Daniel looked at the plate of food in front of him and at the wine in his cup. He knew it was not the healthy food that Jehovah wanted him to eat. He would not eat it.
Daniel’s friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego—would not eat the king’s food either. The four Hebrew boys had been captured in Jerusalem and taken to the city of Babylon. Now King Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to eat rich food and wine. He thought it would make them strong.
But Daniel and his friends knew the king’s food would not make them healthy and strong. “Give us pulse to eat and water to drink,” Daniel said to the king’s servant. “After 10 days, compare us to people who eat the king’s rich food.” The servant agreed.
Every day the servant brought the four young men pulse, which is food made of seeds and grains. And he brought them water to drink, not wine. After 10 days the young men looked healthier than other captives, so the servant no longer asked them to eat the king’s food.
As Daniel grew up, Jehovah blessed him with knowledge and wisdom. King Nebuchadnezzar trusted Daniel and asked his advice.
When King Darius became the new king of Babylon, he made wise Daniel a president in his kingdom. Some men were jealous of Daniel. They knew he prayed three times a day to Heavenly Father. The jealous men convinced the king to make a new law. Anyone found praying must be put into a cave where hungry lions were kept.
Faithful Daniel knew about the law, but he still prayed every day. The men waited and listened outside his room. When they heard Daniel praying, they rushed to the king.
King Darius was dismayed when the men told him about Daniel. He wished he had not signed the law, but the law had to be obeyed. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, and a large stone was placed to cover the entrance.
All that night the king worried and wondered. Early the next morning he hurried to the lions’ den. In a loud voice the king called out, “O Daniel, was thy God able to deliver thee from the lions?”
With relief he heard Daniel answer from behind the stone, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.”
Joyfully, the king sent out a decree to all the kingdom. Daniel’s God was the living God, and He had saved Daniel from the lions.
Far from Home
Map by Mountain High Maps © 1993 Digital Wisdom
Daniel and his friends lived in Jerusalem. Then they were captured and taken to Babylon, about 500 miles (805 km) away from their homes. It took at least five days to travel that far by camel!
Babylon was the capital of a country called Babylonia. Babylon, also known as Babel, no longer exists. But the site of the city is not far from Baghdad, in what is now the country of Iraq.
Who Is Jehovah?
Jehovah is another name for Jesus Christ. He is Heavenly Father’s firstborn son. Heavenly Father directed Him to create the world and to help people return to Heavenly Father’s presence. When Jehovah speaks to people, He says what Heavenly Father would have Him say.
In the Old Testament, Jehovah is usually referred to as “the Lord.” After He was born in Bethlehem, He was known as Jesus Christ.
From left: detail from Christ and the Rich Young Ruler, by Heinrich Hofmann, courtesy of C. Harrison Conroy Co.; photograph by Craig Dimond; illustration by Daniel Burr; detail from Christ and the Children, by Harry Anderson © IRI