immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. and the king saw the hand as it wrote. then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. the king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the chaldeans, and the astrologers. the king declared to the wise men of babylon, “whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation.  then king belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.  [daniel 5:5-9]


the writing is on the wall


there are times in life when events seem to be headed towards an inevitable but unfortunate conclusion:

a company closes down after years of poor sales.

an old car finally dies after running rough for months.

a relationship fails when friends all saw it coming.

in these situations, we may often say ‘the writing was on the wall’.


this biblical reference finds its origin in the book of daniel, when yet another prideful king of babylon learns of his future fate in a supernatural vision.

the writing on the wall was not just a clever phrase – it was a literal hand inscribing a literal writing onto a literal wall – a message that foretold the ultimate price of arrogantly denying the One True God.

as had happened many years before when God spoke in dreams to king nebuchadnezzar, God was once again giving a warning to an arrogant king. not only had belshazzar been prideful and arrogant, he had gone so far as to call for the temple utensils from jerusalem be brought in to his lavish party for them to drink from. it appears that he already had quite a bit to drink by this point, and was now openly mocking God. belshazzar was so prideful that he now planned to drink wine from cups intended for worship of God alone, and this was a step too far.

this writing on the wall served as a dire warning, and as had happened to another king many years ago, none of the usual wise men or astrologers had any idea how to interpret what this terrifying ordeal could possibly mean.


yet this is the kind of situation where daniel had always been used by God to interpret.


~ jason soroski