Daniel 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 times more than it was wont to be heated.
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(19) One seven times.—It is doubtful whether “seven” is used here as a round number or not. According to the Babylonian mythology, there were seven demons, named “Maskim,” who were the most formidable of the infernal powers. Perhaps the number “seven” has a reference to them, for the religious nature of the punishment favours the view that the overheating of the furnace was regarded as a religious act.

Than it was wont.—More correctly, than it was fitting. The improper heating of the furnace led to the death of the mighty men (Daniel 3:22).

Daniel 3:19-21. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury — Nebuchadnezzar had himself known and owned so much of the true God, that one would have thought, though his pride and vanity had induced him to make this golden image, and set it up to be worshipped, yet that what these young men now said (whom he had formerly found to be wiser than all his wise men) would have revived his convictions, and at least have engaged him to forbear proceeding to extremities against them; but it proved quite otherwise. 1st, Instead of being convinced by what they said, he was exasperated, and made more outrageous. 2d, Instead of mitigating their punishment, in consideration of their quality and the honourable offices they were in, he ordered it to be heightened, commanding the heat of the furnace to be increased seven-fold; which, though it would not make their death more grievous, but rather despatch them the sooner, yet was designed to signify, that the king looked upon their crime as seven times more heinous than the crimes of others, and so made their death more ignominious. But God brought glory to himself out of this foolish instance of the tyrant’s rage; for though it would not have made their death the more grievous, yet it made their deliverance much the more illustrious. 3d, He ordered them to be bound in their clothes, which was done accordingly. They were bound, that they might not struggle, or make any resistance; were bound in their clothes for haste, or that they might be consumed the more slowly and gradually: but God’s providence ordered it for the increase of the miracle, in that their clothes were not so much as singed. What a terrible death was this, to be cast bound into the midst of a burning fiery furnace! It makes one’s flesh tremble to think of it, and horror to take hold of one. It is amazing that the tyrant was so hard-hearted as to inflict such a punishment, and the confessors possessed of such fortitude as to submit to it, rather than sin against God. But what is this to the second death? to the furnace into which the tares shall be cast in bundles? to that lake which burns eternally with fire and brimstone? Let Nebuchadnezzar heat his furnace as hot as he can, a few minutes will finish the torment of those who are cast into it; but hell-fire tortures, and doth not kill; the pain of damned sinners is more exquisite, and the smoke of their torments ascends for ever and ever, and they have no rest, no intermission, no cessation of their pains, who have worshipped the beast and his image, Revelation 14:10-11; whereas their pain would be soon over that were cast into this furnace, for not worshipping this Babylonian beast and his image.

3:19-27 Let Nebuchadnezzar heat his furnace as hot as he can, a few minutes will finish the torment of those cast into it; but hell-fire tortures, and yet does not kill. Those who worshipped the beast and his image, have no rest, no pause, no moment free from pain, Re 14:10,11. Now was fulfilled in the letter that great promise, Isa 43:2, When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned. Leaving it to that God who preserved them in the fire, to bring them out, they walked up and down in the midst, supported and encouraged by the presence of the Son of God. Those who suffer for Christ, have his presence in their sufferings, even in the fiery furnace, and in the valley of the shadow of death. Nebuchadnezzar owns them for servants of the most high God; a God able to deliver them out of his hand. It is our God only is the consuming fire, Heb 12:29. Could we but see into the eternal world, we should behold the persecuted believer safe from the malice of his foes, while they are exposed to the wrath of God, and tormented in unquenchable fires.Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury - Margin, "filled." He was exceedingly enraged. He evidently was not prepared for a stand so firm and determined on their part, and he did not appreciate their motives, nor was he disposed to yield to them the privilege and right of following their honest convictions. He was deeply excited with anger when the complaint was made that they would not worship his gods Daniel 3:13, but he had hoped that possibly they had not understood his command, and that what they had done had not been by deliberate purpose (the notes at Daniel 3:14); and he had therefore given them an opportunity to reconsider the subject, and, by complying with his will, to save themselves from the threatened punishment. He now saw, however, that what they had done was done deliberately. He saw that they firmly and intelligently refused to obey, and supposing now that they not only rebelled against his "commands," but that they disregarded and despised even his "forbearance" Daniel 3:15, it is not wonderful that he was filled with wrath. What was with them fixed "principle," he probably regarded as mere obstinacy, and he determined to punish them accordingly.

And the form of his visage was changed - As the face usually is when men become excited with anger. We may suppose that up to this point he had evinced self-control; "possibly" he may have shown something like tenderness or compassion. He was indisposed to punish them, and he hoped that they would save him from the necessity of it by complying with his commands. Now he saw that all hope of this was vain, and he gave unrestrained vent to his angry feelings.

He spake and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated - Chaldee, "Than it was sees to be heated;" that is, than it was ever seen. The word "seven" here is a perfect number, and the meaning is, that they should make it as hot as possible. He did not reflect probably that by this command he was contributing to shorten and abridge their sufferings. Wicked men, who are violently opposed to religion, often overdo the matter, and by their haste and impetuosity defeat the very end which they have in view, and even promote the very cause which they wish to destroy.

