New King James Version
Daniel and His Friends Obey God(A)
1 In the third year of the reign of (B)Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with (C)some of the articles of [a]the house of God, which he carried (D)into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; (E)and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring (F)some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men (G)in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and (H)whom they might teach the language and [b]literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might (I)serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 (J)To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: (K)he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (L)with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now (M)God had brought Daniel into the favor and [c]goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”
11 So Daniel said to [d]the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs 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 appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus [e]the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king [f]interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore (Q)they served before the king. 20 (R)And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21 (S)Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.
The Choice Young Men
1 In the third year of the reign of [a]Jehoiakim king of Judah, [b]Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles of the house of God; and he brought them into the land of [c]Shinar, to the house of his god, and brought the articles into the treasury of his god.(A)
3 And the [Babylonian] king told Ashpenaz, the chief of his [d]officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some from the royal family and from the nobles,(B) 4 young men without blemish and handsome in appearance, skillful in all wisdom, endowed with intelligence and discernment, and quick to understand, competent to stand [in the presence of the king] and able to serve in the king’s palace. He also ordered Ashpenaz to teach them the literature and language of the [e]Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned a daily ration for them from his finest food and from the wine which he drank. They were to be educated and nourished this way for three years so that at the end of that time they were [prepared] to enter the king’s service. 6 Among them from the sons of Judah were: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The commander of the officials gave them [Babylonian] names: Daniel he named Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abed-nego.
8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile (taint, dishonor) himself with the [f]king’s finest food or with the wine which the king drank; so he asked the commander of the officials that he might [be excused so that he would] not defile himself.(C) 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, 10 and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has prearranged your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the young men who are your own age? Then you would 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, test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the young men who eat the king’s finest food be observed and compared by you, and deal with your servants in accordance with what you see.”
14 So the man listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it seemed that they were looking better and [g]healthier than all the young men who ate the king’s finest food. 16 So the overseer continued to withhold their fine food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.
17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all kinds of literature and wisdom; Daniel also understood all kinds of visions and dreams.(D)
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring all the young men in [before him], the commander of the officials presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king spoke with them, and among them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they were [selected and] assigned to stand before the king and enter his personal service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the [learned] magicians and enchanters (Magi) in his whole realm. 21 And Daniel remained there until the [h]first year of [the reign of] King Cyrus [over Babylon; now this was at the end of the seventy-year exile of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in Babylonia, as foretold by Jeremiah].(E)
- Daniel 1:1 Pharaoh Neco had killed Josiah king of Judah and installed Eliakim (Josiah’s son) as a vassal ruler. Neco changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim and he ruled for eleven years (2 Chr 36:4, 5).
- Daniel 1:1 Nebuchadnezzar II of the Chaldean Dynasty, more commonly known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, ruled Babylon from 605-562 b.c. He conquered Jerusalem in 597 b.c.
- Daniel 1:2 I.e. southern Babylonia.
- Daniel 1:3 Or eunuchs, and so throughout.
- Daniel 1:4 The Chaldeans dominated and ruled Babylonia from 625 b.c. until their empire fell in 539 b.c., but they were known as early as 1000 b.c. as an aggressive, tribal people in the southern region of Babylonia. They were highly skilled in both the science of astronomy and the pseudo-science of astrology. They kept meticulous records of celestial motion and correctly calculated the length of a year to within just a few minutes. Babylon, their capital city, was the center of trade and learning in the western part of Asia. The classical literature of the Chaldeans was written in cuneiform, but the common language, both written and spoken in Babylon, was Akkadian increasingly influenced by Aramaic.
- Daniel 1:8 The first portions of the food and wine would have been presented to idols before being served at the table.
- Daniel 1:15 Lit fat of flesh.
- Daniel 1:21 Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire, ruled from 559-529 b.c. He conquered the Median (549 b.c.), the Lydian (546 b.c.), and the Neo-Babylonian (539 b.c.) kingdoms and formed the greatest empire the world had ever known. He returned a remnant of the Jewish population from Babylon to Jerusalem along with an edict to rebuild the temple.
New Living Translation
Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s Court
1 During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah,[a] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia[b] and placed them in the treasure-house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. 4 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.[c]” 5 The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.
6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:
Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego.
8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”
11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
18 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.
21 Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.[d]