Watchman's Teaching Letter #58 February 2003
This is my fifty-eighth monthly teaching letter and continues my fifth year of publication. With this teaching letter, we will continue our walk through Daniel. This is not an effort to cover all of Daniel, but those parts which concerns his prophecies. As I have pointed out before, the various unreal, debauched interpretations that have been promoted by various sources are simply preposterous and outrageous. The so-called experts on the subject simply do not follow the first principles for interpreting Bible prophecy. It should be pointed out, one must do a lot more than simply read the book of Daniel. One might read it a hundred times, but if he doesn’t branch out to other connecting evidence, he will never comprehend what Daniel is all about. With this lesson, we are going to branch out into those other areas. Once one becomes familiar with all the testimony, it will not be so easy for those unscrupulous manipulators and purveyors of falsities to engineer their subterfuge.
To study Daniel thoroughly, much history and a wide area of geography are required. Not only that, but it is paramount we know who Scripture is talking about on every particular occasion. For instance, the name Darius is used at Ezra 4:5; 4:24; 5:5-7; 6:1; 6:12-15; Nehemiah 12:22; Daniel 5:31; 6:1, 6, 25, 28; 9:1; 11:1; Haggai 1:1, 15; 2:10; Zechariah 1:1 and 7; 7:1. The problem we encounter is: there are four different alleged men by that name. If we, by unfamiliarity, apply the wrong person to a particular passage, the result can definitely be catastrophic. Is there an incident where this has happened to get things all fouled up? Yes there is! We will get to that later. Let’s see who these four personages were: (1) Darius I, (521-486 B.C.), known as Darius Hystaspes or Darius the Great. (2) Darius II, (423-404 B.C.), known as Ochus or Darius Nothus (Darius the bastard). (3) Darius III, (336-330 B.C.), known as Codomannus, and, (4) Darius the Mede.
With this lesson we are going to do a lot of quoting from various Bible reference books, commentaries, and other sources. While much of this information will be constructive in nature, other commentary will only lead us in the wrong direction and cause us to arrive at many erroneous conclusions. I have decided to quote both the beneficial and the detrimental data derived from these sources and let you see if you can determine the good from the bad as we go along. Inasmuch as we will be getting quite involved in some unusual areas of study, this should really stimulate our mental faculties. While I will be able to address some of the problems as we go along, other difficulties will have to wait until later lessons. Let’s now try to differentiate between these four said individuals known to us in the Bible as “Darius.” Before finishing this issue, we will see just how dangerous a wrong identification can be!
To separate these four different personages by the name of Darius, I will now quote from the Tyndale Bible Dictionary by Elwell and Comfort, page 355, on Darius I:
“Darius I (521-486 BC) Also known as Darius Hystaspes and Darius the Great, Darius I seized the throne of the Persian Empire after the death of Cambyses II. Although he was an Achaemenid, he was from a different branch of the royal family than Cyrus and Cambyses ... After Darius quelled several revolts, however, his power was firmly established, and he turned his attention to expanding the empire. His military campaigns extended Persian borders to the Danube River in the west and to the Indus River in the east, making him ruler of the largest empire the world had known. Greco-Persian conflict, which continued until Alexander the Great conquered the empire in 330 BC, began when Darius launched two invasions of Greece after conquering Thrace and Macedonia. The first expedition was destroyed by a storm in the Aegean Sea; the second was defeated by the Athenians in the famous battle of Marathon in 490 BC.
“An able administrator, Darius did much to promote trade and commerce. He instituted a uniform system of weights and measures. During his reign, a canal from the Nile River to the Red Sea was completed, and a sea route from the Indus River to Egypt was explored.
“During Darius’s reign, Persian architecture developed a style that continued until the end of the Achaemenid dynasty. Darius built at Babylon, Ecbatana, and Susa, his capital. A great royal road was constructed from Susa to the Lydian capital of Sardis. His greatest architectural accomplishment was the founding of Persepolis, a new royal city to replace the emperor’s residence at Pasargadae. Darius also allowed temples to be built in Egypt and in Jerusalem, continuing Cyrus’s policy of respecting the religious customs of his subjects.
