God is Judge

Chapter 9

A Commentary on the book of Daniel

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The Darius Problem


Daniel is often charged with historical inaccuracy but this is caused by a failure to recognise that the author subordinates history to theology. He does this in order to emphasize the central concerns of the exilic community. To achieve this, the author has deliberately “schematized” his history. A good example of his schematic historical approach is the account of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom that begins with Nebuchadnezzar and ends with Belshazzar. The former sovereign destroyed the temple and deported the Judeans (including Daniel) the latter committed sacrilege with the temple vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had plundered.


Thus Neo-Babylonian history begins and ends with the temple.  That the temple is central to Danielic theology is often overlooked. The erecting of Nebuchadnezzar’s “image of gold” which he compels the friends of Daniel to worship is a good example.  The date given for this incident in the LXX is the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.  This is significant because the temple was burned in the eighteenth regnal year (586/7). Critics believe that this is simply a gloss and that the LXX version has borrowed from Jer. 52.29 in order to provide a plausible reason for the ceremony, namely, pledging loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar. However, the strange dimensions of the image, which are disproportionate to any human form is probably a reflection of temple measurements found in the Ezekiel oracle (cf. Ezk.40:14; 41:1) and also in Ezra (6:3). Similarly, Nebuchadnezzar’s pride in the “house of the kingdom” (Dan.4:30) would remind the exiles of the destruction of God’s house. Therefore the elevation of the Babylonian god and the Babylonian house came at the expense of Yahweh’s house.  The centrality of the temple is also encountered in later chapters; anxiety over removal of the ‘daily’ (Dan.8:11) and concern for the sanctuary (Dan.9:17) demonstrate the importance of the temple motif to Danielic theology.

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The Neo-Babylonian Empire is therefore delineated by the first and last sovereigns, who both have negative links with the temple. The intervening kings are not mentioned (Evilmerodach, Neriglissar, Labashimarduk and Nabodinus) [1]  as they hold no interest for the Danielic author. Scholars have noted a similar tendency in contemporary Akkadian “prophetic” literature which compresses or presents selective chronologies.[2] There are no stories of Daniel in the royal court of Evilmerodach, Neriglissar, Labashimarduk, Nabodinus or Cyrus. Danielic history is not inaccurate - it is selective and subordinated to his theology.  The fact that Belshazzar was a co-regent or temporary ruler of Babylon rather than the “king”, or whether or not, he was a direct descendant (son) of Nebuchadnezzar misses the point that, for the Jews, he was the last de facto representative of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.  


The next king that we encounter in the narrative is “Darius the Mede”.[3] The narrative indicates that the Neo-Babylonian kingdom    Continued  ˃


[1] See Appendix 1 chapter 9: Ancient Near Eastern King-list as derived from “Ptolemy’s Canon”

[2] “Needless to say, the interpretation is problematic because of the jump (11. 10-11)  from  Tiglath-Pilesar  III  to  Nebuchadnezzar  without  any  appropriate  indication  of  the time  gap  involved”. Hermann Hunger and Stephen A. Kaufman, A New Akkadian Prophecy Text, (JSTOR, American Oriental Society Vol. 95, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1975), pp. 371-375), 374

[3] Ida Fröhlich, sums up the varying positions as follows – “He is a problematic figure. Opinions differ about him. On Darius see Waterman 1940:53-61; Torrey 1946:1-15; Galling 1954:19. For an overview of the various opinions and attempts at interpretation from the Middle Ages until today see Koch 1980: 191-93. In the more recent literature, Rowley (1935:54) considers him to be a ‘fictitious creation’ which confused and distorted the traditions relating to Darius Hystaspis and Cyrus; Delcor (1971:133) also considers it likely that the figure of ‘Darius the Mede’ is prefigured by Gubaru, whom we know from the end of the reign of Nabuna’id, and who was later appointed governor of Gutium by Cyrus. Gutium was identified with the territory of the Medes. Kratz (1991:17), based on the chronological system of Dan.1-6, sees him as the figure representing the Median period, a ruler between Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus (Dan.6:29). For an opposite view see Grabbe 1998.” Ida Fröhlich, Time and Times and Half a Time, Historical Consciousness in the Jewish Literature of the Persian and Hellenistic Eras, (JSP Supplements, Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 46-47. Norman Porteous states: “Every attempt to prove that there actually was such a monarch has failed. Astyages, the last king of the Median Empire, will not fit.  He had been conquered by Cyrus in 549 B. C.  Nor will Cyaxares II, the supposed uncle of Cyrus, suit any better.  He is no more than an invention of Xenophon’s.  Gobryas, the renegade Babylonian who became a general of Cyrus, may have acted as governor of Babylon but was certainly never king. The successor of the historical Nabonidus was the historical Cyrus and there never was a Darius between them. But there was a Darius, Darius Hystaspis, who captured Babylon after the death of Cambyses in 520 B. C. and the tradition of this capture and the name of the conqueror, with which may have been associated some memory of his achievements, may have been attached to the apocryphal figure. There are thus actual historical reminiscences as possible ingredients in the story, but we are for all that once more in the realm of legend” Norman Porteous, Daniel, (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1965), 83-84. See Appendix 5 Chapter 9: Responses to the problem of Darius the Mede

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passed directly into his hands rather than into the hands of Cyrus. Collins states; “In Daniel 6 Belshazzar is said to have been succeeded by “Darius the Mede”. In fact the king who overthrew the Babylonian kingdom was Cyrus the Persian. There was a later Persian Monarch named Darius, but history knows of no “Darius the Mede”.[4]  Critical scholarship understands “Darius the Mede” as a composite figure –“Darius the Mede”, mentioned only in Dan. 5:31 and 9:1, is understood by most scholars to be a composite created by the author of the book of Daniel because, they argue, texts like Isaiah 13:17 and 21:2, as well as Jeremiah 51:11, had looked forward to a Median    Continued  ˃

[4] John J. Collins, Daniel, 1-2 Maccabees, (Michael Glazier INC,1981),13

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capture of Babylon.[5] Accordingly we are left with either regarding “Darius the Mede” as a figment of the writers imagination (Porteous) or, we are dependent on unsatisfactory apologetic arguments to explain the historical anomalies. However, as already noted, Danielic chronology is schematic and subordinated to his theology; Daniel is disinterested in the conquest by Cyrus as it did not result in the anticipated restoration of the temple. The restoration of the temple occurred under Darius Hystaspis; therefore the author skips the intervening kings (Cyrus, Cambyses and Bardiya[6]) and proceeds directly to Darius Hystaspis, which he designates as “Darius the Mede”.


