Daniel 5.22-Daniel Rebukes Belshazzar For Not Humbling Himself Even Though He Knew That The Most High Punished Nebuchadnezzar For His Pride And Arrogance
Wenstrom Bible Ministries
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Thursday January 17, 2013
Daniel: Daniel 5:22-Daniel Rebukes Belshazzar For Not Humbling Himself Even Though He Knew The Most High Punished Nebuchadnezzar For His Pride And Arrogance
Lesson # 163
Please turn in your Bibles to Daniel 5:1.
Daniel 5:1 King Belshazzar threw an enormous banquet for a thousand of his nobles. He even drank wine excessively directly in front of the thousand. 2 Belshazzar issued an order while under the influence of the wine causing the gold and silver articles to be brought in which Nebuchadnezzar, his great-grandfather caused to be confiscated from the temple, which was in Jerusalem, in order that the king, his nobles as well as his wives and in addition his concubines could drink with them. 3 Therefore, the gold and silver articles were brought in, which were confiscated from the temple, which was God’s house, which was in Jerusalem so that the king, his nobles as well as his wives and in addition his concubines could drink with them. 4 They drank wine while they praised gods composed of gold as well as silver, bronze, iron, wood and in addition stone. 5 During this time, the fingers of a human hand appeared while writing on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, directly in front of the lampstand so that the king observed the palm of the hand which was writing. 6 Then the king, his countenance was changed for him. Also, his thoughts caused him to be terrified so that his hip joints gave way resulting in his knees knocking together, one against the other. 7 The king authoritatively shouted out an order for the purpose of causing the necromancers, astrologers as well as diviners to be brought in. He declared to the city of Babylon’s wise men, “Any person who can read aloud as well as can make known its interpretation to me will be clothed with a purple robe as well as a golden chain around his neck. Indeed, they will rule as third in the kingdom.” 8 Therefore, each and every one of the king’s wise men came in but they were totally unable to read or cause the interpretation to be made known to the king. 9 Thus causing the king to be extremely terrified so that his countenance was changed on him as well as causing his nobles to be perplexed. 10 The queen entered the banquet hall because of the king’s words as well as his nobles. The queen responded and said, “O king, live forever! Please, by no means let your thoughts cause you to be terrified so that they by no means cause your countenance to be changed! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who possesses God’s Holy Spirit in him. Specifically, during the days of your great-grandfather, illumination, discernment as well as wisdom in accordance with God’s wisdom were observed in him. Indeed, King Nebuchadnezzar, your great-grandfather, your great-grandfather the king, promoted him to be commander over the occult priests, necromancers, astrologers and diviners 12 because in him, in Daniel whom the king assigned him the name Belteshazzar, was found an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, discernment interpreting dreams, explaining riddles as well as solving difficult problems. Please summon Daniel right now in order to cause the interpretation to be known.” 13 Consequently, Daniel was ordered to enter the king’s presence. The king asked a question and said to Daniel, “Are you Daniel, who is one of the deported people from Judah whom my great-grandfather the king ordered to be brought from Judah? 14 Likewise I heard concerning you that God’s Spirit is in you so that illumination, discernment as well as extraordinary wisdom were observed in you. 15 Now at this time, the wise men, the necromancers were ordered to enter my presence in order that they could read aloud as well as to make known to me its interpretation. However, they were totally unable to cause the message’s interpretation to be made known to me. 16 But I myself personally heard concerning you that you are able to provide interpretations as well as solve difficult problems. Now, if you are able to read aloud the inscription as well as cause its interpretation to be made known to me, you will be clothed with a purple robe as well as a golden chain around you neck. Indeed, you will rule as third over the kingdom. 17 Then Daniel responded and said, “Please, keep your gifts for yourself or please give your rewards for another. However, I will read aloud to the king as well as cause the interpretation to be made known to him. 18 As for you, O king, the Most High God gave to Nebuchadnezzar, your great-grandfather a kingdom, yes a great kingdom as well as honor, yes, great honor. 19 Indeed, because of this greatness, which He gave to him, each and every person belonging to the nations, ethnicities as well as language groups was in state of trembling, yes in a state of fear from being in the presence of him. He was characterized as putting to death whomever he desired whereas he was characterized as sparing whomever he desired. He was also characterized as promoting whomever he desired while on the other hand he was characterized as demoting whomever he desired. 20 However, when his mind was in a state of arrogance, namely, his attitude was obstinate so that he was proud, he was ordered to be removed from his royal throne so that honor was taken away from him. 21 Specifically, he was driven away from members of the human race. For his benefit, his mind was even transformed into the mind of a wild animal so that his dwelling place was among the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like cattle. Furthermore, his body was continually drenched with the dew from heaven until he acknowledged that the Most High God was the sovereign authority over mankind’s realm so that He can establish over it whomever He desires.” (My translation)
Daniel 5:22 “Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this.” (NASB95)
“Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart” is an adversative clause meaning that it stands in contrast to Daniel’s previous statements to Belshazzar which are recorded in Daniel 5:18-21.
