Daniel 3

1 In eighteenth year Nabuchodonosor the king made a golden image, its height was sixty cubits, its breadth six cubits: and he set it up in the plain of Deira, in the province of Babylon.
2 And he sent forth to gather the governors, and the captains, and the heads of provinces, chiefs, and princes, and those who were in authority, and all the rulers of districts, to come to the dedication of the image.
3 So the heads of provinces, the governors, the captains, the chiefs, the great princes, those who were in authority, and all the rulers of districts, were gathered to the dedication of the image which king Nabuchodonosor had set up; and they stood before the image.
4 Then a herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, ye peoples, tribes, languages,
5 at what hour ye shall hear the sound of the trumpet, and pipe, and harp, and sackbut, and psaltery, and every kind of music, ye shall fall down and worship the golden image which king Nabuchodonosor has set up.
6 And whosoever shall not fall down and worship, in the same hour he shall be cast into the burning fiery furnace.
7 And it came to pass when the nations heard the sound of the trumpet, and pipe, and harp, and sackbut, and psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the nations, tribes, languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image which king Nabuchodonosor had set up.
8 Then came near Chaldeans, and accused the Jews to the king, ,
9 O king, live for ever.
10 Thou, O king, has made a decree that every man who shall hear the sound of the trumpet, and pipe, and harp, sackbut, and psaltery, and all kinds of music,
11 and shall not fall down and worship the golden image, shall be cast into the burning fiery furnace.
12 There are Jews whom thou has appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Sedrach, Misach, Abdenago, who have not obeyed thy decree, O king: they serve not thy gods, and worship not the golden image which thou hast set up.
13 Then Nabuchodonosor in wrath and anger commanded to bring Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago: and they were brought before the king.
14 And Nabuchodonosor answered and said to them, Is it true, Sedrach, Misach, Abdenago, that ye serve not my gods, and worship not the golden image which I have set up?
15 Now then if ye be ready, whensoever ye shall hear the sound of the trumpet, and pipe, and harp, and sackbut, and psaltery, and harmony, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the golden image which I have made; : but if ye worship not, in the same hour ye shall be cast into the burning fiery furnace; and who is the God that shall deliver you out of my hand?
16 Then answered Sedrach, Misach Abdenago and said to king Nabuchodonosor, We have no need to answer thee concerning this matter.
17 For our God whom we serve is in the heavens, able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will rescue us from thy hands, O king.
18 But if not, be it known to thee, O king, that we not serve thy gods, nor worship the image which thou hast set up.
19 Then Nabuchodonosor was filled with wrath, and the form of his countenance was changed toward Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago: and he gave orders to heat the furnace seven times , until it should burn to the uttermost.
20 And he commanded mighty men to bind Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and to cast into the burning fiery furnace.
21 Then those men were bound with their coats, and caps, and hose, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace,
22 forasmuch as the king's word prevailed; and the furnace was made exceeding hot.
23 Then these three men, Sedrach, Misach, and Abdenago, fell bound into the midst of the burning furnace, and walked in the midst of the flame, singing praise to God, and blessing the Lord.
24 And Nabuchodonosor heard them singing praises; and he wondered, and rose up in haste, and said to his nobles, Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? and they said to the king, Yes, O king.
25 And the king said, But I see four men loose, and walking in the midst of the fire, and there has no harm happened to them; and the appearance of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26 Then Nabuchodonosor drew near to the door of the burning fiery furnace, and said, Sedrach, Misach, Abdenago, ye servants of the most high God, proceed forth, and come hither. So Sedrach, Misach, Abdenago, came forth out of the midst of the fire.
27 Then were assembled the satraps, and captains, and heads of provinces, and the royal princes; and they saw the men, that the fire had not had power against their bodies, and the hair of their head was not burnt, and their coats were not scorched, nor was the smell of fire upon them.
28 And king Nabuchodonosor answered and said, Blessed be the God of Sedrach, Misach, Abdenago, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants, because they trusted in him; and they have changed the king's word, and delivered their bodies to be burnt, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
29 Wherefore I publish a decree: Every people, tribe, language, that shall speak reproachfully against the God of Sedrach, Misach, Abdenago shall be destroyed, and their houses shall be plundered: because there is no other God who shall be able to deliver thus.
30 Then the king promoted Sedrach, Misach, Abdenago, in the province of Babylon, and advanced them, and gave them authority to rule over all the Jews who were in his kingdom.
31 King Nabuchodonosor to all nations, tribes, and tongues, who dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied to you.
32 It seemed good to me to declare to you the signs and wonders which the most high God has wrought with me,
33 how great and mighty : his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his power to all generations.

