Daniel 1; Daniel 2; Daniel 3

1 It was the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem. His armies surrounded the city and attacked it. Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia. 2 The LORD handed Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, over to him. Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the articles from God's temple. He carried them off to the temple of his god in Babylonia. He put them among the treasures of his god. 3 The king gave Ashpenaz an order. Ashpenaz was the chief of Nebuchadnezzar's court officials. The king told him to bring in some of the Israelites. He wanted nobles and men from the royal family. 4 He was looking for young men who were healthy and handsome. They had to be able to learn anything. They had to be well educated. They had to have the ability to understand new things quickly and easily. The king wanted men who could serve in his palace. Ashpenaz was supposed to teach them the Babylonian language and writings. 5 The king had his servants give them food and wine from his own table. They received a certain amount every day. The young men had to be trained for three years. After that, they could begin to serve the king. 6 Some of the men were from Judah. Their names were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names. He gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar. He gave Hananiah the name Shadrach. He gave Mishael the name Meshach. And he gave Azariah the name Abednego. 8 Daniel decided not to make himself "unclean" by eating the king's food and drinking his wine. So he asked the chief official for a favor. He wanted permission not to make himself "unclean" with the king's food and wine. 9 God had caused the official to be kind and friendly to Daniel. 10 But the official refused to do what Daniel asked for. He said, "I'm afraid of the king. He is my master. He has decided what you and your three friends must eat and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men who are the same age you are? When he sees how you look, he might kill me." 11 So Daniel spoke to one of the guards. The chief official had appointed him over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 12 Daniel said to him, "Please test us for ten days. Give us nothing but vegetables to eat. And give us only water to drink. 13 Then compare us with the young men who eat the king's food. See how we look. After that, do what you want to." 14 So the guard agreed. He tested them for ten days. 15 After the ten days they looked healthy and well fed. In fact, they looked better than any of the young men who ate the king's food. 16 So the guard didn't require Daniel and his friends to eat the special food or drink the wine. He gave them vegetables instead. 17 God gave knowledge and understanding to those four young men. So they understood all kinds of writings and subjects. And Daniel could understand all kinds of visions and dreams. 18 The three years the king had set for their training ended. So the chief official brought them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them. He didn't find anyone equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So they began to serve the king. 20 He asked them for advice in matters that required wisdom and understanding. He always found their answers to be the best. In fact, the men were ten times better than anyone in his kingdom who claimed to get knowledge by using magic. 21 Daniel served in Babylon until the first year Cyrus ruled over Babylonia. Cyrus was king of Persia.
1 In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's rule, he had a dream. His mind was troubled. He couldn't sleep. 2 So the king sent for those who claimed to get knowledge by using magic. He also sent for those who practiced evil magic and those who studied the heavens. He wanted them to tell him what he had dreamed. They came in and stood in front of the king. 3 He said to them, "I had a dream. It troubles me. So I want to know what it means." 4 Then those who studied the heavens answered the king. They spoke in Aramaic. They said, "King Nebuchadnezzar, may you live forever! Tell us what you dreamed. Then we'll explain what it means." 5 The king replied to them, "I have made up my mind. You must tell me what I dreamed. And you must tell me what it means. If you don't, I'll have you cut to pieces. And I'll have your houses turned into piles of trash. 6 "So tell me what I dreamed. Explain it to me. Then I'll give you gifts. I'll reward you. I'll give you great honor. So tell me the dream. And tell me what it means." 7 Once more they replied, "King Nebuchadnezzar, tell us what you dreamed. Then we'll tell you what it means." 8 The king answered, "I know what you are doing. You are trying to gain more time. You realize that I've made up my mind. 9 You must tell me the dream. If you don't, you will pay for it. You have gotten together and made evil plans. You hope things will change. So you are telling me lies. But I want you to tell me what I dreamed. Then I'll know that you can tell me what it means." 10 They answered the king, "There isn't a man on earth who can do what you are asking! No king has ever asked for anything like that. Not even a king as great and mighty as you has asked for it. Those who get knowledge by using magic have never been asked to do what you are asking. And those who study the heavens haven't been asked to do it either. 11 What you are asking is much too hard. No one can tell you what you dreamed except the gods. And they don't live among human beings." 12 That made the king very angry. He ordered that all of the wise men in Babylon be put to death. 13 So the order was given to kill them. Men were sent out to look for Daniel and his friends. They were also supposed to be put to death. 14 Arioch was the commander of the king's guard. He went out to put the wise men of Babylon to death. So Daniel spoke to him wisely and carefully. 