Welcome to Word Study Wednesday! I am dedicating the month of August to topics on fasting unless I decide that a month is too long for one topic. If you were with me on Monday, you should be working on your memory verse for this week. Take a look at my post for Memory Verse Monday so see the fasting verse we are memorizing. My purpose for doing these spiritual disciplines this month is to prepare us to battle in prayer. When you decide to intercede for America, you will enter a spiritual battle. This battle is won in prayer, be we must be educated to understand “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Eph. 6:12 (KJV). If you decide to participate in these spiritual disciplines with me, we will be memorizing scripture, focusing on confession of sin, Bible study, fasting, and prayer. If you stick with me this month, I promise you will grow in your faith.
Today we are going to look at Daniel 9-10, which are two of my favorite chapters in the Bible. If you have the time please read through these chapters. Dan. 9:3-19 is Daniel’s intercessory prayer on behalf of Israel. If you want to learn how to intercede for America, then turn this chapter into a prayer and substitute America whenever you see the name, Israel. In Daniel 10 we see Daniel fasting and praying for 3 weeks or 21 days. “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. 3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled” Dan 10:2-3 (KJV). This particular fast is called a Daniel Fast. In Daniel 10:3 we learn that Daniel ate no pleasant bread, no meat or wine neither did he anoint himself during this time. There are several different interpretations of this diet, which you can find in books or online. This is how I interpret these scriptures when I am on a Daniel fast, it may not be the same interpretation as others, but a fast has to be doable. I personally interpret no pleasant bread as sweet breads or cakes. I do not eliminate all bread, because I have to be able to sustain myself during this fast. This fast is not like Jesus’ fast in the wilderness so you don’t have to starve yourself.
In order to interpret “no meat or flesh”, we have to understand the Hebrew meaning of word “meat” or “flesh” depending on which version of the Bible you use.. According to Jewish dietary laws, “foods are divided into three categories to prevent the consumption of forbidden mixtures”1. These categories are as follows: meat (basari), dairy (halavi) and fish (parve). In Daniel 10:3 the Hebrew word for meat is basari, this category does not include fish (parve). So when I am on a Daniel fast I do not eat beef, chicken or of course pork, but I do eat fish. I also eat beans as another source of protein.
When interpreting the word “wine” in verse three, we must have an understanding of the Hebrew words used for wine in the Old Testament. There are three Hebrew words in the Old Testament used for wine or grape juice. They are as follows:
• “yayin” [pronounced yah-yin] — This word occurs 140 times in the Old Testament. It is a general term for grape beverages and includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic; unfermented, in the process of fermentation and fermented. It was always diluted with water.
• “shekar” [shay-kawr] — This Hebrew word occurs 23 times. It is the word for strong drink, unmixed wine. The 1901 edition of THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA says “Yayin, wine, is to be distinguished from shekar, or strong drink. The former is diluted with water; the later is undiluted.”
• “tirosh” [tee-roshe’] — This word is used about 38 times. It refers to fresh grape juice. It is referred to often as new wine or sweet wine.
Whenever you see the word “wine” in the Old or New Testament, you should look up the Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) words to see exactly what type of wine or grape juice the verse is describing. This would clear up much of the controversy as to whether Jesus turned the water into wine or grape juice, but that is a lesson for another day.
In Daniel 10:3 the word for wine is yayin, which you can see above can refer to either wine or grape juice.
To summarize all of this, when I do a Daniel fast, I do not eat sweet bread, cake, beef, chicken, pork or grape juice. I do not drink wine so this is not an issue for me. You can read other books on the Daniel fast and do this differently than me, but I hope that by looking the words up in the Hebrew, you can better understand what Daniel ate.
If you read all of Daniel 10, you will see that Daniel’s prayer and fasting was helping to fight a spiritual battle that he was not even aware of. Thus the importance of the scripture verse I told you to memorize on Monday. When you pray, you are in a spiritual battle and fasting helps to fight that battle. We will learn more about fasting on Friday.