The Food Test 1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came and laid siege to Jerusalem. a 2 Kgs 24, 1; 2 Chr 36, 6; Jer 25, 1 . 2 b Dn 5, 2; Gn 10, 10; 2 Kgs 24, 2; 2 Chr 36, 7 . The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and some of the vessels of the temple of God, which he carried off to the land of Shinar,*and placed in the temple treasury of his god.
3The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain, to bring in some of the Israelites of royal blood and of the nobility, 4young men without any defect, handsome, intelligent and wise, quick to learn, and prudent in judgment, such as could take their place in the king's palace; they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans; 5after three years' training they were to enter the king's service. The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine from the royal table. 6Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7The chief chamberlain changed their names: Daniel to Belteshazzar, Hananiah to Shadrach, Mishael to Meshach, and Azariah to Abednego.*
8But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself with the king's food or wine; so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement.* 9Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy of the chief chamberlain, 10he nevertheless said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; it is he who allotted your food and drink. If he sees that you look wretched by comparison with the other young men of your age, you will endanger my life with the king.” 11Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for ten days. Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men who eat from the royal table, and treat your servants according to what you see.” 14He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days; 15after ten days they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.
16So the steward continued to take away the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables.
17To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and science, and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams. 18At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation, the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19When the king had spoken with all of them, none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and so they entered the king's service.
20In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom. 21 c Dn 6, 28 . Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.*