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

The King’s Dream

Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar [a](A)had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his (B)sleep [b]left him. Then the king [c]gave orders to call in the (C)soothsayer priests, the conjurers, the sorcerers, and the [d]Chaldeans, to [e]tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. The king said to them, “I [f](D)had a dream, and my spirit [g]is anxious to [h]understand the dream.”

Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in [i](E)Aramaic: “(F)O king, live forever! (G)Tell the dream to your servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” The king replied to the Chaldeans, “The command [j]from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be [k](H)torn limb from limb and your houses will be turned into a rubbish heap. But if you declare the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me (I)gifts and a reward and great honor; therefore declare to me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time and said, “Let the king (J)tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” The king replied, “I know for certain that you are trying to buy time, because you have perceived that the command [l]from me is firm, that if you do not make the dream known to me, there is only (K)one [m]decree for you. For you have agreed together to speak lying and corrupt [n]words before me until the [o]situation is changed; therefore tell me the dream, so that I may (L)know that you can declare to me its interpretation.” 10 The Chaldeans answered [p]the king and said, “There is no person on earth who could declare the matter [q]to the king, because no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any (M)soothsayer priest, sorcerer, or Chaldean. 11 Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it [r]to the king except (N)gods, whose (O)dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.”

12 Because of this, the king became (P)angry and extremely furious, and he gave orders to kill all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the [s]decree was issued that the wise men be killed; and they looked for (Q)Daniel and his friends, to [t]kill them.

14 Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to (R)Arioch, the captain of the king’s [u]bodyguard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; 15 he said to Arioch, the king’s officer, “For what reason is the decree from the king so harsh?” Then Arioch informed Daniel of the matter. 16 So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him a grace period, so that he might declare the interpretation to the king.

17 Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, (S)Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, 18 so that they might (T)request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his friends would not be (U)killed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

The Secret Is Revealed to Daniel

19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night (V)vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said,

“May the name of God be (W)blessed forever and ever,
For (X)wisdom and power belong to Him.
21 It is He who (Y)changes the times and the periods;
He (Z)removes kings and appoints kings;
He gives (AA)wisdom to wise men,
And knowledge to [v]people of understanding.
22 It is He who (AB)reveals the profound and hidden things;
(AC)He knows what is in the darkness,
And the (AD)light dwells with Him.
23 To You, (AE)God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me (AF)wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we (AG)requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

24 Thereupon, Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to kill the wise men of Babylon; he went and said this to him: “(AH)Do not kill the wise men of Babylon! Take me [w]into the king’s presence, and I will declare the interpretation to the king.”

25 Then Arioch hurriedly (AI)brought Daniel [x]into the king’s presence and spoke to him as follows: “I have found a man among the [y](AJ)exiles from Judah who can make the interpretation known to the king!” 26 The king said to Daniel, whose name was (AK)Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered before the king and said, “As for the secret about which the king has inquired, neither (AL)wise men, sorcerers, soothsayer priests, nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. 28 However, there is a (AM)God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the [z](AN)latter days. This was your dream and the (AO)visions [aa]in your mind while on your bed. 29 As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts [ab]turned to what would take place [ac]in the future; and (AP)He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will take place. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me [ad]for any (AQ)wisdom [ae]residing in me more than in any other living person, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the (AR)thoughts of your [af]mind.

The King’s Dream

31 “You, O king, were watching and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and [ag]of extraordinary radiance, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was [ah](AS)awesome. 32 The (AT)head of that statue was made of fine gold, its chest and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, and its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You [ai]continued watching until a (AU)stone was broken off (AV)without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and (AW)crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed to pieces [aj]all at the same time, and they were (AX)like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that (AY)not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great (AZ)mountain and filled the entire earth.

The Interpretation—Babylon the First Kingdom

36 “This was the dream; and now we will tell (BA)its interpretation before the king. 37 You, O king, are the (BB)king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the [ak]kingdom, the (BC)power, the strength, and the honor; 38 and wherever the sons of mankind live, or the (BD)animals of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has handed them over to you and has made you ruler over them all. You are the head of gold.

