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The Great Empires of Prophecy, from Babylon to the Fall of Rome

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    Darius Supports the Jews—The Provinces and Revolts—A Lover of Truth-Telling

    DARIUS himself took the throne, 521 B. C., early in the year. Next to Cyrus, he seems to have been the greatest of the kings of Persia. His genealogy he gives as thus:—GEP 67.1

    “I am Darius, the great king, the king of kings, the king of the Persians, the king of the lords, the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arsames, the Achaemenian.GEP 67.2

    “And Darius the king says: My father is Hystaspes; and the father of Hystaspes’s father was Ariaramnes; and Ariaramnes’s father was Teispes; and Teispes’s father was Achaemenes.GEP 67.3

    “And Darius the king says: On that account we called ourselves Achaemenian of race: from ancient times we have been mighty, from ancient times we have been kings.GEP 67.4

    “And Darius the king says: Eight kings of my race have before me held the kingdom. I am the ninth, who hold the kingdom. Twice have we been kings.”GEP 67.5

    2. Further, “Darius the king says: The kingdom which had been robbed from our race, I restored it. I put again in its place. AS it had been before me, thus I did. I re-established the temples of the gods which Gomates the Magian had destroyed, and I reinstituted, in favor of the people, the calendar and the holy language, and I gave back to the families what Gomates the Magian had taken away. And I replaced (the) people in their ancient state, as well the Persians, as the Medians, as the other nations, just as they had been before. I restored what had been robbed.... Thus I did; I made great efforts, until I established again our house in its state, as it had been before: and thus I made my efforts.... as if Gomates the Magian had never dispossessed our family.” 1[Page 67] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. vii, pp. 87, 88, 91, 92.GEP 67.6

    3. In the second year of Darius—520 B. C.—the work of restoration at Jerusalem was again taken up with vigor, at the call of God by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. “In the sixth month, in the first day of the month,” “in the second year of Darius,” the people were commanded and urged by the Lord through Haggai to “go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house;” and on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, that same year, Zerubbabel the governor, and “Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest,” and “all the remnant of the people,” “came and did work in the house of the Lord of Hosts, their God.” 2[Page 68] Haggai 1.GEP 67.7

    4. No sooner was the work begun, than the Samaritans were all alive again. This time, however, the man who was governor of Samaria, and his companions, were much more fair-minded than those who had carried on the former opposition. Tatnai was now governor of Samaria, and Shethar-boznai was his chief assistant. They and their companions came up to Jerusalem, and inquired, “Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?” and, “What are the names of the men that make this building?” 3[Page 68] Ezra 5:3, 4. They tried to stop the work on the building; but the decree of the false Smerdis was of no avail any more, since he was dead. And the Jews having the decree of Cyrus, whom they knew was respected by Darius; and, knowing the work of restoration that was being carried on by Darius against the reaction attempted by the Magians through the false Smerdis, they were rather anxious that this cause should be brought to the notice of Darius. And being still urged on by the prophets, they refused to receive any commands from the Samaritans or to pay any attention to their wishes.GEP 68.1

    5. The twenty-first day of the seventh month of this same year, came the word of the Lord again to Haggai, “Be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts.” 4[Page 68] Haggai 2:1-4. In the eighth month of this year, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah the prophet, also urging the people to the work. 5[Page 68] Zechariah 1:1.GEP 68.2

    6. The Samaritans, seeing the work going prosperously on in spite of them, drew up a letter to Darius, of which the following is a copy:—GEP 68.3

    “Unto Darius the king, all peace. Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands. Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls? We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them. And thus they returned us answer, saying,GEP 68.4

    “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up. But after that out fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same King Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar whom he had made governor; and said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place. Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.GEP 69.1

    “Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there by search made in the king’s treasure-house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.” 6[Page 69] Ezra 5:7-17.GEP 69.2

    7. “Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha [Ecbatana], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:—GEP 69.3

    “In the first year of Cyrus the king, the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits, with three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house: and also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.”GEP 69.4

    8. Upon this Darius wrote: “Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.GEP 70.1

    9. “Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: that they may offer sacrifices of sweet savors unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.GEP 70.2

    10. “Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.GEP 70.3

    11. “Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily. And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.” 7[Page 70] Ezra 6:1-14.GEP 70.4

    12. The twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in this same year, came the word of the Lord to Haggai again, saying: “Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig-tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.” 8[Page 70] Haggai 2:18, 19. Also the word of the Lord came again to Haggai that same day.GEP 70.5

    13. The twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month of this same year, came the word of the Lord a second time to Zechariah, “in the fourth day of the ninth month, in Chisleu,” at which time there was given that portion of scripture contained in the last seven chapters of Zechariah. And “in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king” (517 B. C.), “this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar [the twelfth month].” 9[Page 71] Ezra 6:15.GEP 71.1

