BOOK OF DANIEL – Things Go from Bad to Worse

Posted by on Oct 4, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Things Go from Bad to Worse

Things Go from Bad to Worse!

Some of us may be able to relate when we are fearful of something and it only gets worse. We saw in Daniel 5:6 that Belshazzar’s color changed at the sight of the handwriting on the wall and that his legs gave way and his knees knocked. We then saw in verse seven that he summoned his wise men to interpret what the handwriting meant. Yes, you read that correctly. In all likelihood, they could read the words but they didn’t understand what the words meant in the context of what was written (more of that later). Daniel 5:8-9 tells us, “Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.” (ESV) Now Belshazzar’s fear becomes worse. None of his wise men were able to interpret the meaning of the writing. Belshazzar now became greatly alarmed. Some scholars have suggested the text of the writing may have been in the form of an ideogram [a picture or symbol used in a system of writing to represent a thing or an idea but not a particular word or phrase] but that is pure conjecture. It is worth noting that the hand was writing on the wall, not drawing a picture or a symbol to represent something. The Aramaic word used in Daniel 5:5 is kathab meaning to write or written. It corresponds with the Hebrew word kethab which means writing or wrote. This combination of words are only found in eight instances in the Old Testament and are used by Daniel and Ezra. I personally am persuaded to believe the writing was indeed, just that…writing. The suggestion that it could have been an ideogram, in my view, disrespects the text.

By now, the wise men were perplexed as well. I’m sure they may have tried as hard as possible. After all, riches and power were being offered which is probably what they were more perplexed about than anything.

Just when we think this scenario is getting worse, the queen enters the story. Daniel 5:10-12 records, “The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” (ESV)

Some have speculated who the queen mentioned in verse ten was. The Bible record makes no mention of her name. What is clear is that she knew of Daniel’s fame in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Some have said this points to the woman being a wife of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar’s mother. This theory is mute in that we have read the evidence of Nabonidus naming Belshazzar as his firstborn son. The majority of scholars believe that Nebuchadnezzar married Amytis (630-565 BC) who was the daughter of the Median king, Cyaxares (d.585BC). This marriage is said to have come about by their political alliance to overthrow the Assyrian empire. As we are now in the year 539 BC in Daniel chapter five it eliminates Amytis as she would have been dead some twenty-six years. Critics again jump at the chance of referring to Belshazzar as the son of Nebuchadnezzar due to his reference to Nebuchadnezzar as his father in Daniel 5:13. Such liberal academics are quick to claim that this is proof of a later writer of Daniel because they were not familiar with previous kings. That argument borders on the absurd. We have already mentioned kings were referred to as “fathers” by later kings and that that there was no word equivalent to describe a grandfather. As to the queen’s identity, we are left to wonder. Does her identification matter? No. If you firmly believe God’s word is true and have no doubt in your mind, then that should remove questions about the authenticity of the Bible. What God has told us is sufficient. He doesn’t need to tell us and we don’t need to ask.