Mene, mene tekel parsin The writings on the Wall! Welcome to BS Thursday. Last night the BS studied Daniel 5 and I've got to say that so far Daniel is one of the better books of the bible, story wise. Highly recommended what with Lions and fiery furnaces and freaky dream sequences... but anyways... Chapter 5 start out with Nebuchadnezzar's son(now King of Babylon) throwing a wild party with all his wives and concubines and buddies. First question? Why do you need concubines if you can have multiple wives? So, not content just to have his party the son(Belshazzar) decides to haul out the good china, which were goblets from the temple that his Dad Nebuchadnezzar had swiped during his takeover of Jerusalem. So then they start using the goblets to drink to various idols they've had carved for themselves. This... is so very bad, it's like using communion cups to drink to another god, such a very stupid thing to do... seems like Belshazzar didn't really get the message about the "Don't go against God thing" his Dad wrote about in his letter to the WORLD. Anyways they are all enjoying themselves when a disembodied hand appears on the wall and writes out "mene, mene tekel parsin" Everyone freaks out as you do when disembodied hands appear and start writing stuff on the wall that you don't understand. Belteshezzer apparently gets very "pale" and according to the Kings James Translation his "Loins go slack" Hee! This just means that he freaked out and fell down, but it is much funnier the other way!
Anyways they are all freaking out and then Belshazzar's wife remembers that Daniel is still alive and she's like "Don't get pale, Daniel can help us out!" So they get Daniel and Belshazzar says "Hey if you interpret this I will give you purple robes, put you in charge and give you large gold jewelry." This gives me an image of Daniel as a weirdly dressed rapper, but you know that's just me. So Daniel comes and says, "No prob Bob with the interpretation but no thanks on the purple, gold and powerful political position" So he starts in on the interpretation but before he does he take a few paragraphs to give Belshazzar the smack down for not being like his father Nebuchadnezzar, for not learning anything from his father's "letter to the world" and for being a prideful jerk. That's the short version anyways... then he translates the writing which means, in paraphrase... "God is going to kill you and give Babylon to the Medes and the Persians" There was no word on Belshazzar's reaction to this rather bad news except that he gives Daniel the purple robes and gold jewelry... oh yeah, also that night someone killed him and Belshazzar was succeeded by some guy whose name I forgot... Sweet!
So life lessons from bible study... 1) Turning your back on God is especially bad if your parents were taught to worship God through being sent to the wilderness for seven years. 2) When a disembodied hand comes to warn you, your days are numbered...
Other fun facts:
Did you know that modern-day Babylon is Iraq and that the palace where these stories took place still stands! Of course stupid Saddam jacked most of it up by covering up ancient bricks that said Nebuchadnezzar on them with bricks that said "Saddam rules" or something of that nature. What a tool!