Daniel Finds Favor in Babylon
1:1 In the third1 year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar2 of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem3 and laid it under siege.4 1:2 Now the Lord5 delivered6 King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power,7 along with some of the vessels8 of the temple of God.9 He brought them to the land of Babylonia10 to the temple of his god11 and put12 the vessels in the treasury of his god.
1:3 The king commanded13 Ashpenaz,14 who was in charge of his court officials,15 to choose16 some of the Israelites who were of royal and noble descent17 – 1:4 young men in whom there was no physical defect and who were handsome,18 well versed in all kinds of wisdom, well educated19 and having keen insight,20 and who were capable21 of entering the king’s royal service22 – and to teach them the literature and language23 of the Babylonians.24 1:5 So the king assigned them a daily ration25 from his royal delicacies26 and from the wine he himself drank. They were to be trained27 for the next three years. At the end of that time they were to enter the king’s service.28 1:6 As it turned out,29 among these young men30 were some from Judah:31 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.32 1:7 But the overseer of the court officials renamed them. He gave33 Daniel the name Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abednego.34
1:8 But Daniel made up his mind35 that he would not defile36 himself with the royal delicacies or the royal wine.37 He therefore asked the overseer of the court officials for permission not to defile himself. 1:9 Then God made the overseer of the court officials sympathetic to Daniel.38 1:10 But he39 responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided40 your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age?41 If that happened,42 you would endanger my life43 with the king!” 1:11 Daniel then spoke to the warden44 whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 1:13 Then compare our appearance45 with that of46 the young men who are eating the royal delicacies;47 deal with us48 in light of what you see.” 1:14 So the warden49 agreed to their proposal50 and tested them for ten51 days.
1:15 At the end of the ten days their appearance was better and their bodies were healthier52 than all the young men who had been eating the royal delicacies. 1:16 So the warden removed the delicacies and the wine53 from their diet54 and gave them a diet of vegetables instead. 1:17 Now as for these four young men, God endowed them with knowledge and skill in all sorts of literature and wisdom – and Daniel had insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.
1:18 When the time appointed by the king arrived,55 the overseer of the court officials brought them into Nebuchadnezzar’s presence. 1:19 When the king spoke with them, he did not find among the entire group56 anyone like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah. So they entered the king’s service.57 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and58 insight the king asked them about, he found them to be ten times59 better than any of the magicians and astrologers that were in his entire empire. 1:21 Now Daniel lived on until the first60 year of Cyrus the king.