Daniel 3:12
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Whom thou hast set.—The high position of these men is mentioned partly to explain the king’s anger on account of their supposed ingratitude, and partly to account for the malice and jealousy of their calumniators. But why was Daniel absent from the ceremony? His behaviour some years later (Daniel 6:10) leaves it beyond question that he would not have taken part in any idolatrous rites. Possibly his position as “chief of the wise men” (Daniel 2:48) made his presence unnecessary. Possibly he was absent on other duties. Two things are certain: (1) the object of the book is not to glorify Daniel; (2) a writer of a fictitious story would have recorded a miracle to deliver Daniel, as well as the three children.

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.There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego - Daniel 2:49. It is quite remarkable that the name of Daniel does not occur in the record of this transaction, and that he does not appear to have been involved in the difficulty. Why he was not cannot now be certainly known. We may be sure that he would not join in the worship of the idol, and yet it would seem, as Nebuchadnezzar had summoned all the high officers of the realm to be present Daniel 3:2, that he must have been summoned also. The conjecture of Prideaux (Con. I. 222) is not improbable, that he occupied a place of so much influence and authority, and enjoyed in so high degree the favor of the king, that they did not think it prudent to begin with him, but rather preferred at first to bring the accusation against subordinate officers. If they were condemned and punished, consistency might require that he should be punished also. If he had been involved at first in the accusation, his high rank, and his favor with the king, might have screened them all from punishment. It is possible, however, that Daniel was absent on the occasion of the dedication of the image. It should be remembered that perhaps some eighteen years had elapsed since the transaction referred to in Daniel 2 occurred (see the notes at Daniel 3:1), and Daniel may have been employed in some remote part of the empire on public business. Compare Introduction to the chapter, Section I.VIII.

These men, O king, have not regarded thee - Margin, "set no regard upon." Literally, "they have not placed toward thee the decree;" that is, they have not made any account of it; they have paid no attention to it.

They serve not thy gods - Perhaps it was inferred from the fact that they would not pay religious homage to "this" idol, that they did not serve the gods at all that were acknowledged by the king; or possibly this may have been known from what had occurred before. It may have been well understood in Babylon, that the Hebrews worshipped Jehovah only. Now, however, a case had occurred which was a "test" case, whether they would on any account render homage to the idols that were worshipped in Babylon. In their refusal to worship the idol, it seemed much to aggravate the offence, and made the charge much more serious, that they did not acknowledge "any" of the gods that were worshipped in Babylon. It was easy, therefore, to persuade the king that they had arrayed themselves against the fundamental laws of the realm.

12. serve not thy gods—not only not the golden image, but also not any of Nebuchadnezzar's gods. Now the devil’s cloven foot appears, now ye have the bottom of the plot; one of these two is clear: these Chaldeans finding the Jews made courtiers, and preferred to places of trust and honour, they either put the king upon this work, or else made use of it, both to satisfy their ambition and wreak their malice against those three worthies; as they dealt with Daniel, Daniel 6:4,5.

They accused the Jews; which word signifies to calumniate, and also to eat up and devour, which is the design of envy and malice. See how they go to work:

1. They strike while the iron is hot, they take the king in his huff.

2. They read a law established.

3. Then they say the Jews do not observe the king’s laws, a people already obnoxious.

4. Yea, several of them despise the king’s laws and authority.

5. They abuse the king’s great favour and indulgence to them.

6. They should give good example, being in places of trust and dignity.

7. Yet, behold, they declare their contumacy and rebellion in not conforming to the king’s laws.

This set the king all in a flame of rage and fury, and he commanded to bring these three men before him.

