“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank” (Daniel 1:8)
In the Old Testament laws, God had forbidden the Israelites to eat certain foods. Moreover, the Israelites should not eat food that had been offered to idols first. These two laws may have played a role in Daniel’s resolution not to “defile himself with the king’s food”. Whatever his exact reasons were to refuse the prescribed food and wine, he was convinced that eating them would “defile” him. This was a matter of conscience, and therefore he dared to ask for permission to eat only vegetables and to drink just water.
Initially, the responsible officials were hesitant because they feared that this diet would make Daniel and his friends look less healthy than the others. But they agreed to try it out, and “at the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food”.
Daniel had the courage to stand up for his values. This was risky; even the chief of the eunuchs was afraid that “his head would be endangered with the king” if the Israelite youths would be in worse condition than the others, and it would turn out that they had disobeyed the king’s food rules. But God blessed them with extraordinary health, and Daniel and his friends were allowed to eat only vegetables from then on.
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