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Daniel 3New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

The Fiery Furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, which he set up in the plain of Dura[a] in the province of Babylon. He then ordered the satraps,[b] prefects, and governors, the counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the officials of the provinces to be summoned to the dedication of the statue which he had set up. The satraps, prefects, and governors, the counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the officials of the provinces came together for the dedication and stood before the statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. A herald cried out: “Nations and peoples of every language, [c]when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, dulcimer, harp, double-flute, and all the other musical instruments, you must fall down and worship the golden statue which King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be instantly cast into a white-hot furnace.” Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, dulcimer, harp, double-flute, and all the other musical instruments, the nations and peoples of every language all fell down and worshiped the golden statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

At that point, some of the Chaldeans came and accused the Jews to King Nebuchadnezzar: “O king, live forever! 10 O king, you issued a decree that everyone who heard the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, dulcimer, harp, and double-flute, and all the other musical instruments should fall down and worship the golden statue; 11 whoever did not was to be cast into a white-hot furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have made administrators of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have paid no attention to you; they will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.”

13 Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and sent for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were promptly brought before the king. 14 King Nebuchadnezzar questioned them: “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up? 15 Now, if you are ready to fall down and worship the statue I made, whenever you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, dulcimer, harp, double-flute, and all the other musical instruments, then all will be well;[d] if not, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace; and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If our God, whom we serve, can save us[e] from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! 18 But even if he will not, you should know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.”

19 Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual 20 and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace. 21 They were bound and cast into the white-hot furnace with their trousers, shirts, hats and other garments, 22 for the king’s order was urgent. So huge a fire was kindled in the furnace that the flames devoured the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into it. 23 But these three fell, bound, into the midst of the white-hot furnace.

Prayer of Azariah.[f] 24 They walked about in the flames, singing to God and blessing the Lord. 25 Azariah[g] stood up in the midst of the fire and prayed aloud:

26 “Blessed are you, and praiseworthy,
    O Lord, the God of our ancestors,
    and glorious forever is your name.
27 For you are just in all you have done;
    all your deeds are faultless, all your ways right,
    and all your judgments proper.
28 You have executed proper judgments
    in all that you have brought upon us
    and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of our ancestors.
By a proper judgment you have done all this
    because of our sins;
29 For we have sinned and transgressed
    by departing from you,
    and we have done every kind of evil.
30 Your commandments we have not heeded or observed,
    nor have we done as you ordered us for our good.
31 Therefore all you have brought upon us,
    all you have done to us,
    you have done by a proper judgment.
32 You have handed us over to our enemies,
    lawless and hateful rebels;
    to an unjust king, the worst in all the world.
33 Now we cannot open our mouths;
    shame and reproach have come upon us,
    your servants, who revere you.
34 For your name’s sake, do not deliver us up forever,
    or make void your covenant.
35 Do not take away your mercy from us,
    for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
    Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
36 To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
    like the stars of heaven,
    or the sand on the shore of the sea.
37 For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
    brought low everywhere in the world this day
    because of our sins.
38 We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
    no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
    no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
39 But with contrite heart and humble spirit
    let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bulls,
    or tens of thousands of fat lambs,
40 So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
    and find favor before you;
    for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
41 And now we follow you with our whole heart,
    we fear you and we seek your face.
Do not put us to shame,
42     but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
43 Deliver us in accord with your wonders,
    and bring glory to your name, O Lord:
44 Let all those be put to shame
    who inflict evils on your servants;
Let them be shamed and powerless,
    and their strength broken;
45 Let them know that you alone are the Lord God,
    glorious over the whole world.”

46 Now the king’s servants who had thrown them in continued to stoke the furnace with naphtha, pitch, tow, and brush. 47 The flames rose forty-nine cubits above the furnace, 48 and spread out, burning the Chaldeans that it caught around the furnace. 49 But the angel of the Lord went down into the furnace with Azariah and his companions, drove the fiery flames out of the furnace, 50 and made the inside of the furnace as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it. The fire in no way touched them or caused them pain or harm. 51 Then these three in the furnace with one voice sang, glorifying and blessing God:

52 “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestors,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.
53 Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
    praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.
54 Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
55 Blessed are you who look into the depths
    from your throne upon the cherubim,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
56 Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
    praiseworthy and glorious forever.
57 Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
58 Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
59 You heavens, bless the Lord,
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
60 All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
61 All you powers, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
62 Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
63 Stars of heaven, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
64 Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
65 All you winds, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
66 Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
67 Cold and chill, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
68 Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
69 Frost and chill, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
70 Hoarfrost and snow, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
71 Nights and days, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
72 Light and darkness, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
73 Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
74 Let the earth bless the Lord,
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
75 Mountains and hills, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
76 Everything growing on earth, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
77 You springs, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
78 Seas and rivers, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
79 You sea monsters and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
80 All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
81 All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
82 All you mortals, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
83 O Israel, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
84 Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
85 Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
86 Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
87 Holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
88 Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
For he has delivered us from Sheol,
    and saved us from the power of death;
He has freed us from the raging flame
    and delivered us from the fire.
89 Give thanks to the Lord, who is good,
    whose mercy endures forever.
90 Bless the God of gods, all you who fear the Lord;
    praise and give thanks,
    for his mercy endures forever.”

Deliverance from the Furnace. 91 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and rose in haste, asking his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Certainly, O king,” they answered. 92 “But,” he replied, “I see four men unbound and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” 93 Then Nebuchadnezzar came to the opening of the white-hot furnace and called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out.” Thereupon Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 94 When the satraps, prefects, governors, and counselors of the king came together, they saw that the fire had had no power over the bodies of these men; not a hair of their heads had been singed, nor were their garments altered; there was not even a smell of fire about them. 95 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 96 Therefore I decree for nations and peoples of every language that whoever blasphemes the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut to pieces and his house made into a refuse heap. For there is no other God who can rescue like this.” 97 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

98 [h]King Nebuchadnezzar to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on earth: May your peace abound! 99 It has seemed good to me to publish the signs and wonders which the Most High God has accomplished in my regard.

100 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders;
    his kingship is an everlasting kingship,
    and his dominion endures through all generations.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 Dura: several places in Babylonia bore this name. Probably the present reference is to one located close to Babylon. Giant statues of the type mentioned here were not uncommon in antiquity; a cubit was about a foot and a half. The unrealistic proportions of this statue suggest a comic effect.
  2. 3:2 Satraps: Persian provincial governors.
  3. 3:5 The precise identification of the instruments is disputed. Several of the names are Greek.
  4. 3:15 Then all will be well: lacking in Aramaic; this phrase is supplied from the context.
  5. 3:17 If our God…can save us: the youths do not question the efficacy of the divine power, but whether it will be exercised (v. 18).
  6. 3:24–90 These verses are additions to the Aramaic text of Daniel, translated from the Greek form of the book. They were probably first composed in Hebrew or Aramaic, but are no longer extant in the original language. The Roman Catholic Church has always regarded them as part of the canonical Scriptures.
  7. 3:25 Azariah: i.e., Abednego; cf. Dn 1:7.
  8. 3:98–4:34 This section has the form of a letter written by Nebuchadnezzar to his subjects.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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