Daniel 1:8 says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (NKJV). Daniel was an Old Testament believer who was “under the Law of Moses” and in the Law the Jews were given a restricted diet. When he and his friends were brought to Babylon the king tried to convert them from Judaism to the heathen beliefs of the Chaldeans. To do this they began to put them through 3 years of indoctrination which included changing their godly Hebrew names to heathen names identified with false gods and giving them a prescribed diet of dainties and wine (see verses 1-7). This diet was not in keeping with the diet regulations under the Law. I would encourage you to read Leviticus chapter 11 where the Lord gave His people details instructions about “clean” and “unclean” foods. To eat anything that was “unclean” would result in the person being “unclean” (defiled). To Daniel’s credit, he determined in his heart not to eat anything that was “unclean.”

This bothered the man who was responsible to take care of Daniel and his three friends as we see in verses 9-10, “Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, ‘I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you endanger my head before the king.” In short, he feared that Daniel would look so weak that the king would have him beheaded! So, Daniel proposes a trial period in verses 12-13, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” He agreed to this test and in verse 15 we read, “And at the end of ten days their features APPEARED BETTER AND FATTER IN FLESH than all the young men who ate the portions of the king’s delicacies.” God blessed His faithful servants by vindicating them with superior health. Daniel and his friends remained undefiled and God was glorified! This was not an endorsement of a vegetarian diet, for God had told Noah in Genesis 9:3, “Every MOVING THING THAT LIVES shall be food for you. I have given you ALL THINGS, even as the green herbs.” Yet when the Law was given to Israel, God tested them by restricting certain meats and the pious Jew would obey these restrictions to honor the God whom they loved.

Today the believer in Christ is NOT “under the Law” but “under grace” (see John 1:16-17 & Romans 6:14). Like Noah, we are free to eat ALL THINGS. We are told in Romans 14:2, “For one believes he may EAT ALL THINGS, but he who is weak EATS ONLY VEGETABLES.” In verse 14 the apostle Paul says, “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself.” He knew that believers were no longer under the dietary restrictions of the Law and thus eating certain foods could no longer result in being defiled. He also knew that some today would try to put believers under the Law concerning eating certain foods so he wrote the following, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith…commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1st Timothy 4:1, 3-5).  (DO)  (496.5)