The Cyrus Cylinder
Did Cyrus the Persian praise the Jewish God?
The Cyrus Cylinder is an important discovery in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it speaks of Cyrus the Persian and his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. as mentioned in Scripture.
Cyrus II, the Great was the founder and ruler of the vast Persian Empire from 539 B.C. until his death in 530 B.C. Once Cyrus had defeated the Median king, Astyages and took Ecbatana he expanded his kingdom defeating Croesus, king of Lydia in 546 BC, and then conquered Babylon in 539 BC overthrowing Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. The Persian Empire was formed. Cyrus was a generous ruler allowing various captives to return to their homelands, as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder. Xenophon, Nabonidus and many others gave Cyrus praise for his generous leadership.
Judea had remained a Persian province for the next two hundred years until the time that the Bible records "the decree of Cyrus" giving permission to the Hebrew captives to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple.
Cyrus also restored the vessels of the House of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar II had taken to Babylon, and provided the funds to bring cedar trees from Lebanon.
"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!" - 2 Chronicles 36:22-23
"Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid." ' - Isaiah 44:28
"King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem." - Ezra 1:7-11
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