So the contrast is between Belshazzar refusing to humble himself and Nebuchadnezzar humbling himself after being deposed from power for seven years.
“You” is the second person masculine singular form of the personal pronoun ʾǎnt (אַנְתְּ) (ant), which is an independent personal pronoun which means “you” referring to of course Belshazzar.
It functions as a nominative absolute, which serves to highlight or focus upon one element of the main clause, emphasizing Belshazzar was very familiar with the Most High God deposing his great-grandfather Nebuchadnezzar from power for seven years.
“His son” is composed of the masculine singular construct form of the noun bǎr (בַּר) (bar), “son” which is modified by the third person masculine singular pronominal suffix hû(ʾ) (הוּא) (who), “his.”
The noun bǎr means “great-grandson” which is indicated by the text of Jeremiah 27:7 and what we know from history as well as this word here in Daniel 5:22.
In Jeremiah 27:7, the word “son” and “grandson” are translating the Hebrew noun bēn (בֵּן) (bane), which appears three times in this passage describing someone who is biologically related to Nebuchadnezzar.
The text of Jeremiah 27:7 literally reads: “All the nations shall serve him and his son (bēn), and his son’s (bēn) son (bēn), i.e. grandson until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings will make him their servant.”
This passage would indicate that Evil-Merodach was the father of Nabonidus and that Nabonidus was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar since it says that Nebuchadnezzar’s son and grandson would follow after him before the Neo-Babylonian empire would come to an end.
Evil-Merodach must have been Nabonidus’ father since Jeremiah 27:7 is saying that Nebuchadnezzar’s son and then grandson would reign and during the reign of his grandson, the kingdom would come to an end.
Therefore, if Nabonidus is the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar and his empire would come to an end during the reign of his grandson as Jeremiah 27:7 makes clear then Nebuchadnezzar must have been the great-grandfather of Belshazzar since Nebuchadnezzar was the grandfather of Nabonidus, Belshazzar’s father.
This would thus indicate that the noun bǎr here in Daniel 5:22 means “great-grandson” and the noun ʾǎḇ in Daniel 5:2, 11, 13 and 18 means “great-grandfather” and is describing Nebuchadnezzar as Belshazzar’s great-grandfather.
“Have not humbled” is composed of the negative particle lā(ʾ) (לָא) (law), “not” which is negating the meaning of the second person masculine singular hafʿel (Hebrew: hiphil) active perfect form of the verb šep̄ǎl (שְׁפַל) (shaw-fale´), “have humbled.”
The verb šep̄ǎl means “to humble” in the sense of submitting oneself to the will of God.
The word’s meaning is negated by the emphatic negative particle lā(ʾ), which is functioning here as a marker of emphatic negation.
This indicates that Daniel is rebuking Belshazzar because even though he knew God had humbled his great-grandfather Nebuchadnezzar, he “by no means humbled” himself before God by submitting to His will.
“Your heart” is composed of the masculine singular construct form of the noun leḇǎḇ (לְבַב) (leb-ab´), “heart” which is modified by the second person masculine singular pronominal suffix -ḵ (־ךְ), “your.”
