The king wants the sacred cups from the Jerusalem Temple (Dan 5:2-5:2)

“Under the influence

Of the wine,

King Belshazzar

Commanded

That they bring

In the vessels

Of gold,

The vessels

Of silver,

That his father,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Had taken out

Of the temple

In Jerusalem.

Thus,

The king,

His lords,

His wives,

His concubines,

Might drink

From them.”

This King Belshazzar commanded his servants to bring the sacred gold and silver vessels that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. Here the author calls Nebuchadnezzar his father, but he was his grandfather. Thus, the king, these invited lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink wine from these sacred silver and gold cups. I am not sure if there were that many sacred vessels to accommodate a 1,000 people.

The feast of King Belshazzar (Dan 5:1-5:1)

“King Belshazzar

Made a great feast

For a thousand

Of his lords.

He was drinking wine

In the presence

Of the thousand.”

Now there is a switch to King Belshazzar, the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar. He ruled Babylon from 550-539 BCE, as he reigned with his father, King Nabonidus (556-539 BC), as a co-regent. He apparently was more anti-Jewish than his grandfather. He had this great feast with over 1,000 important people. Obviously, he was drinking wine.

The final praise of God (Dan 4:37-4:37)

“Now I,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Praise

The king of heaven!

I extol

The king of heaven!

I honor

The king of heaven!

All his works

Are true!

His ways

Are justice!

He is able to

Bring low

Those who walk

In pride.”

The king continued, in the first-person singular, to praise, extol, and honor the king of heaven. All God’s works are true. All his ways are just. God is able to bring low those who walk in pride. The king was referring to himself and his new-found God.

The restoration of the king (Dan 4:36-4:36)

“At the time

That my reason returned

To me,

My majesty

Was restored

To me.

My splendor

Was restored

To me,

For the glory

Of my kingdom.

My counselors,

My lords,

Sought me out.

I was re-established

Over my kingdom.

Still more greatness

Was added to me.”

King Nebuchadnezzar, in the first-person singular, remarked that once he was reasonable again, all his majesty and splendor was restored to him and his glorious kingdom. His former counselors and princes sought him out. He was re-established over his great kingdom. He even became greater yet.

The king leaves his throne immediately (Dan 4:33-4:33)

“Immediately,

The sentence

Was fulfilled

Against King Nebuchadnezzar.

He was driven away

From human society.

He ate grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

His hair grew

As long

As eagles’ feathers.

His nails became

Like birds’ claws.”

The result happened immediately in a very descriptive way. As soon as the words were spoken, the sentence was fulfilled against King Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from human society to eat grass like an ox. His body bathed in the heavenly dew. This text explains that his hair grew as long as eagle feathers and his finger nails became like bird claws.

The king will lose his kingdom (Dan 4:31-4:32)

“While the words

Were still

In the king’s mouth,

A voice

Came from heaven.

‘O King Nebuchadnezzar!

To you

It is declared!

The kingdom has departed

From you!

You shall be driven away

From human society!

Your dwelling

Shall be with

The animals

Of the field!

You shall be made

To eat grass

Like oxen!

Seven times,

It shall pass

Over you,

Until you have learned

That the Most High

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals!

He gives it

To whom he will.’”

While the prideful words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice from heaven told the king that he had lost his kingdom. His punishment was coming. He was going to be driven out from human society. He would live among the wild animals and eat grass like oxen. However, it would pass over him 7 times, until he realized that the Most High God ruled all the human kingdoms. Thus, God was able to give his kingdoms to whomever he wanted.