“But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:8-12
The arguments were calculated to arouse Nebuchadnezzar’s anger and bring about the downfall of these three men with the possibility that the Chaldeans themselves might be given greater authority in political affairs. Their plot almost succeeded. The form of the accusation was almost a rebuke to the king himself. It is clear that, given the Chaldeans’ deep-seated resentment against the Jews; they felt the king had made a serious mistake in trusting foreigners with such high offices. They reminded the king that these men were Jews, different in race and culture from the Babylonians. The king had set them over the affairs of the province of Babylon, the most important province in the empire and the key to political security for the entire realm. The personal loyalty of such officers should be beyond question; but, as the Chaldeans pointed out, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had not shown regard for the king himself. The second accusation that they did not serve Nebuchadnezzar’s gods was more than merely a religious difference. The whole concept of political loyalty, of which the worship of the image was an expression, was bound up in the idea that Nebuchadnezzar’s gods had favored him and given him victory. To challenge Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, therefore, was to challenge Nebuchadnezzar himself and to raise a question as to the political integrity of the three men accused.