“Darius the Mede” as Darius Hystaspis


Cyrus the Persian, who figures so prominently in the Isaiah oracles and in the book of Ezra is barely mentioned in Daniel – Cyrus only functions as a structural marker.[7] There are no stories set during his [...continued on next page]


[5] J. M. Cook summarizes the scholarly position in his article on Darius in The Oxford Dictionary Companion to the Bible,(ed., Bruce M. Metzger, Michael D. Coogan, Oxford University Press, New York: Oxford,1993),153

[6] Bardiya (Bardia) is also known as Smerdis whose position was usurped by an imposter, a magian priest known as Gaumâta

[7] The mention of Darius and Cyrus (DC) at this juncture forms a structural marker which begins with Nebuchadnezzar-Cyrus (NC). Darius is mentioned first in order to achieve structural balance.
Colless proposes that Dan. 6:28 should be read as a ‘Waw Explicaitvium’ (“Darius even [that is] Cyrus” rather than “Darius and Cyrus”) thus demonstrating that Darius was an alternative appellative for Cyrus. Colless draws an analogy with 1 Chron. 5:26 and also points to the alternative appellations given to Daniel’s friends. Brian E. Colles, “Cyrus the Persian as Darius the Mede in the Book of Daniel”, JSOT 56, (1992):113-126. However, the latter example is introduced with a clear explanatory note “To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names.”(Dan. 1:7)  J. Collins (Hermeneia 1993:272) states that, “the balance between 6:29 and 1:21 supports the view that this point once marked the end of Daniel”. Our suggestion is that Daniel came out of “retirement” during the reign of Darius after witnessing the disappointing attempt at restoration under Cyrus. The OG version misunderstood this and has Cyrus succeeding Darius: “King Darius was gathered to his fathers and Cyrus the Persian succeeded to his kingdom”.

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reign. Collins observes that, “throughout the book of Daniel, the release of the Jewish exiles in the first year of Cyrus is ignored”. [8]


The lack of interest in Cyrus that we encounter in Daniel is mirrored in the post-exilic literature and has even lead some scholars to conclude that the original Cyrus edict did not exist;  “The fact that Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 do not refer to any earlier rebuilding attempt nor castigate the people for long-term neglect of the temple may be significant for interpreting the Cyrus edicts in Ezra 1-6 - Galling concludes that this means that the main repatriation took place close to the rebuilding under Darius (on the basis that only the Aramaic edict is authentic); Torrey thinks that this means that Cyrus issued no edict at all. Regardless of one’s position on the authenticity of the Cyrus edicts, had these prophets accepted the view, and indeed had the popular perception been, that the demise of the Babylonian empire and the edict(s) of Cyrus marked a new day for the Judeans, which included the return of Yahweh to Jerusalem/Zion and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, it is impossible that they could have neglected to address the issue of why Yahweh’s will was thwarted. The fact that these prophets see no need to explain the delay must mean that there was no perception that one existed. From this perspective there is no    Continued  ˃


[8] John J.Collins, Daniel, Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible,(Augsburg Fortress Press, Minneapolis,1993), 372

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need to speak of a “delay” in rebuilding, apart from a brief, recent one considered by Haggai”.[9]


Although we hesitate to deny the existence of the Cyrus edict, it is evident that it had a limited effect and was eventually “lost” in the Persian archives [10] this in itself reflects that there was a problem with the anticipated restoration. Moreover, it is untrue that Daniel was unaware of any delay, for he has no problem interpreting the dreams of foreign sovereigns, but is at a loss at understanding his own scriptures! Daniel himself requires the help of an angelic interpreter when he sought to determine the reason for the delay of the expected restoration prophesied by Jeremiah.


Daniel’s concern reflects the wider concerns of the exilic community, who understood the aborted attempt at restoration under Cyrus as a prophetic failure. However, the failure was caused by faulty interpretation not by prophetic break down – the terminus a quo was not 605 (start of the exile), but 586/587 (destruction of the temple). The interpretive period stretched from the fall of the Jerusalem temple to the completion of the temple exactly 70 years after it had been destroyed. It was finished in the sixth year of Darius Hystaspis (515/6). This is contemporary with Zechariah’s night visions (519/520), and with the revelation he received two years later, in which “these seventy years” are again mentioned (Zech. 7:5).


Despite the magnificent oracle in Isaiah, Cyrus was not the promised “anointed one” who would restore the fortunes of Zion. The two “sons of oil” or anointed ones were Joshua (the priest) and Zerubbabel (the governor) who were appointed during the reign of Darius Hystaspis; “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you” (Zech.4:9). Instead of the    Continued  ˃


[9] Peter Ross Bedford,Temple Restoration in the Early Achaemenid Judah (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, Brill Academic Publishers, The Netherlands: Leiden, 2001), 162 

[10] It was not found at Babylon, but at Achmetha (Ezra 6:2)

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restoration occurring under Cyrus (538/9), it happened some 21 years later during the reign of Darius Hystaspis (520/1). It is here that the book of Daniel comes to our rescue, for although reference to a Cyrus restoration is lacking, the Danielic author does note the 21 year delay.