Medo-Persia and Greece

39 And after you another kingdom will arise inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.


40 Then there will be a (BE)fourth kingdom as strong as iron; just as iron smashes and crushes everything, so, like iron that crushes, it will smash and crush all these things. 41 And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have within it some of the toughness of iron, since you saw the iron mixed with [al]common clay. 42 And just as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong, and part of it will be fragile. 43 In that you saw the iron mixed with [am]common clay, they will combine with one another [an]in [ao]their descendants; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not combine with pottery.

The Divine Kingdom

44 And in the days of those kings the (BF)God of heaven will (BG)set up a (BH)kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be [ap]left for another people; it will (BI)crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 45 Just as you saw that a (BJ)stone was broken off from the mountain without hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the (BK)great God has made known to the king what (BL)will take place [aq]in the future; so the dream is certain and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

Daniel Promoted

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and paid (BM)humble respect to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and (BN)incense. 47 The king responded to Daniel and said, “(BO)Your God truly is a (BP)God of gods and a Lord of kings and a (BQ)revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret.” 48 Then the king [ar](BR)promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the entire (BS)province of Babylon, and chief [as]prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel made a request of the king, and he (BT)appointed (BU)Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s [at](BV)court.


  1. Daniel 2:1 Lit dreamed dreams
  2. Daniel 2:1 Lit was gone upon him
  3. Daniel 2:2 Lit said to call
  4. Daniel 2:2 Probably master astrologers, diviners, etc., and so throughout the ch
  5. Daniel 2:2 Lit explain to
  6. Daniel 2:3 Lit dreamed
  7. Daniel 2:3 Lit was troubled
  8. Daniel 2:3 Lit know
  9. Daniel 2:4 The text is in Aramaic from here through 7:28
  10. Daniel 2:5 Another reading is is issued by me
  11. Daniel 2:5 Lit turned into limbs
  12. Daniel 2:8 See note 1 v 5
  13. Daniel 2:9 Or verdict
  14. Daniel 2:9 Lit word
  15. Daniel 2:9 Lit time
  16. Daniel 2:10 Lit before the
  17. Daniel 2:10 Lit of
  18. Daniel 2:11 Lit before
  19. Daniel 2:13 Or law
  20. Daniel 2:13 Lit be killed
  21. Daniel 2:14 Or executioners
  22. Daniel 2:21 Lit knowers of
  23. Daniel 2:24 Lit in before the king
  24. Daniel 2:25 Lit in before the king
  25. Daniel 2:25 Lit sons of the exile of
  26. Daniel 2:28 Lit end of the days
  27. Daniel 2:28 Lit of your head
  28. Daniel 2:29 Lit came up
  29. Daniel 2:29 Lit after this
  30. Daniel 2:30 Or through
  31. Daniel 2:30 Lit which is
  32. Daniel 2:30 Lit heart
  33. Daniel 2:31 Lit its radiance was extraordinary
  34. Daniel 2:31 Or dreadful
  35. Daniel 2:34 Lit were
  36. Daniel 2:35 Lit as one
  37. Daniel 2:37 Or sovereignty
  38. Daniel 2:41 Lit wet clay
  39. Daniel 2:43 Lit wet clay
  40. Daniel 2:43 Or with
  41. Daniel 2:43 Lit the seed of men
  42. Daniel 2:44 Or passed on to
  43. Daniel 2:45 Lit after this
  44. Daniel 2:48 Lit made Daniel great
  45. Daniel 2:48 Lit of the prefects
  46. Daniel 2:49 Lit gate

