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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 5

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The Writing on the Wall. 1King Belshazzar*gave a great banquet for a thousand of his lords, with whom he drank. 2Under the influence of the wine, he ordered the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar, his father,* had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in so that the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers might drink from them. 3When the gold and silver vessels taken from the house of God in Jerusalem had been brought in, and while the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers were drinking 4wine from them, they praised their gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

5Suddenly, opposite the lampstand, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king's palace. When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, 6his face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked.

7The king shouted for the enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers to be brought in. “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means,” he said to the wise men of Babylon, “shall be clothed in purple, wear a golden collar about his neck, and be third in the government of the kingdom.” 8But though all the king's wise men came in, none of them could either read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9Then King Belshazzar was greatly terrified; his face went ashen, and his lords were thrown into confusion.

10When the queen heard of the discussion between the king and his lords, she entered the banquet hall and said, “O king, live forever! Be not troubled in mind, nor look so pale! 11There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy God; during the lifetime of your father he was seen to have brilliant knowledge and god‐like wisdom. In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12because of the extraordinary mind possessed by this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. He knew and understood how to interpret dreams, explain enigmas, and solve difficulties. Now therefore, summon Daniel to tell you what this means.”

13Then Daniel was brought into the presence of the king. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel, the Jewish exile, whom my father, the king, brought from Judah? 14I have heard that the spirit of God is in you, that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom. 15Now, the wise men and enchanters were brought in to me to read this writing and tell me its meaning, but they could not say what the words meant. 16But I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties; if you are able to read the writing and tell me what it means, you shall be clothed in purple, wear a gold collar about your neck, and be third in the government of the kingdom.”

17Daniel answered the king: “You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for you, O king, and tell you what it means.

18The Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar a great kingdom and glorious majesty. 19Because he made him so great, the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Whomever he wished, he killed or let live; whomever he wished, he exalted or humbled. 20But when his heart became proud and his spirit hardened by insolence, he was put down from his royal throne and deprived of his glory; 21 m Dn 4, 22 . he was cast out from among men and was made insensate as a beast; he lived with wild asses, and ate grass like an ox; his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdom of men and appoints over it whom he will.

22You, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this; 23you have rebelled against the Lord of heaven. You had the vessels of his temple brought before you, so that you and your nobles, your wives and your entertainers, might drink wine from them; and you praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence. But the God in whose hand is your life breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify. 24By him were the wrist and hand sent, and the writing set down.

25“This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, TEKEL, and PERES.* These words mean: 26 * MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; 27 TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; 28 PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29Then by order of Belshazzar they clothed Daniel in purple, with a gold collar about his neck, and proclaimed him third in the government of the kingdom. 30The same night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was slain:

Notes:

m: Dn 4, 22 .

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