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THREE HOLY CHILDREN,
Which followeth in the third Chapter of DANIEL after this place, -fell down bound into the
midst of the burning fiery furnace.—Ver. 23. That which followeth is not in the Hebrew, to wit, And they walked-unto these words, Then Nebuchadnezzar-ver. 24.
INTRODUCTION. IN some copies of the Greek version of Theodoret, and in the vulgar Latin edition of the Bible, this book is
inserted between the twenty-third and twenty-fourth verses of the third chapter of Daniel : as at the beginning of the book is prefixed the History of Susanna, and at the end is added that of Bel and the Dragon : but none of these additions are to be found in any Hebrew copy, nor do they appear ever to have existed in the Hebrew
or Chaldaick language. It is probable that the same author invented, or composed from traditional accounts, all the Apocryphal additions, which he interwove with the genuine work of Daniel. Annexed to, or incorporated with, the inspired book, they gradually rose into reputation; and under the sanction of the Prophet's name, and the approbation of the Church, which suffered them to be read for instruction of manners, they were perhaps sometimes considered, in a loose and popular representation, as a part of the genuine work of Daniel. It is however universally admitted, that they never were in the Hebrew canon : nor can there be any doubt that they were written, long after the time of Daniel, by some writer desirous of imitating and of embellishing the sacred history : though, as they were not expressly severed from the canonical books by any positive decree, they were received by the preposterous decision of the Council of Trent as genuine, and in every respect
canonical. It is uncertain at what time they were composed. Dr. Gray. The present book consists of two parts; a prayer and a thanksgiving. The prayer is a devout confession of the
sins of the people, and an acknowledgment of God's righteousness, in bringing upon them their captivity and other calamities. And the thanksgiving is a solemn excitation of all creatures whatever, but more especially of the three Hebrew children, who were thus “saved from the hand of death,” to “ bless the Lord, praise and
exalt Him above all for ever.” Stackhouse. Agreeably to this division it may be remarked, that the title, “ The Song of the Three Holy Children,” applies
properly to the latter part of the work only, from ver. 29 to the end. In the Latin version, and also in Coverdale's English translation, as noted by Bp. Wilson, the title is “ The Prayer of Azarias and the Song of the three holy Children." The term “children” appears to mean young men. In the first chapter of Daniel, ver. 4, according to our present translation the word “children” occurs; see the note there : instead of this, two old translations, namely, Coverdale's and another, read “springaldes,” and “springalls,” which latter word is explained by Dr. Johnson to be an obsolete term for “ a youth.” Todd says, in his enlarged Johnson's Dictionary, that in our old ballads and romances the best authorized sense of the word “ child” is that of a youth of noble blood. And this sense exactly corresponds with the circumstances of these “ three holy children,” as described in the above-mentioned passage of Daniel. Edit. The song, said to have been uttered by the three companions of Daniel when thrown by Nebuchadnezzar into
the burning furnace, is to be admired for its instruction and tendency. The righteous persons, who are said to have uttered it, and whose reputation was founded on the authentick accounts of Daniel, chap. iii. 28, appear by their pious fortitude to have contributed with the Prophet to the suppression of idolatry. The veneration entertained for their character, of which the memory was highly celebrated among the Jews, probably induced some Hellenistick Jew to fabricate this ornamental addition to their history. It must have been inserted at a very early period, as it is cited by many ancient writers. The work is composed with great spirit; and the sentiments, attributed to the “three holy children,” are consistent with the piety, for which they were distinguished. The hymn resembles the 148th Psalm, as to its invocation on all the works of creation to praise and exalt the Lord. 'Dr. Gray. According to some authors, it was anciently used in the Jewish church; and adopted into the publick devotions of the Christians from the most early times. In the first Common Prayer Book of King Edward the Sixth, it was appointed to be used, during Lent, in the place of Te Deum. It is still retained in our Liturgy, with a direction for it to be used at the discretion of the minister. And considering the subject of the hymn, namely, that it is an elegant summons to all God's works to praise Him, intimating that they all set forth His glory, and invite us, who have the benefit of them, to join in “praising and magnifying the Lord for ever;" whenever we would glorify God for His work, which is one main end of the Lord's day, or when the Lesson treats of the creation, and sets before us the wonderful works of God in any of His creatures, or the use He makes of them either ordinary or miraculous for the good of the Church; this hymn may very seasonably be used. Wheatley.
Apocrypha. THE SONG OF THE THREE CHILDREN. Apocrypha.
1 Azarias his prayer and confession in the i and as the sand that lieth upon the
flame, 24 wherewith the Chaldeans about | seashore.
der this day in all the world because
prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt
16 Nevertheless in a contrite heart
of rams and bullocks, and like as in
true are all thy works, thy ways are and grant that we may wholly go a Ps. 25. 10. right, and a all thy judgments truth. after thee: for they shall not be
5 In all the things that thou hast confounded that put their trust in
with us after thy lovingkindness, and
7 In all things have we trespassed, 20 Deliver is also according to thy and not obeyed thy commandments, marvellous works, and give glory to nor kept them, neither done as thou thy name, O Lord : and let all them hast commanded us, that it might go that do thy servants hurt be ashamed; well with us.
