In the third year of the reign of Yehoiakim Melech Yehudah came Nevuchadnetzar king of Babylon unto Yerushalayim, and besieged it.
And Hashem gave Yehoiakim Melech Yehudah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the Beis HaElohim; which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his g-d; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his g-d.
And the king spoke unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the Bnei Yisroel, and of the king’s zera (seed), and of the princes,
Yeladim in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in all chochmah (wisdom), and cunning in da’as (knowledge), and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the heikhal hamelech (king’s palace), and whom they might teach the sefer and lashon of the Kasdim (Chaldeans).
And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s food, and of the yayin which he drank, so nourishing them shanim shalosh (three years), that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
Now among these were of the Bnei Yehudah, Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah;
Unto whom the chief of the eunuchs gave names; for he gave unto Daniel the name of Beltshatzar; and to Chananyah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azaryah, of Abednego.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the yayin which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Now G-d had brought Daniel into chesed and sympathy with the chief of the eunuchs.
And the chief of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear adoni hamelech, who hath appointed your meat and your drink; for why should he see your faces worse looking than the yeladim which are of your age? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
Then said Daniel to the steward, whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah,
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, yamim asarim (ten days); and let them give us vegetables to eat, and mayim (water) to drink.
Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the yeladim that eat of the portion of the king’s meat, and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
So he consented to them in this matter, and tested them yamim asarim (ten days).
And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the yeladim which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
Thus the steward took away the portion of their meat, and the yayin that they should drink; and gave them vegetables.
As for these four yeladim, G-d gave them knowledge and skill in all sefer and chochmah, and Daniel had understanding in all chazon (visions) and chalomot (dreams).
Now at the end of the days that the king had said he would bring them in, then the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nevuchadnetzar.
And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah; therefore stood they before the king.
And in all matters of chochmah and binah that the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
And Daniel continued even unto the first year of King Koresh (Cyrus).