Daniel 1:8
Index

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portions of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."

"Daniel purposed in his heart" (1 Samuel 2:30)

  • From studying what he did have he knew how to distinguish between the true God of Israel and the false gods of Babylon. He could separate suitable foods from unsuitable foods in harmony with Deuteronomy 14. He saw the danger in drinking wine. (Leviticus 10:1-11). He knew the importance of being faithful and hones in all his dealings. (Daniel 6:4). And he knew how to pray effectively. (Daniel 2:17-23). (CMM)
  • It is the way in which a man meets and solves the problems of life that reveals the kind of stuff he is made of... The solution of all the problems of life is easy for a man of character and character consists essentially of living by principle rather than being guided by inclination, or one's feelings. (Intro to E.G. White Commentary)
  • Daniel valued his human capabilities, but he did not trust in them. His trust was in that strength which God has promised to all who will come to Him in humble dependence, relying wholly upon His power.... He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank; for he knew that such a diet would not strengthen his physical powers or increase his mental capability. He would not use wine, nor any other unnatural stimulant; he would do nothing to becloud his mind; and God gave him “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom,” and also “understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:10) .... Daniel's parents had trained him in his childhood to habits of strict temperance. They had taught him that he must conform to nature's laws in all his habits; that his eating and drinking had a direct influence upon his physical, mental, and moral nature, and that he was accountable to God for his capabilities; for he held them all as a gift from God, and must not, by any course of action, dwarf or cripple them. As the result of this teaching, the law of God was exalted in his mind, and reverenced in his heart. During the early years of his captivity, Daniel was passing through an ordeal which was to familiarize him with courtly grandeur, with hypocrisy, and with paganism. A strange school indeed to fit him for a life of sobriety, industry, and faithfulness! And yet he lived uncorrupted by the atmosphere of evil with which he was surrounded.... The experience of Daniel and his youthful companions illustrates the benefits that may result from an abstemious diet, and shows what God will do for those who will cooperate with Him in the purifying and uplifting of the soul. They were an honor to God, and a bright and shining light in the court of Babylon.... In this history we hear the voice of God addressing us individually, bidding us gather up all the precious rays of light upon this subject of Christian temperance, and place ourselves in right relation to the laws of health. (CD 154-155)
  • Be strong in faith, and teach your children that we are all dependent upon God. Read to them the story of the four Hebrew children, and impress their minds with a realization of the influence for good that was exerted in Daniel's time because of strict adherence to principle. (CG 43)
  • It was God's design to show the Babylonians that there was a King above the king of Babylon—the God whom the Hebrew youth worshiped. These youth exalted God. They knew that they were to carry out the principles of truth, and therefore they refused the meat from the royal table and the wine from the royal cellar. Their abstinence from the prescribed bill of fare made a distinction in every way between their appearance and the appearance of those youth who indulged their appetite. There were plenty to make remarks, but these youth were faithful even in little things. And in physical appearance they were far ahead of the youth who sat at the king's table. Their simple diet kept their minds clear. They were better prepared for their studies: for they never knew the oppression caused by eating luxurious food. They were better prepared physically for taxing labor; for they were never sick. With clear minds, they could think and work vigorously. By obeying God they were doing the very things that will give strength of thought and memory. (4MR 123-124)
  • The history of Daniel is placed upon record for our benefit. He chose to take a course that would make him singular in the king's court. He did not conform to the habits of the courtiers in eating and drinking, but purposed in his heart that he would not eat of the king's meat nor drink of his wines. This was not a hastily formed, wavering purpose, but one that was intelligently formed and resolutely carried out. Daniel honored God; and the promise was fulfilled to him. “Them that honor Me I will honor.” (1 Samuel 2:30). The Lord gave him “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom,” and he had “understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17); so that he was wiser than all in the king's courts, wiser than all the astrologers and magicians in the kingdom. (CH 50)
  • Daniel was directly responding to the king's attempt to force him into his Babylonian culture. To preserve his identity, the exile chooses to eat and drink differently.... Daniel's behavior contains an important lesson regarding the too often ignored connection between faith and existence. His religion does not limit itself to spiritual beliefs or to abstractions, but implies also the concrete level of existence. Daniel teaches us that faith involves both the soul and the life of the body. (JBD 19, 20)
  • One must... observe that Daniel remains profoundly human. He is not an ascetic.... We must... note Daniel's behavior toward the king's official. His religious convictions and his ideal of sanctity do not make him arrogant. On the contrary, Daniel approaches his superior in humility and asks for "permission" (Daniel 1:8). He even maintains with him a relationship of friendship and respect (Daniel 1:9). His attitude contains an important lesson for all those obsessed by a desire for holiness. Holiness does not exclude humanity, but rather implies it. To drape oneself in the starched mantle of justice is not holiness nor is detachment from reality or enjoyment of life. It is a distorted idea of holiness too long advocated by somber and emaciated "saints." Ignoring good food and laughter, they have rendered religion intolerable to the rest of us. In reaction there have appeared humanistic movements of all sorts with their slogans of love and fraternity. Somber saints have made the law of God suspect.... Daniel is a pleasant fellow who enjoys the reality of life while at the same time he refuses to compromise. (JBD 20)
