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HAVE YOU WONDERED? Daniel’s dormitory dining hall dilemma (Part 2)

Russ Whitten

In the year 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, besieged Jerusalem and took captives from the Royal family of Judah to serve in his palace. Daniel 1:4-5 tells us, “(Nebuchadnezzar) was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service.”

An impressive teenager named Daniel, and his three friends from Judah, would, in effect, receive an all-expense paid (including food and lodging), three-year academic scholarship to King’s College, University of Babylon.

Daniel 1:8 tells us, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”

You may ask, "What was so wrong with eating the king's food?” The Old Testament scholar, H.C. Leupold writes: “All meals served at the King’s table were feasts, and these feasts were meals served in honor of the Babylonian gods. That involved a portion of the meat to be served would first be dedicated to some god in sacrifice. To share in such a feast was the equivalent of honoring such an idol.”

Instead of taking a “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” attitude, Daniel, even at this young age, had learned to control his appetites. Daniel then said to the guard, “‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the 10 days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.” (Daniel 1:11-16)

The rest of Daniel chapter 1 describes how God abundantly blessed Daniel and his friends for their courageous faith and self-control.

What can we learn from this story?

Russ Whitten

God blesses those who take their faith with them where ever they go. Consider how God blessed Daniel. Although he was a member of a foreign and captive race, he was soon exalted to one of the highest positions in the Babylonian government. Later, the Babylonians were overtaken by the Medo/Persian Empire and King Nebuchadnezzar was replaced by King Belshazzar, who proclaimed Daniel “the third highest ruler in the Kingdom.” We can compare that position to our Secretary of State. During 75 years of political and governmental change,

Daniel remained at this high position. You can’t match that in all of history. To put into perspective of how God blessed Daniel, think about it this way.

It would be like, way back in 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt choosing a foreigner as our secretary of state and that person remaining at that position under the administrations of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama and Trump.

God abundantly blessed Daniel, but we shouldn’t think for a moment it was always easy for him. For example, in chapter 1, Daniel refused to eat the King’s food; in chapter 6, the King’s Lion’s refused to eat Daniel!

May God bless all the students, teachers, staff and administrators as a new school year begins!

Russ Whitten is a local minister, writer and musician. His band, The Bonhoeffers, play every week at The Village Door. His book Have You Ever Wondered? is available on Amazon.com.