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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

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Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are characters in the biblical Hebrew
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 book of Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

 Chapters 1 – 3, known for their exclusive devotion to God
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

. In particular, they are known for being saved by divine intervention from the Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n execution of being burned alive in a fiery furnace. They were three young Jews, of royal or noble birth from the Kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, who, along with Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

, were inducted into Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 when Jerusalem was occupied by the Babylonians in 606/605 BCE, under the campaign of Nebuchadnezzar II, during the first deportation of the Israelites.

Etymologies


Their Hebraic names were Hananiah (חֲנַנְיָה), Mishael (מִישָׁאֵל) and Azariah (עֲזַרְיָה). It was probably by the King’s decree that Chief Official Ashpenaz assigned Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

n names, so that Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach and Azariah became Abednego.

In view of the possible foreign religious connotations attached to their names, commentators have questioned why the Bible seldom uses their original Hebrew names. It is speculated that they are identified mostly by their Chaldean names to maintain the accuracy of the dialogue given in the text. Since it would have been confusing to have the writer call them one thing and the King call them another, the story primarily uses their Chaldean names instead.

Hebrew etymologies


Hananiah is a Hebrew name that means "God who is gracious". Misha'el means "Who is like God?” and it also means "to feed" or "to provide" as in how a husband provides for his family. The Hebrew name Azariah appropriately means "God has helped".

Chaldean etymologies


It has been asserted that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's names all pertained to pagan Babylonian gods. Shadrach possibly is derived from Shudur Aku "Command of the moon god". Meshach is probably a variation of Mi•sha•aku "Who is what Aku is?", an interesting twist from the Hebrew name Mishael “Who is like Yahweh?” Abednego is either a corrupted or deliberate use of Abednebo, "servant of Nebo/Nabu," or Abednergo, a variation of Abednergal, "servant of the god Nergal."




Abednego, (Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 עֲבֵד־נְגוֹ, Standard Hebrew 'ʿAved-nəgo, Tiberian Hebrew
Tiberian Hebrew
Tiberian Hebrew is the extinct canonical pronunciation of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh and related documents in the Roman Empire. This traditional medieval pronunciation was committed to writing by Masoretic scholars based in the Jewish community of Tiberias , in the form of the Tiberian vocalization...

 
'ʿĂḇēḏ-nəḡô)

Induction into Babylon


In , King Nebuchadnezzar wanted select men from Judah to learn the language and literature of Babylon. This would be a three-year training course to qualify those select to serve in the King’s Palace. Those chosen were to partake of Babylonian royal food and wine. Among these men of Judah were Daniel (Belteshazzar), Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Because Daniel did not want to defile himself with the King’s food, he requested from his appointed guard to provide them vegetables and water for ten days. After the ten day trial, the four appeared better nourished and healthier than all the others who partook of the royal food. Thus they were awarded the freedom to regularly have vegetables and water. Upon the King’s review, he also found them to be “ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm”.

Daniel spoke highly of the three to the King whenever opportunity afforded itself, so that they could also have honorable positions in the Province of Babylon.

Daniel 3


In , the narrative of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego describes how they were sent into a blazing fiery furnace because of their stand to exclusively serve their God alone. By God’s angel, they were delivered out of harm’s way from this order of execution by the King of Babylon.

Golden image


During the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II, of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar had a nine-story high statue, made of gold, stand erect in the Plain of Dura (The region around present day Karbala
Karbala
Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people ....

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

). The statue was either an image
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

 of himself or possibly of the Babylonian god of wisdom, known as Nabu
Nabu
Nabu is the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and his consort, Sarpanitum, and as the grandson of Ea. Nabu's consort was Tashmetum....

. When the project was complete, he prepared a dedication ceremony to this image ordering all surrounding inhabitants to bow down and worship it. The consequence for not worshiping the idol, upon hearing the cue of instruments, was execution in a fiery furnace.


