This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 1 (of 3) in Section 12: "The success of some of the Jewish exiles who had been captured in war and taken to Babylon".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
Daniel chapter 1 (NLT)
1 During the third year of King Jehoiakim's reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it with his armies. 2 The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah. When Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon, he took with him some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God and placed them in the treasure-house of his god in the land of Babylonia.
Daniel chapter 1 (CEV)
3 One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families. 4 The king said, " They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language 5 and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court officials."
6 Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 But the king's chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego.
8 Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king's chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace. 9 God had made the official friendly and kind to Daniel. 10 But the man still told him, " The king has decided what you must eat and drink. And I am afraid he will kill me, if you eat something else and end up looking worse than the other young men."
11 The king's official had put a guard in charge of Daniel and his three friends. So Daniel said to the guard, 12 " For the next ten days, let us have only vegetables and water at mealtime. 13 When the ten days are up, compare how we look with the other young men, and decide what to do with us."
14 The guard agreed to do what Daniel had asked. 15 Ten days later, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better than the young men who had been served food from the royal palace. 16 After this, the guard let them eat vegetables instead of the rich food and wine.
17 God made the four young men smart and wise. They read a lot of books and became well educated. Daniel could also tell the meaning of dreams and visions. 18 At the end of the three-year period set by King Nebuchadnezzar, his chief palace official brought all the young men to him. 19 The king interviewed them and discovered that none of the others were as outstanding as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they were given positions in the royal court. 20 From then on, whenever the king asked for advice, he found their wisdom was ten times better than that of any of his other advisors and magicians. 21 Daniel served there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Daniel chapter 2 (GWT)
1 During the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, he had some dreams. He was troubled, but he stayed asleep. 2 The king sent for the magicians, psychics, sorcerers, and astrologers so that they could tell him what he had dreamed. So they came to the king. 3 The king said to them, "I had a dream, and I'm troubled by it. I want to know what the dream was."
4 The astrologers spoke to the king in Aramaic, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! Tell us the dream, and we'll interpret it for you."
5 The king answered the astrologers, "I meant what I said! If you don't tell me the dream and its meaning, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and its meaning, I will give you gifts, awards, and high honors. Now tell me the dream and its meaning."
7 Once more they said, "Your Majesty, tell us the dream, and we'll tell you its meaning."
8 The king replied, "I'm sure you're trying to buy some time because you know that I meant what I said. 9 If you don't tell me the dream, you'll all receive the same punishment. You have agreed among yourselves to make up a phony explanation to give me, hoping that things will change. So tell me the dream. Then I'll know that you can explain its meaning to me."
10 The astrologers answered the king, "No one on earth can tell the king what he asks. No other king, no matter how great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, psychic, or astrologer. 11 What you ask is difficult, Your Majesty. No one can tell what you dreamed except the gods, and they don't live with humans."
12 This made the king so angry and furious that he gave an order to destroy all the wise advisers in Babylon. 13 So a decree was issued that the wise advisers were to be killed, and some men were sent to find Daniel and his friends and kill them.
14 While Arioch, the captain of the royal guard, was leaving to kill the wise advisers in Babylon, Daniel spoke to him using shrewd judgment. 15 He asked Arioch, the royal official, "Why is the king's decree so harsh?" So Arioch explained everything to Daniel.
16 Daniel went and asked the king to give him some time so that he could explain the dream's meaning. 17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah about this matter. 18 He told them to ask the God of heaven to be merciful and to explain this secret to them so that they would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise advisers in Babylon.
19 The secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision during the night. So Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said,
"Praise God's name from everlasting to everlasting because he is wise and powerful.
21 He changes times and periods of history.
He removes kings and establishes them.
He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight.
22 He reveals deeply hidden things.
He knows what is in the dark, and light lives with him.
23 God of my ancestors, I thank and praise you.
You gave me wisdom and power.
You told me the answer to our question.
You told us what the king wants to know."
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy Babylon's wise advisers. Daniel told him, "Don't destroy Babylon's wise advisers. Take me to the king, and I'll explain the dream's meaning to him."
25 Arioch immediately took Daniel to the king. He told the king, "I've found one of the captives from Judah who can explain the dream's meaning to you, Your Majesty."
Daniel chapter 2 (NIV)
26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"
27 Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.
Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:
29 "As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.
30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31 "You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue-an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 "This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.
37 You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39 "After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours.
Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.
40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything-and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands-a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
"The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him.
47 The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."
48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.
Proverbs chapter 4 (TEV)
1 My children, listen to what your father teaches you. Pay attention, and you will have understanding. 2 What I am teaching you is good, so remember it all. 3 When I was only a little boy, my parents' only son, 4 my father would teach me. He would say, "Remember what I say and never forget it. Do as I tell you, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom and insight! Do not forget or ignore what I say. 6 Do not abandon wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will keep you safe. 7 Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do. Whatever else you get, get insight. 8 Love wisdom, and she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will bring you honor. 9 She will be your crowning glory."
10 Listen to me, my child. Take seriously what I am telling you, and you will live a long life. 11 I have taught you wisdom and the right way to live. 12 Nothing will stand in your way if you walk wisely, and you will not stumble when you run. 13 Always remember what you have learned. Your education is your life-guard it well.
Daniel chapter 3 (TEV)
1 King Nebuchadnezzar had a gold statue made, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and he had it set up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then the king gave orders for all his officials to come together-the princes, governors, lieutenant governors, commissioners, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the other officials of the provinces. They were to attend the dedication of the statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 When all these officials gathered for the dedication and stood in front of the statue, 4 a herald announced in a loud voice,
"People of all nations, races, and languages! 5 You will hear the sound of the trumpets, followed by the playing of oboes, lyres, zithers, and harps; and then all the other instruments will join in. As soon as the music starts, you are to bow down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Anyone who does not bow down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."