“Darius I is the Darius, king of Persia, mentioned in the books of Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah. Ezra 5-6 record[s] that Zerubbabel and Jeshua, with the help of Haggai and Zechariah, finished rebuilding the temple ... Zerubbabel and Jeshua had returned to Jerusalem under Cyrus II about 538 BC (Ezr. 2:2) ... That must have been the sixth year of Darius I (516 BC), since the sixth year of Darius II would certainly be too late. That identification was confirmed by discovery of a Babylonian document, dated June 5, 502 BC, which refers to Tattenai as ‘the governor of Beyond the River ...’”
Though problematic, the previous quotation should give you some idea of who Darius I was. For Darius II we will quote again from the Tyndale Bible Dictionary by Elwell and Comfort, page 356, under Darius II:
“Darius II (423-404 BC) Also known as Ochus (his real name) and Darius Nothus (‘Darius the bastard’), Darius II was the son of Artaxerxes I Babylonian concubine. Before he became emperor, Ochus was a satrap (governor) of Hyrcania, a region on the southwest coast of the Caspian Sea. In 423 BC his half brother, Sogdianus (or Secydianus), killed Xerxes II. Ochus then seized the throne from Sogdianus, whom he executed, and adopted the name Darius II. His reign was plagued with revolution and corruption. His own full brother, Arsites, revolted soon after Darius seized the throne, and Darius had him executed.
“After an alliance with Sparta was formed against Athens, Persia joined the Peloponnesian War. Several successful military campaigns succeeded in recovering the Greek coastal cities of Asia Minor and breaking Athenian power in the Aegean area. Darius II died in Babylon in 404 BC, the year the Peloponnesian War ended ...”
For Darius III, I will need to quote from another book as he is not mentioned in most of them. I get this information from The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, volume A-D, page 770:
“Darius III (336-330 B.C.), known as Codomannus, according to Justinus (X. 3. 3ff). He suffered repeated defeats against Alexander’s Macedonian armies (Granicus , Issus , Gaugamela ) and was finally murdered by Bessus, satrap of Bactria ...”
Finally we come to the tough one; Darius the Mede. For him, we will return to the Tyndale Bible Dictionary by Elwell and Comfort, page 356:
“Darius the Mede Unknown in historical documents of the period of the Babylonian and Persian empires, this biblical Darius has been identified with several known figures. The most important efforts have identified Darius the Mede as another name for Cyrus II (‘Cyrus the Persian’ Dn. 6:28); for Cambyses II, Cyrus’s son; or for Gubaru, who was governor of Babylon and the province Beyond the River during the reigns of Cyrus II and Cambyses II.
“According to the book of Daniel, ‘Darius the Mede received the kingdom’ when Belshazzar, king of Babylon, was slain (Dn. 5:30-31). Darius was about 62 years old (v. 31) and was ‘the son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede’ (9:1). Daniel never suggested that Darius was king of Media or of the whole Persian Empire, only of the Chaldean (Babylonian) kingdom. The Babylonian Empire included Mesopotamia (Babylonia and Assyria) and Syro-Palestine (Syria, Phoenica and Palestine). In the Persian Empire, that huge area became known as the province of Babylon (Mesopotamia) and Beyond the river (Syro-Palestine). Daniel also recorded that Darius appointed governors in the kingdom ...
“According to Nabonidus’s Chronicle and the Persian Verse Account of Nabonidus (two cuneiform documents from Nabonidus’s reign), Nabonidus was in Tema until Cyrus’s invasion of Babylonia. While he was away, he ‘entrusted the kingship’ to his son Belshazzar. On October 12, 539 BC, Babylon fell to Ugbaru, general of Cyrus’s army. Cyrus entered Babylon on October 29, 539 BC, and appointed a person named Gubaru governor of Babylon. Gubaru then appointed other governors under him. General Ugbaru died on November 6, 539 BC ...
