5:2 While under the influence 1 of the wine, Belshazzar issued an order to bring in the gold and silver vessels – the ones that Nebuchadnezzar his father 2 had confiscated 3 from the temple in Jerusalem 4 – so that the king and his nobles, together with his wives and his concubines, could drink from them. 5 5:3 So they brought the gold and silver 6 vessels that had been confiscated from the temple, the house of God 7 in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, together with his wives and concubines, drank from them. 5:4 As they drank wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5:5 At that very moment the fingers of a human hand appeared 8 and wrote on the plaster of the royal palace wall, opposite the lampstand. 9 The king was watching the back 10 of the hand that was writing. 5:6 Then all the color drained from the king’s face 11 and he became alarmed. 12 The joints of his hips gave way, 13 and his knees began knocking together.
5:30 And in that very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, 14 was killed. 15
1 tn Or perhaps, “when he had tasted” (cf. NASB) in the sense of officially initiating the commencement of the banquet. The translation above seems preferable, however, given the clear evidence of inebriation in the context (cf. also CEV “he got drunk and ordered”).
3 tn Or “taken.”
5 sn Making use of sacred temple vessels for an occasion of reveling and drunkenness such as this would have been a religious affront of shocking proportions to the Jewish captives.
6 tc The present translation reads וְכַסְפָּא (vÿkhaspa’, “and the silver”) with Theodotion and the Vulgate. Cf. v. 2. The form was probably accidentally dropped from the Aramaic text by homoioteleuton.
7 tn Aram “the temple of the house of God.” The phrase seems rather awkward. The Vulgate lacks “of the house of God,” while Theodotion and the Syriac lack “the house.”
8 tn Aram “came forth.”
9 sn The mention of the lampstand in this context is of interest because it suggests that the writing was in clear view.
10 tn While Aramaic פַּס (pas) can mean the palm of the hand, here it seems to be the back of the hand that is intended.
11 tn Aram “[the king’s] brightness changed for him.”
12 tn Aram “his thoughts were alarming him.”
13 tn Aram “his loins went slack.”
14 tn Aram “king of the Chaldeans.”
15 sn The year was 539