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Daniel 1:8

ESV But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
NIV 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.
NASB But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
CSB Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king's food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief eunuch not to defile himself.
NLT But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.
KJV But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

What does Daniel 1:8 mean?

Daniel's concern about being "defiled" by the king's food (Daniel 1:5) might have been a matter of ceremonial cleanliness, or idolatry, or both. The pagan peoples of Babylon would have eaten unclean animals prohibited by the law given to Israel by Moses (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14). Even when the animals were clean, Gentiles would not have removed fat and blood according to Jewish requirements (Leviticus 3:16–17; 17:10–14). Historians suggest Israelites were used to heavily diluted wine while Babylonians preferred theirs at full strength. Daniel may have wanted to avoid drunkenness (Proverbs 20:1; 31:4) as well as ceremonial uncleanness. Other commentators suggest Daniel was mostly troubled by the king's food being dedicated to Babylonian idols.

Daniel's Babylonian manager will be concerned about different food affecting the health of the four captive Israelites (Daniel 1:6–7, 10). So, Daniel proposes a brief test, indicating whether they can maintain their condition while abstaining from the king's food (Daniel 1:11–13). Scripture does not indicate what would have happened if Ashpenaz (Daniel 1:3) had refused to accommodate Daniel. However, other recorded incidents prove both Daniel and the three other named captives were willing to die rather than compromise their faith (Daniel 3; 6).
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