King Darius and Cyrus
Daniel the Prophet ranked high with King Darius for his
integrity. His associates hated him because he prevented graft. They knew
of no way to get hold of Daniel except on account of his religion. They
urged upon King Darius the influence that would accrue from announcing
himself the only one to be worshiped. They urged that this would impress
the people, make them more loyal to his government. They got a decree
issued that anybody worshiping any other god than Darius should be thrown
into a den of lions. Then they spied upon Daniel and convicted him. It was
a Medo-Persian law that royal decrees could never be ignored. Hence,
although King Darius was very sorry to know of his most faithful officer
being caught, he was unable to change the arrangement. His only hope was
that Daniel's God might do something for his deliverance.
Daniel was cast into the den of lions, but in the
morning was brought forth safe. Then those who had thus entrapped him, by
the King's command were cast into the den of lions, the same as Daniel,
and devoured.--Daniel 6:14-24.
At the end of the seventy years of the desolation of
Jerusalem, God stirred up the heart of Cyrus, who then was on the throne,
to issue a proclamation giving liberty to all Israelites to return to
Palestine. He also gave money, and decreed that the vessels of the Lord's
House, which had previously been taken, should be restored. Approximately
fifty thousand Israelites returned--so few out of the many taken into
captivity. The zealous, full of faith in the Abrahamic Promise, returned,
rebuilt the city, and, in Ezra's time, the Temple. The others had become
worldly-minded and interested in Babylon. Thus God separated the dross of
Israel to prepare them for Messiah. Yet the "Israelites indeed"
were few compared to the whole, when their day of visitation came.
The romantic story of Queen Esther, wife of King
Ahasuerus, follows the period of King Cyrus' decree.
Proclamation of King Cyrus
Liberation of the Jews