Daniel's Diet in Babylonian Captivity

Howard L. Kaplan

Howard L. Kaplan

English Lyrics

I did not make this story up. This story pre-existed.
It's not one of the famous ones, and so, you may have missed it.
It's in the Bible -- Daniel's book -- and so it must be true.
It takes up most of chapter one and none of chapter two.

Oh, Daniel, hold on to your people's ways.
Oh, Daniel, hold on to them all your days.
Though you're in Nebuchadnezzar's land,
There's a higher law than the king's command.
Oh, Daniel, hold on to your people's ways.

"Go, find some Jews," said Nebuchadnezzar, "healthy, smart, and young.
Enroll them in the three year course to learn our ways and tongue.
And as they are our honoured guests, their health must not decline.
We'll send them portions every day of royal meat and wine."

Though Daniel was his Hebrew name, they called him Belteshazzar,
His kin Meschach, Abednego, and Shadrach  not in that order.
When offered royal dainties, they told the king's steward, "No, sir;
Whatever Nebuchadnezzar eats, we're sure it isn't kosher."

The steward said, "If you guys starve, the king will have my head."
So Daniel said, "A man can live on bowls of pulse instead.
The poor folk know the preparations savoury and tasty.
Inspect our bodies in ten days. We won't be thin or pasty."

Now, chick peas, beans, and lentils are collectively known as pulse.
The're not the famous North Atlantic seaweed, which is dulse.
They're high in protein, full of fibre; some are rich in oil.
They thrive in cooler climates, and their roots improve the soil.

And after ten full days had passed, the trial was complete.
The Jews had eaten herbs and seeds, their captors eaten meat.
The former were more fair of face and were not growing thinner,
And from that day they were exempt from eating meat at dinner.

Now, when a scribe who's drunk too much records such great events,
The syllables get rearranged but seem to make some sense.
And so, the Bible has mistakes, although some will deny it.
You see, it wasn't Daniel in the lion den, it was Daniel on the
lentil diet.

[Suggestion: sing the full chorus after verses 2, 4, 6, and 7, just
the first
line of the chorus after verses 1, 3, and 5]


I wrote this secular Jewish vegetarian gospel song after hearing a lecture (about the role of statistics in medical research) that referred to a story recounted in Chapter 1 of Daniel -- not the story of the lion's den or the burning firey furnace, but the story of the non-availability of Kosher meals at Nebudchadnezzar's school for foreign captives. Further details (including sheet music) can be found at http://www.thrinberry-frog.com/SongSheets.htm#DanielsDietInBabylonianCaptivity


Added February 15th, 2003