Narrator, Daniel, Belshazzar, Queen Mother.
(have the words ‘number, number, weight, division’ printed on a card & a picture of a hand looking like it just finished writing the words.)
Narrator: Daniel lived to an old age. After King Nebuchadnezzar died his sons and grandsons became rulers together. Daniel still lived at the Royal Court, but he didn’t have any active role with King Belshazzar who ruled in Babylon. One night Belshazzar held a banquet for a thousand of his nobles and their wives. They ate and drank and the party grew noisier and noisier.
Belshazzar: Send for the golden cups and plates from the Temple. They are treasures carried off from the Jewish temple many years ago – we might as well enjoy using them ourselves. Let’s drink from them.
Narrator: So the servants fetched the sacred cups and plates used in temple worship. Belshazzar had them filled with wine and gave them to his guests.
Belshazzar: Drink health to our gods and goddesses. Praise the gold and silver idols ad the ones made of iron, wood and stone. Drink good health to them.
Narrator: And so the king and his guests became very drunk and very noisy. Suddenly King Belshazzar stopped dead. His trembling finger pointed to the white plaster wall in front of him and everyone turned to look.
* have a leader hold up card
Belshazzar: Look! Can you see that? It’s a human hand and it’s writing some words on the wall. Bring my magicians, wizards and advisors. Quickly! Quickly!
Narrator: The servants hurried away to bring the kings advisors to him.
Belshazzar: Anyone who can read and explain these words on the wall will be richly rewarded. I will give him purple robes, gold chains and make him very important in the kingdom. Only tell me the meaning.
Narrator: But all the advisors and magicians shook their heads. They couldn’t read this writing. Some servants took the news to the kings mother – she was old now, but she was formerly King Nebuchadnezzar’s wife. She went to see Belshazzar.
Queen Mother: Belshazzar. Do not be so distressed and frightened. I hear you have need of a very wise man.
Belshazzar: Yes mother. There is this writing on the wall. It was written by only a hand. It was terrifying. I need to know what it says but no-one can tell me.
Queen Mother: Well, you have an old man who still lives in the Royal Court. His name is Daniel. In your father’s time he could interpret dreams. He worships the Supreme God, and this God knows everything. Call for Daniel and he will tell you what this writing means.
Belshazzar: Servants! Call Daniel. Bring him to me quickly.
Narrator: Daniel was sent for at once. And he came to the king.
Belshazzar: Are you Daniel, captured by my father and brought to Babylon from Jerusalem? I have heard the spirits of the gods are in you and that you can tell me the meaning of this writing on the wall. If you tell me I will give you many gifts and great honour.
Daniel: Keep your gifts, or give them to someone else – I don’t want them. But I will read and explain the writing to you. The Supreme God has sent you a message tonight. You have not listened to him before, even though you could have learned about his greatness from your father King Nebuchadnezzar. Instead you have acted against God by bringing the cups from the temple to use at your drunken party. You praised the idols made of gold, silver, iron, wood and stone – idols that cannot see or hear and don’t know anything. But you neglected the God who made you. who made the world and who controls everything. So he has sent you these words.
Belshazzar: Yes, Yes. But what do the words say Daniel?
Daniel: They say – number, number, weight, division.
- Number means that God has numbered the days of your rule. Your empire is at an end.
- Weight means that you have been weighed in God’s scales and you do not meet his standards.
- Division means that your empire is going to be divided between the Medes and the Persians.
Belshazzar: Yes, I believe you speak truth Daniel. What can I do. I am going to lose my kingdom. How foolish I have been. Servants! Reward Daniel with purple robes and gold chains. He will be my main advisor.
Narrator: But while Belshazzar was ordering the servants to give rewards to Daniel, the enemy army was already making their way into the city of Babylon. Babylon had huge walls to keep the enemy out. But the enemy dammed up the river that ran through the city. Then they walked along the dried up river bed under the walls. They killed Belshazzar, but not Daniel. King Darius took over the throne.
Lesson: Like the king being weighed in Gods scales, we all have to be judged by God one day. He will look for 2 things:
- Have we had our sins forgiven?
- How we serve God. Are we kind, helpful, obedient to God and parents. Do we get to know God better by reading our Bible, praying and living in a way that pleases God?
That’s what we should try to do.