called to his aid the astrologers and soothsayers. He had no reason to trust them. Had they been able to read the strange inscription, no one of them would have dared interpret it to him. He sought their aid, not to know the truth, but to allay his fears. “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light.” Belshazzar hated the light of conscience. It alarmed him. It destroyed, all his pleasure. He craved the feeling of security, whether it rested upon the foundation of truth or bid behind a refuge of lies. No mental sin is greater than a dishonest dealing with the fear which conscience arouses. Men often commit this sin. They hide their anxieties and assume a smiling appearance, hoping by concealment to lessen the fear itself. They dispute the facts, ready to make themselves believe a falsehood--as one stricken by mortal disease refuses to face the painful truth, and looks upon his case as curable. Had Belshazzar been answered by the magicians--had they healed his hurt slightly, saying, “peace, peace,” when there was no peace, their words would have brought him no permanent aid.

III. BELSHAZZAR WAS WEIGHED IN THE SCALES OF DIVINE JUSTICE AND CONDEMNED. We may well believe that when the handwriting was interpreted by Daniel a deeper dread fell upon Belshazzar. The words had a fateful sound. They were not a warning. They came too late. Weighed in a balance! The belief of the Egyptians was familiar to him. He had heard of Osiris sitting upon his judgment seat. Before him were the scales of Justice. Amidst awful solemnities the soul approached the judge. In one scale of the balance he saw placed the emblem of truth; in the other was a vase wherein were the good deeds of his life. The turning of the scales fixed his destiny. Being thus weighed, he was welcomed to the eternal felicities or received condemnation. “Weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” The words told him that his last day had come, and that already Divine justice, anticipating by a little the hour of his death, had given sentence against him. The judgment was irreversible. It has been the task of the historian to portray for us in dim outline the event in which this judgment was consummated. As the populace of Babylon, following the lead of Belshassar, gave themselves up to feasting and revelry, there came to Cyrus the opportunity for which he had wished and waited. This strange event which was the herald of Belshazzar’s death, and of the downfall of his kingdom, is altogether without a parallel in human annals. The special way in which the Divine judgment was announced has never been repeated. And yet it was a typical event. Men of spiritual vision have seen this handwriting of God unmistakably inscribed upon institutions and customs of their time. It has been stamped upon the pampered and sensual body, made to be the Spirit’s temple, but burning with the flames of the pit. And whenever it has been seen, it has reversed the judgments of men, and set in contrast with them the righteous displeasure of the Most High. There is no more sobering reflection for us than the thought that our own lives are weighed in the scales of God’s righteousness. Every thought and word and act of life are put in the balance. And God’s judgment is to be made manifest. I know that the natural course of our minds leads us to rid ourselves of any truth which gives us anxiety. And sometimes the devil skillfully appeals to our pride, by suggesting that we need no thought of coming judgment to help as to earnestness and sobriety of life. But the fact remains that the Bible everywhere assumes our need of such a great motive. It puts before us the vision of a judgment of the future, and makes use of it as an argument for keeping our lives apart from common sins. It bids us read the handwriting of God inscribed upon institutions and customs and personal lives, and to see in it a prophecy of the time when “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Monday Club Sermons.)

Moral Weight


1. In their own opinions.

2. In comparison with others.

3. In the estimation of their fellows.


1. The Bible.

2. Conscience.

3. A perfect moral standard.

4. An impartial standard.


1. To the moralist.

2. To the formalist.

3. To the worldly Christian.

4. To the indolent. (The Study.)

Christian Weighed in the Balance

If we had eyes adapted to the sight, we should see on looking into the smallest seed the future flower or tree enclosed in it. God will look into our feelings and motives as into seeds; by those embryos of action He will infallibly determine what we are, and will show what we should have been, had there been scope and stage for their development and maturity. Nothing will be made light of. The very dust of the balances shall be taken into account. It is in the moral world as in the natural, Where every substance weighs something; though we speak of imponderable bodies, yet nature knows nothing of positive levity; and were men possessed of the necessary scales, the requisite instrument, we should find the same holds true in the moral world. Nothing is insignificant on which sin has breathed the breath of hell; everything is important on which holiness has impressed itself in the painted characters, and accordingly, “there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and bid that shall not be known.” (J. Harris.)

Short Weight

Everyone knows what “short weight” is. We scarcely take up a paper without reading of convictions, in different parts of the country, on this account. Everywhere traders are obliged to look carefully to what they send out, and consumers regard with some degree of jealousy what they receive. In very many instances, no doubt, where short weight has been given, there has been fraudulent intention, the act has been a deliberately criminal one; but, in many cases, there has been only thoughtlessness and misconception. But, whatever may have been the cause of error, the law of the land has interposed its authority; it has stepped in between the buyer and seller, and has said very unmistakably to all who use weights, and scales, and measures, “You are bound by the law to give exact weight and exact measurement.” Do they know that the Lord of Heaven and earth, of men and of angels--that great God “who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance”--do they know that this same God condescends to regulate the traffic of earth? Do they know that out of Heaven, His dwelling place, God speaks to us of weights and measures, and scales and balances? Under this general idea of “short weight,” how much is included which, in an endless variety of forms, we are constantly meeting with in every department of life. All false pretence in life I should regard as the social equivalent of false or short weight in business. It is that which falls below the profession made on the one side, and the claim which may be justly asserted on the other. How many persons are occupying a high social position, who are elevated in no other sense; who are distinguished by circumstances, rather than by intrinsic worth. How many are there, in all the different walks of life, who maintain a very reputable position in the esteem of their fellow-men, who, if they were to get their due, would be branded as “short weight.” It is very terrible to think how much of empty, hollow profession and pretence we have in this world. How many there are who live in virtue of a reputation which has nothing to sustain it. It would be well for us to get impressed upon our minds the fact that we may be guilty of giving “short weight” to our fellow-creatures, though we have nothing to do with material weights and balances from one year’s end to another. If, in any of the manifold relationships of life, we fail of giving to another that which is justly his due, we are as truly guilty of giving “short weight” as though we sold over the counter twelve ounces instead of sixteen. Take the servant, who sells his skill, his time, his labour to another; having made the contract, he has no right to keep back part of the price. And yet how many are there in such positions, who would denounce the giving of “short weight” in trade as a sin, who, without much compunction of conscience, give “short weight” to their employers day after day. Take the case of the husband who habitually neglects the wife whom he has solemnly promised to love and to cherish. Is not this the giving of “short weight,” after the most cruel and dastardly of all fashions? I have to bring under your notice a matter which is much more momentous. There are many who are scrupulous in their endeavour to render what is just and equal to their fellow-men, who would be loud in their denunciations of whatever might wear the appearance of dishonesty in the engagements of ordinary business, who would treat with bitter scorn and wrathful indignation all hollow pretences and profession in any of the manifold relationships of life, who seem at the same time to have no due sense of what they owe to God, and what they must render if they are to find acceptance with him. I wish to remind you that God has balances, in which men are weighed. There is an infallible standard of judgment, according to which our position is determined. And it behoves us, I think, to ascertain as carefully as possible what is our true position in relation to God and eternity. In the words of our text, Belshazzar is described as having been a “weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” A few words will suffice to set before you the remarkable circumstances under which these words were addressed to the Babylonish monarch. There is, in the case of each of us, am invisible and ever-present witness of all our proceedings, and an infallible record kept of all that occurs. Is not this a serious thought? Suppose that this night, on the wall of your chamber, there appeared a mysterious hand, inscribing upon the plaster unalterable words of doom. How would you be affected by the vision? Not, I think, less powerfully than Belshazzar of old. Your countenance would change--your knees would smite together--the joints of your loins would be unloosed--your thoughts would be troubled. There is cause of alarm for some of you, though you witness not a vision like that. It would matter little that the end of our life had come, that the number of our days had run out, that we were separated, divided from all that this world contains, if, when brought to the final, the absolute test, we were not found wanting. Knowing, then, how much depends on this, it is for all of us a most important question--What sentence would be pronounced upon us were we now put into the balances of God? And there is no need that this question should remain an unanswered one. God has revealed to us, in His Word, the great principles upon which judgment will finally proceed. We have enough placed within our reach to guide us in our determination. There are many, I fear, in this country, who are the unconscious subjects of a fatal deficiency; who, if placed in the balances, would be found unmistakably wanting; and who yet may be complacently regarding themselves all the while as though they needed nothing to satisfy every demand of justice, and secure the favourable regard of God. There are those who trust in the fact that they have been born in a Christian land, of professedly Christian parents. A great deal of the Christianity which prevails among us is simply a territorial Christianity. Men are Christians because they have been born in a certain locality, just as they would have been Pagans or Mohammedans if they had been born where Paganism or Mohammedanism prevailed. There are those who confide in the morality of their lives. I would not say a word in depreciation of morality. That religion is a mere delusion and snare which is not productive of, and evidently associated with, morality. But what a miserable mistake are they guilty of who confide in what they do, or abstain from doing, as a ground of acceptance before an infinitely holy God! There are those who trust in a religious profession. They are found in visible association with the Lord’s people. They are accustomed to hear and to use a certain religious phraseology. It is wonderful how far people can go, and yet not go far enough. It is wonderful how far they can go in a wrong way, and vainly imagine they are right. God weighs men in his balances even here. How often do providential events overate as a test of character? There is a sudden change in the circumstances of life; some unwonted pressure is applied, and at once, to the surprise of all, a very serious defect is forced to the surface, and stands revealed in a painfully humiliating way. Passing over without remark palpable and undeniable deficiencies, let me suggest the importance of ascertaining, so far as it is at present possible, how the application of God’s test to our characters would operate in the case of failings which are less obvious. Remember to, at the law of God bears upon and discovers the sins of our dispositions and feelings, deals with the heart, out of which are the issues of life, and which is the very fountain of sin. How little do men think of, or concern themselves with this? Think of our words being weighed in a balance. It would be a good thing if we more carefully weighed our words before we uttered them. It is a very terrible thing to think we are to give account of all the idle and worse than idle words we have uttered. Our deeds are to be weighed. How much have we done, how much are we constantly doing which we cannot think of without shame, and which we know will not bear the inspection of Heaven! I wish to make yea sensible of your moral and spiritual deficiency in order that you may have recourse to the Lord Jesus Christ, out of whose fulness, and by whose merits, every deficiency may be supplied. (T. M. Morris.)

