Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary


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Daniel 5

Chapter 5:

v. 8: This says that they could not read, much less interpret, the message, which makes me wonder what language it was written in.  The English versions transliterate the message later on in the chapter from what I assume is the normal Aramaic of chapters 2-7.  Since Aramaic is what Daniel might have translated the message into, I doubt the original message on the wall was Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin (in whatever characters Aramaic uses).  My thoughts are that

1) it was something like the “tongues of angels” of I Corinthians 13:1 (i.e., not any earthly language) or that

2) it was in an earthly language with which Daniel was familiar but which the wise men did not know, or that

3) it was an earthly language that the wise men might ordinarily have recognized but that God made obscure to their        minds on this occasion.

Whatever the language was, Daniel seemed to understand the message as soon as he saw it; he did not even have to pray for the knowledge (as he did with Nebuchadnezzer’s Statue Dream).

v. 11: I think the repetition “your father, the king” was designed to emphasize Daniel’s worthiness by stressing that the great Nebuchadnezzer (in reality, Belshazzar’s grandfather) had held this Jew in high honor.

v. 17: As further proof of the genuine affection which Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar had for one another, compare 4:14 with this unemotional interpretation which Daniel gives to Belshazzar.


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