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The story of Belshazzar is told in a song of the same name by Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two in the early 1950s with Sun Records

And William Walton wrote a tone poem Belshazzar's Feast." Wetman 23:31, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)



According to Nabonidus, Belshazzar's fahter is Nabonid.

In any other context, fictional characters are identified as fictional characters. We look in vain in the Babylonian kinglists for this fictional "Belshazzar son of Nebuchadnezzar". Wetman 23:31, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Nowhere in the book of Daniel is he called "Belshazzar son of Nebuchanezzar". In one verse Nechadnezzar is called "avihu" = "his father". Unfortunately the word av can mean a literal father or it can mean a forefather, and the latter meaning is not even a rare usage, its quite common. Kuratowski's Ghost 09:01, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
I was going to move the description of Belshazzar as Nebuchadnezzar's "son" (as described in the Book of Daniel) from the first paragraph to a later one — see my comments under my edit to the article from earlier today. However, I now see that it has already been addressed in a later paragraph, and expanded upon using points brought up by the editor above. Because keeping the reference in the opening paragraph is a bit confusing, especially in the absence of the explanations necessary to put it into context, I'm going to let the "Relationship to Nebuchadnezzar" paragraph be the only explanation of that part of the text.DoctorEric (talk) 22:26, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

NPOV, expand and cleanup labels![edit]

These three labels are being cast about like grass seed by newly-arrived User:CheeseDreams. They are disfiguring, but their value in this entry, where the User has made no edits, can be assessed by a look at this user's contributions. --Wetman 02:26, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Agreed:Why the {} sign/s?[edit]

Why were one or more of these sign/s: {{NPOV}}{{expansion}}{{Cleanup}} signs placed on this page without any discussion, explanation or reasoning? (And why create a redundant category Category:Bible stories that is now up for a vote for deletion at Wikipedia:Categories for deletion#Category:Bible stories?) IZAK 07:00, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

User:CheeseDreams is currently banned for similar behavior here and there at Wikipedia. While he's taking his well-earned Time Out, I'm removing these irresponsible and tiresome labels. Don't stop improving this article, however! And if this article needs clean-up, neutrality, etc, do confront us all here in the Discussion first, won't you? --Wetman 09:57, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This article definitely needs to be expanded and cleaned up. Whether one likes it or not there is an historical Belshazzar and the article should start off by focusing on him. "Belshazzar as portrayed in Daniel", "... Rabbinical literature" etc etc should be in their own subsequent sections. Kuratowski's Ghost 08:32, 1 May 2005 (UTC)


Nitocris, known to be the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and widow of Nergal-sharezer.--known from where? what's the source?

Well its stuff one finds quoted all over the place, its in Easton's for example. Not sure what the sources used in Easton's are, but I'm guessing its partly Herodotus not only contemporary inscriptions, so maybe this needs to be expanded on: what is said in contemporary inscriptions, in Herodotus and in the Bible. Kuratowski's Ghost 17:10, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Googling "Herodotus Nitocris" —as anyone might— I found "Herodotus on Nitocris". Anyone depending on Easton's for history might as well be reading "Chariots of the Gods". I shall add this link to Nitocris. Not that anyone would be rushing to do so... --Wetman 01:37, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
Nitocris of Egypt is different to Nitocris of Baylon if I remember. I also wouldn't trust Easton's although this Nitocris as mother of Bekshazzar one always hears, would be interesting to see what is actually said in the primary sources though. Kuratowski's Ghost 15:01, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
I can't find this in any decent source. Catholic Encyclopedia [1] says it is conjecture. Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968) says Daniel must have meant "predecessor" not "father". None of the other references I looked at confirm it, except for "God's Word for the Biblically Inept". It doesn't even make sense. Belshazzar's mother was the widow of Nergal-sharezer? Nergal-sharezer was killed in 556 BC, so presumably Belshazzar wasn't born before then, unless Nitocris was cheating on Nergal-sharezer. Belshazzar was made co-regent in 553 BC. So he was 3 at the time? Pfalstad 22:46, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Herodotus says that the Babylonian Nitocris was the mother of Labynetos. Labynetos is the name he gives the last king of Babylon defeated by Cyrus as well as to the king that was his father. The name is seemingly a garbled form of Nabonidus making the father the king usually called Nabonidus and the younger Nabonidus his son Belshazzar. That explains part of what Easton's says. Kuratowski's Ghost 02:54, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand. I'm not disputing Nitocris being the mother. I'm disputing Belshazzar's blood relation to Nebuchadnezzar. Pfalstad 13:21, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Still trying to find out where this idea comes from Kuratowski's Ghost 13:39, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Maybe Wikipedia could lay Easton's aside just this once and simply discuss literary Belshazzar and historical Belshazzar. Unnecessarily confused and inaccurate statements might well be omitted. --Wetman 05:16, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
What I wrote above is an explanation of where part of the stuff in Easton's comes from. Of course it doesn't mean that Easton's interpretation of Herodotus is correct. Since what Herodotus says about the elder Labynetos matches Nebuchanezzer the current thinking is that the younger Labynetos is Nabonidus not Belshazzar and the elder is indeed Nebuchadnezzer. This would mean that Herodotus is saying that Nitocris is the mother of Nabonidus and that Nabonidus was a son of Nebuchadnezzar. Kuratowski's Ghost 00:06, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
Browsing various Bible study sites which I had previously tried to avoid, there seems to be many ways of interpreting Herodotus. This site argues that the elder Labynetos is indeed Nabonidus and suggests that Nitocris was a daughter of Nebuchadnezzer. Still don't know why Easton's says it with such conviction or where he gets the widow stuff. Kuratowski's Ghost 01:00, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Distracting blank spaces[edit]

