Five Words

Paul says in an assembly he would rather use 5 words with understanding than 10,000 in another language. The math points at Daniel interpreting a 5 word message in a forgotten language.

1 Corinthians 14:1-25

FA 1Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts above all that you may prophesy. 2For he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men but to god, for no man understands what he says however through the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3But he who prophesies speaks to men for edification, encouragement, and comfort. 4He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the assembly. 5I would that you all spoke various tongues, but I would rather that you prophesied, for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks various tongues unless he interprets; however if he interprets he edifies the assembly. 1 Corinthians 14:1-56Now, my brothers, if I should come to you and speak in diverse tongues, what would I profit you except I speak to you either 1|4 by means of revelation, 2|4 or by knowledge, 3|4 or by prophesying, 4|4 or by teaching? 7For even when things without life give sound whether flute or harp except they make a distinction between one tone and another how will it be known what is sung or played? 8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound who will prepare himself for the battle? 9Even with you except you utter with the tongue words easy to understand how will it be known what you say? You will speak as into the air. 10For there are many kinds of tongues in the world, yet none of them without expression. 11If I do not understand the utterance I will be as a barbarian to the speaker, and the speaker will be as a barbarian to me. 12Likewise with you since you are zealous of spiritual gifts for the edification of the assembly seek that you may surpass others in these gifts. 1 Corinthians 14:6-1213He who speaks in an unknown tongue prays that he may interpret it. 14For if I pray in an unknown tongue my spirit prays, but my knowledge is fruitless. 15What then should I do? I will pray with my spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, and I will also sing with my understanding. 16Otherwise if you say a blessing with the spirit how can one who occupies the place of the unlearned say, Amen, to your thanksgiving since he does not understand what you say? 17For you bless well, but your fellow man is not enlightened. 1 Corinthians 14:13-1718I thank god that I speak with tongues more than you all, 19but in the assembly I would rather speak 5 words with understanding, so that I might also teach others than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue. 1 Corinthians 14:18-1920My brothers do not be like infants in your intelligence only to evil things be like innocent sons, but in your understanding be mature. 21In the law it is written: With a foreign speech and in another tongue I will speak to this people, yet for all that they will not listen to me, Q Isaiah 28:11-12 says the Master. 1 Corinthians 14:20-2122Thus the gift of tongues is instituted as a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, but prophesying is meant not for those who do not believe but for those who believe. 23Therefore if the whole assembly assembles together and all speak in different tongues, and there enter unlearned people or unbelievers will they not say, They are fanatical? 24But if all prophesy and an unlearned man or an unbeliever enter he will be convinced by all, and he will be set right by all. 25The secrets of his heart will be revealed and then he will fall on his face and he will bow to god and say, Truly god is among you. 1 Corinthians 14:22-25 (1 Corinthians 14:1-25 BRB)


5+10000 = 10005 = Daniel


Daniel knew a language forgotten by the educated in Babylon. When no one could interpret the message written on a wall by a hand Daniel was called in and interpreted the message for the king.

