BOOK OF DANIEL – Temper Tantrums

Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Temper Tantrums

Temper Tantrums.

I gave today’s blog the title “Temper Tantrums” for good reason. Have you noticed during our readings so far in the book of Daniel that when Nebuchadnezzar didn’t get his way he immediately flew off in a rage? He was, indeed, a hot-tempered individual. I wonder if he expressed such tantrums as a child. He evidently expressed them as an adult. In fact, in our modern world, there is even a name for an adult who throws a tantrum [another term is “pitching a fit”]. Such an individual may be suffering from a condition called intermittent explosive disorder. One psychiatrist states that people who have this disorder cause a lot of suffering. Not only do they suffer themselves but they ensure a lot of other people suffer due to being subjected to such aggression. No doubt when we read our passage today we see Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction to the three young Hebrew’s refusal to carry out his command affect not only them but several others. We are told in Daniel 3:19-23, “Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. He commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire. Then these men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. For this reason, because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.” (NASB)

When we read the text we see how Nebuchadnezzar lost all control in a matter of seconds. He was filled with wrath, so much so that his facial expression was altered. We can all relate to a person’s facial expression that changes from a normal countenance to a face contorted with anger. This is what is meant by Nebuchadnezzar’s facial expression being “altered” due to his extreme anger toward the three young Hebrew’s. His hot-headed anger was not rational either. Quickly following his angry outburst he composes himself enough to order the furnace to be increased in heat seven times its normal temperature. However, a much hotter fire would have caused less suffering as it would incinerate a body far quicker on impact than that of a slow or cooler fire which would likely cause enough time for a person to suffer longer as the fire took hold of its victim. In this regard, Nebuchadnezzar’s anger caused him to not even think straight if his plan was to make the Hebrews suffer more for their disobedience.

The NASB uses the term “trousers” in the passage which is clearly not the same design that we consider are trousers today. The original text mentions slippers; tunics; turbans and “other clothes”. When one looks at the root word for all of these items we only see the descriptions of a cloak or coat as well as a gown and hat. There is no specific meaning to this particular portion of the passage other than that the three young men were bound fully clothed as opposed to being stripped for execution. In fact, we are told why they remained fully clothed in the next sentence. The king’s command was urgent and the furnace had already reached the new required temperature ordered by the king.

The fact that Nebuchadnezzar chose his valiant men, who are termed his “mighty men” in the original text, seems strange. Why choose his elite soldiers for such a task? Some suggest it was to show his own personal strength against the young men. It may also have been a sign to anyone else who thought about rebelling that they would be dealt with by the mightiest of his troops. Sadly, for those who bound the three Hebrew’s up, all they got out of this was that they, themselves, perished as they brought the young men closer to the furnace. Now if the furnace slew these mighty men of the king’s army who were carrying the young Hebrew’s up toward the furnace, why didn’t the young men perish with them? They were exposed to the same heat. The only answer is God’s providence protected them. Had Nebuchadnezzar realized this, he would have known, there and then, that he was about to receive a lesson in humility from God Himself. But God had not finished the lesson for it was a lesson that would astound those in attendance and which is talked about even today. Before that lesson occurs Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are thrown into the fiery furnace. In our next blog we see what occurs next that astounds Nebuchadnezzar causing him to jump to his feet.