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Daniel 3:8-18

Context

3:8 Now 1  at that time certain 2  Chaldeans came forward and brought malicious accusations against 3  the Jews. 3:9 They said 4  to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 5  3:10 You have issued an edict, O king, that everyone must bow down and pay homage to the golden statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music. 3:11 And whoever does not bow down and pay homage must be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. 3:12 But there are Jewish men whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – and these men 6  have not shown proper respect to you, O king. They don’t serve your gods and they don’t pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”

3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in a fit of rage 7  demanded that they bring 8  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego before him. So they brought them 9  before the king. 3:14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my gods and that you don’t pay homage to the golden statue that I erected? 3:15 Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must bow down and pay homage to the statue that I had made. If you don’t pay homage to it, you will immediately be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Now, who is that god who can rescue you from my power?” 10  3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, 11  “We do not need to give you a reply 12  concerning this. 3:17 If 13  our God whom we are serving exists, 14  he is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he will rescue us, O king, from your power as well. 3:18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we don’t serve your gods, and we will not pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”

1 tc This expression is absent in Theodotion.

2 tn Aram “men.”

3 tn Aram “ate the pieces of.” This is a rather vivid idiom for slander.

4 tn Aram “answered and said,” a common Aramaic idiom that occurs repeatedly in this chapter.

5 sn O king, live forever! is a comment of typical court courtesy that is not necessarily indicative of the real sentiments of the speaker. Ancient oriental court protocol could sometimes require a certain amount of hypocrisy.

6 sn Daniel’s absence from this scene has sparked the imagination of commentators, some of whom have suggested that perhaps he was unable to attend the dedication due to sickness or due to being away on business. Hippolytus supposed that Daniel may have been watching from a distance.

7 tn Aram “in anger and wrath”; NASB “in rage and anger.” The expression is a hendiadys.

8 tn The Aramaic infinitive is active.

9 tn Aram “these men.” The pronoun is used in the translation to avoid undue repetition.

10 tn Aram “hand.” So also in v. 17.

11 tc In the MT this word is understood to begin the following address (“answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar’”). However, it seems unlikely that Nebuchadnezzar’s subordinates would address the king in such a familiar way, particularly in light of the danger that they now found themselves in. The present translation implies moving the atnach from “king” to “Nebuchadnezzar.”

12 tn Aram “to return a word to you.”

13 tc The ancient versions typically avoid the conditional element of v. 17.

14 tn The Aramaic expression used here is very difficult to interpret. The question concerns the meaning and syntax of אִיתַי (’itay, “is” or “exist”). There are several possibilities. (1) Some interpreters take this word closely with the participle later in the verse יָכִל (yakhil, “able”), understanding the two words to form a periphrastic construction (“if our God is…able”; cf. H. Bauer and P. Leander, Grammatik des Biblisch-Aramäischen, 365, §111b). But the separation of the two elements from one another is not an argument in favor of this understanding. (2) Other interpreters take the first part of v. 17 to mean “If it is so, then our God will deliver us” (cf. KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB). However, the normal sense of itay is existence; on this point see F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 45, §95. The present translation maintains the sense of existence for the verb (“If our God…exists”), even though the statement is admittedly difficult to understand in this light. The statement may be an implicit reference back to Nebuchadnezzar’s comment in v. 15, which denies the existence of a god capable of delivering from the king’s power.



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