Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read about how the king of Judah calls for repentance. The people that are part of the covenant with the lord are called to be faithful and take care of the poor, orphans, widows, and strangers. We must care for those who have no one to care for them. In Babylon, Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael are changed to refer to the false gods of Babylon, but they refuse to act like the Babylonians. King Nebuchadnezzar installs a golden statue but learns that Hannah, Azariah, and Mishael will not bow down to it. He warns them if they don’t, they will be thrown into the furnace. They survive and Nebuchadnezzar declares that anyone who insults the God of Hannah, Azariah, and Mishael will be put to death.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 Yahweh said this, ‘Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and there say this word,
2 “Listen to the word of Yahweh, king of Judah now occupying the throne of David, you, your officials and your people who go through these gates.
3 Yahweh says this: Act uprightly and justly; rescue from the hands of the oppressor anyone who has been wronged, do not exploit or ill-treat the stranger, the orphan, the widow; shed no innocent blood in this place.
4 For if you are scrupulous in obeying this command, then kings occupying the throne of David will continue to make their entry through the gates of this palace riding in chariots or on horseback, they, their officials and their people.
5 But if you do not listen to these words, then I swear by myself, Yahweh declares, this palace shall become a ruin!
6 “Yes, this is what Yahweh says about the palace of the king of Judah: You are like Gilead to me, like a peak of Lebanon. All the same, I will reduce you to a desert, to uninhabited towns.
7 I dedicate men to destroy you, each man with his weapons; they will cut down your finest cedars and throw them on the fire.
8 “And when many nations pass this city, they will say to one another: Why has Yahweh treated this great city like this?
9 And the answer will be: Because they abandoned the covenant of Yahweh their God to worship other gods and serve them.” ‘
10 Do not weep for the man who is dead, do not raise the dirge for him. Weep rather for the one who has gone away, since he will never come back, never see his native land again.
11 For this is what Yahweh has said about Shallum son of Josiah, king of Judah, who succeeded Josiah his father and was forced to leave this place, ‘He will never come back to it
12 but will die in the place to which he has been taken captive; and he will never see this country again.
13 ‘Disaster for the man who builds his house without uprightness, his upstairs rooms without fair judgement, who makes his fellow-man work for nothing, without paying him his wages,
14 who says, “I shall build myself a spacious palace with airy upstairs rooms,” who makes windows in it, panels it with cedar, and paints it vermilion.
15 Are you more of a king because of your passion for cedar? Did your father go hungry or thirsty? But he did what is just and upright, so all went well for him.
16 He used to examine the cases of poor and needy, then all went well. Is not that what it means to know me? Yahweh demands.
17 You on the other hand have eyes and heart for nothing but your own interests, for shedding innocent blood and perpetrating violenceand oppression.’
18 That is why Yahweh says this about Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah: ‘No lamenting for him, “My poor brother! My poor sister!” No lamenting for him, “His poor lordship! His poor majesty!”
19 He will have a donkey’s funeral — dragged away and thrown out of the gates of Jerusalem.’
20 ‘Climb the Lebanon range and shriek, raise your voice in Bashan, shriek from the Abarim, for all your lovers have been ruined!
21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, “I will not listen!” From your youth this has been how you behaved, refusing to listen to my voice.
22 The wind will shepherd all your shepherds away and your lovers will go into captivity. Then you will blush deep with shame at the thought of all your wickedness.
23 You who have made the Lebanon your home and made your nest among the cedars, how you will groan when anguish overtakes you, pangs like those of a woman in labour!
24 ‘As I live, Yahweh declares, even if Coniah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, I would still wrench you off!
25 I shall hand you over to those determined to kill you, to those you dread, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to the Chaldaeans.
26 I shall hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country; you were not born there but you will both die there.
27 They will not return to the country to which they desperately long to return.’
28 Is he a shoddy broken pot, this man Coniah, a crock that no one wants? Why are he and his offspring ejected, hurled into a country they know nothing of?
29 O land, land, land, listen to the word of Yahweh!
30 Yahweh says this, ‘List this man as: Childless; a man who made a failure of his life, since none of his offspring will succeed in occupying the throne of David, or ruling in Judah again.’
1 King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, which he set up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
2 King Nebuchadnezzar then summoned the satraps, magistrates, governors, counsellors, treasurers, judges, lawyers, and all the provincial authorities to assemble and attend the dedication of the statue set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.
