SHADRACH, MESHACH, ABEDNEGO (shăd’-răk, me’ shăk, ə bĕd’ nĭ gō; שַׁדְרַ֔כְ, מֵישַׁ֔כְ, עֲבֵ֥ד נְגֹֽו). The three Heb. youths who were brought before the king of Babylon by Ashpenaz, the chief eunuch. They are described as “youths without blemish, handsome and skilful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to serve in the king’s palace” (Dan 1:4). They were to be educated for three years in the “letters and language of the Chaldeans.” They determined, however, not to defile themselves with the king’s rich food, or with wine; instead, they ate vegetables and drank water. After ten days of trial, it was obvious that Daniel and his companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were “better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s rich food” (1:15). Later, these youths proved to be of stalwart faith and piety, and withstood all pressures to worship the pagan image set up by Nebuchadnezzar. In consequence of this, all three were cast into a fiery furnace and were miraculously delivered.
J. B. Alexander, “New Light on the Fiery Furnace,” JBL 69 (1950), 375; B. G. Sanders, “The Burning Fiery Furnace,” Theology 58 (1955), 340-344.