I 21 And let them be confounded
art Lord, the only God, and glorious
25 And it passed through, and
26 But the angel of the Lord
13 To whom thou hast spoken and 27 And made the midst of the furpromised, that thou wouldest multi- nace as it had been a | moist whist- Or, cool. ply their seed as the stars of heaven, ling wind, so that the fire touched
pour ans sight
mapatha. which is a
of fat and
Plier, leb. cap. 105.
Ver. 2. — Azarias] Called Abednego in the book of Daniel. See Dan. i. 7.
die beste alors un to even tholde
Apocrypha. THE SONG OF THE THREE CHILDREN. Apocrypha.
them not at all, neither hurt nor | Lord: praise and exalt him above all
above all for ever.
him above all for ever.
all for ever.
32 Blessed art thou that beholdest 49 O ye ice and cold, bless ye the
50 O ye frost and snow, bless ye
34 Blessed art thou in the firma- bless ye the Lord : praise and exalt
35 O all ye works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for
53 O ye mountains and little hills, b Ps. 148. 4. 36 50 ye heavens, bless ye the bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt
Lord : praise and exalt him above all him above all for ever.
| 54 () all ye things that grow on
I 55 ( ye fountains, bless ye the
39 () all ye powers of the Lord, the Lord: praise and exalt him above
| 57 O ye whales, and all that move
| him above all for ever.
above all for ever.
all for ever.
31.- in the temple of thine holy glory :) That is, in waters which are under the firmament” or expanse: heaven. Grotius.
namely, the clouds and exhalations, which are drawn up 32. — that beholdest the depths,] The lowest parts of from the earth and sea into the higher regions of the the sea. See Ecclus. xlii. 18. Grotius. For all things air. Badwell. are opened to the eyes of God, even the most secret 60. O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord :) Having things. Badwell,
called upon all the other kinds of things and animals, 38. — ye waters that be above the heaven,] He means which are in heaven, in the air, the earth, and the sea, the waters, which Moses says “were divided from the l he now proceeds to men, whose principal duty it is
Apocrypha THE SONG OF THE THREE CHILDREN. Apocrypha.
praise and exalt him above all for, bless ye the Lord : praise and exalt
him above all for ever : for he hath
livered us out of the midst of the
and exalt him above all for ever. endureth for ever.
of heart, bless ye the Lord : praise bless the God of gods, praise him,
66 O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, endureth for ever.
to praise God. And in this address to men, he ob- and thence to particular persons among that people, serves the following order : from the whole race of who were especially occupied in God's worship. Bai. mankind he descends to the peculiar people of God, I well.
HISTORY OF SUSANNA,
Set apart from the beginning of Daniel, because it is not in the Hebrew, as
neither the Narration of † Bel and the Dragon.
THIS book has no sufficient pretensions to be considered as canonical. It appears to have been written in Greek by some Jew, who invented the history, or collected its particulars from traditionary relations, in praise of Daniel. The history might perhaps have some foundation in truth, though it is not mentioned by Josephus; who indeed has not noticed any of the particulars contained in these Apocryphal additions to the book of Daniel. The Jews in general rejected it as an improbable fable; they had, however, some traditional accounts of the story, and many fancied that it was alluded to by Jeremiah in his prophecy, chap. xxix. 22, 23. See
the note there, The book seems to have been received by the Christian Church as containing a relation not inconsistent with the
Sacred History, but not as the production of Daniel; though, as forming an appendage to his work, and containing an account of circumstances in which he was concerned, it was sometimes cited under his name; and being read by the Church, was considered with reverence. It is received, together with other spurious additions, as canonical by the Romish church, but is suffered to continue in our Bibles only as a work from which moral improvement is to be drawn. Dr. Gray.
16 Two judges hide themselves in the garden! 5 The same year were appointed
of Susanna to have their pleasure of her :) two of the ancients of the people to
ter again, and findeth the two judges false. from ancient judges, who seemed to
6 These kept much at Joacim's
away at noon, Susanna went into her
in every day, and walking; so that
nor remember just judgments.
Ver. 4. Now Joacim was a great rich man, &c.] The they executed some of the penal laws of Moses in smaller Jews that were carried away captives to Babylon were instances. See Esth. iii. 8. Arnald. not so plundered, but that many among them were both
such as the Lord spake of, &c.] Namely, in Jererich and powerful. See Tob. i. 13, 14, 22. The Jews miah, chap. xxix. 22. He gives not the words, but the seem to have resorted to Joacim's house for advice, or sense of the Prophet. Grotius. as to a seat of justice. See ver, 6, 7, 28, Arnald. Some who seemed to govern the people. That is, who of the Jewish rabbies suppose him to have been Jehoia- governed the people: an ordinary phrase. See Mark x. chin, the captive king of Judah. Dr. Hales.
42, where an expression, very much resembling this in 5. The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the original Greek, is rendered by St. Matthew, chap. the people &c.] The Hebrews never had “judges," either xx, 25, “ the princes." Grotius, Arnald. two in number, or annually appointed. These might 9. - that they might not look unto heaven, &c.] That have been assessors to the chief or president of the cap- is, that they might not look unto or reflect upon the God tives. Grotius. It is probable that the Jews retained a of heaven, nor remember His just judgments against sort of judicial power, even in their captivity, and that such notorious sinners. See Luke xv. 18. Arnald,