8. Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
8. Itaque statim, appropinquarunt viri Chaldaei, et vociferati sunt accusationem contra Iudaeos.
9. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.
9. Loquuti sunt, et dixerut Nebuchadnezer regi, Rex, in aeternum vive.
10. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
10. Tu, rex, posuisti edictum, ut omnis homo cum audiret vocem cornu, vel, tuboe, fistulae, citharae, sambucae, psalterii, et symphoniae, et omnium instrumentorum musices, procideret, et adoraret imaginem auream.
11. And who so falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
11. Et qui non prociderit, et adoraverit, projiciatur in medium, vel, intra, fornacem ignis ardentis.
12. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
12. Sunt viri Iudaei, quos ipsos posuisti, id est, proefecisti, super administrationem, vel, opus, provineiae Babylonis, Sadrach, Mesach, et Abednego, viri isti non posuerunt ad to, rex, cogitationem deum tuum non colunt, et imaginem auream quam tu erexisti non adorant.
Although their intention is not here expressed who accused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, yet we gather from this event that the thing was most probably done on purpose when the king set up the golden image. We see how they were observed, and, as we said yesterday, Nebuchadnezzar seems to have followed the common practice of kings. For although they proudly despise God, yet they arm themselves with religion to strengthen their power, and pretend to encourage the worship of God for the single purpose of retaining the people in obedience. When, therefore, the Jews were mingled with Chaldeans and Assyrians, the king expected to meet with many differences of opinion, and so he placed the statue in a celebrated place by way of trial and experiment, whether the Jews would adopt the Babylonian rites. Meanwhile this passage teaches us how the king was probably instigated by his counselors, as they were indignant at strangers being made prefects of the province of Babylon while they were slaves; for they had become exiles by the right of warfare. Since then the Chaldeans were indignant, they were impelled by envy to suggest this advice to the king. For how did they so suddenly discover that the Jews paid no reverence to the statue, and especially Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Truly, the thing speaks for itself. These men watched to see what the Jews would do and hence we readily ascertain how they, from the beginning, laid the snare by advising the king to fabricate the statue. And when they tumultuously accuse the Jews, we perceive how they were filled with envy and hatred. It may be said, they were inflamed with jealousy, since superstitious men wish to impose the same law upon all, and then their passion is increased by cruelty. But simple rivalry, as we may perceive, corrupted the Chaldeans, and caused them clamorously to accuse the Jews.
It is uncertain whether they spoke of the whole nation generally, namely, of all the exiles, or pointed out those three persons only. The accusation was probably restricted to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. If these three could be broken down, the victory over the rest was easy. But few could be found in the whole people hardy enough to resist. We may well believe these clamorers wished to attack those whom they knew to be spirited and consistent beyond all others, and also to degrade them from those honors which they could not bear them to enjoy. It may be asked, then, why did they spare Daniel, since he would never consent to dissemble by worshipping the statue which the king commanded to be set up? They must have let Daniel alone for the time, since they knew him to be in favor wig the king; but they brought the charge against these three, because they could be oppressed with far less trouble. I think them to have been induced by this cunning in not naming Daniel with the other three, lest his favor should mitigate the king's wrath. The form of accusation is added -- O king, live for ever! It was the common salutation. Thou, O king! -- this is emphatic, as if they had said, |Thou hast uttered this edict from thy royal authority, whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, or horn, harp, pipe, psaltery, and other musical instruments, shall fall down before the golden statue; whoever should refuse to do this should be cast into the burning fiery furnace. But here are some Jews whom thou hast set over the administration of the province of Babylon They add this through hatred, and through reproving the ingratitude of men admitted to such high honor and yet despising the king's authority, and inducing others to follow the same example of disrespect. We see then how this was said to magnify their crime. The king has set them over the province of Babylon, and yet these men do not adore the golden image nor worship the gods. Here is the crime. We see how the Chaldeans, throughout the whole speech, condemn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego of this single crime -- a refusal to obey the king's edict. They enter into no dispute about their own religion, for it would not have suited their purpose to allow any question to be raised as to the claim their own deities had to supreme adoration. They omit, therefore, everything which they perceive would not suit them, and seize upon this weapon -- the king is treated with contempt, because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego do not worship the image as the king's edict ordered them to do.
Here, again, we see how the superstitious do not apply their minds to the real inquiry how they should piously and properly worship God; but they neglect this duty and follow their own audacity and lust. Since therefore the Holy Spirit sets before us such rashness, as in a mirror, let us learn. that God cannot approve of our worship unless it be offered. up with truth. Here human authority is utterly unavailing, because unless we are sure that our religion is pleasing to. God, whatever man can do for us will only add to our weakness. While we observe those holy men charged with the crime of ingratitude and rebellion, we in these times ought not to be grieved by it. Those who calumniate us reproach us with despising the edicts of kings who wish to bind us by their errors; but, as we shall see by and bye, our defense is obvious and easy. Meanwhile we ought to undergo this infamy before the world, as if we were disobedient and unmanageable; and with respect to ingratitude, even if a thousand wicked men should lead us with reproaches, we must bear their calumnies for the time patiently, until the Lord shall shine upon us as the assertor of our innocence. It now follows, --