Saturday, January 30, 2010

1/31/10 Chap 8

Continue Chap 7

See notes from last week.

Chap 8:

Daniel chapter 8 is a preacher’s nightmare. Even noted scholars hesitate to be dogmatic in their interpretation of this chapter. Daniel himself has not the foggiest notion of the vision’s meaning, even after the angel Gabriel has interpreted the vision for him.

Daniel had a purpose for including this information in his introduction. He wants his readers to know that the prophecy of chapter 8 must be understood in the context of the reign of Belshazzar, and particularly in light of the events described in chapter 5. Further, the prophecy of chapter 8 should be understood in relationship to the prophecy of chapter 7. Even though the prophecy of chapter 7 is written in Aramaic and chapter 8 in Hebrew, these two prophecies cannot be understood in isolation; they must be understood in relationship to each other.

Verse 1 tells us when Daniel received the vision and explains the relationship of the second vision to the first, recorded in chapter 7. Verse 2 is more geographical, telling us not where Daniel was when he received the vision, but where he was in the vision. His vision transported him both in time and space,83 as he found himself in Susa,84 about 150 miles north of the head of the Persian Gulf. Susa, the ancient capital of Elam, was destined in a few years to become a leading city in the Persian empire and the location of the king’s palace (see Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2, 5: 2:3, 5). The canal (or river, see marginal note in NASB) mentioned by Daniel may have been the very one down which Alexander would later sail his fleet.85

How dramatically “things to come” are communicated to the prophet Daniel. He is actually transported to the future capital of the Persian empire. There, in Susa, beside the Ulai Canal, he learns that the two kingdoms which will follow the Babylonian empire will be Medo-Persia and Greece (see verses 20-21). We might liken it to an English prophet in the sixteenth century being transported to Washington D.C. in the twenty-first century. It will be some 12 years until the death of Belshazzar and the end of the Babylonian domination of the world, but Daniel’s vision takes him to the very capital of Persia where Nehemiah and Esther will later dwell.

Introduction: Alexander (The Ram)

Though his father Philip II of Macedonia had united all the Greek city-states except Sparta, Alexander is considered Greece’s first king.

Alexander the Great (the prominent horn, 8:5) came from the west with a small but fast army. He was enraged (v. 6) at the Persians for having defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.) and the Battle of Salamis (481), Greek cities near Athens. He quickly conquered Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Mesopotamia in a few years, beginning in 334 B.C. The Persians were helpless to resist him (v. 7). (See the map on p. 1357, “The Route of Alexander’s Conquests.”) Alexander died of malaria and complications from alcoholism in 323 B.C. at the age of 32 in Babylon. At the height of his power he was cut off (v. 8).

Alexander had no obvious or legitimate heir, his son Alexander IV by Roxane being born after Alexander's death. This left the huge question as to who would rule the newly-conquered, and barely-pacified Empire.[147] According to Diodorus, Alexander's companions asked him when he was on his deathbed to whom he bequeathed his kingdom; his laconic reply was "tôi kratistôi"—"to the strongest".[128] Given that Arrian and Plutarch have Alexander speechless by this point, it is possible that this is an apocryphal story.[148] Diodorus, Curtius and Justin also have the more plausible story of Alexander passing his signet ring to Perdiccas, one of his bodyguard and leader of the companion cavalry, in front of witnesses, thereby possibly nominating Perdiccas as his successor.[128][147]

In any event, Perdiccas initially avoided explicitly claiming power, instead suggesting that Roxane's baby would be king, if male; with himself, Craterus, Leonnatus and Antipater as guardians. However, the infantry, under the command of Meleager, rejected this arrangement since they had been excluded from the discussion. Instead, they supported Alexander's half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus. Eventually, the two sides reconciled, and after the birth of Alexander IV, he and Philip III were appointed joint kings of the Empire—albeit in name only.[149]

It was not long, however, before dissension and rivalry began to afflict the Macedonians. The satrapies handed out by Perdiccas at the Partition of Babylon became power bases each general could use to launch his own bid for power. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 BC, all semblance of Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between "The Successors" (Diadochi) ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocks: the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in the east, the kingdom of Pergamon in Asia minor, and Macedon. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III were murdered.[150]

Initial partition 320BC:

After the Diadoch Wars 300BC:

I. The Ram and the Goat Chap 8
A. Why the farm animals compared to Chap 7?
B. The Ram ( Media and Persia)
C. Note the longer “higher” one coming after the shorter one. V 3
a. Media is the first one.
b. Persia the second.
c. I explained earlier from history that the initial kingdom looks more like a confederacy than an empire. Remember a Median army captured Babylon and it was ruled by a Median governor. The latter Persian Empire dominated with leaders like Darius and Xerxes.
D. The Goat
a. Why a goat. Actual interpretation is “ a he goat of the goats”
b. Greece (Democratic)
c. The “conspicuous” horn is Alexander I.
d. The four horns are: Kingdom of Ptolemy I Soter (Egypt), Kingdom of Cassander (Greec e/Macedonia), Kingdom of Lysimachus (Lydia/Western Turkey) and Kingdom of Seleucus I Nicator (Assyria, Babylon and Persia).
e. The end of their rule. Selucia fell to the Romans around 63 BC by Pompey.
Selucia was made into a Roman province due to its instability and revolts.
f. Ptolemy fell about 20 years later to the Romans. You should remember the stories of Cleopatra VII and Cesaer.
g. Anitiochus Epiphines and Israel (Maccabean Revolt)
Notes on the Maccabean revolt:

