THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL 165
captive, whom the king, my father, brought from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that you have understanding and great wisdom. The wise men and the magicians have been brought in before me to read this writing and to tell what it means; but they are not able. I have heard that you can tell what dreams mean and answer hard questions. Now if you can read the writing and tell what it means, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold about your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom."
Then Daniel answered the king, "Keep your gifts and give your rewards to another. Without them I will read the writing to the king, and tell what it means. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadrezzar, your father, the kingdom and power, glory and majesty. Because of the power that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and races trembled and feared him. He killed or kept alive as he wished; and he raised up or put down whom he pleased. But when he became proud and haughty, he was made to come down from his kingly throne and his glory was taken from him, and he was driven away from men, and his mind became like that of the beasts, and he lived with the wild asses; he was fed with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdom of men and that he sets up over it whom he will.
"But you, his son, O Belshazzar, have not been humble, though you knew all this, but you have raised yourself against the Lord of heaven, and have had the utensils of his temple brought before you, and you, your nobles, your wives, and the others of your household have drunk wine from them. You have given praise to the gods of silver, of gold, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, which cannot see nor hear nor know; and you have not praised the God in whose control are your very breath and all that you do."
"Then the hand was sent out before him and traced this writing: MENE, TEKEL, PERES
"This is what it means: Mene: God has numbered your kingdom and brought it to an end. Tekel: you are weighed in the scales and found wanting. Peres: your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."
Then at Belshazzar's command Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain of gold was put about his neck, and he was proclaimed