Daniel 1:5
The king assigned them daily provisions of the royal food and wine. They were to be trained for three years, after which they were to enter the king's service.
Life in BabylonCanon Ainger.Daniel 1:5
The Early Life of DanielJ. Parker, D.D.Daniel 1:5
The Saintly CaptiveHomilistDaniel 1:5
The Unnamed Captive Royal ChildrenR. Young.Daniel 1:5
Wine Wisely AvoidedT. De Witt Talmage.Daniel 1:5
Training for Imperial Office and WorkJ.D. Davies Daniel 1:3-21
Moral HeroismH.T. Robjohns Daniel 1:5-21

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (ver. 8).

I. THE VARYING CONDITIONS OF IMMORTALITY. The reference is to subjective immortality, i.e. in the memories of men. The principal stable condition seems to be the possession of soul-power (see Luke 1:80; Luke 2:40). But this may develop itself:

1. Evilly. The immortality then is one of infamy.

2. Continuously; e.g. Daniel, through a long life.

3. Specially at a crisis. These thoughts are suggested by the little we know of the three Hebrew children. One heroic resolve made them immortal. But how much in their antecedents did that heroism imply? Picture the parental culture of the Jerusalem home, etc. The lesson, Live not for fame; but to do that which God may think worthy of being held in everlasting remembrance.

II. THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL HEROISM Describe the offence in the king's portion.

(1) Food forbidden by the Mosaic Law.

(2) Food consecrated by presentation to idols. In moral heroism there will be one, or some, or all of these constituent elements.

1. Resistance; he. to strong and overwhelming temptation. In this case:

(1) The tempted were away from home.

(2) Early religious associations had been broken down. Note the change of names (ver. 7), and the significance of it.

(3) There was temptation to regard the matter as a trifle, of no account; but great principles are often involved in the trivialities of life.

(4) To regard the circumstances as peculiar.

(5) To be afraid of undue self-assertion. It might have seemed to Daniel that he was about to be righteous over-much.

(6) The heroic act was against their own interests.

(7) And imperilled the lives of others.

2. A certain obscurity of origin. "Purposed in his heart." The resolution took its rise in the depths of the soul, like a river in the hills far away.

3. Fortitude. Daniel thoroughly and irrevocably made up his mind.

4. Gentleness. No mock-heroics with him; but, having made up his mind, combined the suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re. "He requested," etc. (ver. 8).

5. Perseverance. Defeated temporarily with Ashpenaz, Daniel tried Melzar.

6. Wisdom. Proposed only an experiment for ten days.

7. Inspiration. Daniel's resolve seems to have stirred up the others.

III. THE PREVENTIONS OF GOD. (Ver. 9.) When men resolve on the right, they soon find that God has gone before them to prepare the way (Psalm 21:3). (See a grand and suggestive sermon from this verse in 'Westminster Chapel Pulpit,' 1st series, No. 2, by Rev. S. Martin.)

IV. THE SEQUENCES OF GOD. Very encouraging is it to know that God is alike our vanguard and our rearguard on our moral way. In this case (and always is it so more or less) the sequences were:

1. Physical health and vigour. Not miraculous.

2. Intellectual attainment and strength.

3. Moral and spiritual power. For proof, see after-history.

4. Continued prosperity and influence. (Ver. 21; Job 17:9.) - R.

A daily provision of the King's meat.
1. That we should abstain from the least appearance of evil. Daniel and his three companions, alone of the royal children, refrained from partaking of the meat that probably had been offered to idols. They would avoid the least appearance of evil. They would model their conduct so that, placed as they were in a conspicuous position, their public profession and public acts should be such as were calculated to incite in the hearts of their humbler captive fellow countrymen, a spirit of patriotism and a spirit of reverence. They determined to take their stand at the very outset on the side of the right, instead of on the side of the expedient, and to resist the very first appearance of evil, however plausible and outwardly harmless these appearances may be. The first step in the path of sin or crime, the first wandering from the path of righteousness, must be carefully guarded against, lest, inadvertently and heedlessly, if not wilfully — we do violence to the dictates of our own conscience, or cause in any way a weak brother to offend.

