Daniel 3:26
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
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Daniel 3:26-27. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the furnace — As near as he durst come; and spake — With a milder tone than before, God having abated the fire of his fury; and said, Ye servants of the most high God, &c. — The miracle calls to his mind the confession which he had formerly made of the true God, Daniel 2:47. And he can now at once both acknowledge him to be most high above all gods, and the three worthies, who had been condemned to the flames, to be his faithful servants. Observe, reader, sooner or later God will convince the proudest of men, that he is the most high God, and above them, and too hard for them, even in those things wherein they deal proudly and presumptuously, Exodus 18:11. He will likewise let them know who are his servants, and that he owns them, and will stand by them. Nebuchadnezzar now embraces those whom he had abandoned to destruction, and is ready to show them every possible kindness, perceiving them to be the favourites of Heaven. How the fourth, whose form was like the Son of God, withdrew, and whether he vanished away or visibly ascended, we are not told; but of the other three we are informed, that they came forth out of the midst of the fire — As Abraham their father out of Ur, that is, the`fire, of the Chaldees, into which, says the tradition of the Jews, he was cast for refusing to worship idols, and out of which he was delivered, as those his three descendants were. When they had their discharge, they did not tempt God by staying any longer, but came forth as brands out of the burning. And the princes, governors, &c., being gathered together, saw those men All the great men came together to view them, and were amazed to find that they had not received the least damage by the fire; that it had no power over their bodies, &c. — Several expressions are here used, which rise in fine order one above another, and the climax is beautiful. The fire not only had no prevailing power over their bodies, but neither was a hair of their head burned, nor their flowing robes singed, nor even the smell of fire had passed on them.

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 Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth ... - Margin, "door." The Chaldee word means door, gate, entrance. The "form" of the furnace is unknown. There was a place, however, through which the fuel was cast into it, and this is doubtless intended by the word "door" or "mouth" here used.

Ye servants of the most high God - They had professed to be his servants; he now saw that they were acknowledged as such. The phrase "most high God" implies that he regarded him as supreme over all other gods, though it is probable that he still retained his belief in the existence of inferior divinities. It was much, however, to secure the acknowledgment of the monarch of the capital of the pagan world, that the God whom they adored was supreme. The phrase "most high God" is not often employed in the Scriptures, but in every instance it is used as an appellation of the true God.

Come forth, and come hither - The "reasons" which seem to have influenced this singular monarch to recal the sentence passed on them, and to attempt to punish them no further, seem to have been, that he had some remains of conscience; that he was accustomed to pay respect to what "he" regarded as God; and that he now saw evidence that a "true" God was there.

26. the most high God—He acknowledges Jehovah to be supreme above other gods (not that he ceased to believe in these); so he returns to his original confession, "your God is a God of gods" (Da 2:47), from which he had swerved in the interim, perhaps intoxicated by his success in taking Jerusalem, whose God he therefore thought unable to defend it. Came near; as near as he durst come, within hearing. And spake with a milder tone than before, God having abated the fire of his fury. Now he could at once confess and acknowledge the true God to be the Most High above all gods, and the three worthies to be his faithful servants.

Came forth of the midst of the fire; they went out upon the king’s call, without which they would not have stirred.

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace,.... He came so nigh before, as to see at a distance four persons walking in it; now he comes nearer, as near as he could with safety:

and spake and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God; he not only spake to them in a different tone than he did before; not in wrath and fury, but mildly and gently, with great respect unto them, and reverence of them; and not only calls them by the names he and his courtiers had given them, but styles them the servants of the most high God; he owns their God was a God above his: the Chaldeans worshipped fire, but the God of the Jews had power over that, and could restrain the force of it at pleasure; and he acknowledges that these men were faithful worshippers of him; who had in this wonderful manner appeared for them, and thereby approved their faith and confidence in him, and their service of him; see Acts 16:17,

come forth, and come hither; that is, come out of the furnace, and come to the place where I and my nobles are:

then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire; as they had been cast into it by the king's order, therefore they did not presume to go out of it without the same; nor were they concerned about coming out; they had very agreeable and delightful company, and had reason to say it was good for them to be there; however, when they had the king's order, they immediately obeyed it.

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, {l} came forth of the midst of the fire.

(l) This commends their obedience to God, that they would not because of any fear depart out of this furnace until the appointed time, as Noah remained in the ark, until the Lord called him forth.

26. mouth] Aram. door.

God Most High] so Daniel 4:2; Daniel 5:18; Daniel 5:21 : without ‘God,’ Daniel 4:17; Daniel 4:24-25; Daniel 4:32; Daniel 4:34, Daniel 7:25 (first time); and with the adj. in a more Hebraistic form, Daniel 7:18; Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:25 (second time), 27. The title is found in Hebrew, Genesis 14:18-20; Genesis 14:22 (of the deity of Melchizedek, identified by the narrator with Jehovah); elsewhere only in poetry, especially in the Psalms, as Psalm 57:2, though usually without ‘God,’ as Psalm 9:3, Psalm 18:13 : as applied to Jehovah, it is a title of dignity and respect, denoting Him as one who is supreme, whether over the earth, as ruler and governor of the world (e.g. Psalm 47:2), or over other gods (e.g. Psalm 95:3 : cf. Cheyne on Ps. 7:18). It occurs not unfrequently with the same force in the Apocrypha, being used sometimes by Israelites (cf. Luke 1:32; Luke 1:35; Luke 1:76), and sometimes (as here and Daniel 4:2; Daniel 4:34, cf. Isaiah 14:14) placed in the mouth of heathen speakers (1Es 2:3; 1Es 6:31; 1Es 8:19; 1Es 8:21, al.: cf. Mark 5:7, Acts 16:17): it is also common (as a title, without ‘God’) in the Book of Enoch. See more fully the article Most High in Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible.

