“Biblical” diets seem to be the fad of late (or maybe I’m just late to this news). There are those who are promoting the Daniel’s Diet, or perhaps enjoy a loaf of some Ezekiel Bread (I’m not even making this stuff up). The question is…were such accounts intended for “healthy diets” or as signs of God’s blessing against the natural outcome (Daniel) and dietary judgment on those in Jerusalem for disobedience (Ezekiel)?
I noticed a friend of mine (and OT professor at Evangel University in Springfield, MO) Bill Griffin (Harvard – M.Div; Emory – PhD) was just writing on Facebook about so-called “biblical” diets. I thought his comment rather poignant:
For those who think the book of Daniel is a cookbook for healthy living: (1) Daniel objected to eating food which was ceremonially unclean. This is rarely an issue for Christians. (2) Daniel & friends became FATTER (ובריאי בשר) of flesh than their non-Jewish compatriots. The NIV gets it wrong when it says “better nourished”, unless you wish to translate Judges 3:18, “Now Eglon king of Moab was a very nourished man.” (3) As Dr. Dwight Sheets has noted, it took a miracle of God for Daniel to grow fatter on that diet, and it is parallel to the other episodes of miraculous deliverance in the book. The change of diet had nothing to do with losing weight!
I think Bill has gotten this correct. Such accounts were NEVER intended to be duplicated as if they were precedent setting patterns for health. They are intended as signs of God’s intervention in a very particular circumstance. It is quite disgusting to see such things marketed. 1 cup of poor interpretation + a spoonful of dietary research + 2 teaspoons of marketing + a sprinkling of spirituality and Biblical texts = BIG PROFIT (not to be confused with the prophets) that church-folk will go bonkers over.
I sure hope the Ezekiel bread has been baked over coals of dung…otherwise, how can I expect to keep my girlish figure. And while I’m at it, I’m still waiting for the John the Baptist diet (or better yet, clothing line)….hmmm…now that I think of it…perhaps I should get that idea copyrighted before anyone reads this blog…