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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 3

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Statue. It was the figure of a man, (Calmet) the dimensions 90 feet high and 9 broad (Worthington) being disproportionate; though a man might be represented on the pillar. Some take it for Nabolpolassar, (Calmet) or for the king himself. (St. Jerome) (Worthington) --- But he never complains of the injury shewn to his own person, and therefore it probably was meant for Bel, the chief god. (Chap. iv. 5. and xiv. 1.) This nation adored statues. (Baruch vi. 3.) The Persians worshipped only the elements. (Calmet) --- Ochus first set up the statue of the goddess Tanais or Anais. (Clem. Protr.) --- Dura. Septuagint: "enclosed." (St. Jerome) --- This happened towards the end of the king’s reign, (ver. 98, &c.) of course the three young men might be about fifty years old. (Calmet)

Verse 2

Nobles. Literally, "satraps," or, "the king’s domestics." (Septuagint in 1 Esdras viii. 36.) --- Judges, or "governors of provinces." (ib. Theodotion, &c.) --- Captains of the soothsayers. --- Rulers; "tyrants," here denoting treasurers. (Calmet) --- Governors. Literally, "the grandees who were in power;" (Haydock) counsellors. The original adds, (Calmet) Thopthia, (Haydock) "lawyers" and orators. The head of the Turkish religion is called muphti, from the root, (Calmet) peti, "to teach." (Haydock)

Verse 5

Symphony. This and several other terms seem taken from the Greek, though the scythara and sambuca came originally from Chaldea. (Calmet) --- Down. This and offering incense were sometimes considered as marks of idolatry; so being present at the sermons and churches of Protestants was a sign of joining in their communion, being required for that purpose. (Worthington)

Verse 8

Jews: the three children whom they viewed with a jealous eye. Daniel was too much exalted, or was absent with other Jews.

Verse 15

Hand? Proof of this king’s inconstancy, as he had witnessed the power of God!

Verse 18

He. Chaldee: "not" (Calmet) --- By this modest yet resolute answer, they testified their faith in God’s power, and their determination rather to suffer death (Worthington) than to go against their conscience. (Haydock) --- They were ignorant whether God would preserve them from the flames or not, (Worthington) as he is said to have rescued Abraham from a similar danger. (2 Esdras ix. 7.)

Verse 20

Strongest. Chaldee: "mighty in strength;" (Haydock) his own guards, the usual executioners.

Verse 21

Coats, or various coloured bandages for the thighs, used by men and women. Aquila and Th. retain the original term, Greek: Sarabarois. Chaldee: saraballa. (Calmet) --- Caps: "tiaras." (Haydock) --- The king alone wore them upright.

Verse 22

Slew. They were working still at the furnace, when it burst out and destroyed them, (Calmet) while the three Jews were praising God below. (Haydock) (ver. 46, 48.)

Verse 24

And, &c. "What follows I have not found in the Hebrew volumes." (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- Here St. Jerome takes notice, that from this verse to ver. 91 was not in the Hebrew in his time. But as it was in all the Greek Bibles, (which were originally translated from the Hebrew) it is more than probable that it had been formerly in the Hebrew; or rather in the Chaldaic, in which the Book of Daniel was written. But this is certain: that it is and has been of old, received by the Church, and read as canonical Scripture in her liturgy and divine offices. (Challoner) --- See the preface. (Worthington)

Verse 27

True; not fickle, and liable to change. (Calmet) --- Opera mutas non mutas consilium. (St. Augustine, Confessions i. 4.) --- Cappel. argues from this confession, that the piece is not divine, as they would rather have burst out into expressions of admiration, as they do in the canticle below. But they had done so already, (ver. 26) and make this confession, (Haydock) as Daniel does, Chap. ix.; reflecting, that if the nation had not transgressed, they would not thus have been exposed to the fury of the king. (Houbigant. v. 40.) (Haydock)

Verse 33

Thee. Pagans take occasion to vilify our religion.

Verse 34

Sake. This disinterested motive is often urged. (Joshua vii. 9. and 2 Machabees viii. 15.) (Calmet)

Verse 35

One. Moses used the like terms, and pacified God. (Exodus xxxii.) (Worthington)

Verse 38

Thee, in Jerusalem, (Haydock) or Judea. There were chiefs and judges, (Chap. xiii.) as well as prophets, (Ezechiel, &c.) among the captives. Yet the republic was in disorder. (Calmet) --- Sedecias was dead, Joakim in prison, so that no Jewish king ruled over the people; nor was there any prophet in the promised land, Jeremias being either dead or in Egypt. (Worthington) --- Prophets were at least very rare. (Menochius)

Verse 40

Sacrifice of ourselves. (Haydock) --- They knew not yet whether they would escape. When they beheld the angel they had greater confidence, and broke forth into a hymn of praise. (Houbigant.) --- They now offer all they can, a humble heart!

