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Daniel 3:8

ESV Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews.
NIV At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews.
NASB For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews.
CSB Some Chaldeans took this occasion to come forward and maliciously accuse the Jews.
NLT But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews.
KJV Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

What does Daniel 3:8 mean?

When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah (Daniel 1:1–2), he took children from noble families to become advisors to his court (Daniel 1:3–5). Four of these Hebrew captives were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They would be renamed Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 1:6–7). When the king's magicians failed to interpret his dream (Daniel 2:1–3, 8–12), an answer came only after these men prayed to the God of Israel (Daniel 2:17–19). Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he gave the Israelite captives great power and prestige (Daniel 2:46–49).

Also in response to the dream, it seems, Nebuchadnezzar built a huge idol and commanded his entire nation to worship it (Daniel 3:1–7). As Jews, the four captive Israelites stood out from the Chaldeans as men who worshiped one God, the true God, instead of numerous false gods. While these men were known for skill (Daniel 1:17–20), they were also passionately faithful to this truth (Daniel 1:8–16). They refused the king's request, regardless of threats (Daniel 3:16–18).

The term "Chaldean" refers both to a culture and to a profession. The Chaldean people were so associated with divination and astrology that such experts were generically referred to as "Chaldeans." These men had failed to meet the king's earlier challenge (Daniel 2:10–11), over which at least some had probably been killed (Daniel 2:12–13). Rather than making them grateful for surviving, the ordeal seems to have prompted them to become bitter and jealous.

The Aramaic phrasing used here for the accusation literally refers to devouring something. As a figure of speech, it means destructive, hateful slander. It's possible the accusers didn't know that the faithful Hebrews had, in fact, disobeyed (Daniel 3:12), and they simply wanted to bully and harass them. In modern speech, "slander" is usually reserved for words which are provably false. The same is usually true in Scripture, though here the focus is more on intent. These Babylonian men are motivated by spite and hatred, not loyalty or moral principles. They act for no other reason than malice—whether their words are true, or false, they are still "slander" because of that motivation.

This incident also proves that the evil of antisemitism has a long, sordid history. It can take many forms, from subtle bias to personal vendettas such as this incident. It can even come as a wide effort to exterminate Jewish people (Esther 3:6). However, God has always had a faithful remnant. Even in the future tribulation, a corps of saved Jews will refuse to worship the image that the false prophet sets up in the temple. Many will suffer martyrdom while others will survive the Antichrist's wrath. Romans 11:26–27 promises, "All Israel [some from every tribe of Israel] will be saved, as it is written, 'The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob': 'and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.'"
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