Did Daniel fast or not?

Most, if not all Christians have heard of the "Daniel fast". The following is an extract from www.gotquestions.org.

Start of quote.

The concept of a Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.’

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”

The background of the Daniel fast is that Daniel and his three friends had been deported to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquered Judah (2 Kings 24:13-14). Daniel and his three friends were put into the Babylonian court servant “training program.” Part of the program was learning Babylonian customs, beliefs, laws, and practices. The eating habits of the Babylonians were not in complete agreement with the Mosaic Law. As a result, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be excused from eating the meat (which was likely sacrificed to Babylonian false gods and idols).

So, a Daniel fast is eating only fruits and vegetables for a certain amount of time and abstaining from meat products.

End of quote.

While I agree with most of the explanation offered by this website, I disagree on one point. That Daniel abstained from meat products and ate only fruits and vegetables for a certain amount of time. Daniel asked the official appointed to supervise him to allow him and his friends to eat only fruits and vegetables, and water to drink for "ten days". If, at the end of the test period, they are not famished or sickly, they would be allowed to continue on their preferred diet indefinitely. True enough, "they looked healthier and better nourished than the rest of the young men who ate the royal food" (verse 15).

Furthermore, when you are fasting, you are abstaining from food that you are allowed to eat. Here, Daniel and his friends were wanting to abstain from eating food that they were prohibited to eat by the law of Moses. They were not fasting as much as they were trying to keep the commandments of God. Daniel himself stated that eating the food provided by the royal court would cause him (and his friends) to be defiled. In other words, SIN.

I know that my understanding of the Daniel fast, or not, is unconventional. How can I be correct and so many Bible scholars, teachers and preachers be wrong? It’s not a matter of whose right or wrong. More important is that we abide by the principles of Bible interpretation. One of the cardinal principles of Bible interpretation is to interpret Scripture in its context. A verse of Scripture must be interpreted in its context – the chapter. A chapter must be interpreted in its context – the book in which it is found. The book must be interpreted in its context – the whole Bible. Most who teach on the Daniel fast have not interpreted this book in the context of the whole Bible.

The other misconception that most people have about Daniel is that he was a prophet. Daniel was not a prophet, he was more of an intercessor. While studying the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, he realized that the end of the exilic years was drawing near. So, Daniel resolved within himself to intercede for the fulfillment of God’s prophecy.


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