God new evidence

GOD: new evidence


The Last King of Babylon

'Just Stories?' #19

What's in the series?      Previous: Nebuchadnezzar's Lions      Next: The Cyrus Cylinder

The Bible describes (in Daniel ch. 5) the moment when the Babylonian kingdom falls to Cyrus, king of Persia.  The Babylonian king Belshazzar has a drunken party. A supernatural hand appears and writes on the wall - words of judgment on Belshazzar. Daniel is called in to interpret the writing on the wall. Belshazzar promises that if he can interpret the writing, he will make Daniel the third ruler in the kingdom.

One problem with this account is that no-one had heard of Belshazzar outside of the Bible. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus, not Belshazzar. This problem was solved by the discovery of the Nabonidus cylinder. Nabonidus spent long periods of time away from Babylon, avoiding conflict. He left his son Belshazzar in charge in Babylon.  So the book of Daniel did get it right - and this explains why Belshazzar could only offer to make Daniel the third ruler in the kingdom.

With Ian Cooper, pastor of Tollgate Evangelical Church in Reigate, UK.

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