1 Belshazzar the king [descendant of Nebuchadnezzar] made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and he drank his wine in the presence of the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, while he was tasting the wine, commanded that the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple [out of the sacred area -- "the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies] which was in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought in the gold and silver vessels which had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 Immediately and suddenly there appeared the fingers of a man's hand and wrote on the plaster of the wall opposite the candlestick [so exposed especially to the light] in the king's palace, and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 6 Then the color and the [drunken] hilarious brightness of the king's face was changed, and his [terrifying] thoughts troubled and alarmed him; the joints and muscles of his hips and back gave way and his knees smote together. 7 The king cried aloud [mightily] to bring in the enchanters or soothsayers, the Chaldeans [diviners], and the astrologers. The king said to the wise men of Babylon, Whoever will read this writing and show me the interpretation of it will be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold put about his neck and will be the third ruler in the kingdom. 8 And all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation of it. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly perplexed and alarmed and the color faded from his face, and his lords were puzzled and astounded.
10 Now the queen [mother], overhearing the exciting words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house. The queen [mother] said, O king, live forever! Do not be alarmed at your thoughts or let your cheerful expression and the color of your face be changed. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the holy God [or gods], and in the days of your father light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father -- "the king, I say, your father -- "appointed him master of the magicians, enchanters or soothsayers, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 Because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, clarify riddles, and solve knotty problems were found in this same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.
Daniel Interprets Handwriting on the Wall
13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. And the king said to Daniel, Are you that Daniel of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of the holy God [or gods] is in you and that light and understanding and superior wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me that they might read this writing and make known to me the interpretation of it, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. 16 But I have heard of you, that you can make interpretations and solve knotty problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold put around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
17 Then Daniel answered before the king, Let your gifts be for yourself and give your rewards to another. However, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and greatness and glory and majesty; 19 And because of the greatness that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his mind and spirit were hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne and his glory was taken from him; 21 He was driven from among men, and his heart or mind was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses. He was fed with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the heavens until he learned and knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men and that He appoints and sets over it whomever He will. 22 And you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart and mind, though you knew all this [knew it and were defiant]. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven, and the vessels of His house have been brought before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in Whose hand your breath is and Whose are all your ways you have not honored and glorified [but have dishonored and disgraced]. 24 Then was the part of the hand sent from the presence of [the Most High God], and this writing was inscribed.
25 And this is the inscription that was written, mene, mene, tekel, upharsin -- "numbered, numbered, weighed, divisions. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingship and brought them to an end; 27 tekel, You are weighed in the balances and are found wanting; 28 peres, Your kingdom and your kingship are divided and given to the Medes and Persians. [Foretold in Isa. 21:2, 5, 9.]
29 Then Belshazzar commanded, and Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain of gold put about his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.