Reference: Daniel chapter 5
Heart of the Story: Knowledge power was displayed by a Babylonian Bible queen. She remembered what others forgot.
Back Story: Nebuchadnezzar died and his son Belshazzar became king of Babylon. Under Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Daniel was taken captive from Judah to Babylon. He was a valuable resource to Nebuchadnezzar; however, under Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel was unknown.
Story Line: The setting for this story was a banquet given by King Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar. At this banquet, King Belshazzar ordered the gold and silver vessels from the Jerusalem temple be brought so he, his lords, and wives could drink from them. As the nobles praised the gods of gold and silver, a finger of a man’s hand wrote on a wall in the banquet hall. Belshazzar was terrified, his color changed, his knees actually knocked together. None of the astrologers, magicians, and diviners could interpret the words for Belshazzar.Finally, the queen mother entered the banquet hall and told King Belshazzar that Daniel, a man brought to Babylon from Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, could interpret the writing on the wall. Promptly, Daniel was brought to the banquet and indeed he interpreted the words — Belshazzar would be killed. That same night Belshazzar was murdered and the Medes and Persian’s took over his empire.
Pondering Relationships: Clearly, King Belshazzar was prideful; his actions reaped what he sowed. I wonder why the Queen Mother did not attend the royal banquet. Likely, she was invited; otherwise, she would not have been able to enter the banquet hall. If you read through the beginning chapters of Daniel, you learn that Daniel seemed to like Nebuchadnezzar, but had contempt for Belshazzar.
The Bible didn’t record the name of Nebuchadnezzar’s wife and the mother of Belshazzar; however, she had power. Her power was memory and knowledge of Daniel and his skills, knowledge that none other of Belshazzar’s nobles or wives had. We have no notion what happened to this royal woman, but in this time and place hers was the most powerful voice in the room. Notice the timing of the queen mother’s input. She waited to enter the king’s banquet hall until after all of the magicians and supposed wise men admitted that they couldn’t interpret the writing on Belshazzar’s banquet wall. The queen mother’s timing added to her perceived knowledge power. Further, the queen mother willingly shared her knowledge to benefit the king.
Reflection: Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Describes Belshazzar, doesn’t it? Does it describe you?
Copyright January 3, 2017: Carolyn A. Roth
If you want to know more about lesser known Bible characters, consider purchasing my book by that title on on http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/