In the 2nd century BCE, the land of Israel lay between Egypt and the Seleucid empire. Both Egypt and the Seleucid empire were states descended from the break up of Alexander the Great’s Greek empire. Since the rule of Alexander in 336–323 BCE, a process of Hellenization had spread through the near East. When Antiochus IV Epiphanes (ca. 215–164 BCE), became ruler of the Seleucid Empire in 175 BCE, Hellenizing Jews had been long-established in Israel. They had built a gymnasium, competed internationally in Greek games, "removed their marks of circumcision and repudiated the holy covenant"[1]
Conflict over the appointment of the High Priest and corruption contributed to the causes of the Maccabean Revolt. The High Priest in Jerusalem was Onias III. His brother Jason, who favoured the Seleucids, bribed Antiochus to make him High Priest instead. Antiochus was insensitive to the views of religious Jews and treated the High Priest as a political appointee and one from whom money could be made. To Antiochus the High Priest was merely a local governor within his realm, who could be appointed or dismissed at will, while to orthodox Jews he was divinely appointed.[2]
Menelaus (who was not even a member of the Levite priestly family) then bribed Antiochus and was appointed High Priest in place of Jason. Menelaus had Onias assassinated. His brother Lysimachus took holy vessels from the Temple, causing riots and the thief's death at the hands of the rioters. Menelaus was arrested and arraigned before Antiochus, but he bribed his way out of trouble. Jason subsequently drove out Menelaus and became High Priest again. Antiochus pillaged the Temple, attacked Jerusalem and "led captive the women and children".[3] From this point onwards, Antiochus pursued a Hellenizing policy with zeal. This effectively meant banning traditional Jewish religious practice. In 167 BCE Jewish sacrifice was forbidden, sabbaths and feasts were banned and circumcision was outlawed. Altars to Greek gods were set up and animals prohibited to Jews were sacrificed on them. The Olympian Zeus was placed on the altar of the Temple. Possession of Jewish scriptures was made a capital offence. The king's motives are unclear. He may have been incensed at the overthrow of his appointee, Menelaus,[2] he may have been responding to a Jewish revolt that had drawn on the Temple and the Torah for its strength, or he may have been encouraged by a group of radical Hellenizers among the Jews.[4]
After Antiochus issued his decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice, a rural Jewish priest from Modiin, Mattathias the Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods. Mattathias killed a Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias' place. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judah. After Mattathias' death about one year later in 166 BCE, his son Judah Maccabee led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty in guerrilla warfare, which at first was directed against Jewish collaborators, of whom there were many. The Maccabees destroyed pagan altars in the villages, circumcised children and forced Jews into outlawry.[4] The term Maccabees as used to describe the Jewish army is taken from its actual use as Judah's surname.

The revolt itself involved many battles, in which the Maccabean forces gained notoriety among the Syrian army for their use of guerrilla tactics. After the victory, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem in triumph and ritually cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there and installing Jonathan Maccabee as high priest. A large Syrian army was sent to quash the revolt, but returned to Syria on the death of Antiochus IV. Its commander Lysias, preoccupied with internal Syrian affairs, agreed to a political compromise that restored religious freedom.

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple following Judah Maccabee's victory over the Seleucids.
Following the re-dedication of the temple, the supporters of the Maccabees were divided over the question of whether to continue fighting or not. When the revolt began under the leadership of Mattathias, it was seen, in the view of the author of the First Book of Maccabees, as a war for religious freedom to end the oppression of the Seleucids. However, as the Maccabees realized how successful they had been, many wanted to continue the revolt and conquer other lands with Jewish populations or to convert their peoples. This policy exacerbated the divide between the Pharisees and Sadducees under later Hasmonean monarchs such as Alexander Jannaeus.[5] Those who sought the continuation of the war were led by Judah Maccabee.

On his death in battle in 160 BCE, Judah was succeeded as army commander by his younger brother, Jonathan, who was already High Priest. Jonathan made treaties with various foreign states, causing further dissent between those who merely desired religious freedom and those who sought greater power.

In 142 BCE Jonathan was assassinated by Diodotus Tryphon, a pretender to the Seleucid throne, and was succeeded by Simon Maccabee, the last remaining son of Mattathias. Simon gave support to Demetrius II Nicator, the Seleucid king, and in return Demetrius exempted the Maccabees from tribute. Simon conquered the port of Joppa and the fortress of Gezer and expelled the garrison from the Acra in Jerusalem. In 140 BCE, he was recognised by an assembly of the priests, leaders and elders as high priest, military commander and ruler of Israel. Their decree became the basis of the Hasmonean kingdom. Shortly after, the Roman senate renewed its alliance with the Hasmonean kingdom and commanded its allies in the eastern Mediterranean to do so also. Although the Maccabees won autonomy, the region remained a province of the Seleucid empire and Simon was required to provide troops to Antiochus VII Sidetes, the brother of Demetrius II. When Simon refused to give up the territory he had conquered, Antiochus took them by force.

Simon was murdered in 134 BCE by his son-in-law Ptolemy, and succeeded as high priest and king by his son John Hyrcanus I. Antiochus conquered the entire district of Judea, but refrained from attacking the Temple or interfering with Jewish observances. Judea was freed from Seleucid rule on the death of Antiochus in 129 BCE.[4]

Hasmonean rule lasted until 63 BCE, when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem and subjected Israel to Roman rule, while the Hasmonean dynasty itself ended in 37 BCE when the Idumean Herod the Great became king of Israel[2] and king of the Jews[4][6].