15 He asked the king's officer, "Why did Nebuchadnezzar give a terrible order like that?" Then Arioch explained to Daniel what was going on. 16 When Daniel heard that, he went to the king. He told him he would explain the dream to him. But he needed more time. 17 Then Daniel returned to his house. He explained everything to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He asked them to pray that the God of heaven would give him mercy. He wanted God to help him understand the mystery of the king's dream. Then he and his friends wouldn't be killed along with the other wise men in Babylon. 19 During that night, God gave Daniel a vision. He showed him what the mystery was all about. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said, "May God be praised for ever and ever! He is wise and powerful. 21 He changes times and seasons. He sets up kings. He removes them from power. The wisdom of those who are wise comes from him. He gives knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He explains deep and hidden things. He knows what happens in the darkest places. And where he is, everything is light. 23 God of my people, I thank and praise you. You have given me wisdom and power. You have made known to me what we asked you for. You have shown us the king's dream." 24 Then Daniel went to Arioch. The king had appointed him to put the wise men of Babylon to death. Daniel said to him, "Don't kill the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king. I'll tell him what his dream means." 25 So Arioch took Daniel to the king at once. Arioch said, "I have found a man among those you brought here from Judah. He can tell you what your dream means." 26 Nebuchadnezzar spoke to Daniel, who was also called Belteshazzar. The king asked him, "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream? And can you tell me what it means?" 27 Daniel replied, "You have asked us to explain a mystery to you. But no wise man can do that. And those who try to figure things out by using magic can't do it either. 28 "But there is a God in heaven who can explain mysteries. Nebuchadnezzar, he has shown you what is going to happen. Here is what you dreamed. And here are the visions that passed through your mind while you were lying on your bed. 29 "My king, while you were still in bed your mind thought about things that haven't happened yet. The One who explains mysteries showed those things to you. 30 "Now the mystery has been explained to me. But it isn't because I have greater wisdom than anyone else. It's because God wants you to know what the mystery means, my king. He wants you to understand what went through your mind. 31 "King Nebuchadnezzar, you looked up and saw a large statue standing in front of you. It was huge. It shone brightly. And it terrified you. 32 The head of the statue was made out of pure gold. Its chest and arms were made of silver. Its stomach and thighs were bronze. 33 Its legs were made out of iron. And its feet were partly iron and partly baked clay. 34 "While you were watching, a rock was cut out. But human hands didn't do it. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay. It smashed them. 35 Then the iron and clay were broken to pieces. So were the bronze, silver and gold. All of them were broken to pieces at the same time. They became like straw on a threshing floor at harvest time. The wind blew them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain. It filled the whole earth. 36 "That was your dream. Now I will tell you what it means. 37 Nebuchadnezzar, you are the greatest king of all. The God of heaven has given you authority and power. He has given you might and glory. 38 He has put everyone under your control. He has also given you authority over the wild animals and the birds of the air. It doesn't matter where they live. He has made you ruler over all of them. You are that head of gold. 39 "After you, another kingdom will take over. It won't be as powerful as yours. Next, a third kingdom will rule over the whole earth. The bronze part of the statue stands for that kingdom. 40 "Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom. It will be as strong as iron. Iron breaks and smashes everything to pieces. And the fourth kingdom will crush and break all of the others. 41 You saw that the feet and toes were made out of iron and baked clay. And the fourth kingdom will be divided up. But it will still be almost as strong as iron. That's why you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 The toes were partly iron and partly clay. And the fourth kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. 43 You saw the iron mixed with baked clay. And the fourth kingdom will be made up of all kinds of people. They won't hold together any more than iron mixes with clay. 44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom. It will never be destroyed. And no other nation will ever take it over. It will crush all of those other kingdoms. It will bring them to an end. But it will last forever. 45 That's what the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain means. Human hands didn't cut the rock out. It broke the statue to pieces. It smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver and gold. "The great God has shown you what will take place in days to come. The dream is true. And you can trust the meaning I have given you for it." 46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed low in front of Daniel. He wanted to honor him. So he ordered that an offering and incense be offered up to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, "I'm sure your God is the greatest God of all. He is the Lord of kings. He explains mysteries. That's why you were able to explain the mystery of my dream." 48 Then the king put Daniel in a position of authority. He gave him many gifts. He made him ruler over the city of Babylon and the towns around it. He put him in charge of all of its other wise men. 49 The king also did what Daniel asked him to. He appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to help Daniel govern Babylon and the towns around it. Daniel himself remained at the royal court.
