1:8 But Daniel made up his mind 1 that he would not defile 2 himself with the royal delicacies or the royal wine. 3 He therefore asked the overseer of the court officials for permission not to defile himself. 1:9 Then God made the overseer of the court officials sympathetic to Daniel. 4 1:10 But he 5 responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided 6 your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? 7 If that happened, 8 you would endanger my life 9 with the king!” 1:11 Daniel then spoke to the warden 10 whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 1:13 Then compare our appearance 11 with that of 12 the young men who are eating the royal delicacies; 13 deal with us 14 in light of what you see.” 1:14 So the warden 15 agreed to their proposal 16 and tested them for ten 17 days.
1:15 At the end of the ten days their appearance was better and their bodies were healthier 18 than all the young men who had been eating the royal delicacies. 1:16 So the warden removed the delicacies and the wine 19 from their diet 20 and gave them a diet of vegetables instead. 1:17 Now as for these four young men, God endowed them with knowledge and skill in all sorts of literature and wisdom – and Daniel had insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.
1:18 When the time appointed by the king arrived, 21 the overseer of the court officials brought them into Nebuchadnezzar’s presence. 1:19 When the king spoke with them, he did not find among the entire group 22 anyone like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah. So they entered the king’s service. 23 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and 24 insight the king asked them about, he found them to be ten times 25 better than any of the magicians and astrologers that were in his entire empire.
1 tn Heb “placed on his heart.”
2 tn Or “would not make himself ceremonially unclean”; TEV “become ritually unclean.”
sn Various reasons have been suggested as to why such food would defile Daniel. Perhaps it had to do with violations of Mosaic law with regard to unclean foods, or perhaps it had to do with such food having been offered to idols. Daniel’s practice in this regard is strikingly different from that of Esther, who was able successfully to conceal her Jewish identity.
3 tn Heb “with the delicacies of the king and with the wine of his drinking.”
4 tn Heb “Then God granted Daniel loyal love and compassion before the overseer of the court officials.” The expression “loyal love and compassion” is a hendiadys; the two words combine to express one idea.
5 tn Heb “The overseer of the court officials.” The subject has been specified in the translation for the sake of clarity.
7 tn Heb “Why should he see your faces thin from the young men who are according to your age?” The term translated “thin” occurs only here and in Gen 40:6, where it appears to refer to a dejected facial expression. The word is related to an Arabic root meaning “be weak.” See HALOT 277 s.v. II זעף.
8 tn The words “if that happened” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.
9 tn Heb “my head.” Presumably this is an implicit reference to capital punishment (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT), although this is not entirely clear.
10 sn Having failed to convince the overseer, Daniel sought the favor of the warden whom the overseer had appointed to care for the young men.
11 tn Heb “let our appearance be seen before you.”
12 tn Heb “the appearance of.”
14 tn Heb “your servants.”
16 tn Heb “listened to them with regard to this matter.”
18 tn Heb “fat of flesh”; KJV, ASV “fatter in flesh”; NASB, NRSV “fatter” (although this is no longer a sign of health in Western culture).
19 tn Heb “the wine of their drinking.”
20 tn The words “from their diet” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.
21 tn Heb “at the end of the days which the king said to bring them.”
22 tn Heb “from all of them.”
23 tn Heb “stood before the king.”
24 tc The MT lacks the conjunction, reading the first word in the phrase as a construct (“wisdom of insight”). While this reading is not impossible, it seems better to follow Theodotion, the Syriac, the Vulgate, and the Sahidic Coptic, all of which have the conjunction.
25 tn Heb “hands.”