3 Satraps, magistrates, governors, counsellors, treasurers, judges, lawyers and all the provincial authorities then assembled for the dedication of the statue set up by King Nebuchadnezzar and stood in front of the statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 A herald then loudly proclaimed: ‘Peoples, nations, languages! Thus are you commanded:
5 the moment you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and every other kind of instrument, you will prostrate yourselves and worship the golden statue set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.
6 Anyone who does not prostrate himself and worship will immediately be thrown into the burning fiery furnace.’
7 And so, the instant all the peoples heard the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and all the other instruments, all the peoples, nations and languages prostrated themselves and worshipped the statue set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.
8 Some Chaldaeans then came forward and maliciously accused the Jews.
9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘May Your Majesty live for ever!
10 You have issued a decree, Your Majesty, to the effect that everyone on hearing the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and every other kind of instrument is to prostrate himself and worship the golden statue;
11 and that anyone who does not prostrate himself and worship is to be thrown into the burning fiery furnace.
12 Now, there are certain Jews to whom you have entrusted the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego; these men have ignored your command, Your Majesty; they do not serve your gods, and refuse to worship the golden statue you have set up.’
13 Shaking with fury, Nebuchadnezzar sent for Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. The men were immediately brought before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar addressed them, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have set up?
15 When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and every other kind of instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you will be thrown forthwith into the burning fiery furnace; then which of the gods could save you from my power?’
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question needs no answer from us:
17 if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, Your Majesty, he will save us;
18 and even if he does not, then you must know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have set up.’
19 This infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was changed now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual
20 and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
21 They were then bound in their cloaks, trousers, headgear and other garments, and thrown into the burning fiery furnace.
22 The king’s command was so urgent and the heat of the furnace was so fierce, that the men carrying Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were burnt to death by the flames from the fire;
23 the three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego fell, bound, into the burning fiery furnace.
24 And they walked in the heart of the flames, praising God and blessing the Lord.
25 Azariah stood in the heart of the fire, praying aloud thus:
26 May you be blessed and revered, Lord, God of our ancestors, may your name be held glorious for ever.
27 For you are upright in all that you have done for us, all your deeds are true, all your ways right, all your judgements true.
28 True is the sentence you have given in all that you have brought down on us and on Jerusalem, the holy city of our ancestors, for you have treated us rightly and truly, as our sins deserve.
29 Yes, we have sinned and committed a crime by deserting you, yes, we have greatly sinned; we have not listened to your commandments,
30 we have not observed them, we have not done what you commanded us to do for our own good.
31 Yes, all that you have brought down on us, all that you have done to us, you have been fully justified in doing.
32 You have handed us over to our enemies, to a lawless people, the worst of the godless, to an unjust king, the worst in the whole world;
33 today we have no right to open our mouths, shame and dishonour are the lot of those who serve and worship you.
34 Do not abandon us for ever, for the sake of your name; do not repudiate your covenant,
35 do not withdraw your favour from us, for the sake of Abraham, your friend, of Isaac, your servant, and of Israel, your holy one,
36 to whom you promised to make their descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the grains of sand on the seashore.
37 Lord, we have become the least of all nations, we are put to shame today throughout the world, because of our sins.
38 We now have no leader, no prophet, no prince, no burnt offering, no sacrifice, no oblation, no incense, no place where we can make offerings to you
39 and win your favour. But may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit, be as acceptable to you
40 as burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, as thousands of fat lambs: such let our sacrifice be to you today, and may it please you that we follow you whole-heartedly, since those who trust in you will not be shamed.
41 And now we put our whole heart into following you, into fearing you and seeking your face once more.
42 Do not abandon us to shame but treat us in accordance with your gentleness, in accordance with the greatness of your mercy.
43 Rescue us in accordance with your wonderful deeds and win fresh glory for your name, O Lord.
44 Confusion seize all who ill-treat your servants: may they be covered with shame, deprived of all their power, and may their strength be broken.
45 Let them learn that you alone are God and Lord, glorious over the whole world.
46 All this time, the king’s servants, who had thrown them into the furnace, had been stoking it with crude oil, pitch, tow and brushwood
47 until the flames rose forty-nine cubits above the furnace
48 and, leaping out, burnt those Chaldaeans to death who were standing round it.
49 But the angel of the Lord came down into the furnace beside Azariah and his companions; he drove the flames of the fire outwards from the furnace
50 and, in the heart of the furnace, wafted a coolness to them as of the breeze and dew, so that the fire did not touch them at all and caused them no pain or distress.