“Darius the Mede was thus probably a subordinate of Cyrus who was made ruler of ‘the realm of the Chaldeans’ after Belshazzar and who could have been considered a king by his subjects. Accordingly, the reign of Darius (Dn. 6:28) should be understood as simultaneous with that of Cyrus, not as a preceding reign. Thus Gubaru was made governor of Babylon immediately following the reign of Belshazzar, and he appointed governors, as did Darius the Mede. There is no record of Gubaru’s age, nationality, or ancestry. He may well have been a 62 year-old Mede whose father was named Ahasuerus ...
“Many Babylonian texts record that Gubaru was governor of Babylon and the province Beyond the River for about 14 years (539-525 BC). The documents attribute much power to him. His name is a final warning to officials who might disobey the laws. In documents that mention Cyrus II or Cambyses II, crimes in Babylon are stated to be sins against Gubaru, not against Cyrus or Cambyses. The province of Babylon and Beyond the River was the richest and most populous in the Persian Empire, encompassing many nations and languages. For a powerful governor of such a region to be called ‘king’ by his subjects seems only natural.
“The case for Gubaru is admittedly circumstantial, but it remains the best solution to the problem. Until further evidence comes to light, it is safe to assume that Darius the Mede, ‘king over the realm of the Chaldeans’, was actually Gubaru, the known governor of that realm.”
SPECIAL NOTE: While there is indeed an historical Gubaru, it will be shown later that Gubaru and Darius the Mede were two different individuals. But that still leaves us with four men by the name of Darius to deal with, and we dare not get them mixed-up. Scripture does not waste words identifying who it is speaking about. In churchianity the Futurists and Preterists are so intent on convincing people of their perverted views that they never explain about the four different Dariuses.
THE QUESTION OF DARIUS MUST BE RESOLVED
Unless the issue of Darius is settled, we cannot claim to understand the book of Daniel. The fact that the mainstream clergy doesn’t address the matter is substantial evidence that most of them simply don’t know, or don’t care to know. Before we are through with this study, we will have tangible testimony to strengthen our position. Once we become aware of the four different leaders known as Darius in our Bible, we can then rectify the chronology of Daniel’s seventy weeks (490) years, and account for every one of them. And there won’t be seven years left over for a super-duper-pooper so-called future “Antichrist.” I will now repeat a statement which the futurist, Tim LaHaye made in his Revelation Unveiled, page 135: “Verification of the exact dates is impossible, since the Medo-Persians were notoriously poor historians.” As we shall see, the Persians were not as “poor historians” as LaHaye claims. We will next use some commentary by the Pictorial Bible Dictionary, edited by Merrill C. Tenny, published by the Southwestern Company, 1966, on Darius, pages 199-200:
“DARIUS (... Heb. daryawesh, Gr. Dareios), a common name for Medo-Persian rulers. Numerous cuneiform tablets contain the references to them, especially to Darius Hystaspes. Darius the Mede, seems to have been the same as Gubaru who was an officer in the army of Cyrus, probably governor of a Persian province north of Babylon. His name is possibly a translation of ‘Darius.’ He was the son of Ahasuerus, hence a Mede (Dan. (9:1). Belshazzar’s notable feast (Dan. 5) ended in the destruction of the Chaldean Empire, and Darius the Mede (Gubaru) became ruler of the province by appointment of Cyrus at the age of 62. Daniel tells us that Darius the Mede was not heir to the throne, but nevertheless was made king (Dan. 5:31). He seems to have exercised authority contemporaneously with Cyrus.
“Cuneiform records list Nabonidus as the last king of the Medes [sic. rather the last king of Babylon]; so Belshazzar, his son, was ruling in Babylon while his father was away at war. Darius reorganized the government and gave Daniel a high place. (Dan. 6:1-3). Evil princes set out to destroy him (6:4-9). Jehovah [sic. Yhwh] rescued Daniel from the lions and thus advanced his cause before the king (6:10-23). Darius the Mede seems to have ruled for only a brief time (10:1; 11:1).
