Daniel 5

Parts of our society love to think culture has moved beyond the judeo-Christian phase. But it is more a case of building on despised foundations than moving somewhere else. So it is with the phrase and the meaning of the writing on the wall.

Save us from hubris, lord.

Belteshazar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son doesn’t get the chances his father did. Or rather, he’s already used his chances by witnessing the event that bought his father to a knowledge of God and not learning from it. He only worships good you can see, gold silver bronze iron wood and stone, but he has seen the power of the invisible good and should know better.

He’s having a grand feast, and making a particular point of defiling the plundered temple holy goblets and paraphernalia. So the writing on the wall predicts his personal and political doom and it all happens straight after Daniel is bought to make the prediction.

I like how Daniel seems to have sunk into obscurity like his message, and he prefers to stay there, rejecting the prizes and power offered for interpreting the wall writing (maybe god already sent belteshazar a dream but he just d it?)

What does it all mean? God is in charge. The exiles should be reassured and challenged by knowing the God gets revenge for the desecration if the temple artifacts. Daniel should not be cried as a traitor by being the Chris astrologer and magician to the king. But god is god of the foreign kings, some know his grace some do not, but god is not exclusively for the Jews.

God blessed Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The old queen thinks belteshazar is in dread because he doesnt know what it means and commends Daniel as clever. But he obviously has a strong inkling.

Daniel has a certain tired dryness to the way he plays pooper to belteshazar life long party. He sounds world weary. He speaks when God’s moment arrives but seems to have spent long years in obscurity, perhaps frustrated at the way the son lost the fathers insight. It’s one picture of a godly man in a secular society. These chapters do have a pattern to them. We’ve had three interpretations and about to have the third saving…

Your days are numbered. You’ve squandered them, been found wanting. You will be destroyed.

Mene mene tekel parsin


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