Nebuchadnezzar had a gold statue made
1 King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his men to make a gold statue. It was ◄90 feet/27 meters► high and ◄9 feet/2.7 meters► wide. They set it up in the Dura plain in Babylon province.
2 Then he sent messages to all the provincial governors, the district governors, the chief advisors, the counselors, the various judges, and all the other officials in the province. He told them to come to the dedication of the statue that he had set up.
3 When they all arrived, they all stood in front of that statue.
4 Then an announcer shouted, “You people who come from many countries and many people-groups and who speak many languages, listen to what the king has commanded!
5 When you hear the sounds made by the trumpets, the flutes, the guitars, the harps, the wind instruments, and all the other musical instruments, bow down to worship King Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue.
6 Anyone who refuses to do that will be thrown into a blazing furnace!”
7 So when all those people who had gathered heard the sounds made by the musical instruments, they all bowed down to worship the statue.
8 But some of the men who studied the stars went to the king.
9 They reported to him, “We hope that you, O king, will live a long time!
10 You decreed that all the officials whom you had gathered should bow down and worship the gold statue when they heard the sounds made by the musical instruments.
11 You also decreed that those who refused to do that would be thrown into a blazing furnace.
12 Sir, there are some men from Judah whom you have appointed to be officials in Babylon province who have not obeyed your decree. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They have refused to worship your god and the gold statue that you have set up.”
13 Nebuchadnezzar became very angry. He commanded his soldiers to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When they were brought to him,
14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true that you three men have refused to worship my gods or the gold statue that I have set up?
15 If that is true, I will give you one more chance. If you bow down to worship the statue that I have set up when you hear the sounds of the musical instruments, fine. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. Then ◄what god will be able to rescue you from my power?/no god will be able to rescue you from my power!►” [RHQ]
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend our actions to you in this matter.
17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we worship is able to rescue us. Sir, he will rescue us from your power.
18 But even if he does not rescue us, you need to know that we will never worship your gods or the gold statue that you have set up.”
19 Nebuchadnezzar was extremely angry. His being very angry even showed on his face. He commanded that the furnace should be made seven times as hot as usual.
20 After that was done , he commanded some of the very strong men of his army to tie Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and then to throw them into the blazing furnace.
21 So the soldiers tied them up and threw them into the furnace, while they were wearing their clothes.
22 Because the fire had been made very hot because the king had very strongly ordered them to do that, the flames leaped out and killed the soldiers as they were throwing the men into the fire!
23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into the roaring flames.
24 But as Nebuchadnezzar was watching, he was amazed. He suddenly jumped up and shouted to his advisors, “Did we tie up three men and throw them into the flames, or not?”
They replied, “Yes, O king, we did.”
25 Nebuchadnezzar shouted, “ Look! I see four men in the fire! They have no ropes on them, they are walking around, and the flames are not hurting them! And the fourth man looks like a divine being!”
26 Nebuchadnezzar came closer to the opening of the flaming furnace, and he shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you who worship the Supreme God, come out of there! Come here!” So they stepped out of the fire.
27 Then all the king's officials crowded around them. They saw that the flames had not harmed them. The flames had not even singed any of the hair on their heads or scorched any of their clothes! There was not even any smell of smoke on them!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God whom Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego worship ! He sent one of his angels to rescue these three men who worship him and trust in him. They ignored my command; they insisted that they would worship only their God, and were willing to die instead of worshiping any other god.
29 Therefore, I am now making this decree: ‘If any people, from any country or people-group or any language group, criticize the God whom Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego worship, they will be cut in pieces and their houses will be torn down and made into a pile of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue people like this!’ ”
30 Then the king gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego more important positions in Babylon province than they had before.