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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Belshazzar

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The last king of the Babylonish empire, who, at a festival, when he desecrated the sacred vessels of Jerusalem, was warned of God by the fingers of a man's hand writing upon the wall. He had been weighed by God and was found wanting. Though remonstrated with by Daniel he showed no signs of repentance, and in the midst of the festivities the city was taken by Cyrus or one of his generals and the king was slain. The monuments record that it was taken by Gobryas. The queen, probably the queen-mother, was not at such a scene of revelry, and she could tell of one who would be able to interpret the writing on the wall. See MENE

For a long time Daniel's account of the taking of the city and of Belshazzar being the last king, was held to be contradicted by history, which names several kings between Nebuchadnezzar and the close of the empire. Of these, two are mentioned in scripture: Evil-merodach, 2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31; and Nergal-sharezer. Jeremiah 39:3,13 . Two others are also named in history, Laborosoarchod and Nabonadius or Labynetus: the former reigned only nine months, and the latter cannot be made to agree with Belshazzar; but happily Col. Rawlinson in A.D. 1854 at Mugheir, the ancient Ur, found an inscription on a monument to the effect that Nabonadius associated his son Bel-shar-eser with himself on the throne. Some tablets also have been discovered bearing the record of certain contracts made by Bilu-sarra-utsur, son of the king, which is also believed to refer to Belshazzar.

Nabonadius was elsewhere, and Belshazzar was slain. This agrees with his saying to Daniel that if he could interpret the writing he should be the third in the kingdom. Belshazzar is called the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but this in scripture often means grandson, and Nabonadius is supposed to have married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. He is said to have been a usurper, and by such a marriage would have consolidated his position on the throne. Daniel 5:1-30; Daniel 7:1; Daniel 8:1 .

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Belshazzar'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/b/belshazzar.html. 1897.

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