Over the last two days we’ve read the story of King Belshazzar’s feast, a defiant rallying of the troops in the face of a looming Persian invasion – and a brazen slap in the face to Israel’s God, using the temple cups in drunken worship of his idols. So God writes some graffiti on the wall, which no-one can interpret. No-one, of course, except Daniel. Taking Belshazzar’s arrogant and unrepentant attitude to task (in contrast with that of his more teachable ancestor, Nebuchadnezzar), an aging Daniel is about to interpret the writing on the wall.
Yesterday, we saw how King Belshazzar gave a banquet, probably as a rallying-cry to war, with the Persians approaching the gates of the city. During the banquet, he deliberately brought out the gold and silver cups stolen from the temple in Jerusalem by one of his predecessors, Nebuchadnezzar, as a way of reminding the faithful of previous conquests. Belshazzar used them in drunken worship of gold and silver idols (not to mention those made of bronze, iron, wood, and stone). That pretty much sums up his attitude toward God. And, as we’ll see in today’s reading, God’s not impressed.
Welcome back to our Daniel series. Today, we begin a three-part look at chapter 5: Belshazzar’s Feast.
Daniel 5:1-4 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.