King Belshazzar of Babylon organized a big party. Amid all the revelry, an event occurred that brought all festivities to an immediate halt. A mysterious hand appeared and in fiery letters wrote a chilling message on the wall of the king’s palace. A writing on the wall! Suddenly the party crowd goes silent. They are stunned. As they watch a hand appears, it comes out of nowhere, and begins writing in fiery letters on the wall. The people watch in awe as the handwriting slowly makes words. But nobody can read the messate and so nobody knows what it means.
And then Daniel reads and interprets the handwriting on the wall.
This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” – Daniel 5:26,27
That very night, 12 October 539BC, while Belshazzar and his friends partied, the enemy attacked. The ancient historians, Herodotus and Xenophon, record that the river was low after the hot summer, and the invaders cleverly lowered it further by diverting some of the water. The Persian soldiers waded into the now knee-deep stream. When they came to the mighty river gates, they found them unguarded and open. Just as the prophecy in Isaiah had predicted almost 200 years before. Cyrus took the city of Babylon with scarcely a fight. And that very night, King Belshazzar lost his life and his kingdom. No wonder when Daniel first stepped before the drunken king, he didn’t bother with the usual greeting for the king, O King live forever. As Daniel read the writing on the wall, he knew that the king was going to die in just a short time. And that’s exactly what happened. Here’s the Bible account:
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old. Daniel 5:30,31
The kingdom of Babylon came to an end that same evening. Belshazzar was the last of the Babylonian monarchs. A new king Darius, the Mede ascends the throne. The Greek historian, Xenophon confirms the Bible statement and tells us why Belshazzar was killed.
On a hunting trip years before, Nabonidus, chief king of Babylon, had killed the son of Gobryas, who was now the governor of the troops that overthrew the city that fateful night. In revenge for the death of his son, Gobryas killed the son of Nabonidus, Belshazzar. Soon after, Cyrus the Great led his army through the streets of Babylon, where they were received by joyous crowds who were grateful to be done with the tyranny of the fallen kingdom.
Darius the Mede ruled the city for just over a year until his death and then Cyrus became the king of the Medes and Persians just as Bible prophecy had predicted.