Daniel 3:21-23

21. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were east into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

21. Tunc viri illi vincti sunt, vel, ligati, in suis chlamydibus, 1 et cum tiaris suis: 2 in vestitu suo: et projecti sunt in fornacem ignis ardentis.

22. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew the men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

22. Propterea quod urgebat, vel, festinabat, ud verbum praeceptum regis, et fornacem vehementer jusserat accendi, viros illos qui extulerant Sadrach, Mesach, et Abed-nego occidit t kavilla, alii vertunt fammam, ignis.

23. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

23. Et viri illi tres Sadrach, Mesach et Abednego ceciderant in medium fornacis ignis, 3 ardentis vincti.


Here Daniel relates the miracle by which God liberated his servants. He has two parts: first, these three holy men walked untouched in the midst of the flame; and the fires consumed those attendants who east them into the furnace. The Prophet diligently enumerates whatever tends to prove the power of God. He says, since the king's command was urgent, that is, since the king ordered in such anger the furnace to be heated, the flames devour the men who executed his orders. For in Job, (Job 18:5,) bybs, shebib, means "spark," or the extremity of a flame. The sense of the Prophet is by no means obscure, since the extremity of the flame consumed those strong attendants by playing round them, while Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego walked through the fuel in the fire and flame. They were not in the extremity of the flame; for it is as if the Prophet had said -- the king's slaves were consumed by the very smoke, and the fire was without the slightest effect on the servants of God. Hence he says, these three fell down in the furnace of fire. By saying they fell, it means they could not take care of themselves or attempt to escape; for he adds, they were bound. This might at first naturally suffocate them, till they were immediately consumed; but they remained untouched, and then walked about the furnace loose. We hereby see how conspicuous was God's power, and how no falsehood of Satan's could obscure it. And next, when the very points of the flame, or the fiery sparks, devour the servants, here again the deed is proved to be of God. Meanwhile, the result of the history is the preservation of these three holy men, so surprisingly beyond their expectation.

This example is set before us, to show us how nothing can be safer than to make God the guardian and protector of our life. For we ought not to expect to be preserved from every danger because we see those holy men delivered; for we ought to hope for liberation from death, if it be useful, and yet we ought not to hesitate to meet it without fear, if God so please it. But we should gather from our present narrative the sufficiency of God's protection, if he wishes to prolong our lives, since we know our life to be precious to him; and it is entirely in his power, either to snatch us from danger, or to withdraw us to a better existence, according to his pleasure. We have an example of this in the case of Peter; for he was on one day led forth from prison, and the next day put to death. Even then God shewed his care of his servant's life, although Peter at length suffered death. How so? Because he had finished his course. Hence, as often as God pleases, he will exert his power to preserve us; if he leads us onwards to death, we must be assured it is best for us to die, and injurious to us to enjoy life any longer. This is the substance of the instruction which we may receive from this narrative. It now follows: --

1 Some translate sandals, or, shoes, others hose; but the majority take the second noun for hose; but we need not trouble ourselves too much about the words, if we only understand the thing itself. -- Calvin.

2 We know that; the Orientals then wore turbans as they do now, for they wrap up he head; and though we do not see many of them, yet we know the Turkish dress; then the general name is added. -- Calvin. See also the note on this passage in Wintle's translation, which is full of good explanatory notes.

3 That is, within the furnace of fire. -- Calvin.