Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Daniel 3:8-29 (Fiery furance)

This passage occurs in the Narrative Lectionary Year 4, Advent Cycle.
This is a great Advent 1 text.  We all feel that our culture is pulling us away from the real meaning of Christmas toward worship of countless idols.  Those who hold fast discover the power of God to overcome even the hottest fires and cruelest leaders.

A few quick points:

1)  Aramaic.  This part of Daniel is written in Aramaic.  While similar to Hebrew, I am really skeptical about doing linguistic work in this langauge.
http://danielinthebible.com/hebrew-and-aramaic/ seems an interesting website on the distinction between Aramaic and Hebrew in the OT.

2)  "son of gods."  Some translations and art will focus on Jesus in the fire.  This is not altogether abiblical, as the text literally says, "son of the gods."  The NET Bible doesn't want to translate this as son of God because they believe it is a pagan speaking.  But how could a pagan say anything remotely close to "the son of the living God, YHWH"?  I don't think its entirely unfair to conceive of Christ, in some capacity, as the one who saves them.

3)  The story has a lyrical, nearly epic quality about it.  I am not sure what this means for preaching, but there is something otherworldly and even charming about the story.

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