What is the significance of the Medo-Persian Empire in biblical history?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The Medo-Persians, led by King Cyrus II, invaded Babylonia from the east in June of 539 B.C. and captured its capital, Babylon, in July of the same year. In biblical chronology, this occurred near ...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
For about 123 years the Medo-Persian Empire impacted the lives of those in Israel and the surrounding area. 

In Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of Daniel 2:31-35, four empires were seen as a human figure, that from head to foot represented their timeline:

Head of gold – Babylon
Chest and arms of silver – Medo-Persia
Belly and thighs of bronze – Greece
Legs of iron, feet of mixed iron and clay – Rome

In Daniel’s vision of Daniel 7:3-8, the four empires were seen as four creatures:

Lion with eagle’s wings – Babylon
Bear with three ribs in its mouth – Medo-Persia 
Leopard with four heads and four wings – Greece 
Beast with iron teeth, ten horns – Rome

The bear, representing the Medo-Persian Empire was raised up on one side which meant the Persian part of the Medo-Persian Empire became dominant. This is the same thing described in Daniel 8:3 where a ram has two horns, one of which rises higher. The three ribs are suggested to be the conquered nations of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt. 

Daniel 5:30-31 describes the transition from the Babylonian to the Medo-Persian Empire. Darius the Mede was the same as Cyrus, Daniel 5:31, 9:1, supposedly the son of a Persian prince married to a princess of the Medes, distinct from Darius the Persian who came later.

The Persian influence immediately affected the Jews. In his first year, Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, Ezra 1:1. This ended the 70 years of Babylonian Captivity and opened a new chapter of Jewish history. During his reign, the prophet Daniel finished his ministry and revealed much of what the future had in store for Israel.

Cambyses, the oldest son of Cyrus, succeeded him, followed by two unknown kings, perhaps usurpers to the throne. The next king, the fourth was Darius the Persian, Daniel 11:2. He was also known as Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes which means “great king” for having expanded the empire from 120 to 127 provinces, Daniel 6:1 compared to Esther 1:1. It was during his 36-year reign that some of the events of Bible history occurred, found in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. 

He was the one who commanded the temple building to be resumed. Although it had been halted, it was completed during his reign, Ezra 6:15, encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, Haggai 1:1, 15, 2:10, Zechariah 1:1, 7, 7:1. He also took Esther to be queen taking the place of Vashti, Esther 2:16. During his reign, Ezra and others were authorized to go to Jerusalem to teach the Law of the Lord, Ezra 7:8. When Haman plotted against the Jews, the king granted Esther’s request for the Jews to defend themselves, Esther 3:7. He promoted Mordecai, Esther 10:3, and the Jews had a new holiday, Purim. He also sent Nehemiah, his cupbearer, to be governor of Judea for 12 years, Nehemiah 1:1, 5:14, 13:6.

The Medo-Persian Empire influenced the lives of the Jews, much of it for good.

March 07 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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