The Sinner Weighed and Found Wanting

Amidst the darkness of heathenish ignorance and superstition, there have not been wanting plain and unequivocal evidences of a superintending and retributive Providence. Pharaoh was visited with memorable judgments for refusing to let the children of Israel go; and history informs us that not only Belshazzar, but Antiochus Epiphanes, Galerius Maximus, and many others, were signally punished for their daring impiety.


1. The atheist. When we look abroad upon the heavens, and mark the garniture of the sky; when we contemplate our own bodies, so fearfully and wonderfully made; or when we look around and observe the proofs of design on every hand, it really seems astonishing that any man in his senses should deny the existence of a God. But, as Spinoza, and Vaninni, and several members of the French Convention, advocated atheistical sentiments, we are disposed to believe that some persons, in the plenitude of their pride, may, peradventure, persuade themselves that there is no God. Now, on the supposition that there is such a character, let the atheist be weighed in the balances of the Sanctuary. What says the Psalmist? “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalms 14:1). The atheist, then, being weighed in the balances, is found wanting. But:

2. Let the deist next be placed in the balances. There have been deists, no doubt, in every age; but this name was assumed by certain persons in France and Italy, who, although inclined to atheistical sentiments, chose rather to be called deists. Deists differ in many things, but agree in one particular, viz.: in rejecting the sacred volume as a Divine inspiration. Now, to the law and to the testimony. In Revelation 22:19, it is thus written--“If any man shall take away from the words of the book of thisprophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city.” But the deist, or infidel, takes away not only a part--he takes away the whole of God’s blessed word. Deluded mortal! How dost thou know that thy balances are correct? What angel whispered it in thine ear? To what high authority wilt thou appeal? Deluded mortal! Now, these balances of the sanctuary are Divinely stamped. They bear the stamp of prophecy; the stamp of miracles; the stamp of holiness--they bear many a clear stamp Divine. Ah! you have heard, it may be, of many an infidel recanting on a bed of death; did you ever, hear of a Christian then recanting?

3. Let the legalist be weighed next; and by the legalist I mean the self-righteous man, he who, valuing himself on account of the supposed excellence of his own moral character, feels no need of a Saviour, and consequently, neglects the great salvation. Let the legalist, then, be placed in the balances. What has the legalist to weigh against the requirements of the law? Nothing, except it be a righteousness absolutely perfect; for it is written, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” And where is the man who has, strictly speaking, continued in all things written in the book of the law to do them? “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” And the apostle John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” And again, in language yet more emphatic, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Alas! self-righteous man, thou art in an evil case! “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!”

4. Let the universalist be next weighed in the balances of the sanctuary.


1. Let the unrighteous be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary; and by the unrighteous man I mean the fraudulent man, the dishonest man, the intemperate man, the gambler, the swindler, the man of cruelty and extortion; in short, all who openly and daringly trample upon the golden precept “ Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them?” O, what a long, long list of crimes has the unrighteous man to answer for! crimes various and muitiform--against God--against man--against his own. O, unrighteous man! openly wicked man! “Thou artweighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”

2. Let the worldling next be placed in the balances. Some are worldlings, who would not, and should not, be esteemed unrighteous men, in the common acceptation of that term. By the worldling I simply mean the person who loves the world, who loves it supremely; who is ready to say, “Give me riches, honours, pleasures; give me, moreover, health, friends, and long life, and this world will do for me, I desire no better.” And now, let us view the worldling in his threefold character--as a man of fashion, a man of pleasure, and a man of business. Is he a man of fashion? He loves the praise of men more than the praise of God, the very character condemned in the sacred volume (John 12:43). Is he a man of pleasure? Then, according to the prophet, he has committed two evils: “He has forsaken his Maker, the Fountain of living waters, and has hewn out unto himself broken cisterns, which can hold no water.” But is he a man of business? Mark this worldling! The morning dawns; he rises, refreshed and invigorated by the slumbers of the night; but he offers no thanksgivings to God for the repose and protection of the night. He leaves his chamber without prayer. And now he goes forth to the pursuits of the day. Still mark that worldling! His head, his heart, his soul, all are fastened upon the things of this world. But he thinks not of his Heavenly Benefactor; never once says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Alas! he suffers the mercies of Heaven to lie forgotten in unthankfulness, and without praises die! He lives as if there was no God in the heavens to inspect his conduct; as if there was no judgment bar at which he must one day appeal The fact is, although he may not think so, he is a practical atheist. “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

3. Let the profane swearer next be placed in the balances.

4. Let the hollow-hearted professor of religion next be placed in the balances. No matter what may be the profession or outward show, if the heart be not sincere and right in the sight of God, it is all as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Professor of religion, remember the parable of the the virgins! It is quite possible to have the lamp of profession without the oil of grace; the form, without the power of godliness. Let all who are professors of religion dig deep and lay a good foundation, for, according to the Scriptures, the mere profession of religion, without the root of the matter, will not save the soul. The hollow-hearted professor of religion, then, having the name without the thing named, the form without the power of godliness, is weighed and found wanting.

5. The unrenewed, no matter who they are, or what they are, in other respects, they too are certainly wanting; for, mark! if un-renewed, they have never repented of their sins; and what says the Scripture? “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (D. Baker, D.D.)