7 And so, as soon as they heard the sound of the instruments, the people of all the nations, races, and languages bowed down and worshiped the gold statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Daniel chapter 3 (NLT)
8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They have defied Your Majesty by refusing to serve your gods or to worship the gold statue you have set up."
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments, all will be well. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?"
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn't, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."
19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully clothed. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames leaped out and killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in! 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell down into the roaring flames.
24 But suddenly, as he was watching, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, "Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?"
"Yes," they said, "we did indeed, Your Majesty."
25 "Look!" Nebuchadnezzar shouted. "I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren't even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!"
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire.
27 Then the princes, prefects, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn't even smell of smoke!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king's command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be crushed into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!"
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
Daniel chapter 4 (GWT)
1 From King Nebuchadnezzar. To the people of every province, nation, and language in the world. I wish you peace and prosperity.
2 I am pleased to write to you about the miraculous signs and amazing things the Most High God did for me.
3 His miraculous signs are impressive.
He uses his power to do amazing things.
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom.
His power lasts from one generation to the next.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living comfortably at home. I was prosperous while living in my palace. 5 I had a dream that terrified me. The visions I had while I was asleep frightened me. 6 So I ordered all the wise advisers in Babylon to be brought to me to tell me the dream's meaning. 7 The magicians, psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers came to me. I told them the dream, but they couldn't tell me its meaning. 8 Finally, Daniel came to me. (He had been renamed Belteshazzar after my god [Bel].) The spirit of the holy gods is in him. I told him the dream: 9 "Belteshazzar, head of the magicians, I know the spirit of the holy gods is in you. No secret is too hard for you [to uncover]. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream.
Daniel chapter 4 (TEV)
10 "While I was asleep, I had a vision of a huge tree in the middle of the earth. 11 It grew bigger and bigger until it reached the sky and could be seen by everyone in the world. 12 Its leaves were beautiful, and it was loaded down with fruit-enough for the whole world to eat. Wild animals rested in its shade, birds built nests in its branches, and every kind of living being ate its fruit.
13 "While I was thinking about the vision, I saw coming down from heaven an angel, alert and watchful. 14 He proclaimed in a loud voice, "Cut the tree down and chop off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Drive the animals from under it and the birds out of its branches. 15 But leave the stump in the ground with a band of iron and bronze around it. Leave it there in the field with the grass.
" "Now let the dew fall on this man, and let him live with the animals and the plants. 16 For seven years he will not have a human mind, but the mind of an animal. 17 This is the decision of the alert and watchful angels. So then, let all people everywhere know that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses-even to those who are least important.'
18 "This is the dream I had," said King Nebuchadnezzar. "Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means. None of my royal advisers could tell me, but you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you."
19 At this, Daniel, who is also called Belteshazzar, was so alarmed that he could not say anything. The king said to him, "Belteshazzar, don't let the dream and its message alarm you."
Belteshazzar replied, "Your Majesty, I wish that the dream and its explanation applied to your enemies and not to you. 20 The tree, so tall that it reached the sky, could be seen by everyone in the world. 21 Its leaves were beautiful, and it had enough fruit on it to feed the whole world. Wild animals rested under it, and birds made their nests in its branches.
22 "Your Majesty, you are the tree, tall and strong. You have grown so great that you reach the sky, and your power extends over the whole world. 23 While Your Majesty was watching, an angel came down from heaven and said, "Cut the tree down and destroy it, but leave the stump in the ground. Wrap a band of iron and bronze around it, and leave it there in the field with the grass. Let the dew fall on this man, and let him live there with the animals for seven years.'
24 "This, then, is what it means, Your Majesty, and this is what the Supreme God has declared will happen to you. 25 You will be driven away from human society and will live with wild animals. For seven years you will eat grass like an ox and sleep in the open air, where the dew will fall on you. Then you will admit that the Supreme God controls all human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses. 26 The angel ordered the stump to be left in the ground. This means that you will become king again when you acknowledge that God rules all the world. 27 So then, Your Majesty, follow my advice. Stop sinning, do what is right, and be merciful to the poor. Then you will continue to be prosperous."
28 All this did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Only twelve months later, while he was walking around on the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, 30 he said, "Look how great Babylon is! I built it as my capital city to display my power and might, my glory and majesty."
31 Before the words were out of his mouth, a voice spoke from heaven, "King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to what I say! Your royal power is now taken away from you. 32 You will be driven away from human society, live with wild animals, and eat grass like an ox for seven years. Then you will acknowledge that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses."
33 The words came true immediately. Nebuchadnezzar was driven out of human society and ate grass like an ox. The dew fell on his body, and his hair grew as long as eagle feathers and his nails as long as bird claws.
34 "When the seven years had passed," said the king, "I looked up at the sky, and my sanity returned. I praised the Supreme God and gave honor and glory to the one who lives forever.
"He will rule forever, and his kingdom will last for all time.
35 He looks on the people of the earth as nothing; angels in heaven and people on earth are under his control.
No one can oppose his will or question what he does.
36 "When my sanity returned, my honor, my majesty, and the glory of my kingdom were given back to me. My officials and my noblemen welcomed me, and I was given back my royal power with even greater honor than before.
37 "And now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, honor, and glorify the King of Heaven. Everything he does is right and just, and he can humble anyone who acts proudly."
The next file in this section (Part 2), is entitled: "More Of The Bible Story Of Daniel; And The Story Of The Rise To Royalty Of The Jewish Young Woman Esther".
If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials: