THE WRITING UPON THE WALL
Daniel v: 1 to 31.
HE great kingdom or empire of Nebuchadnezzar was made up
of many smaller kingdoms which he had conquered. As
long as he lived his kingdom was strong; but as soon as
he died it began to fall in pieces. His son became king
in his place, but was soon slain; and one king followed
another quickly for some years. The last king was named
Nabonidus. He made his son Belshazzar king with
himself, and left Belshazzar to rule in the city of
Babylon, while he was caring for the more distant parts
of the kingdom.
But a new nation was rising to power. Far to the east
were the kingdoms of Media and Persia. These two
peoples had become one, and were at war with Babylon,
under their great leader, Cyrus. While Belshazzar was
ruling in the city of Babylon, Cyrus and his Persian
soldiers were on the outside, around the walls, trying
to take the city. These walls were so great and high
that the Persian soldiers could not break through them.
 But inside the city were many who were enemies of
Belshazzar and were friendly to Cyrus. These people
opened the gates of Babylon to Cyrus. At night he
brought his army quietly into the city and surrounded
the palace of King Belshazzar.
On that night King Belshazzar was holding in the palace
a great feast in honor of his god. On the tables were
the golden cups and vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had
taken from the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem; and
around the table were the king, his many wives, and a
thousand of his princes and nobles. They did not know
that their city was taken, and that their enemies were
at the very doors of the palace.
BELSHAZZAR GIVES A GREAT FEAST IN HONOR OF HIS GOD
While they were all drinking wine together suddenly a
strange thing was seen. On the wall appeared a great
hand writing letters and words that no one could
read. Every eye was drawn to the spot, and all saw
the fingers moving on the wall, and the letters
written. The king was filled with fear. His face became
pale and his knees shook. He called for the wise men of
Babylon, who were with him in the palace, to tell what
the writing meant. He said, "Whoever can read the words
on the wall shall be dressed in a
 purple robe, and shall have a chain of gold around his
neck, and shall rank next to King Belshazzar as the
third ruler in the kingdom."
But not one of the wise men could read it, for God had
not given to them the power. At last the queen of
Babylon said to Belshazzar, "O king, may you live
forever! There is one man who can read this writing, a
man in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, a man whom
Nebuchadnezzar, your father, made master of all the
wise men. His name is Daniel. Send for him, and he will
tell you what these words are and what they mean."
Daniel was now an old man; and since the time when
Nebuchadnezzar died he had been no longer in his high
place as ruler and chief adviser of the king. They sent
for Daniel, and he came. The king said to him, "Are you
that Daniel who was brought many years ago by my father
to this city? I have heard of you, that the spirit of
the holy gods is upon you, and that you have wisdom and
knowledge. If you can read this writing upon the wall,
and tell me what it means, I will give you a purple
robe, and a gold chain, and a place next to myself as
the third ruler in the kingdom."
And Daniel answered the king, "You may keep your
rewards yourself, and may give your gifts to whom you
please, for I do not want them; but I will read to you
the writing. O king, the Most High God gave to
Nebuchadnezzar this kingdom, and great power,
 and glory. But when Nebuchadnezzar became proud, and
boasted of his greatness, then the Lord took from him
his crown and his throne, and let him live among the
beasts of the field, until he knew that the most High
God rules over the kingdoms of men. O Belshazzar, you
knew all this, yet you have not been humble in heart.
You have risen up against the Lord, and have taken the
vessels of his house, and have drunk wine in them in
honor of your own gods of wood and stone; but you have
not praised the Lord God who has given to you your
kingdom and your power. For this reason God has sent
this hand to write these words upon the wall. This is
the writing, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. And this is
the meaning, Numbered, Numbered, Weighed, Divided.
"MENE: God has counted the years of your kingdom, and
has brought it to an end.
"TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and have
been found wanting.
"UPHARSIN: Your kingdom is divided, and taken from you,
and given to the Medes and the Persians."
King Belshazzar could scarcely believe what he heard;
but he commanded that the promised reward be given to
Daniel. And almost while he was speaking his end came.
The Persians and the Medes burst into his palace; they
seized Belshazzar and killed him in the midst of his
On that night the empire or great kingdom set up by
Nebuchadnezzar came to an end. A new empire arose,
greater than that of Babylon, called the Persian
Empire. And in the place of Belshazzar, Cyrus, the
commander of the Persians, made an old man named Darius
king until the time when he was ready to take the
kingdom for himself.
THE FALL OF BABYLON
This empire of Persia was the third of the
world-kingdoms of which we read in the Bible. The first
was the Assyrian kingdom, having Nineveh for its
capital. This was the kingdom that carried the Ten
Tribes of Israel into captivity. The second was the
Babylonian or Chaldean kingdom, which carried the Jews
into captivity. And the third was the Persian kingdom,
which lasted two hundred years, ruling all the lands
named in the Bible.