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Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s Court

During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah,[a] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 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.

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. “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] 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.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 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.

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Footnotes

  1. 1:1 This event occurred in 605 B.c., during the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign (according to the calendar system in which the new year begins in the spring).
  2. 1:2 Hebrew the land of Shinar.
  3. 1:4 Or of the Chaldeans.

10 During Jehoiachin’s reign, the officers of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up against Jerusalem and besieged it. 11 Nebuchadnezzar himself arrived at the city during the siege. 12 Then King Jehoiachin, along with the queen mother, his advisers, his commanders, and his officials, surrendered to the Babylonians.

In the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the Lord had said beforehand, Nebuchadnezzar carried away all the treasures from the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace. He stripped away[a] all the gold objects that King Solomon of Israel had placed in the Temple. 14 King Nebuchadnezzar took all of Jerusalem captive, including all the commanders and the best of the soldiers, craftsmen, and artisans—10,000 in all. Only the poorest people were left in the land.

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Footnotes

  1. 24:13 Or He cut apart.

25 So on January 15,[a] during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign.

By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign,[b] the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. Then a section of the city wall was broken down. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians,[c] the soldiers waited for nightfall and escaped[d] through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley.[e]

But the Babylonian[f] troops chased the king and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.

The Temple Destroyed

On August 14 of that year,[g] which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings[h] in the city. 10 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. 11 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. 12 But the captain of the guard allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields.

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Footnotes

  1. 25:1 Hebrew on the tenth day of the tenth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. A number of events in 2 Kings can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Babylonian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This day was January 15, 588 B.c.
  2. 25:3 Hebrew By the ninth day of the [fourth] month [in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign] (compare Jer 39:2; 52:6 and the notes there). This day was July 18, 586 B.c.; also see note on 25:1.
  3. 25:4a Or the Chaldeans; also in 25:13, 25, 26.
  4. 25:4b As in Greek version (see also Jer 39:4; 52:7); Hebrew lacks escaped.
  5. 25:4c Hebrew the Arabah.
  6. 25:5 Or Chaldean; also in 25:10, 24.
  7. 25:8 Hebrew On the seventh day of the fifth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was August 14, 586 B.c.; also see note on 25:1.
  8. 25:9 Or destroyed the houses of all the important people.

13 The army consisted of 307,500 men, all elite troops. They were prepared to assist the king against any enemy.

14 Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling stones. 15 And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones[a] from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful.

Uzziah’s Sin and Punishment

16 But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. 17 Azariah the high priest went in after him with eighty other priests of the Lord, all brave men. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is the work of the priests alone, the descendants of Aaron who are set apart for this work. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!”

19 Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. But as he was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple, leprosy[b] suddenly broke out on his forehead.

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Footnotes

  1. 26:15 Or to shoot arrows and hurl large stones.
  2. 26:19 Or a contagious skin disease. The Hebrew word used here and throughout this passage can describe various skin diseases.