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1/24/10 Dan Chap 7

Chap 7
In the first six chapters, Daniel wrote in the third person.
Chap 7 is the last chapter in Aramaic.
The vision recorded by the Prophet Daniel in this chapter was revealed to him in the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, 553 B.C., when Belshazzar was made coregent with Nabonidus.(553-539 14 years)
Daniel has interpreted 2 dreams (Chap 2&4).
We now begin with Daniels 1st of 4 visions.
The reference to the Great sea is the Med. It is possible to relate these visions specifically to the Mediterranean world.
I. First beast
A. Babylon
B. Lion and Eagle were both symbols of Babylon
C. Wings (swiftness or speed)
D. Torn off-? Neb’s madness or becoming an empire no longer an army on campaign
Conquered the known world…
a. human mind, was this the coming of the gentile age or gentiles identity
b. the law, reason, faith

II. 2nd Beast (A Bear) No grace, just Power
A. Persian Army was dominate and powerful.
B. Media and Persia (Persian dominates Media)
C. Ribs are Babylon, Lydia (Greek city states) and Egypt.
D. Or Assyria, Egypt and Babylon

III. 3rd beast (Leopard)
A. Speed , 4 wings (very fast)
B. 4 heads ( 4 great Generals) Macedon and Greece under Cassander, Thrace and Bithynia under Lysimachus, Egypt under PTOLEMY, and Syria under Seleucus. Or Or Alexander’s own variation in character, at one time mild, at another cruel, now temperate, and now drunken and licentious.
C. Alexander conquered(not so much by fighting) know world in 12 years.
D. ruling authority was given to it, one of the strangest thing in History. Remember For how unlikely it was that thirty thousand men should overthrow several hundreds of thousands! JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 11.6] says that Alexander adored the high priest of Jerusalem, saying that he at Dium in Macedonia had seen a vision of God so habited, inviting him to go to Asia, and promising him success.

IV. Fourth Beast (Mongrel) Rev 13:2
A. An assimilation of the other beast or something indescribable compare though to Chap 2
B. Different ?
C. 10 Horns
D. One horn plucks out 3

V. The culmination of the vision
A. The Son of Man (Note Eze 1 593 BC)
B. The Beast is given over
C. 3 and half years (literal)

1. Why the different vision from Chap 2?
2. How do we view this vision?
3. What is this vision for Daniel?
4. What is going on at this time?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Interesting Article


Found this article out on Yahoo. Thought others would find it intesting as well.


Saturday, January 16, 2010


I. Darius the Mede review:

A. It's Cyrus
B. It's Ugburu
C. A simple Governor Read Dan 9:1
D. His Father in Laws Son or his Father in Law.

II. Governing (Why appoint from the defeated people).

A. It's a very normal process,to appoint leaders that know how things work and with whom to work with. (We made this mistake in Iraq, by not letting the Bath party hold any office).

B. Of course, they are being watched by various mechanisms.

C. Also, remember that this "defeat" was not quite the same. These people were from the same/similar cultures. I believe that most thought Nabonidus was a bad King.

III. Daniel in 539BC

A. 66 years from Jerusalem (605)

B. Apparently he had survived some 5-6 "kings" as an administrator.

C. His reputation, faith and character. (Exiles ambition would be ?)

IV. The plot

A. Note vs 3-4, He was going to be appointed to "the" administrator.

B. Note the fault's of Daniel "the law of his God".

C. Vs 8-9. A weak minded King?

D. Daniels decision....I'll go pray.

E. The King's quandary. He recognized his folly and foolishness. Does he realize this is a plot against Daniel?

V. Daniels preservation.

A. Sealed with the King's seal

B. He is delivered, Why?

Conclusion: Daniel lives some 5-10 years after the Persian conquest. This Chap 6 once again solidifies his role to the "Gentiles". We now begin looking" back over a number of visions throughout his life. We switch back to Hebrew with Chap 8, but now we end the Aramaic writings with the last vision some 14 years earlier (553).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

1/10/10 Darius The Mede

1. We continue the discussion on the Fall of Babylon.

2. Introduce Darius the Mede:

3. Begin Chap 6 Daniel and the Lions Den

Notes on Darius the Mede:

65) Another error that Burtchaell makes, he is not alone in this as we will see, is in his claim that Daniel lists "Xerxes, Darius, and Cyrus ... as reigning in that order." Sierichs in private correspondence makes the same error. [9/12/96, page 3; see also Soggin, 408; Collins (1975): 228; Lacocque (1979): 24] Note that Burtchaell did not say where Daniel said such a thing--for the simple reason that Daniel did not say it! This claim is based on the assumption that the Darius of Dan 5:31 is the Darius I of historical renown [see Heuvel, 5-6]. But, as Baldwin has pointed out: it is "unlikely, as some allege, that the author of the book of Daniel, who was meticulous in other details would have muddled Darius the Mede with Darius Hystaspes". [Baldwin (1996): 255; contra Collins (1192): 29 as well] Likewise, it also assumes that the Ahasuerus (Xerxes) of Dan 9:1 is the Xerxes with whom we are familiar. [McCabe; Eissfeldt, 521; Taylor] Note that the "Xerxes" of Dan. 9:1 is never mentioned at all in terms of being a ruler; these statements are also usually given in terms of when the person was a ruler--note that this is absent. Plus, does it really make sense to say Darius the "Xerxes"? Also, it is now recognized that Ahasuerus "may be an ancient Achaemenid royal "title"." [Baldwin (1978): 163--citing D. J. Wiseman, Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, 15; see also R. N. Frye, The Heritage of Persia. (1962): 95, 97; according to Boutflower, on page 53, Herodotus said that "the names of some of the Persian kings -- Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes -- were appellatives rather than proper names." -- Montgomery, 64 claims that this is merely a hypothesis, he doesn't show that it is wrong or that it has no factual foundation] Thus, it is possible that the phrase "son of Ahasuerus" may be a way of saying that Darius was of royal blood. And it has been suggested that the Darius the Mede in 9:1 and 11:1 may, in fact, be the same as the Cyrus the Persian in 10:1; i.e., the same person was known by two separate names and two separate ancestors (royal intermarriage?). In Dan. 6:28 where both names are given it may be that the Hebrew word 'waw' should be translated as an explicative: "during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian" (or "that is" as in the NIV note). [Wiseman, "Some Historical Problems in the book of Daniel," Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel; for more details see Shea (1991); see also Emery, 26-7, 44 where he notes that for Daniel 'waw' is a "literary characteristic".] Harrison points out this possibility: "just as James VI of Scotland was also known regnally as James I of England." [Harrison, ISBE. (1979): 863; Baldwin (1978a): 26-7, 127; J. Barr, Interpreter's Bible, (1956): VI:451; see also the NIV on this verse] Further support can be seen in 1 Esdras 3:1 to 5:6. It is commonly assumed that the Darius of these stories is Darius the Great; however, as Emery notes C. C. Torrey has shown that these stories refer to Darius the Mede. [Emery, 30, 124, 137; see Peake's Commentary, 323c; compare 1 Esdras 3:2, 9 with Dan. 6:1-2]