Verse 26. - Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the Most High God, come forth and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire. The variations of the Septuagint Version here arc inconsiderable. Instead of "spake and said," it renders, "called them by name," and omits the second repetition of the names, and the pleonastic "come hither;" instead of "Most High God," it has"God of gods Most High." Theodotion is in closer agreement with the Massoretic text; the only differnce is that "spake" is omitted. The Peshitta and Vulgate are in exact accordance with the Massoretic. The distinction between נְפַק and אֲתָה is "go out" and "come." It is well rendered in our Authorized Verb-ion. only there was no need of "hither" being put in italics. As above mentioned, this shows the form of the furnace to be not unlike our own - open at the top, but having a door at the side. It was to this side door that the king approached. The fact that Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges Jehovah to be "Most High God" does not imply any recognition of his supreme Divinity, any more than a king of France acknowledged the supremacy of the head of the Holy Roman Empire. when in the credentials of his ambassador the emperor was called Dominus urbis et orbis. It was simply a matter of what we may call religious etiquette to address gods of the higher class as "god of gods." and "god most high." In Daniel 2:47 Nebuchadnezzar had already declared the God of Daniel to be "God of gods" It is not impossible that to the Babylonians 'illa'a might have the appearance of a proper name. Daniel 3:26The king, who sat watching the issue of the matter, looked through the door into the furnace, and observed that the three who had been cast into it bound, walked about freed from their bonds and unhurt; and, in truth, he saw not the three only, but also a fourth, "like to a son of the gods," beside them. At this sight he was astonished and terrified. He hastily stood up; and having assured himself by a consultation with his counsellors that three men had indeed been cast bound into the furnace, while he saw four walking in the midst of it, he approached the mouth of the furnace and cried to the three to come forth. They immediately came out, and were inspected by the assembled officers of state, and found to be wholly uninjured as to their bodies, their clothes being unharmed also, and without even the smell of fire upon them. הדּברין refers, without doubt, to the officers of the kingdom, ministers or counselors of state standing very near the king, since they are named in Daniel 3:27 and Daniel 6:8 (Daniel 6:7) along with the first three ranks of officers, and (Daniel 4:23 [26]) during Nebuchadnezzar's madness they conducted the affairs of government. The literal meaning of the word, however, is not quite obvious. Its derivation from the Chald. דּברין, duces, with the Hebr. article (Gesen.), which can only be supported by מדברא, Proverbs 11:14 (Targ.), is decidedly opposed by the absence of all analogies of the blending into one word of the article with a noun in the Semitic language. The Alkoran offers no corresponding analogues, since this word with the article is found only in the more modern dialects. But the meaning which P. v. Bohlen (Symbolae ad interp. s. Codicis ex ling. pers. p. 26) has sought from the Persian word which is translated by simul judex, i.e., socius in judicio, is opposed not only by the fact that the compensation of the Mim by the Dagesch, but also the composition and the meaning, has very little probability.

The fourth whom Nebuchadnezzar saw in the furnace was like in his appearance, i.e., as commanding veneration, to a son of the gods, i.e., to one of the race of the gods. In Daniel 3:28 the same personage is called an angel of God, Nebuchadnezzar there following the religious conceptions of the Jews, in consequence of the conversation which no doubt he had with the three who were saved. Here, on the other hand, he speaks in the spirit and meaning of the Babylonian doctrine of the gods, according to the theogonic representation of the συζυγία of the gods peculiar to all Oriental religions, whose existence among the Babylonians the female divinity Mylitta associated with Bel places beyond a doubt; cf. Hgst. Beitr. i. p. 159, and Hv., Kran., and Klief. in loc.

Acting on this assumption, which did not call in question the deliverance of the accused by the miraculous interposition of the Deity, Nebuchadnezzar approached the door of the furnace and cried to the three men to come out, addressing them as the servants (worshippers) of the most high God. This address does not go beyond the circle of heathen ideas. He does not call the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the only true God, but only the most high God, the chief of the gods, just as the Greeks called their Zeus ὁ ὕψιστος θεός. The Kethiv עלּיא (in Syr. ̀elāyā̀, to preserve) is here and everywhere in Daniel (v. 32; Daniel 4:14, Daniel 4:21, etc.) pointed by the Masoretes according to the form עילאה (with )ה prevailing in the Targg. The forms גשׁם, גּשׁמא, are peculiar to Daniel (v. 27f., Daniel 4:30; Daniel 5:21; Daniel 7:11). The Targg. have גּוּשׁמא instead of it.

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