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1 In the third year of the reign of Y’hoyakim king of Y’hudah, N’vukhadnetzar king of Bavel came to Yerushalayim and laid siege to it; 2 and Adonai handed Y’hoyakim king of Y’hudah over to him, along with some of the articles from the house of God. He took them to the land of Shin‘ar, to the house of his god and placed the articles in the storehouse of his god.
3 The king ordered Ashp’naz, the eunuch serving as his chief officer, to bring into the palace from the people of Isra’el some of royal or noble descent. 4 They were to be boys without physical defect, handsome in appearance, versed in all kinds of wisdom, quick to learn, discerning, and having the capacity to serve in the king’s palace; and he was to teach them the language and literature of the Kasdim. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of his own food and the wine he drank, and they were to be cared for in this way for three years. At the end of this time they were to become the king’s attendants.
6 Among these, from the people of Y’hudah, were Dani’el, Hananyah, Misha’el and ‘Azaryah. 7 The chief officer gave them other names — to Dani’el he gave the name Belt’shatzar; to Hananyah, Shadrakh; to Misha’el, Meishakh; and to ‘Azaryah, ‘Aved-N’go.
8 But Dani’el resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or the wine he drank, so he asked the chief officer to be excused from defiling himself. 9 God caused the chief officer to be kind and sympathetic toward Dani’el; 10 however, the chief officer said to Dani’el, “I’m afraid of my lord the king. After all, he has given you an allowance of food and drink; so if he were to see you boys looking worse than the others your age, you would be putting my own head in danger from the king.”
11 Then Dani’el said to the guard whom the chief officer had put in charge of Dani’el, Hananyah, Misha’el and ‘Azaryah, 12 “Please! Try an experiment on your servants — for ten days have them give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then see how we look, and compare us with how the boys who eat the king’s food look; and deal with your servants according to what you see.” 14 He agreed to do what they had asked and gave them a ten-day test. 15 At the end of ten days they looked better and more robust than all the boys who were eating the king’s food. 16 So the guard took away their food and the wine they were supposed to drink, and gave them vegetables.
17 To these four boys God had given knowledge and skill in every aspect of learning and wisdom; moreover, Dani’el could understand all kinds of visions and dreams.
18 When the time the king had set for them to be presented came, the chief officer presented them to N’vukhadnetzar; 19 and when the king spoke with them, none was found among all of them to compare with Dani’el, Hananyah, Misha’el and ‘Azaryah. So they entered the king’s service; 20 and in all matters requiring wisdom and understanding, whenever the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and exorcists in his entire kingdom.
21 So Dani’el remained there until the first year of King Koresh.
2 In the second year of the reign of N’vukhadnetzar, N’vukhadnetzar became so troubled by a series of dreams he had that he couldn’t sleep. 2 So the king ordered the magicians, exorcists, sorcerers and astrologers summoned to interpret the king’s dreams to him. They came and stood in his presence. 3 The king said to them, “I had a dream which will keep troubling my spirit until I know what it means.”
4 The astrologers spoke to the king in Aramaic: “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.” 5 The king answered the astrologers, “Here is what I have decided: if you don’t tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses reduced to rubble. 6 But if you do state the dream and its interpretation, I will give you presents, rewards and great honor. Just tell me the dream and its interpretation.” 7 A second time they said, “Let his majesty tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.” 8 The king replied, “I see you’re only trying to gain time, because you see that I’ve decided 9 that if you don’t tell me the dream, there is only one sentence passed on all of you. So you’ve conspired to mislead me with lies in the hope that time will change things. Now, just tell me the dream! That will convince me that you will also be able to give me its correct interpretation.” 10 The astrologers answered the king, “Your majesty, nobody in the world can do this! Never has a king, no matter how great and powerful, asked such a thing of any magician or exorcist or astrologer. 11 The king is asking a difficult thing; nobody but the gods could tell this to your majesty, and they don’t live with mere mortals.” 12 At this the king flew into a rage and ordered all the sages of Bavel put to death. 13 When the decree was published that the sages were to be slain, they sought Dani’el and his companions in order to have them put to death.
