1 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked Judah. It was in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah.
2 Jehovah allowed Nebuchadnezzar to capture Jehoiakim king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar carried part of the vessels of the house of God into the Plain of Shinar in Babylon. He brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3 The king ordered Ashpenaz the chief of his officials to bring in some of the Israelites including some of the royal family and nobles.
4 These were young people who had no defects. They were good looking and intelligent, with knowledge. They showed wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of science. They had ability to serve in the king's court and were taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans.
5 The king assigned a daily amount of the king's special rich food for them and also the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years. At the end of that time they would serve the king.
6 Now among these children of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
7 The officer in charge gave names to them: To Daniel he gave the name of Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach and Azariah was named Abednego.
8 Daniel determined in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's special food and wine. He requested permission from the officer in charge that he might not defile himself.
9 God caused the officer in charge to show special favor and kindness to Daniel.
10 The officer in charge said to Daniel: »I fear my lord the king. He has appointed your food and your drink. Why should he see your faces worse looking than other young people your age? Would you endanger my head with the king?«
11 Daniel answered the officer appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
12 »Test your servants, please, for ten days. Give them vegetables to eat and water to drink.
13 »You compare our appearance and the appearance of the young people who eat the kings special food. Then you deal with us according to what you see.«
14 So he listened to them and allowed them to prove the matter for ten days.
15 They looked better when the ten days ended! They were fairer in appearance and fatter in flesh than the young people who ate the kings special food.
16 So the steward took away their special food and wine and gave them vegetables and water.
17 God gave these young people knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of all types of literature and learning. Daniel had understanding and wisdom in all visions and dreams.
18 When the appointed time for learning ended the chief officer brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19 The king interviewed them and found out that none was found to be like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they served the king.
20 The king found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his entire realm. This was in every matter of wisdom and understanding.
21 Daniel continued to the first year of king Cyrus.