There are certain Jews,.... Men, by birth, by nation, and religion, despicable, foreigners, exiles, and captives; this they observe by way of contempt, and tacitly suggest that they were never worthy of the king's regard, and improper persons to be put in places of profit and trust, and that the king had done a wrong thing in advancing them:

whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon; not to see that the streets, ways, and walls, were kept in order, as Saadiah observes; for this is mentioned as an aggravation of their crime, that, being set in such high places, should be guilty of such ingratitude to the king, and set such a bad example to his subjects:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; by name; they say nothing of the common people of the Jews, who either were not present, being employed in a servile manner, or were below their notice; nor of Daniel, who was above them, and out of their reach, and whom the king himself, as Aben Ezra observes, had ordered an oblation to be offered to; or perhaps he was not there, being sick, or on the king's business elsewhere; for that he was present, and worshipped, can never be imagined by any that know his character. The Jews, who do not show all the respect that is due unto Daniel, say (n) some very idle and foolish things of him, as reasons why he was not present at this time. It is asked,

"where did Daniel go? says Rab, to dig a large river in Tiberias; some copies read, in a mountain; but Samuel says, to fetch the seed of herbs, food for beasts; and R. Jochanan says, to fetch swine from Alexandria in Egypt there were three in the consultation about his absence at this time, the holy blessed God, Nebuchadnezzar, and Daniel himself. The holy blessed God said, let Daniel be gone, that it may not be said, they (the three children) were delivered by his merits; Daniel said, I will be gone from hence, that I may not fulfil that, "the graven images of their gods shall ye burn"; Nebuchadnezzar said, let Daniel be absent, that it may not be said he burnt his God in the fire.''

These men, O king, have not regarded thee; showed no respect to his person and authority; they disobeyed his orders, and were guilty of rebellion against him, and contempt of majesty: the proof follows,

they serve not thy gods; whom the king and the nation worshipped, as Bel, Nebo, Merodach, and others:

nor worship the golden image, which thou hast set up; they did not bow down to it, in reverence of it, as had been ordered; this they knew would he most provoking to the king.

(n) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 93. 1.

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 ingratitude.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. whom thou hast set, &c.] See Daniel 2:49. The ‘Chaldeans’ were, no doubt, jealous of the Jewish captives being promoted to high positions; and accordingly took advantage of their refusal to conform to Nebuchadnezzar’s edict, in order to represent them as ungrateful and disloyal to their royal master.

regarded] The Aram. phrase, which is peculiar, recurs in Daniel 6:13 (14).

Daniel 3:12The Chaldeans immediately denounced Daniel's three friends as transgressors of the king's command. דּנה כּל־קבל, therefore, viz., because the friends of Daniel who were placed over the province of Babylon had not, by falling down before the golden image, done it homage. That they did not do so is not expressly said, but is expressed in what follows. כּשׂדּאין גּברין are not Chaldeans as astrologers of magi (כּשׂדּים), but members of the Chaldean nation, in contrast to יהוּדיא, the Jews. קרבוּ, they came near to the king. דּי קרצי אכל, literally, to eat the flesh of any one, is in Aramaic the common expression for to calumniate, to denounce. That which was odious in their report was, that they used this instance of disobedience to the king's command on the part of the Jewish officers as an occasion of removing them from their offices, - that their denunciation of them arose from their envying the Jews their position of influence, as in Daniel 6:5 (4)f. Therefore they give prominence to the fact that the king had raised these Jews to places of rule in the province of Babylon.

With this form of address in Daniel 3:9, cf. Daniel 2:4. טעם שׂים signifies in Daniel 3:12 rationem reddere, to attend to, to have regard for. In Daniel 3:10, as frequently, the expression signifies, on the contrary, to give an opinion, a judgment, i.e., to publish a command. The Keth. לאלהיך (Daniel 3:12), for which the Keri prefers the sing. form לאלהך, in sound the same as the contracted plur., is to be maintained as correct; for the Keri here, as in Daniel 3:18, supporting itself on לאלהי, Daniel 3:14, rests on the idea that by the honouring of his god only the doing of homage to the image is meant, while the not doing homage to the image only gives proof of this, that they altogether refused to honour the gods of Nebuchadnezzar. This is placed in the foreground by the accusers, so as to arouse the indignation of the king. "These Chaldeans," Hitz. remarks quite justly, "knew the three Jews, who were so placed as to be well known, and at the same time envied, before this. They had long known that they did not worship idols; but on this occasion, when their religion made it necessary for the Jews to disobey the king's command, they make use of their knowledge."

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