  • What if Daniel and his companions had made a compromise with those heathen officers, and had yielded to the pressure of the occasion by eating and drinking as was customary with the Babylonians? That single instance of departure from principle would have weakened their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. Indulgence of appetite would have involved the sacrifice of physical vigor, clearness of intellect, and spiritual power. One wrong step would probably have led to others, until, their connection with Heaven being severed, they would have been swept away by temptation.... The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. Bible sanctification has to do with the whole man.... It is impossible for any to enjoy the blessing of sanctification while they are selfish and gluttonous. These groan under a burden of infirmities because of wrong habits of eating and drinking, which do violence to the laws of life and health. Many are enfeebling their digestive organs by indulging perverted appetite. The power of the human constitution to resist the abuses put upon it is wonderful; but persistent wrong habits in excessive eating and drinking will enfeeble every function of the body. Let these feeble ones consider what they might have been had they lived temperately and promoted health instead of abusing it. In the gratification of perverted appetite and passion, even professed Christians cripple nature in her work and lessen physical, mental, and moral power. Some who are doing this, claim to be sanctified to God; but such a claim is without foundation.... Wherever they may be, those who are truly sanctified will elevate the moral standard by preserving correct physical habits, and, like Daniel, presenting to others an example of temperance and self-denial. Every depraved appetite becomes a warring lust. Everything that conflicts with natural law creates a diseased condition of the soul. The indulgence of appetite produces a dyspeptic stomach, a torpid liver, a clouded brain, and thus perverts the temper and the spirit of the man. And these enfeebled powers are offered to God, who refused to accept the victims for sacrifice unless they were without a blemish. It is our duty to bring our appetite and our habits of life into conformity to natural law. If the bodies offered upon Christ's altar were examined with the close scrutiny to which the Jewish sacrifices were subjected, who with our present habits would be accepted? (CH 66-69)
  • Stand like Daniel, that faithful statesman, a man whom no temptation could corrupt. Do not disappoint Him who so loved you that He gave His own life to cancel your sins. He says, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5). Remember this. If you have made mistakes, you certainly gain a victory if you see these mistakes and regard them as beacons of warning. Thus you turn defeat into victory, disappointing the enemy and honoring your Redeemer. (COL 332)
  • Daniel was not a policy man. When he had to decide between his conscience and his appetite; between his religion and expediency, he unhesitatingly chose to cling to his God and run the risk of jeopardizing his good standing with the king and his court. (TGB 11
  • In the medical profession there are many skeptics and atheists who exalt the works of God above the God of science. Comparatively few of those who enter worldly medical colleges come out from them pure and unspotted. They have failed to become elevated, ennobled, sanctified. Material things eclipse the heavenly and eternal. With many, religious faith and principles are mingled with worldly customs and practices, and pure and undefiled religion is rare. But it is the privilege of every student to enter college with the same fixed, determined principle that Daniel had when he entered the court of Babylon, and throughout his course to keep his integrity untarnished. The strength and grace of God have been provided at an infinite sacrifice, that men might be victorious over Satan's suggestions and temptations, and come forth unsullied. The life, the words, and the deportment are the most forcible argument, the most solemn appeal, to the careless, irreverent, and skeptical. Let the life and character be the strong argument for Christianity; then men will be compelled to take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus and have learned of Him.
  • While cultivating the mind the student should also cultivate uprightness of heart and loyalty to God, that he may develop a character like that of Joseph. Then he will scorn the thought of yielding to temptation, fearing to sully his purity. Like Daniel, he will resolve to be true to principle and to make the very best use of the powers with which God has endowed him. (CT 478, 496)
  • 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. But a portion having been offered to idols, the food from the king's table was consecrated to idolatry; and in partaking of the king's bounty these youth would be regarded as uniting in his homage to false gods. In such homage loyalty to Jehovah forbade them to participate. Nor dared they risk the enervating effect of luxury and dissipation on physical, mental, and spiritual development. (Ed 54-55)
  • When man is in fellowship with God, that unswerving purpose which preserved Joseph and Daniel amidst the corruption of heathen courts will make his a life of unsullied purity. His robes of character will be spotless. In his life the light of Christ will be undimmed. The bright and morning Star will appear shining steadfastly above him in changeless glory.... Such a life will be an element of strength in the community. It will be a barrier against evil, a safeguard to the tempted, a guiding light to those who, amidst difficulties and discouragements, are seeking the right way. (MH 136)
  • Daniel was subjected to the severest temptations that can assail the youth today, yet he was true to the religious instruction received in early life. He was surrounded with influences calculated to subvert those who would vacillate between principle and inclination, yet the Word of God presents him as a faultless character. Daniel dared not trust to his own moral power. Prayer was to him a necessity. He made God his strength, and the fear of God was continually before him in all the transactions of his life.... He sought to live in peace with all, while he was unbending as the lofty cedar wherever principle was involved. In everything that did not come in collision with his allegiance to God, he was respectful and obedient to those who had authority over him.... In the experience of Daniel and his companions we have an instance of the triumph of principle over temptation to indulge the appetite. It shows us that through religious principle young men may triumph over the lusts of the flesh, and remain true to God's requirements.... What if Daniel and his companions had made a compromise with those heathen officers, and had yielded to the pressure of the occasion, by eating and drinking as was customary with the Babylonians? That single instance of departure from principle would have weakened their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. Indulgence of appetite would have involved the sacrifice of physical vigor, clearness of intellect, and spiritual power. One wrong step would probably have led to others, until, their connection with Heaven being severed, they would have been swept away by temptation. (ML 75)
  • Daniel did not absorb this food as a "wonder drug," or use the ideal diet as a means to spiritual perfection, but as a sign of his faith in his God - and that is what saved them. To health and physical grace God added wisdom, intelligence, and science. They recognized the whole as a divine gift. (JBD 21)
  • In the history of Joseph, Daniel, and his fellows we see how the golden chain of truth may bind the youth to the throne of God. They could not be tempted to turn aside from their course of integrity. They valued the favor of God far above the favor and praise of princes, and God loved them, and spread His shield over them. Because of their faithful integrity, because of their determination to honor God above every human power, the Lord signally honored them before men. They were honored by the Lord God of hosts, whose power is over all the works of His hand in heaven above and the earth beneath. These youth were not ashamed to display their true colors. Even in the court of the king, in their words, their habits, their practices, they confessed their faith in the Lord God of heaven. They refused to bow to any earthly mandate that detracted from the honor of God. They had strength from heaven to confess their allegiance to God.... Never be ashamed of your colors; put them up, unfurl them to the gaze of men and angels.... The world has a right to know just (w)hat may be expected from every intelligent human being. He who is a living embodiment of firm, decided, righteous principles will be a living power upon his associates; and he will influence others by his Christianity. Many do not discern and appreciate how great is the influence of each one for good or evil.... (ML 120)
