(A·bedʹne·go) [servant of Nego, the Chaldaic Mercury].
The name given to Azariah, one of the youths of the Jewish royalty or nobility taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E. (Dan. 1:3, 4, 7) Some authorities believe “Nego” to be an intentional corruption of the name Nebo, a Babylonian god, so as not to offend Azariah. The name “Azariah” means “Jah Has Helped,” and, among themselves, it appears that these Hebrews continued to use their original names. (Dan. 2:17) In Babylon he, along with Daniel, Hananiah and Mishael, passed, with high honors, a three-year training course and a regal examination personally conducted by Nebuchadnezzar, after having first demonstrated religious integrity in matters of food and drink. (Dan. 1:4, 5, 8-20) Later, at Daniel’s request, the king made Azariah and his two companions administrators over the jurisdictional district of Babylon.—Dan. 2:49.
Abednego (Azariah), along with his two Hebrew companions, was subsequently denounced before the king by certain Chaldeans for refusing to bow down to the king’s golden image in response to particular music. (Dan. 3:5, 8, 12) When they were questioned by the enraged king, their firm refusal to violate their conscience and their expression of faith in Jehovah resulted in the king’s having them thrown into a superheated furnace, where they were miraculously protected by God’s angelic representative. Following their release by the shaken king, and after physical examination and observation by the king’s court, they were restored to royal favor.—Dan. 3:15-30; see MESHACH; SHADRACH.