Daniel 3

1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue whose height was sixty cubits and whose width was six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent for the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to assemble and come to the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
3 So the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When they were standing before the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had set up,
4 the herald proclaimed aloud, "You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,
5 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, you are to fall down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
6 Whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire."
7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 Accordingly, at this time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews.
9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever!
10 You, O king, have made a decree, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, shall fall down and worship the golden statue,
11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.
12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These pay no heed to you, O king. They do not serve your gods and they do not worship the golden statue that you have set up."
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up?
15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. [a] But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?"
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter.
17 If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. [b]
18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up."
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary,
20 and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire.
21 So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire.
22 Because the king's command was urgent and the furnace was so overheated, the raging flames killed the men who lifted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
23 But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counselors, "Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?" They answered the king, "True, O king."
25 He replied, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god."
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.
27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them.
28 Nebuchadnezzar said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king's command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.
29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way."
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

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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.

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Aram lacks [well and good]
  • [b]. Or [If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, he will deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king.]
  • [c]. Meaning of Aram word uncertain
  • [d]. Meaning of Aram word uncertain
  • [e]. Aram [a son of the gods]
  • [f]. Meaning of Aram word uncertain

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