Friday, December 18, 2009

Why wasn't Daniel in the fiery furnace?

Question from Lauren:

I was reading in the book of Daniel yesterday and came across something I wanted to ask you about. In Chapter 1 it tells the story of how Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were being taught in King Nebuchadnezzar's palace. It tells of how they didn't eat the king's meat or wine, but instead drank water and ate vegetables. Then, in Chapter 2 Daniel interprets the king's dream and is promoted to a high position and at Daniel's request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as administrators over the province of Babylon. Chapter 3 is the story of the fiery furnace, where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to bow to the king's idol and are thrown into the furnace. Of course, the Lord saves them and they are not even singed, but where was Daniel when all this was going on in Babylon? I am certain that he would not bow down to the idol, but where was he?

Answer from Pastor Bob:

Lauren, it is uncertain why Daniel was not present. Here are three possible reasons:
1. Perhaps Daniel was in a different location at the time. Daniel 2:49 mentions that Daniel remained at the king's court, but 3:1 says the idol was set up on "the plain of Dura." Perhaps this was in a different area. Or perhaps Daniel had been sent on a mission and was away at the time.
2. Perhaps as one of the highest administrators, Daniel was immune from the requirement to bow down, whereas Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were lower officials who were not immune.
3. Perhaps Daniel also refused to bow down, but the "certain Chaldeans" (Daniel 3:8) who accused the three men were afraid to accuse Daniel because of Daniel's high position.
I think reason #1 makes the most sense to me, but any of these explanations are possible.


  1. Greetings Brother,
    I read your post, and wish to bring up two other possibilities that came to my mind. They are:
    1. He didn't bow, but wasn't seen by the Chaldeans, so they couldn't report him.
    2. He did bow (not in worship, but to avoid death. If he did, I assume he was praying to God the whole time and asking forgiveness) We do know there were many other Jews there who did bow.

    While I would love to believe that Daniel would never bow, I can't see options one and two as you listed above as valid. Why would the King call in all of the ruling class from all over the kingdom and yet exempt Daniel if he was on a trip? The trip idea doesn't make much sense since since his area of authority was the Capitol itself.

    As to exemption due to his rank, I doubt it, when I consider the two-fold reason for the idol. First the King wanted to unify his diverse empire by creating one religion. Secondly, I believe he intended the idol to be a rebuttal to God concerning his dream of a figure made of different materials that he dreamed in the previous chapter. By building it out of gold, he was saying "My kingdom will NEVER end. With those two purposes in mind, exempting Daniel would make no sense.

    God bless you.

    1. No so. Daniel was a man of integrity and faithfulness and he never bowed down. Daniel gave interpretations to the king dreams so he said there is no other men where the Spirit of God rest in you. So how the king kill his own god men who is able to interpret his dreams.

    2. I agree whole heartedly Nicky. If the 3 had so much integrity as to not bow down on pain of death ... why would our Daniel have bowed down as a cowared. That is a silly solution.

  2. I would agree with you Dr. Rodgers but you have to read the scripture because it says everything right there. I know for sure Daniel did not bow, and in fact he was immune to this decree because in Daniel 2: 46-48 Nebuchadnezzar prostrated himself before Daniel and confessed from his own mouth that Daniel's GOD was the GOD of gods, the LORD of kings, revealer of secrets, and he made Daniel Chief Administrator of all the wise men, and ruler of the province of Babylon. Basically Daniel was a prince, an heir to the throne, next to the king and because he sat in the "gate of the king" or the king's court he was there at the time. But he was so high up that he couldn't be touched by this decree. The bible doesnt say that Nebuchadnezzar bowed to the image, which tells me that if he didn't bow to it then Daniel didnt have to bow to it either. And even if Nebuchadnezzar did bow to it Daniel made up in his mind at a young age he is gonna stand for the LORD so if he isn't gonna defile himself with food that was dedicated to idols, no way would he defile himself, and disgrace his GOD by bowing to an idol, I just won't believe it. Daniel was too high in rank and I believe Nebuchadnezzar knew or had an inkling not to cross Daniel or have no harm come to him, because of his GOD, and Daniel had high favor with the King as well so, he was immune to this decree with the issue of him being 2nd in the kingdom.

  3. I totally agree with John B. His answer makes the most sense, especially considering what we know from the text. Nebuchadnezzar had already had a taste of the true God's power and was not going to mess with Daniel. He probably already knew Daniel would be unlikely to bow and wasn't going to try to force him. He may even have made it a point to make sure Daniel was off hidden away on "important kingdom business" in order to avoid the twin embarrassment of having his subjects see Daniel's refusal and having to confront the man who had his highest respect.

  4. I think these verses might help,
    God bless you guys

    Dan 2:48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.

    Dan 3:2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. JB your explanation is spot on & The word is complete. Thank you for pointing this out.

  7. JB your explanation is spot on & The word is complete. Thank you for pointing this out.

  8. I greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

    I have read this story. At chapter 2....It ends off saying Shadrach/Meshach/Abednego were "set over the affairs of the province of Babylon" and Daniel was in the "gate of the king" (Dan 2:49)...What I propose is something which might rattle a few cages...We do not know how long it took to make the Idol...some speculate in the 7th year of the king’s reign, and knowing the dream happened in the 2nd year we have at least 5yrs of Daniel and his friends living in Babylon. It’s fair to say it was not built overnight, as some seem to lump this period into one short story. Seeing as Daniel was now in the king's palace for at least 5yrs...surrounded by idols and idolatory.....could his faith not have waivered enough to be compromised during this time...? Or will we all now be religious enough to assume we all have never faltered in any way? Now before some of you get upset, please bear with me....

