Daniel 5:17-31

Daniel warns the king

17 Then Daniel answered the king, ‘You can keep your gifts for yourself. You can make someone else important. But I will read the words for the king, and I will tell him what they mean. 18 I tell you this, King Belshazzar. The powerful God who is over all gave authority to be king to your father, Nebuchadnezzar. God made him very great and very famous, so that he ruled with power. People respected him as a great king. 19 Because God made him so great, the people in every nation and who spoke every language were very afraid of him. If he wanted to kill someone, he could kill them. And if he wanted to save someone, he could let them live. If he wanted to make someone important, he did that. And if he wanted to make someone poor, he did that too. 20 But he became very proud and he boasted about his power. So God took away his kingdom. People did not respect him any longer as king. 21 They chased him away from his home. His mind became like an animal's mind. He lived with the wild donkeys. He ate grass like cows do. Dew from the sky made his body wet. He lived in that way until he understood that the powerful God above rules over human kingdoms. God gives authority to rule to anyone that he chooses.

22 King Belshazzar, you are Nebuchadnezzar's son, and you knew all that. But you did not become humble. 23 You thought that you were greater than the Lord of heaven. So you told your servants to bring the valuable cups that belong to God's temple. You yourself, your wives, your other women and your important friends drank wine from those cups. You praised your gods that were made from silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Those are idols that cannot see or hear. They cannot understand anything. But you worshipped them instead of the true God. He is the God who gives life to you. He has power over everything that you do. 24 Because of that, God sent the hand that wrote this message.

25 These are the words:

  • Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.
  • 26 This is what the words mean:

  • Mene means “counted”. It shows that God has counted the days of your kingdom. Now these days are finished. Your kingdom has come to an end.
  • 27 Tekel means “weighed”. It shows that God has weighed you. But the scales show that you are too light.

    28 Peres means “separate”. It shows that God has cut your kingdom into two separate parts. He has given it to the people from Media and Persia.’

    5:28Parsin and Peres are the same word. Peres is for one (singular) and Parsin is for many (plural). Peres also sounds like Persia.

    29 When Belshazzar heard that, he caused his servants to put purple clothes on Daniel. They put a gold chain round his neck to show that he was an important person. The king told everyone that Daniel had become the third ruler in the kingdom.

    30 That same night, Belshazzar, the king of the Babylonians, died. His enemies killed him. 31 Then Darius from Media received power as king. He was 62 years old.