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THE BURNING FIERY FURNACE.
the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well : but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. And these three men Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, “ Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said unto the king, “ True, O king." He answered and said, “ Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the son of God.” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, “ Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel and delivered his servants that trusted in him, that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, “That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces; because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.'”
The Story of Daniel in the Lion's Den.
(From the 6th Chapter of Daniel.)
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him ; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom ; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, “ We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, “ King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, 'that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.' Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.” Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; “Hast thou not signed a decree that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions ?” The king answered and said, “ The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.” Then answered they, and said before the king, “That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.” Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, “Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, “ That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may
DANIEL IN THE LION'S DEN.
be changed.” Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting : neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel : and the king spake and said to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions ?” Then said Daniel unto the king, “O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me : forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.