During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, 1 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia 2 and placed them in the treasure-house of his god.
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives.
“Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. 3 ”
The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah.
The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego.