The upset king (Dan 3:24-3:25)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar

Was astonished.

He rose up quickly.

He said to his counselors.

‘Was it not three men

That we threw bound

Into the fire?’

They answered

The king.

‘True!

O king!’

He replied.

‘But I see four men

Unbound,

Walking

In the middle

Of the fire.

They are not hurt.

The fourth one has

The appearance

Of a god.’”

After the long Septuagint prayer of Azariah, we are back at the Hebrew or Aramaic text of the Book of Daniel. Now King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and upset. He thought that he had put 3 men, tied up, into the furnace. Instead, he saw 4 men, not tied up, walking around in the middle of the furnace. He even remarked that one of them looked like a god, which was the angel.

Let the birds and animals bless God (Dan 3:58-3:59)

“Bless the Lord!

All birds of the air!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

All wild animals!

All cattle!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!” 

The 3 men wanted all the birds of the air and all the wild and domestic animals to bless God, sing praises to him, and exalt him forever. There was no specific mention of any particular birds or animals, other than cattle.

Let the earthly waters bless God (Dan 3:55-3:57)

“Bless the Lord!

You springs!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

Seas!

Rivers!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

You whales!

All that swim

In the waters!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!” 

The 3 men continued their hymn of praise. This time, they wanted the earthly waters, and all that live in them, to bless the Lord by praising and exalting him. The division of the waters was into springs, seas, and rivers, since there was never any thought of an ocean. However, the one fish that they do mention is a whale.

The fiery flames (Dan 3:23-3:25)

“Now the king’s servants,

Who threw them in,

Kept stoking

The furnace

With naphtha,

Pitch,

Tow,

Brushwood.

The flames

Poured out

Above the furnace,

Forty-nine cubits.

The flames

Spread out.

They burned

Those Chaldeans

Who were caught

Near the furnace.”

Originally, the king’s servants who threw the 3 men into the furnace had died because of the flames. Either they were still alive or there were other servants to keep the fire in the furnace going. Here those same servants or other servants were also burned because the flames were 49 cubits or over 75 feet high. They were adding naphtha, pitch, tow, and brushwood to the fire. Naphtha and pitch were like peat coal or a flammable tar base. Tow and brushwood were woods that easily burned.

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.

The trip to the east gate (Ezek 11:1-11:1)

“The Spirit

Lifted me up.

He brought me

To the east gate

Of the house of Yahweh

That faces east.

There,

At the entrance

Of the gateway

There were twenty-five men.

I saw among them

Jaazaniah,

The son of Azzur,

With Pelatiah,

The son of Benaiah,

Officials of the people.”

Once again, the Spirit of Yahweh lifted Ezekiel up. This Holy Spirit brought him to the east gate of the Temple this time. There is a reference to Jaazaniah as in chapter 8 of this work. However, here Jaazaniah is the son of Azzur, not the son of Shaphan. He is among 25 men, not the 70 elders as in chapter 8. Ezekiel is not looking through a wall as in chapter 8, but standing at the east entrance of the Temple. There is no mention of the creeping things here. However, Jaazaniah was joined by another official named Pelatiah, the son of Benaiah. Thus there is a loose connection with chapter 8 of this work.

The sun worship idolatry in the Temple (Ezek 8:16-8:16)

“Yahweh brought me

Into the inner court

Of the house

Of Yahweh.

There at the entrance

Of the temple

Of Yahweh,

Between the porch

And the altar,

Were about twenty-five men.

Their backs were

To the temple

Of Yahweh.

Their faces were

Toward the east.

They prostrated themselves

To the sun

Toward the east.”

Yahweh brought Ezekiel into the inner court of the Temple. At the entrance to the Temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the Temple. Their faces were toward the east. Then they prostrated themselves and worshipped the sun in the east that morning.  Sun worship was very common in Egypt. A modern form of sun worship is called laying out in the sun.