It has also been suggested that Darius the Mede may have been a co-ruler (although subordinate to) Cyrus the Persian--in which case Daniel is describing an effective situation and not necessarily a legal line of rulership; this can be seen in Dan. 5:31 Darius "received the kingdom"--the question is: from whom? [Hasel (Spr. 1981): 45; Davies (1988): 27 assumes that this was from Belshazzar] Note that "for a period of about nine months after the capture of Babylon ... Cyrus the Great did not bear the title "King of Babylon." [Hasel (Spr. 1981): 45 --this comment by Hasel appears to be slightly mis-stated. Boutflower and Shea show that for a period of about ten months there is a gap in which Cyrus is not called "King of Babylon"; he is called such at the beginning and then there is a break till the 4th day of the New Year [Boutflower, 49, for a more in-depth look at Darius the Mede see his book (1923): 143-167; Shea (1971-2); Goldingay, 111-2 notes that Cyrus ruled "through a vassal-king"] Whitcomb has pointed out that Cyrus followed Darius in Daniel is an argument that "must be advanced without the benefit of proof, for the one text that mentions the two rulers together (6:28 [text]) may just as well be interpreted as meaning that Daniel prospered during the contemporary reigns of two rulers, one of whom was subordinate to the other." [Whitcomb, 35] Either possibility would answer Burtchaell's claim that Daniel confuses the two and highlights the need for more definitive information before making claims that are based on an shortage of concrete evidence. As Whitcomb points out: "No intelligent Jew of the second century could have committed such a blunder" as Burtchaell suggests. All the writer would have to do was to look at Ezra 4:5-6 to get the basic facts (this book was written no later than 250 B.C.). Compare that with Davies' claim that "at least two Persian monarchs have been confused, and a fictitious third created out of the confusion." [(1988): 27] He appears to have ignored the statement by Josephus that Darius the Mede "was the son of Astyages and had another name among the Greeks." [Boutflower, 53; Josephus Antiquities. x II. 4]

Note that Daniel does NOT portray Darius the Mede as an "absolute monarch, dynastically speaking over a Median empire" (see 6:1ff, 9:1); nor does the book picture "an intervening Median kingdom" as Montgomery claims. [Montgomery, 61 and in note 5]

66) Note that there is no prophecy in Daniel regarding the "the Maccabean uprising and ... [the] predicted victory for the Jews." [Farrell Till's editorial note to the Sierichs article] This is typical of the type of claims made by the popular critics of the Bible; they make things up as they go along hoping no one will check them out.

67) If the book was so obviously fictional, legendary and filled with errors it is logical to expect to see "hints of this in the tradition of interpretation [much like what we see with the literature that was NOT included in the canon], prior to and independent of Porphyry's attack on Christianity, but these are [conspicuously, one might add] absent." [Ferguson, 747]

Darius the Mede cont'd:

Liberal Bible scholars say that according to
history there was no such man as Darius the Mede
and say that the writer of scripture must have gotten
him mixed up with a later king named Darius of
But this apparent error can also be explained.
First of all, the "Babylonian Chronicles" tell us the
exact date which Babylon fell. October 13, 539 B.C.
According to historical records a man named
Gubaru, a Mede, was appointed by King Cyrus to be
ruler in Babylon at this time. Gubaru was born in
601 B.C. which would make him 62 years old when
he invaded Babylon. Exactly the age found Daniel
The Babylonian record of Darius the Mede's
conquest of Babylon is given below:
"In the month of Tashritu, at the time when
Cyrus battled the forces of Akkad in Opis on the
Tigris river, the citizens of Akkad revolted against
him, but Nabonidus scattered his opposition with a
great slaughter.
On the 14th day, Sippar was taken without a
fight. Nabonidus then fled for his life.
On the 16th day, Gubaru (Darius the Mede)
the leader of Gutium along with the army of Cyrus
entered Babylon without any opposition. Later they
arrested Nabonidus when he returned to Babylon.”
On the third day of the month of Arahshamnu,
Cyrus marched into Babylon, and they laid down
green branches in front of him. The city was no
longer at war, Peace being restored. Cyrus then sent
his best wishes to the residents living there. His
governor, Gubaru, then installed leaders to govern
over all Babylon.”
This account says that Darius the Mede installed
sub governors in Babylon. The Bible says the
same thing, and the prophet Daniel was one of them:
“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one
hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole
kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom
Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account
to them, so that the king would suffer no loss.
Then this Daniel distinguished himself above
the governors and satraps, because an excellent
spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to
setting him over the whole realm. So the governors
and satraps sought to find some charge against
Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find
no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was
there any error or fault found in him.” Daniel 6:1-4
This was the same Darius the Mede who had
the prophet Daniel thrown into the lions den, mentioned
in Daniel Chapter six.
As far as his name goes, historians believe that
the name Darius was not a proper name at all, but a
title of honor meaning "Holder of the Scepter.” In
other words "The Scepter Holder (King) of the
The Jewish historian Josephus also recorded
that: "Darius the Mede, who along with his relative,
Cyrus the King of Persia, brought an end to the
Babylonian empire. Darius was the son of Astyages."