14 Then, choosing his words carefully, Dani’el consulted Aryokh, captain of the royal guard, who had already gone out to kill the sages of Bavel. 15 He said to Aryokh, “Since you are the king’s official, let me ask: why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” Aryokh explained the matter to Dani’el. 16 Then Dani’el went in and asked the king to give him time to tell the king the interpretation.
17 Dani’el went home and made the matter known to Hananyah, Misha’el and ‘Azaryah, his companions; 18 so that they could ask the God of heaven for mercy concerning this secret, and thus save Dani’el and his companions from dying along with the other sages of Bavel. 19 Then the secret was revealed to Dani’el in a vision at night, and Dani’el blessed the God of heaven 20 in these words:
“Blessed be the name of God
from eternity past to eternity future!
For wisdom and power are his alone;
21 he brings the changes of seasons and times;
he installs and deposes kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those with discernment.
22 He reveals deep and secret things;
he knows what lies in the darkness;
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
for giving me wisdom and power,
and revealing to me what we wanted from you,
for giving us the answer for the king.”
8 Finally, all of you, be one in mind and feeling; love as brothers; and be compassionate and humble-minded, 9 not repaying evil with evil or insult with insult, but, on the contrary, with blessing. For it is to this that you have been called, so that you may receive a blessing. 10 For
“Whoever wants to love life and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit,
11 turn from evil and do good,
seek peace and chase after it.
12 For Adonai keeps his eyes on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayers;
but the face of Adonai is against
those who do evil things.”[a]
13 For who will hurt you if you become zealots for what is good? 14 But even if you do suffer for being righteous, you are blessed! Moreover, don’t fear what they fear or be disturbed, 15 but treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts;[b] while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you — yet with humility and fear, 16 keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behavior flowing from your union with the Messiah may be put to shame. 17 For if God has in fact willed that you should suffer, it is better that you suffer for doing what is good than for doing what is evil.
18 For the Messiah himself died for sins, once and for all, a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but brought to life by the Spirit; 19 and in this form he went and made a proclamation to the imprisoned spirits, 20 to those who were disobedient long ago, in the days of Noach, when God waited patiently during the building of the ark, in which a few people — to be specific, eight — were delivered by means of water. 21 This also prefigures what delivers us now, the water of immersion, which is not the removal of dirt from the body, but one’s pledge to keep a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah. 22 He has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God,[c] with angels, authorities and powers subject to him.
4 Therefore, since the Messiah suffered physically, you too are to arm yourselves with the same attitude. For whoever has suffered physically is finished with sin, 2 with the result that he lives the rest of his earthly life no longer controlled by human desires, but by God’s will. 3 For you have spent enough time already living the way the pagans want you to live — in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, wild parties and forbidden idol-worship. 4 They think it strange that you don’t plunge with them into the same flood of dissoluteness, and so they heap insults on you. 5 But they will have to give an account to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 This is why he was proclaimed to those who have died; it was so that, although physically they would receive the judgment common to all humanity, they might live by the Spirit in the way that God has provided.
65 You have treated your servant well,
Adonai, in keeping with your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
because I trust in your mitzvot.
67 Before I was humbled, I used to go astray;
but now I observe your word.
68 You are good, and you do good;
teach me your laws.
69 The arrogant are slandering me,
but I will wholeheartedly keep your precepts.
70 Their hearts are as thick as fat,
but I take delight in your Torah.
71 It is for my good that I have been humbled;
it was so that I would learn your laws.
72 The Torah you have spoken means more to me
than a fortune in gold and silver.
73 Your hands made and formed me;
give me understanding, so I can learn your mitzvot.
74 Those who fear you rejoice at the sight of me,
because I put my hope in your word.
75 I know, Adonai, that your rulings are righteous,
that even when you humble me you are faithful.
76 Let your grace comfort me,
in keeping with your promise to your servant.
77 Show me pity, and I will live,
for your Torah is my delight.
78 Let the proud be ashamed, because they wrong me with lies;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
along with those who know your instruction.
80 Let my heart be pure in your laws,
so that I won’t be put to shame.
14 Happy the person who is never without fear,
but he who hardens his heart will fall into misfortune.