Beltheshazzar, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah: The Most Faithful Young Men in the Bible
Before the time that Jesus was born, there were four young Israelite men who lived in the city of Babylon, which is now modern Baghdad in Iraq. There was a king in Babylon at that time named Nebuchadnezzar and under king Nebuchadnezzar lived certain Israelites from the tribe of Judah who had to flee Israel. It is these four young Israelites whom we will talk about and all four were from the Israelite tribe of Judah.
First there was Daniel, who is one of God’s prophets in the Bible, and he had these 3 friends named Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah. As the story begins, Daniel and his friends were given new names by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief Eunuch and their new Babylonian names were: Beltheshazzar for Daniel, Shadrach for Hannaniah, Meshach for Mishael, and Abed-Nego for Azariah. Also, everyone knows the story about Daniel and how he survived being in a lion’s den with ferociously hungry lions and how God delivered him from that danger without one scratch on his body.
At another scene in Daniel 1 and 2 in the Bible Daniel told the chief of the Eunuchs (a Eunuch is a male or female person who has been castrated to ensure that everyone in the king’s family stays sexually faithful) that he and his three friends would not defile his body by eating the king’s rich delicacies and they also refused to drink the king’s wine. This refusal worried the head of the Eunuchs and he told Daniel that the king had assigned the food to be eaten to them and if he would find out that Daniel and his friends refused to eat it, then the king would be greatly insulted and would cut the eunuch’s head off. So Daniel told the chief of the Eunuchs to let the king know there should be a 10 day test in which Daniel and his friends would only eat vegetables and drink water and if after the 10 days Daniel and his friends came out looking healthier than all the kings young men, then Daniel would have proven his point.
So after Daniel and his friends ate only vegetables and drank only water for 10 days they were examined by the king and the king found that Daniel/Beltheshazzar, Hannaniah/Shadrach, Mishael/Meshach, Azariah/Abed-Nego were healthier and stronger than all his young men in his kingdom. The king also found that the young Israelites were smarter and more keen than all his magicians and astrologers and for this the king praised Daniel/Beltheshazzar and his friends and then he promoted all four of them as head administrators in his country.
Daniel was an expert in interpreting dreams and visions and Daniel’s friends were very educated in literature and they had much wisdom. Later on there was trouble in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom because some of the native Babylonian administrators who were jealous over Daniel and his friends, wanted this new law to be enacted in which all people not praying to the king’s statues would be killed by having them thrown in a hot fiery furnace. So Daniel’s friends, whom the king had set over the province of Babylon, were caught not praying to the statues of the king. The king was very furious when he found out yet the 3 young men had so much faith that they told the king that the God they pray to would surely save them from the hot fiery furnace. This made the king even angrier and he told the workers to make the fire seven times hotter than usual. Now the fire in the furnace became so hot that the soldiers of the king who took the young men to the furnace to be burned were themselves burned in the furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar noticed that the Daniel’s 3 friends were inside the immensely hot fire with a fourth person looking like the spiritual appearance and they were alive and well with no hair singed and not one iota burned on their bodies. This occurrence so amazed the king that he had the young men brought before him and promoted them immediately. Also, the king told the 3 young men that anyone ever saying anything again about Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah would be cut into little pieces and thrown into the fire. Most importantly, king Nebuchadnezzar said that “no other God can deliver a true miracle like the God of Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah.”
These true Bible stories are very significant because they show the extreme faith these four young Israelites had. There are no other stories in the Bible of great faith, next to the story of Jesus Christ Himself, than the faith that these 3 young Israelites displayed. In addition, Daniel helped the king later with interpreting his dreams which none of the king’s magicians could do and which became a very important prophecy chapter in the Bible.
In summary, what Daniel and his three friends accomplished in Babylon is just a small part of the book of Daniel but it is very outstanding and great yet this fact often gets overlooked and that is why I wrote about it, because of the magnificent greatness of the faith these four young Israelites displayed to God, Jesus, the king of Babylon, and to everyone who ever read the book of Daniel in the Bible. To imagine being in a dangerous lion den or a fiery furnace so very hot are such dramatic events that they stir up only fear in the average person’s mind and to have enough faith to overcome these events must be the greatest faith, next to the faith of Jesus Christ, ever displayed in the Bible.