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.
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
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.
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.
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
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.
Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
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.
So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
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.
Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
 

1:6 Azariah. All four of these chosen men of Judah must also have had godly parents, for they selected names for their sons that expressed their faith in God. Thus Daniel means “God is my Judge;” Hananiah means “The Lord’s Beloved;” Mishael is “Who is as God?” and Azariah is “The Lord is my help.”

1:7 Abed-nego. The prince of the eunuchs evidently thought their names were inappropriate, so renamed them in honor of the gods of Babylon. Thus, Daniel became Belteshazzar (“Favored by Bel”); Hananiah became Shadrach (“Illumined by Rak,” the sun god); Mishael was renamed Meshach (“Belonging to Shak,” the wine goddess); and Azariah was changed to Abednego (“Servant of Nego,” considered to be equivalent to Lucifer). One can imagine that this was deeply resented by these godly young men, who resolved more firmly than ever to stay true to the true God of creation, at all costs.

1:8 defile himself. The king’s gourmet food would have been defiling to godly Jews in at least three ways: (1) it would have contained blood, contrary to Leviticus 17:10-14; (2) it would have included the meat of swine, forbidden in Leviticus 11:7-8; and, most seriously, (3) it would have been consecrated to the pagan gods of Babylon. Nevertheless, Daniel was gracious and respectful in making his request to be excused.

1:16 pulse. The term “pulse” means any seed vegetable.


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