Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
And therefore, because the king's commandment was urgent,.... Or was ordered to be obeyed in haste, and with expedition and dispatch, hence the men were cast into the furnace with clothes on; or those that cast them were not so careful of themselves:
and the furnace exceeding hot; being heated seven times more than usual:
the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; which came out of the furnace, being so excessive hot, and the smoke along with it; so that when those men took up the three children, and brought them so near to it as was necessary to cast them in, the flame and smoke catched their breath, and suffocated them; who might be men that advised the king to such cruel measures, or however were very ready, out of ill will to these good men, to execute them, and therefore righteously perished in their sins: in the Apocrypha it is said, that the flame issued out forty nine cubits above the furnace.
"So that the flame streamed forth above the furnace forty and nine cubits.'' Song of the Three Holy Children 1:24