5:1 King Belshazzar 1 prepared a great banquet 2 for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in front of 3 them all. 4 5:2 While under the influence 5 of the wine, Belshazzar issued an order to bring in the gold and silver vessels – the ones that Nebuchadnezzar his father 6 had confiscated 7 from the temple in Jerusalem 8 – so that the king and his nobles, together with his wives and his concubines, could drink from them. 9
5:4 As they drank wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
1 sn As is clear from the extra-biblical records, it was actually Nabonidus (ca. 556-539
3 sn The king probably sat at an elevated head table.
4 tn Aram “the thousand.”
5 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”).
7 tn Or “taken.”
9 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.