Formatting that encases the framed table of contents in text, in just the way a framed map or image is enclosed within the text, is now available: {{TOCleft}} in the HTML does the job.

Blank space opposite the ToC, besides being unsightly and distracting, suggests that there is a major break in the continuity of the text, which may not be the case. Blanks in page layout are voids and they have meanings to the experienced reader. The space betweeen paragraphs marks a brief pause between separate blocks of thought. A deeper space, in a well-printed text, signifies a more complete shift in thought: note the spaces that separate sub-headings in Wikipedia articles.

A handful of thoughtless and aggressive Wikipedians revert the "TOCleft" format at will. A particularly aggressive de-formatter is User:Ed g2s

The reader may want to compare versions at the Page history. --Wetman 20:05, 9 August 2005 (UTC)


To say that the Biblical passage that says Belshazzar was son of Nebuchadnezzar must be understood to mean that Nebuchadnezzar was his "predecessor" or "ancestor" is completely POV. Most scholars believe that the Book of Daniel was written in the second century BC, and that the author of Daniel is simply mistaken in thinking that Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar's son. (This appears to have been commonly thought in the second century BC - the Book of Baruch, also presumably written about this time, also calls Belshazzar Nebuchadnezzar's son see Baruch 1:10: "And pray ye for the life of Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon, and for the life of Balthasar his son, that their days may be upon earth as the days of heaven.") Only apologetical writers offer this dubious "obviously predecessor was meant" explanation. And this article is not the place for discussion of apologetical interpretations of the Book of Daniel. The place for those is Book of Daniel where they should be reported (but not endorsed!) john k 23:13, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

