Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin: The Writing on the Wall

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

I was reading the book of Daniel, chapter 5 in my devotion and learned a valuable lesson. Mixing the sacred with the profane is a very dangerous thing to do.

Here is what happened.

King Belshazzar, the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar, threw a huge party that had a thousand people of nobility there. As you can imagine, this party was the talk of the season. The Who’s Who were present, and dressed too impressed.

After the food and drinks started flowing, and everyone became jovial; King Belshazzar called for his servants to bring forth the gold vessels that had been taken from the Temple of the House of God in Jerusalem. He went on to have the servants pour wine in the vessels, and made a toast to the previous victory of capturing Israel. He also praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron and wood and stone. I can hear the crowd roar with laughter, as he mocked God,

That same hour, the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand and on the wall of the King’s palace. The King was shocked! This is where we get the proverbial phrase The Writing on the Wall.

The call for the practitioners of magic

vs. 7 The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” vs. 8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. vs. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed. (Ref. Bible Gateway)

King Belshazzar became extremely worried because none of his practitioners of mysticism could interpret the writing.

The Queen Mother came to him and declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” (Ref. Bible gateway)

Daniel came and told King Belshazzar that he could keep his gifts, and let the rewards he offered be for another, because he had to give him the interpretation regardless.


  1. Daniel chastised King Belshazzar for not being humbled. He told him he should have known better than to lift himself up in pride, especially after what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.
  2. Daniel went on to tell him that instead of praising the God who held his very breath in His hands, King Belshazzar praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze and iron instead.



This is the interpretation of each word:

Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end

Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting

Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

After this prophecy, King Belshazzar gave the command and Daniel was promoted. Keep in mind this promotion was ordained by God, and King Belshazzar was the vehicle he chose to use.


That very night, King Belshazzar was slain and the kingdom was divided.

Take away – God’s word is reliable and true, and He does not take it lightly when you mock Him or His children.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.


2 thoughts on “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin: The Writing on the Wall

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s