1. Scripture introduces Darius the Mede
- Belshazzar (meaning Bel will deliver), was killed the night that the Persians captured the Kingdom of Babylon (Daniel 5: 30).
- The year was 539 BC.
- Darius the Median took the Kingdom (Daniel 5: 31). Darius means “Lord” (Strong’s Concordance).
- He was about 62 years (Daniel 5: 31), placing his birth date at about 601 BC.
2. Darius carried out the role of a powerful King in authority
- He immediately appointed 120 rulers over the ENTIRE KINGDOM, which was comprised of 120 provinces or nations.
- He appointed 3 Presidents directly under his authority and Daniel was the chief (Daniel 6: 2).
King Darius passed and signed Laws according to the legal system of the Medes and Persians (Iran)
- His 2 Presidents, who had plotted a scheme to get rid of Daniel, asked Darius to pass a law that no one should pray to any god or to God for 21 days. The Den of Lions would be the fate of anyone found praying (Daniel 6: 6 – 10).
- Darius unsuspectingly passed and signed it by sealing the papers with his signet ring (Daniel 6: 8).
- According to the constitution, Laws passed by Kings of the Medes and Persians (Iran) were unchangeable (Daniel 6: 8)
Cross reference with the book of Esther confirms that only Kings of the Medes and Persians (Iran) could authorize, pass and sign/seal laws
- Following Queen Vashti’s rebellion, King Ahasuerus (Darius 1) was advised by his counselors to pass a law that women should obey their husbands (Esther 1: 19 – 22).
- The law of the Medes and Persians (Iran) was unchangeable (Esther 1: 19)
- The king followed the advice of his chief counselor and passed the law (Esther 1: 21)
- Haman schemed a Hitler like plot to exterminate the Jews and manipulated the king to have him pass a law to carry out his holocaust (Esther 3: 8 – 12)
- Haman was second in the Kingdom and therefore a President with the same status and power equivalent to that of Darius’ three Presidents (Esther 3: 1)
- Although second in command to the King, Haman could not pass the law himself. The King gave his signet ring to the schemer, signifying full authority to write, seal and pass the law in his name (Esther 3: 12).
- In order to reverse the decision, King Ahasuerus gave Mordecai and Queen Esther permission to write and seal a new law in his name; giving the Jews permission to defend themselves (Esther 8: 7 – 10)
Back to Daniel
- Having successfully established the plot, the 2 Presidents in Darius’ kingdom arrested Daniel for praying to God (Daniel 6: 11)
- The King was obligated to have Daniel thrown into the den of lions since his law was unchangeable (Daniel 6: 11 – 16).
- Darius sealed the den of lions with his own signet ring and with that of his rulers in order to enforce the law (Daniel 6: 17)
- Following Daniel’s deliverance, King Darius passed another law commanding the schemers and their families to be consigned to the den of lions – they became lion steak even before reaching the bottom of the pit (Daniel 6: 24)
- Darius then passed another law commanding all the citizens of Persia (Iran) to “tremble and fear” Daniel’s God (Daniel 6: 24 – 28).
Darius the Mede was referred to as King 26 times in the book of Daniel:
- 25 times in Daniel 6
- 1 time in Daniel 9: 1 – “Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans”
- Daniel referred directly to Darius’ reign as king – he took the kingdom of Babylon (Daniel 5: 31); he spoke of the first year of his reign in the same way in which he referred to the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar (Daniel 9: 1 & 2; 10: 1)
- Archangel Gabriel referred to Darius’ reign as king (Daniel 11: 1)
- He was a Median (Daniel 5: 31; 9: 1 & 11: 1).
- He was the son of a King called Ashasuerus (Daniel 9: 1)
- History shows that Cyrus aka Darius named his son Cambyses in honor of his father
The name Darius was interchanged with Cyrus in the book of Daniel
- Scriptures revealed that King Cyrus released the Jews and did so during the first year of his reign as King of Persia (Isaiah 45; 2 Chronicles 36: 22 – 23; Ezra 2: 1, 7)
- King Cyrus’ key role in the release of the captives is mentioned multiple times in the book of Ezra.
- It is clear from history that Cyrus King of Persia ruled the Kingdom of Babylon from 539 BC
- He corresponds to King Darius in the writings of Daniel the prophet.
- I pondered on the reason for the usage of the dual names in the book of Daniel
People were given dual names as they do today. For example:
- Daniel (Hebrew name) – Belteshazzar (Babylonian)
- Hananiah – Shadrach
- Mishael – Meshach
- Azariah – Abednego
- Nabonidus – Belshazzar (repeatedly referred to as a direct descendant of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 5)
- Cambyses (Cyrus’ father) – Ahasuerus (Daniel 6: 1)
- Cambyses (Cyrus’ son) – Ahasuerus (Ezra 4: 6)
King Darius also had dual roles
- He founded the Persian/Iranian Empire and had both Median and Persian ties.
- It seems to me that Darius reflected his Median heritage, while the name Cyrus was given to reflect his role of powerful, imperial ruler.
- This is also evident in the book of Daniel (Daniel 6: 28; 10: 1).
- Daniel and Archangel Gabriel consistently referred to him as Darius the Mede when speaking about the first year of his reign (Daniel 5: 31; chapter 6; 9: 1 & 2; 11: 1)
- Why were King Darius’ Median ancestry and origins stressed repeatedly in the book of Daniel?
- God knew that in this era, the descendants of the nation of Iran would take an opposing stand to His people.
God and Daniel affectionately referred to King Cyrus as Darius
- God spoke very affectionately about King Cyrus to Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 45)
- Archangel Gabriel revealed that He had been instrumental in stirring up Darius to release the captives (Daniel 11: 1)
- His obedience in releasing the captives, a powerful labor force, earned him favor with God
- King Darius trusted Daniel and immediately promoted him as second in command. How did this happen?
- Compare with the book of Ezra – King Cyrus is always referred to by the official title of King of Persia. The writer of Ezra did not have a personal relationship with the king
- Conversely, when speaking about the king as Darius, Daniel rarely used the title “king”.
- This reflects the warm and respectful relationship that the two men had – much like that of the current President and Vice President of the USA.
- Daniel wrote about King Cyrus from the perspective of an insider and Vice President of Persia. He was second in command to King Cyrus. Did he know that people would be confounded about Darius’ identity hundreds of years later?
- Daniel was first and foremost a prophet and so beloved by God that he was shown the future of the nations of earth. His prophecies have been amazingly accurate.
- Why not believe his first hand record of King Cyrus in the News of 539 – 536 BC since he lived through them?
- God love s Iran. Let us pray for the release of this nation from the invisible powers of darkness.
Blessings and thanks to King Cyrus of Persia. I pray that God would stir up the Iranians to remember the strong historical connections between the two nations and with God Almighty – and release this bitter hatred that they hold for the Jews.