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Scripture Commentary — Daniel 1:3-20


Daniel 1:3-20 — Daniel’s ‘word of wisdom’ experience

  • Verses 3-4
    • Daniel was of royal lineage, he had no blemishes, he was handsome, skillful, wise, cunning, knowledgeable, understanding, bright, smart
    • “…ability to stand…” — he was confident and self-assured
    • Were his great abilities due to ‘genetics’ or ‘personal effort’?  See Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 says that “…men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.”  Daniel was that type of man.
  • Verse 8
    • “…purposed in his heart…” — commitment, determination, resolve!
    • “…defile…” — bold word to use considering their situation, but he was determined.
  • Verses 8-11
    • When the prince of the eunuchs said no, Daniel did not give up.  He went to the steward.  Determination, persistence, devotion…
  • Verse 12
    • “…prove thy servants…” — he had a plan!  He had thought and prepared.
    • “…servants…” — indicative of humility; he accepted and acknowledged his place, his station, and his situation.
  • Verse 14
    • “…ten days…” — seriously?  Very short!  There must have been divine intervention!
  • Verse 15
    • “countenance…” — more than just physical appearance probably; there was a spiritual aspect involved.  See 3 Nephi 19:25 and Alma 5:19.  Light.
  • Verse 16
    • “…took away…” — just from these four or from all the youth?
  • Verses 17
    • “As for these four, God gave…” — Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21 states, “…when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it [the blessing] is predicated.”  They were blessed with the gifts of knowledge, skill, learning, wisdom, visions, and dreams, all of which are gifts of the Spirit.  Promises of living the Word of Wisdom, mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants 89:19, include wisdom and knowledge!
  • Verse 19
    • “…stood before the king…” — imagine how intimidating this would have been, but by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; Doctrine and Covenants 35:13 states that the Lord calls upon the “weak things of the world, the unlearned and the despised” to thresh the nations.
  • Verse 20
    • “…better than the magicians…” — better at performing tricks of magic?  No!  Better in judgement and knowledge.  They were the same as the sons of Mosiah, in that “…when they taught [spoke], they taught with power and authority of God”.
  • Lessons to be learned–
    • Are we courageous enough to stand up for our beliefs?  The Word of Wisdom?  Proper music?  Clean and appropriate language?
    • Are we bold enough to say what needs to be said, but without offending those we address?
    • Don’t give up!  Be persistent!  Remember Nephi’s dogged determination to obtain the brass plates, as well as the courage of these four youth.
    • Even though they were of royal lineage, they were not pampered nor coddled.  They were independent, confident, and hard-working.

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