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Daniel 3:9

ESV They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!
NIV They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, 'May the king live forever!
NASB They began to speak and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king: 'O king, live forever!
CSB They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "May the king live forever.
NLT They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, 'Long live the king!
KJV They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.

What does Daniel 3:9 mean?

Astrologers from king Nebuchadnezzar's court are accusing Jews captured from Judah and forced to serve as advisors (Daniel 1:6–7; 3:8). As a whole their group failed to interpret the king's dream (Daniel 2:8–11), and only survived because of God's miraculous intervention through Daniel (Daniel 2:17–19). In response, the king appointed the Hebrew men to important roles (Daniel 2:48–49). This seems to have inspired jealousy in the court astrologers (Daniel 3:12). When the king orders everyone to worship an idol, on pain of death, the bitter Chaldeans see an opportunity to harass the Jewish captives (Daniel 3:1–7). They will accuse three of the men of defying the royal order.

The Chaldean accusers flatter Nebuchadnezzar before spelling out the details of their accusation. The book of Daniel makes it clear that Nebuchadnezzar had a huge ego—he was extremely impressed by himself. Yet, the greeting used here was common for rulers of the ancient middle east (1 Kings 1:31; Nehemiah 2:3; Daniel 2:4; 6:21). In that era, it was commonly believed that long life was a special blessing and a sign of divine approval. The Chaldeans' expression implied that they wanted Nebuchadnezzar to enjoy a long, happy life. Scripture indicates that longevity can be one of the benefits associated with obedience to the Lord's commands. One of the Ten Commandments includes such a remark (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2–3).
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