2. That the road to eminence is through the gate of self-denial. Their countenance appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the King s meat." So in religious matters as well as secular, it is eternally true.

3. That it is not what we receive, but what we assimilate, that enriches us. It is not what we eat, but what we digest, that nourishes the body. It is not what we read, but what we apprehend, that strengthens the mind. It is not what we profess but what we believe, that edifies the soul. Spirituality is not composed of doctrinal accuracy, or of ceremonial observances, but of practical Christian morality, and of unsullied Christian faith.

4. That the issues of events are in the hands of God. Through God's blessing the pulse and water were rendered more powerfully nutritious than the diet provided by the king. God's ways are not as man's ways.

5. That the education of these royal captives is typical of the course of human life. We are sent into this world as into a training school, by the King of kings, that we may be fitly taught the heavenly knowledge, and the celestial language we need to make us able duly to appreciate the beauties and to join in the hallelujahs of the strange land wherein hereafter we are destined to abide. Our great King, too, of His bounty, gives us each our daily bread for body, mind, and soul, and pours out for us freely the wine from the true vine. This heavenly food some grossly abuse, some foolishly neglect, some ascetically reject, simply from human ignorance or conceit. Asceticism in itself, any more than worldly-mindedness in itself, or sensualism in itself, cannot render anyone fit for the presence of the heavenly King. A proud, a vain, an envious, a jealous, an uncharitable heart may beat as well under the hair shirt of the self-torturing flagellist as under the purple robe of the monarch; and Antony in his dreary cell, and Simon Stylites on his lonely pillar may have been as far from the kingdom of heaven as the sensual Belshazzar at his luxurious banquet, or the worldly-minded Pilate in his tesselated hall.

(R. Young.)

Charles Lamb, who made all the world laugh at his humour, and then afterward made all the world weep at his fate, who outwitted everybody, and was at last outwitted of his own appetites, wrote thus: "The waters have gone over me; but out of the depths, could I be heard, I would cry out to all those who have set a foot in the perilous flood. Could the youth to whom the flavour of the first wine is delicious as the opening scenes of his life, or the entering upon some newly-discovered paradise — could he look into my desolation, and be made to understand what a dreary thing it is when a man shall feel himself going down a precipice with open eyes and a passive will; to see his destruction and have no power to stop it, yet feel it all the way emanating from himself; to see all godliness empty out of him, and yet not able to forget the time when it was otherwise; to bear about the piteous spectacle of his own ruin — could he see my feverish eye, feverish with last night's drinking, and feverishly looking for to-night's repetition of that folly — could he but feel the body of the death out of which I cry hourly with feeble outcry to be delivered, it were enough to make him dash the sparkling beverage to the earth in all the pride of its mantling temptation."

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

In the first instance there was a religious difficulty. Daniel had been brought up in the Mosaic institutions, and therefore he had been trained to abjure all meat that had been offered to idols, and all drink that had been laid on the altar of forbidden gods. He was a religious man from home! He was a man who took the commandments into captivity with him! Alas! there are some of us who can throw off our old selves, and do in Rome as the Romans do with a vengeance. Daniel, driven into captivity, took his religion with him. When we are thrown into difficult circumstances, do we take our religious faith with us? When we go to other countries, do we take the old home training? Do we repeat the commandments as they were thundered from Sinai, and do we re-pronounce the oath we took when we gave ourselves to the Saviour, as He hung upon the cross, and welcomed us to His love, and kingdom, and service? That is a poor religion which can be put off like a garment we are tired of for the time being, and can be put on again to serve occasion. How independent man is who has risen above the point of the merely animal life! Temperance all the world over is independence. Moderation means mastery. There are some men in the world who will not be pampered; Daniel was one of them; his compeers belonged to the same class. In order to hold yourselves masters of your appetites, begin early. It is no use a man of fort-five years of age beginning to say he is going to turn over a new leaf; the leaves won't be turned then. You cannot go anywhere where discipline will be a disadvantage to you, and where the the power of saying "no" to appetites and tastes will go against you. To the young I am a severe disciplinarian. See how right doing is always willing to be proved. Daniel was willing to take a space of ten days for the proof of the proposition which he submitted to the men who had charge of him and his companions.