I. Let us place in the balances the MERE MORALIST, and bring his pretensions to the test. It will be seen on examination that these matters which are considered as a whole, or at least as the principal part of duty, are regarded in but a secondary and subordinate light, by Him who holds in His hands the scales of divine justice, and truly estimates the weight and worth of whatever is placed in them. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,” He asserts to be “the first and great commandment.” To that of loving our neighbour as ourselves He assigns only a secondary place, calling it “the second commandment,” and observing concerning it that that it is “like unto the first.” What, then, if weighed in the balances, is to become of the man who lays it down as a principle, and acts upon it as the maxim of his life, that there is no religion and no Divine requirement, beyond feeling and performing justice and mercy to our fellow-men? If. Another candidate for Heaven is the religious FORMALIST. He tells us that he is punctiliously religious. But Jehovah long ago weighed characters of this description and pronounced them wanting. Heartless forms, without heartfelt experience, will not answer. Thus too, boasted the Laodicean Church, in reference to her fair but superficial exterior. “I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing.” And with similar fidelity the Searcher of hearts prostrated her pride by the allegation, “Thou art poor, and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked, and ignorant for thou knowest it not.” Thus must all who have “a form of godliness,” but “deny” or dislike “the power,” expect, when “weighed in the balances” to be “found wanting.”

III. That large class, in the third place, who call themselves THE SINCERE, the candid, and the charitable. Give me but the fact, says the individual ranged under this classification, that my neighbour, is sincere in his belief, and I ask no more. I enquire not what that belief is, I am satisfied he is on the road to Heaven. But if sincerity be all that is necessary to render a man’s religion right, how ridiculous a part was acted by Saul of Tarsus, in exchanging his Judaism for Christianity. And now it may be that some are ready to ask, “Who, then, can be saved?” If all are to be weighed in the scales of Divine justice, and found wanting, where shall we all appear?

There is one character--only one that will be able to meet the ordeal. That person is the evangelical believer, he who besides exercising “repentance towards God,” also exhibits “faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ.” How ample and various are the testimonies on this point. Among them the following constitute but a few. “He that believeth shall be saved.” “Whosoever believeth on Him hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” (B. M. PaImer, D.D.)

Men Tried and Found Defective

I. Let as place in this balance the pretensions and characters of those who hope for Heaven because they were born in a Christian country, are descended from pious parents, and were by them in their infancy given up to God in the ordinance of baptism, and have enjoyed the advantages of a religious education. Think not, says John the Baptist to the Jews, who trusted in their religious privileges--think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father; that is, trust not in your descent from that pious patriarch, nor to your covenant relation to God; for I say unto you, that God is able, of these stones, to raise up children unto Abraham. To the same purpose St. Paul writes to the Philippian Christians. If any man, says he, thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I have more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrew; as touching the law, a Pharisee. But, be adds, what things more gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

II. Let us bring to the test of the law and the testimony the characters and hopes of these who are trusting for salvation to a good natural disposition, and a harmless, inoffensive life. But if you can plead nothing more than this, you will most certainly be found wanting in the sight of that God by whom actions are weighed. He will not be satisfied with a bare negative goodness, if we may be allowed the expression. He will not think it sufficient that you have abstained from outward offences, or avoided overt acts of sin, while you have failed to perform what He has commanded. It was part of the heavy charge brought against the king of Babylon that he had not glorified the God in whose hands his life was, and whose were all his ways. You want the one thing needful; and were our blessed Saviour now on earth, He would say to each of you, as He did to the amiable young ruler, One thing thou lackest. Go, and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and come, take up thy cross and follow me.

III. Another class, perhaps, will boldly come forward and say, though these characters are justly considered as deficient, yet we do not fear that we shall be found wanting for we have something more than mere negative goodness to plead. Instead of misimproving, or abasing our time and talents, we have improved them with diligence and faithfulness. Instead of injuring our fellow creatures, we have endeavoured to promote their happiness by every means in our power. In short, we have been useful members of society, and have faithfully discharged the various duties which we owed to our parents, our children, our friends, and our country. We do not, indeed, pretend to be perfect, and confess that in the course of our lives we have sometimes been induced by strong and sudden temptations to say or do things which were perhaps improper and sinful. But we have always been sorry for these offences, and they are but few and trifling compared with our good actions. We, therefore, trust that a merciful God has forgiven them, and are ready to appear cheerfully at His tribunal whenever He shall think proper to summon us away. But we cannot allow the truth of these pleas. We cannot allow that any of you have perfectly discharged the duties which you owe your fellow creatures. You know, you must know, that you have not loved your neighbours as yourselves, and that, therefore, in this respect also, you will be found wanting. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of the least of these commandments and shall teach men so, the same shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; that is, shall never enter it; for I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall, in no wise, enter into the kingdom of heaven.

IV. Perhaps another class will come forward and say, we allow that those who trust to their own moral duties for salvation will be justly condemned; but we have carefully obeyed the commands of the first table; we do not trust to our moral duties, and, therefore, hope to escape. We have never worshipped false gods; we have made no graven images; we have never taken God’s name in vain, nor do we profane His holy sabbath. But permit me to ask--are you equally careful to perform all the duties which you owe to your fellow creatures? Does not your whole religion consist in the observances of external forms, prayer, reading and bearing the word? Are you not among the number of forgetful hearers, rather than the doers of the word; and do you not hope, by your religious duties, to atone for your moral deficiencies? Are you not hard and unmerciful in your dealings; peevish, fretful and morose in your families, or indolent in performing the proper duties of the station in which you are placed? In vain do you pretend to obey the commands of the first table, while you neglect those of the second: for piety, without morality, is even worse than morality without piety.

V. Perhaps some may be found who will say, notwithstanding these observations, still our hope remains unshaken; for we have both piety and morality. We not only deal justly and love mercy, as it respects our fellow creatures, but also walk humbly with our God. I answer, if you have nothing more than this, you want many things. You want that new heart, without which no man can see the Kingdom of God. You want that faith, without which you must be condemned. You want that repentance, without which you must inevitably perish. You want that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. All these things are everywhere represented as indispensably necessary to salvation; and yet persons may do everything which you profess to have done, without either regeneration, faith, repentance, or holiness. (E. Payson.)


We reach the consideration of that feature of our human life which is at once the noblest and the most serious. It is that feature which distinguishes man from the brutes, which makes him a person and not a thing; that which lies behind circumstances; that with which the gift of a moral law and of free will is necessarily charged--in a word, responsibility. “Every one shall give account of himself to God.” “Thou art weighed in the balances.” And we must notice where this man’s moral responsibility lay. It is clearly set forth in Daniel’s calm, judicial words. Belshazzar, Gentile monarch though he was, had had exceptional opportunities of knowing the truth of God. For nearly seventy years the chosen people of Jehovah had dwelt in Babylon, and in the preceding reign God had revealed Himself in two most remarkable events. First, in the deliverance of the three young men from the fiery furnace, which called forth Nebuchadnezzar’s decree concerning the honour of the true God; and, secondly, in His personal judgment on Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. Belshazzar knew--there was his sin; it was against his knowledge. There were three features of it, I think,

3. Knowledge must be the first element in the balance of judgment, where an intelligent being renders his account to a Personal God. “Thou knewest all this!”--that is the indictment. Nor is that knowledge necessarily or primarily the consequence of revelation. St. Paul, at heathen Lystra and at scholastic Athens, appealed to an intuitive knowledge of a Personal God, witnessed to by the world of nature in the one case, and by the consciousness of the human mind in the other. And what, then, shall we say, when, to this glimmering light of nature, is added the meridian splendour of the Christian faith?--when the claims of the Creator are enhanced by those of the Redeemer; when the love of the Father, and the sacrifice of the Son, and the pleading of the adopting Spirit, make their claims upon the hearts and consciences of God’s regenerated sons and daughters.

