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 respect the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had built.
4 Then an officer shouted aloud, ‘Listen to me, you people from every country and nation and 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 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 and who spoke different languages all bent down towards the ground. 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 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 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.’