(J. Parker, D.D.)

The opening chapter of the Book of the Prophet Daniel contains the key and clue to all that follows, for it tells us of what stuff that man was made who gives his name to the book. The policy of Nebuchadnezzar must be admitted to have been admirable. He clearly wished to avail himself in the interest of his own kingdom, of the best talent and capability of the kingdom he had conquered. He first of all chose out the best material wad then proceeded (as he hoped) to subject it to the habits and discipline which should naturalise it in its new country. As he had poured the treasure taken from the Temple of the God of Israel into the Temple of his own god, so he hoped to adapt the human treasure he had acquired to the purposes of his religion and its institutions. He thought they might be cured, not only of all homesickness, as ordinarily understood — the wasting regret and longing for Zion, and the God of Zion, but of those home ideas and affections which are at the root of all patriotism worthy of the name. And among other means which the sagacity of their royal master devised for the accomplishment of this purpose, was that they should be fed, as well as taught, after a fashion to which they were not born. Nominally, the motive assigned for this special treatment of his prisoners was that they should grow physically strong and well-liking: that they should be well-nourished as befitted the attendants of a court. But can we doubt that the wily king was not regarding only the bodily condition of his pupils, but knew well enough that if he could but once acclimatise them in this respect also — if he could once foster a liking, an appetite for these flesh-pots of Babylon, and make these things, at first luxuries, to become in time necessaries, he would have gained a still closer hold upon the future services of his young counsellors and administrators? And he had no suspicion that the body and the mind, or whatever he held to be the seat and origin of wisdom, needed any separate treatment and regimen. Doubtless he honestly believed that body, soul and spirit would thrive alike, and together, upon this more generous diet. But he little knew the man with whom he was dealing. The young student in the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans may well have felt the temptations of his novel position, for the brain is not independent of the rest of the animal economy, and the stimulant and support of the "King's meat" might have seemed even necessary and allowable to sustain him in the ardent pursuit of this new learning. But he had a past experience to which he could appeal. He had laboured and striven thus far upon simpler fare, and he would make no change. Daniel, the young and wise and spiritual, was in training to be a Prophet of the Most High; and his story shows, only with more detail and circumstance, what we had already gathered from the whole prophetic class before him, that to be a prophet — in that wide sense in which the prophet is a model to the least able and cultivated, the most common-place person among us — the man must be trained upon a food, and in surroundings, which are not those of the reigning influences of the land on which he is to leave his mark The Prophets of Israel and Judah were no doubt exceptional persons — exceptional in the greatness of their intellectual gifts, as well as moral excellencies. The very mention of a prophet suggests to us one set apart from his brethren because of his superior endowments to teach and guide his fellows. But is not the truer representation of the prophet one who, because he has lived and walked with God, and has not lived the life of the world, has grown up in that wisdom and insight which form three parts of the prophetic faculty? Not chosen to be a prophet because of his eloquence and intellectual force, but because the training of his heart and conscience had fitted him to teach, and to influence by example, the men of his day and habitation. It is the prophet, nourished and growing daily in wisdom and in moral power on his homely porridge, that is the precious image and model of the life that is in a fit state and position for hearing the voice and doing the will of God. Not in the occasional pang and spur of total abstinence, but in the daily moderation; not in the excitement of a ceremonial observance, but in the habitual self-discipline, is the condition of daily growth. But I have said that this history is for us an allegory. The "king's house" and the "king's meat" have a wide-reaching moral and meaning. The very name of Babylon itself has already, in the vivid imagination of men, been seized upon to express certain modern parallels. The great metropolis was long ago nick-named the "modern Babylon," and in its wealth and splendour, in the height to which the arts and resources of human capacity have been cultivated, the parallel is ingenious and happy. But the