  • It was God's design to show the Babylonians that there was a King above the king of Babylon—the God whom the Hebrew youth worshiped. These youth exalted God. They knew that they were to carry out the principles of truth, and therefore they refused the meat from the royal table and the wine from the royal cellar. Their abstinence from the prescribed bill of fare made a distinction in every way between their appearance and the appearance of those youth who indulged their appetite. There were plenty to make remarks, but these youth were faithful even in little things. And in physical appearance they were far ahead of the youth who sat at the king's table. Their simple diet kept their minds clear. They were better prepared for their studies: for they never knew the oppression caused by eating luxurious food. They were better prepared physically for taxing labor; for they were never sick. With clear minds, they could think and work vigorously. By obeying God they were doing the very things that will give strength of thought and memory.... Daniel in Babylon chose the wisdom that would vindicate the honor of God. He and his three companions decided that it was in the wise purpose of God that they had been taken as captives to the wicked and corrupt city of Babylon. They did not leave their religion behind them in their own nation. They determined that they would not devote their time to complaint, but that they would be cheerful, and faithful in all their business transactions; that God's compassion for them demanded the most unselfish service on their part as His representatives. They would preserve the true worship, and not permit one slur to be cast upon God.... Why did Daniel refuse to eat at the king's luxurious table? Why did he refuse the use of wine as his beverage, when it was at the king's command that it was placed before him? He knew that by use wine would become to him a pleasant thing, and would be preferred before water.... Daniel could have argued that at the royal table and at the king's command, there was no other course for him to pursue. But he and his fellows had a council together. They canvassed the entire subject as to how they would improve the physical and mental powers by the use of wine. They studied this subject most diligently. The wine of itself, they decided, was a snare. They were acquainted with the history which had come to them in parchments of Nadab and Abihu. In those men the use of wine had encouraged their love for it. They drank wine before their sacred service in the sanctuary. Their senses were confused. They could not distinguish the difference between the sacred and the common fire.... Daniel and his companions had been educated in regard to Nadab and Abihu and also Abel, Seth, Enoch, and Noah. They cherished the truth that had been given them from human lips passing down the line from one generation to another. The image of God was engraved upon the heart.... A second consideration of these youthful captives was that the king always asked a blessing before his meals, and addressed his idols as Deity. He set apart a portion of his food to be presented to the idol gods whom he worshiped, and also a portion of the wine. This act, according to their religious instruction, consecrated the whole to the heathen god. To sit at the table where such idolatry was practiced, Daniel and his three brethren deemed, would be a dishonor to the God of heaven. These four children decided that they could not sit at the king's table to eat of the food placed there, or to partake of the wine, all of which had been dedicated to an idol god. This would indeed implicate them with heathenism, and dishonor the principles of their national religion and their God. (4MR 123-126)
  • It was their conscientious observance of the commands of Holy Scripture, that in the days of Jeremiah's ministry brought to Daniel and his fellows opportunities to exalt the true God before the nations of earth. The instruction these Hebrew children had received in the homes of their parents, made them strong in faith and constant in their service of the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. When, early in the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar for the first time besieged and captured Jerusalem, and carried away Daniel and his companions, with others specially chosen for service in the court of Babylon, the faith of the Hebrew captives was tried to the utmost. But those who had learned to place their trust in the promises of God found these all-sufficient in every experience through which they were called to pass during their sojourn in a strange land. The Scriptures proved to them a guide and a stay. (PK 428)
  • At the very outset of their career there came to them a decisive test of character. It was provided that they should eat of the food and drink of the wine that came from the king's table. In this the king thought to give them an expression of his favor and of his solicitude for their welfare. But a portion having been offered to idols, the food from the king's table was consecrated to idolatry; and one partaking of it would be regarded as offering homage to the gods of Babylon. In such homage, loyalty to Jehovah forbade Daniel and his companions to join. Even a mere pretense of eating the food or drinking the wine would be a denial of their faith. To do this would be to array themselves with heathenism and to dishonor the principles of the law of God.... Nor dared they risk the enervating effect of luxury and dissipation on physical, mental, and spiritual development. They were acquainted with the history of Nadab and Abihu, the record of whose intemperance and its results had been preserved in the parchments of the Pentateuch; and they knew that their own physical and mental power would be injuriously affected by the use of wine.... Daniel and his associates had been trained by their parents to habits of strict temperance. They had been taught that God would hold them accountable for their capabilities, and that they must never dwarf or enfeeble their powers. This education was to Daniel and his companions the means of their preservation amidst the demoralizing influences of the court of Babylon. Strong were the temptations surrounding them in that corrupt and luxurious court, but they remained uncontaminated. No power, no influence, could sway them from the principles they had learned in early life by a study of the word and works of God.... Had Daniel so desired, he might have found in his surroundings a plausible excuse for departing from strictly temperate habits. He might have argued that, dependent as he was on the king's favor and subject to his power, there was no other course for him to pursue than to eat of the king's food and drink of his wine; for should he adhere to the divine teaching, he would offend the king and probably lose his position and his life. Should he disregard the commandment of the Lord he would retain the favor of the king and secure for himself