This incident happened in the last year of Belshazzar. We know that because in this portion of scripture, Belshazzar is replaced by Darius the Mede.
Belshazzar is having a feast for a thousand of his lords. Being the good host that he was, he served them wine during the feast. As so many love to do when entertaining, he gets the bright idea to bring out his best vessels to impress his company. He decides to bring out the vessels from the temple at Jerusalem, which Nebuchadnezzar confiscated when he plundered Jerusalem. So he has them bring the vessels out, and he, his princes, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they were drinking wine, they praise the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone. I found it ironic that with the exception of the wood and stone, these were the same elements that made up Nebuchadnezzar’s image.
Now he will learn a lesson that will cost him his life, and the Chaldeans the kingdom. No doubt he had either witnessed Nebuchadnezzar living like a beast of the field, or he would have heard stories about it. These big wigs had big egos. He should have known the god who had humiliated Nebuchadnezzar, but instead he praised dumb objects.
Beloved, there is only so much God is willing to put up with. We can’t expect God to turn his head at the misuse of the holy vessels. What Belshazzar did was unforgivable. The vessels were holy, and dedicated to God. By disrespecting the holy vessels which were dedicated to the service of God, he was disrespecting God. As a result, God was about to give Belshazzar an evaluation. One that he wouldn’t fare so well at. In fact, he will come up short. The results will be devastating. Not only will he lose his life, but the kingdom will be taken from his posterity or kinsman. The Babylonian Empire had run its course. God was about to make an immediate change in kingdoms. The next kingdom up is Media-Persia.
Remember, in our last prophecy of “The Ram, He-goat, and little horn”, there were only three kingdoms, where there were four in the two prior prophecies? In this vision of the “Hand Writing On The Wall”, we see why. Babylon will no longer exist as the power it once was. Instead, it will still exist, but will be controlled by Media-Persia. Remember, in the prior prophecy we were told that the other beasts had their dominion taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and time? Their lives are prolonged, because they are taken over by the succeeding kingdom, but continued to exist under that new kingdom. One kingdom will be down, Media-Persia will come to power, and two more are yet to come.
In the same hour that Belshazzar and his guest were living it up, enjoying living as royalty, the fingers of a man’s hand came forth and began to write on the wall. And the king saw the hand as it wrote on the wall. Talk about a show stopper, the kings countenance changed, his mind became troubled, his hip joints became loose, and his knees knocked together. There is no need to say Belshazzar was frightened. The fact is, he was terrified. The party was over! He cried out for them to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. He wanted somebody, anybody to interpret the writing on the wall. Whoever could give him the interpretation of the writing would be promoted to the third in the kingdom. That job wasn’t going to last long, that night they lost the kingdom. Still there was no one who could give the interpretation. Belshazzar is really stressed out now, and his guest are amazed at it all.
It is the queen who remembers Daniel and his encounter with his father. Daniel is immediately brought before the king.
Daniel takes the time to lecture the king before he gives him the interpretation of the writing. He tells him how his father was full of pride even though it was God who gave him all that he had. When he refused to be humble, God sent him out to live like the beast of the field. The indictment against Belshazzar was that he knew all of that and still did not humble himself. He had lifted himself up against God, and drank from the holy vessels, and praised false gods.
This is what was written on the wall: Me’-Ne, Me’-Ne, Te’Kel, U-Phar’-Sin.
Here is the interpretation.
Me’-Ne; God has numbered thy kingdom and finished it.
Te’-Kel; Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.
Pe’-Res; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
Daniel wanted Belshazzar to know that it was God who had determined that the time of his kingdom was up. It was over. Belshazzar had been assessed, and had come up lacking. He had fallen short of expectations. His kingdom had been divided between the Medes and Persians.
That is the plain and simple truth about the hand writing on the wall. Belshazzar is set to lose his kingdom. His pride had gotten in the way of his future. His father should have served as a reminder to him of the God of Heaven, and his dislike of pride, but he did not.
So Daniel is promoted, and that same night Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans is killed, when Darius the Mede took the kingdom at age sixty-two.
Beloved, the scripture says: pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. That was certainly true of Belshazzar. He can certainly serve as a reminder to us all about the folly of pride. If Belshazzar had been humble, he wouldn’t have lost his kingdom. Perhaps we are missing out on blessings when we allow pride to get in our way. It is certainly something to think about! Blessings!
Much Love To You!