Teaching Series
Daniel 5 & 6

Series: Resilience
Message: Strength
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira

Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 18:1-6.

Read: Daniel 5 and 6 - As you read in the NLT translation, note 1-3 insights/questions that arise. 

Reflect: Nabonidus is a son of Nebuchadnezzar and during his reign he lost most of the Babylonian empire to the Medes and Persians. He reigned 556-539 BC; the last 10 years he was co-regent with his son Belshazzar. While he escaped to Arabia, he left his son in charge of Babylon. This is one of the reasons why Belshazzar offered Daniel the third position in the empire, since he only held the second. There are lots of speculative ideas why the huge banquet was held. Not least would be from the Talmud that suggests Belshazzar had calculated the end date of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10), and believed he had surpassed it. He called this banquet as an affront to God. He ended up desecrating all that was captured from the Temple in Jerusalem. 

John Goldingay in his Commentary on Daniel p.103,113 as sited by Sharon Pace in her commentary on Daniel observes:

“The omen [of the handwriting on the wall] is provoked by an act of idolatrous sacrilege in a context of Bacchanalian excess. It is of manifestly supernatural origin and elicits the response appropriate to an announcement of divine judgment…. [Daniel 5] begins with a scene that can be read as one of ostentation, decadence, carousing, coarseness, wantonness, and self-indulgence, a scene that might have been designed to illustrate the wisdom literature’s warnings about power, sex and drink….From self-indulgence issued sacrilege and blasphemy; what was wrong with the banquet was not the thing itself but where it led.”


  1. When has something simple turned into a complicated mess? 
  2. What elements in the party of Belshazzar contributed to the mayhem and writing on the wall?

Respond: Pray for insight.

Research: George Frederick Handel composed the oratorio Belshazzar in 1745, and Jean Sibelius composed Belsazar’s Gästabud in 1907, but it is William Turner Walton (1902-1983) who wrote the most famous Belshazzar’s Feast, well worth listening to.

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