4. And yet, in spite of this--this knowledge, this revelation, this claim of redeeming love--are there not, even in Christians’ lives, phases of sin of Belshazzar’s sort?

(a) There is that body, made after God’s likeness--is it mine to do with as I will? to indulge its passions and gratify its appetites and desires as my passing fancy may dictate? “Let every one of you know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour,” says the apostle; and again, “The body is for the Lord.”

(b) Or that sacred vessel of the mind, made certainly to contain the pure streams of Divine knowledge, is it to be desecrated with evil thoughts, or fed with literature vicious in morale and unsound in faith?

(c) Or, once more, that golden vessel of my heart, capable of loving the highest and the best--capable of loving God Himself!--it, too, may be filled with “the husks that the swine did eat”; it, too, may be used for unworthy and ignoble ends--may spend its rich and rare capacities on the world, or the creature, or upon that least worthy of all objects, upon self. And for the use of all these sacred capacities I am responsible.

5. Last of all, are you inclined to ask the oft-repeated question, “Then why did God make us free? Why did He lay upon His frail creatures a responsibility so crushing? Why did He not let me live my life without this power to do or not to do, which brings me, with such awful weight upon me, before the tribunal of my God?” Let us pause for one moment for the answer. Suppose, then, that we were indeed independent of the great good God--that we were not responsible to Him--have you ever thought what such independence would involve? Should we not have to infer something like this--That as to our whole being we were beneath the notice or the care of God; that what we did, or did not do, was too insignificant for Him to heed; that He had left us alone to battle with life as best we may, and that (as one has said) He “set no more store by us than we do on an uptorn weed cast on our shores by an angry sea--unless, indeed, men make use of its corruption and decay to manure their fields”? Wonderful dignity, forsooth, of such would-be independence! Too mean for infinite Love to love me; too puny for God’s majesty to heed whether it have, or have not, my service or my love! No! Surely it is true that “the dignity of our nature lies in that relation to God which involves the minutest responsibility,” for “the inconceivable greatness of man is to have been made by God for Himself.” Responsibility! Yes, it is the heavy weight with which all human life is charged--the price of the freedom of our will. But who would desire to escape its burden, if by that very pressure it throws us upon the uncreated Love; if it leads us in the end to the truth, the liberty, the satisfaction to which those great words of St. Augustine point: “My God, Thou hast made me for Thyself; and my heart can find no rest, until it find rest in Thee”? (E. J. Gough, M. A.)

The Scales of Judgment

There is a weighing time for kings and emperors, and all the monarchs of earth, albeit some of them have exalted themselves to a position in which they appear to be irresponsible to man. Though they escape the scales on earth, they must surely be tried at the bar of God. For nations there is a weighing time. National sins demand national punishments.

I. LET US JUDGE OURSELVES THAT WE MAY NOT BE JUDGED. It for us now to put ourselves through the various tests by which we may be able to discover whether we are, at this present time, short weight or not.

1. The first test I would suggest is that of human opinion. Now understand me. I do not believe that the opinion of man is utterly valueless when that opinion is based upon false premises, and, therefore, draws wrong conclusions. I would not trust the world to judge God’s servants, and ‘tis a mercy to know that the world shall not have the judging of the church, but rather, the saints shall judge the world. There is a sense in which I would say with the apostle, “With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged, of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not myself.” Human opinion is not to be put in competition with Divine revelation. But I speak now of judging ourselves, and I do not think it safe, when weighing our own character, to prefer our own and exclude our neighbour’s judgment. The esteem or contempt of honest men, which is instinctively shown without reference to party or prejudice, is not by any means to be despised. Let me assure you that you have good reason to be afraid, for if you cannot stand the trial of an honest fellow creature--if the law of your country condemn you--if the very laws of society exclude you--if the imperfect judgments of earth pronounce you too vile for its association, how fearful must be your condemnation when you are put into the far more rigid scale of God’s justice, and terrible must be your fate when the perfect community of the first-born in Heaven shall rise as one man, and demand that you shall never behold their society? If your own conscience declare that opinion to be just, you have good need to tremble indeed, for you are put into the balances and are found wanting. I have thought it right to mention this balance. There may be some present to whom it may be pertinent, but at the same time, there are far better tests for men, tests which are not so easily to be misunderstood. And I would go through some of’ these. One of the scales into which I would have every man put himself, at least once in his life--I say at least once, because, if not, Heaven is to him a place, the gates of which are shut for ever--I would have every man put himself into the scales of the Divine law. This law is a balance which will turn, even were there but a grain of sand in it. Oh, if we did but try ourselves by the very first commandment of the law, we must acknowledge that we are guilty. But when we drop in weight after weight, till the whole sacred ton are there, there is not a man under the cope of Heaven who has one grain of wit left, but must confess that he is short of the mark--that he falls below the standard which the law of God requires. Well, I propose now to take professors and put them into the scales and try them. Let each one of us put ourselves into the scale of conscience. Many make a profession of religion in this age. It is the time of shams. “Is my profession true? Do I feel that before God I am an heir of the promises? When I sit at my Saviour’s table, have I any right to be a guest? Can I truly say, that when I profess to be converted, I only profess what I have actually proved? When I talk experimentally about the things of the Kingdom of God, is that experience a borrowed tale, or have I felt what I say in my own breast?” Bring up everything that you can think of that might lead you to doubt. You need be under no difficulty here; for are there not enough sins committed by us every day to warrant our suspicious that we are not God’s children? Well, let all these black accusers for death, let them all have their say. Do not cloak your sins. Ah! how many people are really afraid to look their religion in the face! They know it to be so bad, they dare not examine it. They are like bankrupts that keep no books. I would have every man also weigh himself in the scales of God’s Word--not merely in that part of it which we call legal, and which has respect to us in our fallen state; but let us weigh ourselves in the scale of the gospel. You will find it sometimes a holy exercise to read some psalm of David, when his soul was most full of grace; and if you were to put questions as you read each verse, saying to yourself, “Can I say this? Have I felt as David felt? Have my bones ever been broken with sin as his were when he penned his penitential psalms? Has my soul ever been full of true confidence, in the hour of difficulty, as his was when he sang of God’s mercies in the cave of Adullam, or the holds of Engedi? Can I take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord? Can I pay my vows now unto the Lord, in the courts of His house, in the presence of all His people?” Yet again, God has been pleased to set another means of trial before us When God puts us into the scales I am about to mention, namely, the scales of providence, it behoves us very carefully to watch ourselves and see whether or not we be found wanting. Some men are tried in the scales of adversity. Some of you may have come here very sorrowful Your business fails, your earthly prospects are growing dark; it is midnight with you in this world; you have sickness in the house; the wife of your bosom languishes before your weeping eyes; your children, perhaps, by their ingratitude, have wounded your spirits. But you are a professor of religion, you know what God is doing with you now; He is testing and trying you. Do you still say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”? Oh, remember that if your religion will not stand the day of adversity, if it afford you no comfort in the time of storms, you would be better in that case without it than with it; for with it you are deceived, but without it you might discover your true condition, and seek the Lord as a penitent sinner. Another set of scales there is, too, of an opposite colour. Those I have described are painted black; these are of golden hue. They are the scales of prosperity. Many a man has endured the chills of poverty who could not endure sunny weather. Some men’s religion is very much like the palace of the Queen of Russia, which had been built out of solid slabs of ice. It could stand the frost; the roughest breeze could not destroy it; the sharp touch of winter could not devour it; they but strengthened and made it more lasting. But summer melted it all away, and, where once were the halls of revelry, nothing remained but the black rolling river. How many have been destroyed by prosperity! There are again the scales of temptation. Many and many a man seemeth for a time to run well; but it is temptation that tries the Christian.


