by Jerry Vines

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Daniel 5:1-9
Jerry Vines
Millennium Notebook #5

Daniel 5 records for us the fall of the Babylonian Empire. Let me give you the
setting as we prepare to look at these verses. It’s been about 23 years since the
remarkable conversion of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in the 4th chapter. By this time
Daniel is an old man, probably in his mid-eighties. Nebuchadnezzar is no longer the
king, but a man named Belshazzar who was probably his grandson. Belshazzar was a co-
regent with his own father, Nabonidus. Evidently, Nabonidus, his father was the king
over the nation of Babylon, but Belshazzar was king over the city of Babylon itself. Here
we have in these opening verses the setting which lays before us the party that Belshazzar
is going to have. We are right on the verge of the collapse of the Babylonian Empire.
Just outside the gates there is the army of the Persians. They have been there for about
two years. They have surrounded the city of Babylon. All of the rest of the nation of
Babylon has been taken. Nabonidus, the father, has already been put in prison, and they
are now getting ready to strike and do the final blow and the city of Babylon will come
tumbling down also.
It seems that the city is impregnable. It appears that there is no way this city can
be taken. There are large double walls, exceeding 350 feet in height. Eighty-seven feet
in width. They have about a twenty-year supply of food. Going under the walls of the
city of Babylon is the River Euphrates. So they have a food supply and they also have a
water supply. Belshazzar thinks that nothing can cause them to come down.
Maybe, in open defiance of the army of the Persians, he announces a great party, a
great banquet. This army is kind of like a snake that is wrapping itself around a sleeping
lion--Babylon. It is getting tighter and tighter and tighter. Oblivious to the danger he is
in, Belshazzar calls for party ...

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