Fiery furnace


During the dedication ceremony of the golden image, certain officials noticed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not bowing down to the idol. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar was immediately notified. The King was enraged and demanded that these three men come before him. Nebuchadnezzar knew of these very men, because it wasn’t too long ago when Daniel had petitioned the King to assign Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. Daniel was also very special to the King because he was able to interpret his dreams unlike any of the Chaldean wise men. So it is of no surprise that the King would offer one more chance for these three Jews, who held honorable positions to the King, to show their patriotism to Babylon.

Their response: "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Nebuchadnezzar demanded that the execution furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Valiant soldiers of the King’s army were ordered to firmly bind the fully clothed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and cast them in the blazing furnace. Upon approaching the mouth of the furnace, the fire was so hot that the soldiers perished while attempting to throw in the three tightly bound Jews (who then fell in).

Burning in the form of execution was a typical practice of Babylonian rulers. According to Jeremiah 29:22, Nebuchadnezzar burned to death two men named Zedekiah
Zedekiah
Zedekiah or Tzidkiyahu was the last king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by Babylon. He was installed as king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, after a siege of Jerusalem to succeed his nephew, Jeconiah, who was overthrown as king after a reign of only three months and...

 and Ahab
Ahab
Ahab or Ach'av or Achab in Douay-Rheims was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri according to the Hebrew Bible. His wife was Jezebel....

. Burning as a penalty for certain crimes appears twice in the Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1780 BC . It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay...

, the system of law set forth by the Babylonian king in the eighteenth century BC. Another early Babylonian monarch, Rim-Sin, also executed death by burning as a form of punishment.

Deliverance


An angel of God immediately came to deliver the three men from the furnace releasing them from their ties. When the King saw what appeared to be four men in the furnace, unbound and walking about, he called to them to come out. King Nebuchadnezzar then acknowledged the power of their God, even going as far as to make a decree, whereby any nation who says anything against the God of the Jews is an act of war. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were then given promotions to their positions over the province of Babylon.

One interpretation of identifying the fourth man in the furnace, is that of the Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

. The pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar recognized that the being in the fire was divine. There are inscriptions found in excavations of ancient Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

 (Ras Shamra, on the coast of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, that use the expression “a son of the gods”. Nebuchadnezzar’s use of this phrase, in his pagan understanding, does not rule out that the being in the furnace was the pre-incarnate Christ.

Prayer of Azariah


In the "Prayer of Azariah", an apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l passage of the Septuagint, Azariah (Abednego) confesses their sins and the sins of Israel, and asks their God to save them in order to demonstrate God’s power to the Babylonians. It is followed by an account of an angel who came to make the inside of the furnace feel like a cool breeze over dew. An extended hymn of praise to their God for deliverance is found in the "Song of the Three Young Men".


Eastern Orthodox observance


The song of the three youths is alluded to in odes seven and eight of the canon
Canon (hymnography)
A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, sometimes called canticles or songs depending on the translation, based on the Biblical canticles. Most of these are found in the Old Testament, but the final ode is taken from the Magnificat and...

, a hymn sung in the matins
Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

 service and on other occasions in the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, where their feast day is December 17 (along with Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

). The Orthodox also commemorate them on the two Sundays before the Nativity of Christ
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

. The reading of the story of the fiery furnace, including the song, is prescribed for the vesperal
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 celebrated by the Orthodox on Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday , sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter...

. Likewise, the three are commemorated as prophets in the Calendar of Saints
Calendar of Saints (Lutheran)
The Lutheran Calendar of Saints is a listing which details the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by some Lutheran Churches in the United States. The calendars of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod are from the...

 of the Lutheran Church
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 on December 17 with Daniel.

Hat Honour


In 17th century England, Quakers used the Bible Story of the Fiery Furnace to justify their campaign against the deference required by the judiciary, which they called "Hat Honour".