intellectual advantages and flattering worldly prospects.... But Daniel did not hesitate. The approval of God was dearer to him than the favor of the most powerful earthly potentate—dearer than life itself. He determined to stand firm in his integrity, let the result be what it might. He “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank.” And in this resolve he was supported by his three companions.... In reaching this decision, the Hebrew youth did not act presumptuously but in firm reliance upon God. They did not choose to be singular, but they would be so rather than dishonor God. Should they compromise with wrong in this instance by yielding to the pressure of circumstances, their departure from principle would weaken their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. The first wrong step would lead to others, until, their connection with Heaven severed, they would be swept away by temptation.... For three years the Hebrew youth studied to acquire “the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” (Daniel 1:4). During this time they held fast their allegiance to God and depended constantly upon His power. With their habits of self-denial they united earnestness of purpose, diligence, and steadfastness. It was not pride or ambition that had brought them into the king's court, into companionship with those who neither knew nor feared God; they were captives in a strange land, placed there by Infinite Wisdom. Separated from home influences and sacred associations, they sought to acquit themselves creditably, for the honor of their down-trodden people, and for the glory of Him whose servants they were. (PK 481-484)
  • Through the fidelity to the principles of temperance shown by the Hebrew youth God is speaking to the youth of today. There is need of men who like Daniel will do and dare for the cause of right. Pure hearts, strong hands, fearless courage, are needed; for the warfare between vice and virtue calls for ceaseless vigilance. To every soul Satan comes with temptation in many alluring forms on the point of indulgence of appetite.... The body is a most important medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here often means the surrender of the whole being to evil. The tendencies of the physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection to the higher powers of the being. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in the life. Intellectual power, physical stamina, and the length of life depend upon immutable laws. Through obedience to these laws, man may stand conqueror of himself, conqueror of his own inclinations, conqueror of principalities and powers, of “the rulers of the darkness of this world,” and of “spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12). (PK 488-489)
  • The youth should stand in a position where their hearts may be wholly the Lord's; where they are honoring God with their strength. God will then honor them by giving them knowledge and wisdom. Thus did Daniel in the courts of Babylon, standing true to principle amid the corruptions of the heathen. “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank.”.... Daniel and his companions knew not what would be the result of their decision; they knew not but that it would cost them their lives; but they determined to keep the straight path of strict temperance even when in the courts of licentious Babylon. (SD 174)
  • Among the viands placed before the king were swine's flesh and other meats which were declared unclean by the law of Moses, and which the Hebrews had been expressly forbidden to eat. Here Daniel was brought to a severe test. Should he adhere to the teachings of his fathers concerning meats and drinks, and offend the king, and probably lose not only his position but his life? or should he disregard the commandment of the Lord, and retain the favor of the king, thus securing great intellectual advantages and the most flattering worldly prospects?... Daniel did not long hesitate. He decided to stand firm in his integrity, let the result be what it might. He “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank." ...There are many among professed Christians today who would decide that Daniel was too particular, and would pronounce him narrow and bigoted. They consider the matter of eating and drinking as of too little consequence to require such a decided stand—one involving the probable sacrifice of every earthly advantage. But those who reason thus will find in the day of judgment that they turned from God's express requirements and set up their own opinion as a standard of right and wrong. They will find that what seemed to them unimportant was not so regarded of God. His requirements should be sacredly obeyed. Those who accept and obey one of His precepts because it is convenient to do so, while they reject another because its observance would require a sacrifice, lower the standard of right and by their example lead others to lightly regard the holy law of God. “Thus saith the Lord” (Exodus 4:22) is to be our rule in all things.... Daniel was subjected to the severest temptations that can assail the youth of today; yet he was true to the religious instruction received in early life. He was surrounded with influences calculated to subvert those who would vacillate between principle and inclination; yet the Word of God presents him as a faultless character. Daniel dared not trust to his own moral power. Prayer was to him a necessity. He made God his strength, and the fear of God was continually before him in all the transactions of his life.... Daniel possessed the grace of genuine meekness. He was true, firm, and noble. He sought to live in peace with all, while he was unbending as the lofty cedar wherever principle was involved. In everything that did not come in collision with his allegiance to God, he was respectful and obedient to those who had authority over him; but he had so high a sense of the claims of God that the requirements of earthly rulers were held subordinate. He would not be induced by any selfish consideration to swerve from his duty.... The character of Daniel is presented to the world as a striking example of what God's grace can make of men fallen by nature and corrupted by sin. The record of his noble, self-denying life is an encouragement to our common humanity. From it we may gather strength to nobly resist temptation, and firmly, and in the grace of meekness, stand for the right under the severest trial. (SL 19-21)
  • It was not their own pride or ambition which had brought Daniel and his associates into the king's court, into the companionship of those who knew and feared not the true God. Infinite wisdom had placed them where they were. It was their duty to honor God and give to the world an example of faithfulness. They considered their position with its difficulties and dangers, and then, in the fear of God, made their decision. Even at the risk of the king's displeasure, they would be true to the laws which had been divinely given to their fathers. (Signs of the Times, March 2, 1882)
  • Luther at Wittenberg hears of the exciting scenes transpiring in the diet. Soon he receives a note of the articles which he will be required to retract. But, like Daniel of old, he purposes in his heart that he will maintain his fidelity to God. He writes to Spalatin: “Never fear that I will retract a single syllable, since the only argument they have to urge against me is that my writings are at variance with the observances of what they call the Church. If our Emperor Charles sends for me only to retract, my answer shall be that I will remain here, and it will be all the same as though I had been at Worms, and returned again. But if the emperor chooses then to send for me, to put me to death as an enemy to the empire, I shall be ready to obey his summons; for, by Christ's help, I will never abandon his word in the hour of battle. I know that these blood-thirsty men will never rest until they have taken my life. God grant that my death may be laid to the charge of the papists alone!” (Signs of the Times, August 16, 1883)
