Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Daniel's Fast only vegetables?

The updated USDA food pyramid, published in 2005...Image via Wikipedia

If you are on a diet or use the Food Guide Pyramid, legumes, nuts, and seeds are considered proteins and placed under the meat category. Why are they allowed on this Fast when meat is not allowed?

Why are whole grains allowed? Why are fruits allowed? I thought the Bible says Daniel ate only vegetables and drank water.

Thank you for your very important question Carolyn. I've avoided giving a long answer to this question for a number of years. I normally just give the short answer that the original language makes it clear that we can eat these foods. Today, I feel led to give you the long answer. As a seminary graduate and a pastor for more than 30 years, I will share my understanding of this issue.

Our problem is that we are tempted to interpret Scriptures according to our own culture and the English text in our particular version of the Bible. However, we need to interpret Scripture by the power of the Holy Spirit, according to the author, audience, context, and original language: Greek or Hebrew. In other words, we need to study the Scriptures to find the meaning of the text for the original author and audience in their language and historical setting.
Frontispiece to the King James' Bible, 1611, s...Image via Wikipedia
The Daniel Fast is a non-animal product and non-alcohol diet. Scriptures are from the KJV. The Biblical context helps us to understand what Daniel refused to eat.
Dan 1:8 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.
Therefore, we know that Daniel refused to eat meat and drink wine.

Dan 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
The Bible says that Daniel ate only pulse, which is translated vegetables by some translators.

Let's take a look at Daniel's original words:
Strong's concordance tells us that the Hebrew word is
זרען זרע
zêrôa‛ zêrâ‛ôn
zay-ro'-ah, zay-raw-ohn'
From H2232; something sown (only in the plural), that is, a vegetable (as food): - pulse.

A primitive root; to sow; figuratively to disseminate, plant, fructify: - bear, conceive seed, set with, sow (-er), yield.
When we are careful to study these words, we find that Daniel's original Fast allowed all non-animal, non-fermented foods that are planted for harvest. He did this because he did not want to defile himself by disobeying God by eating non-kosher foods or meats that may have been offered to the king's idols.

Now that we've studied the Scriptures and understand better the context of Daniel's Fast Diet, we can move to the final step in a practical Bible study, the application of the lesson to our lives. Most Scriptures have one main meaning or interpretation. We have the freedom to apply the lessons we learn in many ways.

You may decide that your application of this study is that you will drink only bottled spring water and eat only food classified by English speaking Americans as falling into the category of vegetables for a period of 10 days. And I would say that is wonderful and God will bless you with spiritual breakthrough. I would caution you not to continue that diet for an extended amount of time as it could be very dangerous to your health.

Another person may decide that for them their Daniel fast diet will include all the foods we list at our foods to eat page, but that they feel led to apply the fast to their lives and personal nutritional needs by adding fish and poultry products.

Our opinion is that the best solution, especially if you are doing a Daniel Fast Diet as a group, is to follow the advice that we and most other Daniel Fast books and websites give you. Eat the foods we list as allowed to eat and avoid the foods we list to avoid to eat.

Is that helpful Carolyn? If anyone has further comments or questions about this issue please feel free to send me your comments through this contact link or in the comments to this post. It would be good for us to make this issue clear for all.

For more information about Daniel's Fast, check out these pages at our Daniel Fast Diet website:

Share your Daniel's Fast Diet comments, advice, questions, answers, encouragement and recipes!

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At September 26, 2008 4:31 PM , Blogger ZAKIYYAH said...

tomgWhile looking up different websites on this topic and was lead to this one and I want say that it is the best explaination I had come acreoss THANK YOU many times over.
I believe that my Blessings and Breakthrough is on the way
Grace and peace
Zakiyyah Nadir

At December 31, 2008 4:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to start the Daniel fast on New Year's day. I have been struggling with my weight and spending more time with God. I know that God is pressing me to seek his face with this diet. I am not just doing it to loose weight even though this will occur as well but to pray and fast for obedience to God this year and to focus on him and not my weight. Thank you so much for explaining the fast. Can you cook your vegetables or do they have to be raw? Do you saute' them in olive oil or just vegetable broth. I know you don't want to continue to expand your explanation but it would help me so much!

Thank you for being a blessing to me and others



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