George Fox: Journal, 1656: When we were brought into the court, we stood a while with our hats on, and all was quiet. I was moved to say, "Peace be amongst you." Judge Glynne, a Welshman, then Chief-Justice of England, said to the jailer, "What be these you have brought here into the court?" "Prisoners, my lord," said he. "Why do you not put off your hats?" said the Judge to us. We said nothing. "Put off your hats," said the Judge again. Still we said nothing. Then said the Judge, "The Court commands you to put off your hats." Then I spoke, and said, "Where did ever any magistrate, king, or judge, from Moses to Daniel, command any to put off their hats, when they came before him in his court, either amongst the Jews, the people of God, or amongst the heathen? and if the law of England doth command any such thing, show me that law either written or printed." Then the Judge grew very angry, and said, "I do not carry my law-books on my back." "But," said I, "tell me where it is printed in any statute-book, that I may read it." Then said the Judge, "Take him away, prevaricator! I'll ferk him." So they took us away, and put us among the thieves. Presently after he called to the jailer, "Bring them up again." "Come," said he, "where had they hats, from Moses to Daniel; come, answer me: I have you fast now." I replied, "Thou mayest read in the third of Daniel, that the three children were cast into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar's command, with their coats, their hose, and their hats on."
This plain instance stopped him: so that, not having anything else to say to the point, he cried again, "Take them away, jailer."


Influences


Culture
  • Sir Charles Laughton's recounting of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was a well-known recording in the 1950s.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. references them in his Letter from Birmingham Jail
    Letter from Birmingham Jail
    The Letter from Birmingham Jail or Letter from Birmingham City Jail, also known as The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr., an American civil rights leader...

    : "It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake."
  • The 1955 electronic work Gesang der Jünglinge
    Gesang der Jünglinge
    Gesang der Jünglinge is a noted electronic music work by Karlheinz Stockhausen. It was realized in 1955–56 at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk studio in Cologne and is Work Number 8 in the composer's catalog of works...

     by Karlheinz Stockhausen
    Karlheinz Stockhausen
    Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

     takes its title and some words from the story.
  • The Australian town of Bendigo is said to be a corruption of Abednego.
  • Grant Burge Winery in Australia has three Icon wines: Meshach Shiraz, Shadrach Cabernet Sauvignon, Abednego Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre


Performances
  • The Burning Fiery Furnace
    The Burning Fiery Furnace
    The Burning Fiery Furnace is one of the three Parables for Church Performances composed by Benjamin Britten, dating from 1966, and is his Opus 77. The other two 'church parables' are Curlew River and The Prodigal Son . William Plomer was the librettist.The work was premiered at Orford Church,...

     is one of the three Parables for Church Performances composed by Benjamin Britten
    Benjamin Britten
    Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

    , dating from 1966, and is his Opus 77.
  • In the musical, "Guys and Dolls," Sky Masterson claims that he once won a parlay bet on the names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, thus demonstrating his knowledge of the Bible.
  • A Christian children's musical called It's Cool in the Furnace was written by Buryl Red And Grace Hawthorne in 1972. The musical follows Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to Babylon, where they are thrown into a burning hot furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar when they refuse to bow down to the king instead of their God. However, their faith in God allows them survive the furnace, and they emerge unscathed, only to see the king make a decree that there is only one true God.
  • In Tyler Perry
    Tyler Perry
    Tyler Perry is an American actor, director, playwright, entrepreneur, screenwriter, producer, author, and songwriter. Perry wrote and produced many stage plays during the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2005, he released his first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman...

     plays, his Madea character jokingly says "Shadrach, Meshach, and a Billy Goat."


Music
  • In 1989 the Beastie Boys
    Beastie Boys
    Beastie Boys are an American hip hop trio from New York City. The group consists of Mike D who plays the drums, MCA who plays the bass, and Ad-Rock who plays the guitar....

     created a sample-heavy album entitled Paul's Boutique
    Paul's Boutique
    Paul's Boutique is the second studio album by American hip hop group Beastie Boys, released on July 25, 1989, on Capitol Records. Featuring production by the Dust Brothers, the recording sessions for the album took place in Matt Dike's Apartment and the Record Plant in Los Angeles from 1988 to...

    . The song "Shadrach
    Shadrach (song)
    "Shadrach" is a song by rap trio Beastie Boys from their album Paul's Boutique. Released on October 30, 1989, it was the third and final single released from the album....

