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Daniel 5:25

    Daniel 5:25 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And this is the writing which was recorded, Mene, tekel, peres.

    Webster's Revision

    And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

    World English Bible

    This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And this is the writing that was inscribed, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

    Clarke's Commentary on Daniel 5:25

    And this is the writing - Had the words been written in the Chaldean character, every wise man there, every one that could read the alphabet of his own language, could have read and interpreted them. Let it be observed, -

    1. That the character which we now call Hebrew is the Chaldean character.

    2. That the true Hebrew character is that which we call the Samaritan.

    3. Daniel could easily read this, for it was the character used by the Jews previously to the Babylonish captivity.

    4. It appears that it was simply on account of the strangeness of the character that the Chaldeans could not read it.

    I shall set down the words in both characters, by which the least learned reader may see that it was quite possible that one might be well known, while the other might be unintelligible.

    In ancient times, no doubt, these letters differed more from each other than they appear to do now; for we know that the Samaritan on ancient coins, though radically the same, differs very much from that now used in printing.

    It should be observed, that each word stands for a short sentence; מנא mene signifies Numeration; תקל tekel, Weighing; and פרש peres, Division. And so the Arabic translates them mokeeson, measured; mewzonon, weighed; mokesoomon, divided. All the ancient Versions, except the Syriac, read the words simply Mene, Tekel, Phares, as they are explained in the following verses; without the repetition of Mene, and without the conjunction ו vau and plural termination, ין in, in Peres.

    Barnes' Notes on Daniel 5:25

    And this is the writing that was written - The Babylonians, it would seem, were unacquainted with the "characters" that were used, and of course unable to understand the meaning. See Daniel 5:8. The first thing, therefore, for Daniel to do was to read the writing, and this he was able to do without difficulty, probably, as already remarked, because it was in the ancient Hebrew character - a character quite familiar to him, though not known to the Babylonians, whom Belshazzar consulted. It is every way probable that that character "would" be used on an occasion like this, for

    (a) it is manifest that it was intended that the true God, the God of the Hebrews, should be made known, and this was the character in which his communications had been made to men;

    (b) it was clearly the design to honor his own religion, and it is morally certain that there would be something which would show the connection between this occurrence and his own agency, and nothing would do this better than to make use of such a character; and

    (c) it was the Divine intention to put honor on Daniel, and this would be well done by making use of a character which he understood.

    There have been, indeed, many conjectures respecting the characters which were employed on this occasion, and the reasons of the difficulty of interpreting the words used, but it is most probable that the above is the true statement, and this will relieve all the difficulties in regard to the account. Prideaux supposes that the characters employed were the ancient Phoenician characters, that were used by the Hebrews, and that are found now in the Samaritan Pentateuch; and that, as above suggested, these might be unknown to the Babylonians, though familiar to Daniel. Others have supposed that the characters were those in common use in Babylon, and that the reason why the Babylonians could not read them was, that they were smitten with a sudden blindness, like the inhabitants of Sodom, Genesis 19:11. The Talmudists suppose that the words were written in a cabalistic manner, in which certain letters were used to stand for other letters, on the principle referred to by Buxtorf ("Lex. Chal. Rabb. et Talm." p. 248), and known as אתבשׁ 'âthebbash - that is, where the alphabet is reversed, and the Hebrew letter א (a) is used for the Hebrew letter ת (T), and the Hebrew letter ב (B) for the Hebrew letter ש (S), etc., and that on account of this cabalistic transmutation the Babylonians could not read it, though Daniel might have been familiar with that mode of writing. rabbi Jochanan supposed that there was a change of the order in which the letters of the words were written; other rabbis, that there was a change merely in the order of the first and second letters; others, that the words were written backward; others that the words were written, not in the usual horizontal manner, but perpendicularly; and others, that the words were not written in full, but that only the first letters of each were written. See Bertholdt, pp. 349, 350. All these are mere conjectures, and most of them are childish and improbable suppositions. There is no real difficulty in the case if we suppose that the words were written in a character familiar to Daniel, but not familiar to the Babylonians. Or, if this is not admitted, then we may suppose that some mere marks were employed whose signification was made known to Daniel in a miraculous manner.

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