1 In the third year of Jehoi akims reign as king of Judah, King Ne buchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Je rus alem. 2 The Lord delivered into his hands King Jehoiakim of Judah, and some of the vessels from the temple of God as well. These he carried off to the land of Shinar and placed in the treasure house of his god.
3 King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his chief eunuch Ashpenaz to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility: 4 young men without physical defect, handsome, intelligent and wise, well-informed, quick to learn and understand, and suitable for service in the kings palace. They were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 They were allotted a daily portion of food and wine from the kings table and were to be trained for three years, after which they were to enter the kings service.
6 Among these were young men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mi shael, and Azariah, 7 whose names the chief eunuch changed Daniel to Belteshazzar, Hana niah to Shadrach, Mishael to Meshach, and Azariah to Abednego.
Daniel refuses to eat unclean food
:B:8 As Daniel was resolved not to make himself unclean with the kings food or wine, he begged the chief eunuch to spare him this defilement. 9 By the grace of God, the chief eunuch had been sympathetic to Daniel, 10 but he was afraid of the king, and so he said, If the king, who has allotted your food and drink, sees that you look more emaciated than the other young men of your age, he might think ill of me. It will put my life in danger to give in to your wish.
11 Daniel then turned to the steward whom the chief eunuch had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mis hael, and Azariah. 12 Please test your servants for ten days. Give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink, 13 and see how we look in comparison with the young men who eat food from the kings table. Then treat us in accordance with what you see.
14 The steward agreed and tested them for ten days, 15 at the end of which they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate the kings food. 16 So the steward continued to give them vegetables instead of the choice food and wine.
17 To these four youths God gave wisdom and proficiency in literature, and to Daniel the gift of interpreting visions and dreams.
18 At the end of the period set by the king for the youths training, the chief eunuch presented them to Nebuchad nezzar. 19 The king talked with them and found none to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Aza riah. These four became members of the kings court. 20 In any matter of wisdom and discernment about which the king consulted, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 21 Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.