The Idol of Gold and the Hot Furnace
King Nebuchadnezzar had a gold idol made that was 60 cubits*
high and 6 cubits†
wide. Then he set the idol up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2
Then he called the satraps, prefects, governors, advisors, treasurers, judges, rulers, and all the other officials in his kingdom to come together. He wanted all of them to come to the dedication ceremony for the idol.
So all the men came and stood in front of the idol that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4
Then the man who makes announcements for the king spoke in a loud voice, “All you people from many nations and language groups, listen to me. This is what you are commanded to do: 5
You must bow down as soon as you hear the sound of all the musical instruments. When you hear the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas,‡
and all the other musical instruments, you must worship the gold idol. King Nebuchadnezzar has set this idol up. 6
Whoever does not bow down and worship this gold idol will immediately be thrown into a very hot furnace.”
7 So as soon as they heard the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas, bagpipes, and all the other musical instruments, they bowed down and worshiped the gold idol. All the peoples, nations, and different language groups there worshiped the gold idol that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 Then some of the Chaldeans came up to the king and began speaking against the people from Judah. 9 They said, “King, may you live forever! 10 King, you gave a command. You said that everyone who hears the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas, harps, bagpipes, and all the other musical instruments must bow down and worship the gold idol. 11 And you also said that whoever does not bow down and worship the gold idol will be thrown into a very hot furnace. 12 There are some Judeans who you made important officials in the province of Babylon that ignored your order, King. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They don’t worship your gods, and they didn’t bow down to worship the gold idol you set up.”
13 Nebuchadnezzar became very angry. He called for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So they were brought to him. 14 And Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t worship my gods? And is it true that you didn’t bow down and worship the gold idol I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas, harps, bagpipes, and all the other musical instruments, you must bow down and worship the gold idol. If you are ready to worship the idol I have made, that is good. But if you don’t worship it, you will be thrown very quickly into the hot furnace. Then no god will be able to save you from my power!”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to explain these things to you. 17 If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, he can save us from your power. 18 But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar became very angry with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave an order for the oven to be heated seven times hotter than it usually was. 20 Then he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He told the soldiers to throw them into the hot furnace.
21 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tied up and thrown into the hot furnace. They were wearing their robes, pants, cloth caps, and other clothes. 22 The king was very angry when he gave the command, so the soldiers quickly made the furnace very hot. The fire was so hot that the flames killed the strong soldiers. They were killed when they went close to the fire to throw in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into the fire. They were tied up very tightly.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped to his feet. He was very surprised and he asked his advisors, “We tied only three men, and we threw only three men into the fire. Is that right?”
His advisors said, “Yes, King.”
The king said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire. They are not tied up and they are not burned. The fourth man looks like an angel.*
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the hot furnace. He shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out! Servants of the Most High God, come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 When they came out, the satraps, prefects, governors, and royal advisors crowded around them. They could see that the fire had not burned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their bodies were not burned at all. Their hair was not burned, and their robes were not burned. They didn’t even smell as if they had been near fire.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their God has sent his angel and saved his servants from the fire! These three men trusted their God and refused to obey my command. They were willing to die instead of serving or worshiping any other god. 29 So I now make this law: Anyone from any nation or language group who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be cut into pieces, and their house will be destroyed until it is a pile of dirt and ashes. No other god can save his people like this.” 30 Then the king gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego more important jobs in the province of Babylon.