Tying the Bible Together

In an often-told story from the book of Daniel, we see the four men from Judah refusing to eat the king’s fine food – avoiding a temptation that probably would have been difficult to ignore for most.

“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.  Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.  The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.  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.”  — Daniel 1:5-8

With all of the other things going on with these four men (a new Babylonian name, new schooling, new training), why were they so concerned over the food they were being served?  Perhaps they remember the example given to them through the prophet Ezekiel, where he warns them of being defiled with foreign food.

“Weigh out twenty shekels of food to eat each day and eat it at set times.  Also measure out a sixth of a hin of water and drink it at set times.  Eat the food as you would a barley cake; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.”  The LORD said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”

Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign LORD! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No unclean meat has ever entered my mouth.”

“Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow manure instead of human excrement.”Ezekiel 4:10-15

I have never put these two stories together – until now.  It seems very likely that Daniel and his companions remembered the warning given to Ezekiel, saw that God had relented from his demand, and the four young men decided to test this principle with their new Babylonian masters.  While I am not sure of what made the Babylonian food a defilement to them, it is certain that their request to be served only vegetables starts an amazing story of  prudence and reward.  It’s almost as if the Bible ties these two books together, with a purpose in mind!  🙂


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