The Balances

In that hall there is a balance lifted. God swings it. On one side of the balance are put Belshazzar’s opportunities; on the other side of the balance are put Belshazzar’s sins. The sins come down; his opportunities go up. Weighed in the balances and found wanting. But still, after all, there is no such thing as a perfect balance on earth. The chain may break, or some of the metal may be clipped, or in some way the equipoise may be a little disturbed. There is only one balance in the universe that is thoroughly accurate, and that is God’s balance, and it is suspended from the throne of the Lord Almighty. You cannot always depend upon earthly balances. God has a perfect bushel, and a perfect peck, and a perfect gallon. When merchants weigh their goods in the wrong way, then the Lord weighs the goods again. We may cheat ourselves and we may cheat the world, but we cannot cheat God; and in the great day of judgment it will be found out that what we learned in boyhood, at school, is correct; that sixteen ounces make a pound, and twenty hundredweight make a ton, and one hundred and twenty solid feet make a cord of wood. No more, no less. And a religion which does not take hold of this life as well as the life to come is no religion at all. But that is not the style of balances I am to speak of. I am to speak of that kind of balances which can weigh principles, weigh churches, weigh men, weigh nations, and weigh worlds.

“What?” you say, “is it possible that our world is to be weighed?” Yes. Why, you would think if God put on one side the balances suspended from the throne--if on that side the balances He put the Alps, and the Pyrenees, and the Himalayas, and Mount Washington, and all the cities of the earth--if He put them on one side of the balances, they would crush it. No, no. The time will come when God will sit down on the white throne to see the world weighed, and on one side will be the world’s opportunities, and on the other side the world’s sins. Down will go the sins and away will go the opportunities, and God will say to the messenger with the torch, “Burn that world! Weighed and found wanting!” So God will weigh churches. He takes a great church. That great church, according to the worldly estimate, must be weighed. He puts it on one side the balances, and the minister, and the choir, and the building that cost its hundreds of thousands of dollars. He puts them on one side the balances. On the other side of the scales He puts what that church ought to be, what its consecration ought to be, what its sympathy for the poor ought to be, what its devotion to all good ought to be. That is on one aide. That side comes down, and the church, not being able to stand the test, rises in the balance. So God estimates nations. How many times He has put the Spanish monarchy into the scales sad found it insufficient and condemned it. The French Empire was placed on one side the scales, and God weighed the French Empire, and Napoleon said: “Have I not enlarged the boulevards? Did I not kindle the glories of the Champs Elysees? Have I not adorned the Tuileries? Have I not built the gilded Opera House?” Then God weighed that nation, and He put on one side the scales the Emperor, and the boulevards, and the Tuileries, and the Champs Elysees, and the gilded Opera House, and on the other side He put that man’s abominations, that man’s libertinism, that man’s selfishness, that man’s godless ambition. This last came down, and all the brilliancy of the scene vanished. Every day is a day of judgment, and you and I are being canvassed, inspected, weighed. (T. De Witt Talmage.)

Souls Weighed in the Balance

History, faithfully considered, is but a record of the fulfilment of prophecy. What are these balances? Who weighs therewith? What is it to be found wanting? The balances are those of the sanctuary, God holds them in His hand. The balances are ever and anon made viable through the medium of Scripture. This figure strikingly describes the examination of human principles, and actions, and character, which is continually going on in Heaven. Belshazzar might have thought himself exempted; but Jehovah weighed him in His balances. He weighs all men, whether they own Him for their God or not. In one scale is, as it were, placed the Divine law, “Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart,” etc. This is every man’s duty towards God and his neighbour. Every man is tried thereby, and lo! every man is found wanting. Again, men are weighed of God according to their opportunities. These occasion responsibility; these, therefore, are taken into account; these become weights in the balances, by which characters are weighed. See Belshazzar’s opportunities, especially in having Daniel at court. How does this narrative apply to ourselves? Every one of us must stop into the scale, and submit to a weighing examination. In the one scale God still puts for us His holy law. Our opportunities are weights in the scale. While the weighing process may have convinced some, it may yet have left others altogether unconvinced that they can be at all “found wanting.” As long as hypocrisy keeps in the one scale, it keeps on adding to the weight in the other. It adds to responsibility; it keeps on sinning; it “heaps up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” (John Hambleton, M.A.)

