The Courage Of Four Captives
Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, commanded Ashpenaz, the chief of
his servants, to bring to him certain of the Israelites and some of
their princes and nobles. They were to be young men who were strong and
handsome, well taught and quick to learn and able to serve in the king's
palace. And they were to be taught the learning and the language of the
Chaldeans. The king gave to them each day some of his rich food and some
of the wine which he drank. He also commanded that they should be taught
for three years, and that at the end of that time they should enter the
Among these young men were: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; but
the chief of the king's servants gave other names to them. To Daniel he
gave the name Belteshazzar, and to Hananiah, Shadrach, and to Mishael,
Meshach, and to Azariah, Abednego.
But Daniel made up his mind not to injure himself with the rich food of
the king nor with the wine which he drank. So he asked the chief of the
king's servants not to make him injure himself. And God helped Daniel to
win the kindness and favor of the chief of the king's servants.
But the chief of the king's servants said to Daniel, "I fear that my
lord, the king, who has given you your food and your drink will see that
your faces are sadder than those of young men who are your own age, and
so you will endanger my head with the king."
Daniel said to the guardian whom the chief of the king's servants had
put over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, "Try your servants ten
days; and let us have vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare
the way we look with that of the young men who eat of the king's rich
food. Then do to us as seems best." So he did as they asked and tried
them ten days. At the end of ten days they looked better and they were
fatter than all the young men who ate of the king's rich food. So the
guardian took away their rich food and the wine and gave them
To these four young men God gave knowledge, learning, and wisdom; and
Daniel understood all kinds of visions and dreams.
At the end of the days which the king had fixed for bringing them in,
the chief of his servants brought them in to Nebuchadrezzar, and the
king talked with them. But not one of all the young men was found equal
to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve the
king. On every subject which called for wisdom and understanding and
about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better
than all the wise men and magicians who were in his entire kingdom.
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