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Belshazzar Babylonian King

King Belshazzar was either the son or grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and he was the last Babylonian king to rule the throne before the Persians conquered the kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar was his father and after he had passed away Belshazzar became the next king. Some accounts claim that Belshazzar was the son of a ruler named Nabonidus who gained power over Babylon after he married one of Nebuchadnezzar’s daughters called Nitorcris. Once Nabonidus ruled Babylon he decided to make the moon god Sin the chief deity. This caused him some serious problems because the officials, priests, and the people recognized Marduk as their patron god. Nabonidus had to leave Babylon in order to save his life and while he was gone his son Belshazzar ruled as the crown prince. In this account, Belshazzar began acting as regent in the absence of his father around 553 B.C.

Belshazzar’s reign as king (not when he was acting in his father’s stead) was incredibly brief and he only ruled two years before the Persians took over Babylon in 539 B.C. He appears on the Bible Timeline Poster right before the fall of Babylon. The Bible says that King Belshazzar was feasting with a thousand of his nobles and he decided to allow them to drink from the golden cups that were taken from God’s temple by Nebuchadnezzar during his reign. As the kings drank the wine they began to praise the gods of gold, silver and other materials. Then out of nowhere a human hand appeared and wrote a message on a wall near the king and his nobles while they feasted.

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Belshazzar sees the writing

When Belshazzar saw this he became very frightened to the point that he turned pale.
Belshazzar summoned his wise men to figure out the message that was written on the wall. The wise men were not able to figure out what was happening so the Queen summoned Daniel because she remembered how he had helped Nebuchadnezzar with his troubling dreams and visions many years ago. Daniel interpreted the inscription “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin” which basically meant that God has numbered Belshazzar’s days and that the kingdom was going to be overrun by the Persians. King Belshazzar gave Daniel many rewards, but he died later on that night when the Persians attacked the Babylonian city.

The Bible doesn’t go into detail about how the Persians conquered Babylon it just states that they killed King Belshazzar after the handwriting on the wall had occurred. Historical records indicate that Nabonidas had come back to the city of Babylon to defend it from the mighty Persian army that was moving from the east. King Nabonidas then marched a Babylonian force to intercept the Persians, but they were unsuccessful with stopping this army. The Persians under King Darius marched into Babylon during the night of Belshazzar’s feast and took the city.

Since Belshazzar only ruled Babylon for two years there is very little information about the things he did while he was in authority. He seems to have been a stable and well liked ruler but many historians have not put out a lot of information about his policies or the things he did for the kingdom of Babylon while he was in power. His name means “Baal protects the king”.

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35 thoughts on “Belshazzar Babylonian King

  1. How precisely record maintained over millenniums of historical data, amazing. Except Bible, nothing deserves!!!

    1. How about this? in the first year of Belshazzar’s reign there is time times and half a time. one time two times for a total of 2 and half a time so 2 1/2. Time is a thousand years so 2500 years. the first year is 552bc add 2500 and what do you get ? -552 +2500=1948 Israel became a nation. you cant deny the math

      1. For starters, this math doesn’t account for the fact that there was no year zero between BC and AD.

        1. it’s not using a system like the 42 months Jerusalem will be in the hands of gentiles. in prophecy a day equals a year. 42 months is 1278.34 days now years. we know Jerusalem was freed in 1967 during the six day war. 1967-1278.4= 688.66 ad in 688 ad construction started on the dome of the rock which is the Abomination of Desolation. same math using solar years. You can do this on several statements and they all either end on 32 ad Christ on the cross or 1948 the birth of Israel or 1967 Jerusalem freed. I know of at least 8 times the dates always come out to these it can’t be a coincidence and you use the same rules for each one.if you want real historical and biblical truth check out Joe Cortes teaching faith last days series it really is amazing

          1. Jewish calendar – 30 days in a month
            (Context to be kept in mind)
            42 x 30 = 1260 years

        2. A Short version. It says Time is a thousand years not 2500 days so you just add them up. if it said days or years then you would have to use solar years because of the difference in other calender’s like the Hebrew and Gregorian etc. When you use the solar calendar these dates also show up so God is showing us the same thing in many different ways

      2. Where do you get the beginning year the kingdom was taken from the Jews? It was final with no further reigning kings in the year 607BCE . Also , A time, times and half a time is 3- 1/2 ,
        not 2-1/2

        1. The last of three conquests of the two tribes was in 586 BC, when the Temple was destroyed (re-dedicated in 516 = 70 years captivity), and last king of Israel was led to Babylon with a hook in his nose.

