Today, I am reading and commenting on Daniel 1-2.
It is interesting that of the four young men mentioned in this passage we know three of them by their Babylonian names and one of them by his Hebrew name. I don’t think this fact is of any consequence, but I find it interesting. Anyway…young men from the leading houses of Jerusalem were being trained to be functionaries in the Babylonian Empire. They were to be provided food and wine from the king of Babylon’s own kitchens, theoretically, the best quality food available in Babylon. The reason that Daniel and his friends chose to eat only vegetables and drink only water was because those were the only food and drink which they could get from the King’s kitchens which they could be sure met Jewish dietary laws. The passage does not intend to convey that Daniel and his friends were healthier than the other young men because of their diet. Rather, the lesson it intends to convey was that they were healthier and better nourished because they were faithful. I can, in retrospect, compare what we know about the diets of Babylonian nobles with the diet chosen by Daniel and his friends and see why they were healthier. However, Daniel and his friends did not choose their diet because it was healthier. They chose it because it was they understood to be God’s command. They did not know that a kosher diet was healthier, and they did not care. The fact of the matter is that if we follow God’s rules concerning sexual behavior, how we treat others, etc we will be healthier, happier, smarter, and wiser than if we do not. We do not need to understand why doing the specific things God commands will have those results. More importantly, we should not follow those rules because we want to be healthier, happier, smarter, or wiser. We should follow those rules because we love God and wish to please Him.