    " sampled the song "Loose Booty" by Sly and the Family Stone and interpolated the chant from the song also. While left to some interpretation, the refrain
    Refrain
    A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song...

     from the song "Shadrach" appears to compare the three members of the band to that of the invincible Shadrach (Adrock), Meshach (Mike D), and Abednego (MCA
    Adam Yauch
    Adam Nathaniel Yauch , , is a founding member of hip hop trio the Beastie Boys. He is frequently known by his stage name, MCA, and other pseudonyms such as Nathanial Hörnblowér.-Early life:...

    ):

"We're just 3 M.C.'s and we're on the go
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego"
  • The story of the fiery furnace is chronicled in the Johnny Cash
    Johnny Cash
    John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

     song named The Fourth Man in the Fire, appearing on the albums The Holy Land
    The Holy Land (album)
    The Holy Land is a concept album and the third gospel album by country singer Johnny Cash, released on Columbia Records in 1969). Cash recorded the album inspired by a visit to the Holy Land with his wife, June Carter Cash. The majority of the songs on the record accept religion as their main...

     and Unearthed.
  • An indie rock band called The Fiery Furnaces
    The Fiery Furnaces
    The Fiery Furnaces are a U.S. indie rock band formed in 2000 in Brooklyn, New York. The band's primary members are Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger. The siblings are originally from Oak Park, Illinois, a near-western suburb of Chicago.- Band biography :...

     has released several albums.
  • Quote: "She's hotter than Meshach, Shadrach and Abendego..." - "The Infamous Date Rape" from A Tribe Called Quest
    A Tribe Called Quest
    A Tribe Called Quest is an American hip hop group, formed in 1985, and is composed of rapper/producer Q-Tip , rapper Phife Dawg , and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad. A fourth member, rapper Jarobi White, left the group after their first album but rejoined in 2006...

    's The Low End Theory
    The Low End Theory
    The Low End Theory is the second album by American hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Released on September 24, 1991 through Jive Records, the album produced three singles: "Check the Rhime," "Jazz ," and "Scenario."-Conception:...

    album.
  • The 1930s song "Shadrack
    Shadrack (Robert MacGimsey song)
    "Shadrack" is a popular song written by Robert MacGimsey in the 1930s and performed by Louis Armstrong and others...

    " written by Robert MacGimsey
    Robert MacGimsey
    Robert MacGimsey was an American composer. His most famous song was "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" , a well-known Christmas carol written in the style of an African-American spiritual...

    .
  • The Washington D.C.-based indie rock/pop band, Exit Clov
    Exit Clov
    Exit Clov is a five-piece indie rock band from Washington, DC, whose sound is often described as “kaleidoscopic pop noir". The group features twin sisters Emily Hsu and Susan Hsu along with Aaron Leeder , Brett Niederman , and John Thayer...

    , has a song titled "For Abednego" on their Starfish EP.
  • There are numerous references in reggae music, e.g. The Viceroys
    The Viceroys
    The Viceroys, also known as The Voiceroys, The Interns, The Inturns, The Brothers, and The Hot Tops, are a reggae vocal group who first recorded in 1967. After releasing several albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they split up in the mid-1980s...

    ' song "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo", the Twinkle Brothers
    Twinkle Brothers
    The Twinkle Brothers are a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1962, and still active in the 21st century.-History:The Twinkle Brothers were formed in 1962 by brother Norman and Ralston Grant from Falmouth, Jamaica. The band was expanded with the addition of Eric Barnard , Karl Hyatt , and Albert Green...

    ' "Never Get Burn", the Abyssinians
    The Abyssinians
    The Abyssinians are a Jamaican roots reggae group, famous for their close harmonies and promotion of the Rastafari movement in their lyrics.-History:...

     "Abendigo", Bob Marley & the Wailers
    Bob Marley & The Wailers
    Bob Marley & The Wailers were a Jamaican reggae, ska and rocksteady band formed by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. Additional members were Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Cherry Smith and Aston and Carlton Barrett...

    ' "Survival" and Steel Pulse
    Steel Pulse
    Steel Pulse is a roots reggae musical band. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, in Birmingham, England, composed of David Hinds , Basil Gabbidon , and Ronald McQueen .-History:...

