1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god. And he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3 And the king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs that he should bring some of the sons of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the rulers; 4 sons in whom was no blemish, but who were handsome and skillful in all wisdom; and who had knowledge and understanding, even those who were able to stand in the king's palace, and to whom they might teach the writing and the language of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king gave them the portion of a day in its day from the king's food, and the wine which he drank, even to rear them three years, so that at their end they might stand before the king. 6 And among them were four of the sons of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 7 to whom the ruler of the eunuchs gave names. For he called Daniel, Belteshazzar; and Hananiah, Shadrach; and Mishael, Meshach; and Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel laid on his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's food, nor with the wine which he drank. So he asked permission of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 And God had given Daniel kindness and compassion before the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who has chosen your food and your drink. For why should he see your faces worse looking than the boys who are of your kind? Then you would forfeit my head to the king.
11 And Daniel said to Melzar, whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 I beg you, try your servants ten days. And let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be seen before you, and the appearance of the boys who eat of the king's food. And as you see, deal with your servants. 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tried them for ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their faces looked fairer and fatter in flesh than all the boys who had eaten the king's food. 16 So Melzar took away their part of the food, and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
17 As for these four boys, God gave them knowledge and skill in all writing and wisdom. And Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 And at the end of the days that the king had said he would bring them in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king talked with them. And among them all were found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they stood before the king. 20 And in any matters of wisdom and understanding that the king asked them, he found them ten times better than all the horoscopists and conjurers who were in all his kingdom. 21 And Daniel continued to the first year of King Cyrus.