The Song of the Three Holy Children

Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics

The Song of the Three Holy Children

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This is the first of several additions to the Book of Daniel in the Apocrypha. It belongs between v. 23 and 24 of Dan. 3, the story of Daniel and his three companions in the burning fiery furnace where they were cast for disobeying Nebuchadnezzar. Characteristic of Jewish piety is that after experiences of destruction or divine punishment, deliverance is sought through prayer (cf. Baruch). The song or prayer is put in the mouth of Azarias, one of the three companions of Daniel, renamed Abed-nego (Dan. 1: 7), as he walks among his fellow non-sufferers in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. The reason for the prayer is stated as ‘O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever: for he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace and burning flame: even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us’ (v. 66). It was a common practice to insert hymns into biblical narratives (cf. Exod. 15; 1 Sam. 2; Jonah 2; Luke 1: 46–55, 68–79); if, here, it breaks the continuity of Dan. 3, it has the virtue of transforming the narrative into a doxological and liturgical response to the death-threats of imperial persecution.

Chapter.  233 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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