1 King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, erected on the plain of Dura in the province of Baby lon. 2 Then he summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, coun selors, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come for the dedication of the statue. 3 All those summoned came together for the dedi ca tion and stood before the statue set up by King Nebu chadnezzar. 4 There a herald proclaimed aloud, Nations and peoples of every language, you are hereby commanded 5 to fall down and worship the gol den statue as soon as you hear the music played on the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all other instruments. 6 Whoever fails to do this will at once be thrown into a burn ing fur nace. 7 At this command, all the people of every nation and language who heard the sound of music on the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and other instruments fell down and worshiped the statue set up by King Nebu chadnezzar.
The Jews: accused and condemned
:B:8 It was then that Chaldean diviners came to the king accusing the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebu chadnezzar, Live forever, O king! 10 You issued a decree that upon hearing the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and other musical instruments, everyone must fall down and worship the golden statue, 11 and whoever failed to do so was to be thrown into a bur ning furnace. 12 There are some Jews, those whom you appointed administrators of Babylon: Shad rach, Meshach and Abed nego, who gave no heed to your order. They would not serve your gods or worship the golden image you set up.
13 Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abed nego, who were immediately brought before the king. 14 King Nebu chadnezzar ques tioned them, Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden statue I have set up? 15 If you hear now the sound of horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and other instruments, will you fall down and worship the statue I made? If you wont, you know the punishment: you will im mediately be thrown into a burning furnace. And then what god can deliver you out of my hands?
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed nego answered, King Ne buchad nez zar, we need not defend ourselves before you on this matter. 17 If you order us to be thrown into the furnace, the God we serve will rescue us. 18 But even if he wont, we would like you to know, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden statue you have set up.
19 Nebuchadnezzars face reddened with fury as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of his strongest soldiers to bind Shad rach, Mes hach and Abed nego and throw them into the burning furnace. 21 At once they were bound and thrown into the furnace, with their hats, shoes and garments on, 22 for the kings order was very urgent. So fierce was the fire in the furnace that it devoured even the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into it. 23 The three, bound fast, fell into the midst of the blazing furnace.
24 They walked in the midst of the flames, singing to God and praising the Lord. 25 Azariah stood up in the midst of the fire and prayed aloud:
26 Blessed and worthy of praise are you,
26 O Lord God of our fathers!
26 your name is glorious forever!
27 Justice is in all that you do
27 your acts are faultless, your ways are right,
27 your judgments always true.
:B:28 You have indeed given a just sentence in bringing evil upon us and upon Jerusalem, the Holy City of our fathers. You have acted in accordance with truth and justice, as punishment for our sins.
29 For we have sinned and acted perversely by deserting you. We have sinned gravely in everything and have not listened to your commandments. 30 We have not ob served them, and we have not fulfilled everything you commanded us for our good.
31 All the evils you have brought upon us, all that you have done to us, you have done according to your just sentence.
32 You have given us into the hands of our enemies, lawless peo ple, the worst of the impious, into the hands of an unjust king, the most perverse in all the world.
33 And today, we cannot even open our mouths
34 Do not abandon us forever, do not reject your covenant for your Names sake.
35 Do not withdraw your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your friend, of Isaac, your servant, of Israel, your holy one, 36 to whom you promised to multiply their race as the stars of heaven and the sand on the shore of the sea.
37 Lord, see, we have become the least among the nations in all the world, and we are humiliated because of our sins.
38 At this time, we no longer have a king, or prophet, or leader. We cannot offer you holocausts, sacrifices, offerings, or incense. We have no place to present to you the first-fruits of our crops, and so obtain your favor.
39 But at least when we present ourselves with a contrite soul and humbled spirit may we then be acceptable to you, 40 more than by offerings of rams and calves as holocausts, and of thousands of fat lambs.
40 May this sacrifice of ours today obtain for us your favor for we know that those who trust in you shall never be disappointed.
41 And now, we serve you with our whole heart, we fear you and we seek your face. 42 Do not leave us in our humiliation, but treat us according to your kindness and your great mercy. 43 Free us in keeping with your wonders, and give us the glory of your Name, Lord.