    14. “And Darius the king says: These are the countries which called themselves mine: ... Persia and the Amardes (Susians), and the Babylonians, and the Assyrians, and the Arabs, and the Egyptians, and the maritime people, and the Sapardes, and the Ionians, and the Medes, and the Armenians, and the Cappadocians, and the Parthians, and the Sarandians, and the Arians, and the Chorasmians, and Bactria, and the Sogdians, and the Paropamisus, and the Saces, and Sattagydia, and Arachosia, in all twenty-three provinces. These are the provinces which called themselves mine.... To me they made subjection, brought tribute to me, what was ordered by me unto them in the night-time as well as in the daytime, that they executed .... In these provinces, the man who was a friend, I cherished him, the man who was an enemy, I punished him thoroughly .... In these lands, my law was observed: what was ordered unto them by me, that they executed.GEP 71.2

    15. “And Darius the king says: When I killed Gomates the Magian, then a Susian, named Assina, son of Umbadaranma, rose in Susiana, and said: ‘I have the kingdom over the Susians.’ Then the Susians revolted from me and went over to this Assina, and he had the kingdom over the Susians. And also a man named Nidintabel, a Babylonian, son of Ainairi, he arose in Babylon, and spoke thus to the people, lying: ‘I am Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabonadius.’ Then all the people of the Babylonians went over to this Nidintabel. Then the Babylonians made defection, and he seized the kingly power over the Babylonians.GEP 71.3

    16. “And Darius the king says: Then I sent an ambassador to the Susians. This Assina was taken, bound, and brought to me: then I killed him. Then I marched against Babylon, against this Nidintabel, who said: ‘I am Nebuchadnezzar.’ The army of Nidintabel was ranged on the river named Tigris. It occupied the banks of the Tigris, and was massed on ships. Then my army was divided into small groups. The one I put on camels, the other I made ride on horseback .... We crossed the Tigris. There I killed the army of Nidintabel. On the 26th day of the month Athriyadiya, then it was that we fought the battle, then I killed a great quantity of people. Then I went to Babylon. I had not yet arrived under (the walls) of Babylon, when, at the town named Zazana, on the bank of the Euphrates, Nidintabel who said, ‘I am Nebuchadnezzar’ went against me, with his army, in order to fight a battle .... I destroyed the army of this Nidintabel. It was on the second day of the month Anamaka that we delivered thus the battle. I killed a great deal of the army of this Nidintabel, and I made them fly into the river; in this river they were drowned. Then Nidintabel fled with a few horsemen and reached Babylon. Then I marched against Babylon .... I took also Babylon, as I made captive Nidintabel. I killed this Nidintabel in Babylon.GEP 71.4

    17. “And Darius the king says: Whilst I was at Babylon, these provinces rebelled against me: Persia, and the Susians, and the Medes, and Assyria, and the Egyptians, and the Parthians, and the Margians, and Sattagydia, and the Saces.” 10[Page 72] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. vii, pp. 92-95.GEP 72.1

    18. It would be too tedious to follow in detail the campaigns which were made in subduing all these revolts. The summary which Darius himself made and put on record will be sufficient. “Darius the king says: This is what I have done; I did it always by the grace of Ormazd. This I did: I fought nineteen battles, ... I defeated the armies. I took nine kings:—GEP 72.2

    “One named Gaumata the Magian, who lied and said: ‘I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus,’ he caused the revolt of Persia.GEP 72.3

    “And a Susian, named Assina, who caused the revolt of Susians, and said: ‘I exercise the kingly power over the Susians.’GEP 72.4

    “And a Babylonian, named Nidintabel, lied and said: ‘I am Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabonadius,’ he caused the revolt of the Babylonians.GEP 72.5

    “And a Persian, named Martiya, he lied and said: ‘I am Immannes, king of the Susians,’ he caused the revolt of the Susians.GEP 72.6

    “And a Mede, named Phraortes, who lied and said: ‘I am Sattarritta, of the race of Vak-istarra,’ he caused the revolt of the Medians.GEP 73.1

    “And a Sagartian, named Cithrantakhma, who lied and said: ‘I exercise the kingly power, I am of the race of Vak-istarra,’ he caused the revolt of the Sagartians.GEP 73.2

    “And a Margian named Frada, who lied and said: ‘I exercise the kingly power over the Margians,’ and he caused the revolt of the Margians.GEP 73.3

    “And a Persian, named Oeosdates, who lied and said: ‘I am Smerdis, son of Cyrus,’ and he caused the revolt of Persia.GEP 73.4

    “And a Babylonian who lied and said: ‘I am Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabonadius,’ who caused the revolt of the Babylonians.GEP 73.5

    “These are the nine kings whom I took in the battles.GEP 73.6

    19. “And Darius the king says: These are the provinces which revolted. The demon of the lie excited them to rebellion, that these provinces revolted. And afterward Ormazd gave them unto my hand, and what was my will, was executed by them. Thou, O king, who wilt be in future, who is friend, protect him always: the man who lies, always punish him severely. If thou sayest: ‘So it may be,’ then my land will stand forever. And thou, who in future days shalt peruse this tablet, which I made, believe that which is written in this tablet, and do not say: ‘They are lies.’ May I die as a Mazdaean, as this is true. I never uttered a lie in all my life.” 11[Page 73] Id., pp. 104-106.GEP 73.7

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