Daniel Is Trained in Babylon
1It was the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. His armies surrounded the city and attacked it. 2The Lord handed Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, over to him. Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the objects from God’s temple. He carried them off to the temple of his god in Babylon. He put them among the treasures of his god.
3The king gave Ashpenaz an order. Ashpenaz was the chief of Nebuchadnezzar’s court officials. The king told him to bring him some of the Israelites. The king wanted them to serve him in his court. He wanted nobles and men from the royal family. 4He was looking for young men who were healthy and handsome. They had to be able to learn anything. They had to be well educated. They had to have the ability to understand new things quickly and easily. The king wanted men who could serve in his palace. Ashpenaz was supposed to teach them the Babylonian language and writings. 5The king had his servants give them food and wine from his own table. They received a certain amount every day. The young men had to be trained for three years. After that, they could begin to serve the king.
6Some of the men chosen were from Judah. Their names were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7The chief official gave them new names. He gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar. He gave Hananiah the name Shadrach. He gave Mishael the name Meshach. And he gave Azariah the name Abednego.
8Daniel decided not to make himself “unclean” by eating the king’s food and drinking his wine. So he asked the chief official for a favor. He wanted permission not to make himself “unclean” with the king’s food and wine. 9God had caused the official to be kind and friendly to Daniel. 10But the official refused to do what Daniel asked for. He said, “I’m afraid of the king. He is my master. He has decided what you and your three friends must eat and drink. Other young men are the same age as you. Why should he see you looking worse than them? When he sees how you look, he might kill me.”
11So Daniel spoke to one of the guards. The chief official had appointed him over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 12Daniel said to him, “Please test us for ten days. Give us nothing but vegetables to eat. And give us only water to drink. 13Then compare us with the young men who eat the king’s food. See how we look. After that, do what you want to.” 14So the guard agreed. He tested them for ten days.
15After the ten days Daniel and his friends looked healthy and well fed. In fact, they looked better than any of the young men who ate the king’s food. 16So the guard didn’t require them to eat the king’s special food. He didn’t require them to drink the king’s wine either. He gave them vegetables instead.
17God gave knowledge and understanding to these four young men. So they understood all kinds of writings and subjects. And Daniel could understand all kinds of visions and dreams.
18The three years the king had set for their training ended. So the chief official brought them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king talked with them. He didn’t find anyone equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So they began to serve the king. 20He asked them for advice in matters that required wisdom and understanding. The king always found their answers to be the best. Other men in his kingdom claimed to get knowledge by using magic. But the answers of Daniel and his friends were ten times better than theirs.
21Daniel served in Babylon until the first year Cyrus ruled over the land of Babylon. Cyrus was king of Persia.
1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3¶ And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 4Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. 5And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.1.5 the wine…: Heb. the wine of his drink 6Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 7Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.
8¶ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 10And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.1.10 worse…: Heb. sadder1.10 sort: or, term, or, continuance? 11Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,1.11 Melzar: or, the steward 12Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.1.12 pulse: Heb. of pulse1.12 to eat…: Heb. that we may eat, etc 13Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. 16Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17¶ As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.1.17 Daniel…: or, he made Daniel understand 18Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.1.20 wisdom…: Heb. wisdom of understanding 21And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.