Mene mene tekel upharsin once more


Daniel 5:25

. מְנֵא מְנֵא, תְּקֵל וּפַרְסִין


The text is Aramaic. But, it seems as if some words were borrowed from Old Persian or could have had an Old Persian ring to it.

מְנֵא < mene < in Aramaic refers to a variety of options since the word is used in Akkadian as well as manû and in Assyrian as manā’u.

Root meaning in Akkadian is “count, calculate”. That is also the meaning in Aramaic and sometimes “appoint” as well (GBA A Grammar of Biblical Aramaic by F. Rosenthal p. 90).

The Old Persian mana < “think”.

The word as used in Daniel is actually a monetary unit, called a mina. People would calculate or weighed the cost of something by how much silver they could place in one scale as opposed to the volume or weight or quantity of that purchased in the other. A mina is one of these units of counting. The eyes of everyone were on the mina of the scale to see the total outcome whether it will be cheap or expensive.

Then when the weighing is completed a decision is made by the eyes of the beholder observing, whether it is too expensive or too cheap. If it was found not satisfactory by the process of the תְּקֵל < tql < weighed, then the final action is given with a waw which serves as copulative וּ < u- <“and” the final result is presented.

פַרְסִין < is in Aramaic from the word meaning “divide” < פַרְס but there is also an Old Persian word parasa’i < “punish”.


Various options for translation is now available:


Mene mene tekel upharsin

Count, count, weighed, and found too light.

Count, count, weighed, and divided.

Count, count, weighed, and punished.

Think, think, weighed, and punished/found too light/divided.