    's song "Blazing Fire" on the album "African Holocaust".
  • In the song Meshach by the ApologetiX
    ApologetiX
    ApologetiX is a Christian parody band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The band was founded in 1992, and since then, has played in 44 states, released 17 studio albums, and built up a fan club that includes 45,000 people. The band is currently composed of J...

    .
  • The Golden Gate Quartet
    The Golden Gate Quartet
    The Golden Gate Quartet is an American vocal group. It was formed in 1934 and, with changes in membership, remains active. It is the most successful of all of the African-American gospel music groups who sang in the jubilee quartet style...

     sang a Robert MacGimsey spiritual, "Shadrack
    Shadrack (Robert MacGimsey song)
    "Shadrack" is a popular song written by Robert MacGimsey in the 1930s and performed by Louis Armstrong and others...

    " which retells this tale.
  • The 1974 song "Loose Booty" by Sly and the Family Stone contains a chant of "Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego."
  • Louis Prima
    Louis Prima
    Louis Prima was a Sicilian American singer, actor, songwriter, and trumpeter. Prima rode the musical trends of his time, starting with his seven-piece New Orleans style jazz band in the 1920s, then successively leading a swing combo in the 1930s, a big band in the 1940s, a Vegas lounge act in the...

     also recorded the Robert MacGimsey song about the three called "Shadrack
    Shadrack (Robert MacGimsey song)
    "Shadrack" is a popular song written by Robert MacGimsey in the 1930s and performed by Louis Armstrong and others...

    ."
  • The Neville Brothers' cover of "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)
    Ball of Confusion (That's What the World is Today)
    "Ball of Confusion " is a 1970 hit single for The Temptations. It was released on the Gordy label, and produced by Norman Whitfield....

    " includes the chant in an apparent reference to the Sly and the Family Stone track.
  • "Million Voices" song by Wyclef Jean about the Rwandan genocide mentions the three by name
  • The band Om makes reference to the three in the song "Meditation is the Practice of Death," on Al's 7th album, God is Good.
  • The Christian hip hop
    Christian hip hop
    Christian hip hop is hip hop music characterized by a Christian worldview, with the general purposes of evangelization , edifying members of the church and/or simply entertaining.-History:Since hip-hop started in the 1970s, various hip-hop artists have...

     group PID rapped about select stories from the book of Daniel, including the fiery furnace, in their song "Don't Bow", from their 1988 debut album, "Here We Are."
  • Shane Barnard & Shane Everett sing in their song, "Burn Us Up" that "There were three before the king / There were three who wouldn't bow to him." This track can be found in their 2007 album, "Pages."
  • There is a reference to the fiery furnace in Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

    's song "Jokerman", in his album "Infidels
    Infidels
    Infidels is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's 22nd studio album, released by Columbia Records in October 1983.Produced by Mark Knopfler and Dylan himself, Infidels is seen as his return to secular music, following a conversion to Christianity and three evangelical, gospel records...

    "
  • The Asylum Street Spankers have a song about the three on their album "God's Favorite Band."
  • The Canadian rapper Shad has a track titled "A Good Name" which discusses Shadrach and how he was named after him.
  • Playa
    Playa (band)
    Playa was an American R&B/hip-hop group. Composed of Smoke E. Digglera , Digital Black , and the late Static Major , Playa is best known for their 1998 hit album, "Cheers 2 U", produced by longtime collaborator Timbaland...

     sings in "Gospel Interlude", "Stepped in a furnace/ a long time ago/ Shadrach and Meschach/ and Abednego." The track appears on their 1998 album, Cheers 2 U
    Cheers 2 U
    The album peaked at eighty-six on the U.S. Billboard 200 and reached nineteen on the R&B Albums chart.Leo Stanley at Allmusic called the album "a promising debut" and also referred to the work as "a debut of enormous potential."-Track listing:-Album:...

    .