19. visage … changed—He had shown forbearance (Da 3:14, 15) as a favor to them, but now that they despise even his forbearance, anger "fills" him, and is betrayed in his whole countenance.

seven times more than it was wont—literally, "than it was (ever) seen to be heated." Seven is the perfect number; that is, it was made as hot as possible. Passion overdoes and defeats its own end, for the hotter the fire, the sooner were they likely to be put out of pain.

The king’s fury appeared in his face, and in his words; taking this answer for the highest affront and provocation, which as the case stood he could not bear, the pride of his heart made his indignation boil over, and therefore he made the

furnace seven times hotter. Tyrants would burn the people of God in hell if they could.

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury,.... Nettled at the answer given him; perceiving his threats made no impression on these three men, and that they were resolutely determined at all events not to obey his will:

and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; not only to what it was in times past, when they were his favourites, and he smiled upon them; but with respect to what it was while they were under examination, and he was trying to bring them to his will; when finding it impracticable, fury rose up, and showed itself in the furrows and frowns of his forehead; in the sharpness of his nose; in his sparkling eyes, foaming mouth, and gnashing teeth, and that general redness his face was covered with:

therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated; this seems to be a furnace for this purpose, and where it was usual to burn malefactors; it being a common punishment with the Chaldeans; see Jeremiah 29:22 the order was to put seven times more fuel in the furnace, that it might be so much the hotter, and burn so much the fiercer; which order of the king shows indeed the greatness of his wrath and fury, but at the same time that it had transported him out of his sense and judgment; since so fierce a fire was the better for the three men, supposing them to have died as he intended; who would have been the sooner dispatched by it, and so not suffer so much pain and torment as in a slow fire, or less heat; but this was overruled by the providence of God, that so it should be, that the miracle of their walking in it unsinged and unhurt, and their deliverance out of it, might appear the greater.

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 heated.

(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 them better.

19. full of] filled (A.V. marg.) with would be both more accurate and more forcible.

than it was wont, &c.] than it was proper—or, the rule[229]—for it to be heated.

[229] See in Onkelos Leviticus 5:10; Leviticus 9:16, Numbers 29:6; Numbers 29:21 (for Heb. כמשׁפט); and the Targ. of Jeremiah 22:13; Jeremiah 32:11.

19–27. The three youths delivered from the flames.

Verse 19. - Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. The text of the LXX. is practically the same as the Massoretic, with only this exception, that "one" is omitted as unsuited to the Greek idiom. Theodotion differs more from the Massoretic - "the furnace" was to be heated "sevenfold, till it was perfectly heated (ἕως οὐ εἰς τέλος ἐκκαῆ)." The Peshitta, retaining the "one," translates, "one in seven times" - a rendering which seems to have little sense, as the Syriac idiom is the same as that before us. The change of countenance, from that of gratification at seeing a favourite, to that of rage, is a perfectly natural phenomenon, but one possibly even more marked among these races then dominant over the East than among ourselves. It was certainly not unnatural that, heathen as he was, filled with the belief in the mysterious power for good or ill that might be exercised over the empire were any of the gods offended, Nebuchadnezzar should be enraged. The result is that the calmness with which he had previously spoken with the three deserts him, and the form of his face changes, his visage becomes distorted with rage. It may be noted, in passing, that the word here used, ish'tanni (אִשְׁתַּנִּי), is the only case where the ethpael occurs in Daniel; in all other cases the form is hithpael, with the ה instead of the א. Since this is so, one is inclined to credit the peculiarity to scribal change. There is a difference here between the Q'ri and K'thib, the latter reading ishlannu, which agrees by attraction with anapolu, "face," which, as in Hebrew, is plural. In order to express his wrath, he orders that the furnace be heated sevenfold hotter than ever before. The word here translated "wont to be" is really part of the verb חְזָה (hezuh), "to see." Behrmann renders it, "Siebenmal so stark zu heizen als man ihn heizen gesehen hatte" - "commanded it to be heated seven times as hot as ever one had seen it heated." We cannot suppose the Babylonians halt any means of measuring heat of that amount; it is simply a round number, Hitzig remarks on the recurrence of "seven," as if it helped to raise a presumption against the authenticity of the book. The fact that the Babylonians recognized seven planets, and seven gods of the planets, one for each, might as readily be taken as a proof of its authenticity. The probability is that vaguely many times more fuel was placed in the furnace than had ever been done before. Daniel 3:19The judgment pronounced on the accused, their punishment, and their miraculous deliverance.

After the decided refusal of the accused to worship his gods, Nebuchadnezzar changed his countenance toward them. Full of anger at such obstinacy, he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times greater than was usual (Daniel 3:19), and that the rebels should be bound in their clothes by powerful men of his army, and then cast into the furnace (Daniel 3:20, Daniel 3:21). The form of his countenance changed, and his wrath showed itself in the lineaments of his face. The Kethiv אשׁתּנּו (plur.) refers to the genitive [אנפּוהי, plur., "of his countenances"] as the chief idea, and is not, after the Keri, to be changed into the sing. למזא for למאזא. On הד־שׁבעה, sevenfold, cf. Winer, Chald. Gram. 59, 5. חזה דּי על, beyond that which was fit, i.e., which was necessary. Seven is used as expressive of an exceedingly great number, with reference to the religious meaning of the punishment.

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