Babylon fell in 539 BC, twenty-three years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. A quarter of a century, therefore, has elapsed since the events of chapter 4.
- What four accusations did Daniel bring against Belshazzar? In what two ways was Belshazzar’s sin aggravated and made worse?
- Consider the judgment pronounced upon Belshazzar as symbolizing the divine judgment upon all ungodliness, whether in national or individual life. See verses 26-28, and cf. Prov. 15:3, 9; Eccles. 8:11-13.
- The identity of Belshazzar was for a long time unknown, but he is now known to have been the eldest son of King Nabonidus (556-539 BC), and to have shared the duties of the throne with his father. While Nabonidus was away from Babylon, his son had supreme authority there.
- Verse 10. ‘The queen’: probably the queen-mother, widow of Nebuchadnezzar.
- Verses 25-28. The words represent three weights or coins, i.e., mina, shekel and peres or half-mina. But the interpretation conceals numerous plays on words, for the verbal roots mean ‘to number, to weigh and to divide’. In the case of ‘peres’, ‘to divide’, there is a further similarity to the word for Persian.
The identity of Darius the Made is still a matter for debate, but the most likely candidates are Gobryas (Gubaru), the governor of Babylon, or Cyrus the king. This is one of many instance of biblical interpretation over which the reader has to admit that we simply do not know the answer until fresh evidence comes to light to help to solve the mystery.
- Neither pressure of business nor the threat of death kept Daniel from prayer. Is this true of you? Do you think that other qualities in Daniel’s character revealed in this chapter were the outcome of his prayer life? What were those qualities? Cf. Is. 40:29-31; Phil. 4:5, 6.
- Is your faith of such kind that you can stand alone in obedience to God without external support? Are we living in such a way that even our keenest critics take it for granted that the will of God comes first in our lives, come what may?