5 King Belshazzar 1 prepared a great banquet 2 for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in front of 3 them all. 4 2 While under the influence 5 of the wine, Belshazzar issued an order to bring in the gold and silver vessels – the ones that Nebuchadnezzar his father 6 had confiscated 7 from the temple in Jerusalem 8 – so that the king and his nobles, together with his wives and his concubines, could drink from them. 9 3 So they brought the gold and silver 10 vessels that had been confiscated from the temple, the house of God 11 in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, together with his wives and concubines, drank from them. 4 As they drank wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 At that very moment the fingers of a human hand appeared 12 and wrote on the plaster of the royal palace wall, opposite the lampstand. 13 The king was watching the back 14 of the hand that was writing. 6 Then all the color drained from the king’s face 15 and he became alarmed. 16 The joints of his hips gave way, 17 and his knees began knocking together. 7 The king called out loudly 18 to summon 19 the astrologers, wise men, and diviners. The king proclaimed 20 to the wise men of Babylon that anyone who could read this inscription and disclose its interpretation would be clothed in purple 21 and have a golden collar 22 placed on his neck and be third ruler in the kingdom.
8 So all the king’s wise men came in, but they were unable to read the writing or to make known its 23 interpretation to the king. 9 Then King Belshazzar was very terrified, and he was visibly shaken. 24 His nobles were completely dumbfounded.
10 Due to the noise 25 caused by the king and his nobles, the queen mother 26 then entered the banquet room. She 27 said, “O king, live forever! Don’t be alarmed! Don’t be shaken! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has within him a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, he proved to have 28 insight, discernment, and wisdom like that 29 of the gods. 30 King Nebuchadnezzar your father appointed him chief of the magicians, astrologers, wise men, and diviners. 31 12 Thus there was found in this man Daniel, whom the king renamed Belteshazzar, an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and skill to interpret 32 dreams, solve riddles, and decipher knotty problems. 33 Now summon 34 Daniel, and he will disclose the interpretation.”
13 So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard about you, how there is a spirit of the gods in you, and how you have 35 insight, discernment, and extraordinary wisdom. 15 Now the wise men and 36 astrologers were brought before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation. But they were unable to disclose the interpretation of the message. 16 However, I have heard 37 that you are able to provide interpretations and to decipher knotty problems. Now if you are able to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, you will wear purple and have a golden collar around your neck and be third 38 ruler in the kingdom.”
17 But Daniel replied to the king, “Keep your gifts, and give your rewards to someone else! However, I will read the writing for the king and make known its 39 interpretation. 18 As for you, O king, the most high God bestowed on your father Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, greatness, honor, and majesty. 40 19 Due to the greatness that he bestowed on him, all peoples, nations, and language groups were trembling with fear 41 before him. He killed whom he wished, he spared 42 whom he wished, he exalted whom he wished, and he brought low whom he wished. 20 And when his mind 43 became arrogant 44 and his spirit filled with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and his honor was removed from him. 21 He was driven from human society, his mind 45 was changed to that of an animal, he lived 46 with the wild donkeys, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until he came to understand that the most high God rules over human kingdoms, and he appoints over them whomever he wishes.
22 “But you, his son 47 Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, 48 although you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven. You brought before you the vessels from his temple, and you and your nobles, together with your wives and concubines, drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone – gods 49 that cannot see or hear or comprehend! But you have not glorified the God who has in his control 50 your very breath and all your ways! 24 Therefore the palm of a hand was sent from him, and this writing was inscribed.
25 “This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, 51 TEQEL, and PHARSIN. 52 26 This is the interpretation of the words: 53 As for mene 54 – God has numbered your kingdom’s days and brought it to an end. 27 As for teqel – you are weighed on the balances and found to be lacking. 28 As for peres 55 – your kingdom is divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”
29 Then, on Belshazzar’s orders, 56 Daniel was clothed in purple, a golden collar was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed third ruler in the kingdom. 30 And in that very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, 57 was killed. 58 31 59 So Darius the Mede took control of the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years old.
6 It seemed like a good idea to Darius 1 to appoint over the kingdom 120 satraps 2 who would be in charge of the entire kingdom. 2 Over them would be three supervisors, one of whom was Daniel. These satraps were accountable 3 to them, so that the king’s interests might not incur damage. 3 Now this Daniel was distinguishing himself above the other supervisors and the satraps, for he had an extraordinary spirit. In fact, the king intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 4 Consequently the supervisors and satraps were trying to find 4 some pretext against Daniel in connection with administrative matters. 5 But they were unable to find any such damaging evidence, 6 because he was trustworthy and guilty of no negligence or corruption. 7 5 So these men concluded, 8 “We won’t find any pretext against this man Daniel unless it is 9 in connection with the law of his God.”
6 So these supervisors and satraps came by collusion 10 to the king and said 11 to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 To all the supervisors of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, counselors, and governors it seemed like a good idea for a royal edict to be issued and an interdict to be enforced. For the next thirty days anyone who prays 12 to any god or human other than you, O king, should be thrown into a den of lions. 8 Now let the king issue a written interdict 13 so that it cannot be altered, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed. 14 9 So King Darius issued the written interdict.
10 When Daniel realized 15 that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows 16 in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem. 17 Three 18 times daily he was 19 kneeling 20 and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously. 11 Then those officials who had gone to the king 21 came by collusion and found Daniel praying and asking for help before his God. 12 So they approached the king and said to him, 22 “Did you not issue an edict to the effect that for the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human other than to you, O king, would be thrown into a den of lions?” The king replied, “That is correct, 23 according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed.” 13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the captives 24 from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the edict that you issued. Three times daily he offers his prayer.” 25
14 When the king heard this, 26 he was very upset and began thinking about 27 how he might rescue Daniel. Until late afternoon 28 he was struggling to find a way to rescue him. 15 Then those men came by collusion to the king and 29 said to him, 30 “Recall, 31 O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or decree that the king issues can be changed.” 16 So the king gave the order, 32 and Daniel was brought and thrown into a den 33 of lions. The king consoled 34 Daniel by saying, “Your God whom you continually serve will rescue you!” 17 Then a stone was brought and placed over the opening 35 to the den. The king sealed 36 it with his signet ring and with those 37 of his nobles so that nothing could be changed with regard to Daniel. 18 Then the king departed to his palace. But he spent the night without eating, and no diversions 38 were brought to him. He was unable to sleep. 39
19 In the morning, at the earliest sign of daylight, the king got up and rushed to the lions’ den. 20 As he approached the den, he called out to Daniel in a worried voice, 40 “Daniel, servant of the living God, was your God whom you continually serve able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Then Daniel spoke to 41 the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not harmed me, because I was found to be innocent before him. Nor have I done any harm to you, O king.”
23 Then the king was delighted and gave an order to haul Daniel up from the den. So Daniel was hauled up out of the den. He had no injury of any kind, because he had trusted in his God. 24 The king gave another order, 42 and those men who had maliciously accused 43 Daniel were brought and thrown 44 into the lions’ den – they, their children, and their wives. 45 They did not even reach the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and language groups who were living in all the land: “Peace and prosperity! 46 26 I have issued an edict that throughout all the dominion of my kingdom people are to revere and fear the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God;
he endures forever.
His kingdom will not be destroyed;
his authority is forever. 47
27 He rescues and delivers
and performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel from the power 48 of the lions!”
28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and 49 the reign of Cyrus the Persian.