THE JEWISH CAPTIVES IN THE COURT OF THE KING
Daniel i: 1, to ii: 49.
N Story 97, we read of Jehoiakim, the
wicked son of the good King Josiah. While Jehoiakim was
ruling over the land of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, the
great conqueror of the nations, came from Babylon with
his army of Chaldean soldiers. He took the city of
Jerusalem, and made Jehoiakim promise to submit to him
as his master, a promise that Jehoiakim soon broke. And
when Nebuchadnezzar went back to his own land he took with
him all the gold and silver that he could find in the
Temple; and he carried away as captives very many of
the princes and nobles, the best people in the land of
 When these Jews were brought to the land of Chaldea or
Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to the prince
who had charge of his palace to choose among these
Jewish captives some young men that were of noble rank,
and beautiful in their looks, and also quick and bright
in their minds, young men who would be able to learn
readily. These young men were to be placed under the
care of wise men, who should teach them all that they
knew, and fit them to stand before the king of Babylon,
so that they might be his helpers, to carry out his
orders; and the king wished them to be wise, so that
they might give him advice in ruling the people.
Among the young men thus chosen were four Jews, men who
had been brought from Judah. By order of the king the
names of these men were changed. One of them, named
Daniel, was to be called Belteshazzar, the other three
young men were called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
These four young men were taught in all the knowledge
of the Chaldeans; and after three years of training
they were taken into the king's palace to stand before
After they came to the palace the chief of the princes
 palace sent to these men as a special honor some of the
dishes of food from the king's table, and some of the
wine that was set apart for the king and his princes to
drink. But both the meat and the wine of the king's
table had been a part of the offerings to the idols of
wood and stone that were worshipped by the Chaldeans.
These young Jews felt that if they should take such
food they, too, would be worshipping idols. Then, too,
the laws of the Jews were very strict with regard to
what kind of food might be eaten, and how it should be
cooked. Food of certain kinds was called "unclean," and
the Jews were forbidden to touch it.
These young Jews, far away from their own land and from
their temple, felt that they must be very careful to do
nothing forbidden by the laws which God had given to
their people. They said to the chief of the nobles in
"We cannot eat this meat and drink this wine, for it is
forbidden by our laws."
The chief of the nobles said to Daniel:
"If you do not eat the food that is given you, the king
will see that you are not looking well. He will be
angry with me for not giving you better care. What
shall I do? I am afraid that the king may command me to
be put to death."
"Give us vegetable food, and bread. Let us eat no meat,
and drink no wine for ten days; and see if we do not
The chief of the nobles, to whose care these young men
had been given, loved Daniel; as every one loved him
who knew him. So he did as Daniel asked. He took away
the meat and the wine, and gave to these young Jews
only vegetables and bread. At the end of ten days the
four young men were brought into the room where the
great King Nebuchadnezzar sat; and they bowed low
before him. King Nebuchadnezzar was pleased with these
four young men, more than with any others who stood
before him. He found them wise, and faithful in the
work given to them, and able to rule over men under
them. And these four men came to the highest places in
the kingdom of the Chaldeans.
THE FOUR YOUNG MEN BEFORE THE KING
And Daniel, one of these men, was more than a wise man.
He was a prophet, like Elijah, and Elisha, and
Jeremiah. God gave him to know many things that were
coming to pass; and when God sent to any man a dream
that had a deep meaning, like Joseph in
 Story 16, Daniel could tell what was
the meaning of the dream.
At one time King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream which
troubled him greatly. When he awakened he knew that the
dream had some deep meaning, but in the morning he had
forgotten what the dream was. He sent for the wise men
who had in times past given him the meaning of his
dreams, and said to them:
"O ye wise men, I have dreamed a wonderful dream; but I
have forgotten it. Now tell me what my dream was, and
then tell me what it means; for I am sure that it has a
The wise men said:
"O king, may you live forever! If you will tell us your
dream, we will tell you its meaning. But we have no
power to tell both the dream and its meaning. That only
the gods can know."
The king became very angry, for these men had claimed
that their gods gave them all knowledge. He said:
"Tell me the dream, and its meaning; and I will give
you rich reward and high honor. But if you cannot tell,
I shall know that you are liars, and you shall be put
The wise men could not do what the king asked; and in
great fury he gave command that all of them should be
slain. Among these men were Daniel and his three
friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; and these
four Jews were to be slain with the rest of the wise
men. Daniel said to the chief captain, who had been
sent to kill the wise men:
"Give me a little time; and I will call upon my God. I
know that he will help me to tell to the king his dream
and its meaning."
So time was given; and Daniel and his three friends
prayed to the Lord God. That night the Lord gave to
Daniel the secret of the king's dream and its meaning.
Then Daniel gave praise and thanks to the Lord; and in
the morning he said to the king's captain:
"Do not kill the wise men. Take me before the king, and
I will show him his dream and its meaning."
Then in haste Daniel was brought before King
Nebuchadnezzar. The king said to him:
"Are you able to tell me the dream that I dreamed and
the meaning of it?"
"The wise men of Babylon, who look to their idol-gods,
 tell the king his dream. But there is a God in heaven
who knows all things; and he has given me his servant
to know your dream and the meaning of it. This is the
dream, O king. You saw a great image, tall and
noble-looking. The head of this image was of gold, his
breast and his arms were of silver, his waist and his
hips of brass, his legs of iron, and his feet and toes
were of iron and clay mixed together. And while this
great image was standing, you saw a stone cut out
without hands; and the stone rolled and dashed against
the feet of the image; and the whole image fell down; and was
broken in pieces; and was crushed and ground into a
powder so fine that the wind blew it away like chaff.
And you saw the stone that struck the image grow until
it became a mountain, and it filled the whole world.
This was your dream, O king."
And Daniel went on, and said:
"And this, O king, is the meaning of the dream. God has
shown to you what shall come to pass in the years that
are to be. You are that head of gold, O king; for that
head means your kingdom that now is. After your kingdom
has passed away, another kingdom shall take its place;
the shoulders and arms of silver. That kingdom shall be
followed by another,—the waist and hips of brass;
and after that shall come one more kingdom, that of
iron. But as you saw a stone cut out without hands; so
while the last of these kingdoms shall be standing, the
Lord God of heaven shall set up his kingdom. And God's
kingdom like that stone, shall be small at first, but
it shall break down and destroy all those kingdoms.
They shall pass away and perish before it. And as you
saw the stone grow into a mountain, so God's kingdom
shall become great, and shall rule all the lands. And
that kingdom of God shall never pass away, but shall
When King Nebuchadnezzar heard this he was filled with
wonder. He bowed down before Daniel, and worshipped
him, as though Daniel were a god. Then he gave to him
great presents, and made him ruler over the part of his
kingdom where the city of Babylon was standing. He gave
to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, Daniel's friends,
high offices; but Daniel himself he kept in his palace,
to be near him all the time.