Bible Reading (Daniel 5:1-6.13-14.16-17.23-28)

(The fingers of a human hand appeared and began to write.)

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen;

a thousand of them attended,

and he drank wine

in company with this thousand.

As he sipped his wine,

Belshazzar gave orders

for the gold and silver vessels

to be brought which his father Nebuchadnezzar

had looted from the sanctuary in Jerusalem,

so that the king,

his noblemen,

his wives

and his singing women

could drink out of them.

The gold and silver vessels

looted from the sanctuary

of the Temple of God

in Jerusalem were brought in,

and the king,

his noblemen,

his wives and his singing women

drank out of them.

They drank their wine

and praised their gods of

gold and silver,

of bronze and iron,

of wood and stone.

Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared,

and began to write on the plaster

of the palace wall,

directly behind the lampstand;

and the king could see the hand as it wrote.

The king turned pale with alarm:

his thigh-joints went slack

and his knees began to knock.

Daniel was brought into the king’s presence;

the king said to Daniel,

“Are you the Daniel

who was one of the Judaean exiles

brought by my father

the king from Judah?

I am told that the spirit of God Most High

lives in you,

and that you are known for your perception,

intelligence and

marvellous wisdom.

As I am told that you are able to give interpretations

and to unravel difficult problems,

if you can read the writing

and tell me what it means,

you shall be dressed in purple,

and have a chain of gold put round your neck,

and be third in rank in the kingdom.”

Then Daniel spoke up in the presence of the king.

“Keep your gifts for yourself,”

he said

“and give your rewards to others.

I will read the writing to the king without them,

and tell him what it means.

You have defied the Lord of heaven,

you have had the vessels from his Temple brought to you,

and you,

your noblemen,

your wives

and your singing women

have drunk your wine out of them.

You have praised gods of gold and silver,

of bronze and iron,

of wood and stone,

which cannot either see,

hear or understand;

but you have given no glory to the God

who holds your breath

and all your fortunes in his hands.

That is why he has sent the hand which,

by itself,

has written these words.

The writing reads:

Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.

The meaning of the words is this:

Mene: God has measured your sovereignty

and put an end to it;

Tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting;

Parsin: your kingdom has been divided

and given to the Medes and the Persians.”

The word of the Lord.

R.) Thanks be to God.

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