Daniel 3

The king's statue

1 King Nebuchadnezzar caused his workers to make a gold statue. It was 30 metres high and 3 metres wide. He built it on the flat land called Dura, in the Babylon region. 2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent a message to all his government officers. He told them to meet together in the place where the statue was. He wanted them to see that he had built a great statue. 3 So all the officers came. Those were the rulers, the judges, the wise people, and all the leaders in the different regions of the Babylon nation. They all came together to give honour to the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had built.

4 Then an officer shouted aloud, ‘Listen to me, you people from every country and nation, who speak different languages! The king makes this command: 5 Listen for the sound of music from trumpets, flutes, lyres, harps or any other kind of music. When you hear the music, you must bend down low towards the ground. You must worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has built. 6 The king will punish anyone who does not do that. His soldiers will throw them immediately into a very hot fire.’

7 So, when all the people heard the different kinds of music, they obeyed. The people from every country and nation, who spoke different languages all bent down low. They worshipped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had built.

8 Then some wise men went to the king. They told him bad things against the Jews. 9 They said to the king, ‘King, live for ever! 10 You made a rule. You said that everyone must listen for the sound of the special music. When they hear it, they must bend down and they must worship the gold statue. 11 You said that you would punish everyone who does not obey you. You said you would throw them into the middle of a very hot fire. 12 But there are some Jewish men who do not obey you. They are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You gave them authority to take care of everything in Babylon region. Those men do not respect your authority. They do not give honour to your gods. They do not worship your gold statue.’

13 When King Nebuchadnezzar heard this, he was very angry. He told his servants to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to him. So they brought those men to stand in front of the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not give honour to my gods? And you do not worship the gold statue that I have built? 15 Next time you hear the sound of the special music, you must obey my rule. You must bend down and you must worship the statue that I have built. If you do not worship the statue, my servants will throw you immediately into the middle of a very hot fire. There is no god who can save you from my power.’

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered the king, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to say anything to show you that we are not guilty. 17 We serve a great God. If you throw us into the very hot fire, he is able to keep us safe. Yes, sir, he will keep us safe from your power too. 18 But even if he does not save us, we still would not serve your gods. And we will not worship the gold statue that you have built. We want you to understand that very clearly, sir.’

The king punishes Daniel's three friends

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was even more angry with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. His face became red. He said to his servants, ‘Make the fire in the oven seven times hotter than usual.’ 20 He told the strongest men in his army, ‘Tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Then throw them into the very hot fire!’

21 So the soldiers tied up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego with ropes. They were still wearing their coats, their hats and their other clothes when the soldiers took hold of them. The soldiers threw them into the middle of the hot fire with all their clothes on. 22 The soldiers needed to obey the king in a hurry. The fire was very hot. As a result, flames from the fire killed the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into it. 23 So the three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, fell into the middle of the hot fire. The ropes still held them very strongly.

24 What King Nebuchadnezzar saw next surprised him very much. He jumped up and he shouted to his officers, ‘We tied up three men and we threw them into the fire. Isn't that right?’ The officers answered the king, ‘Yes, sir, we certainly did that.’ 25 The king said, ‘But I see four men walking about in the fire! No ropes are holding them and the fire has not hurt them. The fourth man seems like a son of the gods.’

26 King Nebuchadnezzar went near to the door of the oven where the very hot fire was. He shouted aloud to the men inside, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I see that you are servants of the powerful God who rules over everything. Now come out here!’

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 Then the king's officers, his wise men and the government rulers and leaders came near to the three men. They saw that the fire had not hurt Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego. The fire had not even burnt their hair or their clothes. They did not even have any smell from the fire.

Nebuchadnezzar's new command

28 Then King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise the God that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego serve! He sent his angel to keep his servants safe. They continued to trust in their God. So they did not obey the command that I had made as king. They would not agree to serve any other god except their own God. They would rather have died than worship any other god. 29 No other god can save people like their God has done for them. So I make a command for the people of every nation who speak any language. They must never say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If anyone does that, my soldiers will cut them into pieces. They will knock down those people's houses so that they become heaps of stones.’

30 Then the king gave more authority to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to rule in the region of Babylon.