King Belshazzar’s Banquet
5 One evening, King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his highest officials, and he drank wine with them. 2 He got drunk and ordered his servants to bring in the gold and silver cups his father Nebuchadnezzar[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. Belshazzar wanted the cups, so that he and all his wives and officials could drink from them.
3-4 When the gold cups were brought in, everyone at the banquet drank from them and praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 Suddenly a human hand was seen writing on the plaster wall of the palace. The hand was just behind the lampstand, and the king could see it writing. 6 He was so frightened that his face turned pale, his knees started shaking, and his legs became weak.
7 The king called in his advisors, who claimed they could talk with the spirits of the dead and understand the meanings found in the stars. He told them, “The man who can read this writing and tell me what it means will become the third most powerful man in my kingdom. He will wear robes of royal purple and a gold chain around his neck.”
8 All of King Belshazzar’s highest officials came in, but not one of them could read the writing or tell what it meant, 9 and they were completely puzzled. Now the king was more afraid than ever before, and his face turned white as a ghost.
10 When the queen heard the king and his officials talking, she came in and said:
Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! Don’t be afraid or look so pale. 11 In your kingdom there is a man who has been given special powers by the holy gods. When your father Nebuchadnezzar was king, this man was known to be as smart, intelligent, and wise as the gods themselves. Your father put him in charge of all who claimed they could talk with the spirits or understand the meanings in the stars or tell about the future. 12 He also changed the man’s name from Daniel to Belteshazzar. Not only is he wise and intelligent, but he can explain dreams and riddles and solve difficult problems. Send for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.
13 When Daniel was brought in, the king said:
So you are Daniel, one of the captives my father brought back from Judah! 14 I was told that the gods have given you special powers and that you are intelligent and very wise. 15 Neither my advisors nor the men who talk with the spirits of the dead could read this writing or tell me what it means. 16 But I have been told that you understand everything and that you can solve difficult problems. Now then, if you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will become the third most powerful man in my kingdom. You will wear royal purple robes and have a gold chain around your neck.
17 Daniel answered:
Your Majesty, I will read the writing and tell you what it means. But you may keep your gifts or give them to someone else. 18 Sir, the Most High God made your father a great and powerful man and brought him much honor and glory. 19 God did such great things for him that people of all nations and races shook with fear.
Your father had the power of life or death over everyone, and he could honor or ruin anyone he chose. 20 But when he became proud and stubborn, his glorious kingdom was taken from him. 21 His mind became like that of an animal, and he was forced to stay away from people and live with wild donkeys. Your father ate grass like an ox, and he slept outside where his body was soaked with dew. He was forced to do this until he learned that the Most High God rules all kingdoms on earth and chooses their kings.
22 King Belshazzar, you knew all of this, but you still refused to honor the Lord who rules from heaven. 23 Instead, you turned against him and ordered the cups from his temple to be brought here, so that you and your wives and officials could drink wine from them. You praised idols made of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone, even though they cannot see or hear or think. You refused to worship the God who gives you breath and controls everything you do. 24 That’s why he sent the hand to write this message on the wall.
25-28 The words written there are mene, which means “numbered,” tekel, which means “weighed,” and parsin,[b] which means “divided.” God has numbered the days of your kingdom and has brought it to an end. He has weighed you on his balance scales, and you fall short of what it takes to be king. So God has divided your kingdom between the Medes and the Persians.
29 Belshazzar gave a command for Daniel to be made the third most powerful man in his kingdom and to be given a purple robe and a gold chain.
30 That same night, the king was killed. 31 Then Darius the Mede, who was sixty-two years old, took over his kingdom.
- 5.2 his father Nebuchadnezzar: Belshazzar was actually the son of King Nabonidus, who was from another family. But in ancient times, it was possible to refer to a previous king as the “father” of the present king.
- 5.25-28 mene. . . tekel. . . parsin: In the Aramaic text of verse 25, the words “mene, tekel, parsin,” are used, and in verses 26-28 the words “mene, tekel, peres” (the singular of “parsin”) are used. “Parsin” means “divided,” but “peres” can mean either “divided” or “Persia.”
