In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god. He brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in some of the children of Israel, even of the royal offspring and of the nobles; youths in whom was no defect, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and endowed with knowledge, and understanding science, and who had the ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the language of the Chaldeans. The king appointed for them a daily portion of the king’s dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at its end they should stand before the king.