"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. . . .
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. . . . " (Dan. 1:5, 8.)Daniel was firm in his convictions. The story of Daniel and his commitment to the Lord's law concerning food and drink is one often referred to by Latter-day Saints.
Daniel and three friends - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - were among those of Judah's upper class who were taken captive into Babylon during the first siege of Jerusalem during the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim. The young men were taken to the Babylonian king's court to be taught "the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans." (Dan. 1:4.)
The young men were offered "meat" or food and wine, which they refused to eat and drink. It is generally believed among scholars, particularly Latter-day Saints, that Daniel's refusal to eat the food provided in the king's court may have included the following reasons:
- Some of the foods used by the Babylonians were likely among food forbidden in the Mosaic law.
- The Babylonians, as other non-believers, ate the meat of animals that had not been properly drained of blood, which was a violation of the Mosaic law.
- The Babylonians might have consecrated the food at their feasts by offering part of it and the wine as sacrifices to their gods. Eating such food and drinking such wine would be participating in the worship of false gods.
In their refusal to partake of the king's food and drink, Daniel and his friends were faithful to the Lord's commandments outlined in the Mosaic law.
Of this great Old Testament story of young men standing by what they had been taught, Elder Spencer W. Kimball wrote in Faith Precedes the Miracle:
"Was integrity ever placed on a higher plane? The gospel was Daniel's life. The Word of Wisdom was vital to him. In the king's court, he could be little criticized, but even for a ruler he would not drink the king's wine nor gorge himself with meat and rich foods. His moderation and his purity of faith brought him health and wisdom and knowledge and skill and understanding, and his faith linked him closely to his Father in heaven, and revelations came to him as often as required."