The Fiery Furnace
Daniel 1:1 to 3:30
1:1 The Lord allowed King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to conquer Judah and take the Jewish people captive. King Neb called his number one chief castrated slave and told him to pick some of the brighter Jews to come live in the palace and learn to speak the local language. One of them was Daniel. The king supplied some meaty snacks for the new recruits but Daniel refused to eat the meat because well, you know, he was a Jew.
Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the chief eunuch. The chief eunuch lacked huevos in more ways than one and he greatly feared the risk of royal wrath over Daniel’s refusal to munch the free nosh. So Daniel suggested a simple dietary experiment. Some folks would eat the king's meat and some would opt for something more kosher. Over time the experiment showed that those who didn't partake of the goy-steak became physically healthier.
After the course in Babylonian 101 the students were brought before the king and his favorites of the whole class were Daniel and three others. The king gave them each A+ and he thought them wiser than even his own magicians, astrologers, and other respected scam artists.
2:1 King Neb had a very disturbing dream. He could not recall the dream when he awoke but he was sure it was disturbing so he demanded his wise men interpret it anyway, even though he provided no description. They considered his request impossible but Neb considered this sort of thing to be as routine as any of the other pseudoscience crap they fed him on a daily basis. So Neb threatened to kill them all.
Meanwhile the unknown dream was revealed to Daniel by God himself. Daniel went to the king. He said that the king had dreamed of a big statue of one of those composite monster creatures, like maybe part eagle and part lion etc., but this one had partly broken feet of clay. Daniel explained that this meant that there would be a multi-ethnic composite kingdom that is partly strong and partly weak.
The king was quite impressed and he honored Daniel by promoting him to VIPOTBC (Very Important Person Of The Babylonian Court).
3:1 King Neb had a huge statue of himself created and put on public display. Everyone was ordered to come to the big unveiling celebration and to bow down and honor the statue as a tribute to the king’s huge ego. As an added incentive, anyone who refused to bow down was to be thrown into a burning furnace.
Certain Jews were accused of not bowing down and showing proper respect to the awesome statue of King Neb. In response, the king had his troops crank up the thermostat of the furnace to seven times hotter than the normal range of comfort. Three of Daniel's Jewish buddies were arrested and thrown into the furnace and it was so hot that the troops that threw them in died just from getting too close to the door. But the three Jews thrown in the furnace were totally unaffected by the heat. Their names were Sadsack, Meslap, and Tobedwego, or so they were dubbed by many mocking Mesopotamian middle schoolers.
The three fire-proof Jews were standing around in the furnace like it was just another lovely cool spring morning. But that wasn't even the weirdest part. They seemed to have a mysterious fourth person who magically appeared in there with them thus allowing for a proper game of bridge. The new guy looked like one of the sons of God, according to those who had never seen any sons of God.
Under the circumstances it seemed only logical that the Jews be ordered released from the furnace. They didn't even have the smell of smoke on their clothes. King Neb immediately declared that anyone badmouthing the Jewish God would be cut into little pieces and that their house would be turned into a shit pile. Obviously nobody wants to be cut into little pieces and have their house turned into a shit pile. Maybe Neb should have used this threat in the first place instead of the fiery furnace.
3:30 The King gave the surviving Jews new jobs and a pay raise but not the guy who looked like one of the sons of God because he disappeared, poof, gone like a mirage, as if he never even actually existed. Besides, what do you get for a guy like that anyway? Maybe a brass trophy cup, or an honorary certificate of achievement.
Next: Don't Eat Me Bro
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