In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and attacked it.
The Lord handed King Jehoiakim of Judah and some utensils from God's temple over to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar took the utensils to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put them in the temple treasury.
The king told Ashpenaz, the chief-of-staff, to bring some of the Israelites, the royal family, and the nobility.
They were to be young men who were healthy, good-looking, knowledgeable in all subjects, well-informed, intelligent, and able to serve in the king's palace. They were to be taught the language and literature of the Babylonians.
The king arranged for them to get a daily allowance of the king's rich food and wine. They were to be trained for three years. After that, they were to serve the king.
Among these young men were some Judeans: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
The chief-of-staff gave them [Babylonian] names: To Daniel he gave the name Belteshazzar. To Hananiah he gave the name Shadrach. To Mishael he gave the name Meshach. And to Azariah he gave the name Abednego.
Daniel made up his mind not to harm himself by eating the king's rich food and drinking the king's wine. So he asked the chief-of-staff for permission not to harm himself in this way.
God made the chief-of-staff kind and compassionate toward Daniel.
The chief-of-staff told Daniel, "I'm afraid of my master, the king. The king determined what you should eat and drink. If he sees that you look worse than the other young men your age, he would have my head cut off."
The chief-of-staff put a supervisor in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Daniel said to the supervisor,
"Please test us for ten days. Give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then compare us to the young men who are eating the king's rich food. Decide how to treat us on the basis of how we look."
The supervisor listened to them about this matter and tested them for ten days.
After ten days they looked healthier and stronger than the young men who had been eating the king's rich food.
So the supervisor took away the king's rich food and wine and gave them vegetables.
God gave these four men knowledge, wisdom, and the ability to understand all kinds of literature. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams.
At the end of the three-year training period, the chief-of-staff brought all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar.
The king talked to them and found no one like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah among all of them. So these four men served the king.
Whenever the king asked them about things that required wisdom and insight, he found that they knew ten times more than all the magicians and psychics in his whole kingdom.
Daniel served the royal palace until the first year of King Cyrus [of Persia].