The Jewish Eye
Sefer Daniel: Part 5 - Perek 3 cont'd: An Amazed Nevuchadnetzer Recognizes Hashem
"Then Nevuchadnetzer was astounded and arose quickly and said to his officers, ‘Weren't three bound men thrown into the furnace,' and they said, ‘So it was,' and he said, "Don't I see four unharmed men walking in the midst of the fire, and the appearance of the fourth one is like an angel's."
How did Nevuchadnetzer recognize an angel? Nevuchadnetzer was present when a malach burned the camp of Sancheiriv outside of Yerushalayim. The malach which descended now to save Chananya, Mishael, and Azaraya was revealed before his eyes in an awesome form, like the form of the malach he had seen previously.
Who was the malach? Chazal says in Perek Aravei Pesachim that the malach of hail wanted to descend to cool the fire. However, the malach Gavriel told him that that would not be befitting the kavod of Hashem, since water extinguishing fire is commonplace, and it would merely be a nes utilizing the natural force of teva. Gavriel, as the malach of fire, descended instead and cooled the furnace from the inside while heating it on the outside, which was a nes within a nes. The fire was not extinguished, and in fact was so hot that it killed anyone near the furnace, and melted the restraints which bound Channaya, Mishael, and Azarya. However, their bodies and even their clothing remained intact.
"Then Nevuchadnetzer approached the gate of the burning furnace and said, ‘Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego, the servants of Kal Elyon, come out and come here!'"
All of the officials gathered there were witness to the sight of the three men emerging from the furnace, completely unscathed from the fire, including their clothes. They did not even emit the smell of fire.
And then Nevuchadnetzer said, "Blessed is the G-d of Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego, Who sent His angel and rescued His servants who depended on Him and defied the order of the king and were willing to give up their bodies in order not to worship or bow down to any god, besides their G-d. I order that every nation or people who will say anything negative about the G-d of Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego will be cut into pieces, and his house will be a dunghill, because there is no other god that is capable of saving like this."
Following these events, Nevuchadnetzer sent a letter throughout his kingdom accounting the wonder and power of Hashem. He had initially been a denier of Hashgacha, and did not believe that Hashem had the power to change nature which is why he erected the tzelem. Now that he recognized the power of Hashem, he wanted to rectify his sin through a letter to the nations about the gevurah of Hashem, and he admitted in his letter that Hashem has the power to change teva.
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