Daniel 5:2 Index
Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
Research Material

"...whiles he tasted the wine..."

  • ...it was uncommon for an Oriental to desecrate holy objects of other religions; hence it would appear unnatural that Belshazzar would have given the order as long a he was in command of his reason. (4BC 801)
  • As the wine took effect, Belshazzar blasphemously ordered his butlers to bring out the sacred utensils which Nebuchadnezzar had removed from the temple in Jerusalem long years before. And while the banqueters drank toasts to their idols out of cups dedicated to the Lord, a mysterious hand began to trace flaming letters on the plaster -- the famous "handwriting on the wall." (MM 77)
  • With reason dethroned through shameless intoxication, and with lower impulses and passions now in the ascendancy, the king himself took the lead in the riotous orgy. As the feast progressed... The king would prove that nothing was too sacred for his hands to handle.... (PK 523-524)
  • Christian physicians need to pray—to watch unto prayer. Before them is opened a door for many temptations, and they need to be awakened to a lively sense that there is a Watcher by their side, as surely as there was a Watcher at that sacrilegious feast of Belshazzar, when men praised the gods of silver and gold and drank from the sacred vessels of the temple of God. When men take honor to themselves, they are dishonoring God. Whenever one by any action leads men to be forgetful of God, or to neglect the plain injunctions of His word, the unseen Witness testifies, as in the writing on the walls of the palace, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (Daniel 5:27). (MM 151)

"...the golden and silver vessels..."

  • The Temple vessels had been carried away from Jerusalem on three occasions: (1) a portion of them at the time Nebuchadnezzar took captives from Jerusalem in 605 B.C. (Daniel 1:1, 2); (2) most of the remaining vessels of precious metal when King Jehoiachin went into captivity in 597 B.C. (2 Kings 24:12, 13); and (3) the rest of the metal objects, mostly of bronze, when the Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:13-17). (4BC 802)
  • Belshazzar, while engaged in his sacrilegious feast, was not aware that he had guests he had not invited. The God of heaven heard the praises bestowed upon vessels of gold and silver. He saw the desecration of that which had been dedicated to Him by holy consecration applied to profane and licentious purposes. It is a truth which should make every one of us weep, that those living in these last days, upon whom the ends of the world are come, are far more guilty than was Belshazzar. This is possible in many ways. When men have taken upon themselves the vows of consecration, to devote all their powers to the sacred service of God; when they occupy the position of expositors of Bible truth, and have received the solemn charge; when God and angels are summoned as witnesses to the solemn dedication of soul, body, and spirit to God's service—then shall these men who minister in a most holy office desecrate their God-given powers to unholy purposes? Shall the sacred vessel, whom God is to use for a high and holy work, be dragged from its lofty, controlling sphere to administer to debasing lust? Is not this idol worship of the most degrading kind?—the lips uttering praises and adoring a sinful human being, pouring forth expressions of ravishing tenderness and adulation which belong alone to God—the powers given to God in solemn consecration administering to a harlot; for any woman who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will listen to his advances, and whose ears will be pleased with the outpouring of lavish words of affection, of adoration, of endearment, is an adulteress and a harlot. (TM 434-435)
  • On every page of God's word the injunction to obedience is plainly written, and yet how often his commands are lightly regarded or wholly set aside! The command for the observance of the holy Sabbath of the Lord is placed in the very bosom of the decalogue, and is so plain that none need err as to its import, and yet it is treated with as great profanation as were the sacred vessels at the feast of Belshazzar. God sanctified and blessed the seventh day, setting it apart to be observed as holy time. Yet the Sabbath of the Lord has been used as a common working day, while a day which possesses no sanctity whatever has been put in the place of God's sanctified day. The religious world has accepted error for truth, and many who claim to be the children of the light are the children of darkness. The condemnation of those who trample upon God's holy Sabbath, and exalt a Sabbath instituted by the man of sin, will not come because they have conscientiously observed the first day of the week, but because they neglected opportunities for searching the Scriptures and learning, not what man has said, not what the ministers say, not what the fathers have said, but what saith the infinite God? What day has God specified as his holy day? What did he command men to honor when he spoke with an audible voice from Sinai? That voice is to be obeyed above every other; the edicts of kings and nations are void before a command of God. The Lord of hosts commands our obedience. (The Signs of the Times article "Results of Refusing to Walk in the Light—No. 2" July 27, 1891)

"...which his father..."

  • The term "father" was used when referring to a person's father or grandfather. Nebuchadnezzar's son-in-law was Nabonidus, and Belshazzar was Nabonidus' oldest son. From archeological information we learn that Nabonidus and Belshazzar were co-regents of Babylon. Nabonidus didn't like living in Babylon and wanted to be with the army, so he made his son co-ruler of Babylon. That's why in Daniel 7 Belshazzar says that the person who interpreted the handwriting on the wall would be made third in the kingdom. Nabonidus conducted a successful military expedition against the Arabian city, Tema, and made it his residence until Cyrus captured Babylon in 539 B.C. (KC 62)
  • The word "father" must be understood to mean "grandfather" or "ancestor," as in many other passages of the Bible. (4BC 802)