Such dedicatory rites were frequently observed in the
Ancient Near East. Solomon’s dedication of the Jerusalem
Temple is an example (2 Chronicles 7:1-10).
summoned to the ceremony were official personnel, not common
people. Several hundred, dressed in their finest uniforms,
were probably present on the plain of Dura. There is no
indication that the participants knew the king’s purpose for
summoning them. They might have been under the impression that
it was a patriotic or political service.
have been absent from the ceremony, perhaps carrying out
business elsewhere for the king, or possibly, too ill to
attend. The statesman did not have a perfect attendance record
on the job.
I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for
several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business
Significantly, Daniel’s office is not
listed among the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers,
treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial
officials. If Daniel were present at the ceremony, the king’s
Prime Minister might not have been required to bow down to the
image; the king himself remained seated. The Chaldeans would
not have been courageous enough to attack the king’s chief
advisor if he was present at the ceremony.
THE COMMAND (3:4-7).
Nebuchadnezzar expected obedience at this ceremony.
With the finest fanfare of pomp and all kinds of music,
the crucial test for the Hebrews was announced: bow or
You must fall down and worship the image of
gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not
fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a
Satan, the great counterfeiter,
employs music to set the mood. He uses music to stir the
congregation to an emotional fervor in order to plunge
them into false religion. All men are religious by nature,
and are easily carried away by anything that excites and
stirs the emotions.
The command to fall down and
worship the golden image violated God’s first and second
commandments (Exodus 20:2-6). Bowing down to the image
signified an allegiance to whichever false god it
The Babylonian kings were noted for
burning people alive (Jeremiah 29:22). Little wonder there
was an overwhelming response to Nebuchadnezzar’s command:
“Bow or burn!” Once again, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah
are tested. There are three components to this test:
- Fear man or fear God.
- Sacrifice truth on the altar of expediency
or take a stand for it.
- God is able, but will He save?
Any number of excuses to conform could have been
employed, such as:
- Why not join the system, you can’t fight
- We’ll cooperate with Nebuchadnezzar and win
him to the Lord.
- A live dog is better off than a dead lion
- Daniel our leader is not here to make the
right decision for us.
- Our key positions in the government should
not be sacrificed.
- Nebuchadnezzar has treated us well; he
deserves our obedience.
- We can always ask God to forgive us