“Darius Hystaspes was the greatest of the Persian rulers. Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, continued the conquest which his noted father had started. He did not, however, recognize the claims of the Jews (Jos. Ant. XI:1:2). In one of his campaigns he was defeated by the Egyptians, and on his way home committed suicide. Taking advantage of the king’s defeat, a pretender, named Smerdis, was made king by zealots of the Magian religious sect and he ruled one year (Jos. XI:3;1), until slain by Darius and other princes. Darius having had himself made king. He was a collateral descendant of Cyrus who, according to tradition, had selected Darius to succeed him. Between the reign of Cyrus and that of Darius, the Jews had been mistreated, and work on rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple stopped (Ezra 4:1-6). An appeal was made to Darius who made search and discovered the original decree of Cyrus favoring the Jews. Under his lenient reign, they restored the walls of the city and rebuilt the temple (Ezra 6:1-15). Darius was beset by rebellious subjects and spent much time in putting these down. He recognized the government and extended its boundaries. He conducted many magnificent building enterprises and encouraged men of letters, especially the historians who extolled his prowess (Josephus Ant. XI:1:3). The Greeks never yielded to him, however, and after some futile campaigns, his forces were overwhelmed in the battle of Marathon 490 B.C. Darius planned another campaign against the Greeks, but rebellion in Egypt interfered, and death in 486 B.C. ended his career. He was succeeded by Xerxes I, a grandson of Cyrus the Great ...” [“Jew” should read Judean.]
SPECIAL NOTE: Again, the name Gubaru is mentioned, and as we will see later, he is not Darius the Mede. While problematic, this last reference helps round out our perspective of Persian history and her rulers during and after the time of Daniel. For additional evidence on Cyrus, I will quote from the New International Bible Dictionary, Based on the NIV, page 247:
“CYRUS ... The son of Cambyses, king of Anshan. With the rise of Cyrus began the renowned Persian Empire that was to continue until the coming of Alexander the Great. Seven years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus ascended the throne of Babylon, in 555 B.C. He was destined to be the last ruling sovereign of the neo-Babylonian Empire, for in the highlands of Iran another kingdom was forging out its own program of conquest. When the Medes and their king, Astyages, were defeated by Cyrus, the realm of Persia began to assume threatening proportions. Cyrus himself announced his genealogy: ‘I am Cyrus, king of the hosts, the great king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad ... son of Cambyses the king, king of Anshan; the grandson of Cyrus ... the great-grandson of Teipes ... king of Anshan ...’ In this same inscription Cyrus proceeds to relate how the city of Babylon opened its gates to him without resistance, confirming the biblical account recorded in Daniel 5 when Darius, acting as vice-regent for Cyrus, took the city of Babylon in the name of Cyrus the Great. The neo-Babylonian Empire was in no condition to resist the advance of Cyrus, and fell easily into the hands of the Persians. The Old Testament sets the framework of reference against the backdrop of Belshazzar’s impious feast (Dan. 5:1-30).
“Cyrus entered Babylon on October 29, 539 B.C., and presented himself in the role of the liberator of the people. He allowed the images of the gods to be transported back to their original cities and instituted a kindly policy of repatriation for captive peoples. His policies of moderation naturally extended to the Hebrews, whom he encouraged to return to Judea to rebuild their temple (2 Chr. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-6). Isaiah refers to Cyrus as ‘his [i.e., the Lord’s] anointed’ (Isa. 45:1).”
As you can begin to see, little by little, we are gathering much of the evidence for this period. Also, I am trying to present this in a coherent manner so the data keeps building on top of that presented ahead if it. Our next source on Daniel will be The Revell Bible Dictionary, page 276:
“Daniel, Book of ... The book divides naturally into two sections. Chapters 1-6 relate events which took place in the Babylonian and Persian courts. Chapters 7-12 report apocalyptic visions given to Daniel.
“Date and Authorship: Liberal scholars view Daniel as a legendary figure, even though he is named three times by his contemporary, Ezekiel (Ezek. 14:14, 20; 28:3). They see the Book of Daniel as a composite work, written about 165 B.C., that is, after the events prophesied in Daniel’s visions.
