Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego
Categories: Men in the Old Testament
- This story appears in the third chapter of
- King Nebuchadnezzar built an enormous statue
of gold that was 96 feet tall and 9 feet wide.
- Archeology confirms that such statues existed
- The story doesn't tell us who the statue represented.
Some think it was one of Nebuchadnezzar's gods
or maybe it was a statue of him.
- He demanded that all ranking officials pledge
their loyalty to him by worshiping the statue,
thus boosting his ego.
- When the music played, the people fell prostrate.
(Six instruments are mentioned. Their common
denominator is that they were all loud!)
- Ordinary people were exempt from worshiping
at the sound of music.
- Nebuchadnezzar had appointed the three Hebrew
men over the administration of the province
of Babylon as a favor to Daniel.
- Pledging their loyalty to the king was no
problem; worshiping his god was a serious problem
(it violated the Second Commandment).
- Needless to say, their promotion irritated
certain Chaldeans who began looking for a way
to get them in trouble.
- The decree was that anyone who didn't fall
down and worship the statue would immediately
be thrown into a fiery furnace.
- The Chaldeans were only too happy to point
out to Nebuchadnezzar that the three Hebrew
men were not bowing down.
- Their accusation is forceful and could be
literally translated: "They ate the Judeans
- The king flew into a rage and demanded they
be brought to him immediately.
- He did not blindly accept the accusations
against them; he gave them a chance to prove
- He offered them a choice: worship or the fiery
furnace, i.e. life or death.
- The three men chose a principled stance: they
would not worship another god (which would break
the first two Commandments) regardless of the
- "If our God is able to save us, he will;
even if he should not, we will not worship."
- The three men stay calmly confident in contrast
to the raging fury of the king.
- This made the king even angrier and he ordered
the furnace to be heated seven times hotter
- The guards were ordered to bind them and throw
them in the furnace - they didn't even have
time to strip them.
- The irony is that the furnace was so hot it
killed the men who threw them in.
- The three men were not saved from the furnace;
they were saved in it.
- But shortly, Nebuchadnezzar noticed four men
walking unharmed among the flames. He identified
the fourth as a divine being.
- Immediately, he called to the three men and
told them to come out. (Apparently the furnace
had a door on the bottom as well as an opening
at the top.)
- When they did, they were untouched. Neither
their hair nor their clothes were singed; there
was not even the smell of fire upon them.
- Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Blessed be
the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who
rescued his servants who trusted in him!
- He was so humbled that he made a new decree:
Thereafter no one could utter any insult against
the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
If any did, they would be dismembered and their
- Nebuchadnezzar recognized that no other God
could have delivered them in this way.
- Their ordeal had a positive effect in that
their religion was given official recognition
- Then he promoted the three men once again.
Goldingay, John. "Daniel." Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas, TX: Word Books Publisher, 1989.
Lucas, Ernest. "Daniel." Apollos Old Testament Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.
Redditt, Paul. "Daniel." The New Century Bible Commentary. Sheffield, Great Britain: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
Russell, D.S. "Daniel." The Daily Study Bible Series. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1981.