“The king shouted for the enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers to be brought before him. He said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me what it means will be dressed in purple robes of royal honor and will have a gold chain placed around his neck. He will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom!” But when all the king’s wise men had come in, none of them could read the writing or tell him what it meant. So the king grew even more alarmed, and his face turned pale. His nobles, too, were shaken.” Daniel 5:7-9
Belshazzar made the same mistake that his grandfather did; he called in the wise men of Babylon. They had no clue at what the handwriting was telling the king. They had no fear of God. “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) Wisdom only comes from God. While they may have been cleaver, and even smart in the ways of the world, they had no knowledge of things that really count. “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” (1 Corinthians 2:14) These wise men did not have the Spirit of God so how could they have the interpretation. This writing on the wall was an event in the future. How could these wise men know the future without the Spirit of God?
Belshazzar, along with everyone else in attendance, could read the letters that formed the writing on the wall, as it was Aramaic, the common language of the day. But they couldn’t make sense of the words or their message. So Belshazzar cried out for his wise men to tell him what the words said and what they meant. In the previous verse, we’re told that when Belshazzar saw the writing on the wall, his “thoughts troubled him” (Daniel 5:6). But when his counselors couldn’t tell him what the writing meant, we are told that he was “greatly troubled” (verse 9). Apparently, as he waited for his wise men to arrive, Belshazzar recovered some of the color in his face. But when they failed to give him the answer he sought, it all drained out again (verse 9)