Belshazzar's Feast

When Jana and I were in London we went to the National Gallery. Among many of the paintings we took in was Rembrandt's Belshazzar's Feast:

The story of Belshazzar is found in Daniel 5. Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, has guests at a banquet drink from the gold goblets taken from Solomon's temple. Suddenly, a human hand appears and writes on the wall. None of the magi and astrologers of Babylon can interpret the words. So Belshazzar summons Daniel. Daniel correctly interprets the words as:
"Mene" was a monetary unit. The root of "tekel" means weighed. "Peres" sounds like the Aramaic for "Persia" and "divided." In Rembrandt's painting the four words are spelled vertically, starting in the top right and with PERES spelled in the last two columns.

The key to Daniel's interpretation is that he interprets the four nouns as verbs, declaring to Belshazzar:
This is the interpretation of the matter:

MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end;

TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting;

PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
Belshazzar's Feast, with its famous saying "you have been weighed and found wanting," used to have a prized place in our cultural consciousness. Nowadays I expect few people could tell you where "weighed and found wanting" comes from.

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