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17

THE SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN.

ANALYSIS.

vv.
1, 2.

Narrative in continuation of the canonical text, describing the procedure of the three children in the furnace.

3–22.

Azarias’ confession (3-–10), and prayer (11–22), on behalf of them all.

23–28.

Narrative describing the fire, the descent of the Angel, and the happy result.

29–68.

The Song of praise itself, which may be subdivided thus: God directly addressed in blessing (29–34); after all God’s works, celestial objects are addressed, including Angels44“The first and most gifted of creatures” (M’Swiney, Psalms and Canticles, 1901, p. 644). (35–41); objects of the lower heaven or atmosphere are called upon, including those immediately concerned, wind and dew being placed next to fire and heat (42–51); then the earth55Perhaps in default of better explanation the “earth” verse may have been put into the third person in order to mark the transition from things celestial to those terrestrial. and its natural features, and the animals inhabiting it, are called upon (52–59); then the human race, as a whole and in various classes, down to the three children themselves (60–66). In conclusion God is extolled for His ever-enduring mercy in phrases culled from the Psalter (67, 68).

The tendency of the arrangement of the Song proper is to descend from generals to particulars. It has a refrain at the end of each verse, slightly differing in those preliminary verses which 18are addressed to the Lord Himself, and wanting in the last three. The rendering of the refrain in the preliminary verses does not seem vary happy in its English (A.V. and R.V.).


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