|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably is included a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered with plates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Pride and bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow their religion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interest allures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy to the careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatest number; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, false worship has been set up and maintained.
Verse 6. - And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. The only difference between the Septuagint and the Massoretic text is that instead of rendering, "shall be cast," it is put in the plural active, "they shall cast him." There may have been a difference of reading - יִרְמונֵה instead of יִתְרְמֵא. It is, perhaps, more probable that it is simply that the translator preferred this construction to the one which would have resulted from a more literal translation. Theodotion,the Peshitta, and Vulgate agree with the Massoretic. In that very hour. It has been suggested by Professor Fuller that the way the shadow fell would enable them to fix the hour. This, however, is giving an exact astronomical meaning to what had only a rhetorical significance. The word sha'a is very vague; it means "time" in general, it means "any short interval of time," from some days to a moment. Shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. The word אַתּוּן is of uncertain derivation; it is found in both dialects of Aramaic. It occurs in the Targum of pseudo-Jonathan, in the story of the death of Haran and the preservation of Abraham, which seems distinctly imitated from the events related here. In Smith's 'Life of Asshurbanipal,' we find this punishment more than once resorted to, e.g. pp. 163, 164. Professor Bevan maintains, in answer to Lenormant's appeal to this as a proof of the author's accurate knowledge of Babylonian methods of punishment, that this is derived from Jeremiah 29:22, Zedekiah and Ahab, "whom the King of Babylon roasted in the fire." Only the action implied by the verb קָלָה (qalah) is not complete burning, as that implied in the punishment before us, but rather the more cruel torture of slowly burning The word is used of "parched corn" (Leviticus 2:14; Judges 5:11); it is used also of the heat of fever (Psalm 38:8). There is no verbal indication that the author of Daniel was at all influenced by this passage.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth,.... Who refuses to worship it, or wilfully neglects it; which would be interpreted a contempt of it, and of the king's command:
shall in the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; such as were used to burn stones in for lime, as Jarchi observes: the music was to draw, the furnace was to drive, men to this idolatrous worship; the one was to please and sooth the minds of men, and so allure them to such stupid service; the other to frighten them into obedience. This is the first time that mention is made of "hours" in the sacred Scriptures; it was very probably the invention of the Chaldeans or Babylonians; for Herodotus (m) says the Greeks received the twelve parts of the day from the Babylonians.
(m) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 109.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. No other nation but the Jews would feel this edict oppressive; for it did not prevent them worshipping their own gods besides. It was evidently aimed at the Jews by those jealous of their high position in the king's court, who therefore induced the king to pass an edict as to all recusants, representing such refusal of homage as an act of treason to Nebuchadnezzar as civil and religious "head" of the empire. So the edict under Darius (Da 6:7-9) was aimed against the Jews by those jealous of Daniel's influence. The literal image of Nebuchadnezzar is a typical prophecy of "the image of the beast," connected with mystical Babylon, in Re 13:14. The second mystical beast there causeth the earth, and them that dwell therein, to worship the first beast, and that as many as would not, should be killed (Re 13:12, 15).
furnace—a common mode of punishment in Babylon (Jer 29:22). It is not necessary to suppose that the furnace was made for the occasion. Compare "brick-kiln," 2Sa 12:31. Any furnace for common purposes in the vicinity of Dura would serve. Chardin, in his travels (A.D. 1671-1677), mentions that in Persia, to terrify those who took advantage of scarcity to sell provisions at exorbitant prices, the cooks were roasted over a slow fire, and the bakers cast into a burning oven.
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