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 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.

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  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.