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Daniel 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. (1-7) Shadrach and his companions refuse to worship it. (8-18) They are cast into a furnace, but are miraculously preserved. (19-27) Nebuchadnezzar gives glory to Jehovah. (28-30)

Verses 1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably is included a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered with plates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Pride and bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow their religion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interest allures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy to the careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatest number; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, false worship has been set up and maintained.

Verses 8-18 True devotion calms the spirit, quiets and softens it, but superstition and devotion to false gods inflame men's passions. The matter is put into a little compass, Turn, or burn. Proud men are still ready to say, as Nebuchadnezzar, Who is the Lord, that I should fear his power? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not hesitate whether they should comply or not. Life or death were not to be considered. Those that would avoid sin, must not parley with temptation when that to which we are allured or affrighted is manifestly evil. Stand not to pause about it, but say, as Christ did, Get thee behind me, Satan. They did not contrive an evasive answer, when a direct answer was expected. Those who make their duty their main care, need not be anxious or fearful concerning the event. The faithful servants of God find him able to control and overrule all the powers armed against them. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst. If He be for us, we need not fear what man can do unto us. God will deliver us, either from death or in death. They must obey God rather than man; they must rather suffer than sin; and must not do evil that good may come. Therefore none of these things moved them. The saving them from sinful compliance, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the saving them out of the fiery furnace was in the kingdom of nature. Fear of man and love of the world, especially want of faith, make men yield to temptation, while a firm persuasion of the truth will deliver them from denying Christ, or being ashamed of him. We are to be meek in our replies, but we must be decided that we will obey God rather than man.

Verses 19-27 Let Nebuchadnezzar heat his furnace as hot as he can, a few minutes will finish the torment of those cast into it; but hell-fire tortures, and yet does not kill. Those who worshipped the beast and his image, have no rest, no pause, no moment free from pain, ( revelation 14:10 revelation 14:11 ) . Now was fulfilled in the letter that great promise, ( Isaiah 43:2 ) , When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned. Leaving it to that God who preserved them in the fire, to bring them out, they walked up and down in the midst, supported and encouraged by the presence of the Son of God. Those who suffer for Christ, have his presence in their sufferings, even in the fiery furnace, and in the valley of the shadow of death. Nebuchadnezzar owns them for servants of the most high God; a God able to deliver them out of his hand. It is our God only is the consuming fire, ( Hebrews 12:29 ) . Could we but see into the eternal world, we should behold the persecuted believer safe from the malice of his foes, while they are exposed to the wrath of God, and tormented in unquenchable fires.

Verses 28-30 What God did for these his servants, would help to keep the Jews to their religion while in captivity, and to cure them of idolatry. The miracle brought deep convictions on Nebuchadnezzar. But no abiding change then took place in his conduct. He who preserved these pious Jews in the fiery furnace, is able to uphold us in the hour of temptation, and to keep us from falling into sin.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 3

In this chapter an account is given of a golden image made by Nebuchadnezzar; its size; and where placed, Da 3:1, a summons to all his princes, governors, and officers, to attend the dedication of it, Da 3:2,3, a proclamation commanding men of all nations to fall down and worship it, at hearing the sound of music, Da 3:4-7, an accusation of the Jews to the king, particularly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, for not worshipping it, Da 3:8-12, the king's sending for them in rage, and threatening to cast them into a fiery furnace if they continued to disobey his will, Da 3:13-15, their answer, which showed an inflexible resolution at all events not to comply with it, Da 3:16-18 the king's order to heat the furnace seven times hotter than usual, and cast them into it, which was executed; the consequence of which was, they that cast them in were destroyed through the vehement heat of the furnace, but the three Jews were unhurt, Da 3:19-23. Nebuchadnezzar's amazement at the sight of four persons, instead of three; and these loose, walking in the midst of the fire without hurt; and one of them like the Son of God, which he observed to his counsellors, Da 3:24,25, upon which he called to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to come out of the furnace, which they did in the presence of his princes, governors, and officers, having received not the least harm in their persons or clothes, Da 3:26,27 and then the king, praising the God of the Jews, published an edict that none should speak against him on pain of death; and restored the three men to their former dignity, Da 3:28-30.

Daniel 3 Commentaries