The powerful Babylonian Empire, ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar from 605 B.C. to 562 B.C., conquered the small nation of Judah in three stages; 605 B.C., expatriating Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah to Babylon; again in 597 B.C. and the last phase was in 586 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar completely destroyed Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. The vanquished nation of Judah and its finest, wisest, and brightest men were taken prisoner to Babylon for the purpose of serving King Nebuchadnezzar and for the affairs of the state of Babylon. While in captivity Daniel and his friends stood firmly for God in a pagan culture which placed them at risk of death. In a hostile environment they demonstrated their tremendous trust and dependency upon the God of Israel, Yahweh.