Daniel 1

Israel's enemies take Daniel and his friends to Babylon

1 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem with his army. He put his soldiers around the city to attack it. This happened when Jehoiakim had been king of Judah for nearly three years. 2 The Lord God gave Nebuchadnezzar power over King Jehoiakim. Nebuchadnezzar took away some special things that belonged in God's temple in Jerusalem. He took those things back to Babylon. He put them among the valuable things in the temple of his own god.

3 Nebuchadnezzar had an officer who was called Ashpenaz. Ashpenaz had authority over the king's other officers. One day, Nebuchadnezzar said to Ashpenaz, ‘Bring some of the Israelite men to me. Choose some men from the king of Judah's family, and choose some men from the other important Israelite families.’ 4 Nebuchadnezzar wanted young men who were strong and handsome. They must be clever so that they could learn and understand things quickly. They must be good enough to become King Nebuchadnezzar's servants. They would learn the language of Babylon, and they would read its books.

5 Every day, King Nebuchadnezzar sent special food for these men to eat. It was the same food and wine that he had for himself. His officers would teach the young men for three years. After that, the young men would be ready to serve the king.

6 Some of the young men from Judah that Ashpenaz chose were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The king's officer gave new names to them. Daniel was called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego.

Daniel refuses to eat the king's food

8 But Daniel decided that God did not want him to eat the king's food and wine. He knew that it might be against God's rules. So he asked the king's special officer that he might not have to eat the king's food. 9 God had already caused the officer to like Daniel and to be kind to him. 10 But the officer said to Daniel, ‘I am afraid of the king, who is my master. He has chosen the food that he wants you to eat. If you eat different food, you might become weaker than the other young men. If the king sees that, he might kill me!’

11 The officer had chosen a guard to watch Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So Daniel spoke to this man. 12 He said, ‘Please sir, watch us for ten days. Give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 After ten days, see what our faces and our bodies look like. Also see what the other young men who eat the king's food look like. When you look at them and you look at us, you can decide what to do with us.’

14 The guard agreed to what they said. He watched them for ten days. 15 After ten days, their faces seemed more handsome than the young men who ate the king's food. Their bodies also seemed to be fatter. 16 So the guard no longer gave them the king's food and wine to eat. He gave vegetables and water to them instead.

God makes Daniel and his friends wise

17 God helped these four young men to become clever and wise. While they studied, he helped them to learn from many different books. They could understand many things. Daniel could also understand the meaning of all kinds of dreams.

18 King Nebuchadnezzar had said that the young men must study for three years. After that time finished, the king's officer took them to the king. 19 The king spoke 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 Whenever the king needed help to understand something important, these men showed how wise they were. They knew ten times more than any of the king's other wise men. Those men used magic or they studied the stars to know what would happen in the future. They came from all the different countries that Nebuchadnezzar ruled.

1:19Nebuchadnezzar was clever. He was able to ask the young men questions to see how wise they were.

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