IV. THE DESTINY OF BELSHAZZAR
Verses 30 and 31 speak of the destiny of Belshazzar.
A. Belshazzar Being Slain That Very Night
Verse 30 says, "In that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain." There is no indication in the record that Belshazzar repented or had some kind of change. Probably there was no time for him to repent.
B. Darius the Mede
Receiving the Kingdom of Babylon
I believe that while Belshazzar and his lords were engaging in debauchery, the Median army was approaching the city. Soon after Daniel interpreted the writing, the Median army entered the city and the palace and killed Belshazzar. Thus, verse 31 concludes, "Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two." That ended the Babylonian Empire.
In the first five chapters of Daniel, there are a number of lessons for us to learn. For instance, the lesson in chapter one is that we should not care for the worldly choice and the worldly taste but set our heart on God and have a taste only for vegetables, that is, for simple food. We should receive only simple things. If we do this, we will be one with God and will become wise.
In chapter five concerning the case of Belshazzar, we see the importance of being serious with God and not disregarding any spiritual lesson. Belshazzar did not benefit from the lesson learned by his forefather Nebuchadnezzar in chapter four. The case of Nebuchadnezzar teaches us that we need to be careful and not consider what we have achieved. The palace built by Nebuchadnezzar was vast. When he took a walk on the roof of that palace, he became proud and said, "Is this not Babylon the great, which I have built up as a royal house by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?" (4:30). This should warn us that our achievement may make us proud, and this may usher in God’s judgment. God’s judgment upon Nebuchadnezzar reduced him to nothing. This was the reason he could say of the Lord, "All the inhabitants of earth are considered as nothing, / But He does according to His will in the army of heaven / And among the inhabitants of the earth; / And there is no one who can resist His hand / Or say to Him, What are You doing?" (4:35). In 4:37 concerning the Lord, Nebuchadnezzar went on to say, "He is able to abase those who walk in pride." Belshazzar should have learned the lesson from Nebuchadnezzar’s experience; however, he did not learn the lesson and suffered as a result.
Belshazzar’s situation should make a deep impression on us. We all need to see that if we have received some lesson from God, we must regard that very seriously. If we disregard any lesson, we will suffer.
Among all the events in chapter five, or going along with all these events, God’s economy was being carried out. God knew how to manage the world situation. Do not think that Darius the Mede came to kill Belshazzar by accident. No, that was God carrying out His economy. If He had left the empire in the hand of the Babylonians, there could never have been a return of the captives to Israel. Therefore, the empire had to be changed from gold to silver. This was God’s doing. This was God’s tempering, His balance in His economy, to fulfill His plan.
(Life-Study of Daniel, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)