Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Urgent.—The same word is translated hasty (Daniel 2:15). The king’s command had been uttered while he was in a furious rage, and in consequence of this, the furnace was raised to so high a temperature that the executioners were slain. The death of the executioners forms an evident contrast with the deliverance of those who had been sentenced to die.Daniel 3:22-23. Because the king’s commandment was urgent — That they should despatch them quickly, and be sure to do it effectually; and they therefore resolved to go to the very mouth of the furnace, that they might throw them into the midst of it; and were hasty and precipitate in executing their orders, and did not take proper care for themselves against the violence of the heat. The flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, &c. — The apocryphal additions to the book of Daniel say, that the flame ascended forty-nine cubits above the month of the furnace. Probably God ordered it so, that the wind blew the flame directly upon them. Thus did God immediately plead the cause of his injured servants, and take vengeance for them on their persecutors, whom he punished not only in the very act of their sin, but by their sin. But these men were only the instruments of this cruelty: he that commanded them to do this had the greater sin; yet they suffered justly for executing an unjust decree: a decree which, it is very likely, they executed with pleasure. As to Nebuchadnezzar himself, he was referred for a future reckoning. There is a day coming when proud tyrants will be punished, not only for the cruelties they have been guilty of, but for employing those about them in their cruelties, and so exposing them to the judgments of God. It is probable, the noise occasioned by what befell these men drew Nebuchadnezzar to the place where the furnace was, where he beheld what is related in the following verses. These three men fell down bound, &c. — All this is expressed with emphasis, to make the power of God more glorious in their preservation; for that flame which slew the executioners, might much more easily have killed them, even before they fell down.
And the furnace exceeding hot - Probably so as to send out the flame so far as to render the approach to it dangerous. The urgency of the king would not admit of any arrangements, even if there could have been any, by which the approach to it would be safe.
The flame of the fire slew those men - Margin, as in Chaldee, "spark." The meaning is, what the fire threw out - the blaze, the heat. Nothing can be more probable than this. It was necessary to approach to the very mouth of the furnace in order to cast them in, and it is very conceivable that a heated furnace would belch forth such flames, or throw out such an amount of heat, that this could not be done but at the peril of life. The Chaldee word rendered "slew" here, means "killed." It does not mean merely that they were overcome with the heat, but that they actually died. To expose these men thus to death was an act of great cruelty, but we are to remember how absolute is the character of an Oriental despot, and how much enraged this king was, and how regardless such a man would be of any effects on others in the execution of his own will.The king’s commandment was urgent; which made them the more hasty and precipitate in their execution, and took less care for themselves against the violence of the flame.
The fire slew those men; a signal hand of God upon such as execute wicked commands, who, though mighty men, had no might to escape the flame at the mouth of the furnace, when the other escaped in the midst of it.
and the furnace exceeding hot; being heated seven times more than usual:
the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; which came out of the furnace, being so excessive hot, and the smoke along with it; so that when those men took up the three children, and brought them so near to it as was necessary to cast them in, the flame and smoke catched their breath, and suffocated them; who might be men that advised the king to such cruel measures, or however were very ready, out of ill will to these good men, to execute them, and therefore righteously perished in their sins: in the Apocrypha it is said, that the flame issued out forty nine cubits above the furnace.Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. urgent] rather, sharp (Daniel 2:15).Verses 22, 23. - Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. The rendering of the Greek versions seems to have suffered from the interpolation of the Song of the Three Holy Children - the verses before us have been altered to prepare for the introduction of the song. The LXX. translates as follows: "Since the king's command was urgent, and the furnace heated sevenfold more than it had previously been, the men who had been appointed, when they had bound them and brought them forward to the furnace, cast them in. Then the flame which blazed in the furnace came forth and slew the men who had bound those about Azarias, but they themselves were preserved." Theodotion renders, "Since the word of the king was urgent, and the furnace was excessively heated, and these three men fell down bound into the burning fiery furnace, and they fell into the midst of the furnace. and walked about, singing praises to God, blessing the Lord." There is nothing here, it may be noted, about those that bound the three friends being slain; there is also to be noted the addition, "walking about and singing praises to God and blessing the Lord." The Peshitta also suffers, though to a less degree. The rendering with it is, "Therefore the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace blazed exceedingly, and slew the men who accused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the midst of the furnace of great fire." Here a marvel is added, not those that threw the Hebrews into the fire were burnt, but their accusers. We must discuss separately the Song of the Three Holy Children. The furnace implied is one filled from above, but having a doorway at the side. The witnesses for the truth of monotheism and of the supreme Godhead of Jehovah were carried to the top of this furnace, and cast in amongst the fuel. We have nothing to do with how the miracle of their preservation was accomplished, we have only to do with the narrative as given. The fact that those who carried them and threw them in were killed gives proof positive of the fierceness of the heat. The fact stated in the twenty-third verse, that they fell into the midst of the furnace, excludes any supposition that they escaped by being sheltered from the fierceness of the heat. Separating the two portions of the apocryphal addition to this chapter, the song of Azarias from the united song of the three, we have a statement that "the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven, and made the midst as it had been a moist whistling wind; so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them." This abundance of detail as to the -method by which the miracle was wrought is evidence of a later time. We shall, however, leave the discussion of the date of this addition till later.
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