Three Jews refuse to worship Babylon’s false god - Catholic Courier
A colorful illustration depicts three men in a fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and God's angel in the fiery furnace. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers)

Three Jews refuse to worship Babylon’s false god

Reading for March 29, 2023: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

In this issue:

Children’s story: Three Jews refuse to worship Babylon’s false god
Trivia Question
Bible Accent: Daniel disobeys King Nebuchadnezzar
Saint for Today: St. Benedict the Moor
Puzzle: Unscramble the words

King Nebuchadnezzar, the pagan king of Babylon, had a huge, golden statue made, and he ordered all the officials of his kingdom to come to the statue’s dedication.

“Nations and peoples of every language,” a herald cried out during the dedication, “when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, dulcimer, harp, double-flute and all the other musical instruments, you must fall down and worship the golden statue which King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be instantly cast into a white-hot furnace.”

Many Jews were living in Babylon at the time because King Nebuchadnezzar has defeated them and brought them to his kingdom as captives.

One day, some Chaldeans came to the king with a complaint. They said three Jews — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego — refused to worship the statue.

King Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and sent for the three men. They were friends of the prophet Daniel, who also had been captured and brought to Babylon.

“Is it true… that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up?” the king asked the men.

“There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter,” they replied. “If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up.”

King Nebuchadnezzar became so angry that he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had the three men bound and cast into it.

Then the king looked at the furnace in surprise.

“I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God,” he said in disbelief.

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”


Daniel 3


1. Who was the king of Babylon?

2. How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego disobey the king?

Return to top.

Trivia Question

What did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego do while they were in the furnace? (Hint: Daniel 3:51)

Answer: They sang and glorified God.

Return to top.

Bible Accent

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not the only Jews to disobey an order from King Nebuchadnezzar.

In Daniel 1, we read that the prophet Daniel was among the Jewish captives chosen to receive three years of training so that they could serve in the king’s palace. The king allotted these men a daily portion of food and wine from the royal table.

But Daniel did not want to defile himself with the king’s food or wine. He begged the chief chamberlain, who was in charge of the training, to spare him.

The chamberlain refused because he was afraid to disobey the king.

Daniel then went to the guardian whom the chamberlain had put in charge of him and of his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

He asked the guardian to give them vegetables and water for 10 days instead of the king’s food and to monitor how they looked compared to the other men.

The guardian agreed, and after 10 days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better fed than the young men who ate from the royal table. At the end of their training, Daniel and his friends had no equals, and the king accepted them into his service.

Return to top.

Saint for Today: St. Benedict the Moor

St. Benedict the Moor was born the son of African slaves near Messina, Italy, in 1526. His childhood nickname was “the holy Moor” because he was pious and did good works.

After being given his freedom, he became a hermit. He eventually became a Franciscan lay brother and served as a cook. He had a reputation for holiness and miracles. Despite being illiterate, he was chosen as Franciscan superior and also as novice master before being allowed to return to the refuge of his kitchen.

He died in 1589, and we remember him on April 4.

Return to top.


Unscramble the letters in each word and arrange them to form a quotation from the children’s story.

dog ton ew verse liwl oyur

Answers: god, not, we, serve, will, your

We will not serve your god.

Return to top.

Copyright © 2024 Rochester Catholic Press Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Linking is encouraged, but republishing or redistributing, including by framing or similar means, without the publisher's prior written permission is prohibited.

You May Also Enjoy

Choose from news (Monday), leisure (Thursday) or worship (Saturday) — or get all three!

No, Thanks

Catholic Courier Newsletters