The handwriting on the wall — Daniel 5

Daniel 5:7 (NKJV)
7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads THIS WRITING (Heb. “kethab” meaning “letters or alphabets”), and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
What writing was King Belshazzar referring to? Vs. 5 tells us;
5 In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and WROTE opposite the lampstand ON THE PLASTER OF THE WALL of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand THAT WROTE.
Now, you would observe that no one could understand what was written;
8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they COULD NOT READ THE WRITING (Heb. kethab- alphabets), or MAKE KNOWN to the king its interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.
Many have thought that this was because it was written in a “divine” language. That is inaccurate. Vs. 25 provides some insight here. What did the hand write? Daniel tells us;
25 “And this is the INSCRIPTION (Heb. kethab-  alphabets) that was written:
These were ancient Hebrew words! This is precisely why the Babylonians could not understand them. God deliberately wrote in Hebrew to show that the God of the Jews was behind this writing.
Vs. 24 says that;
24 Then the fingers of the hand were sent FROM HIM, and this WRITING (Heb. kethab- alphabets) was written.
So what was the issue here? A message from God was written in a language that the audience did not understand! They simply needed someone who understood Hebrew to explain what what written, which is precisely what Daniel did. He first read out the Hebrew words,
Mene means to number (derived from the word “mina“). Note that a word is mentioned twice in the Hebrew for the sake of emphasis.
Tekel means to weigh
Upharsin means to to divide.
So the answer to these words were in themselves. Daniel then gave their meaning;
26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 UPHARSIN: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
So, it took someone who understood the language to get the message. If God’s message is to be understood, it must therefore be communicated in a format which the audience understands. All the Babylonians needed was someone vast in the Hebrew to interpret the handwriting on the wall. Daniel was such a one.
© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *