Daniel 3:28
Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Have changed.—Literally, have transgressed.

Daniel 3:28. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, &c. — So Darius offers up his acknowledgments to the God of Daniel 6:26, looking upon him as superior to other gods, but not as the only true God. Who hath sent his angel — Thus Daniel ascribes his deliverance from the lions to an angel, Daniel 6:22; and delivered his servants that trusted in him — That confided in his power, love, and faithfulness, that he would stand by and support them in their time of trial, and either bring them out of the fiery furnace back to their place on earth, or lead them through it forward to their place in heaven; and in this confidence became fearless of the king’s wrath, and regardless of their own lives. And have changed the king’s word — Have rendered his command of none effect, God having himself suspended the execution of it; and yielded their bodies — To expected torture and death; that they might not serve, &c. — That is, rather than they would consent to serve any god, except their own God — Or, any false god: all gods, but Jehovah, being false pretenders to divinity. By this miracle Nebuchadnezzar was plainly given to understand, that all the great success which he had had, and should yet have against the Jews, and in which he gloried, as if he had therein overpowered their God, was purely owing to their sin; that if the body of that nation had faithfully adhered to their own God, and the worship of him only, as these three men did, they would all have been delivered out of his hands, as these three men were. And this was a necessary instruction for him at this time.3:28-30 What God did for these his servants, would help to keep the Jews to their religion while in captivity, and to cure them of idolatry. The miracle brought deep convictions on Nebuchadnezzar. But no abiding change then took place in his conduct. He who preserved these pious Jews in the fiery furnace, is able to uphold us in the hour of temptation, and to keep us from falling into sin.Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach ... - On the characteristic of mind thus evinced by this monarch, see the notes and practical remarks at Daniel 2:46-47.

Who hath sent his angel - This proves that the king regarded this mysterious fourth personage as an angel, and that he used the phrase Daniel 3:25 "is like the son of God" only in that sense. That an angel should be employed on an embassage of this kind, we have seen, is in accordance with the current statements of the Scriptures. Compare "Excursus I." to Prof. Stuart "on the Apocalypse." See also Luke 1:11-20, Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:20-21; Matthew 2:13, Matthew 2:19-20; Matthew 4:11; Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:7-15; Genesis 32:1-2; 2 Kings 6:17; Exodus 14:19; Exodus 23:20; Exodus 33:2; Numbers 20:16; Joshua 5:13; Isaiah 63:9; Daniel 10:5-13, Daniel 10:20-21; Daniel 12:1.

And have changed the king's word - That is, his purpose or command. Their conduct, and the Divine protection in consequence of their conduct, had had the effect wholly to change his purpose toward them. He had resolved to destroy them; he now resolved to honor them. This is referred to by the monarch himself as a remarkable result, as indeed it was - that an Eastern despot, who had resolved on the signal punishment of any of his subjects, should be so entirety changed in his purposes toward them.

And yielded their bodies - The Greek adds here εἰς πῦρ eis pur - "to the fire." So the Arabic. This is doubtless the sense of the passage. The meaning is, that rather than bow clown to worship gods which they regarded as no gods; rather than violate their consciences, and do wrong, they had preferred to be cast into the flames, committing themselves to the protection of God. It is implied here that they had done this voluntarily, and that they might easily have avoided it if they had chosen to obey the king. He had given them time to deliberate on the subject Daniel 3:14-15, and he knew that they had resolved to pursue the course which they did from principle, no matter what might be the results Daniel 3:16-18. This strength of principle - this obedience to the dictates of conscience - this determination not to do wrong at any hazard - he could not but respect; and this is a remarkable instance to show that a firm and steady course in doing what is right will command the respect of even wicked men. This monarch, with all his pride, and haughtiness, and tyranny, had not a few generous qualities, and some of the finest illustrations of human nature were furnished by him.

That they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God - They gave up their bodies to the flame rather than do this.

28. In giving some better traits in Nebuchadnezzar's character, Daniel agrees with Jer 39:11; 42:12.

changed the king's word—have made the king's attempt to coerce into obedience vain. Have set aside his word (so "alter … word," Ezr 6:11) from regard to God. Nebuchadnezzar now admits that God's law should be obeyed, rather than his (Ac 5:29).

yielded … bodies—namely, to the fire.

not serve—by sacrificing.

nor worship—by prostration of the body. Decision for God at last gains the respect even of the worldly (Pr 16:7).

Thus out of the mouths of blasphemers and contemners of God can the Lord ordain praise: yet all this did not draw off this king from his idolatry, for he saith,

the God of Shadrach, & c., not his God. Wonders will not work conversion till God work upon the heart, Deu 29:24. He blesseth God for four things.

