1 [Nevuchadnetzar] the king made an image [tzelem] of gold, whose height was 60 cubits, and the breadth thereof 6 cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
Whilst recognising that Daniel had correctly interpreted his dream, and though honouring the God who had revealed this to the prophet, the King decides to attempt to defeat the Divine intention as shown by the interpretation of his dream and perpetually establish the glory of his Kingdom by compelling his subjects to worship an external symbol of the religious power of Babylon.
He had been told that the gold of the Image represented his dynastic power (Ch. 2:37-38), and so the image erected was all of that metal, though its shape is not revealed. The word used, tselein signifies "a figure" without revealing its shape. Most likely it was similar in shape to the Image of composite metals, though made entirely of gold.
The word in the original is derived from a root signifying a shade, or shadow, then that which shadows forth anything, such as an idol representing the god worshipped. This image probably was set up to shadow forth the glory and permanence of human, Babylonish rule.
The Christadelphian Expositor
12 There are certain Jews [Yehudim] 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 [tzelem] which thou hast set up.
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil (Ex 23:2)
It illustrates the form of trials of which God's servants in all ages are subjected - pressure to conform and to give reverence to man-made objects of worship. Even today, in times of national danger, brethren have been faced with the same issues and the same hazards.
Patriotism and side-worship can become a frenzied cult in time of war, and we must be prepared, if necessary, to face this danger and test with meekness and restraint, but still inflexible determination to keep a clear and faithful allegiance to God alone, with our windows wide open to worship Him.
This test will also face us in many subtle and disguised ways. The world is full of things and principles, and men will try to pressure us to conform and, in a sense, to worship them.
Let us remember the inspiring example of Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. Our God is able (verse 17) to deliver us, even though it be not His will at this time to work a miracle on our behalf.
*Daniel, The Man Greatly Beloved
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar [Nevuchadnetzar] in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar [Nevuchadnetzar ] spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image [tzelem] which I have set up?
Faithful me 'dig in their heels' steadfast and immoveable when Yahweh's honour is questioned -
'We ought to obey God rather than men'.
These examples of individual courage and faith shine forth during some of Israel's darkest years. Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, his three companions, Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. Out of the deep shadow of the captivity period, these names appear as scattered beacons of faithful endurance.
For the most part, these men worked out their course alone, surrounded by bitter hostility. The support and comfort of companionship was denied them.
Bro Growcott - The Hand of Our God Is Upon Us
17 If it be so, our Elahh whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
The world is full of things and principles, and men will try to pressure us to conform and, in a sense, to worship them.
Let us remember the inspiring example of Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. Our God is able to deliver us, even though it be not His will at this time to work a miracle on our behalf. *
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image [ tzelem] which thou hast set up.
What a calm and noble example of courage in the face of eminent peril! Again, the power of God was manifested to the confusion of the heathen and to the salvation of God's people. That power will always be manifested eventually for His people, if they are faithful, though God's purpose may require their present suffering and martyrdom. The final results will always be the same as here-salvation and deliverance. *
*Bro Growcott Daniel, The Man Greatly Beloved
An inspiring record of men who chose the narrow way and who were prepared to follow it wherever it led - men who went forward from strength to strength, building for the future with purpose and determination upon a firm basis of light and reality.
Nebuchadnezzar, the personification of human pride and power, sets up an image of gold that all are commanded to worship. All through history it has been the same image in various forms, and it is the same today.
It is the image of man-sixty cubits high and six wide. Six is the number of man and the measure of his dominion on earth.
And, from time to time, man has demanded that the children of God worship his image. In early Christian times, all that was required to secure a believer's release from death was to throw a little incense into the sacred fires of Jupiter. A small, harmless concession, it might seem, easy to do with mental reservations, but the whole vital principal of allegiance to God or man was involved.
We are repeatedly faced with the same subtle and fatal choice in many ways today.
Bro Growcott - The Hand of Our God Is Upon Us