Verse 43

Name, by rescuing us, that all may confess thy power. (Calmet)

Verse 46

Brimstone. Literally, naphtha, (Haydock) or bitumen, which was very inflammable. --- Tow, besmeared with pitch. (Calmet) --- Dry (malleolis) "bundles" of sticks, or ropes, covered with pitch. (Haydock) --- Manipuli spartœi pice contecti. (Nonius.)

Verse 48

Furnace. These might be other victims, (Haydock) or he recapitulates what had been said ver. 22, (Calmet) which is by no means unusual, though Cappel. would hence reject the piece. (Houbigant.)

Verse 49


Furnace: so that it destroyed the Chaldeans, while it had no power to hurt God’s servants. The operation of the laws nature was thus only restrained. (Haydock)

Verse 53

Temple; heaven, styled the throne, ver. 54. The temple was now in ruins.

Verse 55

Depths, from whom nothing is hidden. --- Cherubims, as on thy chariot.

Verse 65

Spirits: winds. Angels and men are mentioned elsewhere. (Calmet) --- They rejoice that the angels always praise God, and wish that all would strive to imitate them. (Worthington)

Verse 67

Heat. Winter and summer. Some copies have, æstas. (Calmet)

Verse 72

Darkness. The privation of light has its use, and invites men to praise. (St. Augustine, de nat. Boni. 16.) (Worthington)

Verse 86

Souls, in a separate state. Angels are invited before. (Calmet)

Verse 88

Ananias, &c. They retain their Hebrew names, despising those imposed by the Chaldeans, with their impious manners. (Chap. i. 7.) The inanimate creation is invited to praise God in its way, (Psalm cxlviii.) as well as those endued with reason. The former never refuse obedience. (Haydock) --- Hell: the grave. (Calmet)

Verse 90

And ever. "Hitherto does not occur in Hebrew; and what we have written, is translated from the edition of Theodotion." (St. Jerome, ver. 24.)

Verse 91

Then hearing these praises, and seeing people walking in the fire. Grabe’s edition after ver. 24, has only, "And Nabuchodonosor heard them singing hymns, and was, " &c.

Verse 92

The son, or rather (Haydock) "a son;" Greek: nio. (Lowth’s Gram.) --- He supposed this was some angel or petty god, like Hercules. (Denis the Carthusian) --- It was the same angel who descended (Worthington) with them ver. 49. Some have taken him for Jesus Christ. But St. Augustine observes, that most of these apparitions were made by angels, (Trin. iii. 11.) who are often styled "sons of God." (Job i. 6.) (Tirinus; Calmet)

Verse 94

Smell, such as is felt when people, (Haydock) or their garments, come too near the fire. Pagans have sometimes walked through fire; but they first anointed their feet with certain preservatives, as Servius (in Virgil, Æneid xi.) remarks from Varro. (Calmet) --- Here the fire burnt only the bands, (ver. 23, 92.; Haydock) God making his creatures afford comfort to his servants, as was the case when the Goths attempted to burn St. Benedict. (St. Gregory, Dial. iii. 18.) (Worthington)

Verse 95

Changed, refusing to comply against their better knowledge. The force of reason extorts this concession from the wicked king. (Haydock)

Verse 96

Destroyed. Chaldee: "torn limb from limb, (Calmet) and their houses be made a dunghill." (Chap. ii. 5.) (Haydock) --- Manner. One would suppose that he was really converted; but his heart was not changed. (Chap. iv.) (Calmet)

Verse 97

Promoted. He granted them greater power: (Worthington) or Chaldee: "re-established" them in their former dignities. Rom. Gr.: "He elevated them in honour, and judged them worthy to rule over all the Jews in his kingdom." (Theod.)

Verse 98

Nabuchodonosor, &c. These three last verses are a kind of preface to the following chapter, which is written in the style of an epistle from the king. (Challoner) --- It was probably published in consequence of this miracle. Here the chapter might properly commence, (Calmet) as it does in Hebrew and Protestant Bibles. (Haydock)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Daniel 3". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/daniel-3.html. 1859.
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