In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it.
The Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, to the house of his god, and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.
The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility--
young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king's palace-- and to teach them the Chaldean language and literature.
The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to serve in the king's court.
Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
The chief official gave them [different] names: to Daniel, he gave the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king's food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself.
God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official,
yet he said to Daniel, "My lord the king assigned your food and drink. I'm afraid [of what would happen] if he saw your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age. You would endanger my life with the king."
So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief official had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
"Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then examine our appearance and the appearance of the young men who are eating the king's food, and deal with your servants based on what you see."
He agreed with them in this matter and tested them for 10 days.
At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king's food.
So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.
God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.
At the end of the time that the king had said to present them, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.
The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king's court.
In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom.
Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.