BOOK OF DANIEL – Actions Have Consequences

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Actions Have Consequences

Actions Have Consequences.

Let us remind ourselves of the words we previously read of Xenophon in his political romance work entitled Cryopaedia, “There upon they entered; and of those they met some were struck down and slain, and others fled into their houses, and some raised the hue and cry, but Gobryas and his friends covered the cry with their shouts, as though they were revelers themselves. And thus, making their way by the quickest route, they soon found themselves before the king’s palace. Here the detachment under Gobryas and Gadatas found the gates closed, but the men appointed to attack the guards rushed on them as they lay drinking around a blazing fire, and closed with them then and there. As the din grew louder and louder, those within became aware of the tumult, till, the king bidding them see what it meant, some of them opened the gates and ran out. Gadatas and his men, seeing the gates swing wide, darted in, hard on the heels of the others who fled back again, and they chased them at the sword’s point into the presence of the king. They found him on his feet, with his drawn scimitar in his hand. By sheer weight of numbers they overwhelmed him: and not one of his retinue escaped, they were all cut down, some flying, others snatching up anything to serve as a shield and defending themselves as best they could.”

Notice the result of Belshazzar’s poor judgment. There are several points here, all leading up to the final conclusion. While Belshazzar and his powerful friends were all getting drunk and blaspheming against God by using sacred vessels originally removed from the temple of Jerusalem, they were unaware Babylon had been breached by enemy forces of the Persian empire. Even when some guards attempted to raise the alarm, the Persians raised their voices as if they were revelers themselves while killing the guards. They quickly made their way to the palace where the feast was taking place. The gates to the palace were closed but the guards assigned to them were also drinking and laying around an open fire as they, too, were dispatched by Persian forces. By now Belshazzar had heard a commotion and sent word to have the disturbance investigated. Xenophon says some of these men opened the gates and ran out, which suggested the original guards, who were supposed to protect the gates, were outside of them as they lay drinking. This also explains how the Persians were able to capture or kill them without too much trouble. Once the gates were open, however, the flood of Persian forces chased everyone at a “sword’s point”, which means extremely close into the presence of the king. Belshazzar was by now standing with a drawn scimitar [Eastern sword] in his hand. Not only was Belshazzar overwhelmed, but so was his entire retinue. Not one of them escaped. They were all cut down.

In graphic detail Daniel 5:5-30 explains what happened prior to the final events mentioned by Xenophon. Note that Daniel 5:5 says that after Belshazzar and those in attendance drank from the sacred vessels of God, “Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote.” (ESV)

Perhaps while they were still drinking out of the sacred vessels this hand appeared, for their sinful actions were immediately dealt with. Belshazzar and those present thought they could mock God. They had the audacity to challenge God’s authority despite knowing what Nebuchadnezzar had experienced in challenging the one true God. As Belshazzar caught sight of the hand his demeanor changed. Daniel 5:6 records, “Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.” (ESV)

So terrifying was the sight of this hand that Belshazzar’s face grew pale. Often a person can tell when something is troubling someone else. This was the case for Belshazzar. He was visibly troubled. So much so that his hip sockets became loose and his knees knocked in fear of the hand and its message.