(Daniel 3) Where was Daniel during the episode of the fiery furnace?

Problem: Daniel is always seen with his three friends, but he isn’t mentioned here. Why not?

Solution: Even though we are speculating, a number of explanations can be offered:[1]

Daniel put his three friends in charge of the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself stayed in the king’s court (Dan. 2:49). If this is the case, then Daniel would be needed in the city while the king and his officials were away in the plain of Dura.[2]

Daniel could’ve been out of town. He was, after all, one of the king’s most respected men. Daniel was “ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:47).

Daniel could’ve suffered some sort of sickness—something which constantly affected him (cf. Dan. 8:27).

Daniel’s office is not specifically mentioned in the list of officials that were present (Dan. 3:3). None of the wise men were mentioned. So, he may not have been present.

Daniel’s status as the “chief prefect” may have intimidated the Chaldeans from making an accusation against him.

Daniel’s absence points to the veracity of this account. Why else would the author omit Daniel? Archer writes, “There is no psychological reason for an idealizing romancer to leave Daniel out of this exciting episode. The only way to account for this omission is that in point of fact he was not personally in attendance at this important function.”[3]

[1] Archer lists six options, but the best of these (in our view) are listed below. Archer, G. L., Jr. (1986). Daniel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel and the Minor Prophets (Vol. 7, pp. 55–56). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[2] Stephen Miller, Daniel: The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1994), 108.

[3] Archer, G. L., Jr. (1986). Daniel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel and the Minor Prophets (Vol. 7, pp. 56). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

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