Week XXXIV: Wednesday

“King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles, with whom he drank.” (Daniel 5:1.)

Saint Jerome offers the following insight on this verses from today’s First Reading:

“Belshazzar the king made a great feast for his one thousand nobles; and each one drank in the order of his age.” It should be known that this man was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar, as readers commonly imagine; but according to Berosus, who wrote the history of the Chaldeans, and also Josephus, who follows Berosus, after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign of forty-three years, a son named Evil-merodach succeeded to his throne. It was concerning this king that Jeremiah wrote that in the first year of his reign he raised the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, and took him out of his prison. Josephus likewise reports that after the death of Evil-merodach, his son Neriglissar succeeded to his father’s throne; after whom in turn came his son Labosordach. On the latter’s death, his son, Belshazzar, obtained the kingdom, and it is of him that the Scripture now makes mention. After he had been killed by Darius, king of the Medes, who was the maternal uncle of Cyrus, king of the Persians, the empire of the Chaldeans was destroyed by Cyrus the Persian. It was these two kingdoms that Isaiah in chapter 21 addresses as a charioteer of a vehicle drawn by a camel and an ass. Indeed, Xenophon also writes the same thing in connection with the childhood of Cyrus the Great; likewise Pompeius Trogus and many others who have written up the history of the barbarians. Some authorities think that this Darius was the Astyages mentioned in the Greek writings, while others think it was Astyages’ son, and that he was called by the other name among the barbarians. “And each one of the princes who had been invited drank in the order of his own age.” Or else, as other translators have rendered it, “The king himself was drinking in the presence of all the princes whom he had invited.” (Commentary on Daniel, 5.)

Stir up the will of Your faithful,
we pray, O Lord,
that, striving more eagerly
to bring Your divine work to fruitful completion,
they may receive in greater measure
the healing remedies Your kindness bestows.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen