The Prophet Daniel warns King Baltassar that he will die

January 9, 2014

King Baltassar gave a great feast to a thousand of the great men of his kingdom. He commanded for this feast that all the gold and silver vessels which his father Nabuchodonosor had taken from the Temple of Jerusalem, should be placed upon the table, that out of them his wives and his evil friends might drink. He did this out of contempt for the God of Israel, and that he might show all the people how weak the God of Heaven was, and how powerless to avenge Himself on those who rebelled against Him.

Belshazzar's Feast, painted by Rembrandt.

Belshazzar’s Feast, painted by Rembrandt.

Suddenly, in the midst of the enjoyments of the feast, the King was seen to become pale, and to tremble. His eyes were fixed upon the wall opposite to the place where he sat upon his throne, in all the glory of his majesty and the magnificence of his royal pomp. He saw there the fingers of a man’s hand writing, and the words that these fingers wrote were these: “Mane, Thecel, Phares.”

At that same moment his body seemed fixed to the throne on which he sat, and his knees to strike one against the other, and his feet became unmovable. When he was able at length to speak, he gave orders that all the wise men of his kingdom should hasten to his presence, and he promised magnificent rewards to the one who should tell him what these words meant. But no one was able to do so, and this increased the King’s dismay more and more.

Statue of the prophet Statue of the Prophet Daniel sculpted by Aleijadinho in front of the church of Bom Jesus at Congonhas, Brazil.

Statue of the prophet Statue of the Prophet Daniel sculpted by Aleijadinho in front of the church of Bom Jesus at Congonhas, Brazil.

Then the Queen, his mother, told him of one of the Jewish captives whose name was Daniel, who was renowned for the gift of unraveling unknown mysteries. Daniel was immediately sent for, and explained to the King the meaning of the mysterious words he had seen, in the following manner:

“Mane: God has numbered the days of thy reign, and that number is now filled. Thecel: thou hast been weighed in the balance, and art found wanting. Phares: thy kingdom shall be divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

This prediction was immediately accomplished. That same night Babylon was captured, and Baltassar was put to death.

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Rev. D. Chisholm, The Catechism in Examples (London: R & T Washbourne, Ltd., 1919), 216-7.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 350

 

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