IRAN & THE BIBLE
What the Bible Says About Persia and Persians
“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of The Lord spoken by Jeremiah, The Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “The Lord, The God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build a Temple for Him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you – may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build The Temple of The Lord, The God of Israel, The God who is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-3)
• An empire which extended from India to Ethiopia, comprising one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, (Daniel 6), Esth. 1:1;
• Government of, restricted by constitutional limitations, Esth. 8:8; (Daniel 6:8-12).
• Municipal governments in, provided with dual governors, Neh. 3:9, 12, 16-18.
• The princes advisory in matters of administration, (Daniel 6:1-7).
• Status of women in, queen sat on the throne with the king, Neh. 2:6.
• Vashti divorced for refusing to appear before the king’s courtiers, Esth. 1:10-22; 2:4.
• Israel captive in, 2 Chr. 36:20;
• captivity foretold, Hos. 13:16.
• Men of, in the Tyrian army, Ezek. 27:10.
• Rulers of: Ahasuerus, Esth. 1:3.
• Darius, Dan. 5:31; 6; 9:1.
• Artaxerxes I, Ezra 4:7-24 .
• Artaxerxes II, Ezra 7; Neh. 2; 5:14.
• Cyrus, (2 Chr. 36:22), (2 Chr. 36:23), Ezra 1; 3:7; 4:3; 5:13, 5:14, 5:17; 6:3; Isa. 41:2, 41:3; 44:28; (Isaiah 45:1-8), 13; 46:11; 48:14, 15.
• Princes of, Esth. 1:14.
• System of justice, Ezra 7:11-26.
• Prophecies concerning, Isa. 13: 17; 21:1-10; Jer. 49:34-39; 51:11-64; Ezek. 32:24, 25; 38:5; Dan. 2:31-45; 5:28; 7; 8; 11:1-4.
Of all of the human empires that affected the people of Israel, the Persians did something rather unique – they permitted the return of the people of the southern kingdom of Judah to Israel, by God’s command (see above verses), 70 years after their exile by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar.
At its peak, the Persian empire reached from the India to Greece, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The Persians are believed to have originated in Media, which today corresponds to western Iran and southern Azerbaijan. They settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf.
Another Map of Persian Empire from 500 B.C.
Map of Sasanian Empire from 1994 Encyclopaedia Britnnica Map of Current Iran
The Persians were Aryans, speaking one of the eastern Indo-European groups of languages. Two lines developed from an early leader, Teispes, who had conquered Elam in the time of the decline of the Assyrian Empire – one line in Anzan, the other in Persia. Cyrus II, king of Anzan, united the nation, and conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia. His son, Cambyses, took Egypt, which was later ruled by Darius, the son of Hystaspes. Persepolis (see map) was an ancient city of Persia that served as a ceremonial capital for Darius and his successors.
From a Biblical perspective, the Persians were a link in the chain of human empires that molded – the Egyptians, from which the Exodus occurred, the Assyrians, who conquered the “Lost Ten Tribes,” the Babylonians who conquered the southern Kingdom of Judah, the Persians who permitted the return to Jerusalem, the Greeks, who covered much of the time between the Old and New Testaments, and the Romans, who covered the time of Jesus Christ and beyond.
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