1Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar surrounded Jerusalem with his army. This happened during the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah. 2The Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to defeat Jehoiakim king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar took all of the dishes and other things from God’s temple. Nebuchadnezzar carried those things to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar put those things in the temple of his idol gods. 3Then King Nebuchadnezzar gave Ashpenaz an order. (Ashpenaz was the most important leader of all the eunuchs that served the king.) The king told Ashpenaz to bring some of the Jewish men into his house. Nebuchadnezzar wanted Jewish men from important families and from the family of the king of Israel. 4King Nebuchadnezzar wanted only healthy young Jewish men. The king wanted young men that did not have any bruises or scars, or anything wrong with their bodies. The king wanted handsome, smart young men. The king wanted young men that were able to learn things quickly and easily. The king wanted young men that were able to serve in his house. The king told Ashpenaz to teach those young men from Israel the language and writings of the Chaldean people. 5King Nebuchadnezzar gave those young men a certain amount of food and wine every day. That was the same kind of food that the king ate. The king wanted those young men from Israel to be trained for three years. Then after three years, the young men would become servants of the king of Babylon. 6Among those young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These young men were from the family group of Judah. 7Then Ashpenaz gave those young men from Judah Babylonian names. Daniel’s new name was Belteshazzar. Hananiah’s new name was Shadrach. Mishael’s new name was Meshach. And Azariah’s new name was Abednego. 8Daniel did not want to eat the king’s rich food and wine. Daniel did not want to make himself unclean with that food and wine. So he asked Ashpenaz for permission not to make himself unclean in this way. 9God made Ashpenaz want to be good and kind to Daniel. 10But Ashpenaz said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my master, the king. The king ordered me to give you this food and drink. If you don’t eat this food, then you will begin to look weak and sick. You will look worse than other young men your age. The king will see this, and he will become angry at me. He might cut off my head! And it would be your fault.” 11Then Daniel talked to their guard. Ashpenaz had ordered the guard to watch Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12Daniel said to the guard, “Please give us this test for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then after ten days, compare us with the other young men who eat the king’s food. See for yourself who looks healthier. Then you judge for yourself how you want to treat us. We are your servants.” 14So the guard agreed to test Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah for ten days. 15After ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier than all of the young men that ate the king’s food. 16So the guard continued to take away the king’s special food and wine and to give vegetables to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 17God gave Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. 18The king wanted all the young men to be trained for three years. At the end of that time, Ashpenaz brought all of the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king talked to them. The king found that none of the young men were as good as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So those four young men became the king’s servants. 20Every time the king asked them about something important, they showed much wisdom and understanding. The king found they were ten times better than all the magic men and wise men in his kingdom. 21So Daniel continued to be the king’s servant until the first year that Cyrus was king.