    Daniel 3:2 leaves little doubt as to who was at the ceremony....You would need to bring up a verse countering this one on where Daniel was.. No supposition please. Why do we assume that the "Ruler over the whole province of Babylon" and the "Chief of the Governors" (Dan 2:48) was not there? Why would everyone who reported to Daniel need to be present, but not their “Ruler/Chief”. I cannot see past this logically...Please read for yourself and consider that Daniel was, in fact, at the ceremony. I can only go with what is put in front of me, and this is what I see...

    Now comes the hard part...the one many will probably have an issue with. That when the music sounded, that only 3 men did not the text says....and that Daniel had compromised enough, not to be thrown into the fire... I have heard he was exempt, I have heard he was on the king's podium so all who were next to the King didn't have to...but I don't see that happening in the context of the story...The king wanted ALL to bow.......Also now, that Daniel was elsewhere...on an errand of sorts....... but as in my previous paragraph, this cannot be...

    So consider that Daniel denied God.... and consider also, that God's grace is sufficient for us His grace was sufficient when Peter denied God The Son, THREE times.....I propose from what I read, that his faith waivered for whatever reason....I do not believe he stopped believing in God, or even stopped praying/worshipping to God. But at that very moment, I believe that he had to, maybe see the POWER OF GOD in this miracle, for his faith to be re-established/strengthened, through conviction? As all of us have needed their faith to be re-established during our walk with the Lord...? Speculation yes, but what has been given before, is no more a theory than mine...

    So now I see Paul's words coming through with regards to Spiritual gifts being irrevocable/without repentance (Rom 11:29), as I have heard it said he could not have bowed and still had the gift of interpreting the king's dream, a while after the ceremony occurred....

    I propose then Daniel bowed to the idol, yet retained his spiritual gifts after that. But needed to go through this episode in order for his faith to be strengthened/re-established for the next time his faith was to be tested, when Darius was the next ruler, after Nebuchadnezzer had gone mad...
    Daniel now had the courage of his convictions, and unwavering faith, because of the clear evidence of the POWER OF GOD in the miracle that occurred at the burning furnace. So when Darius was forced to see through his own ill-conceived decree concerning worship to himself, Daniel had no hesitation, or fear, of having to go to the Lion’s den, having his faith uplifted by the episode at the burning furnace..

    1. sir...Dont comment what u like or thought dnt change the word of God...Daniel never bowed to idol and he will never and ever and dnt greet anyone in the name of lord unless u know what is true..

  9. This is all speculation. The Bible does not say. So the correct answer is: we don't know.

  10. If you love the Lord, then someday you can ask Him (or Daniel).

  11. If you love the Lord, then someday you can ask Him (or Daniel).

  12. I would have to agree with John B, Daniels actions have been consistent in scripture he refused to eat the kings food , he defended the wise men he interpret the kings dream v-14-16 he did not stop praying Dan chpt.6

  13. I believe we still that Daniel did not bow there is no evidence in this,story to say he did. While reading Daniel 3:1-3 The last sentence says the stood before the image the King had setup. So if Daniel was there he was standing near the king. How could everyone bow and find out who was not bowing think about it there were no cameras back then or satellite many officials had to go about and monitor those who were not bowing. The Chaldeans accused the Jews. Daniel was there standing and most likely praying to God. I do not believe he bow down to this image.

  14. maybe the king made only Daniel exempt. If you were the king, and had your forgotten dream told and interpreted to you by your subject, You would value this subject above all else. And if you knew he was a stubborn monotheist, you wouldn't put him in a position where you would be sure to loose him. Nebuchandneza protected himself by preserving Daniel.

  15. The one thing that comes to my mind is that as the king's main wise man who the king trusted fully and one who's advice the king relied on fully, how did the king actually got himself to go ahead with building the statue? If Daniel was around he would probably have given the king enough reasons not to build the statue and I believe he would have been able to change the king's mind considering what he has done for the king before. Also a statue like that is not build overnight but also a journey to another province did not happen overnight. So in my opinion just for the king to have conceived such a stupid idea and to proceed with it would tell me that maybe Daniel was not there and considering how much the king valued Daniel and how well he knew Daniel,just maybe he arranged specially for Daniel to be somewhere else. But the best answer is that we do not know and if it was important God would have let us know.

    Ever wondered how the the three wise men from the east happened to show up at Jesus's birth? Well was Daniel not the main wise man in the east and did not document his prophecies so that all could read them. Off topic I know but interesting.

    God bless

  16. Let's consider another option! This story is not about Daniel. It is about the faithfulness of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. There is a reason Daniel is not mentioned here - his faithfulness to God has already been proven. I believe we are missing the important lesson in the story while caught up in the debate. In my humble opinion, the pinacle of the story of the fiery furnace is found in verses 15-18. Nebuchadnessar threatens to punish these young Hebrew men for not obeying his decree and command. Their unstinting faithfulness is incredible: Ö Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, THE GOD WHOM WE SERVE IS ABLE TO SAVE US. He will rescue us from your power, your Majesty. But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."

    At this point their faithful obedience to God is put on display for all of the nation of Babylon to witness. They stated their unequivocal faith in the power and authority of the God of Heaven! They were prepared to go to their deaths if necessary - God honoured their faithfulness by saving them in the furnace.

    It was at this point that NEBUCHADNEZZAR SAW THE REALITY OF GOD!

    Sometimes through the hardest times of our lives, through the worst experiences, and the most intense tests and trials, our faith is defined, refined and blessed - and our faithful response enables others to witness the power of God!

    Daniel had already demonstrated his strong allegiance to God. The Bible doesn't say where he was. Wherever it was, God was faithful to him. Possibly he also stood and refused to bow - but God chose to protect him from others noticing! That is entirely possible! He was using Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be his faithful witnesses on this day!!

    This is my input!