Literature
  • Author William T. Vollmann
    William T. Vollmann
    William Tanner Vollmann is an American novelist, journalist, short story writer, essayist and winner of the National Book Award...

     presents an idiosyncratic take on this tale to express the color orange in the short story "Scintillant Orange" in his collection The Rainbow Stories.
  • In the October 1998 issue of Scientific American
    Scientific American
    Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

    magazine, Carolyn P. Meiner wrote a story, "How Hackers Break In... and How They Are Caught", about a hacker
    Hacker (computer security)
    In computer security and everyday language, a hacker is someone who breaks into computers and computer networks. Hackers may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, including profit, protest, or because of the challenge...

     who used the alias "Abednego".
  • In Toni Morrison's Sula
    Sula (novel)
    Sula is a 1973 novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.-Plot summary:The Bottom is a mostly black community in Ohio, situated in the hills above the mostly white, wealthier community of Medallion. The Bottom first became a community when a master gave it to his former slave...

     there is a character named Shadrack who is interpreted as a prophet.
  • The author Robert Silverberg
    Robert Silverberg
    Robert Silverberg is an American author, best known for writing science fiction. He is a multiple nominee of the Hugo Award and a winner of the Nebula Award.-Early years:...

     wrote a Science Fiction novel named Shadrach in the Furnace
    Shadrach in the Furnace
    Shadrach in the Furnace is a science fiction novel by American writer Robert Silverberg, first published by Bobbs Merrill in 1976. The novel was nominated in 1976 for the Nebula award, and in 1977 for the Hugo award....

    .
  • In Andrew Marvell's poem 'Last Instructions to a Painter', he alludes to the story at line 648 in reference to the three ships destroyed in the Battle on the Medway.
  • Of the cremation of Shelley.... "The fire was so fierce as to produce a white heat on the iron, and to reduce its contents to grey ashes. The only portions that were not consumed were some fragments of bones, the jaw and the skull, but what surprised us all was that the heart remained entire. In snatching this relic from the fiery furnace my hand was severely burnt; and had anyone seen me do the act I should have been put in quarantine." Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron, by Trelawny.
  • "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville (chapter 98), describes how the whale's spermaceti, oil and bone will "pass unscathed through the fire" as did the trio Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
  • In the sequel to Mister Roberts, Ensign Pulver, one of the characters tries some islander moonshine and after cringing responds, "Shadrach, Meshak, and ABED WE GO."
  • The alternate spelling Shadrack is present in the Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved...

     novel Sula
    Sula (novel)
    Sula is a 1973 novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.-Plot summary:The Bottom is a mostly black community in Ohio, situated in the hills above the mostly white, wealthier community of Medallion. The Bottom first became a community when a master gave it to his former slave...

    ; the character endures hardships at war and returns to his town mentally ravaged.
  • Abednego appears as a slave in the Zakes Mda novel, Cion.
  • Shadrach is also referenced in To Kill A Mockingbird
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was instantly successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature...

    , by Harper Lee
    Harper Lee
    Nelle Harper Lee is an American author known for her 1960 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which deals with the issues of racism that were observed by the author as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama...

    . In chapter 12, Scout and Jem get in trouble at church because they told Eunice Ann Simpson that they wanted to play the game "Shadrach". Jem told her that if she had enough faith, she wouldn't get burnt, and the kids proceeded to tie her to a chair and place her in the furnace room. They forgot she was there and went upstairs for Church, until banging came from the radiator pipes during the service. After investigating, they found Eunice in the furnace room.
  • The three are mentioned at least twice in the works of P.G. Wodehouse, once in A Damsel in Distress (novel)
    A Damsel in Distress (novel)
    A Damsel in Distress is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United States on 4 October 1919 by George H. Doran, New York, and in the United Kingdom by Herbert Jenkins, London, on 17 October 1919...

    and once in Joy in the Morning (1946 novel)
    Joy in the Morning (1946 novel)
    Joy in the Morning is a novel by P.G. Wodehouse, first published in the United States on August 22, 1946 by Doubleday & Co., New York, and in the United Kingdom on June 2, 1947 by Herbert Jenkins, London...

