The Fiery Furnace
Nebuchadnezzar, the king, made an image of gold and set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. He then gathered together the princes and governors, the captains and all the rulers of the province to come to the dedication of the image which he had set up.
When they had come together a herald cried out aloud: "It is commanded that when you hear the sound of music you shall fall down and worship the golden image that the king has set up.
"Whoever does not fall down and worship the image shall be cast into a fiery furnace."
When the people heard this order and heard the music, they at once fell down and worshiped the image according to the words of Nebuchadnezzar. There were those who came to Nebuchadnezzar and said to him: "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have not regarded your orders and they did not bow down and worship the golden image which you have set up."
Nebuchadnezzar was in a rage and fury when he heard this and commanded the three young Jews to be brought before him. When they came, he asked them: "Is it true that you do not serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? If it is true and if you worship not the image you shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace and then we will see whether your God shall deliver you out of my hands."
The three young men were not alarmed at this threat of the king and replied to him: "We shall not bow down to the image which you have set up and if you cast us into the burning fiery furnace our God is able to deliver us."
Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury at this defiance of the young Jews and gave orders to his officers that they should heat the furnace seven times hotter than it was ordinarily heated. He then commanded his men to bind Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego and cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
So the three young Jews were bound in their coats, their stockings and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace that was so exceedingly hot that the flame of fire killed the men that cast Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego into the furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar stood where he could see the three men cast into the furnace. To his surprise, instead of three, he saw four men in the furnace. He rose up in haste and said to his counsellors: "Did we not cast three men into the midst of the fire?" and the counsellors told him that only three men had been bound.
"I saw four men loose and walking in the midst of the fire and they received no harm. I saw the three young Jews but the fourth is like the Son of God," said Nebuchadnezzar to those around him.
The king then came as near to the mouth of the burning, fiery furnace as he could and called out: "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, you are servants of the most high God, come out of the furnace for I see that the fire does you no harm." Then the three young men came out of the midst of the fire.
The princes, governors and captains gathered around the young men in great astonishment and saw that the fire had had no power over their bodies nor was a hair of their heads singed nor were their coats changed nor was the smell of fire upon them anywhere.
The king approached the young men and said: "Blessed be the God of Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants out of the fire that they might not worship any gods except their own God."
Nebuchadnezzar then made a decree that any one who spoke anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego, should be cut in pieces and their houses should be destroyed. Then he promoted them into the province of Babylon and did them great honor.