×

Daniel 3:21-23

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Daniel 3:21
  • Daniel 3:22
  • Daniel 3:23

King Nebuchadnezzar constructs a 90-foot-tall golden statue. He commands all of the rulers in his kingdom to come and see it, and to worship it when music plays. A furnace of blazing fire has been created to incinerate anyone who does not worship the statue. Daniel’s three Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refuse to worshi p the golden image. Their political rivals inform on their disobedience to the king. Nebuchadnezzar is enraged that they disobeyed him, but offers them one more chance to worship his golden statue; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego immediately and absolutely refuse. They declare they only worship their God, and their God is able to rescue them from death. Nebuchadnezzar orders their execution in the fiery furnace, killing some of his own soldiers in the process. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are thrown into the furnace, but are not killed. Everyone observing the execution, including the king and his high officials, see that an angel sent by the Most High God has emerged in the furnace, keeping the three men alive and unharmed. The king calls Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego out of the fire, and they present themselves perfectly safe and free from injury. Therefore King Nebuchadnezzar makes sure the three men prosper in Babylon, and decrees a new law that says no one may speak offensively against the God of Israel, for He is able to rescue His servants from death. 


Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego are thrown into the fiery furnace, clothed and bound. The soldiers who escort them are killed by the intense heat of the flames.

For the crime of refusing to bow to a golden statue, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are condemned to die in a furnace of blazing fire. The fire has been heated seven times as hot, and the king’s strongest warriors are escorting them to be executed. The three (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego) are tied up fully clothed, still wearing their trousers, coats, caps, and other clothes. Perhaps the author mentions this detail to show the haste in which they are being executed; all the events of this story are quite possibly occurring on a single day. The furnace was already burning when the statue dedication began, as a grim motivator to Nebuchadnezzar’s subjects to bow to the statue.

The moment of execution comes. The soldiers cast the three into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Due to the urgent command from the king, and because the furnace had been made extremely hot, there are unintended victims in this fit of outrage. For this reason (the fire’s heat and the rushed nature of the execution) the flame of the fire kills the mighty soldiers escorting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Nebuchadnezzar has just inadvertently destroyed some of his finest warriors due to his rage. The three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego fall into the midst of the furnace still tied up.

21 Then these men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. 22 For this reason, because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. 23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.

Listen to the Yellow Balloons Audio Devotionals Podcast!