  • I am so grateful that in this degenerate age we are not left in darkness to pick our way along amid the many voices that are heard to divert us from the path of holiness. We want to hear the one voice that says, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Christ says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Then we inquire, Have we placed ourselves on the side of the Prince of Life? Have we placed ourselves under the banner of Prince Emmanuel? Have we, like Daniel, purposed in our hearts to be obedient to all of God's requirements? It is of the greatest consequence to us that we be found obedient children, walking in the truth. We do not want to be on the side of the great rebel who transgressed God's commandments and was thrust out of Heaven, and is teaching others to be disloyal to the God of Heaven. If we are not obedient to God in this life, keeping his commandments, how can we expect to have a right to eternal life? God will not take into his kingdom and give eternal life to those who will not come under his laws and statutes in this life. (Signs of the Times, September 8, 1887)
  • Look at the case of Daniel in Babylon. He was surrounded with all the luxury of the king's court, but he refused to participate in the banquets of extravagance. He would not defile himself with a portion of the king's meat, or take of his wine. When men have the principle that will enable them to stand amid temptation, as did Daniel, the God of heaven will look upon them with approval, and will send them needed help and strength at the moment of their trial. If Daniel had weakly yielded to temptation to indulge appetite, he would have placed himself in a position where he could not have received the wisdom and grace the Lord had for him. He would have brought upon himself physical and mental weakness. (Signs of the Times, November 4, 1889)
  • It is a most grievous thing to let children grow up without the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God did not unfit Daniel to be one of the greatest statesmen in the proud court of Babylon. The God of heaven recognized him as his child. He would not defile himself with strong drink and with the rich food from the king's table. And God gave him wisdom. But would God have given him wisdom if he had not walked in his counsel? Satan does not give true wisdom to men. When Daniel and his fellows were examined by the king, they were found to be ten times better than all the astrologers that were in the king's court. The record declares: “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.... And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” (Daniel 1:17-20). (Signs of the Times, April 23, 1894)
  • The case of Daniel may be studied with profit by all who desire perfection of character. He and his companions were sincere, faithful Christians. To them the will of God was the supreme law of life. They knew that in order to glorify God all their faculties must be developed, and they sought to gain knowledge, that they might perfect a Christian character, and stand in that heathen nation as fitting representatives of the true religion. In order to preserve health, they resolved to avoid the luxuries of the king's table, they refused to partake of any stimulating drink, but practiced strict temperance in all things, that they might not enfeeble brain or muscle. They exerted all their powers to work out their own salvation, and God worked in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Under his training, their faculties were able to do the highest service for him; and of them it is written: “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17-20). (Signs of the Time, November 5, 1896)
  • Daniel and his companions were captives in a strange land, but God suffered not the envy and hatred of their enemies to prevail against them. The righteous have ever obtained help from above. How often have the enemies of God united their strength and wisdom to destroy the character and influence of a few simple persons who trusted in God. But because the Lord was for them, none could prevail against them. Only let the followers of Christ be united, and they will prevail. Let them be separated from their idols and from the world, and the world will not separate them from God. Christ is our present, all-sufficient Saviour. In Him all fullness dwells. It is the privilege of Christians to know indeed that Christ is in them of a truth. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4). All things are possible to him that believeth; and whatsoever things we desire when we pray, if we believe that we receive them we shall have them. This faith will penetrate the darkest cloud and bring rays of light and hope to the drooping, desponding soul. It is the absence of this faith and trust which brings perplexity, distressing fears, and surmisings of evil. God will do great things for His people when they put their entire trust in Him. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6). Pure and undefiled religion will be exemplified in the life. Christ will prove a never-failing source of strength, a present help in every time of trouble. (2T 139-140)
  • No young man or young woman could be more sorely tempted than were Daniel and his companions. To these four Hebrew youth were apportioned wine and meat from the king's table. But they chose to be temperate. They saw that perils were on every side, and that if they resisted temptation, they must make most decided efforts on their part, and trust the results with God. The youth who desire to stand as Daniel stood must exert their spiritual powers to the very utmost, co-operating with God, and trusting wholly in the strength that He has promised to all who come to Him in humble obedience.... There is a constant warfare to be maintained between virtue and vice. The discordant elements of the one, and the pure principles of the other, are at work striving for the mastery. Satan is approaching every soul with some form of temptation on the point of indulgence of appetite. Intemperance is fearfully prevalent. Look where we will, we behold this evil fondly cherished.... The followers of Jesus will never be ashamed to practice temperance in all things. Then why should any young man blush with shame to refuse the wine cup or the foaming mug of beer? A refusal to indulge perverted appetite is an honorable act. To sin is unmanly; to indulge in injurious habits of eating and drinking is weak, cowardly, debased; but to deny perverted appetite is strong, brave, noble. In the Babylonian court, Daniel was surrounded by allurements to sin, but by the help of Christ he maintained his integrity. He who cannot resist temptation, when every facility for overcoming has been placed within his reach, is not registered in the books of heaven as a man.... “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone!” Have courage to do the right. A cowardly and silent reserve before evil associates, while you listen to their devices, makes you one with them. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). (Te 189-190)