      3. So you are saying Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind for 7000 years. (“seven times”). Dan 4:32
        Hmmm. In this context, “time” = one year. Seven times, 7 years.

  2. You said the bible is accurate, how do you explain these :
    1) Daniel wrote that Belshazzar is a son of Nebuchadnezzar, while in fact that Belshazzar is the fifth decedent of Nebuchadnezzar, how come it is accurate?

    2) After Belshazzar, Daniel wrote Darius the mede became a king at 62 years old. History records that Darius ruled at aged 28 for 36 years and died at age 64 yo, (, another contradictive?

    1. Belshazzar was Not the fifth descendant from Nebuchadnezzar. belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus and Nitocrus, Daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and his Egyptian concubine/wife.
      Nebuchadnezzar ruled for 43 years, Amal Merodach ruled for 9 years, then Nabonidus, who was married to Nitocrus, Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, ruled for the last 18 years.
      But nabonidus made Belshazzar, his Son, “Co-Regent” with himself for the last three years until Babylon fell to Darius the Mede, and his JEWISH Son Cyrus !! As Darius the Mede wasthe king “ahasuerus” ( an appellative) that you read about in the book of ESTHER
      he married Esther after “putting away his former wife, VASHTI.
      So Darius and Esther were married when Darius was 36 years of age, and King Darius was 62 years old when thy took Babylon in 539 B.C. and Cyrus was about 26 years of age.

      1. Little late on the reply??? It’s 2 years ago this gentleman asked these questions…

      2. What about nabuzaradan you forgot about that crappy monster

      3. Darius was Xerxes father. Xerxes married Esther.

      4. King Cryus is Pres Trump…wake up

    2. Not that I’m an expert, but I offer the following.
      1) Belshazzar was a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar. This is why the text refers to Nebuchadnezzar as his “father”… think “forefather”. Daniel is telling us that Belshazzar was a direct descendant of Nebuchadnezzar’s, not someone who married into the royal family etc.
      2) As far as I understand, Darius the Mede was the son of Median king, Astyages, thus he was actually Cyrus’ uncle. (Astyages was the maternal grandfather of Cyrus’. Astyages’ daughter married a Persian Prince/King, uniting the two kingdoms, loosely. This is why The Bible refers to Cyrus’ Empire as “The Medes and Persians… Cyrus was both, Mede & Persian). Darius may have ruled in Media long before becoming Cyrus’ head general. It was not until Darius invaded babylon with Cyrus’ army (while Cyrus was fighting elsewhere) that Darius was appointed King of Babylon, by Cyrus. So, therefore, both Cyrus and Darius were techniaclly “Kings of Babylon” at the same time. Cyrus was the King of the Medo-Persian Empire and Darius, his uncle & prince of Media, was appointed by him as ruler of Babylon, which was a province of the greater Medo-Persian Empire. I’m not certain if the Book of Daniel records just how long Darius lived after that invasion of Babylon, could have been 2 years or until Darius reached age 64.

      The points you bring up aren’t really “contradictions”. Most of the time, once time has done its work, and the actual evidence is found, the Bible ends up being right, and is validated by further archaeological discoveries.
      I’d like to suggest that you focus more on the amazing, 100% accurate prophetic predictions made in the book of Daniel, occurring hundreds of years in advance, precisely as predicted by God… rather than “straining a gnat only to swallow a camel”. Basically, I think you are nitpicking over things that can be easily explained with a little research, rather than focusing on the amazing, otherwise unexplainable prophesies of the Book.

      Just my humble opinion.

      1. I agree with your Summary. Cyaxerxes II changed his name to Darius when he was appointed ruler of Babylon. Darius, the son of Ahasuerus (lion king) is reference to Cyaxerxes I, the greatest king who ever ruled Media. After ruling Babylon two years, Darius died and Cyrus took this opportunity to combine the monarchies of Media and Persia under Persian rule. A

    3. Simple, if you look at Jewish and even Baylonian culture, they do not have a title for grand parents, thus everyone is considered a son or daughter of a predecessor.

    4. Wikipedia is your source of information; really?

  3. Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar through his mom who was a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. But in many African cultures, even today a descendant may be called “son of”. This occurs a few times and you know it.
    Darius was 28 when he became king, but 62 when he became king of Babylon. Is that logic enough for you?

