The Expository Files

 

Belshazzar-
 “Weighed In The Balances And Found Wanting”

Daniel 5


King Belshazzar is one of the tragic figures of Old Testament history. His story should impress us with the moral degeneracy that can result when God is not honored. His story is told in Daniel chapter five.

1. He didn’t learn important lessons from the experience of Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar was taken into exile until “he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will,” (Dan. 5:21). He came out of that humiliation confessing the sovereignty of God. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble,” (Dan. 4:37). Belshazzar “knew all this,” but it prompted no humility or reverence for God.

2. Belshazzar threw a huge drinking party. He “drank wine in front” of a thousand. “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them . . . Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink…,” (Isa. 5:11.22). Belshazzar did all of this on the eve of his nation’s end. They were feasting on the brink of the grave.

3. He was absorbed in idolatry. At this drinking party, he “commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.” (Dan. 5:2-4) “What fools these idolaters were for praising and worshiping the creation rather than the Creator,” (McGuiggan).

4. Belshazzar – when he saw the “handwriting on the wall,” called on the Chaldean “interpreters” who could not see, hear or know anything. These men were frauds. On two earlier occasions (Daniel 2 & 4), they failed to provide any insight. Daniel “had understanding in all visions and dreams,” (Dan. 1:17). Ignoring this, Belshazzar called the frauds in again. Only when advised by the Queen, was the man of God called in. This is one reason why Belshazzar was “weighed in the balances and found wanting.” “That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed,” (Dan. 5:30).

Belshazzar’s behavior was exceptionally arrogant and irreverent. He is an example to us of what happens when the heart is not humbled before God. To avoid this tragedy, “praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble,” (Dan. 4:37).

In 1957, a popular song writer and singer wrote the following:

Well, the bible tells us about a man
Who ruled Babylon and all its land.
Around the city, he built a wall
And declared that Babylon would never fall.

He had concubines and wives,
He called his Babylon "Paradise."
On his throne he drank and ate,
but for Belshazar it was gettin' late.

For he was weighed in the balance and found wanting,
His kingdom was divided, couldn't stand.
He was weighed in the balance and found wanting,
His houses were built upon the sand.

Well, the people feasted and drank their wine
And praised the false gods of his time.
All holy things they scorned and mocked,
But suddenly all their mocking stopped.
For on the wall, there appeared a hand,
Nothin' else, there was no man.
In blood the hand began to write,
And Belshazar couldn't hide his fright.

For he was weighed in the balance and found wanting,
His kingdom was divided, couldn't stand.
He was weighed in the balance and found wanting,
His houses were built upon the sand.

Well, no one around could understand
What was written by the mystic hand.
Belshazar tried, but couldn't find
A man who could give him peace of mind.
But Daniel, the prophet, a man of God,
He saw the writing on the wall in blood.
Belshazar asked him what it said,
And Daniel turned to the wall and read:

"My friend, you're weighed in the balance and found wanting,
Your kingdom is divided, it can't stand.
You're weighed in the balance and found wanting,
Your houses are built upon the sand." Johnny Cash

 

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 15.11; November 2008

 

 

 

http://www.bible.ca/