Daniel is an extraordinary book of the Bible. Its setting is a follower of the Lord, Daniel, and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were part of the group of Israelites who were taken in captivity and exile by the Babylonians. In their captivity the king chooses them to serve his court. As a book of the Bible Daniel is unique because just the first beginning chapters and the ending chapters were written in Hebrew, the rest was written in Aramaic. It is the newest book in the Old Testament, although it doesn’t fall at the end of the OT. The pervading theme of this book of the Bible is that God is in control in all times in history. We call this the providence of God. God is sovereign, God is in charge, in all times of history.
When we look at chapter 1 we see the protagonists introduced, each with their own original names in Hebrew and then the names that were given to them by the Chaldean ruler. From there they were given preferential treatment because the King wanted to fatten them up for his service. But the meat and the wine that was being served would in no way fulfill the Levitical laws of being kosher so Daniel makes a strange request. Feed the four of us vegetables (which was kosher) and then compare us to the other young men who are getting the king’s meat and you will find that we are healthier and more fit than those. Sure enough, they did it and Daniel and his friends were found to be the ones the most in shape. This is kind of the first instance of vegetarianism seen as something positive.
As a result of this Daniel and his friends become the closest allies to the king and they advise him on all matters. This fact becomes important a bit later on. The Scripture says that the king found them: “ten times better” than all of his other help. Now that is a good witness.