Daniel Removed to Babylon
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered into his hand Jehoiakim king of Judah, along with some of the articles from the house of God. He carried these off to the land of Shinar, a to the house of his god, where he put them in the treasury of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring in some Israelites from the royal family b and the nobility— 4 young men without blemish, handsome, gifted in all wisdom, knowledgeable, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace—and to teach them the language and literature of the Chaldeans. c
5 The king assigned them daily provisions of the royal food and wine. They were to be trained for three years, after which they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among these young men were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: To Daniel he gave the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or wine. So he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself.
9 Now God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official, 10 but he said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age? You would endanger my head before the king!”
11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given only vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearances with those of the young men who are eating the royal food, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”
14 So he consented to this and tested them for ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. 16 So the steward continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and he gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. And Daniel had insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.
18 Now at the end of the time specified by the king, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king spoke with them, and among all the young men he found no one equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the king’s service.
20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. 21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
2 a That is, Babylonia
3 b Hebrew from the seed of the kingdom
4 c That is, the Babylonians