parallel has another side to it than that of wealth and the cultivation of the "liberal arts." We shall miss altogether the deeper lessons of the story of Daniel, unless we recognise strongly that Babylon, for us, is not a city, or a place at all, but a Spirit, the Spirit of our habitual surroundings. The ideals, the habits, the standards, the hopes and fears, among which we are content to live; the atmosphere of which we are content to breathe; these constitute for us, whether we are young men, just arrived like Daniel from purer, wholesomer surroundings, into the glare and glitter, the luxury and beauty, the stimulating food, and the stimulating culture and ideas, of some new centre of life and action; or whether we are living and travelling elsewhere (for we change our climate but not ourselves, for all the seas we cross), these constitute for us our Babylon. There may be no defined and concrete head and king of this country, no one building that can be called the king's house; no one diet that can be called the "king's meat." Yet there is a governing power which we may be living in subjection to, though we do not see anywhere set down its rules and codes. To live in Babylon, and yet to be the true citizen of a far different country; to be "in the world," yet not "of it"; this is for us the translation of Daniel's action with regard to the king's meat. The very object and design of supporting him from the king's table was to wean him from the food of his native land. He would live apart, with the nourishment and the associations that were bound up with the service of a very different master; lest in this now world of his exile he should forget the "imperial palace whence he came." The resolve of Daniel and his companions was just this: "Though we are in the country and the policy and the religion of Nebuchadnezzar, we will not have this man to reign over us." And. in order that they might preserve their faith in their own God, they would not live a life that was organically bound up with the god of Nebuchadnezzar. So subtle, so intangible, is this hold over us, this Babylonian sovereignty, that many a man is first awakened to a suspicion that he is in slavery to it, by discovering that his allegiance to another master once prayed to and believed in, is slipping from him. How many a young man coming from afar to live in the Babylon of London, or the Babylon of a University, has come after longer or shorter time to be aware that convictions which he had once hoped never to part with are becoming weaker, without obvious and apparent reason. Before the glitter and the enchantment of Babylon, before the interest and fascination of the new learning of the Chaldeans, the old duties and worships of the faith of his fathers seem to pale their ineffectual fires. Without apparent cause, the arguments for the truth of the old Gospel of Jesus Christ seem less valid than before. Why is this? Why is it so difficult to preserve the faiths and standards of Zion in the streets of Babylon? The answer surely is because it is so difficult for a strength that is merely human, to live in the streets of Babylon and not to imbibe the spirit of Babylon, even though the avowed philosophies and worships of Babylon are not yet by name accepted. So difficult to resist the contagion of its example, its habits, its easy toleration of things evil and debased; so difficult not to ascribe our changed relations to the faith of Christ to the cogent power of anti-religious argument, rather than to the corroding influences of the world, which do their work silently but surely, even as the noble stonework of some city cathedral crumbles beneath the acids of the mere city's breath. There are many Babylons in which it may fall to our lot to take up our abode, and make choice of our life's gods. There are the Babylons of great cities where boundless wealth and luxury are found, and boundless pleasure for eye and ear and fancy. There are the Babylons of great centres of education, where the god of the country takes a fairer and loftier shape — the god of knowledge: — the Nebo — the "god of the learning of the Chaldeans." It is not the grosser idolatries — the rites of Baal and Ashtaroth — that the nobler and better spirits among us have to guard against, but the more specious idolatry of things in themselves justly beautiful and engaging — the ever developing knowledge and culture of a still growing civilisation. Difficult it is — we know it — in any strength of our own to live in Babylon, and not to be of Babylon. So difficult, unless we set ourselves, with the ever-shadowing might of a power not our own, to walk with God. To traverse the common ways of men, and eat temperately of their common meat, and to do the duties and pursue the studies that are the immediate purpose of our being here, and yet to be strengthened by another food that the world knows not of — this is to live as Daniel lived.

