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 children of Israel, and some of the royal family and of the princes, 4 Children in whom there was no blemish, but of good appearance, skillful in all wisdom, intelligent in knowledge, understanding science, and those who had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the writing and the language of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's food and of the wine which he drank, thus nourishing them three years, so that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. 6 Now among these were some of the children of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah— 7 To whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names. For he gave to Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, Shadrach; and to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-nego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's food, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 10 And the prince of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your provision and your drink. For why should he see your faces more meager than the children who are of your sort? Then you will make me endanger my head to the king." 11 Then Daniel said to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 "Prove your servants, I implore you, ten days. And let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before you, and the countenances of the children who eat of the portion of the king's provision. And as you see, deal with your servants."
14 So he consented to them in this matter and proved them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children who ate the portion of the king's provision. 16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their food and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse.
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom. And Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them. And among them all there was found no one like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore, they stood before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding wherein the king questioned them, he found them ten times superior to all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued even to the first year of king Cyrus.
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter begins with an account of the first captivity of the Jews in the times of Jehoiakim, of which captivity Daniel was one, and it is mentioned on his account (Daniel 1:1-2); who, with others, were selected by the order of the king of Babylon to be educated in the learning of the Chaldeans and to be maintained at his expense in order to be his ministers (Daniel 1:3-7); but Daniel and his three companions refused the king’s meat and wine, lest they should be defiled, in which they were indulged by their governor, after trial being made, that they were fairer and fatter for it (Daniel 1:8-16); and, at the end of the time appointed, they appeared to have a large share of knowledge, wisdom, and learning, upon which they were taken into the king’s court and service (Daniel 1:17-20); and the chapter is concluded with observing the long continuation of Daniel here, even to the first year of Cyrus (Daniel 1:21).