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Verse

Daniel 3:2

ESV Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
NIV He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up.
NASB Nebuchadnezzar the king also sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the chief treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the administrators of the provinces to come to the dedication of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
CSB King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the rulers of the provinces to attend the dedication of the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
NLT Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up.
KJV Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

What does Daniel 3:2 mean?

Nebuchadnezzar arranged for officials from his entire empire to gather for the dedication of his golden image (Daniel 3:1). This object may have been inspired by the king's pride at being the golden head of his own dream, as interpreted by Daniel (Daniel 2:36–38). As with many state-ordered gatherings, this was to emphasize the ruler's power and authority. In the same way, the golden image was probably created to symbolize the supremacy of Babylon and its king. Bowing before the image (Daniel 3:5) would symbolize total submission to the nation of Babylon, its gods, and its ruler.

The same titles for Babylonian officials are repeated multiple times in this passage. This repetition, itself, serves a literary purpose. The king's edict (Daniel 3:4–7) will be all-encompassing and detailed. By repeating detailed lists over and over, Daniel evokes the exhausting bureaucracy of Nebuchadnezzar's dictatorship. The same technique is used with the instruments being played (Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15) and more than a dozen times with the names of three Hebrew men (Daniel 3:12–14, 16, 19–20, 22–23, 26, 28–30).

In addition, the described positions seem to overlap. Rather than this being a detailed list of the groups invited, it may be a statement that Nebuchadnezzar summoned all high officials from the entire country to attend the event. Zedekiah, King of Judah, may have been summoned to Babylon for the dedication of the golden image (Jeremiah 51:59).

"Satraps" were Nebuchadnezzar's chief representatives over a given region, something like supreme governors. "Prefects" commanded military units. "Governors" may have been leaders of civil government, or lower-powered versions of satraps. The counselors were lawyers or guardians of the law. Treasurers were responsible for the public finances. The justices administered the law. Magistrates pronounced sentences on violators of the law. The officials served under the chief governors of the provinces and included all who served Nebuchadnezzar in an official capacity.

A notable name missing from this list is Daniel (Daniel 2:46–49). It may be that he was exempt, due to his other duties. Or, that he was out of the country at the time on some political mission. Another possibility is that Daniel was there and reacted in the same way as his Hebrew friends (Daniel 3:12), yet his enemies were afraid to challenge him at that time, after his miraculous interpretation of the king's dream.
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