Abednego was one of the three Godly companions of Daniel, and was renamed by Nebuchadnezzar after his original Hebrew name Azariah. Having refused to make them unclean by eating food from the king's table, which went against the dietary laws, which God had given the Jews, they were fed and flourished upon pulse and water. Having successfully passed his examinations and escaped the death with which the wise men of Babylon were threatened, he was appointed at the request of Daniel along with his companions over the affairs of the province of Babylon. Having refused to bow down to the graven image, which Nebuchadnezzar had set up, he was thrown into the burning fiery furnace, and after his triumphant delivery by the angel of the Lord, he was caused by the king to prosper in the province of Babylon.


According to many, the nego is an intentional corruption of Nebo, the name of a Babylonian god, arising from the desire of the Hebrew scribes to avoid the giving of a heathen name to a hero of their faith. The name, according to this view, would mean "servant of Nebo." Inasmuch as `abhedh is a translation of the Babylonian `arad, it seems or probable that nego also must be a translation of some Babylonian word. The goddess Ishtar is by the Babylonians called "the morning star" and "the perfect light" . The morning star is called by the Arameans nogah, "the shining one," a word derived from the root Negah, the equivalent of the Babylonian Nagu, "to shine." Abed-Nego or Abednego, according to this interpretation, would be the translation of Arad-Ishtar, a not uncommon name among the Assyrians and Babylonians. ......R. Dick Wilson

Summon to King's Court:

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim King of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God. He brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his God, and the vessels into the treasury of his God. Then the King ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the King's court. The King ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The King appointed for them a daily provision from the king's choice food and from the wine which he drank , and appointed that they should be nourished and educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king's personal service.

Now among them whom were selected from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Azariah was a Jewish captive in Babylon. Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego.

Refuse the food from King's Table:

As per the disposal of Daniel, with God's favor and compassion in the sight of the commander, they were put on experiment with vegetables to eat and water to drink. At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food. Abednego got educated with Daniel in the court of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom. Then at the end of the days, which the king had specified for presenting them, the commander of the officials presented them before Nebuchadnezzar.

As Administrator of Babylon:

Being disclosed the interpretation of a forgotten dream of King Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made request to the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king's court.

Refuse to bow Golden Image of King Nebuchadnezzar:

King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

Then the herald loudly proclaimed to nations and men of every language to worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, on hearing the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. All the men of Babylon with vivid culture and languages bowed down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Abednego refuses to bow to the image:

Abednego and his friends did not pay any attention to the King's decree as they were determined not to worship any God other than the living God of Israel. Some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews and informed the King of their refusal to bow down to man made images. Abednego and his friends were summoned to the King. Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up them fell into the blazing furnace.

The Angel of God came down and walked along with them in the furnace and the fire could not do anything to them. The King had seen four men walking in the furnace and astonished at the miraculous scene and shouted them to come out from the furnace. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. King Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and decreed that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.

Abednego and his friends along with Daniel were the true representative of the people of God. Through these divine characters, Babylonian mighty kings of the earth come to acknowledge that they rule only by divine permission. Abednego who lived around 600 BC, firmly believed in the God they served is able to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace. Abednego mirrored the New Testament promise "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18

(Excerpts from 'Light of Life - The Bible : A Family Companion' to be launched)

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