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Commentary On Daniel Volume 2 by Jean Calvin


1 Belshazzar the king made a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles, and drank wine before the thousand.

2 Belshazzar having tasted the wine, commanded (men) to bring the vessels of gold and silver which Nebuchadnezzar his father had brought from the Temple at Jerusalem, that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines, might drink from them.

3 Then they brought the golden vessels which had been taken from the house of God at Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines, drank from them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, of brass and iron, of wood and stone.

5 In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand came forth, and wrote in the neighborhood of the candlestick on the surface of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the palm of the hand as it was writing.

6 Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts affrighted him, and the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote against each other.

7 The king cried mightily that the magi, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers, should be brought in; and the king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and declare its interpretation to me, shall be clothed in purple, with a chain of gold about his neck, and shall rank third in the kingdom.

8 Then entered all the king's wise men, and were unable to read the writing, and to explain to the king its interpretation.

9 Then king Belshazzar was much frightened, and his countenance was changed, and his princes became anxious.

10 The queen, in consequence of the words of the king and his nobles, entered into the banqueting-house, and spoke and said: O king! live for ever -- Let not thy thoughts frighten thee, nor let thy countenance be changed.

11 There is a man in thy kingdom in whom exists the spirit of the holy gods, and in the days of thy father, intelligence, and knowledge, and wisdom, like that of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar, thy father -- the king, I say, thy father -- made him chief of the magi, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.

12 Because an enlarged mind, and a discerning understanding, the interpretation of dreams, the revelation of secrets, and the solution of difficulties were found in him, namely, Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar; now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.

13 Then Daniel was introduced before the king. The king spoke and said to Daniel: Art thou that Daniel of the sons of the captivity of Judah, whom my father led away from Judah?

14 I have heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee; and intelligence, knowledge, and superior wisdom have been found in thee.

15 And now the wise men and magicians have been brought before me for the purpose of reading this writing, and of unfolding its interpretation to me; and they cannot declare the interpretation of the matter.

16 And I heard of thee, that thou canst solve difficulties and unravel secrets; now, if thou canst read this writing, and explain its interpretation to me, thou shalt be clothed in purple with a chain of gold round thy neck, and shalt hold the third rank in the kingdom.

17 Then answered Daniel and said before the king: Let thy gifts be for thyself, and give thy rewards to another. Yet I will read the writing to the king, and reveal its interpretation to him.

18 O king, the High God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, an empire, and magnificence, and loftiness, and splendor.

19 And on account of the magnificence which God conferred upon him, all people, nations, and tongues trembled, and were frightened at the sight of him; whom he wished to slay, was slain, (vol.1 p.332, note,) and whom he wished, he raised up, and whom he wished, he cast down.

20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit hardened to pride, he was cast down from the throne of his kingdom, and they deprived him of his glory.

21 And he was driven away from the children of men, and his heart was placed among the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was moistened with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged the rule of the most high God in the kingdom of men, and his appointing over it whom he wills.

22 And thou, O Belshazzar his son, hast not humbled thine heart, although thou knowest all this.

23 And thou hast raised thyself against the God of heaven when they brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thy nobles, thy wives and concubines, drank wine from them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass and iron, of wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor understand; and thou hast not honored God, in whose hand is thy breath, and in whose power are all things.

24 At that time a portion of a hand was sent from God's presence, and this writing was marked down.

25 And this is the writing which was engraven. Mene, Mene, it has been numbered. Tekel, it has been weighed. Upharsin, and they are dividing.

26 This is the interpretation of the sentence, -- Mene, God has numbered and finished thy kingdom.

27 Tekel, weigh, or it has been weighed -- thou hast been weighed in a balance, and hast been found wanting.

28 Peres for Upharsin, thy kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

29 Then Belshazzar commanded, and they clothed Daniel in purple, and a chain of gold was placed around his neck, and they cried out before him that he was the third ruler in the kingdom.

30 In that night Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was slain.

31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, when he was sixty-two years old.

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