Neb is the king. He already has the authority over Babylon and those he
has captured — Jews and who knows who else. (Just a reminder: we are
in the third chapter of Daniel.)
Now he has a huge idol created
– approximately 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide, made of gold. Wow –
wonder how much that would weigh?
He has the idol put out in
this big open space outdoors, and has all the leaders of all his people
and all the captured people congregate there where the idol is, along
with a huge ensemble of musicians.
Then he has his best public
speaker, I suppose, give the order that the music will start, and when
the music starts, everyone out there is to hit the deck and worship
this idol. Now, the fact that he wants these folks to worship something
is not out of the ordinary in and of itself. What is unusual is:
He commands this. He doesn’t suggest it, or say that it would be a good
idea. He makes it a command. The command of one’s king is not to be
disobeyed without expecting some sort of punishment in response.
He doesn’t give them a reason for worshiping. Whether the idol was
recognizable to any of the people out there is certainly up for
discussion, but it is very likely that many of them would be
unfamiliar, because included in this group are those who were captured
from Judah – Jews. They knew about worshiping idols, but they knew that
it was a no-no.
3. He enforces his command with a death threat. And
not just a death threat, but a horrible threat… getting burned alive.
Immediately. "Within the hour" is the apparent meaning of the original
Why does he do this? Three possible reasons come to mind:
1. He really doesn’t care about the idol per se… he sees the worship as worship of him.
If the idol represents some entity other than himself, then perhaps he
feels obligated to do this, out of fear or some other motivation
(regardless of the worthiness of that entity to be worshipped).
3. He sees the idol as representing something other than himself that *should* be worshipped.
us assume the best, and assume that the third option is true. Given
that assumption, what do we learn from this passage? Next time…