  • When a soul is truly converted, old habits and natural evil besetments are done away in Christ Jesus, and all things become new. Among those who profess to be servants of Christ, an earnest purpose should be cultivated, such as Daniel manifested in the courts of Babylon. He knew that God was his strength and his shield, his front guard and his rear guard. Amid the corruptions that surrounded him in the courts of Babylon, he kept himself free from those sights and sounds which would allure him, and draw him into temptation. When his duties required that he be present at scenes of revelry, intemperance, and basest idolatry, he cultivated the habit of silent prayer, and thus he was kept by the power of God. (Youth Instructor, June 7, 1894)
  • By the example of Daniel and his fellows in Babylon, we see that it is impossible to reach the standard which the Lord would have his children reach, and practise an easy, accommodating kind of religion that leaves principle out, and is controlled by circumstances. Youth who would serve the God of heaven, cannot engage in worldly merriment, eat of enervating luxuries, or drink strong drink because it is set before them by the honored or wealthy men of the world, whom they fear to offend by refusing their favors. They may think that they have been especially honored, and that courtesy demands the acceptance of the favors proffered them; but loyalty to God must take the precedence, and fear to offend the Lord of heaven must control the Christian. The king of Babylon thought that he was bestowing great favors upon Daniel and his fellows; but they had respect unto God's commandments more than unto the favor of the king.... The question with every youth who would be on the Lord's side should be, Shall I consult my inclination, and indulge my appetite, or shall I follow the dictates of conscience, and keep my head clear and preserve my physical powers by abstaining from every practice that would bring weakness upon them? Shall I fall a prey to the customs of the world, and we have respect to the rules and laws of the Babylonians, or shall I separate myself from every custom that is debasing in its results? Shall I not honor God, rather than please the world? In the court of Babylon, Daniel and his fellows realized that principle was at stake, and that they could afford to make no compromise with the tempter. The light and truth reflected from the throne of God were dearer to them than any honor that men could bestow. It is the privilege of the young people of today to be as firm and true, as modest and successful, as were the Jewish youths in the kingdom of Babylon. Let them remember that the lessons written in the living oracles are for their consideration, and let them imitate the example of Daniel in right doing. God honored Daniel, and he will honor every youth who takes the course that Daniel took in honoring God. (Youth Instructor, October 25, 1894)
  • Daniel and his three companions did not take the position that because their food and drink were of the king's appointment, it was their duty to partake of it. They prayed over the matter, and studied the Scriptures. Their education had been of such a character that they felt even in their captivity that God was their dependence; and after carefully reasoning from cause to effect, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” ...as Daniel and his fellows were brought to the test, they placed themselves fully on the side of righteousness and truth. They did not move capriciously, but intelligently. They decided that as flesh-meat had not composed their diet in the past, it should not come into their diet in the future, and as wine had been prohibited to all who should engage in the service of God, they determined that they would not partake of it. The fate of the sons of Aaron had been presented before them, and they knew that the use of wine would confuse their senses, that the indulgence of appetite would becloud their powers of discernment. These particulars were placed on record in the history of the children of Israel as a warning to every youth to avoid all customs and practises and indulgences that would in any way dishonor God.... Daniel and his companions knew not what would be the result of their decision; they knew not but that it would cost them their lives; but they determined to keep the straight path of strict temperance even when in the courts of licentious Babylon. They rested their case in the hands of God, and the Lord co-operated with them. He took charge of these youth because they prayed to him, and sought his guidance in regard to the course they should pursue. (Youth Instructor, August 18, 1898)
  • Daniel of sacred history was but a youth when with his friends he was taken captive to Babylon. But he stands before the heavenly universe, before the worlds unfallen, and before a rebellious world, as a bright example of what the grace of God can do for man. The Lord purposed what Daniel should do; and Daniel gave himself up, with all his energies, to carry out the plan of his Creator. It was not his choice to be exposed to the profligacy, the gluttony, and the spendthrift habits of that heathen nation. But he set his heart, while there, to serve the Lord. He co-operated with God. He stood under Christ's banner as a loyal subject of the heavenly King. As he educated himself to reach the highest standard, he carried with him the fragrance of Christ's righteousness. He was kind and submissive, he made friends with those who had charge over him; yet he would not swerve one inch from pure, true, righteous principles. He was willing to meet all the requirements of those who had rule over him, when he could do this consistently; but all the kings of the earth, all the nobles, all those in power, could not lead him to do one act that would mar his character. He was determined to be true to his God, and God calls him “a man greatly beloved.” (Daniel 19:11). (Youth Instructor, August 17, 1899)
  • Let children and youth be given true education. Teach them to give God their entire devotion; for they are wholly dependent on him in this life, and for the future, immortal life. The knowledge of truth is the nutrition that the soul needs, in order to be prepared to act as wise a part as did Daniel and his associates. Every time the conscience is violated, sin is committed, for which the wrong-doer must suffer the sure result. The penalty of sin is death. With persevering effort and patient forbearance, children must be taught that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When very young, they may be taught the statutes and commands of God. The thoughts and sentiments of his law are to be interwoven with their knowledge of the sciences. A true knowledge of the word of God is the only true scientific education. (Youth Instructor, August 31, 1899)
  • We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we need to receive an education as missionaries. Let each student make up his mind that he will not stand in the army of the enemy. We are working for time and for eternity, and we expect to receive light and grace from the Lord. Strive to reach all that it is possible for you to reach with the blessing of God. When you have such a helper, when angels of God are watching your every movement, when all heaven is interested in your welfare, will you not do all in your power to help yourselves? Pray for yourselves. Take firm hold of the arm of divine power, determining, as did Daniel, not to swerve from any duty. Harness your habits. Put on the bit and bridle. Use all your intelligence in God's service. (Youth Instructor, May 10, 1900)