The 21 year delay in restoration


“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Dan. 10: 3-4)


The state of mourning that Daniel induced in the third (OG first) year of Cyrus is not related to the “Day of Atonement” for it ended with the vision that he received on the 24th day of the first month – the Passover month.  In other words Daniel was mourning during the Passover – the feast that celebrated the exodus of the nation from the Egyptian exile. Daniel’s attitude reflected the attitude of the exilic community; they were in a state of mourning for three weeks – 21 days………because the restoration (that they expected under Cyrus) had been delayed 21 years until Darius Hystaspis;


“Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia………………Then he said, Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come”(Dan. 10:12-13,20).


The explanation reveals to Daniel the behind the scene actions of the “angels of the nations” as understood by the Septuagint (LXX), “When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the    Continued  ˃

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angels of God” (Deut. 32:8). Interestingly, the name Michael (Who is like God) is derivative (a personification?) of the poetic statement in the Song of the Sea; “Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Ex. 15:11) The Egyptian experience becomes paradigmatic for the Babylonian exiles in their hope for a “New Exodus”. It may seem that human resistance is preventing (delaying) the realization of the prophecy, but God is at work in the affairs of the nations. The same angel – Michael [11] is encountered in “heavenly warfare” in Zechariah 3:1 (which we believe to be contemporary with Daniel), where Michael functions as a defendant in a legal dispute against the prosecutor Satan, who accused the exilic priesthood (Joshua) of being unfit for office. The charge is that the Babylonian exile had contaminated the priests and made them ceremonially unclean and therefore unfit to represent the people in the temple rituals.


The first verse of Daniel 11 confirms that we are dealing with the same “Darius the Mede” (which we have identified as Darius Hystaspis), although this is treated as a “gloss” by some commentators,[12] the evidence presented in the Dead Sea Scrolls makes that assumption no longer valid. [13] Therefore the 21 year delay begins    Continued  ˃


[11] Although Michael is not named in Zechariah he was understood to be the defendant. This is reflected in Jewish midrash and in the New Testament: Jude 1:9 “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

[12] Norman Porteous (1965:155) states; “Most commentators agree that the words ‘and as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede’ are a gloss added by someone who did not realize that chapters 10 and 11 are continuous. The heading involves a quite unnatural leap back in time”.

[13] Collins observes (1993:376); “The argument that this half-verse is a gloss, introduced by analogy with the beginning of the other chapters, is undermined by 4QDanc, because this verse does not begin a new unit in the scroll. The date serves to identify the speaker with Gabriel (cf.9.1)”.

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in the first year of Cyrus (Dan. 10:1) and ends according to Dan.11:1 in the first year of Darius Hystaspis (our Darius the Mede). According to the MT the vision occurred in the third year of Cyrus, but the OG has the variant “first year”, this is usually taken as a harmonisation with Daniel 1:21, where we are informed that Daniel’s career endured until the first year of King Cyrus. If our identification of “Darius the Mede” with Darius Hystaspis is correct, then Daniels career was extended by an extra 21 years!   He came out of retirement because the restoration had been delayed! This would make an actual Daniel (assuming he was about 12 or 13 years old and responsible under the law and therefore fit for royal instruction, when deported to Babylon) about the same age as Abraham when he was circumcised (99 years old in Gen 17.1).  This is significant as Yahweh’s land covenant was about to be renewed with the exilic community (cf. Josh. 5.7).


The succession age of Darius the Mede


The reference to 62 years in Dan.6:1 (or 5:31 in some versions) is usually understood as a statement of Darius’ age at the time of his succession to the kingdom. However, the Greek Theodotion version of Daniel 6:1 reads literally: Darius the Mede- took-with the result that-kingdom-being-year-sixty-two.[14]


[14] LXT Daniel (TH) 6:1 καὶ Δαρεῖος ὁ Μῆδος παρέλαβεν τὴν βασιλείαν ὢν ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα δύο  The Aramaic version employs bar (Kebar) corresponding with the Hebrew ben, expressing the Hebraism, “son of” literally, “son of” – year - sixty-two. Elsewhere the Hebrew equivalent is virtually always (e.g. Gen.41.46; Lev.27.5; 2 Kgs.8.26; Jer.52.1) interpreted as a statement of age, however, in Dan. 7:1 the Aramaic (Kebar) is translated, “like the son of [man]”.  Note the doublet Mede/Mede in the Aramaic of Dan.6:1: וְדָרְיָוֶשׁ (u.driush) and.Darius (מָדָיָא) [מָדָאָה](mdi.a mda.e) Mede.the  Mede.the קַבֵּל (qbl) he-received מַלְכוּתָא (mlkuth.a) kingdom-the כְּבַר (k.br) as-son-of  שְׁנִין (shnin) years שִׁתִּין (shthin) sixty וְתַרְתֵּין (u.thrthin) and-two

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The chronological data of Herodotus imply that Darius Hystaspis was about twenty-eight years old when he succeeded to the throne; Cestias makes him eight years older.[15]  However, in Daniel we are informed that “Darius the Mede” is 62 years old. It is however, unlikely that Darius Hystaspis was 62 when he “took” the kingdom; previously he held the position of an officer in the “Ten Thousand Immortals” the elite Persian troops under Cyrus’ son Cambyses – a position normally reserved for a younger man.  This upsets our identification of “Darius the Mede” with Darius Hystaspis, alternatively, the 62 years may refer to something other than his succession age.  Charles Boutflower, who identifies Darius with Cambyses (son of Cyrus and co-regent), is forced to argue that a corruption in the MSS led to reading 62 instead of 12 in Hebrew notation.[16] Hebert Owen observes that, “Dr Charles in his Commentary on the Book of Daniel (p. 148), marks the words “being about threescore and two years old” as corrupt.  He says: “As far back as the eleventh century of our age these words have been a serious difficulty to Jewish scholars (Rashi, etc.), since they imply that the father of Darius must have been a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar when he plundered the temple. Besides, the mention of the exact age of Darius is without parallel in the rest of the book. Further, these words do not appear in the LXX, which instead reads “Full of days and glorious in old age”. [17]


