But 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…
The captive princes were honourably treated, as became nobles and princes. They were more than hostages. Daniel and his three companions were designated for a public career. For three years they were to be taught the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. They were provided with the best food for mind and body. But whatever Daniel had left behind him in Jerusalem, he had not left his religion. On religious grounds he shrank from the food and wine daily set before him. This was a crisis in Daniel's early life. The battlefield was a small one, but it was not little to him. He had much to tempt him to forgetfulness of God. He lived in an idolatrous atmosphere. This matter of his daily food was not a small matter. He must stand to conscience. He had courage, and he needed it; for his resolution involved risk. Doubtless he had the ambition as well as the great faculty of his race. He could make his way in this foreign court. He could outstrip many, perhaps all, competitors. The greatest heroisms are wrought in silence. The stand for principle may be taken on some small-seeming matter. But if there be principle in it, it is not a small matter. In doing the thing that is right, we must expect and be willing to run risks. There can be no true courage without it. Daniel saw that no way could risk be avoided. Daniel's courage was influential. The resolution personal to himself became the resolution of others. He kindled his three friends" to courage. Every man has some influence in this world. The hero multiplies heroes; the one heroic act is the parent of many heroisms. That recorded example has quickened many in all ages to an imitation of his fearless conscientiousness. His courage was victorious. He was settled in his mind. Daniel gained his point, but mark his tact. He prudently asked for liberty of conscience. He made no parade of his conscientiousness. His heart is fixed. This is the spirit in which to do the right. Rudeness is no part of religion. Daniel, by his early stand for conscience, was committed to a life of piety.
(G. T. Coster.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But 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.
WEB: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.