Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Subodh, run; your luck's run out by HOBEKI. Graffiti on a wall in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
— Daniel 5:4-5
This is famous "writing on the wall" story, cited throughout the centuries to indicate impending disaster. The crown prince Belshazzar, separated from Nebuchadnezzar by four short-reigned kings, is wining and dining his cronies at his father's palace. Arrogantly, he calls for the sacred vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem during the capture and enslavement of the Jewish people to use as drinking vessels for his guests, finding the idea of such desecration to be of great amusement. Amidst the laughter a disembodied hand writes the words which translated by Daniel means God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.1 That very night Belshazzar dies and the kingdom is taken over by the (fictitious2) king, Darius the Median.
This is the story of abuse, brought on by contempt and disdain. Belshazzar went out of his way to humiliate his Jewish slaves by desecrating their sacred artefacts, for no good reason other than to lift himself in the eyes of his guests. Beyond this desecration he then goes on to praise the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, incurring, one imagines, the wrath of God. We may behave appallingly, but our conscience always speaks up. Belshazzar became the ultimate victim of his own mockery, his abuse of trust. For Belshazzar, the writing was, literally, on the wall.
1 Daniel 5:26-28
2 "Darius the Mede is not known to history, and no additional king can be placed between the known figures of Belshazzar and Cyrus the Great." from Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, Mercer University Press, 1990