The noun leḇǎḇ means “heart” and denotes that aspect of Belshazzar’s soul, which circulates his thought or mental activity and is where his frame of reference and memory center resides.
It is also the place where his vocabulary and the classification of his thoughts reside as well as the conscience where his norms and standards reside.
It is also the place where his volition resides.
His volition is being emphasized with this noun here in Daniel 5:22.
Daniel is rebuking Belshazzar for not humbling his heart, i.e. his volition in the sense that the king stubbornly refused to submit to the will of God despite being well aware of the fact that the Most High had punished his great-grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar for his great pride and arrogance.
“Even though” is composed of the preposition k- (כְּ־) (kee) and this is followed by the preposition lĕ (לְ) (leh) and then we have the preposition qǒḇēl (קֳבֵל) (kob-ale´) and this is followed by the relative particle dî (דִּי) (dee).
These four words form a concessive clause which means “despite, although, even though.”
They are introducing a statement that presents the proud and arrogant state of Belshazzar’s heart in spite of God deposing his great-grandfather Nebuchadnezzar for his pride and arrogance.
“You knew” is the second person masculine singular peʿal (Hebrew: qal) active perfect form of the verb yeḏǎʿ (יְדַע) (yed-ah´), which means “to know” in the sense of being familiar or well acquainted with something.
Here it refers to Belshazzar familiarity with the story of his great-grandfather Nebuchadnezzar being deposed from power for seven years by the Most High because of his pride and arrogance.
Here it denotes that Belshazzar was very familiar with Daniel’s statements in Daniel 5:18-21.
“All this” is pointing back to Daniel reminding the king that the Most High deposed his great-grandfather Nebuchadnezzar for his pride and arrogance.
Daniel 5:22 “However, as for you, his great-grandson, you by no means humbled your heart even though you are well acquainted with all this.” (My translation)
Daniel rebukes Belshazzar telling the king that he, the great-grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, did not humble himself before God even though he knew all about this story of the Most High deposing Nebuchadnezzar from power because of his pride and arrogance.
He knew that Nebuchadnezzar was not restored to power until he acknowledged that the Most High was sovereign over him and the nations of the earth.
So this verse marks a contrast between Belshazzar refusing to humble himself and Nebuchadnezzar humbling himself after being deposed from power for seven years.
In light of the Most High deposing Nebuchadnezzar from power and only restoring him to power after he repented, Belshazzar should have been humble since his great-grandfather was more powerful than he ever was.
In fact, he was a co-regent with his father, Nabonidus.
Yet, Belshazzar remained arrogant and proud despite knowing all the details of God deposing his great-grandfather from power and restoring him to power only after he humbled himself by acknowledging that God was sovereign over him.
Daniel is confronting Belshazzar for his great pride and arrogance.
However, he is not doing this arrogantly or being overbearing since he was very careful to remind Belshazzar of God’s judgment of Nebuchadnezzar since he wants the king to focus on God’s sovereignty and power to bring about judgment with reference to the king.
Daniel wanted the king to know in no uncertain terms that God was not rash or arbitrary in judging.
He was in fact merciful and patient and gracious with Belshazzar as He had been with his great-grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar.
Like Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar was king by the sovereign grace of God.
Daniel tells Belshazzar here in verse 22 that he was very well acquainted with the Most High God deposing his great-grandfather from power for seven years.
However, Belshazzar never learned the lesson though God was very patient with him.
He never learned to humble himself before God by submitting to the will of the Most High.
Humility is putting the glory and honor of God first in your set of priorities and the needs of other human beings ahead of your own needs.
Belshazzar could care less about the needs of others.
He could care less about putting the glory and honor of God and the needs of others ahead of his own needs and desires.
“Humility” is viewing ourselves from God’s perspective meaning we are sinners saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and expresses itself in obedience to the Father’s will, which manifests itself in loving and serving others.
It expresses itself in putting others ahead of yourself.
Belshazzar has a distorted view of himself and is not viewing himself from God’s perspective which is that he is a creature of God and subordinate to God.