On to Daniel 5:17-31
v17 Daniel knew that great honour and prestige in the kingdoms of men had no lasting significance (the attitude that Daniel displays here is in contrast to the attitude Belshazzar had in trying to elevate himself in the eyes of his leaders). However, Daniel did desire to share G-d’s revelation with people.
v18 The G-d of Israel (not gods of gold, silver etc) sets up kings and removes them (Dan 2:21)
v19: G-d gave Nebuchadnezzar great authority and power. But he abused the power (provision) that G-d gave him and had to face the consequences…
v20 ..he was brought down from the throne of his kingdom, and his glory was removed from him. Belshazzar hadn’t learnt from the testimony of his father’s life., and in fact had rebelled against it. He had acted in pride before his people.
v21 G-d is sovereign. Yet again this truth is set before us. Are we people who see and learn from the revelation of G-d, and do we integrate it into our lives or forget about it?
v22 Are we people who learn from the testimonies of others? Belshazzar did not learn from his father. In pride, rather than humility, he continued to build his own kingdom rather than G-ds.
v23 Many people worship (or are influenced by) those things that have no true, lasting authority (false gods). They worship incorrectly –they go after idols who are unable to do anything.
v25 Not only was Daniel able to read and enunciate the words written on the wall, but he was able to understand what the words meant.
v26 G-d was going to remove the kingdom from Belshazzar.
v27 Why? Because Belshazzar was found to be lacking. He had been surrounded by the testimony of G-d in the lives of others, but he had ignored and rebelled against it in his own life. He did not live in a way that was pleasing to G-d – despite having had opportunity to do so.
v28 A change was coming. The Babylonian empire (that head of gold) was going to reach its end and be taken over by the Persian empire (chest and arms of silver). Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, who had the kingdom restored to him after seven years, there was no promise of restoration now. The kingdom was going to be given to another.
v29: For what it was worth, Belshazzar honoured his word.
v30 Also Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar did not get a second chance. Nebuchadnezzar had not known the power of G-d until G-d had sent Daniel into his life. Belshazzar had been exposed to G-d and His power for most of his life – but, as has been said, he hadn’t learnt from the testimonies and continued to do his own thing.
· Night – Belshazzar was slain in darkness – absent from the revelation of G-d.
· Chaldeans – another name (a synonym) for the Babylonians.
v31 (the last verse of chapter 5 in the English, but the first verse of chapter 6 in the Hebrew text)
The head of gold comes to an end and the new empire begins…
(King Darius the Mede is not known to secular history. The fall of the Babylonian empire is attributed to Cyrus, the Persian in 539BC)
· 62 years old – someone who is mature, has experience and has learnt some life’s lessons.
· Daniel (unlike the other “wise” men from the Babylonian empire) was present, and an influential man, as the transition of the empires took place. Like Daniel, Israel, too, is going to be used mightily in the last days – as we transition from the kingdom of this world into the Kingdom of G-d.