There isn’t a whole lot to say about these chapters that hasn’t been said.
I do feel that I have to comment on the diet Daniel and the others insist on following. I don’t think it’s a statement in favor of vegetarianism or anything like that. I believe it’s a matter of faith. They refused to break the dietary restrictions of Jewish law. Their faith was rewarded. I do think we should do our best to eat healthy and care for our bodies, but I don’t think that is the point being made here.
That said, I also believe you absolutely can make your diet a matter of faith if you so choose. Perhaps instead of fasting entirely, you fast from meat for a time. Perhaps you dedicate yourself more long term. But this would be a personal choice, not a universal principle.
Also, whatever else you think of a king that seems very comfortable with killing people for any reason at all, I’ve got to respect his stance on the dream interpreters. Why should he trust their interpretation if they can’t somehow prove they aren’t just making it up? Anyone can listen to a dream and make up a meaning that sounds good, sounds relevant. But if the interpretation is supposed to be coming from a god or some mystical source, why can’t they also tell you what the dream was in the first place? Seems perfectly reasonable to me. And, you know, accurate. Because God could do just that, and did. But, I mean, the dream did come from him in the first place.
Anyway, the fiery furnace is one of my favorite stories of faith. It’s just so dramatic. Not only are the three young men saved from death, but they get a personal visit from God. He comes down and comforts them in their time of persecution. I can’t even imagine. I want to know what they talked about as they walked through the fire. I want to know if there were hugs involved.
I want to know if they were reluctant to step back out of the fire. I’d certainly prefer to just go with God right then over returning to exile.