The Berean Expositor
Volume 50 - Page 99 of 185
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pp. 91 - 95
So far as the record goes, there is no indication that Daniel ever received a specific
call. Yet it would be a bold man who would suggest that Daniel was uncalled, and it
would seem that he was one to whom the circumstances in which he found himself
constituted his commission. The revelations he received were committed to him in
visions, by angels and heavenly beings. It seems that unlike other prophets Jehovah did
not speak to him directly. Israel was in a "lo ammi" period, and many of the nation,
including Daniel, were in captivity in Babylon. This may account for the absence of any
direct call, and for the absence of direct communication to him by the Lord.
Daniel is introduced to us as one of those brought to the king by Ashpenaz "of the
children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes" (Dan. 1: 3). He was clearly
one of the `ruling class', and probably of the seed-royal, a more accurate rendering of this
verse being ". . . . . even (or both) of the king's seed, and of the nobles". In view of the
godlessness of the kings and nobles at that time, it is remarkable not only that he was
prepared to make a stand for the faith of his people, but that he had any faith for which to
Here was a young lad, probably about sixteen years of age, in captivity, in a strange
land, chosen for the king to be specially favoured and trained in "the learning and the
tongue of the Chaldeans" (1: 4), and appointed "a daily portion of the king's meat" (1: 5).
Daniel had much to lose, and there was every excuse for him to be restrained in the
practice of his faith. Yet it is recorded in verse 8:
"But Daniel purpose 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: 8).
Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's provision. It
was no "spur of the moment" decision, he had considered the matter and concluded that
there was only one course of action open to him. Having made up his mind he then
spoke to the "prince of the eunuchs" who had charge of Daniel and his companions. It is
clear that the prince of the eunuchs was scared of the king: "I fear my lord the king, who
hath appointed your meat and your drink . . . . . then shall ye make me endanger my head
to the king" (1: 10). The king was no constitutional monarch, but a despotic dictator
whose every whim must be obeyed. By his action Daniel not only risked his privileged
position, but his very life. Yet because of the risk of defilement by the "king's meat and
drink", he was prepared to risk his life. The meat was probably "killed with the blood",
and the Law forbad eating such: "ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl
or of beast" (Lev. 7: 26), and had probably been "offered to idols", again forbidden by
the Law:
"For thou shalt worship no other gods: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a
jealous God: lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a