Daniel 3:9 MEANING

Daniel 3:9
Verses 9-12. - They spake and said to the King Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee; they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. The differences here between the Septuagint and the Massoretic are slight. Only, it may be observed, that in the repetition of the decree to the king, συμφωνία does not occur. Instead of saying, "they serve not thy gods," it renders, "thine idol they do not serve." Further, the word עְבִדַת ('abeedath), translated "business," is omitted, probably implying the omission in the original text of יתָהון. Theodotion's Version is considerably briefer in regard to the ninth verse, as it omits "answered and said," and "Nebuchadnezzar;" otherwise it is in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, only it too omits συμφωνία. In the Peshitta we find a variation in the ninth verse; its rendering begins, "And they said to Nebuchadnezzar the king." As before mentioned, in the list of instruments pesanterin is omitted, and kinnor appears; otherwise the agreement is close with the Massoretic text. The Vulgate agrees with the Peshitta in its rendering of the ninth verse, but, unlike the Greek Version, inserts symphonia, and unlike the Peshitta, inserts psalterium. As to the Aramaic text, the most noticeable thing is the fact that in the K'thib, instead of סוּמְּפֹנְיָא (sumphonia) there appears סִיפֹנְיָא (siphonia). The twelfth verse has this peculiarity in it, that it is the only case where ־יַת, the sign of the accusative, so frequent in the Targums, occurs in Biblical Aramaic. In the inscription on the Hadad Statue at Sindschirli, line 28, we have ותה (v-th-h) as the sign of the acensative; as in the case before us, it serves for the oblique case of a pronoun. The adulatory address with which these Chaldeans begin is quite in accordance with Eastern usage. The point of the accusation against these three officials was that, being officials, they did not confirm by obedience the solemn decree of the monarch. Further, if this statue or obelisk were erected to Marduk (Merodach), whom Nebuchadnezzar specially worshipped, and whom he regarded as his special protector, the element of treason against the state might be implied in this refusal to give due obeisance to the tutelary god of the Babylonian Empire and its sovereign. The politics and warfare of that period proceeded on the assumption that the gods directly interfered in the affairs of the nations. Any slight done to the national god would - as it was believed - be avenged on the nation who had suffered it to pass unpunished. They summoned deities to leave cities they were besieging, and tried to persuade the inhabitants that even their god was on the side of the besieger. Thus Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:22) asserts that Jehovah must be offended with Hezekiah. and Pharaoh-Necho claimed to Josiah that he went at God's command to fight against Assyria (2 Chronicles 35:21). According to heathen notions generally, Chaldean and Babylonian included, some very slight inadvertence might vitiate a sacrifice, and change it from being a propitiation to the gods to an offence to them. If an inadvertence might thus be maleficent, much more direct disrespect such as that shown by these Jewish officials. But the accusers lay stress on another side of the matter. Nebuchadnezzar had set them over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but he had set up the golden image. There was thus an element of personal disrespect hinted at, made all the more heinous that the element of ingratitude was also present. But how is it that Daniel is not introduced into this narrative? Why was it that he was not attacked rather than his friends? It may be argued that this is another tradition, and that the union of Daniel with the three friends is due to that dovetailing of which so many traces are found - or alleged to be found - in the Pentateuch. But the editor who did the dovetailing in the present instance, did more than dovetail - they are introduced at various points in the narrative of the preceding chapter. Why did he not complete his work, and explain why Daniel was absent? If it is a work of imagination, it is necessary to account for the absence of Daniel; even if it is the result of editorial labour, still the absence of Daniel has to be accounted for or explained away. This would press heavily on one writing in the days of the Maccabees. On one chronicling events as they occurred, this might easily be passed over, because at the time every one in Babylon would be perfectly aware why Daniel was not there. The absence of all reference to Daniel in this chapter is an indirect proof of the antiquity and genuineness of the book of which it forms part. The reasons for Daniel's absence may easily be imagined. He might have been sent on official duty to a distant province of the empire, or, though this is not so likely, his presence at this festival might not be required A prosaic but possible solution of Daniel's absence might be illness. If he were known to be incapacitated by sickness from taking part in any public function, the Chaldeans would not damage their case by referring to him.

3:8-18 True devotion calms the spirit, quiets and softens it, but superstition and devotion to false gods inflame men's passions. The matter is put into a little compass, Turn, or burn. Proud men are still ready to say, as Nebuchadnezzar, Who is the Lord, that I should fear his power? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not hesitate whether they should comply or not. Life or death were not to be considered. Those that would avoid sin, must not parley with temptation when that to which we are allured or affrighted is manifestly evil. Stand not to pause about it, but say, as Christ did, Get thee behind me, Satan. They did not contrive an evasive answer, when a direct answer was expected. Those who make their duty their main care, need not be anxious or fearful concerning the event. The faithful servants of God find him able to control and overrule all the powers armed against them. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst. If He be for us, we need not fear what man can do unto us. God will deliver us, either from death or in death. They must obey God rather than man; they must rather suffer than sin; and must not do evil that good may come. Therefore none of these things moved them. The saving them from sinful compliance, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the saving them out of the fiery furnace was in the kingdom of nature. Fear of man and love of the world, especially want of faith, make men yield to temptation, while a firm persuasion of the truth will deliver them from denying Christ, or being ashamed of him. We are to be meek in our replies, but we must be decided that we will obey God rather than man.They spake and said to Nebuchadnezzar,.... Having got access unto him, and within his hearing, they expressed themselves in the following manner:

O king, live for ever; this they said to show their fidelity and hearty attachment to him, and their regard to his welfare, and the continuance of his life; and the rather to ingratiate themselves into his affections, and gain audience of him; See Gill on Daniel 2:4.

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