    . In the latter, narrator Bertie Wooster
    Bertie Wooster
    Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster is a recurring fictional character in the Jeeves novels of British author P. G. Wodehouse. An English gentleman, one of the "idle rich" and a member of the Drones Club, he appears alongside his valet, Jeeves, whose genius manages to extricate Bertie or one of...

     has been watching his cottage burn down and comments "Wee Nooke was burning lower now, but its interior was still something which only Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego could have entered with any genuine enjoyment."
  • It is referenced in Far from the Madding Crowd
    Far from the Madding Crowd
    Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success. It originally appeared anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, where it gained a wide readership. Critical notices were plentiful and mostly positive...

    by Thomas Hardy
    Thomas Hardy
    Thomas Hardy, OM was an English novelist and poet. While his works typically belong to the Naturalism movement, several poems display elements of the previous Romantic and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural.While he regarded himself primarily as a...

    , chapter LIII: "From six that morning till past noon the huge wood fire in the kitchen roared and sparkled at its highest, the kettle, the saucepan, and the three-legged pot appearing in the midst of the flames like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego."
  • Two of the tracts written by Jack Chick
    Jack Chick
    Jack Thomas Chick is an American publisher, writer, and comic book artist of fundamentalist Christian tracts and comic books...

    , "Burn Baby Burn" and "Real Heat", claim that Jesus Christ came in his godly form to save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the furnace (rather than an angel who did), although King Nebuchadnezzar lived way before the birth of Christ, and the term "son of God" in the Christian Old Testament usually refers to angels/heavenly beings associated with God, not Jesus.


Film
  • "Shadrack Meshack Abednigo" is the title of a seminal snowboard film, produced by AdventureScope Films in 1994 and marketed with the slogan "Nothing will burn them. Nothing will alter their faith." (The U.S. distributor of the VHS cassette was aptly and coincidentally named "Furnace").
  • In the Lonesome Dove Saga (Dead Man's Walk) Harry Dean Stanton plays a mountain man character named Shadrach.


Television
  • Shadrach Dingle is a character in UK soap Emmerdale
    Emmerdale
    Emmerdale, is a long-running British soap opera set in Emmerdale , a fictional village in the Yorkshire Dales. Created by Kevin Laffan, Emmerdale was first broadcast on 16 October 1972...

    .
  • The VeggieTales
    VeggieTales
    VeggieTales is an American series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christianity...

     episode "Rack, Shack, and Benny
    Rack, Shack, and Benny
    Rack, Shack, and Benny, released in October 1995 on VHS, is the fourth episode of the VeggieTales animated series and the first to present one story instead of two shorter ones...

    " tells a version of the biblical Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and Junior Asparagus, respectively, playing the title roles of Rack, Shack, and Benny. In the episode, the three are working in a chocolate factory for Nebby K. Nezzer who praises the chocolate bunnies that he makes more than God. However Mr. Nezzer goes too far with his obsession when he orders his employees, including Rack, Shack, and Benny, to worship a giant bunny statue.
  • In the second season premier of The Dead Zone
    The Dead Zone (TV series)
    The Dead Zone, aka Stephen King's Dead Zone is an American-Canadian science fiction/suspense series starring Anthony Michael Hall as Johnny Smith, who discovers he has developed psychic abilities after a coma...

    , a kidnapper, hoping to draw the attention of the main character, writes the three names on a wall.
  • In the mockumentary series "Trailer Park Boys" episode "The Bible Pimp" a salesman makes an incorrect references to the three as locations.

See also

  • List of Hebrew Bible events
  • The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children
    The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children
    The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Holy Children is a lengthy passage that appears after Daniel 3:23 in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, as well as in the ancient Greek Septuagint translation. It is listed as non-canonical in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the...

    , an apocrypha
    Apocrypha
    The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

    l text
  • The Burning Fiery Furnace
    The Burning Fiery Furnace
    The Burning Fiery Furnace is one of the three Parables for Church Performances composed by Benjamin Britten, dating from 1966, and is his Opus 77. The other two 'church parables' are Curlew River and The Prodigal Son . William Plomer was the librettist.The work was premiered at Orford Church,...

    , a performance


External links