When King Nebuchadnezzar and his soldiers captured Jerusalem, they took many Israelites with them back to Babylon. There, the king gave his chief officer an important job—to pick out the smartest and healthiest of the Israelite children, bring them to the palace, and teach them the language and learning of the scholars.
Four of the children chosen were Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Living in the palace was very different from living at home. In the palace, they were given Babylonian names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
The children were also fed special foods. The king himself ate these foods, but Daniel knew that they were not good for him. He asked the chief officer not to make him eat the foods nor drink the wine.
The chief officer said that Daniel must eat them or he would not be as healthy as the other children. The king might then be angry and have the chief officer killed.
Because Daniel did not want the chief officer to be harmed, he asked that he and his friends be given pulse (vegetables) and water for 10 days. Then, after being compared to the other children, if the four friends were not as healthy, they would eat the king’s food.
The chief officer agreed. After 10 days, Daniel and his friends were strong and full of energy. They looked healthier than the other children. And they were wiser than even the king’s own counselors! (See Dan. 1:1–20.)
Choose like Daniel
Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki
Do you know which things are good for you? Color the items that are good for you. Cross out those that are not good for you.