IN going from the fourth chapter of Daniel to the fifth, we skip over a period of about twenty-four years, according to the common reckoning. The fifth chapter opens with these words: "Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand." Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, and it seems that his grandmother, the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, was still living. 

At this feast, Belshazzar brought forth the gold and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple at Jerusalem, and he and his princes, his wives and his concubines, drank wine in them. As they drank, they praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. This greatly displeased the Lord, and "In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote." This made the king so afraid that his knees smote together, and he called in the wise men of his kingdom to read the writing and tell its meaning, offering a great reward to the one who should do so.

When none of the wise men were able to read or interpret the writing, the king was greatly troubled; but his grandmother remembered how Daniel had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, and advised that he should be sent for. 

When the aged prophet was brought in before the king, he said, ''O thou King, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father [grandfather] a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor. And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

"And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of Heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified. 

Then was the part of the hand sent from him, and this writing was written. "Then Daniel read the writing on the wall, and gave its meaning. He said, "This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it.

"TEKEL; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

"PERES; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."

"In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom."

Since God has such power over the mightiest kings of the earth, we may be sure that he is 

able to care for us, and that he will fulfill his promises to the humblest of his children.