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Daniel 1:3

ESV Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility,
NIV Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility--
NASB Then the king told Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles,
CSB The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility--
NLT 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.
KJV And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

What does Daniel 1:3 mean?

During the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar attacked Israel, capturing many religious artifacts and prisoners (Daniel 1:1–2). Some of those captives were chosen specifically for their value to the Babylonian Empire. Royal and noble families would have been more influential, making their children more respected among other Jewish people. Nebuchadnezzar also wanted attractive, competent advisors. Most likely, he intended to mold these young men into Babylonian culture and use them to help control the newly-conquered Israelites (Daniel 1:4–5). It's also possible they were valuable as bargaining items in case of a revolt.

The English term "eunuch" typically refers to a male who has been castrated. The ancient world made some men eunuchs as part of servanthood. In theory, this would prevent them from having a family to favor, as well as making them less susceptible to seduction. Ashpenaz is labeled using the Hebrew word sārisāy', from the root word sāris, typically translated as "eunuch." The Hebrew word derives from a reference to castration but can generally refer to court officials. Potiphar, who was married, is labeled with the same root word in Genesis 37:36.

It is possible that Daniel and his fellow captives were castrated and made into eunuchs. A prophecy in Isaiah 39:7 said that descendants of Hezekiah would be "taken away, and they [would] be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." However, the Bible does not say this, explicitly. Whether Daniel was or was not a castrated eunuch is ultimately irrelevant to his role in God's plan.
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