Sinners Weighed

One principal cause why men are so ignorant of their real standing before God, and, therefore, so indifferent to its consequences, is, that they very seldom enquire, with any degree of seriousness, into their own spiritual condition. But this is not the only cause. Another, equally operative and fatal, may be found in the fact that they estimate themselves by false standards. There are many who try their characters only at the bar of human law. Another numerous class judge of their conduct solely by the maxims of society. Others, again, examine themselves by the code of gentility. They belong to a class which boasts of its refinement and social elevation, and with which meanness and want of fashion are the only crimes. Thus do the great mass of men, by the use of erroneous tests, acquire views of their moral condition and prospects that are utterly groundless. In the expressive language of an apostle, “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, they are not wise.” It has seemed to me, therefore, that I cannot render you a more necessary service than to assist you to break away from these delusions, and to form a correct and scriptural estimate of yourselves as you appear in the view of that omniscient Being with whom you have to do. To attain this end, we must lay aside all those false methods of judgment which you have been accustomed to employ, and which can only deceive you to your undoing, and bring forward, in their place, “the balances of the sanctuary”--the true criterion of moral character--which God has made known in His Word, and by which He will determine our final destiny. These balances were made in Heaven; and they possess all the accuracy and truthfulness which belong to that perfect world. The results which they give are certain--their decisions infallible. Many people find a sort of fascination in being weighed. You may often see groups of persons, especially of the young, collected in places where the requisite apparatus is kept, stepping one after another upon the scales, and receiving the result, as it is announced, with laughter and merriment. I invite you to come and be weighed. Weighing the heart and the life may not be as amusing an operation as that of ascertaining the gravity of bones and muscles; but it is not on that account the less important and needful. Come hither, thou dead professor, and be weighed. Now, I take this religion of yours, and put it in one scale, and against it I put this weight from the testimony of God, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His”; and then this other, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” And to both I add one more: “Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” If Christ were in you, how would it be possible for you so to hide Him that not even the hem of His garment should ever appear? I next call up the man with a secret hope. Here let me say, however, that I do not wish the wrong person to come. There are two classes of individuals, broadly distinguished from each other, to which the designation I have used may properly be applied. We often meet with those who entertain a trembling persuasion that they have passed from death unto life; but who cannot feel sufficient confidence in the reality of the change to venture on its public avowal. They are penitent, sincere, humble. They place no reliance on any merits of their own. They see and believe that the only refuge of a sinner is in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus; and they often feel their hearts drawn out toward Him as their only trust, and their highest joy. But they are so full of doubts and self-questionings as to their interest in Him--so diffident of their own steadfastness, and of their power to resist temptation--that they hesitate to pronounce His name before men. They shrink from taking up His Cross, not because they dread its burden, but because they fear to dishonour it. Instead of seeking to increase that self-distrust, which in their case is altogether too great, I would address to them words of assurance and consolation, and direct them to that compassionate Redeemer, who will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, and who sees and will in His own time strengthen and bring out the grace, which the fearful heart trembles to acknowledge. But here is one of altogether another stamp. He too has an unproclaimed hope--a hope which he keeps concealed, not from any doubt of its genuineness, but from a want of interest in spiritual things, and a controlling preference for the world. Doubt as to the genuineness of his hope! He never doubts. Enough there is to make him doubt. No onlooker would ever suspect him of being pious; and in his own spirit and conduct he can find no warrant for thinking himself so. Yet he does think so. He does imagine himself to be a child of God. And this imagination it is that blunts the edge of conscience, and turns aside the arrows of truth. Speak to him about the welfare of his soul, the need of conversion, and the importance of seeking it without delay. He will draw himself up and complacently tell you that he has been converted; that at some misty, perhaps remote, period of the past, he believes that he experienced religion, and has retained that belief ever since. If you ask him why he has never owned the Saviour by uniting with His people, he answers, with a careless toss of the head, “Oh, a man can be as good a Christian out of the church as in it.” Bring that hope here, and cast it into the scale, and you will soon see what it is worth. Ponder the weights which I place against it. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” “He that is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will I be ashamed before My Father and His holy angels.” “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” “Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Tried by such tests, what is your hope? It is a spider’s web, a dream, a phantom, that will banish, and leave you succourless in the hour when you need it most. Stand forth, thou self-righteous man, and be weighed. Collect in one mass all the meritorious qualities and deeds in which thou confidest, and bring them to the proof of God’s unerring balance. Oh, what a bundle! You carry a load of goodness longer than the load of sin that clung to the shoulders of Bunyan’s pilgrim. But, before we proceed to weigh this bundle, let us open it, and see what it contains. Here is a whole web of honesty. With your permission, we will unroll it, and ascertain its character. At the first glance, it looks very fair. The threads are fine, the texture apparently firm and even. But stop! what is this? Here is a wide cut right in the middle of the cloth; and close beside it I read, in glaring capitals, “Sharp Bargains.” Investigating further, we perceive that the entire fabric is frayed and torn, and defaced with stains and blemishes, which, as we survey them more narrowly, shape themselves into words like these: “Tricks in Trade”--“Scant meassures”--“Light weights”--“Adulterated articles sold for pure”--“Government taxes charged to the customer.” That is enough. Your honesty is not immaculate. Here is another piece, labelled “Upright Conduct.” This, too, judging from the outside, seems to be all right. But let us unfold it, and examine it in a better light. As the world goes, it is not bad. There is no trace of flagrant crime--no soil from theft and robbery--no blood-stain of murder--no foulpollution left by drunkenness and debauchery. Ah! there is a dirt-spot. That is where you told a lie. There is a hole. That is where you broke the Sabbath. And there it is all snarled and twisted up. That is where you got in a passion, and put your whole household in a coil. But what have we here, right in the centre of the budget? A monstrous bladder, inflated to its utmost tension, and marked “Self-conceit!” We need not untie it. We know what is in it--air, nothing but air. No wonder your bundle looked so large! Why, such goods would not impose even upon the dull optics of an army inspector. They are shoddy all through. And dare you subject them to the gaze of that Holy and Heart-searching Judge, whose glance pierces all disguises, and whose holiness will tolerate no imperfection? Yonder is one who expects to be saved because he has a good heart. Pass up that heart, and let us weigh its excellence. Well, it surely is a fine heart, round, large, full of grand impulses and activities--a noble heart--would there were more such in the world. It has, you perceive, an earthward and a heavenward side. Let us look at the earthward side. How warm and living is all hotel And what a record may one read here of the admirable qualities yet remaining in our fallen nature! Deeply stamped on its surface, you may see the names of father, mother, brother, sister, wife, child; and, underneath, the quick blood of affection and kindness gushing and playing; while every nerve and artery is instinct with high aspirations, with generous sentiments, with scorn of meanness, with sympathy for the poor and the oppressed, with the throbbings of honour, manliness, and truth. Turn we now to the heavenward side. Alas, it is blank! There is no God, no Christ, no spiritual longings, no celestial tendencies. Such a heart was once brought to the great Master Weigher, when He sojourned in flesh. A young man, of amiable disposition and praiseworthy deportment, came to Him, inquiring what he should do that he might inherit eternal life. “And Jesus, beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest--go, sell all that thou hast, and come, take up thy cross and follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” Here was the touchstone. Let us, finally, place in these Divine scales the pretensions of that vast multitude who build their hope of final safety on the fact that God is so merciful. It is a glorious truth--a truth made known in the Gospel under every form of expression, and proclaimed with the utmost emphasis, that the Most High is tender and pitiful to the children of men, and has no pleasure in their misery. He has appointed His Son to be our mediator and substitute; and it is an irreversible law of His administration that pardon and eternal life shall be dispensed to those alone who become partakers of Christ by repentance and faith. To such He is indeed merciful. To all others He is a God of justice, and a consuming fire. But the persons of whom I now speak rest on the mercy of God as an independent attribute of His nature, separate from the provisions of the atonement, and irrespective of all moral conditions. They expect to be saved, not because they are contrite for their sins, and have fled to Jesus for refuge, but simply because God is merciful. Now let us bring this hypothesis to the proof. You say that a God, whose loving-kindness is infinite, can never suffer the souls which He has created to be lost. I lay that assertion in the balance of inspired truth; and I test its correctness by these declarations from the lips of God Himself. “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established?’ “He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned.” “He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the Only-Begotten Son of God.” “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby they may be saved.” How baseless does your confidence in the abstract mercy of God appear, when confronted with announcements like these! O man! whoever thou art that hopest for salvation out of Christ, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (J. Ide.)

National Duties, Responsibilities, and Unfaithfulness, Stated, and Enforced

There is nothing which more clearly proves the truth of the prophet’s words, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” than that spirit of boastful impunity with which it inspires the guilty sons of men. Although “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” yet they think they may live as they like, and that no harm will ensue notwithstanding. In Deuteronomy 29:18-20, we see the nature of this sin. It is no ordinary spirit of impiety. It is the proud, daring, impious thought, nestled and cherished in the heart, that, notwithstanding all a man’s wickedness, and in opposition to all that the Lord hath spoken, there is nothing to be feared, because there will be no judgment executed at last. Striking, as this sin does, at the very root of the holiness, justice, and faithfulness of God, we need not be surprised at its solemn denunciation. In the days of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 28:1-13), characters of thisdescription abounded in a most fearful manner, and carried their impieties to a most awful extent. Observe the long catalogue of aggravated crimes with which Belshazzar was charged. Obstinate impenitence; a proud, arrogant self-exaltation. A profane impiety. A marked insult cast upon the Majesty of Heaven. A studied deprivation of the honour and glory due unto God. In speaking of the judgment of God, with regard to men and nations, there is a distinction to be noticed, that is of no small importance. God judgeth nations as such; and their judgment generally takes place in this world. Individuals, too, are judged as such, but their judgment is reserved for its final execution to the last day. The judgment of nations as such is of a temporal nature; the judgment of individuals is everlasting.

1. It is utterly impossible for men or nations to stand before God in strict judgment. Belshazzar’s doom extends much further than his own condemnation and Babylon’s mighty fall. The words of the text, carried out to the full extent, embrace all nations and all people. There is not a man upon earth, be he who he may, upon the ground of what he is, or has done, that can ever stand before God in the strict process of trial. There is not a city or nation upon earth that can ever endure the just judgment of God. Brought to the test of His impartial decision, they would certainly be condemned; they would certainly fall. There is not any other judgment with God than that which is strictly just; nor any other method of procedure established by Him which is of a description otherwise than founded upon the surest integrity, and according to the most honourable requisitions of His truth and perfections.

2. What is the cause of their inevitable condemnation? It arises from the vast contratity of character brought into this judicial contact, and from the unequal position in which the respective parties stand to each other. Man must be condemned in the judgment, must fall, must perish, because he is such a creature as he is, and because God is such a being as His word and perfections proclaim Him to be. Standing on the ground of his own works, whether in whole or in part, whether bad or good, the real point to be decided is, not what we may have comparatively done, but whether he has done all that the law requires. Weighed in these balances he is found wanting. It will not avail to say, but God is merciful. God’s mercy is justice. Nor can any extenuating excuse, or mitigating plea, be found.

3. This alarming truth speaks to our own nation, and to our own people. What are the positive duties incumbent on us as a professedly Christian nation and people?

