1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;
4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
The latter three are better known by their Babylonian names (verse 7) of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. *
7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
8 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.
Daniel could easily have convinced himself that the position he was in made a rigid adherence to the Law of Moses impossible, and that therefore, it would have been foolishness to jeopardize his life and that of the other Jewish captives by making an issue of meat.
Have we not often heard such arguments? But Daniel saw through all these weak deceptions of the flesh's reasonings. He knew that God had given a law, and regardless of danger or difficulty, he determined to obey it, as fully as he could under his captive circumstances. *
9 Now Elahh had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
We notice he was in favour and tender love with his Babylonian overseer. How much this tells us of the character of Daniel, even at this very early age. Though of such strong determination, he must have been of exceptional gentleness and courtesy and pleasingness to have won the tender love of this man.
This is a striking picture, and there is a great lesson in it. Strength and firmness do not necessitate harshness and coldness. True godly strength of purpose is always accompanied by gentleness and kindness. *
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 are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, 10 days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.
The result of this faithful uncompromising stand was that God blessed the Hebrew children with physical health and robustness above all others, and in addition, with preeminence in wisdom and understanding. All things are in the hands of God. The main thing-the only thing of any importance is to sincerely seek to please Him. He can, as He sees fit, give health or wisdom or any other blessings in limitless abundance, or He can withhold it. *
Bro Growcott - A Man Greatly Beloved