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Holman Bible Dictionary

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

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(mee' nih, mee' nih, tee' kehl, yoo fahr' ssihn) An inscription that King Belshazzar of Babylon saw a detached hand write on his palace wall as the king was hosting a drunken party (Daniel 5:1-29 ). After the wise men of the kingdom could not decipher the writing, Daniel was brought in to give an interpretation.

Scholars have proposed a number of translations, the best of which probably is “mina, shekel, and halves.” Daniel interpreted the inscription with a wordplay using Hebrew words which sound similar to each word of the inscription, taking it to mean, “numbered, weighed, and—divided.”

Daniel's interpretation was that Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. The kingdom would be divided and given to his enemies, the Medes and Persians. Daniel 5:30 records that the overthrow occurred that very night. Thus God worked through Daniel to show His wisdom was greater than that of Persia's wise counselors and magicians and that only the God of Israel controlled history and human destiny.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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