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Kashrut as a Test of Faithfulness

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. God gave King Jehoiakim of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the House of God. He brought them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god and put the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Then the king told Ashpenaz the chief of his officials[a] to bring in some of the sons of Israel from royal descent and nobility— youths without any defect, handsome, proficient in all wisdom, knowledgeable, intelligent and capable of serving in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king allotted them a daily portion from the king’s delicacies and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end they were to stand before the king.

Now among them were some from the sons of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief officer gave them new names: to Daniel, Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-nego.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s delicacies or with the wine he was drinking, so he entreated the chief official for permission not to defile himself. Now God caused the chief official to show mercy and compassion to Daniel. 10 But the chief official said to Daniel: “I fear my lord the king, who allotted your food and your drink. Why should he see your faces looking poorly, unlike the other youths your age? Then the king would have my head because of you.”

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, giving us just vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s delicacies, and treat your servants according to what you see.” 14 So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of ten days their appearance looked better and their bodies healthier than all the youths who ate the king’s food. 16 So the guard took away their delicacies and the wine they were supposed to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

17 Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and proficiency in every kind of wisdom and literature, and Daniel could understand all sorts of visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 When the king spoke with them, he did not find among all of them anyone like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers throughout his realm.

21 Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.


  1. Daniel 1:3 Or, eunuch (passim).