2 Peter 2
False Prophets and Teachers
2 Sometimes false prophets spoke to the people of Israel. False teachers will also sneak in and speak harmful lies to you. But these teachers don’t really belong to the Master who paid a great price for them, and they will quickly destroy themselves. 2 Many people will follow their evil ways and cause others to tell lies about the true way. 3 They will be greedy and cheat you with smooth talk. But long ago God decided to punish them, and God doesn’t sleep.
4 God did not have pity on the angels that sinned. He had them tied up and thrown into the dark pits of hell until the time of judgment. 5 And during Noah’s time, God did not have pity on the ungodly people of the world. He destroyed them with a flood, though he did save eight people, including Noah, who preached the truth.
6 God punished the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah[a] by burning them to ashes, and this is a warning to anyone else who wants to sin.
7-8 Lot lived right and was greatly troubled by the terrible way those wicked people were living. He was a good man, and day after day he suffered because of the evil things he saw and heard. So the Lord rescued him. 9 This shows that the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their sufferings and to punish evil people while they wait for the day of judgment.
10 The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and don’t think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven. 11 Although angels are more powerful than these evil beings,[b] even the angels don’t dare to accuse them to the Lord.
12 These people are no better than senseless animals that live by their feelings and are born to be caught and killed. They speak evil of things they don’t know anything about. But their own corrupt deeds will destroy them. 13 They have done evil, and they will be rewarded with evil.
They think it is fun to have wild parties during the day. They are immoral, and the meals they eat with you are spoiled by the shameful and selfish way they carry on.[c] 14 All they think about is having sex with someone else’s husband or wife. There is no end to their wicked deeds. They trick people who are easily fooled, and their minds are filled with greedy thoughts. But they are headed for trouble!
15 They have left the true road and have gone down the wrong path by following the example of the prophet Balaam. He was the son of Beor and loved what he got from being a crook. 16 But a donkey corrected him for this evil deed. It spoke to him with a human voice and made him stop his foolishness.
17 These people are like dried up water holes and clouds blown by a windstorm. The darkest part of hell is waiting for them. 18 They brag out loud about their stupid nonsense. And by being vulgar and crude, they trap people who have barely escaped from living the wrong kind of life. 19 They promise freedom to everyone. But they are merely slaves of filthy living, because people are slaves of whatever controls them.
20 When they learned about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they escaped from the filthy things of this world. But they are again caught up and controlled by these filthy things, and now they are in worse shape than they were at first. 21 They would have been better off if they had never known about the right way. Even after they knew what was right, they turned their backs on the holy commandments that they were given. 22 What happened to them is just like the true saying,
“A dog will come back
to lick up its own vomit.
A pig that has been washed
will roll in the mud.”
- 2.6 Sodom and Gomorrah: During the time of Abraham the Lord destroyed these cities because the people there were so evil (see Genesis 19.24).
- 2.11 evil beings: Or “evil teachers.”
- 2.13 and the meals they eat with you are spoiled by the shameful and selfish way they carry on: Some manuscripts have “and the meals they eat with you are spoiled by the shameful way they carry on during your feasts of Christian love.”
113 I hate anyone
whose loyalty is divided,
but I love your Law.
114 You are my place of safety
and my shield.
Your word is my only hope.
115 All of you worthless people,
get away from me!
I am determined to obey
the commands of my God.
116 Be true to your word, Lord.
Keep me alive and strong;
don’t let me be ashamed
because of my hope.
117 Keep me safe and secure,
so that I will always
respect your laws.
118 You reject all deceitful liars
because they refuse
119 As far as you are concerned,
all evil people are[a] garbage,
and so I follow your rules.
120 I tremble all over
when I think of you
and the way you judge.
121 I did what was fair and right!
Don’t hand me over to those
who want to mistreat me.
122 Take good care of me,
and don’t let me be harmed
by those conceited people.
123 My eyes are weary from waiting
to see you keep your promise
to come and save me.
124 Show your love for me,
and teach me your laws.
125 I serve you,
so let me understand
126 Do something, Lord!
They have broken your Law.
127 Your laws mean more to me
than the finest gold.
128 I follow all of your commands,[b]
but I hate anyone
who leads me astray.
19 Work hard, and you will have
a lot of food;
waste time, and you will have
a lot of trouble.
20 God blesses his loyal people,
but punishes all who want
to get rich quick.