Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 3

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


The dedication of a golden image for worship, is appointed by Nebuchadnezzar; the people commanded to bow before it: the Jews are accused of neglecting it, and are cast into the furnace, but miraculously delivered.

Daniel 3:1

It is not said when this event took place. One should think it could hardly have been soon after, the King fell prostrate before Daniel, and thought him more than man, as the preceding Chapter relates. But, when we consider the desperately wicked state of the unrenewed heart, full of enmity against God; I am inclined to think it was. But, be that as it may, we see the awful impiety of this wretched man! As he proudly thought the Chaldean empire was the golden part of the image he saw in his dream; he now determined to bid defiance to Daniel's God, and see which should come to pass. Reader! is it not enough in such views of human nature to make every heart tremble? Lord! what is man void of grace!

Verses 2-7

We have here the prosecution of this impious design. Reader! would it be believed, if fact had not proved it so, that men possessing reason, should fall down to so ridiculous a figure, as a lifeless, helpless, unconscious mass of metal? To be sure, it must have been an enormous figure, threescore cubits! whereas a man six feet, is but four cubits, and this image therefore must have been ninety feet. But what of that: its enormity only served to make it more contemptible.

Verses 8-12

It is very evident, that the whole design of this new dunghill God set up, was, with a view to criminate the faithful Jews. And as upon the late occasion, at the instance of Daniel; those three men were advanced to high honors in Babylon, against those the deadly bow was leveled. I pray the Reader to remark with me two things, which, though the Holy Ghost hath not explained, the Lord the Spirit certainly intended the faithful should not overlook. The one is, that Daniel, though by the Chaldeans called Belteshazzar, in relation to their idol god Bel; yet, carefully avoids it in the history, as if despising it, and keeps close to his own real name, in honour of the God of Israel. And the other is, that in this accusation of Daniel's companions, Daniel himself is not mentioned. There is no way of accounting for this, but by supposing what is likely to be the case; that Daniel at this time might be absent from the Babylonish court.

Verses 13-18

There needs no comment on these verses, only to observe, that the dreadful fury of the enemies of God and of his Christ, have been always the same, as in the instance of this man. Reader! have you never seen, (I have, and remarked it also,) the bitterness of the most hellish malice belching out of the mouths of the haters of the saints in their accusations against them. And have you not seen, on the other hand, that spirit of meekness, such as those saints of God manifested under the crimination of their foes? Oh! what cannot grace accomplish? How tranquil were their minds, opposed to the rage of the King, and what an answer did they give: if it be so, that is, if our God doth not interpose to save us from thy wrath, it is not because he cannot, but because it is for His greater glory, and our advantage, that he should not. Oh! how perfect that peace the soul is kept in, when in such trying seasons, the soul leans wholly on God's sure mercy in Christ! Isaiah 26:3 .

Verses 19-23

Ah! wretched Nebuchadnezzar! how wilt thou endure the heated furnace of everlasting wrath! What! even if it had killed the faithful servants of the Lord, what would have been their sufferings for a few moments, which, in consuming, would soon have put them out of all pain, compared to thy torments in that lake whose smoke ascends forever and ever? A worm that never dies, and a fire that cannot be quenched! Here are torments that do not destroy. A second death which is endless, and of never dying misery! Oh! wretched, wretched man! Reader! awfully ponder over those scriptures: Revelation 20:10 to the end. Mark 9:43-44 ; Isaiah 33:14 .

Verses 24-25

Probably the impious wretch was struck with astonishment at the distinguishing providence of God, that while God's servants received no hurt, the very heat of the furnace struck dead those who had laid their hands upon them. But what, did the fire loosen the cords, With which Shadrach and his companions were bound, and yet not touch their persons? Yes! so distinguishing was the mercy, that not a hair of their heads was singed. Oh! what tokens are these of Jesus looking on, guiding all, and controlling all! But all is explained to us in what follows. Jesus was with them. Yea, the monster of iniquity shall see Him, like another Balaam, but not nigh. Numbers 24:17 ; Revelation 1:7 . Reader! pause, and ponder well the wonderful subject, for the same is every day going on in the Church, thought not in such open manifestations. Men may shackle and bind the bodies of the saints: but Jesus loosens the cords of the heart, and gives them an enlargedness of soul in him. Prisons have often shut the saints in; but no prison can ever shut Christ out. Read, I beseech you, some of those many promises to this amount, with which the word of God abounds. Isaiah 43:1-2 ; Revelation 2:10 ; John 16:33 . And then turn to the account the Holy Ghost gives of those illustrious servants of the Lamb, who through faith quenched the violence of fire, Hebrews 11:0 from beginning to the end.

Verses 26-30

Reader! pray observe what is here said. Nebuchadnezzar is astonished, and so are his courtiers. But is this all? Yes! for had there been more than astonishment and any grace wrought in the heart, the accusers of these holy men would have been punished; the King himself would have confessed his guilt, and the Lord God of his faithful servants been acknowledged and adored. And, Reader! is it not so now in what is going on through life? Do the most awful judgments, visitations, deliverances, blessings, or chastisements, produce a change in the minds of men by their operations! Ah! no. If the unhappy apostate spirits now in hell were unchained and freed, devils they would still remain. Nothing but the arm of sovereign grace can subdue the stubborn heart of sinners, whether men or devils. Oh! that this was but thoroughly considered, that so the glory of Jehovah might be known and confessed in the Church of God, that his arm alone bringeth salvation. Reader! do you know this most certain truth of God? Are you a living testimony of his grace, in being the happy object on which that grace hath been shown? Ephesians 2:1 .

Verse 30


READER! can you desire a stronger explanation of what scripture continually holds forth, between the righteous and the wicked; between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not; than what is here brought before us. Behold the daring impiety of the Babylonish King and his nobles! Behold their cruelty also. Then mark the end of these men! Look, on the other hand, at the Lord's servants! see what confidence faith in the Lord Jesus can and will induce. And behold, how the Lord bears testimony to his people, and confirms the dependence of his redeemed. And such, depend upon it, more or less will it be in every instance. Faith in Jesus enables the believer to triumph, when all outward circumstances are most unpromising and dark. Hence some of the martyrs of God have been enabled to sing songs of rejoicing, even in the flames. They well knew, that however painful to the body, it was full of blessedness to the soul; and therefore, these afflictions were but the light afflictions of a moment, which were working out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!

Precious Jesus! make both him that writes and him that reads, if it be thy blessed will, followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises. And seeing that we are thus encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, may we run also the race that is set before us, looking unto thee the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Daniel 3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/daniel-3.html. 1828.
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