“Conservative scholars, however, view Daniel as a historical person, and believe the book was completed by Daniel before his death about 532 B.C. Conservatives believe that God revealed future events through the prophets, so the accuracy of Daniel’s predictions is hardly evidence of a late date. They also note that many of the ‘historical problems’ cited by 19th century critics have been resolved by archaeological finds, which have demonstrated how accurately the author of Daniel portrays details of empire history and court life ... Belshazzar, long scoffed at as an invention, has been identified as the son and co-regent of Nabonidus (he offered to make Daniel ‘third highest ruler in the kingdom’ [Dan. 5:16], because he himself was second). The change in punishment from fire (Dan. 3) to the lions’ den (Dan. 6) reflects a change from Babylonian to Persian practices. ‘Darius the Mede’ has not yet been identified by cuneiform records. But ‘Darius’ was a title assumed at coronation, just as Roman emperors became Caesar upon accession. The name might well be an alternative title of Cyrus himself, or perhaps a reference to a man named Gubaru, whom secular sources identify as ruler under Cyrus of Babylon and the ‘regions beyond the river’.” A further interesting note on page 277 says: “Note: Daniel was probably about 13 years of age in chapter one. When cast into the lions’ den (ch. 6) he was in his 80s.”
SPECIAL NOTE: Again the name Gubaru is mentioned, and again he is not Darius the Mede. More information on Cyrus and Darius the Mede is found in Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, page 331:
“...Persian cuneiform inscriptions show that Cyrus II (‘the Great’) was the successor of Belshazzar. One possible answer to this problem is that ‘Darius the Mede’ was the army general sent by Cyrus to conquer Babylon. It is also possible that ‘Darius the Mede’ was an alternative name or title used by the writer of the Book of Daniel for Cyrus the Persian himself. Indeed, in Daniel 11:1, the Septuagint — the Greek translation of the Old Testament — has Cyrus instead of Darius. Thus, a quite legitimate translation of Daniel 6:28 might read: ‘Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus the Persian’ (NIV margin). Such a logical and reasonable interpretation silences the skepticism about this passage in the Book of Daniel.”
SPECIAL NOTE: No, Cyrus the Persian was not Darius the Mede either! From Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 241, we read the following:
“Darius the Mede (Dan. 5:31; 6:1, 6, 9, 25, 28; 9:1; 11:1) is to be identified with Gobryas (Gubaru), the governor of Babylon under Cyrus. Darius is most certainly another name for Gubaru. That he was styled ‘king’ is to be regarded as not inaccurate in describing a man of Gubaru’s authority since he was amel pihate of the city or province of Babylon, nor does this usurp the absolute sovereignty of Cyrus (q.v.). Moreover, it is not necessary to discover cuneiform tablets dated according to the years of Darius’ reign in order to substantiate the Biblical datings. These biblical datings of Darius’ reign (Dan. 9:1 and 11:1) are exactly paralleled by the datings of Belshazzar’s reign (Dan. 7:1; 8:1). This conclusion is warranted since it is now known that the author of Daniel took into consideration Belshazzar’s secondary position in the Babylonian Empire (cf. Dan. 5:7, 16, 29) ... Behind these statements is the implication that Darius was not the supreme ruler of the Persian Empire. Daniel 6:28 portrays Daniel as prospering not in the consecutive reigns of two independent sovereigns, but during the reigns of two contemporary rulers, one being subordinate to the other. ‘So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.’ Gubaru (Gobryas), it is now known, appointed governors in Babylon after the fall of the city, and Cyrus departed for Ecbatana before the end of the year. The only possible ruler of Babylon was Darius, since Cambyses did not reign as sub-king until the following year, being removed from this honorary position after a few months, while Gubaru continued as governor of Babylon and the District Beyond the River for some years. Since the territory ruled by Gubaru was coextensive with the Fertile Crescent and included many different peoples and races, the description on Dan. 6:25-28 of Darius’ decree is explainable. Neither does the decree of Darius in Dan. 6:7, 12 exclude the possibility of his being a subordinate ruler. Darius’ second decree (Dan. 6:26), which was published to annul the first decree, was addressed to ‘all the dominion of my kingdom’, not the entire Persian Empire. ‘Unto all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth’ can be rendered ‘in all the land’ (Dan. 6:25) and does not claim universal sovereignty for Darius. Moreover, Gubaru was doubtless ‘the son of Ahasuerus’ and also a Mede ...”
