Daniel 5:30 Index
"In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain."
Research Material

"In that night was Belshazzar... slain" (Ecclesiastes 2:26; Jeremiah 51:24, 33; 37, 53-58)

  • Although Belshazzar is not mentioned in the cuneiform sources describing the fall of Babylon, Xenophon declares that "the impious king" of Babylon, whose name is not mentioned in the account, was slain when Cyrus' army commander Gobryas entered the palace (Cyropaedia vii. 5, 30). Although it must be recognized that Xenophon's narrative is not historically reliable in all details, many of his statements are based on fact. According to cuneiform sources Nabonidus was absent from Babylon at the time of its capture. When Nabonidus surrendered, Cyrus sent him to distant Carmania. Therefore the king who was slain during the capture of Babylon could have been none other than Belshazzar. (4BC 805)
  • The scene here so briefly mentioned is described in remarks on Daniel 2:39. While Belshazzar was indulging in his presumptuous revelry, while the angel's hand was tracing the doom of the empire on walls of the palace, while Daniel was making known the fearful import of the heavenly writing, the Persian soldiery, through the emptied channel of the Euphrates, had made their way into the heart of the city, and were speeding forward with drawn swords to the palace of the king. Scarcely can it be said that they surprised him, for God had just forewarned him of his doom. But they found him and slew him, and in that hour the empire of Babylon ceased to be. (US 95)
  • Scarcely had the scarlet robe been placed on Daniel and the golden chain hung about his neck, when the shouts of the invading army rang through the palace. (SNH 84)
  • In the midst of their feasting and rioting, none had noticed that the waters in the Euphrates were steadily diminishing. The besieging army of Cyrus, which had long been held at bay by the massive walls, was eagerly watching the river. The river had been turned from its course, and as soon as the water had sufficiently subsided to allow the men a passage in the bed of the river, they entered from opposite sides of the city. In their reckless feeling of security, the Babylonians had left open the gates in the walls which lined the river-banks inside the city. So the Persians, once in the river-bed, easily entered the city through the open gates. (SNH 84-85)
  • Soon one post was running to "meet another, and one messenger to meet another," (Jeremiah 51:31). But the news was received too late to save the king. The enemy made a rush for the palace. The pen of Inspiration describes the overthrow of the kingdom more vividly than any human historian. Of those guests at the banquet of Belshazzar it is said, "I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not awake.... I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter." (Jeremiah 51:39, 40). Then as if the eye of the prophet failed to separate Satan from the kingdom which he had so long controlled, he exclaims, "How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!" (Jeremiah 51:41). Fire raged through the streets, and as the people realized that destruction was upon them, their cry reached heaven. It was a hand-to-hand fight with fire and sword until men grew weary and gave up the struggle. (SNH 85)
  • ...and the kingdom was given to Darius, the aged king of the Medes. Thus came to an end one of the proudest monarchies that has ever been upon the earth. When an individual or a nation fills up the cup of iniquity and passes the limit of God's mercy, it is quickly humbled in the dust. (SNH 85-86)