More Notes on Darius the Mede:

The question concerning that of Darius the Mede was one of the particular subjects I found myself greatly involved in researching. Though being denied his existence in secular recorded history, the Bible remains quite clear that he not only lived but that he played a major role in the downfall of the Babylonian kingdom, as well. And after days worth of investigating a variety of material and secular resources abroad, I drew the following conclusions.

(A) Darius was not his real personal name but was given more as a title and reflection for the kingdom of which he governed. You can see this clearly in the original names attached to the rest of the “Dariuses” yet to come. I.e.: Darius I, The Great; Darius II, Ochus; and Darius III, Codomannus. Other examples of this can be found in the Roman titles of the Caesars or that of the many king Herods, as well. It also clearly can be seen throughout the different Greek titles of Antiochus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. In fact, one can go as far back as the pharaohs of Egypt or to the many popes of Rome (Leo, John, Paul, etc).

Yet, the irony of the name of Darius the Mede goes even farther than a mere title of recognition. For just as “Darius” is attached to Persia, so “the Mede” is attached to the kingdom of Media. Thus in merely pronouncing the name, you can get a picture of the patriotism of his heritage, as well as his loyalty to his newfound government. “Yes I am Darius, an established ruler of Persia, but you may call me the Mede, for this I will forever be.”

(B) As Cyrus the Great also was recorded as having conquered the kingdom, the two had to have worked closely together in some form or another, as well. And from an excerpt taken from the Greek historian Xenophon, we can read the following two paragraphs:
[8.5.17] “And now when the march had brought them into Media, Cyrus turned aside to visit Cyaxares. After they had met and embraced, Cyrus began by telling Cyaxares that a palace in Babylon, and an estate, had been set aside for him so that he might have a residence of his own whenever he came there, and he offered him other gifts, most rich and beautiful. [18] And Cyaxares was glad to take them from his nephew, and then he sent for his daughter, and she came, carrying a golden crown, and bracelets, and a necklace of wrought gold, and a most beautiful Median robe, as splendid as could be. [19] The maiden placed the crown upon the head of Cyrus, and as she did so Cyaxares said:

‘I will give her to you, Cyrus, my own daughter, to be your wife. Your father wedded the daughter of my father, and you are their son; and this is the little maid whom you carried in your arms when you were with us as a lad, and whenever she was asked whom she meant to marry, she would always answer “Cyrus.” And for her dowry I will give her the whole of Media: since I have no lawful son.’ “—Xenophon (translated by H. G. Dakyns,) The project Gutenberg Etext of Cyropaedia, Book 8, C-4, line 17-19—

Without publishing further the reams of his material and that of many others of which I have read, I concluded wholeheartedly that Cyrus was the nephew of Darius ( Cyaxares).

(C) From a couple other resources on line, I also was able to find the following fascinating statements.

“The Encyclopedia Britannica informs us that, according to Ctesias, an ancient historian, the wife of Cyrus (mother of Smerdis and Cambyses) was the daughter of the Median king. If so, it would seem no more than natural that Cyrus, under moral obligation, should grant to his father-in-law the first place in the united kingdom (Cyrus being king of Persia all the same) till after Darius’ death, only two years later (536 b.c.), when Cyrus became head of the empire.”— John Kofal, Help & Food, vol. 40, p. 314;, darius.htm, October 7, 2000.

” ‘And Darius the Median took the kingdom,’ This was Cyaxares the son of Astyages, and uncle of Cyrus; he is called the Median, to distinguish him from another Darius the Persian, that came after, (Ezra 4:5), the same took the kingdom of Babylon from Cyrus who conquered it; he took it with his consent, being the senior prince and his uncle. Darius reigned not long, but two years;. . . ”—Philologos, Bible Prophecy Research, Title: Darius the Mede, Submitted by:, Update: April 06, 2001, URL:
Thus I began to see an even clearer picture of this joint effort in the conquering and reestablishment of the Babylonian (now Media Persian) Empire. And I felt quite certain at this point that Darius the Mede, also known as Cyaxares II, was definitely the uncle of Cyrus the Great, who probably reigned for about two years until his death, when Cyrus took full control of the throne.

(D) Yet in the end, after much study throughout secular history, I turned to the inspired writings of Ellen White and read the following two statements. “Babylon was besieged by Cyrus, nephew of Darius the Mede, and commanding general of the combined armies of the Medes and Persians.”— Prophets and Kings, p. 523.

“Darius reigned over Medo-Persia two years after the fall of Babylon. During this time, Daniel was cast into the lions’ den and came out unharmed. This deliverance led Darius to write ‘unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion in my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.’ So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”—Review and Herald, March 21, 1907, emphasis supplied.

