Charles V. Taylor: The Times of the 'Great Kings' of Persia
Young's Concordance tells us that:
Ezra 4:7,8,11,23 refer to Cambyses as
Ezra 7:1,7,11,12,21 and 8:1, and Nehemiah 2:1,
and 5:14 and 13:6 refer to 'Longimanus'
(Successor to Darius Hystaspes).
Ezra 6:14 may be 'contemporary with Darius'5
区分玛代的大流士 和 大流士大帝（Dalius the Great）
14 犹大长老因先知哈该和易多的孙子撒迦利亚所说劝勉的话就建造这殿，凡事亨通。他们遵著以色列 神的命令和波斯王古列、大利乌、亚达薛西的旨意，建造完毕。
I will try to show by reasoning that Ezra 6:14 may
in fact refer to Darius himself, using the title
Artaxerxes in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar
used its Babylonian form (English: 'Great King'),
probably to strengthen his claim to the throne of the
Empire, since he was not in direct succession.
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PERES 一语三关
In order to date the Persian kings in accordance
with figures found in Scripture, there are two points
not appealed to by Velikovsky:
(a) Daniel's prophecies, and
(b) the meaning of 'Artaxerxes'.
The name 'Artaxerxes' is not truly a personal
name, but is a titular name like 'Pharaoh' and
It's also important to note that the name
Xerxes has nothing to do with the title Artaxerxes.
Xerxes stands for the personal name
Akhashverosh,to which the Latin Ahasuerus of the
book of Esther (KJV) bears some resemblance. No
doubt the similarity between Xerxes and Artaxerxes
gave rise to misunderstandings even among Greek
historians and so landed us where we are today in
the confusion which all scholars admit exists in the
annals of Persia.
(a) Co-regencies between (especially) father and
son, which reduce absolute chronologies by the
(b) The effect of what today we call 'coups', after
which a new ruler (often related to a previous
ruler) may attempt to alter records, sometimes
ascribing part of a predecessor's rule to himself,
since he thinks he ought to have been ruler then
(c) Dynasties splitting into two or more families,
which then rule in geographically separated
parts of the country. However, later annalists,
seeking to claim antiquity for their rulers, may
list them separately, so that today's scholars may
understand them in sequential terms.
(d) Rulers using more than one name: often up to
five, for different purposes. Velikovsky makes
much of this in synchronising events.
The traditional dating rests almost entirely on a
certain 'Ptolemy' properly called Claudius
Ptolemaeus, of the second century AD, that is, about
600 years later than the events he was recording. He
wasn't basically a historian and his chronology of
Persia is derived in part from calculations by one
Eratosthenes of Libya, who devised a calendar on the
basis of astronomical figures of doubtful value, and
not on written records. Ptolemy's list of ten kings
gave rise to the traditional chronology. But the
important point to note is that we have no
contemporary annals for the times of Imperial Persia
after Darius Hystaspes (the Great). Ptolemy's figures
produce a total of 205 years, whereas Persian
tradition itself gives a total of only 52 for the same
Daniel 9:24-26 prophesies 483 years to the start
of a 'week' of years. In the middle of that week 'shall
Messiah be cut off. If this refers to the crucifixion of
the Messiah, then that event must be about 486 Vz
years from the starting date for the prophecy, which
is given as 'the commandment to restore and to build
Jerusalem'. This edict must have been given round
about 457 BC on our calculation.
Ezr 6:14 犹大长老因先知哈该和易多的孙子撒迦利亚所说劝勉的话就建造这殿，凡事亨通。他们遵著以色列 神的命令和波斯王古列、大利乌、亚达薛西的旨意，建造完毕。
约瑟夫斯记载波斯从古列王开始共有6个王 p131 倒数第二段
支持 Ezra 6:15, 7:1,7-8 中的“亚达薛西”指大流士的理由：
It does seem as if the names Darius
and Artaxerxes are interchangeable in Ezra,
especially in view of the fact that in Ezra 6:15, the
Temple is stated to have been completed in the sixth
year of Darius. Then in 7:1 ('after this') we find Ezra
arriving in Jerusalem in the seventh year of
Artaxerxes. This again would mean a 40-year break
which the text doesn't seem to support.
In such constructions so translated, Hebrew waw
is equivalent to 'that is'. That it should not always be
translated 'and' is well known to Hebrew scholars.
It is also noteworthy that Ezra 6:14 is
immediately followed by 6:15, suggesting that
decrees to finish the work on the Temple were not
required after Darius, hence those at the time may
have understood no conflict here if they knew Darius
was 'Artaxerxes', the 'Great King'.
