Israel's enemies take Daniel and his friends to Babylon
1 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem with his army. He put his soldiers round 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.