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Daniel Chapter 3 Lesson

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
Click here to start the quiz
We have restored on the WLC website, in the Scriptures quoted the Names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible.  Click here to download the Restored Names Version (RNV) of Scripture.  The RNV is a non-WLC resource.  -WLC Team

(Dan 3:1) Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

The subject of Daniel three is the golden image. It is clear that Nebuchadnezzar considered the dream of chapter 2 a warning that required magical intervention. For him, the most important message of the dream was that his kingdom was coming to an end at some point and another empire was going to take its place. He was grateful to Daniel for giving him the information he needed to perform the proper magic to counteract the dream. Instead of an image of several metals representing a succession of empires, Nebuchadnezzar made an image to take its place, one made entirely of gold to represent the endless character of the Babylonian empire. Magical thought suggested that this would allay the effects of the dream and prevent the failure of the empire.

(Dan 3:2) 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.

(Dan 3:3) 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.

Magic works best when you add something practical to it. Nebuchadnezzar knew his politics and his powers. He reinforced the authority of his kingdom by requiring all of the people who wielded power to reaffirm their submission to it. Empires fall not only from outside attack but from dissention within. The king did all he could to tighten internal loyalty and strengthen the empire.

(Dan 3:4) Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,

(Dan 3:5) 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:

(Dan 3:6) And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

(Dan 3:7) 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.

Nebuchadnezzar did not leave the loyalty of his subordinates to chance. The power of music was well-known and highly developed in Babylon. Even as late as the Medieval Arabs, the specific use of different kinds of music and different intervals to make overpowering difference tones is well described in the literature of the period. In Western music it is known that a piercing tone can shatter a crystal glass. But even more powerful things can be done with music. The expression ”symphonia” used in verse five is taken from Greek into Aramaic. It is the word from which our symphony also comes. But it means sounding together. By playing two specific tones together a much lower and more powerful difference tone could be produced, which would force the crowd to fall down in prostration.  (Suggested Reading: Technological Tools Of The Beast And The False Prophet)

(Dan 3:8) Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

(Dan 3:9) They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.

(Dan 3:10) 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:

(Dan 3:11) And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

(Dan 3:12) 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 eloah, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

The ability of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego to remain standing during the powerful blast of the difference tone was not short of miraculous. This should have been a sign to those around them of divine providence. But instead, they hardened their hearts and complained to the king.

(Dan 3:13) Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

(Dan 3:14) Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my eloah, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

(Dan 3:15) 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 Eloah that shall deliver you out of my hands?

It may seem strange that Nebuchadnezzar was not impressed with the fact that the three men were able to remain standing. The reason is no doubt that Nebuchadnezzar had gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to counteract the warning given in the dream of Daniel 2. The action of the three had spoiled the effect of the magic he was trying to work to save his empire. Given the importance of the situation, he was not predisposed to be impressed by anything. Furthermore, the rebellion against the deities of Babylon could instigate a political rebellion as well. So the matter was serious and had to be nipped in the bud.

(Dan 3:16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

(Dan 3:17) If it be so, our Eloah whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

(Dan 3:18) But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy eloah, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Yahuwah has already given the evidence of divine intervention in providing the three men with the strength to remain standing in defiance of the command and before the blast of the difference tone.

The response of the three faithful is courteous, but respectful. They do not recognize the authority of the king to command their worship. This is a principle of behavior valid today as well.

(Dan 3:19) 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.

(Dan 3:20) 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.

The predictable result of disobedience to imperial commands is to suffer the consequences. The fact that Yahuwah has intervened on occasion is no guage that He will always do so. Many have lost their lives as martyrs, giving a faithful witness to their loyalty to Yahuwah.

(Dan 3:21) 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.

(Dan 3:22) 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.

(Dan 3:23) And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

The death of the officers goes to emphasize the reality of the burning fire of the furnace and what its effect must normally be on human beings.

(Dan 3:24) 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.

(Dan 3:25) 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 Eloah.

This is the first text in the Bible to use the term Son of Eloah. It is the only text in the Hebrew Scriptures to use it. It is not clear whether we should understand Yahuwah to have inspired the king, despite his unbelief, to make this acknowledgement, or whether we should see it as an expression of heathen faith. Nevertheless, the term Son of Eloah is used specifically in the New Testament to refer, as a technical term, to the Messiah.

(Dan 3:26) 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 Eloah, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

(Dan 3:27) And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counselors, 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.

The miraculous intervention of Yahuwah was obvious to all, and all were forced to acknowledge it.

(Dan 3:28) Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the Eloah 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 Eloah, except their Eloah.

(Dan 3:29) Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the Eloah of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other Eloah that can deliver after this sort.

(Dan 3:30) Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

Interestingly, the imperial reaction to Yahuwah's miracle is merely to affirm imperial power. The king makes a law forcing the worship of Yahuwah. Religion of force is not acceptable to Yahuwah, especially in the context of imperial oppression. Yet the story shows how Yahuwah's providence overcomes all human rebellion, even turning wicked actions finally to further the kingdom of Yahuwah. Yahuwah's sovereignty cannot in the end be overcome, and everything must in the end go to support it.