3.3.26 - Daniel 3:26 the mouth of the burning furnace
The mouth of the burning furnace refers to the ground-level opening, through which those in the furnace could be seen. See the discussion concerning the furnace in Daniel 3:6. Most High God
Most High God is אֱלָהָא עִלָּיא [ʾělāhā ʿillâʾ] . Elsewhere in Scripture, this phrase is a declaration of God as the only true God, in contrast to lesser gods that are not gods at all.1 In the mouth of Nebuchadnezzar, it merely means: “the highest of the gods” among the numerous gods recognized by Babylon’s pagan culture.2 Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration seems laudable and convincing. After all, he witnessed an incredible miracle by the God of the Jews. Yet Scripture bears ample witness that miracles are not sufficient, in themselves, to turn a person toward God (Num. 14:11; Deu. 29:2; Ps. 95:9; 106:13; Mat. 16:1; 27:42; Mark 8:11-12; Luke 16:31; John 12:37). As was the case in the previous chapter, the additional revelation of God provided to Nebuchadnezzar in this chapter proves insufficient to bring him to faith. Further humbling and trials await him in Daniel 4.
The king believes that Jehovah has distinguished Himself and displayed power that is greater than any other god was capable of displaying; but it does not even remotely occur to the king to consider Him the only true God and all others mere creations of human fancy.3
This address does not go beyond the circle of heathen ideas. He does not call the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the only true God, but only the most high God, the chief of the gods, just as the Greeks called their Zeus ὀ ὕψιστος θεός [o hypsistos theos] .4
One wonders how long the men would have remained in the furnace if Nebuchadnezzar had not beckoned them to come out? The protection afforded by God was so comprehensive they were completely comfortable in the midst of the flames! “They had no desire to leave the ‘Furnace,’ for they had therein the companionship of the ‘Son of God,’ and they would rather be in the ‘Furnace’ with the ‘Son of God’ than in the Palace with the king.”5
1 A Jewish translation renders servants of the Most High God as “servants of the Supreme God”—Scherman, ed., Tanach (New York, NY: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 2001), Dan. 3:25.. Concerning God being Most High: Gen. 14:18-20, 22; Num. 24:16; Ps. 46:4; 50:14; 57:2; 73:11; 78:35, 56; 107:11; Dan. 3:26+; 4:2+; 5:18+, 21+; Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28; Acts 16:17; Heb. 7:1.
2 “The title God Most High (Dan. 3:26+) . . . For a pagan, it would denote only the highest among many gods . . .”—John E. Goldingay, “Daniel,” vol. 30 in Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker, eds., Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word Books), 71-72.
3 H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1949, 1969), Dan. 3:28-29.
4 Carl Friedrich Keil, “Daniel,” in Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 9:575.
5 Clarence Larkin, The Book of Daniel (Glenside, PA: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1929), Dan. 3:25.
Copyright © 2008-2014 by Tony Garland
(Content generated on Sat Mar 8 10:56:02 2014)