Daniel 5:4
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
5:1-9 Belshazzar bade defiance to the judgments of God. Most historians consider that Cyrus then besieged Babylon. Security and sensuality are sad proofs of approaching ruin. That mirth is sinful indeed, which profanes sacred things; and what are many of the songs used at modern feasts better than the praises sung by the heathens to their gods! See how God struck terror upon Belshazzar and his lords. God's written word is enough to put the proudest, boldest sinner in a fright. What we see of God, the part of the hand that writes in the book of the creatures, and in the book of the Scriptures, should fill us with awful thoughts concerning that part which we do not see. If this be the finger of God, what is his arm when made bare? And what is He? The king's guilty conscience told him that he had no reason to expect any good news from heaven. God can, in a moment, make the heart of the stoutest sinner to tremble; and there needs no more than to let loose his own thoughts upon him; they will give him trouble enough. No bodily pain can equal the inward agony which sometimes seizes the sinner in the midst of mirth, carnal pleasures, and worldly pomp. Sometimes terrors cause a man to flee to Christ for pardon and peace; but many cry out for fear of wrath, who are not humbled for their sins, and who seek relief by lying vanities. The ignorance and uncertainty concerning the Holy Scriptures, shown by many who call themselves wise, only tend to drive sinners to despair, as the ignorance of these wise men did.They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, ... - Compare the note at Daniel 5:1. Idols were made among the pagan of all the materials here mentioned. The word praised here means that they spake in praise of these gods; of their history, of their attributes, of what they had done. Nothing can well be conceived more senseless and stupid than what it is said they did at this feast, and yet it is a fair illustration of what occurs in all the festivals of idolatry. And is what occurs in more civilized Christian lands, in the scenes of carousal and festivity, more rational than this? It was not much worse to lavish praises on idol gods in a scene of revelry than it is to lavish praises on idol men now; not much less rational to "toast" gods than it is to "toast" men. 4. praised—sang and shouted praises to "gods," which being of gold, "are their own witnesses" (Isa 44:9), confuting the folly of those who fancy such to be gods. At the same time insulting the great God of heaven and earth. The name of God is never more profaned than among drunkards and epicures.

They drunk wine,.... That is, out of the vessels of the temple at Jerusalem, and perhaps till they were drunk:

and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone; for they had gods of all these materials; See Gill on Daniel 1:2, and these they praised by offering sacrifices unto them; or rather by singing songs, and drinking healths, and by ascribing all their victories over the nations of the world to them; as that by their means they had got such large dominions, and such great wealth and treasures, and particularly these vessels of gold and silver; and so insulted and triumphed over the God of Israel, and defied the prophecies and promises of the deliverance of them that went under his name.

They drank wine, and praised the {d} gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

(d) In contempt of the true God they praise their idols, not that they thought that the gold or silver were gods, but that there was a certain strength and power in them to do them good, which is also the opinion of all idolaters.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Daniel 5:4In this verse the expression they drank wine is repeated for the purpose of making manifest the connection between the drinking and the praising of the gods. The wickedness lay in this, that they drank out of the holy vessels of the temple of the God of Israel to glorify (שׁבּח, to praise by the singing of songs) their heathen gods in songs of praise. In doing this they did not only place "Jehovah on a perfect level with their gods" (Hvernick), but raised them above the Lord of heaven, as Daniel (Daniel 5:23) charged the king. The carrying away of the temple vessels to Babylon and placing them in the temple of Bel was a sign of the defeat of the God to whom these vessels were consecrated (see under Daniel 1:2); the use of these vessels in the drinking of wine at a festival, amid the singing of songs in praise of the gods, was accordingly a celebrating of these gods as victorious over the God of Israel. And it was not a spirit of hostility aroused against the Jews which gave occasion, as Kranichfeld has well remarked, to this celebration of the victory of his god; but, as the narrative informs us, it was the reckless madness of the drunken king and of his drunken guests (cf. Daniel 5:2) during the festival which led them to think of the God of the Jews, whom they supposed they had subdued along with His people, although He had by repeated miracles forced the heathen world-rulers to recognise His omnipotence (cf. Daniel 2:47; Daniel 3:, Daniel 4:14 [Daniel 4:17], 31 [34], 34 [37]). In the disregard of these revelations consisted, as Daniel represents to Belshazzar (cf. Daniel 5:18), the dishonour done to the Lord of heaven, although these vessels of the sanctuary might have been profaned merely by using them as common drinking vessels, or they might have been used also in religious libations as vessels consecrated to the gods, of which the text makes no mention, although the singing of songs to the praise of the gods along with the drinking makes the offering of libations very probable. The six predicates of the gods are divided by the copula וinto two classes: gold and silver - brass, iron, wood and stone, in order to represent before the eyes in an advancing degree the vanity of these gods.

Daniel 5:4

The warning signs, the astonishment of Belshazzar, the inability of the wise men to give counsel, and the advice of the queen.

Daniel 5:4

Unexpectedly and suddenly the wanton mad revelry of the king and his guests was brought to a close amid terror by means of a warning sign. The king saw the finger of a man's hand writing on the plaster of the wall of the festival chamber, and he was so alarmed that his whole body shook. The בּהּ־שׁעתא places the sign in immediate connection with the drinking and the praising of the gods. The translation, in the self-same hour, is already shown to be inadmissible (see under Daniel 3:6). The Kethiv נפקוּ (came forth) is not to be rejected as the indefinite determination of the subject, because the subject follows after it; the Keri נפקה is to be rejected, because, though it suits the gender, it does not in respect of number accord with the subject following. The king does not see the whole hand, but only ידא פּס, the end of the hand, that is, the fingers which write. This immediately awakened the thought that the writing was by a supernatural being, and alarmed the king out of his intoxication. The fingers wrote on the plaster of the wall over against the candlestick which stood on the table at which the king sat, and which reflected its light perceptibly on the white wall opposite, so that the fingers writing could be distinctly seen. The feast had been prolonged into the darkness of the night, and the wall of the chamber was not wainscotted, but only plastered with lime, as such chambers are found in the palaces of Nimrud and Khorsabad covered over only with mortar (cf. Layard's Nineveh and Babylon).

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