Chapter 5 has to be one of the most frightening in the Bible. Belshazzar was using the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem that he and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them (5:2). And “They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone” (5:4). After his father had recognized and praised the greatness of the Lord, Belshazzar worshiped gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone???
“Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together” (5:5-6). Ya think? Had to be terrifying and, then, the meaning of the writing had to be even more terrifying: “You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting” (5:27). And that very night Belshazzar was killed. John Newton wrote about Belshazzar and the hope of sinners.
See him o’erwhelm’d with deep distress!
His eyes with anguish roll;
His looks and loosened joints express
The terrors of his soul.
The law like this hand writing stands,
And speaks the wrath of God;
But Jesus answers its demands,
And cancels it with blood. –John Newton (1799)