Q.

One of your recent publications stated Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, but the Bible calls Belshazzar Nebuchadnezzar’s son. Which is correct?

A.
Both are correct, depending on how you look at them. Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, the husband of one of Nebuchadnezzar’s daughters. Therefore, Beishazzarwas a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar.

The Bible uses the word “son” for Belshazzar in relation to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 5:22:

And thou his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this.

We must understand that the usage of the word “son” here refers not to a literal son but to a successor in royalty. The word was often used this way. Perhaps we could illustrate this usage in our present-day thinking by observing that some firms add “& sons” to their company names. The designation might include grandsons and great-grandsons, but the owners don’t add “& sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons” to a firm’s name. The word “sons” is sufficient to show lineage beyond the real son(s).

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (May 1993).
© 1993 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.