I've attempted a neutral wording with a split of Babylonian sources, Herodotus and Bible. This still needs to be improved further, there is more Babylonian info that can be added and I am not sure if everything stated currently is really from contemporary inscriptions - some is surely from Berosus and should be separated out. Josephus' account and how it relates to Herodutus is also needed.
Bear in mind that the Hebrew usage of av for forefather instead of literal father is extremely common, just search the text of a Hebrew prayer book for example, Jews typically describe Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as avotenu = our fathers, even converts to Judaism do this. Famous Jewish scholars, writers and thinkers of past centuries are also referred to by this term. Kuratowski's Ghost
Yes, it can be used in that sense, but there's no especial reason to view the reference to Nebuchadnezzar as Belshazzar's "father" in this sense unless one is committed to Biblical inerrancy. My understanding is that in most cases where the word is used in the non-literal sense, it is quite obvious that it is being so used. It is not at all obvious that it is being used in a non-literal sense for Belshazzar's relationship with Nebuchadnezzar. The more logical explanation is that the writer is simply confused and thinks that Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. At the very least, both possible explanations have to be mentioned in the text, with the view that this is a non literal usage of av being mentioned as one particularly prominent in apologetics. Can you point to a single secular scholar who would make this argument? john k 05:38, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
The point is that it is very frequently used in this non-literal sense, typically if one wanted to say that Nebuchadnezzer was the literal father of Belshazzar one would rather refer to Belshazzar as the ben (son) of Nebuchadnezzer and avoid the ambiguous description of Nebuchadnezzer as the av of Belshazzer. Such explanations are not simply about Biblical inerrency but about trying to reconcile different sources. One often sees similar interpretations made when discussing Greek historians yet no one accuses the Classicists of believing in a doctrine of Herodotus-inerrency or Xenophon-inerrency. Kuratowski's Ghost 16:58, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough, although I still find this a questionable endeavour. So much of the Book of Daniel is just so far removed from our actual knowledge of the 6th century BC that I don't see why we should be making excuses for it. For instance, nobody tries to come up with some explanation of why Herodotus puts the Pyramid Builders after the New Kingdom, and immediately before the Ethiopian (Nubian) conquest. It is just assumed that he is wrong. It might be interesting to figure out why he made this particular mistake, but that doesn't mean much. It just seems to me that the Book of Daniel is practically useless as a historical source on the period when it was supposedly written. It is so full of garbled apparent errors that there is no particular reason to give it the benefit of the doubt (unless, of course, one believes in Biblical inerrancy). john k 17:30, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

If you can further NPOV the article, do so, please do not undo the splitting of sources. Censoring the opinions of scholars who attempt to produce a coherent view based on all available sources is POV btw. I'd also recommend some reading up on Modal logic vs Classical logic, the fact that no descent of Belshazzar from Nebuchadnezzer is currently known with certainty is not the same as saying that it is fact that Belshazzar is not descended from Nebuchanezzar. Kuratowski's Ghost 23:56, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

There is no reason to think that Belshazzar is descended from Nebuchadnezzar, save that the Book of Daniel, almost certainly written centuries later, says that Belshazzar is Nebuchadnezzar's son. Given that Daniel also invents the otherwise unknown "Darius the Mede," I do not see anything in Daniel as evidence for anything. john k 05:38, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

The very plausible interpretation of the younger Labynetos of Herodotus as Belshazzar together with his statement that Nitocris was the mother + the likelyhood that she was the daughter of Nebuchadnezzer is another reason to think that Belshazzar was descended from Nebuchadnezzer. Darius the Mede is also mentioned by Manetho so it is not the case that he is unknown, rather there are competing views over whether he is identical to Gobyrus or to the Cyaxares mentioned by Xenophon thought to be the son of the Cyaxares mentioned by Herodotus.
Darius the Mede is mentioned by Manetho? We don't even have an extant Manetho. If he is mentioned by Africanus or Eusebius or Josephus in the course of their paraphrases of Manetho, I don't think that is relevant - all of those figures would have been familiar with the Book of Daniel, and might have interpellated it. At any rate, all this "competing views" is nonsense - most historians believe that Darius the Mede is just an instance of the author of Daniel fucking up because he was writing four centuries after the event. Much like how the Book of Judith makes Nebuchadnezzar King of Assyria, reigning in Nineveh. As to Labynetos, what reason do you have to think that the younger Labynetos is not Nabonidus? It seems to be quite unclear who Herodotus is referring to, and I am uncertain as to why he would think Belshazzar had the same name as his father. john k 16:54, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Because Nabonidus' father didn't have the same name as him nor did his mother have a name resembling "Nitocris", while on the other hand Josephus mentions a form of the name Nabonidus as another name for Belshazzar. (Personally I believe like you that the author of Daniel screwed up as did Herodotus and Josephus, but thats personal belief, this article should discuss all scholarly views including those of scholars who consider the Bible to have various degrees of accuracy. Kuratowski's Ghost 17:08, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
If you believe that the author of Daniel screwed up, then why are you insisting on all this apologetical flotsam and jetsam being included in the article? If we are going to include apologetical arguments, we should clearly list them as apologetical arguments. That is to say, give the basic story as reconstructed by secular historians, including explanations of how most secular scholars think that Daniel is just wrong. Then we can note that some apologetical scholars have explained the apparent discrepancy in this particular way. (And the Josephus thing is rather easily explicable, isn't it? He had non-Jewish sources in front of him that showed Nabonidus as the last king of Babylon. The Book of Daniel says that Belshazzar is the last King of Babylon. So Belshazzar must be another name for Nabonidus. Josephus didn't posit that Belshazzar was separate from an "elder" Nabonidus, did he?) john k 17:26, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Because wikipedia is meant to give a fair voice to all scholarly opinion and there are many scholars who are not anti-Bible and make these various arguments. My guess is also that Josephus had a source that says Nabonidus was the last king and thus equated him with Belshazzar but this is not something we know for sure, he doesn't use the same form of the name as Berosus used, maybe Josephus knew something we don't. btw Belshazzar did use the Babylonian title used for kings in one inscription so the fact that the Bible and Josephus call him a king is not wrong as one often hears. Bearing in mind that Herodotus talks of two "Labynetos"s it is possible that Belshazzar was indeed also known by the name Nabonidus in which case we do not really know which king would have been meant in a source saying that Nabonidus was the last king. Kuratowski's Ghost 23:16, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
These arguments should be mentioned. But it should not be the article making them. Apologetic arguments should be labelled as apologetic arguments. The views of mainstream, non-apologetic, scholars should be mentioned as well, and these should hold the primary place. john k 00:06, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