1. For sending his angel to deliver his servants that trusted in him.

2. That they changed the king’s commandment, i.e. frustrated it, and make it void, and convinced the king, and brought him to a better mind.

3. Therefore yielded their bodies to the fire, and to his fury, by passive obedience, rather than not obey God actively, by worshipping any false god,

4. But only the true, whom they chose to be their own God. Observe also here the power of faith, it quencheth the violence of fire, Hebrews 11:34; and the presence of God with his people, even in the fire, and in fiery trials, Isaiah 43:2 1 Peter 1:7 4:12. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake and said,.... In the presence of his princes and prime ministers of state, and made the following confession, to the praise and glory of the true God; which was extorted from him at this time through the force of conviction; for it does not appear to be a thorough conversion; nor did he relinquish his gods, and the worship of them:

blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; he does not call him his God, but theirs, as he had called him the God of Daniel before, Daniel 2:47,

who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him; the fourth man he saw in the furnace he now calls an angel of God; for the Heathens had notions of some being the messengers of the gods: this seems to favour the sense of those who think an angel is designed by the fourth person; though it does not follow that a created one must be meant; for it may be understood of the Angel of God's presence, the uncreated Angel, Jesus Christ; who, being sent by his divine Father; came and delivered these three persons from being consumed in the fire, who had in so strong a manner expressed their confidence in God, which the king now remembers and observes; see Daniel 3:17,

and have changed the king's word; made it null and void, refused to obey it, knowing it was their duty to obey God rather than man; so that the king was forced to change his word, and, instead of obliging them to worship his image, blesses their God:

and yielded their bodies; freely gave them up, without any resistance, into the hands of those who were ordered by the king to take and bind them, and cast them into the furnace, to which also they readily yielded themselves: so the Septuagint and Arabic versions add, "to the fire",

that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God; they chose rather to deliver up themselves to death, to be burnt in a furnace, than to serve any other god than the God of Israel; such was their constancy and firmness of mind; such their attachment to the true God, and their faithfulness to him.

Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, {m} Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

(m) He was moved by the greatness of the miracle to praise God, but his heart was not touched. And here we see that miracles are not sufficient to convert men to God, but that doctrine most chiefly be joined with them, without which there can be no faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. spake] answered.

Blessed, &c.] cf. the confessions in 1 Kings 10:9; 2 Chronicles 2:12.

sent his angel] cf. Genesis 24:7; Genesis 24:40; Exodus 33:2; Numbers 20:16.

changed] i.e. frustrated: cf. Ezra 6:11-12 (‘alter’); and Psalm 89:39 in the Targ., ‘thou hast altered the covenant.’

28–29. Nebuchadnezzar’s doxology, and edict of toleration.Verse 28. - Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. The Septuagint and Peshitta, instead of "changed the king's word," have "despised the king's word," reading, שׁוּט, "to despise," instead of שְׁנָא, "to change." Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic, as otherwise do the other two versions. We may regard this as the beginning of the royal decree revoking practically that previously promulgated, omitting only the statement of the titles of the monarch. The wording is somewhat peculiar, "Blessed be their God - of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego." It may indicate that some words in the immediate context have been omitted; in other words, that the editor, in quoting the decree, has endeavoured, as far as possible, to condense without changing the words of the document. Bertholdt is mistaken in maintaining that this declaration is that the God of the three Hebrews is worthy of being blessed. All that Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges in this verse is that Jehovah really exists - that he is powerful, and the Hebrews did right to continue in the worship of their national God. We find that the bar-eloheen of ver. 25 is now regarded by Nebuchadnezzar as an angel, or, as we ought rather to translate it, "messenger." We have no need to import Hebrew ideas into the declaration of the Babylonian monarch. It was quite in accordance with his mythological notions that a great God like the God of the Hebrews might have a messenger, who was his instrument in the deliverance of his servants. The reading of the Massoretes, "changed," is to be preferred to "despised." To one like Nebuchadnezzar, stiff to obstinacy in his opinions, for anything to compel him to change not only his opinions, but more, to alter a decree, was a strange thing, and a thing that he would think worthy of chronicling. At the same time, he might feel it needed a justification. On the other hand, such a one as Nebuchadnezzar would not advertise the fact that any one had "despised" his "word." It is to be observed that Nebuchadnezzar recognizes not only the deliverance as an evidence of the truth of Jehovah's Divinity, but also the willingness with which his servants were ready to offer their bodies to be burnt. The evidence that compelled Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge the might of Jehovah was the same in essence as that which converted the Roman Empire. Still, we must again repeat Nebuchadnezzar recognized in Jehovah only the God of the Jews, and in the fatthfulness of the three Hebrews only a species of religious patriotism, which he could at once understand and respect without having the slightest belief in monotheism, or even comprehension of such a 'notion.
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