Daniel 1:5 Index
"And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king."

"And the king appointed"

  • Being members of the royal school for courtiers, the youth were given rations from the royal household. The custom is attested in the later Persian period, for which time we have more contemporary records than for the Neo-Babylonian period. (4BC)
  • Eager to impress these brilliant young Judean captives and hasten their Chaldeanization, Nebuchadnezzar personally ordered their diet. This was, of course, part of a plan to change their life-style. (RAA)
  • In the treatment which these Hebrew captives received, we see an instance of the wise policy and the liberality of the rising king, Nebuchadnezzar. Instead of choosing means for the gratification of low and base desires, as too many kings of later times have done, he chose young men to be educated in all matters pertaining to the kingdom, that he might have efficient help in administering its affairs. He appointed them daily provision of his own food and drink. Instead of the coarse fare which some would have thought good enough for captives, he offered them his own royal viands. For the space of three years they had all the advantages the kingdom afforded. Though captives, they were royal children, and were treated as such by the humane king of the Chaldeans. (US)
  • Daniel and his companions in Babylon were, in their youth, apparently more favored of fortune than was Joseph in the earlier years of his life in Egypt; yet they were subjected to tests of character scarcely less severe. From the comparative simplicity of their Judean home these youth of royal line were transported to the most magnificent of cities, to the court of its greatest monarch, and were singled out to be trained for the king's special service. Strong were the temptations surrounding them in that corrupt and luxurious court. The fact that they, the worshipers of Jehovah, were captives to Babylon; that the vessels of God's house had been placed in the temple of the gods of Babylon; that the king of Israel was himself a prisoner in the hands of the Babylonians, was boastfully cited by the victors as evidence that their religion and customs were superior to the religion and customs of the Hebrews. Under such circumstances, through the very humiliations that Israel's departure from His commandments had invited, God gave to Babylon evidence of His supremacy, of the holiness of His requirements, and of the sure result of obedience. And this testimony He gave, as alone it could be given, through those who still held fast their loyalty... To Daniel and his companions, at the very outset of their career, there came a decisive test. The direction that their food should be supplied from the royal table was an expression both of the king's favor and of his solicitude for their welfare.(Ed 54-55)

"a daily provision of the king's meat"

  • The Hebrew word "patbag" means "rich food" or "choice food." It comes from the Old Persian word "patibaga" and originally meant either "an offering" or a portion of the special food served at the royal palace.... In accordance with the ancient customs, the king himself provided choice food and wine for those who resided or served at the palace (1 Kings 4:7). Doing so ensured that he would be given credit for their success. The text repeatedly states that the food and drink came from the king's table. (ZS 53-55)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's Brainwashing Techniques 3 of 6: 3rd, What a unique privilege to eat food from the king's table and drink the wine that was served to the king. They never had it like this at home. Look at all the king was doing for them. It would not be hard to get used to this kind of life. Nebuchadnezzar wasn't such a bad fellow after all. (KC 26)

"so nourishing them three years" (Daniel 1:18)

  • That is, by inclusive reckoning... from the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar, when Daniel was taken captive... to the second year of the king's reign. (4BC)
  • Scholars argue, based on some extrabiblical evidence, that a three-year education was the standard practice in Persia and possibly in Neo-Babylon. (ZS 53)

"thereof they might stand before the king."

  • This was a technical term for royal service commonly used in the Bible. (1 Kings 10:8l 12:8). It is also used in a religious sense in Deuteronomy 10:8 and 2 Chronicles 29:11. (ZS 53)
  • Is a technical expression for the consecrated to religious service. In 2 Chronicles 29:11 it describes the function of the Levite. Chaldean education not only sought to indoctrinate the Hebrews but also threatened them in their most personal habits, so as to convert them to the cult of Nebuchadnezzar. (JBD 18)