(10) Unhesitatingly to discountenance and resist the inroads of infidelity, licentiousness, profaneness, and every other pernicious principle, and evil word and work.

2. What are the binding responsibilities under which we stand, both as a nation and as individuals? Are we under no obligation

3. Have we been faithful or unfaithful in the circumstances in which we are placed, and in the discharge of the duties which we owe, and are bound to perform? (R. Shittler.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Daniel 5:27". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

TEKEL,.... As for the meaning of this word, and what it points at, it is this:

thou art weighed in the balances: of justice and truth, in the holy righteous law of God; as gold, and jewels, and precious stones, are weighed in the scales by the goldsmith and jeweller with great exactness, to know the worth of them:

and art found wanting; found to be adulterated gold, reprobate silver, bad coin, a false stone; found to be a worthless man, a wicked prince, wanting the necessary qualifications of wisdom, goodness, mercy, truth, and justice. The Scriptures of truth, the word of God, contained in the books of the Old and New Testament, are the balances of the sanctuary, in which persons, principles, and practices, are to be weighed; and sad it is where they are found light and wanting: men, both of high and low degree, when put here, are lighter than vanity. The Pharisee, or self-righteous person, when weighed in the balance of God's law, which is holy, just, and good, will be found wanting of that holiness and righteousness he pretends to, and appear to be an unholy and an unrighteous man; his righteousness, neither for the matter of it, nor manner of performing it, being agreeable to that law, and so no righteousness in the sense of it, Deuteronomy 6:25, it being imperfect, and so leaves him to the curse of it, Galatians 3:10, and not being performed in a pure and spiritual manner that it requires, is rejected by it; and miserable will be the case of such a man at the day of judgment, when his works will be found wanting, and not answerable to the demands of a righteous law, and he without the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness, and so naked and speechless. The hypocrite, and formal professor, when weighed in the balance of the Scripture, will be found wanting the true grace of God; his faith will appear to be feigned, and his hope groundless, and his love to be in word and in tongue only, and not at all to answer to the description of true grace given in the word of God; and bad will it be with such persons at last, when at the bridegroom's coming they will be destitute of the oil of true and real grace; only have that which is counterfeit, and the mere lamp of an outward profession, which will then stand them in no stead, or be of any avail unto them: in the same balances are the doctrines and principles of men to be weighed; and, such as are according to them are solid and weighty, and are comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones; but such as are not are light, and like wood, hay, and stubble, which the fire of the word will reveal, try, and burn up, not being able to stand against it; and if these are weighed in the balances, they will be found wanting of real truth and goodness, and be but as chaff to wheat; and what is the one to the other? there is no comparison between them; and dreadful will be the case of false teachers, that make and teach an abomination and a lie; and of those that are given up to believe them, these will not be able to stand the trying hour of temptation, and much less the last and final judgment. Sad for preachers of the word to be found wanting in their ministry, and hearers to be wanting in their duty; not taking care neither what they hear, nor how they hear, or whether they put in practice the good they do hear.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

weighed in the balances — The Egyptians thought that Osiris weighed the actions of the dead in a literal balance. The Babylonians may have had the same notion, which would give a peculiar appropriateness to the image here used.

found wanting — too light before God, the weigher of actions (1 Samuel 2:3; Psalm 62:9). Like spurious gold or silver (Jeremiah 6:30).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Art found wanting — There is no weight nor worth in thee; thou hast made light of God, and the Lord makes light of thee.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The exposition of the word Tekel, to weigh, now follows: — Since thou hast been weighed in the balance, or scale, and found wanting Here Daniel shews God so moderating his judgments, as if he was carrying a balance in his hand. The emblem is taken from the custom of mankind; for men know the use of the balance for accurate measurement. So also God is said to treat all things by weight and measure, since he does nothing with confusion, but uses moderation; and, according to ordinary language, nothing is more or less than it should be. (Wisdom of Solomon 11:21.) For this reason, Daniel says God weighed Belshazzar in a balance, since he did not make haste to inflict punishment, but exacted it with justice according to his own uniform rule of government. Since he was found deficient, that is, was found light and without weight. As if he had said, Thou thinkest thy dignity must be spared, since all men revere thee; thou thinkest thyself worthy of honor; thou art deceived says he, for God judges otherwise; God does not use a common scale, but holds his own, and there art found deficient; that is, thou art found a man of no consequence, in any way. From these words there is no doubt that the tyrant was greatly exasperated, but as his last end was approaching, he ought to hear the voice of the herald. And God, without doubt, restrained his fierceness, that he should not rise up against Daniel.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘Weighed … and … found wanting.’

Daniel 5:27

I. God’s scales are adjustable scales.—He weighs in reference to quality as well as quantity. He weighs the lives of men as a lapidary weighs the diamond. He weighs us in reference to our past opportunities, and to what we ought to be. God does not judge all men alike.

II. God not only judges men on account of their past opportunities, but on account of the opportunities of the present, and of the future.—A man is judged not only for the damage he does to his own soul, but for the damage he does to the souls of others. Belshazzar drunk meant that the court was drunk, the army was drunk, and that even the sentinels on the walls were drunk. Thus the king was responsible for the whole.

III. God judges each and all of us independently of anybody else.—Because other people in the Church work iniquity, that is no excuse before God for our wrong-doing. And God’s judgments come when least expected. In one night the banqueting hall of King Belshazzar was turned into a slaughter-house. No man knows when his life shall be weighed in the balances.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". Church Pulpit Commentary. https: 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Daniel 5:27 TEKEL Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Ver. 27. TEKEL thou art weighed in the balances, (a) and art found wanting.] As the former was a term taken from creditors, so this from light coin; deprehensus es minus habere, thou art not current. Others may think thee weighty enough and worthy, but God pondereth the hearts, [Proverbs 22:2] and thinketh thee fit to be refused, ut nummus reprobus so money rejected.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Daniel 5:27. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

THE words before us were uttered in reference to a single individual, Belshazzar, king of Babylon, whose open acts most fully attested the truth of the allegation contained in them. But God discerns the heart, and weighs every man in his unerring balance; and, though he do not now declare the result of his examination, as he then did, by a written testimony that shall be seen of men, he records it in the book of his remembrance, and will make it known, concerning every one of us, in the last day. Now, as upon this testimony our eternal happiness will depend, it becomes us to ascertain beforehand what the state of our souls really is. And this we may do, if we weigh ourselves in the balances to which we have access. Let me then shew you,

I. In what balances we should weigh ourselves—

Certainly we must not take the scales by which the world forms its estimate of men and things. They are so deceitful, that we can never by them attain any just knowledge of ourselves. They are so constructed, that sin, unless it be of a very enormous character, scarcely affects them at all: and virtue, of however low a character it be, produces a vast preponderance in the scale of merit. Those which I would recommend for your use, are,

1. The balance of God’s perfect law—

[The law of God requires that we love God with all our heart, and all our mind, and all our soul, and all our strength; and that we love our neighbour, even every child of man, altogether as ourselves. It admits of no departure from this; no, not so much as in thought. Any thing short of the obedience of Christ himself is a violation of it, and renders us obnoxious to its curse.

Now, if we try ourselves by this standard, who amongst us will not be found wanting? or rather I should say, who amongst us has ever, for one single moment, come up to it? The light of a glow-worm actually approaches nearer to the splendour of the sun in the firmament, than our obedience has done to that which is required of us. To say that “we are found wanting,” is to say nothing. Verily, if weighed in this balance, the best man upon the face of the whole earth will be found “lighter than vanity itself.” To us it may appear, that in this respect there is at least a great difference between the states of different men: but, if viewed aright, the goodness of any natural man would really be found to weigh as little before God as the dust upon the balance; so grievously wanting are we all, insomuch that “every mouth must be alike stopped, and all the world become guilty before God [Note: Romans 3:19.].”]

