Showing posts with the label Nebuchadnezzar

Fiery Furnace

Three Jewish exiles are cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to render homage to the great image set up by the king  - Daniel 3:8-30.  In the second chapter, the “ Chaldeans ” are demoted because of their failure to reveal the king’s dream. But in the wake of Nebuchadnezzar’s construction of his “ great golden image ,” they exploit the opportunity to inflict vengeance on three of the Jewish exiles for their earlier loss of face. Although loyal to the king, these three men cannot bow before the king’s idolatrous image.

Dream of the King

Only Daniel is able to reveal the troubling dream of the Babylonian King, unveiling the future of kings and empires  – Daniel 2:1-49.  The second and third chapters present a single story told in two parts. First, Nebuchadnezzar dreams of an enormous image composed of several materials, which Daniel interprets, demonstrating the sovereignty of God over history. Second, the king attempts to implement his dream by erecting a great golden image in the “ plain of Dura. ”

Land of Shinar

The book of Daniel calls Babylon the “ land of Shinar ,” a verbal link to the Tower of Babel and the founding of the original city that became Babylon. That incident is echoed again in the third chapter when Nebuchadnezzar gathers all nations and peoples to pay homage to the great golden image that he “ set up .”

Downfall and Restoration

Nebuchadnezzar has another dream, and as before, one that only Daniel can interpret. Yahweh will remove the king from power until he learns that the “ Most-High God ” is sovereign over the affairs of men. Chapter 4 begins and ends with the Babylonian ruler acknowledging the sovereignty of the God of Israel.

Great Image of the King

The King invested great effort to make his dream into reality. First, he “set up” an enormous image covered in gold to represent his majesty and the irresistible power of the Empire. Then, he commanded all the “peoples and nations and tongues” of his realm to pay homage to his image or face a horrific and certain death in the “burning fiery furnace.”

God Grants Sovereignty

God gave the kingdom of Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, but He also equipped Daniel and his companions for service in the court of Babylon .  In its opening paragraph, the book of  Daniel  labels Babylon the “ land of Shinar ,” a verbal link to the “ tower of Babel ” incident.   The Neo-Babylonian Empire has an ancient pedigree, and like his ancient forbears, Nebuchadnezzar determined to unite all men under one language and one government so all men might render homage to his great golden image.