Song of the Three Children
THREE CHILDREN, SONG OF THE (̔́Υμνος τω̂ν τριω̂ν παίδων). One of the Gr. additions to the , which, along with the , appears not as an appendix but as a supplementary insertion between 3:23 and
After the Prayer of Azariah, the ed. remarks (or was this once a part of the MT?) that the fire into which the three had been thrown continued to be fed, becoming so great that it burned those near the furnace, but that the angel of the Lord came down and protected the three (
In v. 66 is reference to the names of the three Israelites, who are to bless the Lord for deliverance from the fiery furnace. It is likely, however, that this v. is an addition of the ed. who is responsible for the insertion of this material into
The Song preceded by the Prayer of Azariah is available as a separate entity in the Apoc. The Gr. text (LXX and Theodotionic recensions agree closely) is available in the standard edd. of the LXX as a part of
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
|| 1. Name
4. Author and Date
5. Original Language
6. Text and Versions
For general remarks concerning the Additions to Daniel see Bel and the Dragon.
This Addition has no separate title in any manuscript or version because in the Septuagint, Theod, Syriac and Latin (Old Latin and Vulgate) it follows
See introductory remarks to BEL AND THE DRAGON. The order in which the three "Additions to Daniel" are found in the (Separate Protestant) Apocrypha is decided by their sequence in the Vulgate, the So of the Three Children forming part of chapter 3, Susanna of chapter 13, andof chapter 14 of Daniel.
Though the English and other Protestant versions treat the 68 verses as one piece under the name given above, there are really two quite distinct compositions. These appear separately in the collection of Odes appended to the Psalter in Cod. A under the headings, "The Prayer of Azarias" (Proseuche Azariou, Azariah,
(1) The Prayer of Azarias (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:1-22) (Daniel 3:24-48).
Azariah is the Hebrew name of Abed-nego (= Abednebo, "servant of Nebo"), the latter being the Babylonian name (see
(2) The So of the Three Holy Children (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:28-68) (Da 3:51-90).
This is introduced by a brief connecting narrative (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:23-27). The king’s servants continued to heat the furnace, but an angel came down and isolated an inner zone of the furnace within which no flames could enter; in this the three found safety. Rothstein (Kautzsch, Die Apok., 175) is inclined to think that this narrative section (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:23-27) stood between
4. Author and Date:
We know nothing whatever of the author besides what may be gathered from this Addition. It is quite evident that none of the three Additions belong to the original text of Daniel, and that they were added because they contained legends in keeping with the spirit of that book, and a song in a slight degree (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:66 English Version of the Bible) adapted to the situation of the three Hebrew youths in the furnace, though itself of an independent liturgical origin.
For a long time the three Additions must have circulated independently. Polychronius says that "The So of the Three Holy Children" was, even in the 5th century AD, absent from the text of Daniel, both in the Peshitta and in the Septuagint proper. Rothstein (Kautzsch, Die Apok., 176) contends that the Additions formed a part of the Septuagint from the beginning, from which he infers that they were all composed before the Septuagint was made. What was the date of this version of Daniel? Since its use seems implied in 1 Macc 1:54 (compare
(2) Date of the Prayer of Azarias.
In The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:15 (English Versions of the Bible) it is said that at the time the prayer was offered, there was no prince, prophet or leader, nor sacrifice of any kind. This may point to the time between 168 and 165 BC, when(Epiphanes) profaned the temple. If written in that interval, it must have been added to Da at a much later time. But on more occasions than one, in later times, the temple-services were suspended, as e.g. during the invasion of Jerusalem by the Egyptian king, Ptolemy IV (Philopater).
(3) Date of the Song.
We find references in the So (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:62 f English Versions of the Bible) to priests and temple-servants, and in The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:31 to the temple itself, suggesting that when the So was written the temple-services were carried on. This, in itself, would suit a time soon after the purification of the temple, about 164 BC. But the terms of the So are, except in verse 66 (English Versions of the Bible), so general that it is impossible to fix the date definitely. On the date of the historical connecting narrative (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:23-27) see ''''3, (2), above.
5. Original Language:
(1) Romanist scholars in general and several Protestants (Eichhorn, Einleit., in das Altes Testament, IV, 24 f; Einleit. in die apok. Schriften, 419; Vatke; Delitzsch, De Habacuci, 50; Zockler, Bissell, Ball, Rothstein, etc.) hold that the original language was Hebrew. The evidence, which is weak, is as follows: (a) The style is Hebraistic throughout (not more so than in writings known to have been composed in Alexandrian Gr; the idiom kataischunesthai + apo = bosh min (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:44 English Versions of the Bible; the Septuagint 1:44), "to be ashamed of," occurs in parts of the Septuagint which are certainly not translations). (b) The three Hebrew martyrs bear Hebrew names (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:66 English Versions). This only shows that the tale is of Hebrew origin. (2) Most modern non-Romanist scholars hold that the original language of the So (and Prayer) was Greek. So Keil, Fritzsche, De Wette, Schurer, Konig, Cornill, Strack, etc.
(1) The Hebraisms are comparatively few, and those which do exist can be paralleled in other writings composed in
(2) It can be proved that in Daniel and also in Bel and the Dragon (see Introduction to Bel in the Oxford Apocrypha, edition R.H. Charles), Theodotion corrects the Septuagint from the Hebrew (lost in the case of Bel); but in Three, Theodotion corrects according to Greek idiom or grammar. It must be admitted, however, that the evidence is not very decisive either way.
6. Text and Versions:
As to the text and the various versions of the Song, see what is said in the article BEL AND THE DRAGON. It is important to note that the translations in English Versions of the Bible are made from Theodotion’s Greek version, which occurs in ancient versions of the Septuagint (A B V Q dc) instead of the true Septuagint (Cod. 87).
See the article BEL AND THE DRAGON; Marshall (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, IV, 754); W. H. Bennett (Oxford Apocrypha, edition R.H. Charles, 625 ff).
T. Witton Davies