Dan 3:25

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by BrianT, Sep 5, 2002.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT
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    I saw Dan 3:25 mentioned in another thread, and thought it deserved a thread of its own.

    Aside from the common "it's wrong because the KJV is right" form of argument, is there any textual, translational, and/or contextual reason why the KJV's "the Son of God" is correct and "a son of the gods" as found in some other versions is wrong?
     
  2. rsr

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    From the NET Bible:

    3:24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and quickly got up. He said to his ministers, "Wasn't it three men that we tied up and threw into1 the fire?" They replied to the king, "For sure, O king." 3:25 He answered, "But I see four men, untied and walking around in the middle of the fire! No harm has come to them! And the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!"2 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire. He called out, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the most high God, come out! Come here!"

    2sn The phrase like that of a god is in Hebrew "like that of a son of the gods." Many patristic writers understood this phrase in a christological sense (i.e., "the Son of God"). But it should be remembered that these are words spoken by a pagan who is seeking to explain things from his own polytheistic frame of reference; the phrase "like a son of the gods" is equivalent to "like a divine being."
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    Dan 3:25 is a clear case of an interpretive issue that has been overblown by charges of "changing God's word." God's word reads lebar elohin. It can be interpreted either way. It is more likely that Nebuchadnezzar was saying "son of the gods" since he was not yet a monotheist.
     
  4. DocCas

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    In my opinion the greater context of Daniel mitigates in favor of "the Son of God." It seems clear that Daniel had been telling the King about his God, and of the spiritual realm surrounding them. Christophenies were not uncommon in the OT, and this could be a reference to a Christopheny, but it may also be a reference to "the Angel of the LORD" or some other spirit being sent to protect Hebrews in the furnace. Historically the passage has been viewed as Christological, and I see no reason either from the Hebrew grammar or the context of Daniel (after all, the King did eventually acknowledge the God of Daniel) to abandon that position. Either translation is technically correct, but the Christological understanding is more in keeping with the context and the historical position.

    [ September 05, 2002, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: DocCas ]
     
  5. BrianT

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    I think the passage can be viewed as Christological regardless of the rendering of this verse. What old Nebby actually said doesn't change what happened or who the fourth person was. I have a hard time believing he said "the Son of God" because I really don't think he would have an understanding of God's Son, even if Daniel had been talking to him about YHWH. I doubt if even Daniel or other OT characters had a real understanding of "the Son of God". Nowhere else in the OT does the mention of "the Son of God" exist, so I believe Nebby probably didn't use this phrase.
     
  6. Ransom

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    One rather obvious point that the KJV-onlyists tend to miss when they read this verse is that Nebuchadnezzar doesn't say the fourth man in the fire was "the Son of God" or "a son of the gods."

    What he says, in fact, is that the fourth man was "like the Son of God" (or a son of the gods or what have you).

    What a difference one four-letter word makes! Either way Nebuchadnezzar wasn't identifying the fourth man as any specific divine personage, he was just drawing a simile. Not only is either rendition equally valid as a translation, both are, in fact, equally true.

    [ September 05, 2002, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: Ransom ]
     
  7. BrianT

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    Very interesting point!
     

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