In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 12
The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms. 23
The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families.
They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language.
The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king.
Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah.
The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.