  4. Hello.
    You wrote in the second paragraph of your article: “King Belshazzar’s reign was incredibly brief and he only ruled two years before the Persians took over Babylon”.

    And in the last paragraph you now wrote “Since Belshazzar only ruled Babylon for three years there is very little information about the things he did while he was in authority”.

    Are these not contradictory? How do we reconcile the two pls?
    I need to know: how long did Belshazzar reign as king?

    1. According to the Wikipedia article reference he ruled 2 years and was killed at the beginning of the third. We have modified the last paragraph.

    2. I am just now reading your post. This article on the Biblical timeline is inaccurate. Belshazzar’s father, Nabonidus, became king of Babylon in 555 b.c. Two years later, in 553 b.c., he left the kingdom in charge of his son, Belshazzar. Belshazzar was still ruling Babylon in 539 b.c. when the Medes and the Persians conquered the city. Therefore, two or three years ruling is totally inaccurate. He was evidently not an “evil” king, just a rather worthless one.

  5. In conclusion who the father of the king Belshazzar?

    1. Nabonidus was the father of Belshazzar. & Nabonidus was the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar. So by our terms Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar.

      In fact this was alluded to in a prophecy made by Jeremiah (ch 27 vv 6-7), written before the events played out. Jeremiah predicted Judah would be given over to Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar till the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s son’s son (his grandson).

      The Aramaic word “ab” (pronounced av) would be more precisely rendered in our modern English as “his descendant” not “his father”. But “his father” is a more literal rendering (as long as you understand the old cultural tradition as identifying ancestors as fathers (as in the modern English equivalent of forefather).

    2. Please look at the cylinder of Nabodinus. You will see that the immediate father of Belshazzar was this man. However, the Biblical reference to Nebuchadnezzar as his father is also correct. Nebuchadnezzar established Babylon as an empire. Belshazzar was a legitimate king of the Babylonian Empire and of the lineage of Nebuchadnezzar. This father-son truth is the same as when Jesus is referred to as the “son of David” event though Jesus was born centuries later.

  6. Why do we find it so important to argue between ourselves about the bible because I choose to believe in the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit that is my choice you make your own if you don’t believe why do you try so hard to make me not believe if your right I have nothing to worry about if I’m right???

    1. Amen to that God bless.

  7. 1)nabodius married the daughter of nebuchadnezzar making belshazzar grandson of nebuchanezzar and neither hebrew or aramaic had the word grandson so in that language son of could mean descendant of or grandson of so the interpretation of the word given to you is not fully accurate.

  8. The book of Daniel doesn’t mention the duration between the episode ending with Daniel 5 and the episode starting with Daniel 6.

    Many years may have past before Daniel 6 starts.

    Therefore it is too much of a stretch to say: “The Persians under King Darius marched into Babylon during the night of Belshazzar’s feast and took the city”.

    Darius’ age is irrelevant for the book of Daniel.
    Relevant however is the distance to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, which also has been used as a point of reference on Jewish gravestones.

    It was about 62 years after this destruction when Darius I became king.

    1. Chapters 5 and 6 are both in about the year 539 BC. The “king’s party” in chapter 5 lasts for 12 to 18 months and chapter 5 concludes with the invasion (death of Belshazzar) that establishes Darius as king.

  9. Thanks for all your arguments, I like them! But we actually should only speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it’s silent, we shouldn’t reason in the Scripture, unless one is evidently inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    1. Amen to that. God bless.

  10. If time is 1000 years that means Nebuchadnezzar had lost his mind for 7000 years and then restored to his kingdom. Please see Daniel 4:16. I believe time is 1 year.

  11. As I was reading these comments I was amazed by the fact that people can trust books that were written by historians in a later date of the event and not trust the eye witness of the event. whatever sources people might be reading to get to know the account of king Belshazzar or Darrius, let’s not forget that Daniel grew up in the kings palaces since he was a teenager (16-17). Daniel chapter 1. He became the second to the king after his interpretation of the dream. Chap 2. He then left the palace and was brought back when king Belshazzar ‘s astrologers could not interpret the writing just as his father’s failed. So who is a better source? The historians of the public records found in the museums and archelogies, or the man who once lived with the king, knew his family and all his descendants? Daniel Died an old man. How could someone question his account on any kingdom affair when he was over it for so many years. There is nothing that was hidden from him. The bible stays true. Just my opinion.

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