3 (article #13)
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
As we move into chapter 3 some scholars place these events about 15-23 years after the events of Chapter 2. Whereas in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream he saw an image made of different metals descending in value, where the head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, we are now presented with an image made entirely from gold. The obvious conclusion from this is that king Nebuchadnezzar has taken the greeting wherewith he is greeted ‘O king live’ (Dan 2:2:4 / 3:9) a little too far! It would appear that in erecting this image, king Nebuchadnezzar is presumptuously asserting that his kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, seen by the fact that the whole image and not just the head are made from gold, and therefore this is really an act of defiance against the God of Heaven. As in the cartoon movie Finding Nebo it is “Mine; mine; mine!” He is trying to change the outcome of his previous dream made of Gold, silver, brass, iron, and a clay-iron mix (Daniel 2:31-35).
This chapter is very much like the events that we will study in chapter 6 where Daniel’s enemies conspired against him and duped king Darius into signing a decree that would entrap Daniel. These Babylonian-Chaldeans do connive.
It is amazing that people are so insecure and jealous of others’ achievements that they will seemingly stop at nothing to remove the competition. This is compounded when the ‘competition’ is either morally upright or just a sitting President of the United States. Those who stand for truth are seen as an irritant to a society that wants to be free from moral constraints. Jesus Himself confirmed this: “If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own but because ye are not of the world…”, (John 15)
Paul reiterated this in 2 Tim 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
A cubit is the measurement from the tip of your finger to your elbow. Although this measurement varies among ancient cultures, it is usually regarded to be about 18 inches. This would make the image approximately 90ft tall, *9ft wide; a 9:1 ratio.
*about 49 square feet at the base.
The dimensions of this statue are more like the Obelisks of Egypt, and it may well have been that on one of his expeditions Nebuchadnezzar would have seen these erected to immortalize Egyptian Pharaohs and deities and thus became part of the inspiration for him wanting to build one himself. However, unlike an Obelisk, this was an image of a man.
JIV NOTE: Archaeologists have unearthed a 45ft square & 20ft high ‘base’ in the plain of Dura which many now believe could have been the base for this image, and would have been clearly visible from the walls of Babylon.
It is not out of the question that this statue was of solid gold. Archaeologists have also discovered a 40’ table in the ruins of ancient Babylon made from solid gold and 15’ high solid gold statues were found in the Temple of Murdoch; billions of dollars in gold.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Inside info: Sheriff in Chaldean is tiphday meaning lawyers; the legal system.
The king is obviously impressed with his creation. He calls for all the leaders and chief people of the land to come giving their wide eyed appreciation. There were about between 100 and 120 provinces in Babylon at this time meaning that anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 people could have gathered for this ‘grand unveiling’. From the end of chapter two we know that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego as they may be better known) were promoted to oversee the affairs of the province of Babylon, hence the reason they were invited. Daniel on the other hand we are told was “ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon”. Thus it would appear that Daniel was second only to the king. If this is so and Daniel has so much influence before the king, then why, we may ask, did Daniel not object to this gross act of idolatry? And why does Daniel not appear to attend this event? These are questions that we will return to later in our study.
Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs (judicial system), and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
The fact that we have the same phrase repeated here suggests that Daniel is recording this event, by copying the decree that had been written by the king (or maybe a decree that was written for the king!).
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, Notice that this is a command from the king and to people, nations and languages – this is a diverse and mixed crowd from the known and Babylonian conquered world.
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
Six instruments mentioned – the number of man (6). Hmmmm?
Music and idolatry have long been close companions. Even today in church ‘worship groups’ it is so easy to put the focus on the music rather than the God whom we are supposed to be worshipping. Even some of the music in today’s churches (buildings) has a catchy tune but deliberate lyrics with no mention of God, salvation, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. These are NOT worship songs of God.
Much of the root of this problem is that Satan appears to have been the worship leader in heaven; heading up the praise team (see Ezekiel 28:13-15). It would seem that he has a great understanding of how powerful and manipulative music can be. Music is a gift from God and is intended to accompany our praise to Him (as even a casual reading of the book of Psalms can confirm), yet in the wrong hands, it can be used for evil with devastating results. Consider the lust, violence and immorality that are communicated to young people through music. Satan always distorts what God has made good. Satan also has a fake copy of everything Jesus represents. Even back yard gardens have fake plants mixed in with the good plants.
From what we know of history, the Babylonians had a love for music. This is prophetically seen in Psalm 137:1-4: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?” Odd that today we do that in churches. But, it is better said that we sing a strange song in God’s land.
And whoso falls not down and worships shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Two things are out on the plain of Dura; the Image and a fiery furnace. The furnace may have been built for the sole purpose of melting and molding the gold for the statue.
Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
…that is, all except three men who stood out like a sore thumb! Where Daniel was at this moment is unknown. The many nations mentioned are those who were in Babylon perhaps as ambassadors, visitors, or conquered captives.
Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
Notice that it’s the Chaldeans again who had been humbled in chapter 2. The meaning of accused is literally: ‘chewed them up’ by their words. Oddly, the tens of thousands of captive Jews in Babylon deserted their God for Babylon’s god-king. All but these three stood for and by their faith. Might this be an example of End Time so-called church believers? I suggest YES.
They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever. This is the greeting that the king wants to hear. In another sense, may your power exist forever. After all, is this not the intent of the gold statue?
10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
11 And whoso falleth not down and worships, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
The fact they repeat to the king his decree leads some to conclude that they were the ones who had been responsible for getting the king to write this decree in the first place as a way of trapping these Jews. As we will mention and will again later, Daniel is not present at this time, and it may well be that, knowing Daniel was away on business, they seized this opportunity to entrap his friends. If given the probability that this is some time after chapter two, they may well have been plotting and planning this event for years. It had to take a good deal of time to simply build the image.
PS; Furnace is mentioned 30 times in the Bible (KJV), and always in connection with tribulation and/or judgment.
12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Archaeological discovery. One such example is in regard to Daniel’s three friends. An archaeological dig in the area of ancient Babylon unearthed a five sided clay cylinder now in the Istanbul museum with the names: Hananunu – which is the Aramaic for Hananiah, Mishael-Mardach – obviously a reference to Mishael, and Abou-Nebo, the Aramaic for Abed-nego; these men are mentioned on the cylinder as having a prominent place in the government, thus clearly identifying these men as Daniel’s three friends as recorded in the Bible.
They are accused not just for refusing to bow today, but for not worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s gods in the past – which the Chaldeans suggest is defying the king himself. This was not an impulse thing for these three men, but a predetermined purposing of heart that was made from the moment they got to Babylon – they will not be defiled! Other Jews of captivity may have also refused but were not the target of these evil men of Babylon.
Again, at the rapture of the church will there still be churches (denominations) with full houses? This is not a possibility but a probability. The church of Jesus according to Ephesians 4:5 and 6 is not a religion or a denomination. Denominations separate. They do not unite as that would demand political-religious compromise and correctness according to man’s law and standard.