Daniel chapter 3

After learning of his great role in world history, Nebuchadnezzar builds a giant statue of himself. He forces everyone to worship it.

 


 

NEBUCHADNEZZAR BUILDS A GIANT STATUE OF HIMSELF

 

VERSE 1. Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits, and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

made an image of gold. We imagine Nebuchadnezzar’s statue was of himself. He was deeply narcissistic.

height was sixty cubits. That is, ninety feet tall.

width six cubits. That is, nine feet wide.

 

VERSE 2. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the local governors, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

 

VERSE 3. Then the local governors, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

 

VERSE 4. Then the herald cried aloud, “To you it is commanded, peoples, nations, and languages,

 

VERSE 5. that whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up.

 

VERSE 6. Whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall be cast into the middle of a burning fiery furnace the same hour.”

 

VERSE 7. Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, all the peoples, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

 

VERSE 8. Therefore at that time certain Kasdim came near, and brought accusation against the Jews.

Kasdim. Most translations say “Chaldeans.” In this context, it means “astrologers.” They are probably taking revenge on Daniel. He interpreted the king’s dream, when they could not. This might be payback.

 

VERSE 9. They answered Nebuchadnezzar the king, “O king, live for ever!

 

VERSE 10. You, O king, have made a decree, that every man that hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image;

 

VERSE 11. and whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall be cast into the middle of a burning fiery furnace.

 

VERSE 12. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, have not respected you. They don’t serve your gods, and don’t worship the golden image which you have set up.”

There are certain Jews. Evil people focus their hatred on Jewish people. They are the embodiment of the goodness of God, whom evil people despise.

These men, O king, have not respected you. This was a lie.

Troublemakers always resort to lies. It is the only way they can make trouble for people who live authentically holy lives.

 

VERSE 13. Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and fury commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. Then these men were brought before the king.

rage and fury. Narcissistic rage, probably.

 

VERSE 14. Nebuchadnezzar answered them, “Is it on purpose, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my god, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

 

VERSE 15. Now if you are ready whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, good; but if you don’t worship, you shall be cast the same hour into the middle of a burning fiery furnace. Who is that god that will deliver you out of my hands?”

 

VERSE 16. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

 

VERSE 17. If it happens, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

 

VERSE 18. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”

But if not. These heroes of the faith do as the LORD God commands, whether he blesses them or not, whether he miraculously rescues them or not. They will live or die for the LORD God. Their obedience is not conditional.

However, in our day, some Christians act in godly ways, because they will receive blessings. They do it for personal gain, and not because it is the right thing for a child of the Most High God.

 

VERSE 19. Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the form of his appearance was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.

full of fury. Here is more narcissistic rage

 

VERSE 20. He commanded certain mighty men who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

 

VERSE 21. Then these men were bound in their pants, their tunics, and their mantles, and their other clothes, and were cast into the middle of the burning fiery furnace.

cast into the middle of the burning fiery furnace. In the course of world history, this is not the last time that evil men will hurl Jewish people into a blast furnace. It will happen again under Adolf Hitler.

 

VERSE 22. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

 

VERSE 23. These three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the middle of the burning fiery furnace.

 


Beginning at verse 24, Orthodox and Catholic Bibles add an extensive section of text that is not a part of other translations. We are not including those verses here. Rather, we are using the verses accepted by all Christians.


 

VERSE 24. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste. He spoke and said to his counselors, “Didn’t we cast three men bound into the middle of the fire?”

Three men. Here are some instances where the Bible describes three men:

  • Three men visited Abram and Sara
  • Three men rescued Lot
  • And now, three men are in the blast furnace.

Maybe these three men angels. Or maybe they were the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

 

VERSE 25. He answered, “Look, I see four men loose, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are unharmed. The appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

I see four men. The LORD God did indeed bless these heroes of the faith. They were unharmed. They were miraculously delivered.

like the Son of God. That is, “like a son of the gods.” The obvious interpretation is that the fourth man is Jesus Christ, walking with them in the blast furnace.

 

VERSE 26. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace. He spoke and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the middle of the fire.

 

VERSE 27. The local governors, the deputies, and the governors, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, that the fire had no power on their bodies. The hair of their head wasn’t singed. Their pants weren’t changed, the smell of fire wasn’t even on them.

 

VERSE 28. Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar has finally encountered a “god” more powerful than himself. The God of the Jewish people has conquered the mighty ego of Nebuchadnezzar, at least temporarily.

his angel. Nebuchadnezzar publicly recognizes the presence of a supernatural entity.

changed the king’s word. That is, “They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than” (NLT translation).

 

VERSE 29. Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything evil 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 who is able to deliver like this.”

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.