In conclusion, I knew for a certainty that Ellen had it right. And thus my position as Cyaxares II being Darius the Mede, uncle of Cyrus the Great. Being 62 years of age when he took the kingdom in 539 b.c., he probably was born around 601 b.c., dying two years later in 537 / 536 b.c. Though many still dispute the accuracy of Xenophon’s records and prefer to recognize Gubaru or Gobryas as Darius, an unrelated historical general who reined for only a year, I believe the Spirit of Prophecy cannot be overlooked or disregarded on this point.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jan 3 2010


The events recorded in Daniel 1-4 pertained to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who expanded and united the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. after ruling 43 years. The ensuing years of Babylonian history till its overthrow by Cyrus in 539 B.C. were marked by progressive deterioration, intrigue, and murder. Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son Evil-Merodach who ruled for two years (562-560 B.C., 2 Kings 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34). Evil-Merodach was murdered in August 560 by Neriglissar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son-in-law and Evil-Merodach’s own brother-in-law. Neriglissar then ruled four years (560-556 B.C.). He is the Nergal-Sharezer mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3, 13. At his death, he was succeeded by his young son Labashi-Marduk, who ruled only two months (May and June 556) before he was assassinated and succeeded by Nabonidus, who reigned 17 years (556-539 B.C.)

Nabonidus did much to restore the glory that had belonged to Babylon under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Nabonidus’ mother was the highpriestess of the moon god at Haran. Perhaps because of her influence, he had great interest in restoring and expanding the Babylonian religion and did much to restore abandoned temples. He was absent from Babylon for 10 of his 17 years, from 554 through 545. In Haran he restored the temple of the moon god Sin, and then he attacked Edom and conquered parts of Arabia where he then lived for some time.

Belshazzar was Nabonidus’ eldest son and was appointed by his father as his coregent. (Nebuchadnezzar is referred to as Belshazzar’s father [Dan. 5:2, 11, 13, 18; cf. v. 22] in the sense that he was his ancestor or predecessor.) This coregency explains why Belshazzar was called king (v. 1) and why he exercised kingly authority even though Nabonidus actually held the throne.

Nabonidus, who ruled the empire of Babylon
from 555-538 B.C., mentions his firstborn son
Belshazzar on an inscription found in the city of Ur in
The inscription reads: "May it be that I,
Nabonidus, king of Babylon, never fail you. And may
my firtstborn, Bel-shazzar, worship you with all his
Another piece of evidence for Belshazzar's
reign in the city of Babylon comes from an inscription
where he is referred to as the son of Nabonidus and
is given authority to rule.
"Putting the camp under the rule of his
oldest son, the firstborn. The army of the empire
he placed under his command. His hands
were now free; He entrusted the authority of
the royal throne to him. "
Yet even another piece of evidence comes from
a tablet dating back to the seventh year of the rule of
Nabonidus, where he is mentioned in the same light
as his father:
“In regards to the bright star which has
appeared, I will undertake to interpret its
meaning for the glory of my lord Nabonidus,
Babylon’s king, and also for the crown prince,
What is interesting to note is that on this oath,
the man swore by both Nabonidus and Belshazzar.
While on oaths dating back to other times, generally
only the king is mentioned. This seems to indicate
that Belshazzar had a co-reigning authority that was
second only to his father throughout all the Empire.

Chap 5:

Babylon was being besieged by the Persian army, led by Ugbaru, governor of Gutium, while Belshazzar, inside the city, was giving a great banquet for 1,000 of his nobles. Belshazzar’s name means “Bel (another name for the god Marduk) has protected the king.” Perhaps the banquet was given to show Belshazzar’s contempt for the Persians and to allay his people’s fears. Archeologists have excavated a large hall in Babylon 55 feet wide and 165 feet long that had plastered walls. Such a room would have been sufficient to house a gathering of this size. Belshazzar considered his city secure from assault because of its massive walls. Within the city were supplies that would sustain it for 20 years. Therefore the king felt he had little cause for concern.

5:2-4. The banquet itself showed Belshazzar’s contempt for the power of men. Then, to show his contempt for the power of the true God, he ordered that the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar … had taken from the temple in Jerusalem (cf. 1:1-2) be brought to the banquet hall so the assembled revelers might drink from them. In drinking, the people honored the gods of Babylon-idols made of gold … silver … bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Nabonidus, Belshazzar’s father, had attempted to strengthen the Babylonian religion. In keeping with that, this act by his son may have been an attempt to undo the influence of Nebuchadnezzar’s honoring the God of Israel (4:34-35). The polygamous king’s wives and concubines were there too.

5:25. As God had judged Nebuchadnezzar’s pride by removing him from the throne, so He would judge Belshazzar’s pride by taking the kingdom from him and giving it to another people. This judgment was written in the words that appeared on the plaster. First Daniel read the inscription which the wise men were unable to read. It was brief, containing only three words with the first word repeated. MENE (menē’) is an Aramaic noun referring to a weight of 50 shekels (a mina, equal to 1 1/4 pounds). It is from the verb menâh, “to number, to reckon.” TEKEL (teqēl) is a noun referring to a shekel (2/5 of an ounce). It is from the verb teqāl, “to weigh.” PARSIN (parsîn) is a noun meaning a half-mina (25 shekels, or about 2/3 of a pound). It is from the verb peras, “to break in two, to divide.” The word on the wall was actually Ūp̱arsîn, which means “and Parsin” (NIV marg.).
Even if the wise men could have read the words (which they couldn’t), they could not have interpreted them for they had no point of reference as to what had been numbered, weighed, and divided.

