The king’s decree (Dan 3:29-3:29)

Therefore,

I make a decree.

‘Any people,

Any nation,

Any language

That utters

Blasphemy

Against the God

Of Shadrach,

Of Meshach,

Of Abednego,

Shall be torn

Limb from limb.

Their houses will be

Laid in ruins.

There is no other god

Who is able

To deliver

In this way.’”

Now in a complete reversal, King Nebuchadnezzar issued a decree to all the people, all the countries, and all the language groups. Anyone who blasphemed the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would be torn limb from limb. They would also lose their houses. Anyone speaking badly about the God of Israel would be punished. This king was able to accept a new better God in his polytheistic vision of the world, as his golden statute became less important.

The king releases the three men (Dan 3:26-3:26)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar

Approached the door

Of the furnace

Of the blazing fire.

He said.

‘Shadrach!

Meshach!

Abednego!

Servants of the Most High God!

Come out!

Come here!’

Then Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego,

Came out

From the fire.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had a change of heart. He went to the door of the fiery furnace. He then told the 3 men in the furnace, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in their Babylonian names, to come out of the furnace. He also called them the servants of the Most High God. Thus, the 3 men came out of the fiery furnace.

The three companions pray together (Dan 3:28-3:28)

“Then the three,

With one voice,

Praised,

Glorified,

Blessed God

In the furnace.”

After this brief description about the events in the furnace, this prayer then continued with all 3 companions together, not just Azariah. All 3 of them, Azariah, called Abednego, Shadrach who was Hananiah, and Meshach, originally Mishael, prayed together in the furnace, blessing, praising, and glorifying God.

Azariah stands still to pray (Dan 3:1-3:2)

“They walked around

In the midst

Of the flames.

They were singing

Hymns to God.

They were blessing

The Lord.

Then Azariah stood still

In the fire.

He prayed aloud.”

Like the Book of Esther, this Book of Daniel has several sections that were not in the Hebrew text. Thus, they did not make it into the English King James Bible, and so became known as Apocrypha. This prayer of Azariah, one of the 3 men in the furnace, and then their joint prayer that follows, can be found in the Greek Septuagint, but not in the Hebrew text. The Bible of Jerusalem also includes it here. The New Oxford Standard lists it as “additions to Daniel, inserted between 3:23 and 3:24.” I have given it its own separate verse numbers as if it were complete in itself. The 3 men in the furnace, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, walked around in the middle of the hot flames. They were singing hymns and blessing God, the Lord. Then Azariah, who was called Abednego, stood still. He uttered his prayer out loud. The rest of this section is his beautiful prayer.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego go into the furnace (Dan 3:20-3:23)

“The king ordered

Some of the strongest guards

In his army

To bind

Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego.

They were to throw them

Into the furnace

Of blazing fire.

Then these men

Were bound.

They were still wearing

Their tunics,

Their trousers,

Their hats,

Their other garments.

They were thrown

Into the furnace

Of blazing fire.

Because the king’s command

Was urgent,

The furnace was so overheated,

That the raging flames

Killed the men

Who lifted

Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego.

However,

The three men,

Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego,

Fell down,

Bound

Into the furnace

Of blazing fire.”

The king ordered his strongest army guards to bind up these 3 men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The guards were to throw them into the fiery furnace. These 3 young men were still wearing their tunics, trousers, hats, and other garments as they were thrown into the furnace. Although the 3 men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into the blazing fire, this fire was so hot that the men throwing them into the furnace were killed.

 

The angry King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3:19-3:19)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar

Was so filled with rage

Against

Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego,

That his face

Was distorted.

He ordered the furnace

Heated up seven times

More than was customary.”

The king became so mad at these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that his face became distorted. He ordered that the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter than usual.

The response of the three men (Dan 3:16-3:18)

“Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego,

Answered the king.

‘O King Nebuchadnezzar!

We have no need

To present

A defense

To you

In this matter.

If our God,

Whom we serve,

Is able

To deliver us

From the furnace

Of blazing fire,

As well as out of your hand,

O king!

Let him deliver us!

But if not!

Let it be known to you!

O king!

That we will not serve

Your gods.

We will not worship

The golden statue

That you have set up.’”

The 3 companions of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar clearly and directly. They were not going to present a defense of their actions. If their God was able or not able to get them out of the fiery furnace away from the king, so be it. There was no ambiguity for them. They were not going to serve his gods or worship his golden statue, case closed.

The king spoke to the three men (Dan 3:14-3:15)

“King Nebuchadnezzar

Said to them.

‘Is it true?

O Shadrach!

O Meshach!

O Abednego!

Do you not

Serve my gods?

Do you not worship

The golden statue

That I have set up?

Now if you are ready,

When you hear

The sound of the horn,

The pipe,

The lyre,

The trigon,

The harp,

The drum,

The entire musical ensemble,

To fall down,

To worship,

The statue

That I have made,

Well and good.

But if you do not worship,

You shall immediately

Be thrown

Into a furnace

Of a blazing fire.

Who is the god

That will deliver you

Out of my hands?’”

King Nebuchadnezzar gave the 3 companions of Daniel, the benefit of the doubt. He wanted to know it was really true that they, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not serve his gods. Did they not worship the golden statue that he had set up? Did they not respond to the musical instruments of the horn, the pipe, the lyre, the trigon, the harp or the drum? Did they not fall down and worship his golden statue? If they did not worship this statue, then they would be immediately thrown into the blazing furnace. The king then asked them what god would deliver them from his hands.

The three men were brought to the king (Dan 3:13-3:13)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar,

In a furious rage,

Commanded that

Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego,

Be brought in.

Then they brought

those men

Before the king.”

This accusation made King Nebuchadnezzar very angry. He commanded that these 3 men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in to him. Accordingly, they then brought the 3 men to the king.