What does Daniel 3:8 mean?
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.
NKJV: Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.
Verse Commentary:
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.'"
Verse Context:
Daniel 3:8–18 records an accusation, a confrontation, and a confession. Daniel's three friends (Daniel 1:6–7) are reported to the king by jealous advisors who claim the Jewish men refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar's golden image (Daniel 3:1, 4–5). The king offers them an opportunity to disprove the charge, or at least to change their minds. Instead, the three faithful men admit they have not and will not compromise their faith in the One True God. Whether they live or die, they will not worship the false gods of Babylon. This passage is part of the Scriptures recorded in Aramaic (Daniel 2:4—7:28).
Chapter Summary:
Nebuchadnezzar builds a golden idol, possibly inspired by the explanation of his own dream (Daniel 2:36–38). He commands all people to worship it, at a given musical signal, on pain of death. Three Hebrew men openly defy this command and are thrown into a superheated furnace. To his shock, the king sees a supernatural figure with the still-living Israelites. Not only do they survive, but their clothes aren't singed nor even smelling like smoke. The king praises their faith, and their God, commanding that no one speak ill of the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of Daniel explained how four captive Israelite boys became respected advisors to a Babylonian king. Chapter 2 showed these men praying for divine wisdom to untangle that same king's dream. These events set the stage for this chapter and the famous trio of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The men refuse to bow to an idol and are rescued from fiery death by God. This is the last mention of these men in Scripture, as focus shifts back to Babylon's kings and the prophet Daniel.
Book Summary:
The book of Daniel contains famous Old Testament stories and prophecies. Daniel was taken from the Israelite people and made an advisor for a conquering empire. He demonstrates faithfulness and wisdom during many years serving in this role. Though Daniel does not deliver a public message, Jesus refers to him as a "prophet" (Matthew 24:15). The first portion of the book mostly describes Daniel's interpretations of dreams and other events. The second portion looks ahead to the end times. Daniel is classified in English Bibles as a "major" prophet, meaning the book is relatively long and the content has broad implications. The book of Revelation echoes and expands on many of the same themes.
Accessed 5/30/2024 5:00:41 AM
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