THE PART YOU DIDN’T KNOW – We all know the story of Shadrach, Mesach and Abed-Nego in Daniel. But did you know that in the Babylonian Talmud, which is the Rabbi’s commentary on the Bible taken from oral traditions, they give us a somewhat different version. Not only about the three Hebrew Children, but about Abraham having to go through the same ordeal. Here it is in its original form:
Rabbi Na’ham bar Itz’hak said: The small Hallel is recited for another reason, namely, because it contains the transposition of the souls of the righteous from Gehenna to Heaven as it is written [Psalms 116:4]: “I beseech thee, O Lord! release my soul” (from Gehenna). Hez’kyah said: There is still another reason why the small Hallel should be recited, namely, because it is mentioned that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were thrown into the fiery furnace and came out alive: because the passage, “Not for our sake, O Lord,” was said by Hananiah; “But unto thy name give glory,” was said by Mishael, and “For the sake of thy kindness, for the sake of thy truth,” was said by Azariah; and the next passage, “Wherefore should the nations say, Where now is their God?” all three said together. This happened when they were thrown into the fiery furnace, and when they came out Hananiah said the passage [Psalms 117], “Praise the Lord, all ye nations!”; Mishael said: “Praise him, all ye people!” Azariah said, “For mighty is his kindness over us,” and “And the truth of the Lord endureth forever, Hallelujah!” was said by all three in unison. According to another version, this last sentence, “The truth of the Lord endureth forever,” was said by the angel Gabriel, because it was said that when Nimrod the wicked threw Abraham our father into the fiery furnace, the angel Gabriel said to the Lord: “Permit me to go and make the furnace cold, that it may do no harm to Abraham,” and the Holy One, blessed be He, replied: “Abraham is now the only one who has forsaken idolatry and believes in God, and I am the only One in the world, hence it would be but fair that the only One should rescue the other. And as the Holy One, blessed be He, would not deprive any one creature of the reward due, He said to Gabriel: “Thou shalt have an opportunity to rescue three of his children from a fiery furnace, while I Myself shall rescue him [Abraham].” (Whereupon Gabriel is supposed to have said: “The truth of the Lord endureth forever.”) Rabbi Simeon of Shiloni preached: When Nebuchadnezzar the wicked threw Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the fiery furnace, the angel Jurqami, master of the waters, came before the Lord and said: “Permit me to go and cool the furnace, so that I might rescue the righteous from death.” Said Gabriel to him: “This would not prove the power of the Lord, for it is well known that water can extinguish fire, and thou art the master of waters; hence it would be but commonplace if through thy means the furnace were cooled. Rather should I, who am the master of fire, be permitted to go, and I shall remove the fire on the inside and make it so much more fierce on the outside, which will be a miracle within a miracle; for a master of fire will make the fire cool in one place and so much hotter in another.” Whereupon the Lord said: “Go thou, Gabriel, and do so,” and Gabriel said: “The truth of the Lord endureth forever.”
This shows you what creative minds can do to an original story! Unfortunately, the same has been done with the Gospel at times.