1Belshazzar the king made a great feast to 1,000 of his princes FE and drank wine in the presence of the 1,000. 2Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple of god which was in Jerusalem that 1|4 the king, 2|4 and his princes, 3|4 and his wives, 4|4 and his concubines, might drink with them. 3Then they brought the gold vessels that were taken out of the temple of god that was in Jerusalem, 1|4 and the king, 2|4 and his princes, 3|4 and his wives, 4|4 and his concubines, drank with them. 4They drank wine and praised the gods 1|6 of gold, 2|6 and of silver, 3|6 and of brass, 4|6 and of iron, 5|6 and of tree, 6|6 and of stone. Daniel 5:1-45In that very hour there appeared the fingers of a hand of a man and wrote opposite the lamp on the plaster of the wall of the temple of the king A Deuteronomy 27:2-3 A 2 Peter 1:19 A Revelation 18:23 and the king saw the palm of the hand of the man that wrote. K Numbers 13:16 6Then 1|4 the countenance of the king changed, 2|4 and his thoughts troubled him, 3|4 and the joints of his loins were loosed, 4|4 and his knees struck one against another. Daniel 5:5-67The king cried aloud and said to bring in 1|4 the astrologers, 2|4 and the Chaldeans, 3|4 and the magi, 4|4 and the wise men. The king spoke and said to the wise men of Babel, Whoever will read this writing and show me its interpretation will be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold about his neck, and he will rule over a 3rd of the kingdom. Daniel 5:78Then came in all the wise men of the king, but they could not read the writing nor make known to the king its interpretation. 9Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled and his countenance changed and his princes were bewildered. Daniel 5:8-910The queen, because of the conversation of the king and his princes, came into the banquet house and spoke and said, King, live forever. Do not let your thoughts trouble you nor let your countenance be changed. 11There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, 1|3 light, 2|3 and understanding, 3|3 and much wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him. King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, appointed him master of 1|4 the magicians, 2|4 and the astrologers, 3|4 and the magi, 4|4 and the Chaldeans, 12because of 1|3 the spirit, 2|3 and the knowledge, 3|3 and the understanding, which he possesses to 1|3 interpret dreams 2|3 and devise riddles 3|3 and solve enigmas, A Proverbs 1:6 FE even Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called and he will show the interpretation. A Revelation 5:5 Daniel 5:10-1213Then Daniel came in before the king and the king spoke and said to Daniel, Are you the Daniel of the children of the captivity of Judah whom the king my father brought from Judah? FE 14I have heard of you, 1|4 that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, 2|4 and light, 3|4 and understanding, 4|4 and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15Now the magicians and the astrologers have been brought in before me that they might read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show me the interpretation of the thing. 16I have heard of you that you can make interpretations and solve riddles. Now if you can read this writing and make known to me its interpretation you will be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold about your neck and will rule over a 3rd of the kingdom. Daniel 5:13-1617Then Daniel answered and said to the king, Let your gifts be to yourself and give the honor of your house to others, but the writing I will read to the king and make known to him the interpretation. Daniel 5:1718King, the most high god gave Nebuchadnezzar your father 1|4 a kingdom, 2|4 and majesty, 3|4 and honor, 4|4 and glory. 19Because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples and nations and tongues trembled and feared before him, 1|4 for whom he would he killed, 2|4 and whom he would he kept alive, 3|4 and whom he would he promoted, 4|4 and whom he would he humbled. 20When his heart was lifted up and his pride increased, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory passed away from him, 21and he was driven from among the children of men, and his heart became like that of the animals, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys, and they fed him with grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of the skies, until his hair grew like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws, until he knew that the most high god rules in the kingdom of men and that he gives it to whom he wants and the lowest of men he raises over it. Daniel 5:18-2122You, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart though you knew all these things. 23You have lifted yourself up against the master FE of the skies, and they have brought the vessels of his house before you, 1|4 and you, 2|4 and your princes, 3|4 and your wives, 4|4 and your concubines, have drunk wine out of them, and you have praised the gods 1|6 of gold, 2|6 and of silver, 3|6 and of brass, 4|6 and of iron, 5|6 and of tree, 6|6 and of stone, FE which neither see nor hear nor know, and the god in whose hands is your breath and all your ways, you have not glorified nor honored. 24Then the palm of the hand was sent from his presence and this writing was written. Daniel 5:22-24FE 25This is the writing that was written: Mene mene tekel upharsin. Daniel 5:2526This is the interpretation of the words. Mene: God has numbered your kingdom and brought it to an end. 27Tekel: You are weighed in the balances and found wanting. 28Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. Daniel 5:26-2829Then Belshazzar commanded and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold about his neck and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be a ruler over a 3rd of the kingdom. Daniel 5:2930In that night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed A Luke 12:20 31and Darius the Mede took the kingdom being about 62 years old. Daniel 5:30-31 (Daniel 5 BRB)

The message Mene mene tekel upharsin appears in English as four words, but the conjunction "and" is prefixed to the fourth word so this is actually a five word message and therefore strongly matches the First Corinthians passage.

Note the way the hand from Yahvah writes a message in a language that the king and his learned men of Babylon could not read. This agrees with the quotation in First Corinthians where Yahvah says he will speak to this people in a language they do not understand (1 Cor 14:21). Ironically this language was once known by the covenant people then living in Babylon. Daniel still knew it and interpreted it aloud for everyone in the royal court. Whatever this language it was lost in Babel (the place where languages get confused (Gen 11:1-9)) and it predates Hebrew.

What language might this be? The answer is beyond the scope of this page, but consider that Israel learned a new language when they came out of Egypt (Pss 81:5), so it was not Egyptian. This new language was likely the one Yahvah spoke aloud before the tribes of Israel (Exod 20:1). It is also likely the one Israel received on tablets written by the finger of god (Exod 31:18), which is awful similar to hand writing on a wall.

It seems Paul is dealing with something in addition to and more complex than the simple idea that one should speak the same language as those present to be understood. That idea can be expressed in a sentence or two, perhaps a short paragraph if one wants to be verbose, and scripture is way too dense to suddenly take a long chapter for a simple idea, especially if the point is to make oneself clear.