Daniel Three: Fire

“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, its height sixty cubits, its width six cubits; he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the capital city of Babylon (Daniel 3:10.” I know that we’re anti-idols, particularly in Tanakh, but I have to say, this sounds kind of awesome. Sorry for that awkward blasphemy. All of the leaders of the community and kingdom gather for the dedication of the statue, and there’s a new edict that whenever the people in the kingdom hear music of any kind, they should immediately prostrate themselves to the gold statue. I can already tell that this won’t go well, particularly with the memory of our last book and how much Jews don’t like being told to bow.

And, just a couple of verses later, I’m right. “In view of this, at that time, some Chaldean men approached and denounced the Jews (Daniel 3:8).” They basically call out the Jews, Daniel’s friends, for not listening to the edict. The king becomes enraged that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego don’t follow his commandment, particularly given that the punishment of choice is being thrown into a fiery pit. However, this doesn’t seem to bother them too much, as they are confident that God will save them from the fires. This doesn’t sit well for the king, of course, and he has them tied up and thrown into a furnace.

All of this backfires, as the men who did the throwing end up falling in and burning. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are there and don’t burn, and there’s also a fourth figure, who is said to be an angel. Nebuchadnezzar is amazed, and calls them out of the fire. Once again, he is impressed by God, and he issues a new edict that no one can blaspheme the God of the Jews. “How great are His signs, and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and His dominion is with every generation (Daniel 3:33).”

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