BR 15:06, Dec 1999
And the Band Played On But What Did They Play On?
Identifying the instruments in Nebuchadenezzars orchestra
The text itself is music. Like a refrain, the litany of instruments is repeated four times in chapter 3 of the Book of Daniel: the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick. Like an insistent ostinato, the names Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Negothe three young Hebrew exiles who will be fed to the fiery furnaceare repeated 13 times in the same chapter. The introduction and codatwice at the beginning and once at the endare the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, who are called together to hear the decree of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Anyone who fails to bow down to the kings golden statue at the sound of the orchestra will be thrown to the flames, the kings herald declares. Of course, you know the rest: The three HebrewsShadrach, Meshach and Abed-Negorefuse to bow down, so they are tossed into the fire with their clothes on. But they remain unscathed: Not a hair of their heads is singed! Thus Nebuchadnezzar learns a little respect for the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego.