Daniel’s Captivity in Babylon
1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim # 2Kg 24:1-2; 2Ch 36:5-6 king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar # Or Nebuchadrezzar # Jr 25:1; 52:12,28-30 king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. 2The Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. # 2Kg 24:13; 2Ch 36:7-10; Ezr 5:14; Jr 27:19-22; Dn 5:2 Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, # Lit Shinar # Gn 10:10; 11:2; Is 11:11; Zch 5:11 to the house of his god, # Or gods and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.
3The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, # Or his eunuchs to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family # 2Kg 20:18; 24:15; Is 39:7; Dn 1:9 and from the nobility — 4young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, # Dn 9:22 knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace # Is 39:7 — and to teach them the Chaldean language # Jr 5:15 and literature. 5The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. # 2Kg 25:30; Dn 11:26 They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to serve in the king’s court. # Lit to stand before the king # Gn 41:46; 1Sm 16:22 6Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, # Ezk 14:14,20; 28:3 Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7The chief official gave them other names: he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah. # 2Kg 23:34; 24:17; Dn 4:8,19; 5:12; 10:1
Faithfulness in Babylon
8Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food # Pr 23:1-2 or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself. # Lv 3:17; 11:47; Ps 141:4; Ezk 4:13; Hs 9:3; Ac 10:11-15 9God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official, # Gn 39:21; 1Kg 8:50; Jb 5:15; Ps 106:46; Pr 16:7; Ac 7:10 10yet 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 # Lit would make my head guilty with the king.”
11So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief official had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then 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.” 14He agreed with them about this and tested them for 10 days. 15At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier # Lit fatter of flesh than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. # Ex 23:25 16So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.
17God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding # Jb 32:8; Ac 7:22; Jms 1:5 in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams # 1Kg 3:10-12; Dn 2:19,30; 4:18-19; 7:1 of every kind. 18At the end of the time that the king had said to present them, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. # Gn 41:37-39 So they began to serve in the king’s court. 20In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times # Lit hands # Gn 31:7; Nm 14:22; Jb 19:3 better than all the diviner-priests and mediums # Pr 3:13-18; Dn 5:11-12 in his entire kingdom. 21Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus. # Ezr 1:1-2; Is 45:1; Dn 6:28; 10:1