According to Lister and Galling the number 62 is also associated with the omen seen by Belshazzar and is linked with the weight names discovered by Clermont-Ganneau (Journal Asiatique) in 1886.  Clermont-Ganneau made the suggestion that the inscription in Dan. 5:25-28 actually contained a string of weight names, viz.mēne, tekel and pēres with the meaning mina, shekel and half-mina, the last named word    Continued  ˃


[15]  Cook, The Persian Empire,(Schocken,1987),55

[16] Charles Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel,(Macmillan co.,: London, New York,Toronto,1923), 156

[17] Herbert Owen, “The Enigma of Darius the Mede: a Way to its Final Solution,” (Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 74 (1942): 72-98, 76

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being documented in the Mishna and other Jewish writings. It also appears from the Talmud, Ta ’anith 21b that a man who was twice as good as his father could be jokingly described as ‘a mina son of a half-mina’, the half –mina being represented by perās! [18] Lister and Galling suggest that if the mina in the latter is the 600g mina compromising 60 shekels (not the more usual Palestinian 500g mina compromising 50 shekels), then a mina, a shekel and (two) halves (of a shekel) come to 62 shekels.[19]  Therefore the omen, where the third word also puns on the Aramaic for “Persian”, codifies the number 62. The number is relevant because Nebuchadnezzar deported the last contingent of exiles in 581/2 (Jer. 52:30) - 62 years prior to Darius Hystaspis taking power (520/1).[20]  Daniel (and the exiles) were certainly concerned with the “number of the years” specified by Jeremiah (Dan. 9:2). The last Jews were deported in the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar (581/2);


“In the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred and forty-five persons.    Continued  ˃


[18] Porteous,82

[19] Brewer also posits a connection with 62 – he suggests that the “fingers” (plural) scratched cuneiform into the wall (which required translation into Aramaic and interpretation by Daniel): “This last week is divided into two periods of 3 1/2 years (Dn.9:27).  The reason for this division is not clear in the text, but one reason may be that the third possible numerical interpretation of ‘| | | +’ is ‘60,1,1, l/2’, i.e. 62 l/2.  A period of sixty-two weeks is therefore placed immediately before the first half week.  This not only leaves a period of seven weeks, but also provides a reason for dividing the last week into halves, thereby providing a link with chapter 7”. David Instone Brewer, Mene Mene Teqel Uparsin: Daniel 5:25 in Cuneiform,(Tyndale Bulletin 42.2 (Nov. 1991): 310-316,315

[20] See Appendix 4 Chapter 9: Chronology of the Exile and Restoration

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All the persons were four thousand six hundred”. (Jer. 52: 30)


Martin Kessler believes that this verse constituted the original ending of Jeremiah; “The very last part of Jeremiah (52:31-34) concerning the favouring of Jehoiachin was, in my opinion, borrowed from the book of Kings at a later stage and added to the book of Jeremiah. This means that the book originally ended with 52:30. Thus, an inclusion was formed by the Babylonian exile mentioned both at the beginning and ending of the book [of Jeremiah], emphasising the central place of the deportations of Judahites in the book”.[21] The assassination of Gedaliah which caused the last deportation in 581/2 left Judah devoid of aristocracy, leaving only the poorest in the land behind and completed the period that began with the destruction of the temple.  It was considered important enough to be commemorated with a fast (Tzom Gedaliah) referred to in Zechariah 8:19 as “The Fast of the Seventh”. If Kessler is correct then it is significant that the book of Jeremiah ends with the last deportation of the Judahites to Babylon (581/2) and “Darius the Mede” (Darius Hystaspis) commences his reign 62 years after this date (520/1) with the release of the captives, culminating in the fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy 70 years after the destruction of the temple (586/7).


Cambyses (who was Darius’ predecessor), had his brother Bardiya murdered in order to secure the throne, however, during his absence campaigning in Egypt (which he conquered in 525) the throne was usurped by Pathizithes and Gaumâta, (who were Median brothers but unrelated to Cambyses) who belonged to the cultic class often referred to as the “magi”. They ruled for seven months. Cambyses died (was murdered or committed suicide?) on the way to Babylon. As Cambyses had no son, his 28 year old commander Darius (who was also related to Cyrus through a different branch of the family) put down the rebellion in Babylon and took the throne.


[21] Martin Kessler, Reading The Book Of Jeremiah: A Search For Coherencey, (Eisenbrauns, 2004), 7-8 

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Henry Sayce observes, “The name Darius and the slaughter of the Chaldean king (Belshazzar) go together. They are alike derived from that unwritten history which in the East of to-day is still made by the people, and which blends together in a single picture the manifold events and personages of the past. It is a history which has no perspective, though it is based on actual facts; the accurate calculations of the chronologer have no meaning for it, and the events of a century are crowded into a few years, This is the kind of history which the Jewish mind in the age of the Talmud loved to adapt to moral and religious purposes. This kind of history thus becomes as it were a parable, and under the name of Haggadah serves to illustrate the teaching of the Law”.[22]


Although Sayce is partially correct in his assessment, this is not simply a case of conflation or confusion on the part of the author, for, as we observed earlier, Danielic chronology is deliberately schematic and subordinated to his theology. The writer is aware of the 21 year delay (and therefore also aware of the intermediate monarchs.....Cyrus, Cambyses and Bardiya) but he shows no interest in the intervening kings. The two events (overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus/restoration of Judah by Darius) are compressed into one event by the Danielic author, as though the 21 intervening years had not occurred. Is the author of Daniel justified in compressing these two separate events?  From a Judean perspective it is most certainly defensible, for Darius Hystaspis also overthrew Babylon in order to gain power!  Thus the embryonic process of restoration that commenced with the conquest of Babylon and removal of Belshazzar by Cyrus was only completed 21 years later with the overthrow of Babylon by Darius Hystaspis. Babylon would henceforth no longer exert a malign influence on the policy of restoration.


