Sun, Feb 11, 2018

When Your Party is Over


How did we get from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar?

  • When does this chapter occur?
    About seventy years after the events of Daniel chapter 1 (which occurred in 605BC), during the reign of the last king of Babylon, at the juncture of the fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver representing the passage of the Gentile kingdoms from Babylon to Medo-Persia in 539BC.    [1]


  • Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 c. after ruling 43 years.
    • The ensuing years of Babylonian history till its overthrow by Cyrus in 539 c. were marked by progressive deterioration, intrigue, and murder.
    • Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son:
  • Evil-Merodach who ruled for two years (562–560 c., 2 Kings 25:27–30; Jer. 52:31–34).
    • Evil-Merodach was murdered in August 560 by Neriglissar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son-in-law and Evil-Merodach’s own brother-in-law.
  • Neriglissar then ruled four years (560–556 c.).
    • He is the Nergal-Sharezer mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3, 13.
    • At his death, he was succeeded by his young son:
  • Labashi-Marduk, who ruled only two months (May and June 556) before he was assassinated and succeeded by
  • Nabonidus reigned 17 years (556–539 c.).
    • Nabonidus’ mother was the high priestess of the moon god at Haran.
    • In Haran he restored the temple of the moon god Sin, and then he attacked Edom and conquered parts of Arabia where he then lived for some time.
  • Belshazzar was Nabonidus’ eldest son and was appointed by his father as his coregent. [2]
    • Belshazzar’s name means “Bel (another name for the god Marduk) has protected the king.” [3]
      • No man can be protected from the Living God when that person brings abomination to the things God has sanctified.


  • One other detail is that the Medo-Persian army led by Cyrus had undertaken a siege against Babylon and some sources report that it had been in effect for 4 months.
  • Belshazzar foolishly thought no one could touch him.
  • He was going to party.
    • After all Babylon is reported to have enough grain to feed them for 20 years and the Euphrates River provided a reliable water supply.
    • They had a false security, just like all unbelievers. [4]


The Nabonidus Cylinder:


The Bible presents the famous ‘writing on the wall’ episode as occurring on the same day that the city of Babylon, capital of Babylonia, fell to the Medo-Persian empire under King Cyrus the Great.

Indeed, Daniel gave King Belshazzar this interpretation of the writing: “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end” (v. 26), and “your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (v. 28). The Bible claims that Belshazzar was killed “that very night” (v. 30), and with his death the Babylonian kingdom was now controlled by Medo-Persia.

However, all other known historical records once disagreed. Ancient historians like Herodotus, Megasthenes, Berossus, and Alexander Polyhistor, not to mention a vast number of cuneiform documents, were united in claiming that the last king of the Neo-Babylonian empire was Nabonidus.

Belshazzar was not even mentioned anywhere except in the book of Daniel and literature derived from it.

But just when it looked like all the evidence was stacked against Scripture, a series of archaeological discoveries showed that Belshazzar did exist after all, and the details given about him in the Bible are profoundly correct.

First, in 1854, four clay cylinders with identical inscriptions were excavated from Ur.  These Nabonidus Cylinders contained Nabonidus’ prayer to the moon god for “Belshazzar, the eldest son—my offspring.”  Thus, Belshazzar’s existence was confirmed—as Nabonidus’ firstborn son and heir to his throne.   [5]


1 Belshazzar the king made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and in the presence of the thousand lords he was drinking wine.

  • Just outside the walls of the city of Babylon the Persian army is gathered to overthrow the city/nation.
    • To show Belshazzar’s mastery over the Persians – he is throwing a wild party with loud music and gaiety.
    • 1000 lords and governors gathered.


Isaiah 22:13   You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

  • No truer words in Isiah’s prophecy here – this very night Belshazzar would die!


2 When he tasted the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring the vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar his predecessor had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines may drink from them.

3 Then they brought in the vessels of gold that they took from the temple, the house of God that was in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines drank from them.

4 They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.

  • Clearly Belshazzar trusted ONLY in his wealth and position – learning NOTHING from Nebuchadnezzar’s experience!

Proverbs 18:10–11

10 A tower of strength is the name of Yahweh;

into him the righteous will run and be safe.

