|1 ¶ Nebuchadnezzar the king
made an image of gold, whose height was threescore [sixty] cubits, and
the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the
province of Babylon.
2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
| 1 -
the king made If you read through the chapter you can see that
the emphasis is on what the king does. We are reading about "the image
which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up." This is in contrast with the
image of chapter 2 that he saw in a dream. A notable difference between
the images themselves is that Neb was only the "head of gold" in the dream.
Other empires were to follow. Here the whole image is of gold.
1 - Height ... breadth People have pointed to this verse to discredit the book of Daniel. Babylon used a number system based on 6's (60 digits compared to our 10). The image representation of the king was likely in human proportions and mounted in a large pedestal making the top of the image 60 cubits (90 ft./27m) into the air.
Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers,
the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were
gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar
the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar
had set up.
.4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
| Not all music
today even presented as "Christian" is the kind of music that draws us
into the reverent atmosphere of heaven. When the Lord is in his holy temple,
all the earth is to be quiet. ha0220.
Of course heaven is also joyful. Bright, fast-paced music is appropriate
as well as calm, peaceful music. See ps150.
The bigger issue in this passage is false worship. The second commandment says, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or . . . ." Read on through verse 7 ex2004ff.
Of course bowing can be with our attitude as well as with our bodies. The commandment isn't against having physical objects. The sanctuary itself was full of such imagery. Notice the words, "Thou shalt not make unto thee." We are not to make them for ourselves as ways of salvation, even if we think they are directing us to the true God. Photographs aren't the issue.
¶ Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused
9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.
10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
| 8 -
... Jews Ethnic hatred is not new.
10 - Thou, O king, hast made a decree They are not only flattering the king but being sure he doesn't find a way to change the plan.
In the case of the lion's den some years later, a scheme for killing Daniel was proposed to King Darius. Only the king was to be worshipped for a certain period. In his pride he signed the decree da0607 realizing too late that he had been deceived. It is reasonable to believe that Nebuchadnezzar had likewise been influenced by the men who reported the violation.
12 - Jews whom thou hast set Here is their motive. They wanted more power and were unhappy that Nebuchadnezzar had given these men responsible positions over them da0249.
Where was Daniel? I expect he was keeping order in the city. The Bible doesn't say.
| 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar
in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Then they brought these men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
.15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
- The three Hebrews had interfered with his pride. Their decision
also threatened the loyalty of the other leaders across the realm. Nebuchadnezzar
wanted to save these men. People who are are faithful to God are faithful
in their duties, too. If only they would bow down! He had allowed pride
to consume him mr0626.
He would offer a second chance.
15 - Who is that God? He knew well the answer but wickedness is not rational. With the same defiance, the worldwide counterfeit religion will attempt to enforce worship of the image to the beast at the end of time re1315.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar,
we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
.18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
- Careful The Aramaic word means "need." Thus, "We don't
need to answer you in this matter." The statement was, no doubt, with courtesy.
17,18 - The response is a model for our loyalty day by day. When a crisis comes, we will not need to hesitate. Verse 17 alone would have been presumption. Verse 18 alone would have failed to represent the glory of God and would have seemed disrespectful to the king.
God does not always deliver us physically, but He will always deliver us spiritually if we are determined to hold on to His strength is2705.
19 ¶ Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage
was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake,
and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than
it was wont to be heated.
20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
.21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
.22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
19 - Seven times Likely more in an effort to prevent intervention by the very strong Hebrew God than to increase the punishment. See his question at the end of v15.
21 - Bound in their coats Daniel has a reason to mention their clothes which we will soon see. "Hosen" is Old English for trousers or pants. My interlinear Bible shows the word "slippers." Either is correct. The purpose of the verse seems better served with "pants."
| 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar
the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his
counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?
They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
|25 - Like the Son of God The term may also be translated "like a son of the Gods." From the context we can see that the KJV is the correct choice v26 v28f.|
| 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar
came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said,
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come
forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth
of the midst of the fire.
.27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
|27 - Fire had no power What a marvelous testimony! The glorified Christ shown to John may be seen to draw imagery from this experience re0115.|
¶ Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants
that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their
bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own
29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon..
By the faithfulness of the three men, a knowledge, or an awareness, of
the true God was spread through the whole world of Nebuchadnezzar.
Cut in pieces Nebuchadnezzar had not learned that the creator God is also a God of free choice re2217, jos2414f, mt0543f. Obedience to Him is from hearts of love. Jesus compared His professed people (the church) to a field where an enemy sowed weeds. The workers were not to remove the weeds but to wait for the angels to take care of them mt1336-43.
The image test
is coming again
Under the beast from the earth in Revelation, you and I may face the decision the three Hebrews faced. It won't likely be a literal burning fiery furnace, but it will be a challenge to be true to the God who saves us. We discuss this and have more to say about the situation in this Daniel chapter when discussing the threat from the image to the beast in Revelation. re1315.