Ida Fröhlich (1996:46-7) observes that, “The statement about ‘the 62-year-old Darius, the Mede- in all probability the result of a later editorial insertion -signals the end of an era, and at the same time serves to foreshadow the story of ch.6 which takes place in the Persian    Continued  ˃


[22]Archibald Henry Sayce, The 'Higher Criticism' and the Verdict of the Monuments, (Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2004),529

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period, during the reign of Darius”. She points to the division of the year-weeks into: 7+62+1 in Dan 9.25 and concludes; “This much is certain, that the strange insertion does not belong to the narrative of Daniel 5, but has a structural function from the point of view of the entire book. It provides a bridge to the ‘Persian’ section. Daniel 6, and at the same time the number evokes the timetable of the contemporary world historical system”.


Recent work done by Jan-Wim Wesselius on the structure of Daniel tends to support the restoration under Darius Hystaspis as the period in question. In particular he notes the similarity in structure between Daniel and Ezra; “Similar features include: a break in the middle between six episodes and four; a comparable distribution of Hebrew and Aramaic parts; and the use of Aramaic to link effectively the two halves, with five Aramaic documents before and one after the separation between the two parts”. [23] Wesselius argues that the literary form of Daniel is dependent on Ezra – this explains the discontinuities (such as the different languages) in the form, which he characterizes as a “dossier”. Wesselius notes (2002: 303-4); “Of the additional agreements between Daniel and Ezra only a few are worth mentioning here in that they throw light on unusual or intertextual features of the first book. For example, the dimensions of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue in Daniel 3 – six by sixty cubits, which have amazed ancient and modern exegetes alike- look suspiciously like the dimensions of the Second Temple (sixty by sixty cubits according to Ezra 6:3), the foundations of which are laid in the parallel Ezra 3. Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s object of veneration is intertextually linked and contrasted with the place where faithful Jews like Daniel and his companions would pray after the Captivity, which would not have been possible had the statute featured more realistic dimensions such as 12x60 cubits or 6x30 cubits. In both Ezra and Nehemiah the confession of guilt in chapter 9 is pronounced after a period of mourning at the time of the מִנְחָה, the evening sacrifice in the Temple, which makes the association between the two closer. Finally, the    Continued  ˃


[23] Jan-Wim Wesselius, The writing of Daniel in The Book of Daniel, Composition and Reception, Vol.2, (eds., J.J. Collins and P.W. Flint, Boston: Leiden, Brill,2002),299

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corresponding documents in Ezra 5:7-17 and Daniel 4 are the only ones to narrate the main action in a letter, from Nebuchadnezzar to all nations of the world in Daniel and from Tattenai to king Darius in Ezra 9”. If Jan-Wim Wesselius’ observations and conclusions are correct, they provide further evidence for identifying “Darius the Mede” with the period of Darius Hystaspis.


Darius Hystaspis and 490 days


The identification of “Darius the Mede” with Darius Hystaspis makes him (and Daniel) contemporary with the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.  In Zechariah’s days there were stated fasts in the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th months (Zech.8:19), to commemorate the commencement of the siege of Jerusalem in the 10th month (2 Kgs.25:1), its capture in the 4th month (2 Kgs.25:3, 4; Jer.52:6, 7), the destruction of the temple in the 5th month (2 Kgs.25:8, 9), and the murder of Gedaliah and the Jews that were with him in the 7th month (v.25). According to Danielic chronology the “Seventy prophecy” (Dan.9:25) was received in the first year of “Darius the Mede” (Dan.9:1). If our identification with Darius Hystaspis is correct and if Daniel’s fast was on the ninth day of the fifth month (which commemorates the destruction of the temple), then the prophecy was initiated 490 days [24] (cf.70x7) later during the second year of Darius Hystaspis (Hag.2:10);


“On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying.......From this day I will bless you. And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, Speak to    Continued  ˃


[24] A period of 490 days separates the fast that commemorates the destruction of the temple from the feast that celebrates the rededication (Hanukkah) of the temple. The calculations are based on the Jewish Lunar Calendar (see Appendix 2 Chapter 9.) which has 355 days in a “perfect year”, counting “perfect” months - from the ninth day of the fifth month (Ab) in the first year until the twenty fifth day of ninth month (Chislev) in the second year.

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Zerubbabel, governor of Judah ................ and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Hag.2:10,19-23).


The very next day, the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month (Chislev) is celebrated by the Jews as the Feast of Lights or Hanukkah. The prophecy of Zechariah with the theme of the two lamp stands is central to the theme of “lights” and the feast is also intimately linked with the Maccabean rededication of the temple. 490 days is a symbolic representation of Jubilee restoration and points to the return and rebuilding of the temple under Joshua and Zerubbabel (the two lamp stands) during the reign of Darius Hystaspis.  Moreover, the vision that Daniel received in the third year (OG-first year?) of Cyrus in Dan.10.4 on the twenty fourth day of the first month culminates 21 years and 500 days later in the second year of Darius on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, when the rebuilding of the temple commences (Ezra 4:24; Hag.1:15; 2:18).[25]  This is significant as it is a matter of debate amongst the rabbis whether the Jubilee period is 49 years or 50 years (inclusive reckoning)[26] - - thus both eventualities (i.e. 490/500) are covered! All the circumstantial evidence reinforces the identification of “Darius the Mede” mentioned in Daniel 6:1(5:31); 9:1 and 10:4 with Darius Hystaspis. Moreover, the “seventy” prophecy of Daniel chapter    Continued  ˃


[25] It has been assumed that both dates employ the festal calendar but the calculation can vary depending on whether the first month is Nissan (using the festal calendar) or Tishri (using the civil calendar). If one of these dates employs the festal calendar while the other employs the civil calendar there would be exactly 21 years between the vision and the commencement of building.


[26] This conflict of interpretation over the correct length of the jubilee period is one that continues to divide scholars and theologians to this day, just as it divided rabbis in earlier times. See, for example, Talmud tractates Rosh Hashanah 9a; Arakin 12b; and Abodah Zarah 9b. See also, Paula Gooder, The Pentateuch: A Story of Beginnings, (London:Continuum,2000),97

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nine takes on a new significance in that it has an initial realization in the time of Zechariah/Haggai.


