“None Like Them,” Friend, May 1975, 18
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, made war on the people of Judah and in time conquered them. Included in the plunder that he carried back to his own treasure house were many of the beautiful and sacred furnishings from the temple in Jerusalem. Besides the material prizes that Nebuchadnezzar took, there were also a great number of Israelites taken as captives.
When he returned to his own kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar called one of his chief officers, whose name was Ashpenaz, to him. The officer was told to bring those Israelite children to live in the king’s household who had a royal ancestry, who were intelligent in all things, and who were without blemish and pleasing to look upon.
Those Israelites who were chosen were to be given the same kind of rich food and strong wine that King Nebuchadnezzar was served. They were also to be taught the language of the Chaldeans, and at the end of three years the young Israelites were to stand before the king so he could see how much they had developed in that time.
Among these children from Judah were four friends whose names were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. But the chief officer changed their names to Belteshazzar (Daniel), Shadrach (Hananiah), Meshach (Mishael), and Abednego (Azariah).
Daniel was determined that he and his three friends would not take into their bodies the unhealthful food and wine that the king was served. He told the chief officer of their decision.
Heavenly Father softened the heart of the officer in charge of the captives, and he had respect for Daniel and even a father’s love for the boy. Yet he was afraid for his own life if he didn’t feed the Israelites the food that he had been commanded. The officer was sure that if Daniel and his friends didn’t eat the same food that was given to the other Israelites that they would become dull and appear undernourished and puny.
Then Daniel talked to a lesser officer, Melzar, who actually had charge of their meals and other needs. Daniel pleaded with Melzar to let them eat only fresh water and pulse (cabbage, lentils, and other vegetables such as beans and peas) for ten days. He promised that at the end of that time if they didn’t show improvement in their appearance and in their alertness when compared to the other captive children, then the overseer could feed them whatever he chose.
Melzar agreed to Daniel’s proposal and at the end of ten days the four good friends appeared brighter and more handsome than the other Israelite children. When Melzar saw the difference he continued to bring them only the pulse and water, but he still gave the king’s food and drink to the others.
Besides having healthier and stronger bodies than the other Israelite children, Heavenly Father blessed Daniel and his friends with great wisdom and the skill to gain more knowledge quickly. Daniel was also given a special talent for interpreting visions and dreams.
At the end of the three years King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that the young Israelite captives be brought before him so that he could learn of their growth and their worthiness. When it came time to talk to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, the king was astounded by their healthy appearance and by their intelligence. He said that among all the young Israelites he saw there were none like these four. And when he talked with them he discovered that “in all matters of wisdom and understanding, … [they were] ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” (Dan. 1:20.)
Just as Daniel received information from our Heavenly Father about how to keep his mind and body healthy and strong, so did Joseph Smith receive instruction from our Father in heaven in 1833 about how the Saints could keep their minds alert and their bodies healthy.
This information that the Prophet Joseph received is called the Word of Wisdom. It is a law of good health that will provide wonderful blessings for anyone who understands and obeys it.
Read with your family the 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants and discover how you can “find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; …” and how you can “run and not be weary, and [can] walk and not faint.” (D&C 89:19–20.)
[illustration] Illustrated by Ginger Brown^ Back to top