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a statue that was covered with gold. It was 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. He set it up on the flatlands of Dura near the city of Babylon. 2 Then the king sent for the royal rulers, high officials and governors. He sent for the advisers, treasurers, judges and court officers. And he sent for all of the other officials of Babylon. He asked them to come to a special gathering to honor the statue he had set up. 3 So the royal rulers, high officials and governors came together. So did the advisers, treasurers, judges and court officers. All of the other officials joined them. They came to honor the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. They stood in front of it. 4 Then a messenger called out loudly, "Listen, you people who come from every nation! Pay attention, you who speak other languages! Here is what the king commands you to do. 5 You will soon hear the sound of horns and flutes. You will hear zithers, lyres, harps and pipes. In fact, you will hear all kinds of music. When you do, you must fall down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 If you don't, you will be thrown into a blazing furnace right away." 7 All of the people heard the sound of the horns and flutes. They heard the zithers, lyres, harps and other musical instruments. As soon as they did, they fell down and worshiped Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue. They had come from every nation and language. 8 At that time some people who studied the heavens came forward. They spoke against the Jews. 9 They said, "King Nebuchadnezzar, may you live forever! 10 You commanded everyone to fall down and worship the gold statue. You told them to do it when they heard the horns, flutes, zithers, lyres, harps, pipes and other musical instruments. 11 If they didn't, they would be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But you have appointed some Jews to help Daniel govern Babylon and the towns around it. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They don't pay any attention to you, King Nebuchadnezzar. They don't serve your gods. And they refuse to worship the gold statue you have set up." 13 Nebuchadnezzar burned with anger. He sent for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So they were brought to him. 14 The king said to them, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is what I heard about you true? Don't you serve my gods? Don't you worship the gold statue I set up? 15 You will hear the horns, flutes, zithers, lyres, harps, pipes and other musical instruments. When you do, fall down and worship the statue I made. If you will, that's very good. But if you won't, you will be thrown at once into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to save you from my powerful hand?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king. They said, "King Nebuchadnezzar, we don't need to talk about this anymore. 17 We might be thrown into the blazing furnace. But the God we serve is able to bring us out of it alive. He will save us from your powerful hand. 18 "But we want you to know this. Even if we knew that our God wouldn't save us, we still wouldn't serve your gods. We wouldn't worship the gold statue you set up." 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar's anger burned against Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The look on his face changed. And he ordered that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 He also gave some of the strongest soldiers in his army a command. He ordered them to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Then he told his men to throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they were tied up. Then they were thrown into the furnace. They were wearing their robes, pants, turbans and other clothes. 22 The king's command was carried out quickly. The furnace was so hot that its flames killed the soldiers who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into it. 23 So the three men were firmly tied up. And they fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet. He was so amazed he asked his advisers, "Didn't we tie three men up? Didn't we throw three men into the fire?" "Yes, we did," they replied. 25 The king said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire. They aren't tied up. And the fire hasn't even harmed them. The fourth man looks like a son of the gods." 26 Then the king approached the opening of the blazing furnace. He shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, come out! You who serve the Most High God, come here!" So they came out of the fire. 27 The royal rulers, high officials, governors and advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire hadn't harmed their bodies. Not one hair on their heads was burned. Their robes weren't burned either. And they didn't even smell like smoke. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "May the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be praised! He has sent his angel and saved his servants. They trusted in him. They refused to obey my command. They were willing to give up their lives. They would rather die than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 "No other god can save people that way. So I'm giving an order. No one from any nation or language can say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If they do, they'll be cut to pieces. And their houses will be turned into piles of trash." 30 Then the king honored Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave them higher positions in the city of Babylon and the towns around it.
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