MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN — The Writing’s on the Wall,
According to Biblical history in the Book of Daniel, the Babylonian King Belshazzar once hosted a large feast while the city of Babylon was under siege by the Medes and Persians in 539 BC. The Babylonian Empire had previously conquered the Kingdom of Judah and Israel, and the Hebrew people were in exile. During the feast, King Belshazzar and his court were using treasures taken from the Hebrew Temple as decorations, drinking vessels, and dinnerware. Suddenly, in the midst of the feasting, the hand God appeared from the sky, and wrote in large Hebrew letters upon the wall, “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN”. Belshazzar has his diviners and magicians attempt to read and interpret the writing, but they cannot. So Belshazzar sends for the Prophet Daniel.
Daniel interprets the writing, “Number, number, weighed, and divided”. While cryptic, the meaning of it is simple. Belshazzar’s days are numbered, the Babylonian Empire has been weighed and found wanting, and the empire will be divided among the invaders. The next day the Medes and Persians breeched the walls of Babylon, Belshazzar is killed, and the empire fell. MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.