BOOK OF DANIEL – Daniel’s History Lesson to Belshazzar.

Posted by on Oct 11, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Daniel’s History Lesson to Belshazzar.


Daniel’s History Lesson to Belshazzar.

In Daniel 5:18-21 Daniel says to Belshazzar, “O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this” (NASB)

There are several points in this passage that we may not be able to cover in one blog.

Daniel’s address to Belshazzar as “O king” may not appear to be something worthy of note. However, both the ESV and the NASB, along with several other Bible translations, omit the word “you” that precedes the words, “O king” which appears in the Aramaic. The phrase in the original is “As for you O king” which actually makes Daniel’s statement more personal. In our passage today, Daniel is building a case in order to make a significant comparison between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. We saw in Daniel 5:13 Belshazzar’s acknowledgment of his ‘father’ Nebuchadnezzar’s role in bringing Daniel to Babylon. In verse 14 he acknowledges that Daniel was known for the gifts God had given him in interpretation. But the deciding factor here is if we read the text as stated in the ESV and several others as “O king”, we end up with a text that has a tone of a conciliatory note to it. If we do that, then we are suggesting Daniel was somehow placating or appeasing Belshazzar which most certainly he was not. Only when we use the original, “As for you O king” or “You O king” do we have what Daniel was truly conveying, an accusatory tone. Daniel’s thought is completed in verse twenty-two that actually states the original term, “And you his son”. Both verse eighteen and verse twenty-two use the Aramaic word antah, meaning “you”, which corresponds to the Hebrew word attah that means you or thou. A casual look at several older translations as well as some theologians reveals their use of “thou” in the text. Hence, what we have from the start of Daniel’s discourse, which some scholars have called a sermon, is, in fact, a message of rebuke, judgment, and condemnation as we will see in this and later passages. If you notice, in Daniel 5:10 the queen addresses Belshazzar saying, “O king live forever!” Daniel uses the same language in Daniel 6:21 with regard to King Darius. Daniel made no such address concerning Belshazzar. While he recognizes Belshazzar as king he no doubt had contempt for him when he learned of the misuse of the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple.

When we return, we will discuss the comparisons of Nebuchadnezzar versus that of Belshazzar. In the end, we will see a king that was humbled by God’s dealing with him by showing that it was He who placed kings and kingdoms in their positions. This is versus a king who showed no such acknowledgment while knowing the facts of the first king. The cost was great to Nebuchadnezzar but it was to be a far greater cost to Belshazzar.