  • Daniel and his friends knew that they must keep the eye single to the glory of God, seek wisdom and strength and grace from on high, and not allow themselves to be led, by smiles or frowns, to yield to the sophistry of Satan. They knew that no human power could be to them wisdom and righteousness and sanctification. Satan was trying to compass their destruction. Nothing but the wisdom and strength and firmness and heroism that God could give would enable them to maintain their position in the way of holiness. They knew that they were not yet fully acquainted with the character of Satan's enmity. They would have to watch unto prayer; for they were ignorant of the obstacles they would have to surmount. They knew that barriers would rise in their way, that embarrassment would surround them on every side. (Youth Instructor, September 6, 1900)
  • And such an early education was to Daniel and his three companions the means of their preservation. The lessons learned in their earliest years led them to determine to avoid being corrupted in the courts of Babylon. The truth was truth to them. Its principles were stamped upon their hearts. They understood that with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The first and great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” (Deuteronomy 6:5) was truth to them, and it must be obeyed... In the schools established under God's direction, the fear of the Lord was the foundation of all true education. The knowledge of God had been handed down from generation to generation. In Abel, whom Cain killed, and afterward in Enoch, Seth, Methuselah, Noah, and many others, the Lord had faithful witnesses, just men, who kept his fear before their generation. Their memories were not feeble and treacherous. They had received the words of instruction from Adam, and these they repeated to their children and their children's children. Much important history and truth was expressed in song.... Daniel and his companions were familiar with the lives of Abel, Seth, Enoch, and Noah. They cherished the truths that had been passed down from generation to generation. The image of God was engraved upon the heart. When surrounded by an atmosphere of evil, these youth remained uncorrupted. No power or influence could sway them from the principles they had learned in early life by a study of God's word and works.... Young men and young women, study the history of Daniel and his companions. Their lives should inspire you with a determination to be true to God. You must be either loyal or disloyal to him. Christian integrity is strengthened by serving the Lord faithfully. Uplift the standard on which is inscribed, “The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12). Make no compromise with evil. The line of demarcation between the obedient and the disobedient must be plain and distinct. Firmly determine to do the Lord's will at all times and in all places. (Youth Instructor, May 21, 1903)
  • A faithful study of the story of Daniel and his three friends will teach the principles that underlie a strong, true character. These young men had first learned to serve God in their homes. They had there learned the meaning of true religion and what God would do for them if they remained loyal to him. When they were carried to the court of Babylon, they determined to yield up life itself rather than be untrue to God. (Youth Instructor, April 7, 1908)

"Not defile himself" (Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13)

  • There were several reasons why a pious Jew would avoid eating of the royal food: (4BC)
    • The Babylonians... ate unclean meats
    • The beasts had not been properly killed according to Levitical law (see Leviticus 17:14, 15)
    • A portion of the animals eaten was first offered as a sacrifice to pagan gods (see Acts 15:29)
    • The use of luxurious and unhealthful food and drink was contrary to strict principles of temperance
    • For Daniel and his friends there was the added desire to avoid a flesh-food diet
  • The Hebrew youth determined to do nothing that would interfere with physical, mental, and spiritual development. (4BC)
  • The crucial moment came when "the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat and of the wine he drank." Daniel had unbound confidence in the principles of temperance, not alone because he knew them to be scientifically true, but because they were God-given, and, in his case, had been put into practice. His education had a Biblical foundation, and he knew that it was in harmony with true science. It was a life and death question, and he would obey, walk in faith, and leave the results with his Maker... The language of the prince of the eunuchs shows that there were other Hebrew youth who were selected, who did not make this request, "why should he [the king] see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort?"(Daniel 1:10).... Daniel and his companions, after considering their dangerous and difficult position, took this matter to the Lord in prayer, and decided to be true to principle. Much was involved in this decision. If they sat at the king's table, they would partake of food which had been consecrated to idols; and the Hebrew children would thus dishonor God, and ruin their own characters by removing the safeguard of temperance, and allowing themselves to be influenced by corrupt associations. Even at the cost of appearing singular, they decided not to sit at the table of the king. They might have reasoned that at the king's command they were compelled to partake of the food at the royal table which had been dedicated to an idol. But they determined not to implicate themselves with heathenism, and not to dishonor the principles of their national religion and their God. Surrounded by perils, after having made a most determined effort to resist temptations, they must trust the results with God.... As Christ entered upon the work of His ministry, He began where Adam fell. The first temptation in the wilderness was on the point of appetite. Here the Saviour bridged the gulf which sin had made. He redeemed the whole family of Adam, and wrought out a victory for the benefit of all who are thus tempted. In the last days God will prove His people as He proved Daniel. A voluntary self-control of appetite lies at the foundation of every reform. (SH)
  • Their parents and teachers had prepared them well for whatever awaited them. Josiah's godly influence was, unfortunately, lost on his own sons, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, and his grandson Jehoiachin, each of whom became king for a short time and each of whom chose to follow his own wicked way. While the effects of Josiah's revival were lost on his own sons, they were not lost on Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom moved on to leadership even in the land of their servitude. The record of their fidelity to principle while facing sentences of death is recorded not only in the Old Testament; these men are mentioned by inference in Hebrews 11:33,34 as men of faith.... Sharing the bounties from the royal table was really gracious act on the king's part. But these lads courteously refused it. They had been well trained at home and at school. To accept this provision would be to violate the food laws of Leviticus. Furthermore, they knew it was first offered to idols, perhaps to Marduk (Bel or Merodach) the chief god of Babylon. (RAA)
