Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury - How strange is this, after having had so many proofs of the supremacy of Jehovah! He had seen how God poured contempt upon his authority in the case of the three Hebrews, and yet he will try his strength once more! How infatuated is man!
Seven times more - As hot as it could be made. Seven expresses the great intensity of the heat.
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury - Margin, “filled.” He was exceedingly enraged. He evidently was not prepared for a stand so firm and determined on their part, and he did not appreciate their motives, nor was he disposed to yield to them the privilege and right of following their honest convictions. He was deeply excited with anger when the complaint was made that they would not worship his gods Daniel 3:13, but he had hoped that possibly they had not understood his command, and that what they had done had not been by deliberate purpose (the notes at Daniel 3:14); and he had therefore given them an opportunity to reconsider the subject, and, by complying with his will, to save themselves from the threatened punishment. He now saw, however, that what they had done was done deliberately. He saw that they firmly and intelligently refused to obey, and supposing now that they not only rebelled against his “commands,” but that they disregarded and despised even his “forbearance” Daniel 3:15, it is not wonderful that he was filled with wrath. What was with them fixed “principle,” he probably regarded as mere obstinacy, and he determined to punish them accordingly.
And the form of his visage was changed - As the face usually is when men become excited with anger. We may suppose that up to this point he had evinced self-control; “possibly” he may have shown something like tenderness or compassion. He was indisposed to punish them, and he hoped that they would save him from the necessity of it by complying with his commands. Now he saw that all hope of this was vain, and he gave unrestrained vent to his angry feelings.
He spake and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated - Chaldee, “Than it was sees to be heated;” that is, than it was ever seen. The word “seven” here is a perfect number, and the meaning is, that they should make it as hot as possible. He did not reflect probably that by this command he was contributing to shorten and abridge their sufferings. Wicked men, who are violently opposed to religion, often overdo the matter, and by their haste and impetuosity defeat the very end which they have in view, and even promote the very cause which they wish to destroy.
Nebuchadnezzar was not entirely free from the faults and follies into which an absolute monarch so easily runs. Intoxicated with unlimited power, he could not brook disobedience or contradiction. Let his expressed authority be resisted, on however good grounds, and he exhibits the weakness common to our fallen humanity under like circumstances, and flies into a passion. Ruler of the world, he was not equal to that still harder task of ruling his own spirit. And even the form of his visage was changed. Instead of the calm, dignified, self-possessed ruler that he should have appeared, he betrayed himself in look and act as the slave of ungovernable passion.DAR 81.3
The furnace was heated one seven times hotter than usual, in other words, to its utmost capacity. The king overreached himself in this; for even if the fire had been suffered to have its ordinary effect upon the ones he cast into the furnace, it would only have destroyed them the sooner. Nothing would have been gained by that means on the part of the king. But seeing they were delivered from it, much was gained on the part of the cause of God and his truth; for the more intense the heat, the greater and more impressive the miracle of being delivered from it. Every circumstance was calculated to show the direct power of God. They were bound in all their garment’s, but came out with not even the smell of fire upon them. The most mighty men in the army were chosen to cast them in. These the fire slew ere they came in contact with it; while on the Hebrews it had no effect, though they were in the very midst of its flames. It was evident that the fire was under the control of some supernatural intelligence; for while it had effect upon the cords with which they were bound, destroying them, so that they were free to walk about in the midst of the fire, it did not even singe their garments. They did not, as soon as free, spring out of the fire, but continued therein; for, first, the king had put them in, and it was his place to call them out; and secondly, the form of the fourth was with them, and in his presence they could be content and joyful, as well in the furnace of fire as in the delights and luxuries of the palace. Let us in all our trials, afflictions, persecutions, and straitened places, but have the “form of the fourth” with us, and it is enough.DAR 82.1
The king said, “And the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” This language is by some supposed to refer to Christ; but it is not likely that the king had any idea of the Saviour. A better rendering, according to good authorities, would be “like a son of the gods;” that is, he had the appearance of a supernatural, or divine being. Nebuchadnezzar subsequently called him an angel.DAR 83.1
What a scathing rebuke upon the king for his folly and madness was the deliverance of these worthies from the fiery furnace! A higher power than any on earth had vindicated those who stood firm against idolatry, and poured contempt on the worship and requirements of the king. None of the gods of the heathen ever had wrought such deliverance as that, nor were they able to do so.DAR 83.2
46. A Divine Revelation—Nebuchadnezzar felt that he could accept this interpretation as a divine revelation; for to Daniel had been revealed every detail of the dream. The solemn truths conveyed by the interpretation of this vision of the night made a deep impression on the sovereign's mind, and in humility and awe he “fell upon his face, and worshipped.” ... 4BC 1169.1
Nebuchadnezzar saw clearly the difference between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the most learned men of his kingdom (The Youth's Instructor, September 8, 1903). 4BC 1169.2
47. A Reflector of Light—Through the Hebrew captives the Lord was made known to the heathen in Babylon. This idolatrous nation was given a knowledge of the kingdom the Lord was to establish, and through His power maintain against all the power and craft of Satan. Daniel and his fellow-companions, Ezra and Nehemiah, and many others were witnesses for God in their captivity. The Lord scattered them among the kingdoms of the earth that their light might shine brightly amid the black darkness of heathenism and idolatry. To Daniel God revealed the light of His purposes, which had been hidden for many generations. He chose that Daniel should see in vision the light of His truth, and reflect this light on the proud kingdom of Babylon. On the despot king was permitted to flash light from the throne of God. Nebuchadnezzar was shown that the God of heaven was ruler over all the monarchs and kings of earth. His name was to go forth as the God over all gods. God desired Nebuchadnezzar to understand that the rulers of earthly kingdoms had a ruler in the heavens. God's faithfulness in rescuing the three captives from the flames and vindicating their course of action showed His wonderful power. 4BC 1169.3Read in context »
The worthies who refused to bow to the golden image were cast into a burning fiery furnace, but Christ was with them there, and the fire did not consume them.... 3SM 420.2Read in context »
The king declared to the three Hebrew youth, if “ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” The youth said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up....” (Daniel 3:15-19).... Those faithful youth were cast into the fire, but God manifested His power for the deliverance of His servants. One like unto the Son of God walked with them in the midst of the flame, and when they were brought forth, not even the smell of fire had passed on them.... HP 149.3Read in context »