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Daniel Taken to Babylon

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God, and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god. And he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his officials that he should bring some of the sons of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, youths in whom was no blemish, who were handsome and skillful in every branch of wisdom and gifted with understanding and discerning knowledge, and such as had ability in them to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the language of the Chaldeans. The king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s food and of the wine which he drank. They were to be educated for three years, that at the end of it they might serve before the king.

Now among them were of the sons of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, to whom the commander of the officials gave names. And he gave to Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s food, nor with the wine which he drank. Therefore he requested of the master of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favor and compassion with the master of the officials. 10 The master of the officials said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king who has appointed your food and your drink. For why should he see your faces worse-looking than the youths who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

11 Then Daniel said to the steward, whom the master of the officials had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before you, and the countenance of the youths who eat of the portion of the king’s food. And as you see, deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented to them in this matter and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter than all the youths who ate the portion of the king’s food. 16 Thus the guard continued to take away the portion of their food and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in every branch of learning and wisdom. And Daniel had understanding in all kinds of visions and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days that the king had set for them to be brought in, the master of the officials brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king spoke with them, and, among them all, none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they served before the king. 20 In all matters of wisdom and understanding which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

21 Daniel continued even to the first year of King Cyrus.