Illustration Showing BELSHAZZAR'S FEAST, from The Bible (Old Testament) - drawing by Gustave Dore - 051th.jpg (39K)

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of hislords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles hetasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vesselswhich his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple whichwas in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, andhis concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the goldenvessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of Godwhich was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives,and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine and praisedthe gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, andof stone.

In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wroteover against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of theking's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughtstroubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, andhis knees smote one against another.

[On the failure of his astrologers and soothsayers tointerpret the writing, the king, at the suggestion of his queen,sends for Daniel, who interprets it as follows:]

O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy fathera kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor: and for the majestythat he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages, trembledand feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he wouldhe kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would heput down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardenedin pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they tookhis glory from him and he was driven from the sons of men; andhis heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with thewild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body waswet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high Godruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over itwhomsoever he will.

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart,though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself againstthe Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of hishouse before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thyconcubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised thegods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, whichsee not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breathis, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.

Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writingwas written.

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL,UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hathnumbered thy kingdom and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed inthe balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom isdivided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.And Darius the Median took the kingdom.—Daniel v.

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