Summary of passage: Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, conquered Jerusalem and carried off artifacts from the temple of God. He brought in some Israelites of royal blood to train for the king’s service. Among these was Daniel as well as the famous Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Daniel refused to partake of the royal food offered and instead consisted of vegetables and water.
God gave these four increased knowledge and He blessed Daniel with the ability to understand dreams and visions. These four were the best than the pagan magicians and enchanters in the whole kingdom and were prominently rewarded. They served Nebuchadnezzar through King Cyrus.
3) Daniel resolved not to defile himself with royal food and wine. He set up a test for ten days to consist on nothing but vegetables and water and at the end of ten days he and others looked healthier and better nourished than those eating royal food. Result: Daniel did not have to defile himself.
4) Part personal Question. My answer; God gave them knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. He gifted Daniel with the ability to understand visions and dreams. They rose in prominence in the Babylonian political realm. This shows me how God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him. He rewards faithfulness. God is good. God never abandons His people.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Daniel is the prime example of a Christian living amongst pagans. He excelled with God’s help, achieving success without bending his own principles of integrity and personal and religious beliefs. He’s the perfect example of how one can serve both God and the state. His story is encouraging especially today where society is pushing beliefs against the Bible on others. If we are faithful, God will be as well.
Conclusions: I’m always skeptical as to why we interrupt our study of one book of the Bible and jump to another book. I’m so chronologically oriented that I’d prefer to chug on through the book and then come back to others at the end of the study. I like Daniel and studying him but we can do that in the “study of Daniel”. I’d rather have spent this time on exploring the subtle nuances of the book of Revelation. There is so much in Revelation we could spend years studying it. Will be interested to see how this connects with this study.
End Notes: We are now in the 500’s BC–close to 600 years before Revelation was written. Nebuchadnezzar showed his sagacity by taking the young men for indoctrination. This was the best and brightest Judah had to offer and he didn’t want them rising up against him.
Food was a big deal back then. Royalty obviously ate better than the plebeians–MUCH better. Most peasants’s diet consisted of watered-down wine, bread or other grains, and little meat. Royalty ate meat, vegetables, and other exotic foods. This tactic was to turn the captives dependence on Babylon.
This food was not kosher (acceptable food that satisfies the Jewish law) and was food used to sacrifice to idols and was used socially. Daniel wanted no part of it.
Great example of being faithful to God in the little things. Faith first. The rewards.
Also note Daniel’s protest is peaceful and courteous. You gain nothing with meanness. Furthermore, he showed concern for the chief who was worried about repercussions. He did not put that man’s life at risk. Godly wisdom at its best.
Just for Fun: Actual menu served at a royal feast in 1387 (Medieval Times):
14 oxen lying in salt
2 oxen, fresh
120 heads of sheep, fresh
120 carcasses of sheep, fresh
300 marrow bones
lard and grease, enough
3 tons of salt venison
3 does of fresh venison
50 capons of high grease
8 dozen other capons
60 dozen hens
200 pair rabbits
5 herons and bitterns
6 young goats
5 dozen young hens for jelly
12 dozen young hens to roast
100 dozen pigeons
12 dozen partridges
8 dozen young rabbits
10 dozen curlews
12 dozen whimbrels
wild fowl, enough
120 gallons milk
12 gallons cream
40 gallons of curd
3 bushels of apples
11 thousand eggs
Taken from It’s Disgusting and We Ate it! by James Solheim
Typical Roman Fare (Taken from Ancient Agriculture by Michael & Mary B Woods):
The poor Romans lived on bread, olives, mashed beans, chickpeas, wine, cheese, salted fish, and very small amounts of meat. A treat would be honey, milk, or porridge.
Rich Romans had lavish banquets, a sampling of which would consist of oysters, mussels, swans, venison, lobsters, pheasants, pig, duck, turkey, gazelle, etc.
Wealthy Romans would often stuff themselves at these banquets and then would visit the vomitorium, a room just off the banquet hall, where they would stick a straw down their throats, vomit, and then return to stuff themselves again.
All such a waste when the poor all around would be starving.