11 The wealth of the rich is his strong city,

and like a wall, it is high in his own imagination.


Proverbs 18:10,11 

Proverbs 18:10

“Trust in

(Place faith in… ) 

(Believe in… )

Name of Yahweh 

Is Safe 

Proverbs 18:11


Imagines safe 


  • Blasphemy:

33.400 βλασφημέω; βλασφημίαa, ας f: to speak against someone in such a way as to harm or injure his or her reputation (occurring in relation to persons as well as to divine beings) — ‘to revile, to defame, to blaspheme, reviling.’

One way in which βλασφημέω and βλασφημίαa were used in speaking of ‘defaming God’ was by claiming some kind of equality with God. Any such statement was regarded by the Jews of biblical times as being harmful and injurious to the nature of God.   [6]


5 Immediately human fingers appeared and they wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the palace of the king, and the king was watching the palm of the hand that was writing.

6 Then his face changed

and his thoughts terrified him,

and his hip joints gave way

and his knees knocked together.

Looks like the party is over – God has stepped in to stop your folly!

  • Cyrus thought Belshazzar a coward:
    • King Cyrus of Persia(Cyrus the Great) also refers to Belshazzar when he conquered Babylon in his writings: "A coward was put in charge as the king of this country … With evil intents he did away with the regular offerings to the gods … and desecrated the worship of the king of his gods, Marduk."   [7]


7 The king cried aloud to bring in the conjurers, the astrologers and the diviners; the king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon, “Any man that can read this writing and can tell me its explanation will be clothed in purple and will have a necklace of gold hung around his neck and he will rule as third in authority in the kingdom.”

  1. Nabonidus
  2. Belshazzar
  3. _____________ - whoever can decipher the handwriting

8 Then all the wise men of the king came in, but they were not able to read the writing or to make known its explanation.

9 Then the king, Belshazzar,

became greatly terrified,

and his facial features changed upon him,

and his lords were perplexed.

  • Belshazzar realizes he is up quite a creek at this point!
    • Terrified beyond human physical capacity
    • Facial features – turns pale
      • V10: “do not let your facial expressions grow pale.”
    • 1000 Lords are all clueless – this is something very scary!


Man’s wisdom:

Psalm 111:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.

His praise endures forever.

Proverbs 1:7   The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


1 Corinthians 1:27–29

27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.


10 Because of the words of the king and his lords, the queen came into the banqueting hall and the queen spoke up and said, “O king, live forever, and let not your thoughts terrify you and do not let your facial expressions grow pale.

11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. And in the days of your predecessor, enlightenment and insight and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods was found in him; and, O king, Nebuchadnezzar your predecessor appointed him as chief of the magicians, the conjurers, the astrologers, and the diviners. Your predecessor the king did this

  • If this was Jonah, the King’s wife would be saying:
    • “Every time the God of Israel calls upon this man, he just runs!”
    • “When the going gets tough he just quits!”
  • Want to be known as a Daniel or a Jonah?


12 because there was found in him an excellent spirit and understanding and insight for interpreting dreams and explaining riddles and solving riddles; that is, in Daniel whom the king named Belteshazzar.

Now, let Daniel be called and he will tell the explanation.”

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king, and the king spoke and said to Daniel, “You are Daniel who are one of the exiles of Judah whom my predecessor, the king, brought from Judah.

14 And I have heard that a spirit of the gods is in you and enlightenment and insight and excellent wisdom was found in you.

  • What “spirit” of which “god” is known to be in you?

15 And now the wise men and the conjurers were brought in before me so that they could read this writing in order to make its explanation known to me, but they were not able to disclose the explanation of the matter.

16 But I have heard concerning you that you are able to produce interpretations and to solve riddles; now if you are able to read the writing and to make known its explanation to me, you will be clothed in purple and a necklace of gold will be placed around your neck and you will rule as third in command in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself or your rewards give to another; nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and I will make known to him the explanation.

18 O king, the Most High God gave the kingdom and the greatness and the glory and the majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your predecessor.

19 And because of the greatness that he gave to him, all the peoples, the nations and languages trembled and feared before him; whomever he wanted he killed, and whomever he wanted he let live, and whomever he wanted he honored, and whomever he wanted he humbled.

