3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made a an image of gold, whose
height [was] threescore cubits, [and] the breadth thereof
six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the
province of Babylon.
(a) Under pretence of religion, and holiness in making an
image to his idol Bel, he sought his own ambition and
vain glory: and this declares that he was not touched
with the true fear of God before, but that he confessed
him on a sudden motion, as the wicked when they are
overcome with the greatness of his works. The Greek
interpreters write that this was done eighteen years
after the dream, and as may appear, the King feared lest
the Jews by their religion should have altered the state
of his commonwealth: therefore he meant to bring all to
one type of religion, and so rather sought his own peace
than God's glory.
3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the
princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the
treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the
rulers of the provinces, to come to the b dedication of
the image which Nebuchadnezzar the c king had set up.
(b) Showing that the idol is not known for an idol as long
as he is with workmen: but when the ceremonies and
customs are recited and used, and the consent of the
people is there, then they think they have made a god
out of a block.
(c) This was sufficient with the wicked at all times to
approve their religion, if the king's authority were
alleged for the establishment of it, not considering in
the meantime what God's word allowed.
3:4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O
people, d nations, and languages,
(d) These are the two dangerous weapons, which Satan used to
fight against the children of God, the consent of the
multitude, and the cruelty of the punishment. For even
though some feared God, yet the multitude who consented
to the wickedness persuaded them: and here the King
required not an inward consent, but an outward gesture,
that the Jews might by little and little learn to forget
their true religion.
3:12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs
of the province of Babylon, e Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they
serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou
hast set up.
(e) It seems that they named not Daniel, because he was
greatly in the king's favour, thinking if these three
had been destroyed, they might have had better occasion
to accuse Daniel. And this declares that this policy
of erecting this image was invented by the malicious
flatterers who sought nothing but the destruction of
the Jews, whom they accused of rebellion and
3:15f Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound
of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and
dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship
the image which I have made; [well]: but if ye worship not,
ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning
fiery furnace; and who [is] that God that shall deliver you
out of my hands?
(f) Signifying that he would receive them to grace if they
would now obey his decree.
3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the
king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we g [are] not careful to answer
thee in this matter.
(g) For they would have done injury to God, if they would
have doubted in this holy cause, and therefore they say
that they are resolved to die for God's cause.
3:17 If it be [so], our God whom we serve is h able to deliver
us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us]
out of thine hand, O king.
(h) They have two points as their foundation: first on the
power and providence of God over them, and second on
their cause, which was God's glory, and the testifying
of his true religion with their blood. And so they make
open confession, that they will not so much as
outwardly consent to idolatry.
3:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his
visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
[therefore] he spake, and commanded that they should heat
the furnace one seven i times more than it was wont to be
(i) This declares that the more that tyrants rage, and the
more crafty they show themselves in inventing strange
and cruel punishments, the more is God glorified by his
servants, to whom he gives patience and constancy to
abide the cruelty of their punishment. For either he
delvers them from death, or else for this life gives
3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in
the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form
of the fourth is like the k Son of God.
(k) For the angels were called the sons of God because of
their excellency. Therefore the king called this angel
whom God sent to comfort his own in these great
torments, the son of God.
3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning
fiery furnace, [and] spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth,
and come [hither]. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
l came forth of the midst of the fire.
(l) This commends their obedience to God, that they would
not because of any fear depart out of this furnace
until the appointed time, as Noah remained in the ark,
until the Lord called him forth.
3:28 [Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, m Blessed [be] the
God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his
angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and
have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies,
that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their
(m) He was moved by the greatness of the miracle to praise
God, but his heart was not touched. And here we see
that miracles are not sufficient to convert men to God,
but that doctrine most chiefly be joined with them,
without which there can be no faith.
3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and
language, which speak n any thing amiss against the God
of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces,
and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is
no other God that can deliver after this sort.
(n) If this heathen king moved by God's Spirit would punish
blasphemy, and made a law and set a punishment for such
transgressors, much more ought all they that profess
religion make sure that such impiety does not happen,
lest according as their knowledge and responsibility is
greater, so they suffer double punishment.