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Darius

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

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DARIUS . 1. Son of Hystaspes, king of Persia (b.c. 521 485), well known from the classical historian Herodotus, and, for the early part of his reign, from his own tri-lingual inscription on the rocks at Behistun. He allowed the Jews to rebuild the Temple. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the people to go on with the work, and when Tattenai, the Persian governor of Syria, demanded their authority, they alleged a decree of Cyrus. On reference being made to Darius and the decree being found, the king confirmed it, and ordered facilities to be afforded for the building. It was completed in the 6th year of his reign ( Ezra 4:1-24; Ezra 5:1-17; Ezra 6:1-22 , Haggai 1:1; Haggai 2:10 , Zechariah 1:17 ). 2. Darius the Persian ( Nehemiah 12:22 ). Possibly Darius Codomannus, the last king of Persia (b.c. 336 330), Malachi 1:1 Malachi 1:1 . Malachi 1:3 . ‘Darius’ in 1Ma 12:7 (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ) is an error for the Spartan ‘Arius’ (wh. see). 4. ‘Darius the Mede’ ( Daniel 11:1 ), son of Ahasuerus of the seed of the Medes ( Daniel 9:1 ), is said ( Daniel 5:31 ) to have succeeded to the kingdom of Babylon after Belshazzar’s death, and to have been sixty-two years old when he received the kingdom. This account does not answer to what we know of any king called Darius. Gobryas was he who actually received the kingdom for Cyrus, entering Babylon on the 16th of Tammuz, four months before Cyrus made his triumphal entry. He too appointed governors in Babylon (cf. Daniel 6:1 ), and seems from the Babylonian Chronicle to have been in the attack which resulted in Belshazzar’s death. Whether Gobryas is intended, whether Darius was another name of his, or whether some mistake has crept into the text, cannot be decided without fresh evidence. It is certain that no king of Babylon called Darius succeeded Belshazzar or preceded Cyrus.

C. H. W. Johns.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Darius'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdb/​d/darius.html. 1909.
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