(Canon Ainger.)

Realising Daniel's captivity, we gather three familiar elemental and important lessons: —

I. THAT SEVERE TROUBLES BEFALL THE GOOD. All that Daniel had to endure was in strange reversal of what we might have thought the blameless, noble, devout character of a man so "well-beloved," deserved or needed. This fact may well be a voice to all of us. —

1. Teaching us not to regard the present state of things as final. The social wrongs of this life involve the need of a future life as a justification of a Righteous Governor of the Universe. Daniel was a captive. His coronation is to come.

2. Teaching us not to judge men's character by their circumstances. We may never conclude, because a man is healthy, affluent, famous, that he is, as a cause of all this, unselfish, humble, devout. Nor must we conclude, because a man is wasting with disease, sunk in poverty, obscure amongst even the meanest, that he is therefore false, ungenerous, Christless. You find Daniels among the captives.

3. Teaching us not to be surprised when, notwithstanding our conscious integrity, adversity befalls us. "Think it not strange," etc.

II. THAT STRENGTH OF CHARACTER CAN OVERCOME THE EVIL OF CIRCUMSTANCE. He, though a youth in a pagan and profligate court, was not overborne by its evil influences. There seem in him to have been four sources of strength.

1. His incorruptible conscience. This manifested its present vigour, and prophesied its victorious manhood, when, in his youth, it led him to refuse the king's meats. He who has and obeys a robust conscience, is before a contending world as David was before Goliath.

2. His chosen companions. The three Hebrew youths, fellows in misfortune, were evidently also his companions for counsel and prayer. Men are energized for battle with half a world by the true words, the hallowing influence of but two or three choice souls. The friends of the true heroes of history are amongst the most beautiful clusters of human lives.

3. His direct communications from heaven. "A dream is from God." Daniel's dreams opened another world above him, around him, before him, and under its power he became mighty to do, or to dare, or to bear.

4. His habitual prayers. Some are recorded. It is implied that it was his life-long custom to pray three times a day. Such devotion clothed him as in asbestos garments that, no temptation could burn.

III. THE ADVERSE EXPERIENCES OF ONE PERIOD OF LIFE QUALIFY FOR RIGHT USE OF A SUCCEEDING PERIOD. The ways in which Daniel was, in his youthful captivity, being prepared for successive stages of his life, were very like the ways in which all may be prepared by any adverse days or years for some usefuller, and it may be happier lot in coming times. Such a life as that of Daniel's youth was an apprenticeship for the work of the Statesman, the Dreamer, the man he afterward became. To us this ought to be clearer than to the men of the prophetic age: for have we not read of Jesus, that he was made "perfect through suffering."


Abednego, Ashpenaz, Azariah, Babylonians, Belteshazzar, Cyrus, Daniel, Hananiah, Israelites, Jehoiakim, Melzar, Meshach, Mishael, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach
Babylon, Jerusalem, Shinar
Amount, Appoint, Appointed, Assigned, Ate, Cared, Choice, Daily, Dainties, Delicate, Drank, Drinking, Educated, Enter, King's, Meat, Nourish, Nourished, Nourishing, Ordered, Personal, Places, Portion, Provision, Rate, Ration, Regular, Rich, Service, Stand, Table, Thereof, Trained, Wine
1. Jehoiakim's captivity.
3. Ashpenaz takes Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
8. They refusing the king's portion do prosper with pulse and water.
17. Their proficiency in wisdom.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Daniel 1:1-7

     4215   Babylon

Daniel 1:1-21

     5542   society, positive

Daniel 1:3-5

     5270   court

Daniel 1:3-6

     7740   missionaries, call

Daniel 1:3-16

     4532   vegetables

Daniel 1:5-8

     5573   table

Daniel 1:5-16

     4436   drinking, abstention

Youthful Confessors
'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. 9. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 10. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink; for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Appendix v. Rabbinic Theology and Literature
1. The Traditional Law. - The brief account given in vol. i. p. 100, of the character and authority claimed for the traditional law may here be supplemented by a chronological arrangement of the Halakhoth in the order of their supposed introduction or promulgation. In the first class, or Halakhoth of Moses from Sinai,' tradition enumerates fifty-five, [6370] which may be thus designated: religio-agrarian, four; [6371] ritual, including questions about clean and unclean,' twenty-three; [6372] concerning
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Whether Curiosity Can be About Intellective Knowledge?
Objection 1: It would seem that curiosity cannot be about intellective knowledge. Because, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 6), there can be no mean and extremes in things which are essentially good. Now intellective knowledge is essentially good: because man's perfection would seem to consist in his intellect being reduced from potentiality to act, and this is done by the knowledge of truth. For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "the good of the human soul is to be in accordance with reason,"
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Upon Our Lord's SermonOn the Mount
Discourse 7 "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: And thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:16-18. 1. It has been the endeavour of Satan, from the beginning of the world,
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

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