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.

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