Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
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The Decree of Darius
Ezra 6:1 Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives (Lit. house of the scrolls), where the treasures were stored in Babylon.
Ezra 6:2 And at Achmetha (Probably Ecbatana, the ancient capital of Media), in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus:
- Ezra 6:3 In the first year of King Cyrus (539 BC), King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God (‘ĕlâ) at Jerusalem: “Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid, its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits,
- Ezra 6:4 with three rows of heavy stones and one row of new timber. Let the expenses be paid from the king’s treasury.
- Ezra 6:5 Also let the gold and silver articles of the house of God (‘ĕlâ), which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple which is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and taken back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; and deposit them in the house of God (‘ĕlâ)”—
- Note: ‘ĕlâ is the Arabic version of “el” or “‘ĕlōhîm“
- Ezra 6:6 Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there.
- Ezra 6:7 Let the work of this house of God (‘ĕlâ) alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God (‘ĕlâ) on its site.
- Ezra 6:8 Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God (‘ĕlâ) (the Temple): Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered.
- Ezra 6:9 And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God (‘ĕlâ) of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail,
- Ezra 6:10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God (‘ĕlâ) of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons (Cambyses II and Smerdis).
Ezra 6:11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.
Ezra 6:12 And may the God (‘ĕlâ) who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this house of God (‘ĕlâ)(Temple) which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.
Cyrus II the Great and Darius’ father Hystaspes (Artaxerxes aka Ahasuerus – Daniel 9:1) were contemporaries.
King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes [Vištâspa]; the father of Hystaspes was Arsames [Aršâma]; the father of Arsames was Ariaramnes [Ariyâramna]; the father of Ariaramnes was Teispes [Cišpiš]; the father of Teispes was Achaemenes [Haxâmaniš]. King Darius says: That is why we are called Achaemenids; from antiquity we have been noble; from antiquity has our dynasty been royal. King Darius says: Eight of my dynasty were kings before me; I am the ninth. Nine in succession we have been kings.
King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda am I king; Ahuramazda has granted me the kingdom.
- Six kings including Darius I are mentioned in the Behistum Inscription. The other Three are Cyrus I, Cambyses I, and Cyrus II the Great.
Darius I marries Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus II. tying the lines together.
The Temple Completed and Dedicated
Ezra 6:13 Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent.
Ezra 6:14 So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God (‘ĕlâ) of Israel, and according to the command (decree) of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
- Note the line of kings in Ezra 6:14 and compare them to the kings in the chart in Ezra 6:15. Cyrus is Cyrus II. He was succeeded by Darius the Great. The Father of Darius the Great is Hystases. According to Daniel 9:1, the father of Darius is Ahasuerus; therefore, Hystases and Ahasuerus are one and the same. Ahasuerus is another spelling for Artaxerxes (Just like Artaxerxes whose wife was Queen Esther of the book of Esther who also was named Ahasuerus).
Ezra 6:15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. (See: Ezra 6: “70-70-70 and 7” Prophesy)
- Note: The temple was finished in 516 BC which is the 6th year of the reign of King Darius. So we know Darius is Darius I Hystaspes, named after his father Hystaspes.
- Daniel 9:1 states Darius I’s father is Ahasuerus. Daniel’s Prayer for the People: In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans—
- Hystaspes is also Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes. (Even as the King who made Esther his queen was Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes).
Daniel 6:28 So in this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Ezra 6:16 Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God (‘ĕlâ) (Temple) with joy.
Ezra 6:17 And they offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of God (‘ĕlâ), one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Ezra 6:18 They assigned the priests to their divisions and the Levites to their divisions, over the service of God (‘ĕlâ) in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.
The Passover Celebrated
The Hebrew Language Resumes Here Through Ezra 7:11
Ezra 6:19 And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month (Nisan).
Ezra 6:20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
Ezra 6:21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth (uncleanness) of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) of Israel.
Ezra 6:22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) made them joyful, and turned the heart of (Darius) the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God (‘ĕlōhîm), the God (‘ĕlōhîm) of Israel.
- WHY IS DARIUS CALLED THE KING OF ASSYRIA?
- Darius I 522-486 BC is referred to as the king of Assyria. The Assyrian empire had all but collapsed after assaults from the Babylonian empire.
- In Judith 2:1 Nebuchadnezzar was called “king of the Assyrians”…there was talk in the house of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, that he should be avenged on all the land…
- Assyria was at the height of its power, but persistent difficulties controlling Babylonia would soon develop into a major conflict. Most ascribe it to civil wars, political unrest, and the destruction of the Assyrian capital, Nineveh, by a coalition of Babylonian and Median forces in 612 BC. At the end of the seventh century, the Assyrian empire collapsed under the assault of Babylonians from southern Mesopotamia and Medes in 609 BC.
Between 609 BC and 522 BC the Babylonian power had ended as the Medes and Persians spread over the face of the once Assyrian area.
Assyria was modern day: Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon.
- Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. “Assyria, 1365–609 B.C.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/assy/hd_assy.htm (originally published October 2004, last revised April 2010)
- Schneider, A.W. & Adalı, S.F. (2014). “No harvest was reaped”: demographic and climatic factors in the decline of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Climatic Change. DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1269-y
The Assyrian people, after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 609 BC, were under the control of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and later, the Persian Empire, which consumed the entire Neo-Babylonian or “Chaldean” Empire in 539 BC. Assyrians became front line soldiers for the Persian Empire under Xerxes I, playing a major role in the Battle of Marathon under Darius I in 490 BC.
The Battle of Marathon and other attacks in Greece by Persians evolved into the hostile environment causing Alexander the Great of Macedon to come with vengeance against the Persians as prophesied by Daniel in his vision of the Goat (Alexander the Great of Greece) and the Ram (Medes and Persians). Daniel chapter 8.