20 But when his heart became arrogant and his spirit became hard so as to act proudly, he was deposed from the throne of his kingdom and the glory was taken away from him.

21 And he was driven away from human society and his mind was made like the animals and his dwelling was with the wild asses; and he was given grass like oxen to eat, and with the dew of heaven his body was bathed, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind, and whoever he wants he sets over it.

22 “But you his successor, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart even though you knew all this.

  • When your party is over everyone knows it – see how your “friends” abandon you!
  • Your 15 minutes of fame are over – and you ain’t foolin’ anyone!


23 And now you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven, and the vessels of his temple you have brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have been drinking wine from them, and you have praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that do not see and do not hear and do not know, but the God who holds your life in his hand and all of your ways come from him, you have not honored.

24 So then the palm of the hand was sent out from his presence and this writing was inscribed.


Insert video here:



25 “Now this was the writing that was inscribed: ‘Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.’

26 “This is the explanation of the matter:

‘Mene’—God has numbered your kingdom and brought an end to it.

27 “ ‘Tekel’—you have been weighed on scales and you have been found wanting.

28 “ ‘Peres’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’ ”

29 Then Belshazzar commanded, and they clothed Daniel with purple and placed a necklace of gold around his neck, and they made a proclamation concerning him that he would be the third ruler in authority in the kingdom.

30 That same night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed.

31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years old.

Daniel 2:34   You were looking on until a stone was chiseled out—that not by hands—and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and it broke them in pieces.

Daniel 2:35   Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold all at once broke into pieces and they became like chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away and any trace of them could not be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and it filled the whole earth.


  • “stone”
    • 214 ζυγόςb, οῦ m: an instrument for weighing objects—‘balance scale.’ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἔχων ζυγὸν ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ ‘the rider on the horse held a balance scale in his hand’ Re 6:5.
      A balance scale may be described in some languages as ‘a tool for weighing’ or ‘an instrument for knowing how much something weighs.’
      Ancient balance scales often consisted of a rod held by a cord in the middle and with pans attached to both ends. Weights could be placed in one pan, while the item to be weighed would be placed in the other. [8]


  • Jesus is He whom we will be weighed against in the balances of Yahweh.
    • All kingdoms will come under the “balance of God.”
    • He will rule them all with a “rod of iron”

Psalm 2:7–9

7 I will tell the decree; Yahweh said to me:

“You are my son; today I have begotten you.

8 Ask from me and I will make the nations your heritage,

and your possession the ends of the earth.

9 You will break them with an iron rod.

Like a potter’s vessel you will shatter them.”


  • We will join Jesus in shepherding and weighing in the balance of Yahweh the nations of the earth:

Revelation 2:26–29

26 And the one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him authority over the nations,

27 and “he will shepherd them with an iron rod;

he will break them in pieces like jars made of clay,”

28 as I also have received from my Father,

and I will give him the morning star.

29 The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’



  • Hebrew:

3513 כָּבֵד [kabad, kabed /kaw·bad/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 943; GK 3877; 116 occurrences; AV translates as “honour” 34 times, “glorify” 14 times, “honourable” 14 times, “heavy” 13 times, “harden” seven times, “glorious” five times, “sore” three times, “made heavy” three times, “chargeable” twice, “great” twice, “many” twice, “heavier” twice, “promote” twice, and translated miscellaneously 10 times.

1 to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome, be honoured.   [9]


  • Greek:

Glory(Heb. kabhod; Gr. doxa). (1.) Abundance, wealth, treasure, and hence honour (Ps. 49:12); glory (Gen. 31:1; Matt. 4:8; Rev. 21:24, 26).    [10]

2 Corinthians 4:17–18

17 For our momentary light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure and proportion,

18 because we are not looking at what is seen, but what is not seen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is not seen is eternal.


Philippians 4:19   And my God will fulfill your every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 2:14   for which purpose he called you through our gospel for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.





[2] J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1344.

[3] J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1344.



[6] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 433.

[7] file:///Users/mothership/Desktop/Daniel%205%20Commentary%20_%20Precept%20Austin.html

[8] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 78.

[9] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995).

[10] M. G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893).