5:26-27. Then Daniel proceeded to interpret the meaning of these words. He explained that MENE meant that God had numbered (menâh) the duration of the days of Belshazzar’s kingdom and was about to bring it to an end. TEKEL meant that Belshazzar had been evaluated by God, weighed (teqîltâh, from teqāl) in a balance and had been found wanting, that is, he was too light. A balance was the normal device used in weighing payments. A payment was to meet a certain standard so if it did not meet that standard, it was rejected as unacceptable. Belshazzar’s moral and spiritual character did not measure up to the standard of God’s righteousness so he was rejected. “By Him [God] deeds are weighed (1 Sam. 2:3).

5:28. In interpreting the third word Daniel changed the plural parsîn (v. 25) to the singular PERES (perēs). Belshazzar’s kingdom was to be broken up (divided, perîsaṯ) and given to the Medes and Persians. Apparently Daniel intended a play on words for a change in the vowels in perēs gives the word “Persian” (Pāras). Thus the message was that because of the moral and spiritual degradation of the king and his kingdom, God would terminate the Babylonian Empire and give it to the Medes and Persians.

By the year 540 BC, Cyrus captured Elam (Susiana) and its capital, Susa.[42] The Nabonidus Chronicle records that, prior to the battle(s), Nabonidus had ordered cult statues from outlying Babylonian cities to be brought into the capital, suggesting that the conflict had begun possibly in the winter of 540 BC.[43] Near the beginning of October, Cyrus fought the Battle of Opis in or near the strategic riverside city of Opis on the Tigris, north of Babylon. The Babylonian army was routed, and on October 10, Sippar was seized without a battle, with little to no resistance from the populace.[44] It is probable that Cyrus engaged in negotiations with the Babylonian generals to obtain a compromise on their part and therefore avoid an armed confrontation.[45] Nabonidus was staying in the city at the time and soon fled to the capital, Babylon, which he had not visited in years.[46]

Two days later, on October 7 (Gregorian calendar), Gubaru's troops entered Babylon, again without any resistance from the Babylonian armies, and detained Nabonidus.[47] Herodotus explains that to accomplish this feat, the Persians diverted the Euphrates river into a canal so that the water level dropped "to the height of the middle of a man's thigh," which allowed the invading forces to march directly through the river bed to enter at night.[48] On October 29, Cyrus himself entered the city of Babylon and detained Nabonidus.[49]

Persian Tablet on Nabonidas/Belshazzar: In ref to Nabonidas taking statues

Following the death of Nebuchadnezzar/Hattusilis, Nabonidus (556-538) and Belshazzar (coreign 550/549-538) were kings in Babylon up to the day when the Persians and Medes under Cyrus diverted the flow of the Euphrates River to gain entry through the city gates of Babylon, slew Belshazzar as he was feasting in his palace and established the Persian Empire. [2400] From this time we have a 4 inch long clay cylinder covered with cuneiform writing recording Cyrus' defeat of Nabonidus and the capture of Babylon. In this cylinder Cyrus describes a morally bankrupt Belshazzar. We read:

"A weakling has been installed as the [ruler] of his country ... He interrupted in a fiendish way the regular offerings ... The worship of Marduk, the king of the gods, he [chang]ed into abomination. ... I returned to these sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which used to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned them to their habitations."

A brief history of Cyrus and the Medes:

A Brief History of the Destruction of Babylon

In the 1st year of Neriglissar [2850], only 2 years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, war broke out between the Babylonians and the Medes. Cyaxares, king of the Medes, who is called "Darius" in the Bible, summoned to his aid his nephew Cyrus of the Persian line, which included his grandfather Astyages of Ecbatana (also known as Achmetha) in Media. When in 539 BC Cyrus marched against Babylon, Nabonidus met him with his army at Opis on the Tigris, in order to prevent Cyrus from crossing the river.[2880] But the forces of Cyrus pushed through and proceeded to Sippar which they captured without a fight. Nabonidus fled south while Belshazar, trusting in the mighty fortified defenses of Babylon feasted the time away.
The war was carried on with uninterrupted success by the Medes and the Persians, until in the 18th year of Nabonidus (the 3rd year of Belshazar, about 538 BC), Cyrus laid siege to Babylon. The defenses of Babylon, of which Nebukadnezzar inscribed, "Thus I completely made strong the defenses of Babylon. May it last forever." [2900], were soon to be put to the test. The walls of Babylon were constructed, according to Herodotus, on the guidance of the Queen of Nebuchadnezzar, Nitocris. With the arrival of the armies of the Medo-Persian King Cyrus and the careless sense of security of the king within the city, a fatal combination of circumstances came together. They counted on their supplies calculated to last them 20 years and enough arable land to augment their sources for food within the city walls. They scoffed at Cyrus from the walls of their city but in years past already Jewish prophets had seen the destruction of this great city coming and even presented the name of the king who would carry it out, `Cyrus'. [Isaiah 13: 19-22] In their sense of security lay the source of danger. They thought of their wall as "Ina irat kigalli išidšu lû ušaršid e-bi-ih dan-num ebirti sît Samši lû ušashir", (`A mountain as big as) strong Ebih I made go all the way around the east bank'.[3000] Noticing the difficulties in taking the city by force, Cyrus resolved to try stratagem.
Knowing of the approach of an annual Babylonian festival in which the whole city would be given to careless mirth and revelry he decided to carry out his purposes on that day. There was no entrance into the city unless he could find it underneath the gates where the Euphrates entered and exited the city.[3100] He divided up his army into three bodies the first of which diverted the water of the river into numerous channels creating a lake. The other two divisions were posted at the entrance and exit of the river by the city wall. As soon as they noticed the water level going down they got ready to find their way inside the exposed city. On each side of the river inside the city along its entire length were great walls equal in dimensions to the outer city wall. These river side walls had huge gates of brass, which, when closed and guarded, barred all entrance within. Had the gates been closed that night, the Persian soldiers would have marched in on the river bed and marched out the other side. But as Isaiah (ca. 740-690) wrote, these gates had been left open that fateful night (Isa. 13:1,2). According to the Book of Daniel, that night the mysterious words, "MN MN TQL PRSN" appeared on the wall. Calling in the wise men, they might have read at first, `Mina, mina, a shekel, and a half shekel', which did not make any sense, where `mene' means weight. However, the prophet Daniel knew what was meant. He read, "Mene, mene, tekel upharsin", `numbered, numbered, weighed and divided'. The play on words has to do with the word `PRSN' which means `divided' and comes mighty close to the Hebrew word for `Persians (paras)'. God had numbered or added up the crimes of the king and completed their tally, The period of Babylon's political might was coming to its end. According to the Babylonian Chronicles, it was the 16th day of the month of Tishri, October 12th, 539 BC.

