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Daniel 1 New King James Version (NKJV)

Daniel and His Friends Obey God

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of [a]the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men 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 whom they might teach the language and [b]literature of the Chaldeans. 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 serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself 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. Now 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.

17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

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 they served before the king. 20 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 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.


  1. Daniel 1:2 The temple
  2. Daniel 1:4 Lit. writing or book
  3. Daniel 1:9 kindness
  4. Daniel 1:11 Or Melzar
  5. Daniel 1:16 Or Melzar
  6. Daniel 1:19 Lit. talked with them
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Daniel 1 International Standard Version (ISV)

Hostages of the Babylonian Captivity

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. Within a week, the Lord handed King Jehoiakim of Judah over to him, along with valuable objects from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar[a] brought them to the temple of his god in the land of Shinar[b] and stored them[c] in its treasure house.[d]

Later, the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief officer,[e] to bring in some Israelis of royal and noble descent. They were to be young men without physical defect, handsome in appearance, skilled in all wisdom, quick to learn, prudent in how they used knowledge, and capable of serving in the king’s palace. They were to learn the literature and language of the Chaldeans.[f]

The king assigned them fine food and choice wine on a daily basis, ordering them to be trained for three years, at the end of which time they would enter the king’s service.[g] Included among the people of Judah were Daniel,[h] Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The chief officer assigned the name “Belteshazzar” to Daniel, the name “Shadrach” to Hananiah, the name “Meshach” to Mishael, and the name “Abednego” to Azariah.

Daniel Chooses God’s Standard

Daniel determined within himself not to become defiled by the king’s menu of rich foods or by the king’s wine, so he requested permission[i] from the chief officer not to defile himself. God granted to Daniel grace and compassion on the part of the chief officer. 10 The chief officer told Daniel, “I fear his majesty the king, who has determined what you eat and drink. If he notices that your faces are more pale than the other[j] young men in your group, I will forfeit my head to the king.”

11 But Daniel told the guard whom the chief officer had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days and let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare how we[k] look with the young men who ate the king’s rich food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you observe.”

14 So he listened to what Daniel said[l] and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days their appearance was better and their faces were well-nourished[m] compared to the young men who ate the king’s rich food. 16 So the guard took away their rich food and wine,[n] giving them vegetables. 17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge, aptitude for learning, and wisdom. Daniel also could understand all kinds of visions and dreams.

18 Then at the end of the training period[o] that the king had established, the chief officer brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 When the king spoke to them, none of them compared to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah as they stood before the king. 20 In every matter of wisdom or understanding that the king discussed with[p] them, he found them ten times superior to all the astrologers and enchanters[q] in his entire palace.

21 So Daniel remained there in service[r] until the first year of King Cyrus.[s]


  1. Daniel 1:2 Lit. He
  2. Daniel 1:2 I.e. Babylon
  3. Daniel 1:2 Lit. the valuable objects
  4. Daniel 1:2 Lit. in the treasure house of his god
  5. Daniel 1:3 Lit. eunuch; i.e. an overseer in the king’s court; and so throughout the chapter
  6. Daniel 1:4 I.e. wise men and royal counselors from Mesopotamia who spoke the Babylonian Akkadian language and Aramaic; or magi-astrologers; and so throughout the book; cf. Jer. 5:15, Matt 2:1
  7. Daniel 1:5 Lit. would stand before the king
  8. Daniel 1:6 The Heb. name Daniel means God is my judge
  9. Daniel 1:8 The Heb. lacks permission
  10. Daniel 1:10 The Heb. lacks other
  11. Daniel 1:13 Lit. they
  12. Daniel 1:14 Lit. listened according to this word
  13. Daniel 1:15 Lit. were fatter of flesh
  14. Daniel 1:16 Lit. wine of their drinks
  15. Daniel 1:18 Lit. the days
  16. Daniel 1:20 Lit. king sought from
  17. Daniel 1:20 Or occult practitioners
  18. Daniel 1:21 The Heb. lacks in service
  19. Daniel 1:21 I.e. until the fall of Babylon as a world empire
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

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