  • Daniel's Diet: - Daniel purposed not to defile himself with the king's food or with his wine. Daniel had other reasons for this course than simply the effect of such a diet upon his physical system, though he would derive great advantage in this respect from the fare he proposed to adopt. It was frequently the case that food used by the kings and princes of heathen nations, who were often the high priests of their religion, was first offered in sacrifice to idols, and the wine they used, poured out as a libation before their gods. Again, some of the flesh food used by the Chaldeans was pronounced unclean by the Jewish law. On either of these grounds Daniel could not, consistently with his religion, partake of these articles. Hence he respectfully requested the proper officer that from conscientious scruples he might not be obliged to defile himself. (US)
  • The goal of cultural transformation did not limit itself to the intellectual domain but touched the most intimate aspects of everyday life, including the diet. Thus the king "determines" the menu.... Nebuchadnezzar... the king, in "determining" the menu takes the place of the Creator. A more careful observation of the meals reveals the king's intentions. Indeed, the "meat-wine" association characterizes both in the Bible and in ancient Middle Eastern cultures the ritual meal taken in the context of a worship service. To participate in such a meal implied submission to the Babylonian cult and recognition of Nebuchadnezzar as god. Babylonian religion considered the king as god on earth. The daily ritual consumption of meat and wine was therefore not only providing nourishment but aimed more specifically at making those involved to be loyal to the king. (JBD 17, 18)
  • The history of Daniel and his fellows is an illustration of what all youth may become in the service of God. Improve the opportunity that is now yours to obtain the very best idea of what constitutes a Christian character. Place yourselves where you can pray to God as Daniel and his fellows prayed to Him. They presented themselves to God as needy and dependant, and God gave them strength. But do you think that Daniel would have been helped as he was if he had yielded to appetite? Had he eaten the king's food and drunk his wine, he would have been unable to obtain the education necessary to make him a successful Christian statesman. He would not have appreciated the knowledge God had to give, His mind would have been confused. He knew this, for before he came to Babylon he had received that training which every child before me should receive in the home. (4MR 130)
  • Although living in the court, they, like the whole nation of Judah, were victims of God's judgment. But the judgments upon these young men were especially severe. The Scriptures declares that Daniel and his three companions were princes, members of the royal family. They were born to rule and, as fathers of families, to guide their children in the ways of God. But instead they were destined to live as eunuchs in the service of their captors. When divine wrath is visited on a nation, the innocent suffer with the guilty. It has often been so.... More than a hundred years before Nebuchadnezzar came to power, Isaiah told King Hezekiah that because of his failure to represent the God of heaven rightly, when the ambassadors came to him from Babylon, his sons would be "eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." (Isaiah 39:7). And this is exactly what Daniel and his companions were - emasculated men with no hope of family or posterity . Think of what this meant to a genius like Daniel. [Raised] in the expectation of princely responsibility and sovereignty, he at last found himself destined to spend his life in the service of a heathen monarch in a foreign land!... The tragedy of Judah's national sin was compounded a thousand times as the parents were forced to see what happened to the flower of their youth. But with it all, these four young men, of whom Daniel was leader, remained noble examples of true knowledge and righteous living. By diligent study they prepared themselves for whatever places of trust they might be called to fulfill, and all four of them rose to positions or responsibility. (RAA 28)
  • It was the custom of Eastern courts to feed the officers of the palace with food from the king's table. All of the king's food was first offered to idols which was supposed to give it special health-imparting virtue. The beasts before being slaughtered were offered in sacrifice to heathen gods, and the wine was poured into the goblets as a libation to the god of wine. The heathen instead of asking a blessing upon the food when they sat down to eat, help a ceremony of acknowledgement and dedication of the meal to their gods. To be permitted to partake was considered a great honor, and therefore a refusal was an offense to the royal host. (TGB 11)
  • The decision of Daniel was not a mere whim or strange notion of an extremist. He had five Scriptural reasons for his decision: 1) Many of the flesh foods used on the king's table were divinely forbidden. (Leviticus 11 & Deuteronomy 14). The Babylonians made no distinction between the "clean and the unclean" just as many do not today. (Ezekiel 22:26). 2) None of the beasts were killed according to the instruction given in the Mosaic law. (Acts 15:29; Leviticus 17:10-14). 3) They had been first offered to idols and for that reason were prohibited. (Acts 15:29). 4) Strong and intoxicating wine was strictly forbidden. (Leviticus 10:9-11; Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-32). 5) For health reasons God's people were counseled not to partake of delicacies or rich pastries when dining with a prince or ruler. (Proverbs 23:1-3). (TGB 12)
  • In many places in the ancient world, food and drink were sacrificed to the gods before the meal... Since the ancient city of Babylon was an important religious center, the food and drink available there would have come from the temple... The young Hebrews regarded the supreme God as the source of wisdom. Their concept of life as well as their success in life depended on god the Creator and the [Provider] of all things... they chose to rely on Him rather than on either the king's generosity or on the ability of a pagan idol to impart wisdom. Their choice of a diet... showed their pledge of loyalty to the Creator... The example of the young men is "a symbolic denial of the king's implicit claim to be sole provider... Thus... the stage is set for the God of the Hebrews to triumph over the Babylonian pantheon.... Daniel and his friends considered this issue to be a test of their faith. Daniel's stay in Babylon was characterized by a consistent prayer life. The four Hebrews took seriously the word from Deuteronomy 8:3 " ...man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." Although the food was fit for a kin, "in Daniel's judgment it was not fit for a servant of the King of kings." (ZS 64-65)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's Brainwashing Techniques 5 of 6: 5th, Before being taken captive, Daniel, as well as all the Hebrew young men who had been carried to Babylon, had been taught that they were not to eat unclean meats (Leviticus 11). Also, it was forbidden to eat food that had been offered to a pagan god (Deuteronomy 7). The individual who used fermented wine was considered unwise (Proverbs 20:1). To participate in eating and drinking at the king's table would require giving up their belief in the Word of God. In order for the brainwashing process to work this step was absolutely necessary. (KC 26)
  • Faith Builder 1 of 6: Daniel was willing to receive a Babylonian education and to have his name changed, but he refused to compromise. Faith must be built on Scripture. The Word of god must be accepted as inspired by god, "...for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). This gave Daniel a firm foundation. (KC 28)