The Last Supper of Belshazzar

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The Last Supper of Belshazzar
48 x 48 oil
by Rosemarie Adcock

The Last Supper of Belshazzar is the famous story of "The Writing on the Wall." an expression we hear often, yet many times don't understand the significance. The story comes from the Book of Daniel, Chapter 5, occurring late in Daniel's life, when he was nearly a forgotten man. The king Belshazzar had a wild feast for 1,000 guests. He ordered all the gold vessels used for worship to be brought to him, and he and the guests continued their drunken party.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, there was a large hand that appeared, that wrote an inscription onto the wall. The words in the painting are written in Hebrew, although it is unknown what language they were actually written in. Today we are unsure why.

The terrified king summoned his magicians, painted with a Merlin Falcon on the shoulder of one, but they were unable to interpret the meaning of the words. The king's wife reminded him about the aging prophet, Daniel, who was summoned with the hope he could interpret the writing. Daniel is at the right in the painting, with the dove on his shoulder, holding a book that is symbolic of his words becoming part of the Bible. The king then offered Daniel wealth and position if he could solve the mystery. Daniel refused the gifts, but interpreted the writing, "Weighted. Weighted. Found Lacking." These words felt so striking to me, because this judgement had already been decided before it was even announced. No chance left for mercy. No begging. No tears would change God's plan about what was to happen next.

The wall around Babylon was virtually impenetrable, so the king and guests would have felt secure in their party. It is thought that even while Daniel was speaking, it was likely the Persian invaders were already secretly entering the city through dry aqueducts. King Belshazzar was overthrown, and dead that very night.

As I painted this piece, I was reminded how leaders of any nation are held to high account by God, in ancient times as well as contemporary times. God's standards never change, because He doesn't change. It gives us all hope to know that ultimately, a very just and merciful God is in charge of all things as He cares for you and me.