Also, as to Nebuchadnezzar as Belshazzar's father, the number of times the term is used is utterly absurd. "Belshaz'zar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnez'zar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem...there is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnez'zar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chalde'ans, and soothsayers;...Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?...O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnez'zar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:" This is really just rubbing it in - the clear sense of the chapter is that the author believes that Belshazzar is the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Obviously, this is not the only explanation, but it seems like the most obvious explanation. Note what Encyclopedia Britannica says: Though he is referred to in the Book of Daniel as the son of Nebuchadrezzar, - no mention of possible alternative meanings of the word av. (Britannica also just says outright that Daniel was written at the time of Antiochus IV.) john k 05:45, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

How many times its said in no way changes the common Hebrew meaning of forefather in the same way that the repeated reference to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the "fathers" of the Jews found all over Jewish liturgy does not make it mean literally "father". Kuratowski's Ghost 16:37, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
The main meaning of the word is "father." There is no reason in those passages to think that "father" is not meant in a literal sense, except that we know that Nebuchadnezzar was not Belshazzar's father. But there is no clear evidence at all that the author knows this. You are working from the assumption that the Book of Daniel does not have any errors. In that case, you have to explain this apparent error by means of saying that the non-literal meaning of "father" is being used. But wikipedia is not working from the assumption that the Book of Daniel does not have any errors. We should present as the primary explanation the more common-sensical answer that the author of Daniel thinks that Belshazzar is Nebuchadnezzar's son, and is mistaken. john k 16:54, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Are you sure you are not working from the assumption the the Book of Daniel does have errors? Why cant wikipedia work from the assumption that some people believe that the Book of Daniel has errors and some dont? You say "But there is no clear evidence at all that the author knows this", is there clear evidence that he does not... or is it just assumed? --Daniel newton 09:32, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Exactly. And as I pointed out above, Hebrew texts "av" is more commonly used to mean "forefather" than literal "father". The idea that Belshazzar's literal father Nabonidus was unknown to Jewish writers is also wrong, one of the dead sea scrolls is a story about Nabonidus who is referred to as Naboni in Hebrew. Kuratowski's Ghost 13:39, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Well said, Daniel newton (talk) 10:55, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Are the Assyrian records wrong in calling Jehu "Son of Omri" no I don't think so, it's the same usage people are arguing for here. Either way thought Belshazzar's mother isn't known, do one can't prove there is absolutely no relation. I can cite numerous times "av" is used of Grandfathers also. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:06, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Appearances in modern works?[edit]

Should Belshazzar's appearance as a major character in D.W. Griffith's Intolerance be mentioned here? john k 05:33, 3 May 2006 (UTC)


"In 538 B.C. Belshazzar was positioned in the city of Babylon to hold the capital, while Nabonidus, marched his troops north to meet Cyrus. On October 10, 539 B.C. Nabonidus surrendered and fled from Cyrus. Two days later, October 12, 539 B.C., the Persian armies overthrew the city of Babylon."

