Daniel 5

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Darby Version         

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

2 Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines, might drink in them.

3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines, drank in them.

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

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, and the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the magicians, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with purple, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

8 Then came in all the king's wise men, but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation.

9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his nobles were confounded.

10 -- The queen, by reason of the words of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet-house. The queen spoke and said, O king, live for ever! let not thy thoughts trouble thee, neither let thy countenance be changed.

11 There is a man in thy kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods was found in him; and the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, [even] the king thy father, made him master of the scribes, magicians, Chaldeans, [and] astrologers;

12 forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and solving of problems, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. The king spoke and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Judah?

14 And I have heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and [that] light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

15 And now the wise men, the magicians, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof; but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing.

16 But I have heard of thee, that thou canst give interpretations, and solve problems. Now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with purple, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet will I read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

18 O thou king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father the kingdom, and greatness, and glory, and majesty;

19 and for the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he exalted, and whom he would he humbled.

20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit hardened unto presumption, he was deposed from the throne of his kingdom, and they took his glory from him;

21 and he was driven from the sons of men, and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the Most High God ruleth over the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

22 And thou, Belshazzar, his son, hast not humbled thy heart, although thou knewest all this;

23 but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of the heavens; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou and thy nobles, thy wives and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know; and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

24 then from before him was sent the part of the hand, and this writing hath been written.

25 And this is the writing that is written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE, God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it;

27 TEKEL, Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting;

28 PERES, Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

29 Then Belshazzar commanded, and they clothed Daniel with purple, and [put] a chain of gold about his neck, and made proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

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

31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, [being] about sixty-two years old.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 1326

Apocalypse Explained 587, 1029

Apocalypse Revealed 717

The Last Judgment 54

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 176

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 37


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 1183, 3079, 3104, 5223, 8932, 9093, 9818, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 313, 316, 364, 459, 913

Divine Love and Wisdom 383

The Lord 48

Heaven and Hell 365

True Christian Religion 156, 754


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 183, 220, 242, 373, 376, 453

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 41:15, 42

1 Samuel 17:26, 36

2 Kings 5:16, 24:13, 25:15, 28

2 Chronicles 32:25, 33:23, 36:23

Ezra 5:14

Esther 1:3, 10:3

Job 12:10

Psalms 115:4

Proverbs 21:2

Ecclesiastes 8:3

Isaiah 13:17, 21:5, 37:23, 47:11

Jeremiah 10:23, 25:12, 50:28, 43, 51:28, 31, 39

Ezekiel 28:3, 4, 31:10

Daniel 1:2, 6, 7, 17, 2:2, 4, 6, 25, 27, 32, 37, 39, 48, 4:4, 5, 6, 14, 19, 22, 26, 28, 5:7, 16, 6:4, 8:11, 20

Nahum 1:14

Acts of the Apostles 12:23, 17:25

Romans 1:21

Revelation 9:20

Word/Phrase Explanations

feast
There are two kinds of feasts mentioned in the Bible. Some were held to commemorate specific, one-time events, such as the feast Abraham held to...

Vessels
'Vessels,' in the internal sense, signify things serving as a receptacle, as scientific ideas and knowledges are to truths, and as truths themselves are to...

nebuchadnezzar
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of the Babylonian empire. His fiery furnace and his dreams of the great tree and of the great statue are...

Jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

candlestick
(Luke 15:8.) By the woman lighting a candle to find the piece of silver she had lost, is signified inquisition in herself from affection.

Wall
'A wall' signifies truth in outer extremes. 'A wall,' as in Revelation 21, signifies the divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and so, the truth...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

spoke
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

wise
At its heart, wisdom is love's imperative desire to take form. That's a tricky statement, but think of it this way: If you love someone,...

writing
If knowing what’s right were the same as doing what’s right, we would all be thin, healthy, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful to our spouses and free...

Shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

interpretation
'Interpretations,' as in Genesis 40:22, signify prediction.

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

Make known
'To make known' is to teach.

Belteshazzar
The book of Daniel follows after Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Daniel was a prophet during the early part of the captivity of the Jews...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

rewards
A "reward" in the Bible represents something that brings people together, or brings spiritual states together, and binds them. It's easy to see this in...

High
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

ways
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

chaldeans
Chaldea was a land lying along the Euphrates river near its mouth, south of Babylon, part of what is now southern Iraq. It was a...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Belshazzar's Feast
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Belshazzar’s Feast
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Belshazzar’s Feast (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Belshazzar’s Feast (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Belshazzar’s Feast (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Overview of Daniel: A Man of Conscience for ages 3-14
Overview of a series of scripted lessons for the first six chapters of the book of Daniel. Suitable for Sunday schools, families and classrooms. Levels A, B and C provide materials for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14


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