Who was King Belshazzar?

Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon , before his conquest by the Persians. The prophet Daniel condemned Belshazzar for his idolatry and irreverence towards God.

Belshazzar was one of the successors of King Nebuchadnezzar, who had destroyed Jerusalem and deported the Jews. Other historical sources reveal that Belshazzar reigned for several years as co-regent with his father (both reigned at the same time, as a team). He never became king alone. For this reason, he was second in command of the kingdom but exercised all the functions of king, while his father was away, fighting wars.

Belshazzar’s banquet

One day, Belshazzar gathered many nobles and threw a big party in the city of Babylon. When he was quite drunk, he remembered that Nebuchadnezzar had taken several gold cups from the temple in Jerusalem when he destroyed it. Belshazzar had these cups brought for him, the nobles, his women and concubines to drink from them. The party degenerated and everyone worshiped their false gods ( Daniel 5: 3-4 ).

This affront to God did not go unnoticed. During the party, a human hand appeared out of nowhere , writing a few words on the wall ( Daniel 5: 5-6 ). When King Belshazzar saw this, he was so afraid that his knees were bumping into each other!

Belshazzar immediately sent for all the wise men and promised to make the person reading the inscription on the third in charge of the kingdom ( Daniel 5: 7 ). However, no one could read what was written . This made the king even more scared.

Read the story of the prophet Daniel here.

Belshazzar and Daniel

The queen then came and told Belshazzar about the prophet Daniel , who had interpreted some of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and who had great wisdom ( Daniel 5: 11-12 ). He called Daniel and asked him to read and interpret the inscription. Daniel did not want any reward but he gave the interpretation.

Daniel explained that the words that were written on the wall were:

  • Mene Mene– mene means “counted”; the days of Belshazzar’s reign were numbered
  • Tequel– means “heavy”; Balsazar had been weighed in the balance and found lacking
  • Parsim– means “divided”; the kingdom of Belshazzar would be divided among other peoples (the Medes and the Persians)

Daniel also rebuked Belshazzar for his arrogance and lack of respect for God ( Daniel 5: 22-23 ). Belshazzar knew the story of his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, whom God had humbled for his arrogance. Despite this, Belshazzar did not fail to do wrong and disgusting things before God. Now, Belshazzar would suffer the consequences.

See also the story of King Nebuchadnezzar.

When Belshazzar heard the interpretation, he did what he had promised and placed Daniel as the third in the kingdom’s government. But that night, Babylon was taken over by the Medes and the Persians ( Daniel 5: 29-31 ). The Babylonian empire came to an end and Belshazzar was killed

 

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