That makes no sense. If the Persian armies overthrew Babylon in 539, how could Belshazzar be positioned in Babylon to defend it in the following year, 538? It had been lost by then. Nabonidus, too, is said to march his troops towards Cyrus in 538, the year following that in which he surrendered, 539. Unfree (talk) 18:41, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Daniel 5 content moved[edit]

I've moved Daniel 5 content to The writing on the wall page where the {{Daniel chapters}} links to. - Jasonasosa (talk) 16:16, 30 September 2011 (UTC)


Can we get a breakdown of the meaning of his name, or just an original name breakdown? Its always nice to learn a little Akkadian. --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 06:16, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Historicity contradiction[edit]

The first extrabiblical artifact listed to suggest Belshazzar's historicity says that Belshazzar is Nabonidus' son, yet the section goes on to say that there is extrabiblical evidence for the figure, but no extrabiblical evidence for this relation? Twin Bird (talk) 19:35, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

- the section says that there is no extrabiblical evidence for a blood relation of Belshazzar to NEBUCHADNEZZAR. Clearly there is extrabiblical evidence (the Nabonidus Cylinder) for a blood relation of Belshazzar to NABONIDUS. The article does not contradict this. Martin Gradwell (talk) 22:15, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Source suggestion[edit]

There's a good article to aid with describing the subject from a neutral point. -- (talk) 04:10, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Achaemenid invasion[edit]

To Debresser (talk · contribs), lol... yeah, sorry. Anyway, Cyropaedia is a novel of a sorts. Achaemenid invasion is too broad a title for just one script. That's why I changed the title to a more specific one in context with Cyropaedia. Not a big deal though. Thanks for looking out.  — Jason Sosa 21:33, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for substantially improving this article. Debresser (talk) 22:40, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

Two recent revision[edit]

We recently had two major revisions (rewrites) of this article. The first by Jasonasosa doing this and the second by PiCo doing this. I am generally not in favor of such major revisions without discussion. However that may be, having two such revisions one after the other makes no sense. I propose undoing the latter, being that I think the first was better. Your opinions please. Debresser (talk) 14:51, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

At present, PiCo (talk · contribs)'s edit can be considered a revert to my edit. If I revert his edits, it becomes an edit war. There isn't much I can do on this page. Thank you Debresser (talk · contribs) for looking into this, but I'm not sure where I can go with it.  — Jason Sosa 17:52, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
To be honest I didn't even know that Jason had done his major edits. For sure I'm not looking for an edit war. I suggest that anyone who's interested just take it from here. (But try to concentrate on Belshazzar, not the Book of Daniel).PiCo (talk) 22:18, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Jehovah Witness Commentary[edit]

Much of the article relies on a publication from the media arm of the Jehovah Witnesses, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Specifically:

Insight (1988). Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1. Pennsylvania: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. p. 282-284. )

This is religiously biased source, which could be handled per WP:RNPOV but the way it is presented now is a clear violation of WP:NPOV. Especially concerning is the section Nabonidus Chronicles which is copy/paste. It should probably be completely removed. Thoughts? Tennis Dynamite 15:12, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Deleted. The entire paragraph was copied verbatim. The only other 'citation' in the text (Grayson) was merely lifted from the copy-pasted Watchtower source.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:04, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
Didn't realise just how bad it was. More copyvio text has been removed. The source used is particularly problematic as the minor denomination source has views about the chronology and events of the Neo-Babylonian period that are at great variance to the mainstream view.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:32, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Book of Daniel[edit]

No historian worth his salt thinks that the description of Belshazzar and related events from the Book of Daniel would be real history. Those events aren't taught as history in any bona fide history department. So, per WP:YESPOV we have to state that such events are fictional and that the book lacks historical accuracy. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:26, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

Don't edit war! The deeds of Daniel at the court of Belshazzar are not real history, but are fictional. From the Ivy Plus to US state universities, there's not much doubt about this. Of course, some "scholars" will never agree to anything less than full-blown biblical inerrancy, but it is pretty much a WP:FRINGE position in regard to mainstream history. Tgeorgescu (talk) 14:53, 23 September 2017 (UTC)