Book of Daniel Bible Study Commentary Chapter 5
Ichabod - The Writing is on the Wall!
by I Gordon
 ↩ Please note that the term 'father' as it is used in Dan 5:2 can refer to any male ancestor. J Vernon McGee comments on this king stating: ' During the time of the events recorded in chapter 5, Nabonidus was on the field of battle while Belshazzar his son remained in Babylon. We will notice that when Belshazzar offers Daniel a position in the kingdom, it is to be the third ruler in the kingdom. Why not second to Belshazzar? Well, Belshazzar himself was number two - his father was really the king.'
 ↩ The scene is reminiscent of what Paul wrote in 1 Cor 15:32 "If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.' In other words, if there is no God, if there is no after life, if there is no resurrection or judgment to come, then live it up! Party, party party! Live for today only, for tomorrow we die! That was Belshazzar's attitude. It is also the attitude of countless others today. It would make perfect sense... if there was no God. It makes no sense if there is a God and there is a life and judgment after death.
 ↩ As Dr Renald Showers points out in his book 'The Most High God'
'Nebuchadnezzar had made Babylon into the world's mightiest fortress. The outer wall was so thick that no battering rams or instruments of warfare were able to knock it down. The presence of a second inner wall made any attempts to scale the walls suicidal. As a result, Babylon appeared impregnable... The walls of Babylon had been built over the Euphrates river. Thus, that river flowed through the city at all times, providing a constant source of fresh water. In anticipation of a blockade by Medo-Persia, the Babylonians supplied the city with enough food to maintain its population for more than twenty years. Ancient historians indicate that, in light of these great preparations, the people of Babylon laughed at the seige of their city by Medo-Persia.'
 ↩ Here is a clue. It is one of the churches in the book of Revelation. Doesn't really rhyme with anything but starts with 'L' and ends with ''Cea'. It reminds us, does it not, of the Laodicean church of Revelation chapter 3 where Jesus is pictured outside the church while those inside revel in their wealth saying 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' The worship of the gods of gold and silver isn't just a thing of the past! Is not 'Ichabod' written already over the wealthy self-sufficient western churches of our modern 'Laodicean' age?
 ↩ You've all heard the saying 'the writing is on the wall' I'm sure. It's roots is Daniel 5 - that passage before us. It signifies some impending doom. Someone might say 'I haven't lost my job yet but the writing is on the wall'. 'Well that same is spoken of nations. Something inevitable is about to happen to Babylon. Something that no one can stop for it comes from the hand of God.
 ↩ The phrase 'the writing is on the wall' is still used today and obviously comes from this passage. It expresses the thought that something ominous or bad is about to happen.
 ↩ Ok, this is likely to be a larger footnote. Preparations for this study took me into some passages and quotes from Edward Gibbon's 6 volume work on the fall of Rome. I know, that's a different empire. But it is interesting that historians that have studied these things tell us that nations and empires have births and deaths like people do. In fact, the following cycle has been discovered about the birth and death of nations. It has been noted that nations go...
'From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence to bondage.'
That being the case, where would you say the United States of America and many other Western nations are on that cycle? It's quite scary really. Anyway, back to Edward Gibbon's work on the fall of Rome... Here are the main reasons attributed to Gibbon's for Rome's fall (as quoted in the book 'Is America committing suicide?')
1. The rapid increase in divorce and the undermining of the sanctity of the home
2. The spiraling rise of taxes and extravagant spending
3. The mounting craze for pleasure and the brutalization of sports
4. The building of gigantic armaments and the failure to realize that the real enemy lay within the walls with the moral decay of the people.
5. The decay of religion and the fading of faith into a mere form leaving the people without a guide.
Read those five points again for they are eerily reminiscent of the age in which we live. In connection to this, consider the following quote from Abraham Lincoln concerning the USA - 'If this nation is to be destroyed it will be from within and not from without.'
Sobering words and thoughts in the current economic, social and political climate!
 ↩ Ultimately Jesus Christ is the only man with any lasting answers. But we are his ambassadors so you should have some answers for people who are living in fear and anxiety due to the writing that is appearing on the wall.
Related Series Posts
- Daniel Chapter 1 Bible Study Lesson: Stranded in Babylon
- Daniel 2 Bible Study: Faith under pressure and the God of the impossible
- Daniel 2 Bible Study Lesson: A vision of things to come
- Daniel Chapter 3 Bible Study Lesson: When things get hot!
- Daniel 4 Bible Study: Nebuchadnezzar and the Tree of Doom!
- Daniel 4 Bible Study: Lessons from a Loon!
- Daniel 5 Bible Study: Ichabod - The Writing is on the Wall!
- Daniel 5 Bible Study The Precarious Position of the Unbeliever
- Daniel Chapter 6 Bible Study Lesson: Lunch with Lions
- Daniel 7 Bible Study The Times of the Gentiles, The Earthly Scene
- Daniel 7 Bible Study The Times of the Gentiles, The Heavenly Scene
- Daniel 8 God's Declaration of the End... From the Beginning
- Daniel 9 Bible Study: Lessons from a legend
- Daniel 9 Bible Study: Daniel's 70 Weeks P1
- Daniel 9 Bible Study: Daniel's 70 Weeks P2
- Daniel Chapter 10 Bible Study Commentary: Lifting the veil
- Daniel Chapter 11 Bible Study: A tale of three madmen
- Daniel 12 Bible Study: How to Shine Like the Stars