My thesis is that this term became
confused with Xerxes, regarded as a personal name,
and was then applied by Greek scholars to the great
kings of the Achaemenid Empire without regard to
any overall or absolute dating.
It might be urged that this article has ignored
what appears to be a well-documented period of
Greek history. But in actual fact, not only the Persian
but also the post-Alexandrian period has no supraregnal
elapsed time markers apart from Ptolemy's
canon, which assumed Seleucid rulers never
overlapped. I find it hard to believe Seleucus Nicator
was fighting at age 73 (some say 77) that a Ptolemy
father-son-grandson succession stretched 102 years,
and that there were no unrecorded overlaps.
Ussher, J., The Annals of the World, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2003.
If these kings are the same then, naturally, we would also expect to find Darius Hystaspis referred to as Artaxerxes in the Apocryphal Books. And this is exactly what we find. These books are not ‘God breathed’ but they do provide valuable historical information.
In these books, the Ahasuerus of Esther and the Darius Hystaspis of Ezra 6:14–15 are both identified as the same king, Artaxerxes (cf. Esdras 3:1–2; 6:5, Esther 1:1–3, Ezra 6:15, and agreed to by Ussher, Jones, Anstey and Mauro). In the Rest of Esther (Apocrypha), and in the LXX throughout, Ahasuerus is everywhere called Artaxerxes. It was Artaxerxes who Bigthana and Teresh (Esther 6:2), translated as Gabatha and Tharra (Rest of Esther 12:1), sought to lay hands on. It was the great King Artaxerxes who wrote ‘to the princes and governors that are under him from India unto Ethiopia, in 127 provinces’ (Rest of Esther 13:1).
There is nothing in these Apocryphal Books that militates against the proposition that Darius Hystaspis, Ahasuerus of Esther and Artaxerxes of Ezra 7:1 are the same one king. Rather, these books support this.
According to the Medes and Persians, ‘there is one law of his [the king] to put to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre’ (Esther 4:11), any that comes into the inner court without the king’s authority. That sceptre was given to Esther, at least twice (Esther 5:2; 8:4) by Darius Hystaspis (Ahasuerus of Esther, Artaxerxes of Ezra 7:1, etc.). So it is no surprise to see the Queen ‘also sitting by’ Artaxerxes (i.e. Darius Hystaspis) in his 20th year (Nehemiah 2:6), when Nehemiah came to see him about the need to repair the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down.
If Darius and Artaxerxes are one and the same king (as above), then we can expect a similarity in phraseology, family life etc. This we also find:
So in reading and understanding the above, Daniel would know that two decrees were not necessary, i.e. one for the building of the temple and one for the city. Daniel would also discern that no further authority was required other than that given by Cyrus.
Confirmation of Cyrus’ decreed authority, (as understood by Daniel in his reading of the books—Isaiah 44:28, etc.) and being the Law of the Medes and Persians which ‘altereth not’ (Daniel 6:12), is found in secular history (Josephus) and evidenced in the letter sent to the governors in Syria. The contents of the letter are as follows:
‘King Cyrus to Sisinnes and Sathrabuzanes sends greeting. I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in my country as please to return to their own country, and to rebuild their city, and to build the temple of God at Jerusalem on the same place where it was before’.22
According to an editorial comment on this letter, ‘This leave to build Jerusalem, sect. 3, and this epistle of Cyrus … are most unfortunately omitted in all our copies but this best and most complete copy of Josephus’. Why then does Floyd Jones clearly imply that the decree of Cyrus only related to the building of the temple?19
Josephus, F., The New Complete Works of Josephus, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, Book 11, Ch. 1, sections 1–3, 1999.
‘Yet despite the fact that he [Ptolemy] is merely a late second century compiler writing nearly a hundred years after Christ Jesus, he is our only authority, for no other system bridges the gulf from 747 BC to AD 137 [emphasis added].’34
‘The length of this Persian Period is contradicted (1) by the national traditions of Persia, (2) by the national traditions of the Jews, (3) by the testimony of Josephus, and (4) by the conflicting evidence of well-authenticated events.’
Darius himself, described in Daniel 5:31 as “Darius the Median,” is properly identified as Gobryas or Gubaru, a governor of Babylon appointed by Cyrus the supreme monarch of the empire of the Medes and the Persians. (Cyrus II or Cyrus the Great reigned from 559 b.c. until he was killed in battle in 530 b.c.) Darius the Mede is mentioned a number of times in Daniel (6:1, 6, 9, 25, 28; 9:1; 11:1). Darius seems to have reigned under Cyrus in governing the southern portion of the kingdom known as the Fertile Crescent. The statement that “Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (Daniel 6:28) must therefore be interpreted as the reign of Darius under the contemporary reign of Cyrus.