Dan 3:1-30

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[edit] Summary

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Relationship to Daniel. The relationship of Chapter 3 to Daniel as a whole, and in particular to the account of the den of lions in Chapter 6, is discussed at Daniel. The historical setting of Chapter 3 is also discussed at Daniel.

Story. Chapter 3 tells the story of Daniel's three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being cast into the fiery furnace. Chapter 3 has six principal parts.

  • Verses 1-7:a. The king commands all to worship an idol on pain of death.
  • Verses 8-12: The three friends are accused of not worshiping the idol.
  • Verses 13-18: The king asks: Who is that God that shall deliver you from the sentence of death?
  • Verses 19-23: The king commands that they be cast into a fiery furnace, but the guards die rather than the three prisoners.
  • Verses 24-27: The three friends are saved by an angel from the sentence of death.
  • Verses 28-30: The king commands all to respect the God who delivers.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 3 include:

  • At the opening of this episode the king commanded that everyone must worship the golden idol. At the conclusion he now commands that no one may speak ill of the God of the Jews. The king is not converted to monotheism, but he does acknowledge God as the most high God.


[edit] Discussion

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Chapter 3 can be read as a parallelism.

a. king commands worship of idol on pain of death (3:1-7)
b. three accused of not worshiping the idol (3:8-12)
c. who is that God that shall deliver you? (3:13-18)
a. king commands three be cast into fire, but soldiers die (3:19-23)
b. three rescued from sentence by angel (3:24-27)
c. king commands respect for God who delivers (3:28-30)

In the first a passage (3:1-7) the people obey the king’s command, upon threat of death, to worship an idol (6-7). In the second a passage (3:19-23) the king commands his mighty men to cast the three friends (Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego) into the fiery furnace. But death instead takes the king’s own soldiers as they obey his command (3:20-22). Obedience to the world leads to destruction.

In the first b passage (3:8-12) the three friends are discovered refusing to serve the idol by Chaldeans, members of Babylon’s earthly empire. The three friends are individually named, but they are also identified as Jews and thus represent all who worship God. In the second b passage (3:24-27) the world’s most powerful man, Nebuchadnezzar, angrily sentences the three to death for refusing to serve the idol. But they are saved by an angel of God whose form, significantly, “is like the Son of God,” and the king recognizes that they are in fact “servants of the most high God.” Safety lies in obedience to God.

The climax of the first c passage (3:13-18) is the exchange in verses 16-17 between the king and the three friends about God’s ability to save:

• king asks if friends are willing to serve the idol (14-15)
• who is that god that shall deliver you out of my hands? (16)
• God can deliver us, and he may or may not do so (17)
• but we will not serve idols (18)

After the three friends are delivered, the king states the lesson in the second c passage (3:28-30) that “there is no other God that can deliver after this sort”.

At the opening of this episode the king commanded that everyone must worship the golden idol (3:4-6). At the conclusion he now commands that no one may speak ill of the God of the Jews (3:29). The king is not converted to monotheism, but he does acknowledge God as the most high God.



[edit] Parallel passages

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[edit] Points to ponder

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[edit] I have a question

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[edit] Resources

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[edit] Notes

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.




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