SPECIAL NOTE: While there was an historical Gubaru, he was not Darius the Mede! The interesting thing in the above commentary from Unger is the fact that Daniel was third in both the kingdoms of Babylon and Persia. Before the fall of Babylon the order of ruler-ship was: (1) Nabonidus, (2) Belshazzar, and, (3) Daniel. After the fall of Babylon to Persia the ruler-ship was: (1) Cyrus, (2) Darius the Mede, and, (3) Daniel. You can see from this, although Daniel’s two superiors were displaced by the fall, Daniel maintained his position as third in the kingdom. By the way, that was no small office.
One more piece of interesting evidence should be mentioned concerning Darius Hystaspes, or Darius I, and a usurper claiming to be Smerdis. From Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 239 we read:
“Darius Hystaspes ..., king of Persia (521-486 B.C., Ezra 4:5, 24; 5:5-7; 6:1, 12, 15; Hag. 1:1; 2:10; Zech. 1:1, 7; 7:1), the restorer of the Persian empire founded by Cyrus the Great ... Cyrus was succeeded in 529 B.C. by his son Cambyses, who possessed his father’s adventurous spirit without his commanding genius. He added first Phoenicia and Cyprus, and afterward Egypt, to the new empire, but failed in attempting to carry out impracticable schemes of conquest in North Africa and Ethiopia. Encouraged by these disasters to Cambyses a pretender seized the throne, claiming that he was Smerdis, the deceased younger son of Cyrus, who had not long survived his father’s death. Cambyses, despairing of success against the usurper, put an end to his own life while on his homeward march. The impostor, after a reign of a few months, was dethroned by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, in 521 B.C., who headed an insurrection of the nobles against him. Darius was apparently the rightful heir to the throne, being descended, collaterally with Cyrus, from the ancient royal line of Persia ...”
BOTH BABYLON AND PERSIA KEPT EXCELLENT RECORDS
Contrary to the futurist Tim LaHaye, the Babylonians and Persians kept accurate records. The Popular And Critical Bible Encyclopedia And Dictionary by the Rev. Samuel Fallows (1920) makes superb comment on this in volume 1, pages 486-487:
“Fortunately we are not dependent upon the statements of second or third-hand historians for a description of the fall of Babylon. We have the records both of Nabonidus, the reigning and vanquished king, and of Cyrus, the conqueror. Though somewhat fragmentary in some places, they nevertheless furnish us with a reasonably good picture of that momentous event. Nabonidus’ own record will be cited first (Nab.- Cry. Chron. col. i: Rev. 12-24) ... Cyrus’ own cylinder gives us a no less wonderful story. This sets out by assuring the reader that Cyrus was thoroughly imbued with the idea that he was a man of destiny (Cyl. 11-19, 22-24) ... These two records of the capture of Babylon from two different sources — one might rightfully say from two opposing forces — present a marvelous harmony. They unite in the statement that the city made no resistance to the entrance of the army of Cyrus, neither were there any objections to his immediate assumption of control unless in the Nab.-Cry. Chron., we interpret the guard about the temple of Esagila as a minor siege. On the other hand, the population of the city seems to have welcomed their new conqueror, deliverer, and ruler, as a friend and benefactor.” Although I didn’t quote the contents of these chronicles here, you can see that the author was quite complementary of them.
If you have followed the evidence from these various sources thus far, you may be somewhat convinced that “Gubaru” is identical to the Darius the Mede of Daniel. I can assure you that almost every Bible reference takes that position. There is other evidence that Darius the Mede was the uncle of Cyrus, and to deal fairly with the subject, we must present and consider it. For that, we go to the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament on the words #1867 & #1868 we find the following:
“דריוש Darius, pr. n. of some of kings of Media and Persia.
“(1) of Darius the Mede, Dan. 6:1; 9:1. This was Cyaxares (II.), the son and successor of Astyages, and uncle of Cyrus, who reigned over Media, between his father and nephew, from 569-536 B.C.; Cyrus, however, so administered the kingdom for him that he is only mentioned by Herodotus. Frequent mention is made of Cyaxares by Xenoph. Cyrop. i. 4,§ 7, v. § 2, viii. 7,§ 1; and Josephus says correctly of Darius the Mede (Ant. x. 11,§ 4), ἧν Ảστυάγους υἱός, ἓτερον δὲ παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἐκαλεῖτο ὄνομα. The various opinions of interpreters and historians are collected, and true opinion brought to view by Bertholdt in Comment. on Dan. p. 842, seq.”