Other considerations in identifying Darius


Darius Hystaspis is predominately known for his organisational abilities and administrative skills which helped to consolidate his expansive empire. This fits the portrayal of “Darius the Mede” in Dan.6, where we are informed that he appointed satrapies to ensure the smooth running of his realm. According to Herodotus 3.89, “he proceeded to establish twenty governments of the kind which the Persians call satrapies, assigning to each its governor, and fixing the tribute which was to be paid him by the several nations.” Daniel has a figure of 120 satrapies, but the Old Greek (OG) version has 127, which corresponds with the number of provinces in Esther 1.1; 8.9 and 1 Esdr.3.2. The discrepancy with Herodotus’ account is probably due to the flexibility of the word “satrap” which was also used for lesser officials by the Greek historians (Xenophon, Diodorus), and the Aramaic word for governors of areas smaller than satrapies.[27]


An objection that is often voiced is that Darius Hystaspis was Persian rather than Median and that the kingdom itself was Persian rather than Medo-Persian as suggested by Daniel.  H. Sayce (2004:529), who states, “More serious is the styling of Darius as a Mede. For both Cyrus and Darius Hystaspis were certainly Persians. But if our author [of Daniel] supposed that Darius preceded Cyrus, this further mistake would naturally follow.  For he might well know that Cyrus established the Persian empire, and the knowledge that there had been a Median empire earlier than the Persian would lead him to call Darius a Mede”.


On his tomb Darius proclaimed himself, “a Persian the son of a Persian, an Aryan of Aryan stock”.  Darius Hystaspis was a kinsman of Cyrus. Darius recorded that, “Eight of my family have been kings before me. I am the ninth. In two branches we have been kings”.[28]


[27] J.M. Cook, The Persian Empire, (Schocken,1987),77

[28] See Appendix 3 Chapter 9: The Lineage of Darius Hystaspis

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According to Herodotus, Cyrus was the offspring of a union between a Persian noble called Cambyses and Mandane, a daughter of the Median king Astyages. J.M. Cook observes that, “under Cyrus the Medes were to some extent co-rulers of the empire; in fact for several centuries the outside world continued to apply the name “Mede” to the imperial power (see e.g. Esther 1.3).[29] But after Darius usurped the throne the Medes rose unsuccessfully in revolt (522-521 BCE) and lost such privileged status as they had enjoyed”. This would explain Darius’ emphasis on his Persian lineage. The “Darius the Mede” of Daniel becomes the “Darius the Persian” of Nehemiah (12:22)[30] reflecting the diminished influence of the Medes in the coalition.   The book of Daniel portrays just such an unequal coalition, “the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last” (Dan.8.3)……….. “The ram which you saw, having the two horns -- they are the kings of Media and Persia” (Dan.8.20).


The final objection with identifying “Darius the Mede” with Darius Hystaspis is the description of him as the “son of Ahasuerus” in Dan.9.1. The OG version has him as the son of Xerxes when he was in actual fact the father of Xerxes. One work around employed by conservative apologists is to regard “Ahasuerus” (Hero among rulers)


[29] J. M Cook, Darius in The Oxford Dictionary Companion to the Bible, (ed., Bruce M. Metzger, Michael David Coogan, Oxford University Press, USA, annotated edition, 1993),507. H. Sayce (2004:529) comments, “From the reign of Darius onwards the Medes were not only fused with the Persians but were even named before them. Indeed in the earlier Greek writers, the name of Persian is entirely supplanted by that of Mede”.

[30] Defenders of “Darius the Persian” in Nehemiah 12:22 as Darius Hystaspis include Albright (“The Date and Personality of the Chronicler”, JBL 40, 1921, p.113) and Myers (Ezra-Nehemiah, .AB 14.Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965, p.198-99). Moreover, the administrative requirement for a priestly register is precisely the sort of detail that we would expect to find during the reign of Darius Hystaspis.

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as an appellative or title [31] of the Median king Cyaxares, father of Astyages (who was father-in-law of Cyrus).[32]  It may be that Darius Hystaspis is being identified as the ancestor of the original Median conqueror of Nineveh from 612 BC (a transliteration of the Akkadian U-ak-sa-tar). However, the existence of variants, with the OG having Xerxes receiving the kingdom in Dan.5:30 (in Pap.967), suggests that we are dealing with editorial clarification of the doublet in Dan. 5:31/6:1............ מדָיָא מדָאָ֔ה [māḏāyāʼ māḏāʼāʰ] (the Mede, the Mede or the Mede of Medes?)[33].  We should then probably regard Dan.9:1 as [...continued on next page]


[31] The name in the Persepolitan arrow-headed inscriptions is Kshershe. Xerxes is explained by Herodotus as meaning “martial”; the modern title “shah” comes from ksahya, “a king”, which forms the latter part of the name; the former part is akin to shir, a lion. The Semitic Ahashverosh equates to the Persian Khshayarsha, a common title of many Medo-Persian kings.

[32] See Appendix 3 Chapter 9: The Lineage of Darius Hystaspis. Josephus says that he was the son of Astyages, but was known to the Greeks by another name. (Jos.Antiq.10.11.4). The Westminster Bible Dictionary adds, Perhaps, then, he was Cyaxerxes, son and successor of Astyages and father and maternal uncle of Cyrus (Xenophon, Cyropaedia i. 5, 2; viii.5, 17-20). The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, by John D. Davis, revised and rewritten by Henry Snyder Gehman, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1944), 130. Cyaxares II was said to be a king of the Medes whose reign is described by the Greek historian Xenephon. However, many scholars debate whether such a king ever actually existed as he is not mentioned at all in the history of Heredotus, or in the very different history of Ctesias. According to Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, Cyaxares II followed king Astyages to the throne of the Mede Empire, and was also brother of Mandane, Cyrus the Great’s mother. However, see Porteous (ibid, note 1), who responds: “Nor will Cyaxares II, the supposed uncle of Cyrus, suit any better.  He is no more than an invention of Xenophon’s”.

