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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Shadrak', שִׁדְרִךְ ; Sept. Σεδράκ v.r. Σεδράχ ; Vulg. Sidrach), the Chaldee name of Hananiah, the chief of the "three children" who were Daniel's companions (Daniel 1:7, etc.). His song, as given in the Apocryphal. Daniel, forms part of the service of the Church of England, under the name of "Benedicite omnia opera." A long prayer in the furnace is also ascribed to him in the Sept. and Vulgate; but this is thought to be by a different hand from that which added the song. The history of Shadrach, or Hananiah, is briefly this. He was taken captive with Daniel, Mishael, and Azariah at the first invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth, or, as Daniel (Daniel 1:1) reckons, in the third, year of Jehoiakim, at the time when the Jewish king himself was bound in fetters to be carried off to Babylon. B.C. 606. Being, with his three companions, apparently of royal birth (Daniel 1:3), of superior understanding and of goodly person, he was selected, with them, for the king's immediate service; and was for this end instructed in the language and in all the learning and wisdom of the Chaldaeans as taught in the college of the magicians. Like Daniel, he avoided the pollution of the meat and wine which formed their daily provision at the king's cost, and obtained permission to live on pulse and water. When the time of his probation was over, he and his three companions, being found superior to all the other magicians, were advanced to stand before the king.

When the decree for the slaughter of all the magicians went forth from Nebuchadnezzar, we find Shadrach uniting with his companions in prayer to God to reveal the dream to Daniel; and when, in answer to that prayer, Daniel had successfully interpreted the dream and been made ruler of the province of Babylon and head of the college of magicians, Shadrach was promoted to a high civil office. But the penalty of Oriental greatness, especially when combined with honesty and uprightness, soon had to be paid by him, on the accusation of certain envious Chaldaeans. For refusing to worship the golden image he was cast with Meshach and Abed-nego into the burning furnace. But his faith stood firm; and his victory was complete when he came out of the furnace with his two companions unhurt, heard the king's testimony to the glory of God, and was "promoted in the province of Babylon." We hear no more of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Old Test. after this; neither are they spoken of in the New Test. except in the pointed allusion to them in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as having "through faith quenched the violence of fire" (Hebrews 11:33-34). But there are repeated allusions to them in the-later Apocryphal books, and the martyrs of the Maccabaean. period seem to have been much encouraged by their example. See 1 Maccabees 2:59-60; 3 Maccabees 6:6; 4 Maccabees 13:9; 4 Maccabees 16:3; 4 Maccabees 16:21; 4 Maccabees 18:12. Ewald (Geschichte, 4, 557) observes, indeed, that next to the Pentateuch no book is so often referred to in these times, in proportion, as the book of Daniel. The apocryphal additions to Daniel contain, as usual, many supplementary particulars about the furnace, the angel, and Nebuchadnezzar, besides the introduction of the prayer of Shadrach and the hymn. Theodore Parker observes with truth, in opposition to Bertholdt, that these additions of the Alexandrine prove that the Hebrew was the original text, because they are obviously inserted to introduce a better connection into the narrative (Josephus, Ant. 10, 10; Prideaux, Connect. 1, 59, 60; Parker's De Wette's Introd. 2, 483-510; Grimm, on 1 Macc. 2, 60; Hitzig [who takes a thoroughly sceptical view], on Daniel 3; Ewald, 4, 106, 107, 557-559; Keil, Einleit. Daniel). (See DANIEL).

As to the etymology, "this name is identified by some with Hadrach,! חדר (Zechariah 9:1), the name of a Syrian god who represents the seasons ( חדר = חזר, to turn,' wind'). The interchange of ח with sibilants is not without parallel. Others profess to trace the name to a Babylonian source, and connect it with the Assyrian Sadhiru. or Sadhru, the great scribe' (שטר ), with the non-Assyrian guttural termination, or with sed (comp. Sept. Σεδ - ), the Assyrian equivalents of mas (comp. Meshech, and the analogy suggested by חנניה ), followed by the insertion of the r (frequent in Assyrian) before the guttural" (Speaker's Commentary). According to Bohlen, the name is Persian, and signifies rejoicing in the way; according to Benfey, it is Zend, meaning royal.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Shadrach'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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