51 Then all three in unison began to sing, glorifying and blessing God in the furnace, with the words:
52 May you be blessed, Lord, God of our ancestors, be praised and extolled for ever. Blessed be your glorious and holy name, praised and extolled for ever.
53 May you be blessed in the Temple of your sacred glory, exalted and glorified above all for ever:
54 blessed on the throne of your kingdom, exalted above all, glorified for ever:
55 blessed are you who fathom the abyss, enthroned on the winged creatures, praised and exalted above all for ever:
56 blessed in the expanse of the heavens, exalted and glorified for ever.
57 Bless the Lord, all the Lord’s creation: praise and glorify him for ever!
58 Bless the Lord, angels of the Lord, praise and glorify him for ever!
59 Bless the Lord, heavens, praise and glorify him for ever!
60 Bless the Lord, all the waters above the heavens, praise and glorify him for ever!
61 Bless the Lord, powers of the Lord, praise and glorify him for ever!
62 Bless the Lord, sun and moon, praise and glorify him for ever!
63 Bless the Lord, stars of heaven, praise and glorify him for ever!
64 Bless the Lord, all rain and dew, praise and glorify him for ever!
65 Bless the Lord, every wind, praise and glorify him for ever!
66 Bless the Lord, fire and heat, praise and glorify him for ever!
67 Bless the Lord, cold and warmth, praise and glorify him for ever!
68 Bless the Lord, dew and snow-storm, praise and glorify him for ever!
69 Bless the Lord, frost and cold, praise and glorify him for ever!
70 Bless the Lord, ice and snow, praise and glorify him for ever!
71 Bless the Lord, nights and days, praise and glorify him for ever!
72 Bless the Lord, light and darkness, praise and glorify him for ever!
73 Bless the Lord, lightning and cloud, praise and glorify him for ever!
74 Let the earth bless the Lord: praise and glorify him for ever!
75 Bless the Lord, mountains and hills, praise and glorify him for ever!
76 Bless the Lord, every plant that grows, praise and glorify him for ever!
77 Bless the Lord, springs of water, praise and glorify him for ever!
78 Bless the Lord, seas and rivers, praise and glorify him for ever!
79 Bless the Lord, whales, and everything that moves in the waters, praise and glorify him for ever!
80 Bless the Lord, every kind of bird, praise and glorify him for ever!
81 Bless the Lord, all animals wild and tame, praise and glorify him for ever!
82 Bless the Lord, all the human race: praise and glorify him for ever!
83 Bless the Lord, O Israel, praise and glorify him for ever!
84 Bless the Lord, priests, praise and glorify him for ever!
85 Bless the Lord, his servants, praise and glorify him for ever!
86 Bless the Lord, spirits and souls of the upright, praise and glorify him for ever!
87 Bless the Lord, faithful, humble-hearted people, praise and glorify him for ever!
88 Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, bless the Lord, praise and glorify him for ever!-For he has rescued us from the Underworld, he has saved us from the hand of Death, he has snatched us from the burning fiery furnace, he has drawn us from the heart of the flame!
89 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his love is everlasting.
90 Bless the Lord, the God of gods, all who fear him, give praise and thanks to him, for his love is everlasting!
91 King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty’.
92 ‘But’, he went on, ‘I can see four men walking free in the heart of the fire and quite unharmed! And the fourth looks like a child of the gods!’
93 Nebuchadnezzar approached the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, servants of GodMost High, come out, come here!’ And from the heart of the fire out came Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego.
94 The satraps, magistrates, governors, and advisers of the king crowded round the three men to examine them: the fire had had no effect on their bodies: not a hair of their heads had been singed, their cloaks were not scorched, no smell of burning hung about them. Nebuchadnezzar said,
95 ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their God.
96 I therefore decree as follows, “Peoples, nations, and languages! Let any of you speak disrespectfully of the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, and I shall have him torn limb from limb and his house turned into a dunghill; for there is no other god who can save like this.”‘
97 The king then showered favours on Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
98 ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to all peoples, nations and languages dwelling throughout the world: may you prosper more and more!
99 ‘It is my pleasure to make known the signs and wonders with which the Most High God has favoured me.
100 How great his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, his empire endures age after age!’
29 Yahweh keeps his distance from the wicked, but he listens to the prayers of the upright.
30 A kindly glance gives joy to the heart, good news lends strength to the bones.
31 The ear attentive to wholesome correction finds itself at home in the company of the wise.
32 Whoever rejects correction lacks self-respect, whoever accepts reproof grows in understanding.
33 The fear of Yahweh is a school of wisdom, before there can be glory, there must be humility.