1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and besieged it.
2The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God, and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3The king spoke to Ashpenaz the chief of his eunuchs, that he should bring some of the children of Israel, both from the royal seed and from the nobility,
4youths in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, and skillful in all wisdom, and endowed with knowledge, and quick to understand, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the language and literature of the Chaldeans.
5The king appointed for them a daily portion from the king’s choice food and from the wine that he drank, and appointed that they were to be nourished three years, that at the end of them they were to stand before the king.
6Now among these were, of the descendants of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
7The captain of the eunuchs gave names to them: to Daniel he gave the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
8But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food, nor with the wine that he drank; so he asked permission of the captain of the eunuchs not to defile himself.
9Now God granted Daniel kindness and compassion from the captain of the eunuchs.
10The captain of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths who are of your own age? So would you endanger my head with the king.
11So then Daniel said to the overseer whom the captain of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
12“Test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us vegetables to eat, and water to drink.
13Then let our appearance be looked at in your presence, and the appearance of the youths who eat of the king’s choice food; and as you see, deal with your servants.”
14So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days.
15At the end of ten days they were better in their appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate of the king’s choice food.
16So the overseer took away their choice food, and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
17Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in every kind of literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
18At the end of the days that the king had appointed for bringing them in, the captain of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19The king talked with them, and among all of them no one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they stood before the king.
20In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters who were in all his realm.
21Daniel continued even to the first year of king Cyrus.