44 Let those who maltreat your servants be confounded, may they be covered with shame and deprived of all their power. Crush their strength, 45 and let them know that you alone are God and Lord, glorious over all the earth.
46 The kings servants who had thrown them into the furnace did not stop kindling the fire with oil, tar, tow and vine shoots, 47 so that the flames rose up to about twenty-five meters above the furnace 48 and extending out, burnt the Chaldeans who were standing around.
49 But the angel of the Lord came down into the furnace beside Azariah and his companions
51 Then the three began singing to gether, glorifying and blessing God within the furnace, and saying
52 Blessed are you, Lord, God of our fathers, be praised and exalted forever.
52 Blessed is your holy and glorious name, celebrated and exalted forever.
53 Blessed are you in the temple of your sacred glory, your praises are sung for ever.
54 Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, honored and glorified for ever.
55 Blessed are you who fathom the depths, who are enthroned on the cherubim, praised and exalted for ever.
56 Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praised and glorified for ever.
57 All the works of the Lord, bless him, praise him, exalt him for ever.
58 Angels of the Lord, bless him, praise and glorify him for ever.
59 Heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever.
60 All the waters above the heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever.
61 All the powers of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever.
62 Sun and moon, praise and exalt him for ever. 63 Stars of heaven, praise and exalt him for ever.
64 Rain and dew, praise and exalt him for ever. 65 All winds, praise and exalt him for ever.
66 Fire and heat, praise and exalt him for ever. 67 Cold and heat, praise and exalt him for ever.
68 Dew and frost, praise and exalt him for ever. 69 Ice and cold, praise and exalt him for ever.
70 Frost and snow, praise and exalt him for ever. 71 Days and nights, praise and exalt him for ever.
72 Light and darkness, praise and exalt him for ever. 73 Lightnings and clouds, praise and exalt him for ever.
74 Earth, praise and exalt him for ever.
75 Mountains and hills, praise and exalt him for ever.
76 Everything that sprouts on the earth, praise and exalt him for ever.
77 Springs of water, praise and exalt him for ever. 78 Seas and rivers, praise and exalt him for ever.
79 Whales and fishes, praise and exalt him for ever. 80 All the birds of heaven, praise and exalt him for ever. 81 Animals wild and tame, praise and exalt him for ever.
82 All people on earth, praise and exalt him for ever.
83 Israel, praise and exalt him for ever.
84 Priests of the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever. 85 Servants of the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever.
86 Spirits and souls of the just, praise and exalt him for ever.
87 Those who are holy and humble of heart, praise and exalt him for ever.
88 Ananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever.
88 For he has taken us out from the netherworld, he has saved us from the hands of death, freed us from the furnace of burning flames and rescued us from the midst of the fire.
89 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy is everlasting.
90 All who worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, praise and acknowledge him for his mercy is ever lasting.
91 Then King Nebuchadnezzar suddenly rose up in great amazement and asked his counselors, Did we not throw three men bound into the fire? They answered, Cer tainly. 92 The king said, But I can see four men walking about free ly through the fire without suffering any harm, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.
93 Nebuchadnezzar approached the mouth of the blazing furnace and said, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out and come here. So they came out from the midst of the fire.
94 The officials, prefects, governors and coun selors of the king drew near to examine them: the fire had no effect on their bodies, their hair was not singed, their trousers were not burned, and they did not even have the smell of smoke.
95 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, Bles sed be the God of Shadrach, Mes hach and Abednego who sent his angel to free his servants who, trust ing in him, disobeyed the kings order and preferred to give their bodies to the fire rather than serve and worship any other god but their God.
96 I give this command, therefore: From every race, nation and language, anyone who speaks irreverently of the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed nego shall be cut into pieces and his house shall be destroyed, for there is no other god who can save like this.
97 And the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzars dream and insanity
98 Nebuchadnezzar, the king, to all peo ples, all nations on the earth what ever be their language: Peace. 99 It pleases me to make known to you the signs and wonders the Most High God has done in me.