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Then BELSHAZZAR spoke a commanded in response to which DANIEL was quickly clothed in purple and a golden chain [was placed] around his neck and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should become the third ruler in the kingdom.


Then BEL PROTECT THE KING gave an order and they responded to quickly clothe GOD IS MY JUDGE with the robe of a king and with the same type of necklace that the king wore which identified him as the king, and they proclaimed that he was a leader with authority surpassed only by the two who were already coregents.

Belshazzar's Response

The Bible tells us what happened next, but the most powerful part of that last verse is what is not mentioned because it did not happen. What did not happen was that Belshazzar did not repent.

After Daniel finished his pronouncement of God’s impending judgement, there was probably a long pause during which the following realities slowly penetrated Belshazzar’s alcohol-soaked brain:

  1. That everyone was looking at him and expecting a response.
  2. That Daniel’s interpretation could not be denied; the incriminating pieces of evidence (wine filled bowls and the lampstand from the temple in Jerusalem) were in plain view.
  3. That Daniel’s God is a true God with power to act. The evidence had been chiseled with a finger on the wall where paintings or carvings of Belshazzar had previously been.
  4. That he had to make a choice. He could repent in front of all those people, or he could keep playing the game of pretend that he had been playing all evening.

If he truly wanted to honor Daniel he would have repented, but repenting was not an acceptable option to him, so he kept playing the game. Oblivious to how vacuous it made him look, he proceeded to show outward demonstrations of honor to the man who was the mouthpiece of divine judgment upon him. He proceeded to give this man great authority in a kingdom that by then everyone knew was over, done, finished. He continued to pretend that the god Bel was going to save all of them, despite the fact that the God he had just dishonored had shown up on the scene in terrifying fashion and spoken to the contrary. Where was Bel’s response? Why didn’t his god Bel have anything to say about the matter?