Online Bible Commentary
Daniel 2:46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. 47 The king answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret." 48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. 3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald cried aloud: "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." 7 So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. (NKJV)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream that he could not remember. The dream troubled his soul such that he sought out his wise men and royal officials to tell him this dream and interpret it for him. Daniel was given this information from God in a vision and Daniel has now told the king of his dream and interpreted it for him.
Even though Daniel credited God for revealing the dream to him, the king worshiped Daniel like he would worship one of his gods by bowing to him and offering gifts and incense (v. 46). He acknowledged that “your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets”, but still did not acknowledge that He is the only God (v. 47). He gave gifts to Daniel and promoted him to ruler over Babylon and over the royal officials and wise men of Babylon (v. 48). The royal officials included many of Daniel’s countrymen from Judah, such as his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
Daniel requested the king to appoint these three friends “over the affairs” of Babylon and the king granted his request (v. 49a). Daniel meanwhile “sat in the gate of the king” as the ruler over Babylon (v. 49b).
Next, we see that the king has erected a statue, likely of one of his gods. The statue was about ninety feet tall, nine feet wide, and covered with gold from head to toe (v. 1). He did this probably because of his dream. In the dream, the king was represented only by the golden head of a manlike statue. The rest of the statue, made from other materials, represented other kingdoms that would succeed him. He likely wanted to make the point that his kingdom would never be defeated, thus making the statue entirely of gold.
The king then ordered all the officials of Babylon to come to the dedication of the statue (v. 2). The officials were ordered to bow down and worship the statue upon the sound of music (vv. 3-5). Those who refused to worship the king’s statue would “be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (v. 6). Then, upon the sound of the music, it appeared that all those present bowed down and worshiped the statue (v. 7).
Daniel was not present because he stayed back in the city to tend to his duties, since all the other officials had been called to the dedication. However, his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and the other Jews, were in attendance. They were faced with a predicament. As Jews, they were not to worship idols. But they faced the fiery furnace if they did not.
As Christians, we are faced with decisions everyday to sin or not to sin. Often, we are penalized by society for not joining in with those who sin. For example, in the U.S. today we can be fined or imprisoned for not joining in celebrations of the sin of homosexual marriage. The price for refusing to join in with those who sin can be great.
However, the reward for refusing to join in with those who sin is much greater. The reward is that of knowing that we have pleased our God. Also, we are rewarded in Heaven for the good that we do in this life. It is credited to our account for good when we refuse to participate in sin. These Heavenly rewards far outweigh any earthly benefits of joining in sin.