The King’s Golden Image

Nebuchadnezzar the king made a (A)statue of gold, the height of which was [a]sixty cubits, and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the (B)province of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar the king also sent word to assemble the (C)satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the chief treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the administrators of the provinces to come to the dedication of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the chief treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the administrators of the provinces were assembled for the dedication of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the herald loudly proclaimed: “To you [b]the command is given, you (D)peoples, nations, and populations of all [c]languages, that at the moment you (E)hear the sound of the horn, flute, [d]lyre, [e]trigon, [f]psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments, you are to fall down and worship the golden statue that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be (F)thrown into the middle of a (G)furnace of blazing fire.” Therefore as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, [g]lyre, trigon, psaltery, [h]bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments, all the peoples, nations, and populations of all [i]languages fell down and worshiped the golden statue that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

Worship of the Image Refused

For this reason at that time certain (H)Chaldeans came forward and [j](I)brought charges against the Jews. They began to speak and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king: “(J)O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have (K)made a decree that every person who hears the sound of the horn, flute, [k]lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments, is to (L)fall down and worship the golden statue. 11 But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into the middle of a furnace of blazing fire. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have (M)appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods, nor do they worship the golden statue which you have set up.”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in (N)rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar began speaking and said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, that you do not serve (O)my gods, nor worship the golden statue that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready, (P)at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, [l]lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe, and all kinds of musical instruments, to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will [m]immediately be (Q)thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and (R)what god is there who can rescue you from my hands?”

16 (S)Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we are not in need of an answer to give you concerning this matter. 17 If it be so, our (T)God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire; [n]and (U)He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 (V)But even if He does not, (W)let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods nor worship the golden statue that you have set up.”

Daniel’s Friends Protected

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with (X)wrath, and his facial expression was changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. He answered [o]by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in order to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 Then these men were tied up in their (Y)trousers, their [p]coats, their caps, and their other clothes, and were thrown into the middle of the furnace of blazing fire. 22 For this reason, because the king’s [q]command was (Z)harsh and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. 23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, (AA)fell into the middle of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up quickly; he said to his counselors, “Was it not three men that we threw bound into the middle of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Absolutely, O king.” 25 He responded, “Look! I see four men untied and (AB)walking about in the middle of the fire [r]unharmed, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the (AC)gods!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the (AD)Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (AE)came out of the middle of the fire. 27 The (AF)satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the (AG)fire had no [s]effect on [t]the bodies of these men, nor was the hair of their heads singed, nor were their [u](AH)trousers [v]damaged, nor had even the smell of fire touched them.

28 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the (AI)God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who has (AJ)sent His angel and rescued His servants who put their (AK)trust in Him, [w]violating the king’s command, and surrendered their bodies (AL)rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I (AM)make a decree that any people, nation, or population of any language that speaks anything offensive against the God of (AN)Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their (AO)houses made a rubbish heap, because there is (AP)no other god who is able to save in this way.” 30 Then the king (AQ)made Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego prosperous in the province of Babylon.


  1. Daniel 3:1 About 90 ft. high and 9 ft. wide or 27 m and 2.7 m
  2. Daniel 3:4 Lit they command
  3. Daniel 3:4 Lit tongues
  4. Daniel 3:5 Or zither
  5. Daniel 3:5 I.e., triangular lyre
  6. Daniel 3:5 Or a type of harp
  7. Daniel 3:7 See notes v 5
  8. Daniel 3:7 MT omits bagpipe
  9. Daniel 3:7 Lit tongues
  10. Daniel 3:8 Lit ate the pieces of
  11. Daniel 3:10 See notes v 5
  12. Daniel 3:15 See notes 1, 2, 3 v 5
  13. Daniel 3:15 Or in the same hour
  14. Daniel 3:17 Or then
  15. Daniel 3:19 Lit and ordered to
  16. Daniel 3:21 Or cloaks
  17. Daniel 3:22 Lit word
  18. Daniel 3:25 Lit there is no injury in them
  19. Daniel 3:27 Lit power over
  20. Daniel 3:27 Lit their
  21. Daniel 3:27 Or coats
  22. Daniel 3:27 Lit changed
  23. Daniel 3:28 Lit and changed the king’s word

Bible Gateway Recommends