The Choice Young Men

In the third year of the reign of (A)Jehoiakim king of Judah, (B)Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the (C)Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him, along with some of the (D)vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of (E)Shinar, to the house of his [a]god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his [b](F)god.

Then the king told Ashpenaz, the chief of his [c]officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the [d]royal (G)family and of the nobles, youths in whom there was (H)no impairment, who were good-looking, suitable for (I)instruction in every kind of expertise, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability to [e]serve in the king’s [f]court; and he ordered Ashpenaz to teach them the [g]literature and (J)language of the (K)Chaldeans. The king also allotted for them a daily ration from the (L)king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and ordered that they be educated for three years, at the end of which they were to [h](M)enter the king’s personal service. Now among them from the sons of Judah were (N)Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name (O)Belteshazzar, to Hananiah (P)Shadrach, to Mishael (Q)Meshach, and to Azariah (R)Abed-nego.

Daniel’s Resolve

But Daniel [i]made up his mind that he would not (S)defile himself with the (T)king’s choice food or with the (U)wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel (V)favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials. 10 The commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has allotted your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking gaunt in comparison to the youths who are your own age? Then you would [j]make me forfeit my head to the king.” 11 But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please put your servants to the test for ten days, and let us be (W)given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be [k]examined in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.”

14 So he listened to them in this matter, and put them to the test for ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their appearance seemed (X)better, and [l]they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food. 16 So the overseer continued to [m]withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept (Y)giving them vegetables.

17 And as for these four youths, (Z)God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every kind of [n]literature and expertise; Daniel even understood all kinds of (AA)visions and dreams.

18 Then at the end of the days which the king had [o]specified [p]for presenting them, the commander of the officials [q]presented them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like (AB)Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they [r](AC)entered the king’s personal service. 20 As for every matter of (AD)expertise [s]and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them (AE)ten times (AF)better than all the (AG)soothsayer priests and conjurers who were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel [t]continued until the (AH)first year of Cyrus the king.


  1. Daniel 1:2 Or gods
  2. Daniel 1:2 Or gods
  3. Daniel 1:3 Or eunuchs, and so throughout the ch
  4. Daniel 1:3 Lit seed of the monarchy
  5. Daniel 1:4 Lit stand
  6. Daniel 1:4 Lit palace
  7. Daniel 1:4 Or writing
  8. Daniel 1:5 Lit stand before the king
  9. Daniel 1:8 Lit set upon his heart
  10. Daniel 1:10 Lit make my head guilty
  11. Daniel 1:13 Lit seen
  12. Daniel 1:15 Lit fat of flesh
  13. Daniel 1:16 Lit take away
  14. Daniel 1:17 Or writing
  15. Daniel 1:18 Lit said
  16. Daniel 1:18 Lit to bring them in
  17. Daniel 1:18 Lit brought them in
  18. Daniel 1:19 Lit stood before the king
  19. Daniel 1:20 Lit of
  20. Daniel 1:21 Lit was until

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