Enslaved to serve king Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel finds himself slightly favored because of his good looks and intelligence (a burden with which I am familiar). As a favored captive he will be fed from the king’s own table (portion). There is a deeper meaning that we must appreciate at this point; let us approach by asking, “who provided?” I hope in your own home, you thank God for the sustenance He has provided as you take your meals. To eat at the king’s table would, by default, imply you have recognized the king as your provider (As David provided for/honored Mephibosheth).
“But Daniel resolved”, (Daniel 1.8) or, “laid…on his heart”- in the Hebrew text; that he would not defile himself with this practice and asked to be excused from taking these meals. The guard is probably trying to keep a hunger strike from happening and points out that his job is tied to the condition of Daniel.
Three verses after Daniel galvanizes his resolve, three more Jewish young men join him. All of a sudden there are four fella’s who wish to feast on foliage only; vegetables and water. Because of God’s direct involvement Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego get stronger and healthier over the next ten days. Faithfulness to God has proven itself prosperous over mankind.
The only other place we find Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is in Chapter 3. Nebuchadnezzar has set up a huge golden idol and is requiring that everyone worship it or be burned alive. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse, with all of the same resolve we witnessed from chapter 1. In verses 16-18 they brazenly say that whether God saves them or not He alone is worthy of worship. “Angry” would be a mild way to describe Nebuchadnezzar's response. He has the furnace heated to such a level that merely approaching it takes the life of the guards. Standing amid the flames, alive and blessed, deliverance has again been revealed through faith in God. But where was Daniel?
Chapter 3 is the last mention of the three friends, and Daniel is nowhere to be found in that text. May I suggest that the brazen answer to the king in chapter 3 was born in Daniels polite refusal to eat from the kings table in chapter one? Showing faith in God is contagious. Hide it under a bushel? NO! Let it shine!