Persian military first attacked the royal guards stationed in the vestibule of the palace of the king. Belshazzar soon became aware of the cause of the disturbance and died fighting for his life. According to a Greek report, Cyrus spared the life of Nabonidus after his surrender and gave him a residence in Carmania, a Persian province located along the north shore of the Persian Gulf. All in all the Babylonian Empire lasted from about 606-538 BC.

Fall of Babylon:

One might have expected Belshazzar’s wrath to fall on Daniel because of the message he brought. But instead the king, faithful to his word (cf. v. 16), rewarded Daniel. However, Daniel’s enjoyment of those honors and the position to which he had been promoted was short-lived for that very night Belshazzar was killed and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom. (On the identity of Darius the Mede see comments on 6:1.)
The city had been under assault by Cyrus. In anticipation of a long siege the city had stored supplies to last for 20 years. The Euphrates River ran through the city from north to south, so the residents had an ample water supply. Belshazzar had a false sense of security, because the Persian army, led by Ugbaru, was outside Babylon’s city walls. Their army was divided; part was stationed where the river entered the city at the north and the other part was positioned where the river exited from the city at the south. The army diverted the water north of the city by digging a canal from the river to a nearby lake.
With the water diverted, its level receded and the soldiers were able to enter the city by going under the sluice gate. Since the walls were unguarded the Persians, once inside the city, were able to conquer it without a fight. Significantly the defeat of Babylon fulfilled not only the prophecy Daniel made earlier that same night (5:28) but also a prophecy by Isaiah (Isa. 47:1-5). The overthrow of Babylon took place the night of the 16th of Tishri (October 12, 539 B.C.).
The rule of the Medes and Persians was the second phase of the times of the Gentiles (the silver chest and arms of the image in Dan. 2). The events in chapter 5 illustrate that God is sovereign and moves according to His predetermined plans. Those events also anticipate the final overthrow of all Gentile world powers that rebel against God and are characterized by moral and spiritual corruption. Such a judgment, anticipated in Psalm 2:4-6 and Revelation 19:15-16, will be fulfilled at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ to this earth.

Nabobidas Chronicle on Fall of Baylon:

This is a part of the Babylonian Chronicles, which are terse, factual accounts of historical events, and are therefore considered to be very reliable, although not very informative.[15] This text has the following to say on the taking of Babylon by Cyrus:
"In the month of Tašrîtu, when Cyrus attacked the army of Akkad in Opis [i.e., Baghdad] on the Tigris, the inhabitants of Akkad revolted, but he [Cyrus or Nabonidus?] massacred the confused inhabitants. The fifteenth day [12 October], Sippar was seized without battle. Nabonidus fled. The sixteenth day, Gobryas [litt: Ugbaru], the governor of Gutium, and the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle. Afterwards, Nabonidus was arrested in Babylon when he returned there. Till the end of the month, the shield carrying Gutians were staying within Esagila but nobody carried arms in Esagila and its buildings. The correct time for a ceremony was not missed.
In the month of Arahsamna, the third day [29 October], Cyrus entered Babylon, green twigs were spread in front of him - the state of peace was imposed upon the city. Cyrus sent greetings to all Babylon. Gobryas, his governor, installed subgovernors in Babylon."

Additionally, a building inscription has been found that mentions the restoration of the Enlil Gate of Babylon shortly after its capture. Through these data, the following reconstruction has been proposed:[16] When Cyrus attempted to march into southern Mesopotamia, he was met by the Babylonians near Opis. In the ensuing battle, the Persians were victorious. This in turn caused the nearby city of Sippar to surrender. Meanwhile, the Babylonians had withdrawn south to establish a line of defense near the Euphrates that should prevent Cyrus from advancing too far. However, Cyrus did not try the Babylonian army, but sent a small division south along the Tigris to try to take the capital by surprise. This plan worked: the division could reach Babylon undetected and caught it unawares, meeting only minor resistance near one of its gates. Thus, they were not only able to capture Babylon, but also King Nabonidus, who briefly afterwards left his army to return to Babylon, not knowing that the city had already been taken.

This left the Babylonian army in a precarious position, and it soon surrendered. In the meantime, Ugbaru, the commander of the division that had captured Babylon, had taken good care that his men would not plunder or otherwise harm the city; he had even made sure that the temple rites continued to be observed. Nonetheless, it still took Cyrus almost a month before he proceeded towards the city. As many Babylonian officials as well as the Babylonian administrative system stayed in place after the transition of power, it has been surmised that this time was spent on negotiations with representatives from the city;[17] this is similar to what happened when the Neo-Assyrian king Sargon II and later Alexander the Great took the city.[18] Finally then, Cyrus went to Babylon, where he could now have his triumphant entry to the cheers of the people.