Ratting Rats

The Chaldeans plot revenge.

Daniel 3 (2)

The Chaldeans, chafed and vengeful at being shown up by Daniel, are now lying in the bushes for him and his friends. We’re not sure where Daniel is in this chapter. Perhaps the Chaldeans considered it would be too obvious to go after him right away, or maybe he was just out of town. At any rate, they seized the opportunity to go after Daniel’s friends, and it doesn’t look good. But just as in the case of the sons of Haman, a near-contemporary of Daniel, evil designs have a way of blowing up in the faces of those who concoct them.

Read Esther 5.9-6.14.

Read Daniel 3.8-15.

Think it Through
1.  In ratting out Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, the Chaldeans were careful with their words. They wanted to create the maximum irritation and outrage. Notice how they quoted Nebuchadnezzar’s own words back to him (cf. vv. 10, 11 with vv. 4-6). Why? And just in case Nebuchadnezzar didn’t catch the implications of the Jews’ behavior, they spelled it out clearly in verse 12. The word you is used in verse 12 in ways designed to make the king doubly angry. Explain. What was the risk involved in provoking Nebuchadnezzar like this?

2.  The rats seem to have achieved their goal (v. 13). Nebuchadnezzar became furious, and he sent for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego to confirm the charge made against them. How can you tell in verse 14 that Nebuchadnezzar has taken this affront personally? Is this what the Chaldeans hoped to achieve? Nebuchadnezzar did not act on heresay alone. He gave Daniel’s friends an opportunity to show that there was no substance to the charges against them (v. 15). Look at the last part of verse 15. Compare this with Daniel 2.47. How highly did Nebuchadnezzar think of himself? In the light of what we see in Daniel 3.8-15, how should we regard Nebuchadnezzar’s profession in Daniel 2.47? Are Christians today confronted by any situations similar to this one? Explain.

“It is not just of old that Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold was set up or only then that he threatened Ananias, Azarias and Misael that he would throw them into the burning fiery furnace unless they worshiped it. Even now Nebuchadnezzar says the same thing to us, the true Hebrews in exile from our homeland. But as for us, let us imitate those holy men so that we may experience the heavenly dew that quenches every fire that arises in us and cools our governing mind.” Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)

“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”  Luke 12.11, 12

Fill me with Your Spirit for this day, Father, so that I may…

Pray Psalm 115.9-11.

Psalm 115.9-11 (Plainfield: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus)
All who trust in Jesus yield – ever to His Name be glory! -
find in Him their help and shield – ever to Your Name be glory!
O Israel, trust the Lord! He helps us evermore!
Fear Him obey His Word: Ever to Your Name be glory!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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