Though caution is advised with these early historians, the above account seems somewhat reasonable. It would appear logical that Cyrus would appoint someone of his trusted family to such an important post in order to manage the affairs of the newly conquered area of Babylon. Inasmuch as Cyrus was of a royal line, his uncle Cyaxares (or Darius the Mede) evidently must have been also. If truly Cyaxares was Cyrus’s uncle, an age of 62 for him is not unreasonable, Daniel 5:31. With this evidence we can only conclude that Darius the Mede was not Gubaru as many of the Bible commentaries claim.
Although Darius the Mede and Gubaru are two individuals, they are both important leaders in Persian history. We will look further into the historic testimony concerning Gubaru in the next lesson. Among the many topics we must address, we must devote attention to Nehemiah’s mission to the city, and its date; the rebuilding of Jerusalem; Ezra’s second return to Jerusalem. Also, in the next lesson, we will show a time-chart of the various Persian kings from Cyrus to Alexander the Great’s overthrow of that great empire. In addition to that, I will try to lay out a timeline for the major events during that period.
Another interesting factor should be mentioned concerning Nebuchadnezzar’s family line. I will use the 1980 Collier’s Encyclopedia, volume 15, page 628, under the topic “Media” for that purpose: “... The pact between Cyaxares and Nabopolassar was sealed near Nineveh by the marriage in 613 B.C. of Nabopolassar’s son Nebuchadnezzar to Cyaxares’ granddaughter ...”
The motive for all this Persian background is to prove beyond all doubt that every one of Daniel’s seventy weeks (490 years) were used up, and that the Futurists don’t have a leg to stand on for their so-called “future seven years of tribulation.”
I might also point out that in the Septuagint on Daniel 11:1 the name Cyrus is used instead of Darius the Mede. Also in some versions of the Bible, Daniel 11:1 is totally omitted. Yet in other versions Daniel 11:1 is placed at the end of chapter 10. While there seems to be confusion with this passage, other places containing “Darius the Mede” have no difficulty.
WE CAN’T READ DANIEL ALONE!
If one has the idea that he can read and study Daniel alone and comprehend his prophecies, he is terribly mistaken. Yet some try! In addition to studying Daniel, we must be familiar with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah. In addition to the books of the so-called “Canon”, there are also the ‘Apocryphal’ 1st Esdras, 2nd Esdras, and Ecclesiasticus to name a few. Should you want to do a more thorough study of Daniel, I suggest you mark down all the Scriptural references from this teaching letter and expand from there.
Therefore, it might be advisable to keep this letter as a future reference guide for your own study, as it represents a very difficult topic to research. You may reach different conclusions with your own study than presented here. Should you have data that would contribute to the understanding of this topic, would you please be so kind to share it with me? Surely, we can all agree there are a lot of so-called “experts” spouting Daniel who haven’t the slightest ides what they are talking about!
AFTERTHOUGHT ON THIS LESSON
I don’t want anyone, by any means, to assume that all the quotations used in this issue are entirely accurate. Pointedly, there are many problems during that period which space does not allow to be addressed. For instance, there was not room to show that Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar were not of royal blood as were Nebuchadnezzar and his son Awil-Marduk; that Nebuchadnezzar was not Belshazzar’s real father as stated in Daniel 5:2, 11, 18 & 22, but an Assyrian expression meaning a predecessor to the throne. Nor was it possible to mention all the intrigue and murder between Awil-Marduk to Nabonidus.
This has been an effort to present all sides of Biblical and secular history pertinent to the Babylonian and Persian empires in connection to Daniel. For anyone who wants to do further research on that period, I would highly recommend they obtain copies of the books History Of The Persian Empire by A. T. Olmstead; Clash Of East And West by Daisy More & John Bowman; and the 1949 Archaeology And The Bible by George A. Barton.