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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Daniel 3

Verses 1-30


The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace

Nebuchadnezzar sets up a colossal golden image, and summons to its dedication all the officials of his empire, who are commanded to fall down and worship the image at a given musical signal, on pain of being cast into a furnace (Daniel 3:1-6). They all do so, with the exception of Daniel’s three friends, whose refusal is reported to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:7-12). They are summoned before the king, and persist in their refusal (Daniel 3:13-18). Nebuchadnezzar commands the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual, and the three Jewish youths are bound and cast into it, the flames slaying their executioners (Daniel 3:19-22). The king sees them walking in the fire unbound and accompanied by a divine figure (Daniel 3:23-25). He summons them forth. finds them unharmed, magnifies their God, decrees that He be held in universal reverence; and gives them further promotion (Daniel 3:26-30).

Teaching.This story of religious constancy and its reward was specially fitted to instruct and encourage the Jews in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. There is a similar legend about Abraham and Nimrod.

1. Of gold] not necessarily solid, but perhaps overlaid. Threescore cubits.. six cubits] 90 feet by 9, or rather more. Dura is represented by the mounds of Dura, some 12 m. SSE. of Babylon.

2. Princes.. govenors.. captains] RV ’satraps.. deputies.. governors’: so in Daniel 3:3, Daniel 3:27. ’Satraps’ is a distinctly Persian term. Judges] RM ’chief soothsayers.’ Sheriffs] RM ’lawyers.’

4. People] RV ’peoples.’

5. Sackbut] properly trigon, a stringed instrument with a triangular frame: so in Daniel 3:7, Daniel 3:10, Daniel 3:15.

Psaltery] psanterin = Gk. psalterion—a stringed instrument. Dulcimer] RM ’bagpipe’: so in Daniel 3:7, Daniel 3:10, Daniel 3:15.

6. Burning fiery furnace] a form of death penalty mentioned in Jeremiah 29:22 as inflicted by Nebuchadnezzar.

8. Chaldeans] a special offcial class, moved by jealousy.

12. See Daniel 2:49,

14. Is it true.. do not ye serve] RV ’Is it of purpose.. that ye serve not.’ Nebuchadnezzar is willing to put a favourable construction on their first refusal, and to give them another opportunity of obeying.

16. Are not careful] RV ’have no need.’

17. If it be so, etc.] read, ’If our God.. is able.. he will deliver us.’ The words do not really question God’s power, but mean rather, ’If our God sees fit,’ etc.

18. But if not] The refusal is absolute, come what will.

20. The most mighty men] RV ’certain mighty men.’

21. Coats.. hosen.. hats] RV ’hosen.. tunics’ (RM ’turbans’).. ’mantles.’

23. In LXX the ’Song of the Three Holy Children’ is inserted after this v.

25. The Son of God] RV ’a son of the gods,’ a heavenly being, called an angel in v.,28. Nebuchadnezzar could not have used the expression in the definite Christian sense suggested by AV.

29. Made a dunghill] see on Daniel 2:5.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Daniel 3". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/daniel-3.html. 1909.