King Belshazzar stood atop his golden balcony which overhung the glittering city of Babylon, capital of the Babylonian Empire. He admired the stunning Ziggurat of Babylon, once again astounded by it's size and grandeur. He gazed in awe at the magnificent Hanging Gardens. The gardens, which looked strikingly like a massive green mountain, were created by Belshazzar's father, Nebuchadnezzar. All this expanse of land, all the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, belonged to King Belshazzar. Belshazzar commanded the greatest empire that the world had ever known.
King Belshazzar did not serve the one God that his father had served. Instead, he worshipped the many gods of the Babylonians.
One day, in honour of the gods he served, Belshazzar called a huge feast. He invited all the important people of Babylon. On the night of the feast, there was much festivity and at it's height, Belshazzar called for some Israelite drinking vessels to be brought before him. These cups had been captured from the Temple in Jerusalem. "Let us make a toast to the gods with these vessels!" Belshazzar cried loudly.
While the guests were drinking from the holy vessels, a sudden crash split the air! Belshazzar cried out in terror as he witnessed a huge misty hand inscribing something on the palace wall. The blood drained from Belshazzar's face, he called urgently for the palace wise men to translate the message on the wall. "We cannot translate this message," the wise men exclaimed, "the language is utterly unknown to us!" At this news, Belshazzar collapsed into his throne and cursed the wise men's ignorance. Suddenly, the Queen came rushing into the room, "I know of a wise Israelite man who served under your father," she informed them, "his name is Daniel, send for him quickly." Belshazzar immediately called for Daniel to be brought to the palace.
As soon as Daniel arrived, Belshazzar pleaded with him to decipher the message. Daniel announced, "To one true God of Israel has sent this message to you, it says that Belshazzar's kingdom has been judged and found wicked, it will be taken from him!" That very night, Persian and Median troops broke into Babylon, killed the king and captured the city. The golden age of Babylon ended abruptly ushering in the age of the Medo-Persian Empire.
For the complete and original story in English please read the following passage in the Book of Daniel (the Bible) Daniel 5:1-31
This is the original text written on the wall and it's meaning (as found in Daniel 5:26 to 28):
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”