2. The balance of his blessed Gospel—

[Persons greatly mistake respecting the nature of the Gospel: they suppose it to be a kind of remedial law, lowered to the standard of human infirmity. But this is a fatal error. The Gospel does not dispense with any one duty that was enjoined by the Law, or lower it in any respect. To suppose that it did, would be to imagine that God at first required more of us than was necessary, or that now he requires less than is necessary; or that some change has taken place in the relation that subsists between him and his creatures; so that that which was necessary in the first instance, is now no longer necessary. The Gospel makes no change whatever in the law: but it prescribes duties, of which the law gave no intimation, and could take no cognizance. It prescribes repentance. For this the law made no provision t but the Gospel commands “all men everywhere to repent:” its language is, “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness: humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up [Note: James 4:9-10.].” In addition to this, it enjoins faith; even faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the appointed Saviour of the world. Of this the law spake nothing: it knew not of a Saviour for fallen man: it simply said, “Do this, and live.” But the Gospel reveals a Saviour, who is “able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him;” and preaches through him the forgiveness of sins, assuring us, that “all who believe shall be justified from all things [Note: Acts 13:39.].” Once more, the Gospel calls us to obedience; even to such an obedience as a poor fallen sinner, when aided by the Holy Spirit, is able to render. Such obedience as this the law could not accept: hut the Gospel declares, that it shall be accepted of God through Jesus Christ [Note: 1 Peter 2:5.] If only we serve God with a willing mind, he will “not be extreme to mark what is done amiss;” but will be “well pleased with our sacrifices,” notwithstanding the imperfection of them, and will vouchsafe to confer upon us a recompence of reward [Note: Hebrews 13:15-16.].

Now, then, let us inquire how far we comply with the gracious terms of the Gospel. What know we of repentance, even of “that broken and contrite heart which God will not despise?” Have we not still found “a heart of stone” within us, even whilst we have desired “an heart of flesh?” — — — And how have we exercised faith? Have our souls gone forth to the Saviour, to lay hold on him, and trust in him, and glory in him? Have we not found a most astonishing backwardness towards this holy exercise, insomuch that we seem to have accounted the Gospel a cunningly-devised fable, rather than a divine reality? — — — Then, as to the surrender of ourselves to God, how has it been with us? Has there been that entire devotion of our souls to him, which his love and mercy have so justly demanded? Have we not rather been amazed at our own insensibility and ingratitude, so far exceeding all that we could ever have conceived?

If, then, we weigh ourselves in this balance, what shall we find, but sad occasion for grief and shame? — — —]

3. The balance even of our own conscience—

[This, I must confess, is a very inadequate mode of estimating our real character. Conscience is blind. Its views of duty are very imperfect: its observation of our conduct also is extremely partial; and its judgment very erroneous. Yet even in this balance, unduly favourable as it is, we shall be found sadly wanting. We all know that God ought to be loved and served: that the Lord Jesus Christ also ought to be precious to our souls. We know that sin should be mortified; and that holiness of heart and life should be cultivated. We know, that, as immortal beings, we should rise superior to the things of time and sense, and seek chiefly the happiness and glory of eternity. Now, then, how far have we corresponded even with our own standard of duty? Are we not sensible that the interests of the soul, and the concerns of eternity, have not been of such paramount value in our estimation, as their real importance has required? Defective as our own standard of duty has been, have we not fallen greatly and shamefully below it? — — —]

Let me. then, proceed to shew you,

II. What lessons we should learn from our defects—

There is no reason for us to despond: on the contrary, the more sensible we are of our defects, the more hopeful is our state before God. Let us then search out our defects to the uttermost; and then learn from them,

1. To be thankful for the Gospel—

[O! what glad tidings does the Gospel proclaim! Salvation! Salvation for sinners, even the chief! Salvation for those who have broken the law! yes, and have despised the Gospel also! and have lived hitherto only for themselves!—What thanks can we render to God, that we are permitted to hear this joyful sound, ere the curses of the broken law come down upon us, and we are shut up in that place of torment, where the voice of mercy never sounds, nor one ray of hope can ever enter! Verily, Brethren, if you will not now bless your God, “the very stones will cry out against you.” What, if king Belshazzar could have a proclamation of mercy to his soul, what feelings would it excite in him? But it is observable, that no call to repentance was given to him; for his day of grace was past. This, however, is not your state: to you the Saviour says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth!” “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden! and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Rejoice then, and leap for joy; for in Christ you have your every defect cancelled, and your every want supplied.]

2. To walk humbly before God—

[Be it so, that your iniquities are pardoned, and your sins are covered:” still, how can you do otherwise than lothe and abhor yourselves, when you contemplate your daily walk before God? What might not be expected of one who has been redeemed from death by the blood of God’s only dear Son? What admiration, and love, and gratitude would you suppose must fill the soul of one who has been bought with such a price, and, from a child of Satan, been made a child of God, from an heir of wrath, an heir of everlasting glory? You would naturally suppose that he would not have so much as a thought but how to praise and glorify his Benefactor. But, alas! not even the wonders of redeeming love can produce upon us all the effect that might be wished. We still are in a great measure carnal, looking too much to the things which are visible and temporal, and too little to the things which are invisible and eternal. In truth, our very best services furnish us with but too just occasion for penitence; our very tears needing to be washed in the blood of Christ, and our repentances to be repented of. Let this lesson then be learned; To walk softly before God, in the remembrance of your sins; and, when you have done all that is commanded, still to say, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done that only which it was our duty to do.”]

3. To be preparing daily for the scrutiny that awaits you at the last-day—

[God will come shortly to judge the world; and will call every secret thing into judgment, whether it be good or evil. Then will innumerable defects, which here you overlooked, be brought to light; and every counsel of the heart, whether good or evil, be made manifest. Should you not, then, be preparing for that day? Should you not get every evil of your heart mortified, and every good thing matured within you? Belshazzar, when he received his warning, had but a few hours to live: for that very night was his soul required of him. And may it not be so with you also? And if it should, in what a pitiable state will you be, as unprepared for your great account! Yet, go you must, and be weighed also in the balance of God’s sanctuary; and, if found wanting, like light or reprobate silver, be cast away. Think, I pray you, of the representations given of that period by our blessed Lord: some, as wheat, will be treasured up in the granary of heaven; but others, as chaff, be cast into the fire of hell, even the fire that never shall be quenched. “The net, at present, drags to land both good fish and refuse: but then the good will be gathered into vessels, and the bad be cast away.” Well, thanks be to God! there is yet time to prepare for that day; and time to have every defect of your souls supplied. The Lord Jesus Christ is both able and willing to accomplish in you his good work: and if you truly and unfeignedly commit yourselves to him, he will “perfect in you the work he has begun,” and “preserve you blameless unto his heavenly kingdom.”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https: 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thou art weighed in a hanging balance, alluding to the weighing of goods exactly in scales; and God is said to weigh the mountains in scales: it shows his just proceeding; God is not hasty in punishing, but will give just allowance in weighing, he will hold the scales, he will do it fairly before all the world.

Art found wanting; thou dost not hold weight, but comest short vastly. There is no weight nor worth in thee. Thou hast made light of God in his honour, people, vessels; and the Lord makes light of thee, thou art reprobate silver, false coin; thou art of no value.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

TEKEL Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

TEKEL Thou art weighed in the balances. The Egyptians thought that Osiris weighed the actions of the dead in a literal balance. The Babylonians may have had the same notion, which would give a special appropriateness to the image here used.

And art found wanting - too light before God, the weigher of actions (1 Samuel 2:3; Psalms 62:9). Like spurious gold or silver (Jeremiah 6:30).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
Job 31:6; Psalms 62:9; Jeremiah 6:30; Ezekiel 22:18-20
Matthew 22:11,12; 1 Corinthians 3:13

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Daniel 5:27". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

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the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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