The Bible teaches that God’s judgment may come with the
unexpected suddenness of a thief in the night.
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote
on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the
royal palace. The
king watched the hand as it wrote.
If not the actual fingers of the hand of God, they
certainly represent His fingers. Earlier, in the miracles
of Moses, the finger of God was
recognized by the
Egyptians (Exodus 8:19); the Ten Commandments were written
by the finger of God (Exodus 31:8); and Jesus said, “But
if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the
kingdom of God has come to you” (Luke 11:20).
Excavations of this palace corroborated that its large
hall (173 by 56 feet) was covered with white plaster. The
walls were beautifully decorated with painted stucco
designs, to which God adds His own sketch of the immediate
It is likely that “the lampstand” came from the Holy
Place of God’s Temple. Among other things, this article
typifies judgment, which is symbolic of God’s light
exposing good and evil. In the NT, there are “the seven
golden lampstands” that appear in the midst of the seven
churches of Asia Minor. The lampstands symbolize the
scrutiny of Christ as He reveals His commendations and
condemnations of the seven churches (Revelation 2-3). Here
the light from the lampstand illuminated the king’s face,
the writing hand, and the writing on the wall. “His face
turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees
knocked together and his legs gave way.”
God’s dreams and visions had terrified Nebuchadnezzar,
but nothing like what the writing hand did to Belshazzar.
Definitely, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands
of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Belshazzar’s reactions
are a vivid description of terror.
1. His face turned pale.
2. He was so frightened.
3. His knees knocked together.
4. His legs gave
5. He called out in distress.