Daniel 1

Israel's enemies take Daniel and his friends to Babylon

1:1The first part of the book of Daniel is in chapters 1-6. In chapter 1, we read about Daniel and his friends.

1 Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. He came to Jerusalem with his army. Then he caused his soldiers to live round the city. This happened when Jehoiakim had been king of Judah for longer than two years. 2 God caused Nebuchadnezzar to take Jehoiakim, king of Judah. God helped Nebuchadnezzar to take some things that God's servants used in God's house in Jerusalem also. Nebuchadnezzar took those things back to Babylon. He put them among the valuable things in the house of his own god.

3 Nebuchadnezzar said to Ashpenaz, his most important officer, ‘Bring some of the Jews from Israel to me. Choose young men from the king of Israel's family. And choose young men from the other important families in Israel.’ 4-5 Nebuchadnezzar wanted young men who were strong and handsome. The young men must be clever. And they must be able to learn and to understand quickly. These young men would be able to become King Nebuchadnezzar's servants. They must learn the language of Babylon and they must learn from the country's books. King Nebuchadnezzar also sent to them each day some of the same food and wine as he had. After three years, they would then be ready to work for him.

6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who were from Judah, were among these young men. 7 The important officer gave new names to them. He gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel and he called Hananiah, Shadrach. He gave the name Meshach to Mishael and he called Azariah, Abednego.

Daniel refuses to eat the king's food

8 But Daniel thought that God did not want him to eat the king's food and wine. He wanted God to be happy with him. So, he decided that he would not have the food. So, he asked the important officer that he might not have to eat the king's food. 9 God had caused that officer to like Daniel. And so the officer was kind to Daniel. 10 But he spoke to Daniel. ‘I am afraid of the king, who is giving your food and drink to you’, he said. ‘He might see that you are not as strong as the other young men. And then he will kill me.’

11 The officer had chosen a man to rule over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So Daniel spoke to this man. 12 ‘We are your servants. Please watch us for 10 days. Give to us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then look at our faces. Look at us. And also look at the young men who eat the king's food. Then decide what to do with us, your servants.’ 14 So the man agreed and he watched them for 10 days. 15 And after 10 days, their faces seemed more handsome than the young men who ate the king's food. And their bodies were fatter. 16 So the man took away the king's food and wine and he gave only vegetables and water to them.

God makes Daniel and his friends wise

17 God gave clever minds to these 4 young men. While they studied, he helped them to learn from books. And he helped them to understand the books. And Daniel could understand all kinds of dreams too.

1:17It was not easy to obey the real God in Babylon. But God helped these young men to obey him. He also made them very wise.

18 The king had said that they must wait for a certain time. That time finished. Then the important officer brought the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with all the young men. He discovered that there was nobody else like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So they became the king's servants. 20 The king continued to ask them to help him. They helped him to understand everything. And they helped him to do good things. The king's other wise men used every kind of magic to suggest what he might do. These other men came from every country that Nebuchadnezzar ruled. But the answers that Daniel and his friends gave seemed 10 times (10 ×) better than the other men's answers.

1:20Nebuchadnezzar was very clever. He was able to ask the young men questions to see how wise they were.

21 And Daniel lived there until the year when Cyrus became king.