March 28, 2012, Reading

The Book of the Prophet Daniel    3: 14-20, 91-92, 95

3:1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a statue of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and he set it up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
3:2 Then king Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather together the governors, magistrates and judges, generals and sovereigns and commanders, and all the leaders of the regions, to come together for the dedication of the statue, which king Nebuchadnezzar had raised.
3:3 Then the governors, magistrates and judges, generals and sovereigns and nobles, who were appointed to power, and all the leaders of the regions were brought together so as to convene for the dedication of the statue, which king Nebuchadnezzar had raised. And so they stood before the statue that king Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
3:4 And a herald proclaimed loudly, “To you it is said, to you peoples, tribes, and languages,
3:5 that in the hour when you will hear the sound of the trumpet and the pipe and the lute, the harp and the psaltery, and of the symphony and every kind of music, you must fall down and adore the gold statue, which king Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
3:6 But if anyone will not bow down and adore, in the same hour he will be cast into a furnace of burning fire.”
3:7 After this, therefore, as soon as all the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the pipe and the lute, the harp and the psaltery, and of the symphony and every kind of music, all the peoples, tribes, and languages fell down and adored the gold statue, which king Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
3:8 And soon, about the same time, some influential Chaldeans came and accused the Jews,
3:9 and they said to king Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever.
3:10 You, O king, have established a decree, so that every man who might hear the sound of the trumpet, the pipe and the lute, the harp and the psaltery, and of the symphony and every kind of music, will prostrate himself and adore the gold statue.
3:11 But if any man will not fall down and adore, he would be cast into a furnace of burning fire.
3:12 Yet there are influential Jews, whom you have appointed over the works of the region of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, have scorned your decree. They do not worship your gods, and they do not adore the gold statue which you have raised up.”
3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in fury and in wrath, commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego should be brought, and so, without delay, they were brought before the king.
3:14 And king Nebuchadnezzar addressed them and said, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not worship my gods, nor adore the gold statue, which I have set up?
3:15 Therefore, if you are prepared now, whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, pipe, lute, harp and psaltery, and of the symphony and every kind of music, prostrate yourselves and adore the statue which I have made. But if you will not adore, in the same hour you will be cast into the furnace of burning fire. And who is the God that will rescue you from my hand?”
3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to king Nebuchadnezzar, “It is not right for us to obey you in this matter.
3:17 For behold our God, whom we worship, is able to rescue us from the oven of burning fire and to free us from your hands, O king.
3:18 But even if he will not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not worship your gods, nor adore the gold statue, which you have raised up.”
3:19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury and the appearance of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and he commanded that the furnace should be heated to seven times its usual fire.
3:20 And he ordered the strongest men of his army to bind the feet of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the furnace of burning fire.
3:91 Then king Nebuchadnezzar was astonished, and he quickly got up and said to his nobles: “Did we not cast three men shackled into the midst of the fire?” Answering the king, they said, “True, O king.”
3:92 He answered and said, “Behold, I see four men unbound and walking in the midst of the fire, and no harm is in them, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of God.”
3:95 Then Nebuchadnezzar, bursting out, said, “Blessed is their God, the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel and rescued his servants who believed in him. And they altered the verdict of the king, and they delivered up their bodies, so that they would not serve or adore any god except their God.

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