[33] Rather than an emphatic for emphasis possibly nothing more than Kethib-Qere variants of Mede; at certain places the Masoretes preserved a tradition that differed from the ‘consonantal text.’  Since the ‘consonantal text’ was considered sacred and inviolable, the Masoretes added the traditional reading in the margin, and placed the vowels of the traditional reading, together with a mark calling attention to the note, on the ‘consonantal text’. The ‘consonantal text’ is called ‘kethib’, ‘written’. The Masoretic addition of vowel points and marginal letters is called ‘qri’ or ‘qere’. The double mention of Mede (Md Md) may also carry poetic resonance with the double Mene (Mn Mn) in Dan. 5:25.

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originally reading the same as Dan. 5:31/6:1 without any reference to Xerxes or Ahasuerus but simply reading “Darius the Mede.”




All the lines of evidence point towards indentifying “Darius the Mede” with Darius Hystaspis (Darius the Great), who was contemporary with Zechariah and Haggai. The awaited restoration predicted by Jeremiah did not occur during the reign of Cyrus (who is largely ignored) but was delayed 21 years until the reign of Darius. The structure of Daniel bears similarities with Ezra and the “age” of Darius also provides a linking function with the Persian restoration.


Similarities also link the reigns of Cyrus and Darius, who both conquered Babylon and commanded the Persian army that captured the city. Daniel’s reference to Darius organising the empire by appointing satraps and administrators fits the historical recollection of Darius Hystaspis as he is known to history as the Persian king par excellence who professionalised the empire’s bureaucracy and organised it into satrapies and tax districts. Finally, as Josephus noted, Darius was an important figure in Jewish history, remembered as a king associated with Cyrus (cf. Ezra 1-6) who permitted the repatriated exiles to return the temple vessels and rebuild their temple.


For Daniel history is employed as a theological medium that functions to highlight exilic concerns, namely, rebuilding the temple and Jewish    Continued  ˃

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restoration.[34] As such history is viewed from a unique Jewish/divine perspective; Danielic history is therefore selective and subordinate to his theology.  That Daniel’s history is selective should not surprise us, as only four Persian kings[35] are named in the Bible: Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:5-7; Dan.11.2). Selectivity is of course not the same as inaccuracy; nevertheless, we should not regard Scripture as a divine history book. Jerome commented that, “the Spirit of prophecy was not concerned about preserving historical detail but in summarizing only the most important matters”.


Appendix 1 Chapter 9:

Ancient Near Eastern King-list as derived from “Ptolemy’s Canon”


king list

[34]Besides the restoration of the temple (a central theme) we have other exilic themes such as persecution and Jewish engagement with wider gentile society.

[35] Of course, there was more than one king named Darius and more than one named Artaxerxes

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Jewish Calendar


* In every month the new moon falls on the 1st. day of the month. Defective year = 353 or 354 days. Perfect year = 355 days. Leap year = 385 days.


Appendix 3 Chapter 9: The Lineage of Darius Hystaspis


A comparison of the Behistun inscription and the Cyrus Cylinder demonstrates that Darius the Great and Cyrus the Great shared a common ancestor in Teispes: Inscription on top of the Behistun relief, to the left of the flying figure of Ahuramazda: I am Darius, the great king, king of kings, king in Persia, king of all nations, the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arasmes, the Achaemenid. King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes. The father of Hystaspes is Arsames. The father of Arsames is Ariaramnes. The father of Ariaramnes is Teispes. The father of Teispes is Achaemenes. 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, in two lines, we have been kings.  Cyrus Cylinder: He son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anšan, grandson of Cyrus, great king, king of Anšan, descendant of Teispes, great king, king of Anšan

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Lineage of Darius

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In the Companion Bible (Appendix 57) Bullinger argues that Arsames and Cambyses are actually different names (or appellatives) for the same person. He also enumerates Hystaspes the father of Darius Hystaspis as the eighth king and remarks that “when Darius (Hyst.) says “in two lines we have been kings”, he must refer to the Lydian and Medo-Persian lines”.


Bullinger’s apologetic is contrived; Hystaspes the father[36] of Darius the Great (Hystaspis) was never a king. The last Median king was Arsames the grandfather of Darius the Great, the father of Darius was the satrap (provincial governor) of Parthia but was never a king. It is true that the royal Lydian line was related to the Median line by marriage. This occurred when the great-grandfather of Darius (Cyaxares) signed a peace treaty with the Lydians, (585 BC) with whom he had been fighting for five years. A diplomatic marriage was arranged to celebrate the treaty: Aryenis, a sister of the Lydian king Croesus, was married to the Median crown prince Arsames (Astyages) the grandfather of Darius. However, the Lydian connection can hardly have been of consequence to Darius who was seeking to establish a legitimate claim on the Persian throne that he had seized, especially as other Persian nobles had stronger claims. Jona Lendering[37] comments; “In the first    Continued  ˃


[36] He is mentioned in the founding inscription (known as DSf) from the royal palace which Darius built at Susa after 520: King Darius says: “Ahuramazda, the greatest of the gods created me, made me king, bestowed upon me this kingdom, great, possessed of good horses, possessed of good men. By the favor of Ahuramazda my father Hystaspes and Arsames my grandfather were both living when Ahuramazda made me king in this earth”.

[37] The information for reconstructing the lineage of Darius the Great is culled from “Livius” by Jona Lendering – who quotes the following sources for the translation of the Behistun inscription: L.W. King and R.C. Thompson (The sculptures and inscription of Darius the Great on the rock of Behistûn in Persia, 1907 London). Translation of the Cyrus Cylinder is a modified version of Mordechai Cogan’s, which was published in W.H. Hallo and K.L. Younger, The Context of Scripture. Vol. II: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World (2003, Leiden and Boston), now adapted to Schaudig’s edition with the help of Bert van der Spek and Mr. M. Stolper. Website by Jona Lendering, Livius: Articles on Ancient History [online cited May 2009] Behistun inscription:  Access here Cyrus Cylinder:  Access here The Magians:  Access here Darius:  Access here

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place, he had to ally himself to the house of Cyrus and Cambyses. To be fair, he was related to these men, but from a distance: he and Cambyses had the same great-great-grandfather. No doubt, there were other Persian aristocrats who were closer related to Cambyses and Cyrus. Darius married three times to improve his position”.[38] It is against this background that we have to assess Darius’ claim to be Persian: “I am Darius the Great King, King of Kings, King of countries containing all kinds of men, King in this great earth far and wide, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage”.[39] Another reason for Darius’ reluctance to admit his Median heritage may be due to the rebellion by the Magian (Gaumâta) who was a Mede. Jona Lendering notes that the Magians were considered to be Medes from a brief remark in Herodotus’ Histories that the Magians were a Median tribe (1.101).


