The unhumble king (Dan 5:22-5:23)

“‘You!

His son!

King Belshazzar!

Have not humbled

Your heart,

Even though

You knew all this!

You have exalted yourself

Against the Lord of heaven!

The vessels

Of his temple

Have been brought in

Before you.

You,

Your lords,

Your wives,

Your concubines,

Have been drinking wine

From them.

You have praised

The gods

Of silver

Of gold,

Of bronze,

Of iron,

Of wood,

Of stone.

They do not

See,

Hear,

Or know.

You have not honored

The God

In whose power

Is your very breath,

To whom belong

All your ways.’”

Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.

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Pride led to his downfall (Dan 5:20-5:21)

“But when his heart

Was lifted up,

His spirit

Was hardened.

Thus,

He acted proudly.

He was deposed

From his kingly throne.

His glory

Was stripped

From him.

He was driven

From human society.

His mind was made

Like that of an animal.

His dwelling was

With the wild asses.

He was fed grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

Finally,

He learned

That the Most High God

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdom

Of mortals.

The Most High God

Sets over it

Whomever he will.”

Daniel reminded this King Belshazzar of what had happened in the preceding chapter of this work to his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, with his hard-prideful heart. Thus, the Most High God deposed him of his kingly throne and stripped him of his glory. The king was driven from human society, as his mind was like that of an animal, living among wild asses. He ate grass like an ox. He was bathed with a heavenly dew. He finally learned that the Most High God ruled over the kingdom of mortals, because God decides who will be in charge.

Praise for King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 5:18-5:19)

“‘O king!

The Most High God

Gave your father,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Kingship,

Greatness,

Glory,

Majesty.

Because of the greatness

That he gave him,

All people,

All nations,

All languages,

Trembled,

As well as feared,

Before him.

He killed those

He wanted to kill.

He kept alive those

He wanted to keep alive.

He honored those

He wanted to honor.

He degraded those

He wanted to degrade.’”

Daniel had high praise for King Nebuchadnezzar, the father or grandfather of King Belshazzar. He mentioned how the Most High God had made his kingdom great, glorious, and majestic. Due to his greatness, the Most High God had the all people, nations, and language groups tremble and fear this king. In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar killed and kept alive whomever he wanted. He honored and degraded whomever he wanted to. In other words, King Nebuchadnezzar was a great powerful king.

Daniel goes before the king (Dan 5:13-5:14)

“Then Daniel

Was brought in

Before the king.

The king said to Daniel.

‘So!

You are Daniel!

One of the exiles

Of Judah!

My father!

The king!

He brought you

From Judah.

I have heard

Of you.

A spirit

Of the gods

Is in you.

Light

Is found in you.

Understanding

Is found in you!

Excellent wisdom

Is found in you!’”

Daniel went before King Belshazzar. This king said to Daniel that he was one of the exiles from Judah that his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had brought from Judah. Then this king praised Daniel. He said that he heard of Daniel as someone who had the spirit of the gods in him. Also, Daniel had light, understanding, and excellent wisdom. This sounds like it is heading in the right direction as King Belshazzar met Belteshazzar, Daniel, since they had practically the same name.

The queen talked about the importance of Daniel (Dan 5:11-5:12)

“There is a man

In your kingdom,

Who is endowed

With a spirit

Of the holy gods.

In the days

Of your father,

He was found to have

Enlightenment,

Understanding,

Wisdom,

Like the wisdom

Of the gods.

Your father,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Made him chief

Of the magicians,

Of the enchanters,

Of the Chaldeans,

Of the diviners.

He had

An excellent spirit,

Knowledge,

Understanding.

He was able

To interpret dreams,

To explain riddles,

To solve problems.

These were found

In this Daniel,

Whom the king named

Belteshazzar.

Now let Daniel

Be called!

He will give

The interpretation.’”

This queen seemed to know all about Daniel and his ability to interpret dreams, probably because she was the queen mother. She reminded King Belshazzar that his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had found Daniel to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods. Thus, he made Daniel the chief of the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners. It is not clear why he was not still the chief. This Daniel had an excellent spirit, like that of gods, to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems. The former king gave him a new name, Belteshazzar. She said that this Belteshazzar should be called to give an interpretation to this mysterious writing.

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.

Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.