Little is known of Darius’s mother, but she may have been Persian. We already have an example of inter-dynastic marriage when the Persian king Cambyses married Mandane, the daughter of the Median king Arsames. Thus, when Darius states that “in two lines we have been kings”, he must refer to the Median and Persian lines. The Medes    Continued  ˃


[38] He married two daughters of Cyrus and the daughter of the “real” Smerdis/Bardiya (brother of Cambyses).

[39] Darius The Great’s Inscription at Naqshe Rostam

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and Persians had common ancestry. However, Darius chose to stress his Persian heritage and ignore his Median origins. The Medes were of greater antiquity than the Persians and the Madai are even mentioned in Gen 10:2 among the sons of Japheth (no Persians mentioned). So the author of Daniel was most certainly correct in designating Darius as a Mede despite Darius’ protestations to the opposite.

Chronology of the exile

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Appendix 5 Chapter 9:

Responses to the problem of Darius the Mede


Against[40] the argument that no ruler of this name is recorded elsewhere, some writers have attempted to identify him with other figures of the period. Among writers maintaining an early date for the Book of Daniel, there are several interpretations of the identity of Darius the Mede.


  • On the difficulty of ascertaining the correct view, H.H. Rowley states: “The references to Darius the Mede in the book of Daniel have long been recognized as providing the most serious historical problems in the book.” [41] His view concludes that Darius is just another name for Cyrus the Great, who captured Babylon on October 15, 539 BC.
  • Another view, promoted by John Whitcomb (though first proposed by E. Babelon in 1883) in his 1959 book, Darius the Mede says that Darius is another name for the historical figure of Gubaru (sometimes spelled as Ugbaru).
  • The third view (also that of Syncellus) sees Darius as another name for Astyages, the last Mede king who was ultimately deposed by Cyrus. Josephus makes Darius the son of Astyages, and uncle of Cyrus.
  • Several scholars in the past (including Calvin, Ussher and John Gill) as well as in more recent times (e.g. Keil and Delitzsch[42]) have thus attempted to identify ‘Darius the Mede’ with    Continued  ˃


[40] This appendix is cited in full (including footnotes) from Wikipedia [cited online 22 May 2009] Access here

[41]  H. H. Rowley, Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel, (University of Wales Press,1959)  

[42] Vol. 6, p. 546-548

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Cyaxares II, who is mentioned as having the same relationships by Xenophon[43]


“Darius the Mede” as Cyrus the Great: Unlike Gubaru or Astyages, Cyrus the Great of Persia was the king who took over the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus was also married to a Mede, and had a Median mother.[44] An analysis of variant early texts, particularly the Septuagint, reveals that the names “Darius” (דריוש DRYWS in Hebrew) and “Cyrus” (כורש KWRS) are reversed in 11:1, and may have been miscopied elsewhere. The appellation “Mede” (Heb. מדי MDY) may have been used as an ethnic term to apply to Persians as well, who were of the same race.[45] In addition, Dan. 6:28, “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian,” could also be translated, “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Furthermore, kings commonly took dual titles and Nabonidus, Cyrus’ cousin, referred to Cyrus as “the king of the Medes.” [46]

“Darius the Mede” as Gubaru/Ugbaru: Gubaru was the governor of Gutium, who actually led Cyrus’s army that captured Babylon in the month of Tashritu in the 17th year.[47] Two weeks later Cyrus made his triumphal entry into Babylon and a week after that Gubaru died. It is possible that Cyrus would have rewarded Gubaru with a regional    Continued  ˃


[43] Much of the information on Cyaxares II is related in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia 1.4,7, iii.3, 20, viii.5, 19, causing many other scholars to suppose he is the Darius described by Josephus; however the omission of Cyaxares II by Herodotus and Ctesias has caused other scholars (eg. Blum, Fred P. Miller) to question his existence.


[44] Stephen R. Miller, Daniel (New American Commentary, 18; Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994), 149.

[45] e.g., as stated in Hippolytus’ Diamerismos, §204, among other places.

[46] Stephen R. Miller, Daniel (New American Commentary, 18; Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994), 149.

[47] According to the Nabonidus Chronicle.


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governorship for capturing the capital of the Babylonian Empire and virtually ending the war.  Furthermore, under the first translation of Dan. 6:28, Darius ruled during the reign of Cyrus, and Dan. 5:31 states that Darius the Mede “received the kingdom” of the Chaldeans. Complicating this view is the question of whether or not Gubaru and Ugbaru are two different people, or simply variant spellings of the same name. Also, verse 1 of “Bel and the Dragon” (chapter 14 in Greek Daniel) references Astyages the Mede, who was indeed the last king before Cyrus; but nearly the same verse is added in the Greek LXX after the end of chapter 6, only reading “Darius” in place of “Astyages”. (LXX Dan. 14:1 and Dan 6:29)


“Darius the Mede” as king of the Medes: Talmudic and midrashic sources describe Darius the Mede as the uncle and father-in-law of Cyrus the Great, to whom Cyrus owed fealty. After Darius’s death, Cyrus took the throne. According to Yossipon, the Ahasuerus in the book of Esther was the son of Darius the Mede. The Midrash Tanchuma describes the fall of Babylon as described in Daniel and adds to the narrative Darius taking Vashti, the daughter of Belshazzar, as a wife for his son Ahasuerus.